NFL

NFL Week 9 Picks Against the Spread: Bold Calls and Reliable Favorites

Tennessee Titans Must Start Jake Locker If He’s Ready

The Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins kicked off NFL Week 9 in bizarre and dramatic fashion to give the ensuing games an extremely high bar to clear. Thursday night’s contest was among many on this slate featuring roughly a field-goal spread.

Spreads via The Associated Press.

Tennessee Titans (-3) at St. Louis Rams

The Titans streaked out to 3-1 before Jake Locker‘s hip injury, and should continue that momentum in his second game back. He’s on a totally different level from last year. Zac Stacy‘s ankle sprain kills any optimism for the Rams offense. Take the road favorite.

Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Buffalo Bills

Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are the last people Jeff Tuel, Matt Flynn or a hobbled Thad Lewis will want to see. Buffalo’s a feisty team at home but there’s just not enough offense to overcome the Chiefs, and a field-goal spread is comically low for an 8-0 team in these circumstances. Take the road favorite.

New Orleans Saints (-6) at New York Jets

The Jets portray bipolar like Claire Danes. The pendulum swings from awful in Cincy to formidable in the Meadowlands this week, where the swirling winds could howl worse than a usual November day. Drew Brees has terrible memories from 2012 here. Not to mention Gang Green has a massive advantage in the defensive trenches. Take the home underdog.

Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (-10)

Tony Romo‘s cooled off dramatically since the shootout against Peyton Manning. Christian Ponder, it turns out, upgrades this offense to severely limited. And that’s actually a major upgrade from Matt Cassel or Josh Freeman. Never feel good about taking Dallas on a big line. Take the underdog.

San Diego Chargers (-1) at Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III has shown clear regression from his rookie year in recent weeks when going against anything resembling a decent defense. Philip Rivers is making 2012 seem like just a bad dream. Take the favorite.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-7.5)

Matt Ryan produces offense with Drew Davis and Harry Douglas because he’s on track to become an elite quarterback. He’s at that level, and also someone I trust to keep the pedal down and bring things close late in games. Take the underdog.

Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders (-2.5)

Add Oakland to the list of West Coast teams that are sneaky-good at home. Terrelle Pryor‘s 3-0 in the Black Hole this year and faces a rudderless Chip Kelly offense. I like this unit and scheme with the right quarterback fit, but Nick Foles ain’t it.Take the favorite.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks (-16.5)

A team unraveling at the seams visits the Seahawks, who haven’t lost a home game since 2011. Two TDs and field goal will be set up by turnovers alone. Take the favorite.

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at Cleveland Browns

The Ravens are 19-3 following their past 22 losses, and can bounce back from major struggles as well as anyone. Throw in the bye week for prep and there’s no way I’m aligning with Jason Campbell. Take the favorite.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-6.5)

Pittsburgh held Tom Brady below 200 yards passing in the Steelers’ win two years ago. Same scheme and some of the same personnel for black and gold, though aging has worked against them. Yet that is nothing compared to the toll father time (and young receivers) has taken on Brady this year. Take the underdog.

Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Houston Texans

The Colts bandwagon still has plenty of space on it if you judge by how little respect Vegas is giving them at Case Keenum and free-falling Texans squad. Keenum stood tall against KC but now has a game of film working against him. Take the favorite.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-10.5)

If Green Bay runs the table to 14-2 with all their injuries, does Aaron Rodgers re-enter the MVP conversation? Rodgers owns Pro Football Focus’ second-highest QB grade and the red-hot Pack have thoroughly dominated the mediocre teams on schedule, and here come the Bears. Take the favorite.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google