We’re now past the halfway point of the NFL season and certain things seem back in order. The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots lead their divisions, and the Cleveland Browns are still winless. Let’s take a closer look at the slate for Week 9.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Odds: Buffalo -3
Few thought the Bills would still be in contention for top spot in the AFC East once Week 9 rolled around. However, Buffalo has put together back-to-back wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders to remain just a half-game back of the Patriots and Steelers for the best record in the AFC. The Jets have cooled off after a surprising start, dropping three in a row to sit at 3-5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Odds: New Orleans -7
Speaking of trending in the wrong direction, the Buccaneers have dropped four in a row and now go on the road to face a Saints team that’s won five straight.
The most unique aspect of New Orleans’ success is that its 13th-ranked scoring defense has really stepped up. One week after facing a rookie quarterback, they could have another easy job as quarterback Jameis Winston looked really banged up last week.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Odds: Carolina -2
Carolina bounced back with a close win over the Buccaneers in Week 8, but looked very ordinary in the victory. Cam Newton threw for just 154 yards with a touchdown and an interception while the Panthers leaned heavily on a defense that didn’t allow a touchdown for the third time this season. Meanwhile, the Falcons got off the mat to beat the New York Jets on the road. That ended their three-game losing streak. This is the Falcons’ third straight road game.
Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks
Odds: Seattle -7
Washington has dropped two in a row to fall to 3-4 and they look like they’re crumbling. Now they have to travel to Seattle to face a Seahawks team that is suddenly rolling with four straight wins, including a big victory over the Houston Texans in Week 8.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys completely committed to running back Ezekiel Elliott over the last two weeks and he delivered big time with some outstanding numbers, rushing for 297 yards and four touchdowns while hauling in two catches for 76 yards and another score.
However, Elliott's suspension has been put back into effect for this week, and the impact of losing him would be massive for Dallas. Kansas City sits comfortably atop the AFC West, so this will make for one of the marquee matchups of Week 9 even if Elliott can't appeal his way onto the field.
Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins
Odds: Oakland -2.5
One week after picking up a big win over Kansas City on Thursday Night Football, Oakland laid an egg in its loss to the Bills. Which Raiders team will show up in Miami on Sunday? The Dolphins have managed to win four of their last five games despite some obvious issues on both sides of the football. But they tend to succeed when they can run the ball and Oakland isn’t very good at stopping it. The Raiders rank 26th in the NFL in run defense and allowed 166 rushing yards to the Bills last week.