Early Thoughts for Week 9
Last week I touched on the 2nd and 3rd “rematch” games of the season so far and both teams that were out looking for revenge (Dolphins, Giants) managed to get it. Both of them got out to big leads early and while Miami never looked back, the Giants did struggle until they turned “it” back on in the 4th quarter.
This week there are only two division games on tap, but both are rematches from earlier meetings this year. Baltimore heads on the road as a 3 1/2-point favorite to play Cleveland again after their grinding Thursday night affair in late September. The Browns lost the first match 23-16 but managed to easily cover as double-digit dogs (+11) and are now getting points once again. Baltimore is coming off their bye week which is a plus for them, but seeing them listed as only 3 1/2-point favorites looks a bit fishy. Yes, they are banged up defensively, but a 5-2 SU team off a bye laying a FG on the road to a 2-6 SU team? Could the Browns play their best game of the season in this one?
The other rematch takes place on Thursday as the dysfunctional Kansas City Chiefs are out in San Diego. The Chiefs lost by 17 (37-20) at home in the first meeting after early turnovers put them in a quick 20-0 hole. QB Matt Cassel was the starter for KC in that one and that was the catalyst for him eventually losing his starter job. An injury to Brady Quinn (head) last week will give Cassel another shot at the Chargers this week and I don’t think he blows it. The underdogs have covered six straight weeks on Thursday night and getting more than a TD appears to be the right play.
Another team to be cautious of this week are the Detroit Lions as they head into Jacksonville as small favorites vs. the Jags. The Lions are off a good win (28-24) vs. a tough Seattle team but with a rematch game of their own vs. Minnesota on deck, Detroit could be looking straight past the lowly Jags.
Finally, there is the curious case of the Dallas Cowboys who head out on the road in primetime to take on the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. Dallas has always been better ATS on the road and after last week’s game vs. the Giants; the road is probably exactly where they want to be. They have nobody believing in them after all the turnovers and are now playing an undefeated team that has been almost unbeatable at home in recent years. These are exactly the types of games Tony Romo and company get up for (remember Week 1) and they should do the same this week.