Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

Sunday Blitz - Week 9

GAMES TO WATCH

Steelers at Ravens (-2 ½, 47) – 1:00 PM EST

The fortunes have changed for these two AFC North rivals over the last month. Baltimore (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) was in control of the division at 3-1, but went backwards in October by losing three of four games, including the last two to New Orleans and Carolina. Following a one-point home loss to the Saints, the Ravens were rolled by the suddenly hot Panthers, 36-21 last Sunday in their worst defensive effort of the season.

The Steelers (4-2-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) have overcome a 1-2-1 start to win three consecutive games to vault into first place in the AFC North. The latest victory came at home against the Browns last Sunday, 33-18 to cash as 8 ½-point favorites. Ben Roethlisberger hooked up with Antonio Brown for a pair of touchdown connections, while running back James Conner racked up 146 yards and scored multiple touchdowns for the third consecutive game for Pittsburgh.

Baltimore captured the first matchup at Heinz Field in Week 4 as three-point underdogs, 26-14. After being tied at 14-14 through two quarters, the Ravens outscored the Steelers, 12-0 in the second half thanks to four Justin Tucker field goals, while Joe Flacco threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Baltimore has covered five of the past six matchups with Pittsburgh, but the Steelers have won in each of the previous two visits to M&T Bank Stadium.

Best Bet: Ravens 24, Steelers 17

Chargers at Seahawks (-1, 47 ½) – 4:05 PM EST

Both these former AFC West rivals are heating up at the right time as Los Angeles has won four straight, while Seattle owns a 4-1 record the last five games. The Chargers (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS) return to action following the bye week after squeezing past the Titans in London, 20-19. Los Angeles’ defense has tightened up the last three contests by allowing an average of 14.3 ppg, although all five wins by the Lightning Bolts this season have come against teams owning losing records.

The Seahawks (4-3 SU, 4-2-1 ATS) started 0-2 as it looked like a rebuilding season in Seattle. However, Russell Wilson has rallied the ‘Hawks to four wins, including last week’s 28-14 dominating effort at Detroit as three-point underdogs. Seattle’s defense has stepped up by allowing 17 points or less in all four victories, while cashing the UNDER in five of the past six games since a high-scoring affair at Denver in Week 1.

Seattle has played five of its first seven games away from CenturyLink Field as the Seahawks will definitely get plenty of the “12th Man” over the next two months. After posting a 2-6 ATS mark at home last season, the Seahawks have cashed in both opportunities at home in 2018. The Chargers are making their first trip to Seattle since 2010, while the Bolts knocked off the Seahawks in their previous matchup in 2014 as 4 ½-point underdogs, 30-21.

Best Bet: Seahawks 23, Chargers 20

Rams (-1 ½, 57 ½) at Saints – 4:25 PM EST

Could this be an NFC Championship preview? Los Angeles and New Orleans have combined for one loss on the season as home-field advantage in the NFC is on the line at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Rams (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS) rallied past the Packers last Sunday, 29-27, but failed to cash as 7 ½-point favorites. MVP candidate Todd Gurley put on the brakes before scoring a late touchdown to keep the clock running as the former Georgia standout posted 225 all-purpose yards and a receiving touchdown.

The Saints (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) haven’t lost since opening week against Tampa Bay as New Orleans returns home from consecutive road victories at Baltimore and Minnesota. Even if it’s a season too late, the Saints avenged a pair of losses to the Vikings from 2017 in last Sunday’s 30-20 triumph in Minneapolis. New Orleans has covered five consecutive games and continued that streak last week in spite of Drew Brees throwing for only 120 yards. The Saints play three of their next four in the Big Easy after spending four of the past five games on the highway.

New Orleans opened the week as a favorite in this NFC showdown, but that number has flipped to L.A. in the chalk role. Since 2015, the Saints own a 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS record in the role of a home underdog, as they are in this spot for the first time this season. The Rams have been a machine away from the L.A. Coliseum since last season by winning 11 of 12 road games, including a perfect 4-0 mark in 2018.

Best Bet: Rams 31, Saints 24

SUPERCONTEST PICKS

Kevin Rogers (3-2 last week, 22-16-2 this season)
Baltimore -3
N.Y. Jets +3
Denver -1
Seattle -2
New England -6

Chris David (4-1 last week, 25-14-1 this season)
Browns +8
Buccaneers +6
Falcons +1 ½
Bills +10
Cowboys -6 ½

SURVIVOR PICKS

Kevin Rogers (7-1)
Chiefs over Browns

Chris David (7-1)
Bears over Bills

BEST TOTAL PLAY (0-1 last week, 4-4 this season)

UNDER 52 – Chiefs at Browns

Kansas City’s season has been terrific at 7-1. Its defense, not so much. The Chiefs have allowed 432.4 yards per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL. However, Kansas City has cleaned things up a bit the last two weeks by allowing a total of 33 points in home wins over Cincinnati and Denver. The Browns’ defense is leaking oil of late by giving up 38, 26, and 33 points the past three weeks. Cleveland has seen the UNDER cash in its two opportunities with a total of 50 or higher against New Orleans (21-18 loss) and Tampa Bay (26-23 overtime loss).

TRAP OF THE WEEK

The Panthers are coming off a pair of impressive wins over the Eagles and Ravens the last two weeks in the underdog role. Now, Carolina is flipped to a home favorite against Tampa Bay, who hasn’t won on the road since Week 1 at New Orleans. The Buccaneers are turning back to Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback, who has pulled off underdog wins against the Saints and Eagles. Tampa Bay has covered in each of its past two trips to Charlotte, while Carolina has failed to cash in its previous two opportunities as a favorite.

BIGGEST LINE MOVE

The Broncos opened as a 2 ½-point home favorite against the Texans on Monday at the Westgate Superbook. However, Denver has dropped to a one-point favorite at several books, this coming days after the Broncos dealt wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to…the Texans. The Broncos began the season at 2-0, but have lost five of six, including home defeats to the Chiefs and Rams. Houston puts its five-game winning streak on the line as the Texans last won in Denver back in 2012.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW

The Bills sit as a double-digit home underdog for the second consecutive week as they are currently 10-point ‘dogs to the Bears. The last team to fit in this role was the 2008 Lions (who went 0-16), who were blasted by the Titans on Thanksgiving as 11-point underdogs at Ford Field, but covered in a four-point loss the next week against Minnesota. Buffalo failed to cash in last Monday’s setback to New England, as the Bills have scored a total of 11 points in the past two games.

Want FREE picks for Week 9 in the NFL? Check them out here for the top three games of the weekend along with other insider selections.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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