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Billsfans Bets: NFL Week 9 Picks

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© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

 

Week 9 provides many fans the opportunity for a first look at their team's new additions after a bumper trade deadline day with 12 trades made. The Minnesota Vikings, who sit 2nd in the NFC overall, added tight end TJ Hockenson, who will seek to make an immediate impact against Washington. The Dolphins and Bears used early-round 2023 picks to upgrade their rosters. We preview their matchup this weekend alongside two others below: 

 

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© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins @ Chicago Bears

Betting Lines:

Spread: Dolphins -5.5, Bears +5.5
Total: Over/Under 45.5
Money line: Dolphins -225, Bears +190

The spotlight is back on Justin Fields in what has become quite an interesting season. One of growth and opportunity as we move toward the second half of 2022. After early season struggles, Fields has improved week-on-week since Week 5, emerging as one of the few bright spots in the blow-out loss to the Cowboys last Sunday. This linear improvement in performance has coincided with a linear fall in passing yardage for the team, however, and an increased reliance on the QB for rushing yards.

 

Underuse of the passing game may be set to change, however, following a trade deadline move for Chase Claypool from Pittsburgh. During his rookie campaign, the Notre Dame product had a stellar year for the Steelers, amassing almost 900 yards and nine touchdowns. However, he didn't progress in 2021 as had been hoped, putting up similar yardage but failing to get into the end zone on a regular basis. Now, after a frustrating 2022 season with only a Week 6 stand-out performance against Tampa of note, Chase gets the opportunity to work with an improving offense and a longshot at a playoff spot, which is better than the Steelers team he was with.

 

Claypool will likely slot into the offense as WR2 alongside Darrell Mooney, who hasn't put up consistent yardage or touchdowns so far in 2022. He has nevertheless demonstrated a connection with Fields and made some big plays against the Cowboys. He has at least one catch for more than 20 yards in each of the last five games.

 

The visiting Dolphins' season reflects their performance on Sunday against Detroit, where they went down by 10 points at halftime but managed to grind out a result. Sitting at 5-3, they've weathered concerns around Tagovailoa's health to remain competitive in a very tough AFC East where none of the teams have a losing record. 

 

Mirroring their inconsistent performances, the Dolphins have struggled on defense in 2022. They have allowed 192 points for an average of 24 points per game. The defense did receive a considerable upgrade on the trade deadline day with the signing of Nick Chubb from the Browns, though. Chubb is one of only five players with greater than five sacks and two forced fumbles in the current season and should form a powerful combination alongside Emmanual Ogbah and the emerging Jaelin Phillips in their pass rush. 

 

On offense, the summer addition of Tyreek Hill by Miami's GM Chris Grier has seemingly been a success. The former Chief and his teammate, Jaylen Waddle, have been featured heavily in the Dolphins' offense, with almost 1700 yards between them. The run game, while active, is ranked 28th in the league. Mostert has been holding down that part of the offense with an average of 4 yards per carry. After trading away Chase Edmonds two days ago, Miami managed to preserve their depth at running back with the addition of Jeff Fisher out of San Francisco. 

 

I'm backing this offense to get Miami over the line and then some, back the Over and Miami to cover the spread in this game.

 

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© Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Raiders @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Betting Lines:

Spread: Raiders -1.5, Jaguars +1.5
Total: Over/Under 47.5
Money line: Raiders -120, Jaguars +100

The Jacksonville Jaguars return from their annual European trip after a loss that saw some players excel while highlighting the regression in others. Travis Etienne was undoubtedly a bright spot, a career-high 156 yards repaying the franchise for rubber-stamping his RB1 status by trading James Robinson to the Jets. Josh Allen will want to put the Broncos game behind him. Recent performances have yet to meet his usual standards, and he was largely ineffective in London. Somewhere in the middle sits Trevor Lawrence. The quarterback's interceptions killed any hope of victory against the Broncos, as he achieved his lowest passer rating of the 2022 season. 

 

There is no better opponent for the Jaguars than the Raiders this weekend as they seek to mirror the Saints by winning on their return to US soil. Las Vegas gave up 24 points to the Saints last Sunday, giving up 350+ yards, as Alvin Kamara put in an incredible performance, reaping three touchdowns as a reward. 

 

The Las Vegas offense has leaned heavily on Josh Jacobs this season. He averaged 150 yards per game across almost 70 carries in weeks four through seven. Jacobs suffered his worst game of 2022 against New Orleans, with very few touches. He will seek to rectify that against Jacksonville. The Raiders are averaging 225 passing yards per game as Derek Carr has thrown as many interceptions as he has touchdowns since the bye week and struggled to attain 100 against a Saints defense ranked as one of the worst in the league. 

 

The game at TIAA Bank Field pits two offenses who are currently more comfortable running the ball against defenses than they are with their aerial assault. Whichever team can impose itself through the air has the best chance of victory. Across both offenses, Jacobs has been the most consistent performer in 2022. I expect a performance of around 18 carries, 80+ yards, and a touchdown on Sunday. Despite this, I expect him to be on the losing side as Jacksonville bounces back with a victory here. Back the Jags against the spread and the Under due to frustrations around the passing game. 

 

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© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers @ Atlanta Falcons

Betting Lines:

Spread: Chargers -3.5, Falcons +3.5
Total: Over/Under 49.5
Money line: Chargers -166, Falcons +137

The Falcons continue to defy the odds, coming into this contest atop the NFC South. Arthur Smith's offense is continually finding a way to win in spite of a defense that has given up over 1,000 yards across weeks 7 and 8 combined. In Cordarelle Patterson's absence (knee), Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley have split carries equally, rushing for almost 100 yards against Carolina. Marcus Mariota continues to perform at a high level, despite his limited attempts for most of the season. He achieved a season-high performance against Carolina, with veteran Damiere Byrd emerging as a top target alongside Kyle Pitts in recent weeks.

 

Atlanta will be delighted to face a weak Chargers defense, which for me, ranks in the bottom 3 in the NFL, surrendering an average of 27 points and 358 yards allowed per game. Los Angeles has allowed 200+ rushing yards in two of the last three weeks and faces an Atlanta offense that favors the ground game. 

 

The Chargers sit at 4-3 after seeing a 3-game winning streak come to an end in an entertaining game against the Seahawks last Sunday. Seattle was able to limit the aerial threat from Los Angeles in that game. Despite Justin Herbert throwing over 50 passes, Mike Williams was the only performer of note, ending with 86 yards and a touchdown. Herbert has struggled with rib issues this season. Although he was recently removed from the injury report, his recent performances have been inconsistent, with defenders batting down his passes at an alarming rate, disrupting his rhythm and leading to poor decision-making, such as the recent interception against Seattle.

 

All of this points me towards a high-scoring contest where I expect the Over/Under line to be obliterated regardless of which team drags themselves to victory.

 

 

 

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