NFL picks, predictions for Week 9: 49ers upset Cardinals; Rams take down Titans; Bengals edge Browns


Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are the headliners in the matchup between the Packers and Chiefs in Week 9, but there is much more to the schedule.

Who will win the battle of Ohio? Cincinnati and Cleveland meet in a matchup of teams trying to keep pace in the super-competitive AFC North. Baker Mayfield led the Browns to a pair of wins against Joe Burrow last season. Will the Bengals get revenge? 

The Titans will find out what life without Derrick Henry looks like, and that comes against the Rams, which just added Von Miller in a blockbuster trade. Los Angeles appears to be all in for a second Super Bowl appearance under Sean McVay. 

The Monday Night Football matchup between the Steelers and Bears should be fun, too. Can veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger keep the hot streak going against rookie Justin Fields? 

Each week, Sporting News will pick games straight up, and we’re looking to continue the hot streak. Here is a look at our season totals: 

With that in mind, below are our picks and predictions for Week 9:

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NFL picks, predictions Week 9

  • New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-11.5) 

Thursday, 8:20 p.m., FOX/NFL Network 

A huge line shows no faith in the Jets, even after their first win of the season behind backup quarterback Mike White. The Colts are 0-1 ATS as a favorite, but they are home on a short week. Carson Wentz won’t make the same mistakes that haunted Indianapolis in last week’s loss to the Titans. 

Pick: Colts 27, Jets 17 

  • Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

This could turn out to be the best game of the week. Both teams are in the AFC North hunt. The Browns are the more desperate team here after falling to 4-4. Baker Mayfield led Cleveland to a sweep of the Bengals last season, but those games were decided by a total of eight points. This one plays out in the 20s, and Ja’Marr Chase catches the game-winning TD late. 

Pick: Bengals 29, Browns 28

  • Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (-7)  

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

Dak Prescott didn’t have to rush back because of a calf strain, and that extra rest will pay off at home against the Broncos. Denver is a .500 team, but they have lost their last two road games. The Broncos do have the second-best scoring defense in the league, but the Cowboys present too many problems on offense with the top-ranked offense.  

Pick: Cowboys 24, Broncos 17 

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  • Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (-7) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

This will be ugly. Two of the three worst scoring offenses in the NFL are on the same field. Both teams have lost seven straight games, and the Texans and Dolphins each have a -4 turnover ratio. Take the home team in a brutal-to-watch game. 

Pick: Dolphins 19, Texans 16 

  • Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-5.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

The Saints have quarterback intrigue with Jameis Winston likely out. Trevor Siemian played hero in the victory against the Buccaneers, and Taysom Hill (concussion) is expected to be back. New Orleans has been hard to figure out and is 1-3 ATS as a favorite, but they have won the last three meetings against the Falcons. 

Pick: Saints 23, Falcons 20 

  • Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at New York Giants 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Las Vegas has won two straight games since Jon Gruden resigned, and the bye week coincides with the Giants playing on a short week. The cross-country early kick is always  a concern, but the Raiders have had time to prepare. Derek Carr shines again.

Pick: Raiders 27, Giants 22

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  • New England Patriots (-3) at Carolina Panthers 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Are the Patriots a playoff contender? New England has won three of its last four games. Mac Jones continues to be an efficient answer at quarterback, and the Panthers have failed to clear 200 passing yards in their last four games. The Pats grind out a road victory that won’t be easy to get above .500 for the first time this season. 

Pick: Patriots 24, Panthers 20 

  • Buffalo Bills (-14) at Jacksonville Jaguars  

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Bills have a decided advantage here, even on the road. Buffalo has won five games by double digits, and that’s based on the strength of the league’s top scoring defense (15.6) and a balanced offense led by Josh Allen. The Jaguars are a double-digit underdog for the first time under Urban Meyer. Can they cover the spread, at least? 

Pick: Buffalo 34, Jacksonville 17 

  • Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Vikings are in a tough spot after the Sunday Night Football loss to Dallas, but they have played well on the road this season despite inconsistencies on offense. Will that be enough to hang around with Baltimore, which is coming off a bye week after a blowout loss to Cincinnati? Probably not. 

Pick: Ravens 30, Vikings 26

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  • Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles 

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., CBS

The Eagles are 0-3 at home under first-year coach Nick Sirianni, and the Chargers are looking to bounce back after a tough loss to New England. Los Angeles is 2-1 on the road under first-year coach Brandon Staley, too. Justin Herbert bounces back and gets the Chargers off a two-game losing streak, but it will be tight. 

Pick: Chargers 31, Eagles 27 

  • Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

It’s the first time we get Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes II on the same field, which automatically makes it the most-glamorous game on the schedule. Rodgers and Mahomes II will make big plays, but the difference in the game will be defense. Green Bay has found a way through injuries to put together a top-10 unit that will press Mahomes into a few bad decisions. Rodgers, meanwhile, should get Davante Adams back. If the Packers stick with the run, then they will leave Arrowhead Stadium with another underdog victory. 

Pick: Packers 31, Chiefs 28 

  • Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) at San Francisco 49ers 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

The Cardinals and Niners played a 17-10 game earlier this season, and this time San Francisco is at home. The 49ers can control the clock with Eli Mitchell, who is coming off back-to-back 100-yard games. Kyler Murray will make plays too, but this will be the next test of adversity for Arizona.

Pick: 49ers 28, Cardinals 26 

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  • Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC

This is the only matchup on this week’s schedule between two teams with winning records. Unfortunately, Tennessee will have to proceed without Derrick Henry (foot), and that’s going to press Ryan Tannehill to do more.. The Titans and Rams have almost identical numbers on defense, but Los Angeles has the edge at home. 

Pick: Rams 31, Titans 21 

  • Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5)

Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

The Steelers were left for dead after a shaky start, but three straight victories have vaulted them back into AFC North contention. Rookie Justin Fields has shown promise for the Bears, but he’s up against a furious pass rush led by T.J. Watt (8.5 sacks). It’s another black-and-blue loss for Chicago

Pick: Steelers 25, Bears 17



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