The up and down season continues. I went 2-3 last week, although I would have been 3-2 if we went by gameday spreads. The Jets won by 3 and not 4. That puts me at 20-20 on the season. Another tough week ahead. Here’s my 5 NFL Week 9 locks against the spread.
1. Tennessee Titans (4-4) @ San Diego Chargers (3-5) (-5)
The Titans enter the second half of the season in a playoff race for the first time since 2013, where they finished 7-9. DeMarco Murray continues to dominate the run game and Marcus Mariota has improved his chemistry with his receivers as the weeks have gone on. The Chargers have kept every game except for a blowout win over the Jaguars in Week 2 to one possession. I expect that trend to continue this week. The Chargers should prevail in a nail biter, but lock the Titans in to cover that spread.
2. Carolina Panthers (2-5) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-4) (+3)
Last season may have been the start of some sort of turnaround for the Panthers…at least for their defense. They looked real good against the Cardinals. Their defense gets to lick their chops now against Case Keenum, who may be starting for one of the final times before they hand the keys to rookie Jared Goff. Expect the Panthers front seven to have Keenum on the ground all day as they win and cover.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-4) (-3)
There is a good chance Big Ben might make his return this week and if that’s the case I just can’t see the Steelers as underdogs here. Honestly, I think even Landry Jones can sneak past the Ravens. After a 3-0 start, the Ravens are losers of four straight and are free falling their way out of a playoff race if they lose Sunday. Luckily for them, the AFC North has not been good. Lock in the Steelers to at least cover as underdogs and likely win this one.
4. Detroit Lions (4-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (5-2) (-6)
The Vikings are in all sorts of disarray right now. Norv Turner basically quit on them, resigning on Wednesday. The offensive line is an absolute debacle. Their running back situation is crap. Luckily, their defense is still very good, but not good enough to beat the Lions by a TD. Matthew Stafford is having a MVP season. Lock the Lions to cover in Minnesota over a struggling Vikings squad.
5. New York Jets (3-5) @ Miami Dolphins (3-4) (-3.5)
The Dolphins have had nice wins in back-to-back weeks, but they aren’t much better than the Jets. It’s impossible to see Jay Ajayi have another 200-plus yard game. The Jets are winners of two straight and are trying to fight their way into a playoff race with a schedule that isn’t bad the rest of the season. The Dolphins may prevail, but the Jets keep this game tight and cover that spread.
Check out my NFL locks, NFL, MLB, and NBA talk and my chat with play-by-play broadcaster Kenny Albert and author Eric Mirlis on this week’s episode of The Jake Brown Show.
Jake Brown is the Digital Program Manager at CBS Sports Radio and a columnist for CBS Sports Radio, CBS Local Sports, and CBS Local. You can catch him daily on The Jake Brown Show on CBS Radio’s Play.it, iTunes, and Spotify. It’s a weekly sports show mixed in with a bit of entertainment and multiple interviews as well every week. Jake lives in Queens and being a Mets fan is finally paying off.