We’re in the second half of the NFL season as Week 9 kicks off on Thursday with a huge divisional matchup from the NFC South. Three more divisional rivalries are highlighted this week, along with last season’s Super Bowl runners-up.
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Odds: Falcons -3
After a 33-32 home win over Green Bay, the Falcons lead the NFC South at 5-3. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are 3-4 after a 30-24 overtime loss at home to Oakland. The Bucs would love to close the gap a little more on the Falcons, who are 5-5 SU and 4-5-1 ATS in their last 10 with Tampa Bay. The issue is that Tampa Bay rarely wins at home. They are a “perfect” 0-3 at home this season and their 5-26 home record is the worst in the NFL over the last five seasons.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
Odds: Steelers -3
Both teams return from their bye weeks to battle for first place in the AFC North. The important news to monitor in this matchup is the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is expected to be back under center for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The Ravens have lost four straight and the main reason is because their offense has struggled all season. They’re averaging just 19.0 points per game (26th in the NFL).
The Ravens are 7-3 SU and 4-4-2 ATS in their last 10 games against Pittsburgh, including three straight SU wins, and two wins and a push in those games.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Odds: Giants -3
The Eagles fell to 4-3 in a 29-23 overtime loss to Dallas on Sunday night and now they face another NFC East rival in the 4-3 Giants. The Eagles started the season 3-0 but have been trending in the wrong direction ever since and have lost three of their last four. Getting back on track won’t be easy as they’re facing a Giants team that’s coming off a bye and has had two weeks to prepare.
The main issue is the offense, as the production of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and the running game has tailed off. The team averaged 119.3 rushing yards through their first three games but that number has dropped to 102.0 in their last four contests. As for Wentz, he averaged 251.8 passing yards while collecting five touchdowns and no interceptions in his first three games but has four touchdowns and three interceptions in his last four and is averaging 189.3 yards per game over that span.
With Washington tying Cincinnati in London to go to 4-3-1, this is a massive game between the Giants and the Eagles to keep up with the Cowboys. The Eagles are 7-3 SU and ATS in their last 10 with the Giants, and the Eagles have won and covered in the last four meetings.
Carolina Panthers @ Los Angeles Rams
Odds: Panthers -3
The Panthers returned from their bye with a 30-20 win over Arizona at home while the Rams are 3-4 as they come off a bye week. The Panthers could have written off their season with a loss on Sunday, but they’re still alive and in need of a big run in the second half of the season. If they have any plans of making a push for the playoffs, they have to win in this spot.
The Panthers are 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 with the Rams, although this is their first game hosting Carolina in Los Angeles.
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
Odds: Raiders -1
The game of the week comes from the AFC West as the Broncos went to 6-2 by holding off San Diego for a 27-19 win at home. The Raiders are also 6-2 after their overtime win in Tampa Bay, so first place in the division is at stake. Not to mention, these two teams are huge rivals and this game is important regardless of record. It will be an offense (Raiders) versus defense (Broncos) showdown, but it’s worth noting that the Raiders defense has been better in recent weeks. They allowed 34.3 points per game over their first four contests but have cut that down to 22.0 over their last three.
The Broncos are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 with the Raiders.