NFL Betting: Week 9 Rundown
The NFL moves into the final fourth of its season, and with the New England Patriots having lost two games in a row for the first time in a few years, the AFC playoff picture is more complicated. The NFC East is terrible, but it is close and competitive. Let’s see what’s ahead:
1 – Best Sunday Games: Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers; Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles; Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals; Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers
The collection of good Sunday games is a surprising mix of all sorts of factors and talking points. The Atlanta-Carolina game is important for the Falcons, who are on the very edge of the playoff picture and need to be able to find a way to change a downward spiral. The Falcons were once 5-0, and at that time, Atlanta did not expect to be on the outside of the playoff race, trying to get back into the wild card position, in the first half of December. The Falcons looked more like a Super Bowl contender at 5-0, but if they can’t knock off the unbeaten Panthers, they might become a non-playoff team.
The Philadelphia Eagles could be a playoff team, even though they’re 5-7. They figured to be 4-8, but they upset New England last week. If they beat Buffalo, their chances of winning the NFC East will go up considerably.
In Cincinnati, the Bengals figure to get a very stiff test from the Steelers, whose passing attack is doing really well thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and a fast group of receivers. Antonio Brown is just the leader of that collection of receivers. The second and third and even fourth receivers on the Steelers are playing well right now. The Bengals’ defense will face a stiff test.
The Dallas Cowboys are 4-8, but that puts them only one game out of first in the NFC East. The Cowboys play the Packers, who needed a Hail Mary to win their most recent game against Detroit.
2 – Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots @ Houston Texans
This is a matchup of teams that urgently need a win. The Patriots hadn’t lost two straight regular season games in a few years. They were not expected to stumble at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team which had been bombed by Detroit on Thanksgiving and had played similarly poorly against Tampa Bay a short while before. The Patriots are suffering on offense, but that can’t continue to carry to their defense. Houston is trying to knock off Indianapolis for the AFC South lead. The Texans need an effective and efficient offense to support J.J. Watt and the rest of this team’s talented defense. If they can score 20 points, that could be enough against a banged-up New England offense – Tom Brady needs his healthy receivers to compensate for all the injuries the Patriots are facing.
3 – Monday Night Football: New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins
The New York Giants have led in the fourth quarter in five of their losses this season. The Giants just can’t make the final few plays they need to win games. They are almost always right there with a chance to win late in the fourth quarter, but they often fail, instead of just making the occasional stumble. Head coach Tom Coughlin is very reasonably coaching for his job right now in these weeks of December. He is lucky that the rest of the NFC East is so bad, but he does have to win the division to hang onto his job in New York. The Giants hope that the struggling Miami Dolphins will be the get-well tonic the team needs in order to win the East. The Giants just want to be able to have a chance to win the division with a victory in week 17 on January 3. A win here against Miami would dramatically increase the odds of that happening.