Here are my Week 9 picks with confidence level selections. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 will be available for all NFL Pickwatch readers.
The picks with a 6+ confidence level, a group of selections that have netted a 117-39 record over the past two seasons (including a 34-11 mark this year), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.
Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheatcode to beat the sportsbooks over the last five years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.
Now let’s get to this week’s picks!
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
KC’s pick: Indianapolis | Confidence level: 4
The Jets deserve a lot of credit for their 34-31 upset win over Cincinnati last week, but keep in mind that contest was a perfect trap game setup for the Bengals. This matchup against the Colts does not fall into that category and they will be better prepared for the Mike White experience than Cincinnati was. This could lead to a lot of turnovers, as the Jets have given the ball away six times over the past two weeks and Indianapolis has nine takeaways in its last three games and has posted 2+ takeaways in all but two contests this year. Add in this being a short week road matchup for New York and the Colts are the pick here.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
KC’s pick: Cincinnati | Confidence level: 3
The Browns are easily the most banged up team in the league, as they had seven players who did not practice on Wednesday to go along with four players who posted limited practices. That list doesn’t include Odell Beckham, Jr., who did not practice and is seemingly now on his way out of Cleveland. These injury woes are part of why the Browns have scored 17 or fewer points in five of the past six contests. The Bengals have scored 106 points over the past three games and are returning home after playing five of the past seven contests on the road, so there are more than enough factors leaning in their direction to select Cincinnati in this one.
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins
KC’s pick: Houston | Confidence level: 5
The world seems to be forgetting just how good the Houston offense was at the start of the year with Tyrod Taylor as its quarterback. The Texans posted 39 first downs, 751 offensive yards, and 58 points in Weeks 1-2 despite Taylor missing the second half of the Week 2 matchup at Cleveland. Miami’s defense just hasn’t held up this year, as the Dolphins have allowed 26+ points in six of the past seven games. Miami’s offense does have some firepower as well, but as long as Taylor plays the Texans have enough of an offensive edge to select them in an upset pick.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
KC’s pick: New Orleans | Confidence level: 3
Atlanta’s offense was on a roll prior to last week’s dud against the Panthers, yet the reality is that they had three solid showings against Washington, the Jets, and Miami, three defenses that are among the worst in the league this season. The Saints defense is arguably the toughest platoon the Falcons offense has faced this year, so it could be two duds in a row for Atlanta. The Falcons have also allowed 335 rushing yards over the past two games and thus could fare poorly against a New Orleans ground game that has tallied 142+ yards on four occasions. Combine that with this being in the Big Easy and the Saints are the choice.
Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants
KC’s pick: Las Vegas | Confidence level: 3
The Raiders have seen a ton of turmoil this year, but it sure hasn’t impacted their on-field play of late. Las Vegas has tallied 67 points, 868 offensive yards, and six takeaways the past two weeks and has now racked up 425+ offensive yards on five occasions. New York stumbled through the Monday night matchup against the Chiefs in part due to injuries, but that will still be a problem for Big Blue since Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Kadarius Toney are all on the early week injury report and Barkley and Shepard are trending towards missing this matchup. In addition, Vegas is 2-1 on the road and New York is 1-3 at home this season, so the Raiders earn this pick.
New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers
KC’s pick: New England | Confidence level: 3
The Patriots offense hasn’t been the same since Tom Brady left, but don’t sell this group short. New England has tallied 25+ points and 335+ offensive yards, and 120+ rushing yards in four straight games. The same cannot be said for the Panthers offense, as Carolina hasn’t passed for 200 yards since Week 4 and has had to endure calls for Sam Darnold to be benched. It’s possible that the Panthers will get Christian McCaffrey back for this contest, but those offensive woes and an inconsistent defense will be too much to overcome, so take the Patriots in this matchup.
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
KC’s pick: Baltimore | Confidence level: 3
Last week’s upset loss to a Cowboys team starting a backup quarterback is only the latest among a series of disappointing performances by the Vikings, as they generated only seven points in a Week 4 loss against the Browns, needed a last second field goal to beat the overmatched Lions, and went to overtime to beat a reeling Panthers squad. Baltimore’s defense is far from its usual dominant self, having allowed 513+ offensive yards in two of the past three games, but they should be getting healthier coming out of a Week 8 bye, so the Ravens are the pick here.
Los Angeles Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
KC’s pick: Philadelphia | Confidence level: 2
The Eagles finally found a matchup that they were willing to run against, as Philadelphia used a ground and pound approach to generate 236 rushing yards in a 44-6 obliteration of Detroit. Nick Sirianni’s offense should be able to go about this matchup in a similar way, as the Chargers have allowed 142+ rushing yards in five of the past six games. Los Angeles has some powerful weapons on offense, but Mike Williams hasn’t been the same since he hurt his knee a few weeks ago and Justin Herbert is battling a hand injury. These factors offer the Eagles a few more paths to victory than the Chargers, so Philadelphia is selection.
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
KC’s pick: Kansas City | Confidence level: 4
Losing Aaron Rodgers to a positive COVID-19 test will certainly hurt the Packers offense, but it’s worth pointing out that Green Bay has tallied 131+ rushing yards in four of the past five games and has notched 14 takeaways in the past seven contests. That latter trait will certainly be useful against a Chiefs offense that has posted 19 giveaways this year, including 12 in the past four games. These elements indicate Green Bay has plenty of ways they can win this contest, but it’s tough to pick a quarterback in his first start on the road at Arrowhead and expect him to be able to outplay Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce, so take the Chiefs here.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
KC’s pick: Arizona | Confidence level: 2
Sunday update: If Kyler Murray ends up missing this contest as expected, the 49ers will be the pick with a confidence level of 3.
The 49ers are off to a disappointing 3-4 start in part due to injuries, but San Francisco is starting to get healthy again, as George Kittle will be back this week and Jeff Wilson could be returning from IR. The 49ers have a solid chance of moving the ball on the ground against an Arizona rush defense that has allowed 151+ rushing yards on four occasions this year. The Cardinals could be battling injuries of their own, as Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and Chase Edmonds are all headed into this contest banged up, but San Francisco probably still doesn’t have enough firepower to prevail here, so Arizona is the pick by a small margin.
KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 117-39 over the past two seasons (including a 34-11 mark this year), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.