Week 9 NFL game picks, schedule guide, fantasy football tips and more

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The Week 9 NFL slate is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score predictions.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy's Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk's Mackenzie Kraemer hand out helpful nuggets, as well. It's all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let's get into the full Week 9 schedule, including a showdown between the Vikings' run game and the Chiefs' passing attack.

Jump to a matchup:

Thursday: SF 28, ARI 25

Vikings (6-2) at Chiefs (5-3)

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 89.7 | Spread: MIN -4.5 (46)

What to watch for: Dalvin Cook leads the NFL in rushing, and the Chiefs have allowed more yards on the ground than all but two other teams, both of which are winless. So, Kansas City faces a big challenge, and likely without any of its regular starting defensive linemen. Quarterback Matt Moore was impressive in his Chiefs starting debut last week, but the Vikings, who are fifth in the league in total defense, are an upgrade in competition. -- Adam Teicher

Bold prediction: Minnesota will tie its previous best effort against the run recorded on Dec. 31, 2017, when it held the Bears to 30 rushing yards. Andy Reid has been able to hide the weakness of his running game for some time now, but that ends this week against a stout Vikings defense. -- Courtney Cronin

Stat to know: The Chiefs rank among the NFL leaders in points per game (fourth at 28.3), yards per game (fifth at 392.5) and passing yards per game (second at 309.5).

What to know for fantasy: Since 2016, Stefon Diggs' average fantasy points per game drops by nearly 25% when playing outside the NFC North. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Minnesota is 2-8-1 both ATS and straight up in Kirk Cousins' starts against teams that entered with winning records, including 0-6-1 on the road (both ATS and SU). Read more.

Cronin's pick: Vikings 28, Chiefs 26
Teicher's pick: Vikings 27, Chiefs 24
FPI prediction: MIN, 52.5% (by an average of 0.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Vikings' secondary gets boost now and chance to plan for future ... For $500, Hank Stram made Chiefs' Super Bowl IV victory 'iconic' ... Chiefs running the ball with much less success in 2019

Bears (3-4) at Eagles (4-4)

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 60.1 | Spread: PHI -5 (42)

What to watch for: Rookie Andre Dillard will make his this third NFL start at left tackle. Star edge rusher Khalil Mack moves all over the formation and is likely to spend a good amount of time on Dillard's side. Whether the Eagles' offense can function at a high level will depend largely on whether Dillard can rise to the occasion. -- Tim McManus

Bold prediction: Jordan Howard rushes for 100-plus yards against his old team. Chicago ranks sixth in net rushing yards allowed per game (86.0). However, the Bears' run defense is nowhere near as good without defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (injured reserve/elbow), whose absence is felt every week. -- Jeff Dickerson

Stat to know: Carson Wentz has 11 straight games of throwing at least one passing touchdown (tied for the longest active streak in NFL with Russell Wilson).

What to know for fantasy: David Montgomery scored 2.5 more fantasy points last week than he did in his three games prior. But now he takes on the sixth-best defense against fantasy running backs this season. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Philadelphia is 2-8 ATS as a home favorite over the past two seasons, including 0-5 ATS when favored by five or fewer points. Read more.

Dickerson's pick: Eagles 17, Bears 15
McManus' pick: Eagles 26, Bears 17
FPI prediction: PHI, 62.2% (by an average of 4.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bears to stick with struggling Mitchell Trubisky, won't swap to Chase Daniel ... Inside the players-only meeting that might have saved Eagles' season

Colts (5-2) at Steelers (3-4)

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 49.2 | Spread: IND -1 (42)

What to watch for: The Colts rank toward the bottom of the league in rushing defense. Even if Benny Snell Jr. and James Conner don't play, Pittsburgh's run game led by Jaylen Samuels and aided by fullback Roosevelt Nix should be strong enough to keep the game close. -- Brooke Pryor

Bold prediction: The Colts will record multiple sacks even though the Steelers have given up an NFL-low seven sacks this season, with two of those against Miami in Week 8. The Colts have a total of 10 sacks during their three-game winning streak, and defensive end Justin Houston has four in that time. -- Mike Wells

Stat to know: Mason Rudolph has a 6.6 QBR in the red zone this season, second worst in the NFL. In all, the Steelers have scored a touchdown on just 41.2% of their red zone drives, fifth worst in the NFL.

What to know for fantasy: Marlon Mack has at least 20 touches in three straight games. But tread lightly, as the Steelers have yet to allow a single running back amass even 90 yards or 14 fantasy points. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Indianapolis has covered six straight games when the line has been has been from -3 to +3, and it has won seven straight games outright (6-0-1 ATS). It is 3-0 ATS and SU in that spot this season. Read more.

Wells' pick: Colts 24, Steelers 13
Pryor's pick: Colts 21, Steelers 17
FPI prediction: IND, 50.2% (by an average of 0.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Going into Detail: Peyton Manning on Brissett's look-off to Nelson

Titans (4-4) at Panthers (4-3)

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 41.5 | Spread: CAR -3.5 (42.5)

What to watch for: Will we see composure and poise from Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen after he lost some of the calmness that was a strength while throwing three picks last week against the 49ers? The Titans have a physical, aggressive defense that will try to do to Allen what the 49ers did. -- David Newton

Bold prediction: Derrick Henry will finish with more rushing yards than Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers' run defense is allowing 135.1 yards per game, and Henry is coming off a career-high 4.7 yards per attempt against a Bucs defense that was tops in the league in allowing only 2.8 yards per attempt. -- Turron Davenport

Stat to know: The Titans are tied for third in red zone efficiency this season (66.7%), which would be their second-best number in the past 15 seasons.

What to know for fantasy: From Week 8 of last season through Week 8 of this season, McCaffrey has as many games with both a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown (five) as any other two running backs combined. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: As an underdog of at least three points, Tennessee is 8-2 ATS and 7-3 outright under Mike Vrabel. Read more.

Davenport's pick: Panthers 20, Titans 17
Newton's pick: Panthers 27, Titans 17
FPI prediction: CAR, 51.1% (by an average of 0.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Two drives show how Ryan Tannehill has jump-started Titans' offense ... Addison away from Panthers after brother's death

Redskins (1-7) at Bills (5-2)

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 17.4 | Spread: BUF -9.5 (37)

What to watch for: Since Bill Callahan took over as interim coach in Week 6, Washington quietly ranks 10th in the league in rushing yards and eighth in yards per attempt. After the Eagles steamrolled the Bills on the ground last week (218 yards, three touchdowns), Washington likely will look to implement a similar game plan. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Bold prediction: Frank Gore will outrush Adrian Peterson in a battle of future Hall of Fame running backs. Gore will rush for 75 yards and a touchdown; Peterson will have a solid first half, but Washington's inability to convert on third-down passes and extend drives will hold him to 65 yards. -- John Keim

Stat to know: The Redskins have gone nine straight quarters without scoring a touchdown, the longest active streak in the NFL and second longest in the 2019 season (Miami, 10).

What to know for fantasy: The Bills' D/ST has reached double figures four times this season (tied for the third most), while the Redskins have allowed opposing D/STs to score double-digit fantasy points five times (tied for the second most). See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Washington played last Thursday. Since 2014, teams coming off a Thursday game and that are road underdogs of at least seven points are 15-5-1 ATS. Since 2001, those teams are 33-17-1 ATS. Read more.

Keim's pick: Bills 20, Redskins 9
Louis-Jacques' pick: Bills 21, Washington 6
FPI prediction: BUF, 68.7% (by an average of 6.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bills' Andre Roberts bets on himself, carves niche as return man ... Bills know they must fix run defense after being ravaged by Eagles ... Trent Williams: Lack of reaction to cancer scare to blame for Redskins rift

Jets (1-6) at Dolphins (0-7)

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 0.2 | Spread: NYJ -3 (42.5)

What to watch for: This is a matchup between the NFL's two worst offenses in terms of yardage and points per game. Expect points to be at a premium. It could come down to the quarterbacks: Sam Darnold vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has a 51.5 QBR as compared to Darnold's 33.6 thus far this season. -- Cameron Wolfe

Bold prediction: Le'Veon Bell's long-awaited breakout game will happen against the NFL's 31st-ranked run defense. We're not talking monster numbers here (remember, the Jets' offensive line is terrible), but he will exceed his season high (70 yards). -- Rich Cimini

Stat to know: Per Elias Sports Bureau research, this is the first game in NFL history in which both teams enter with a minus-100 point differential or worse and are both fewer than eight games into the season.

What to know for fantasy: Exclude the game against the ghostly Patriots, and Darnold's 16-game pace this season would be a 69.9% completion percentage, 3,899 passing yards and 27 touchdown passes. It's not great, but it's better than you think and worth a look against the fourth-most-friendly defense to fantasy quarterbacks. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: In the Super Bowl era, teams with records of 1-5 or worse are 4-18 ATS and 7-15 SU as road favorites. Since 2015, teams that are 1-4 or worse and are listed as road favorites are 0-8 ATS. Read more.


Woody and Foxworth get heated talking Adams' trade talks

Damien Woody sparks a heated discussion with Domonique Foxworth on whether Jamal Adams should really be this upset with the Jets over the trade talks.

Cimini's pick: Jets 11, Dolphins 9
Wolfe's pick: Dolphins 17, Jets 16
FPI prediction: NYJ, 57.9% (by an average of 2.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Jets' trade deadline like 'Seinfeld,' except the nothing is something ... Jets' Le'Veon Bell clears air with Adam Gase over usage: 'I was angry' ... Rams trade CB Aqib Talib, pick to Dolphins

Buccaneers (2-5) at Seahawks (6-2)

4:05 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 56.7 | Spread: SEA -5 (52.5)

What to watch for: Will Russell Wilson have to carry the Seahawks' offense? They'll want to run the ball, like always, but might have trouble doing so against a Bucs defense that has allowed a league-low 68.6 rushing yards per game. -- Brady Henderson

Bold prediction: A bold prediction would be calling an upset, despite Bruce Arians' 4-1 record in Seattle against Pete Carroll. But this Bucs team lacks what his Cardinals squads had: the ability to pile on points early and close out games on defense. -- Jenna Laine

Stat to know: Jameis Winston has 15 turnovers through seven games this season, already his most through eight games in any season of his career. The last players with more turnovers through their teams' first eight games were Eli Manning (17) and Geno Smith (16) in 2013.

What to know for fantasy: Last week, Mike Evans joined Charlie Hennigan (1961) as the only receivers to post multiple 40-point fantasy games in their teams' first seven games of a given season. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Seattle is 0-5 ATS in its past five home games (0-4 this season). Read more.

Laine's pick: Seahawks 28, Buccaneers 26
Henderson's pick: Seahawks 29, Buccaneers 22
FPI prediction: SEA, 64.8% (by an average of 5.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bucs' Bruce Arians returns to football 'home' away from home ... Seahawks lean on tackle king Bobby Wagner, linebackers more than ever

Lions (3-3-1) at Raiders (3-4)

4:05 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 40.5 | Spread: OAK -2.5 (50.5)

What to watch for: With the Lions having the 26th-ranked run defense in the league, and the Raiders countering with the 30th-ranked pass defense, expect a lot of offense in this contest. The Raiders should ride Josh Jacobs early and often, while Matthew Stafford has to be excited at the thought of carving up Oakland's secondary. -- Paul Gutierrez

Bold prediction: Stafford will post his third consecutive 300-yard game, going three straight for the first time since the final three regular-season games of the 2011 season. He also will throw at least three touchdowns for the third straight week. -- Michael Rothstein

Stat to know: Detroit's Kenny Golladay has three games with 100 receiving yards this season (including last week), equaling his total for all of last season. And the Raiders have allowed five 100-yard pass-catchers this season (tied for the fifth most in the NFL).

What to know for fantasy: Tyrell Williams has scored five times on his 20 receptions this season (25% of his receptions). All other Raiders have scored on 5% of their receptions. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Matt Patricia is 5-0 ATS on the road against teams that entered with losing records. Read more.


Young: Broncos must see what Lock is made of

Steve Young analyzes Joe Flacco's injury and the Broncos' quarterback situation, suggesting John Elway test rookie Drew Lock.

Rothstein's pick: Lions 28, Raiders 23
Gutierrez's pick: Raiders 31, Lions 30
FPI prediction: OAK, 56.5% (by an average of 2.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Not traded, Darius Slay now wouldn't mind being with Lions his whole career ... Raiders prepping for another 'Dre Day should Rodney Hudson be out

Packers (7-1) at Chargers (3-5)

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 72.1 | Spread: GB -3.5 (48)

What to watch for: If the Chargers can figure out how to stop Aaron Jones, hold up in coverage and make Aaron Rodgers uncomfortable by sending just four pass-rushers up front, they could make things interesting. That's a lot on the to-do list, though. -- Eric D. Williams

Bold prediction: This is going to feel like a home game for the Packers. If you thought they had a lot of fans in L.A. last year at the Coliseum against the Rams, wait until you see all the Cheeseheads this Sunday. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said: "We don't play the fans; we play the Packers." -- Rob Demovsky

Stat to know: The Chargers are the first team in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) with four straight games of under 40 rushing yards.

What to know for fantasy: Over the past two weeks, Packers running backs have more fantasy points as pass-catchers (77.5) than Patriots (75.9) or Vikings (69.9) wide receivers. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Los Angeles is 8-1-2 ATS in the Lynn era as a regular-season underdog of less than seven points. Read more.

Demovsky's pick: Packers 38, Chargers 13
Williams' pick: Packers 28, Chargers 24
FPI prediction: GB, 56.9% (by an average of 2.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Hunter Henry producing in his return to the Chargers' offense ... Chargers' Anthony Lynn defends timing of Ken Whisenhunt firing ... The evolution of the Hail Mary: How Aaron Rodgers and others have perfected the throw

Browns (2-5) at Broncos (2-6)

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 31.5 | Spread: CLE -3.5 (39)

What to watch for: Quarterback Brandon Allen will take his first regular-season snap on Sunday, 42 months after being selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by the Jaguars, and he'll do it against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who is tied for the league lead in sacks with 10. Allen faces an uphill battle playing behind a line that surrendered 26 sacks with Joe Flacco under center. -- Jeff Legwold

Bold prediction: Odell Beckham Jr. will double his touchdown total on the season, with two scoring grabs at Mile High. -- Jake Trotter

Stat to know: The Browns have played the second-toughest schedule so far this season, according to FPI, but they have the second-easiest remaining slate.

What to know for fantasy: Nick Chubb quietly has a run of at least 37 yards in four straight games. A fifth straight would tie him with Steven Jackson for the second most since 2001. (Adrian Peterson sits atop the list with six straight games in 2012.) See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Quarterbacks making their first career starts are 8-0 ATS this season (4-3-1 outright). Read more.

Trotter's pick: Browns 20, Broncos 10
Legwold's pick: Browns 17, Broncos 13
FPI prediction: DEN, 59.8% (by an average of 3.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Browns' season reaches the breaking point ... Meet Brandon Allen, the Broncos' sixth starting QB since 2017 ... Admittedly frustrated, Von Miller wants to be part of a better Broncos future

Patriots (8-0) at Ravens (5-2)

8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 94.1 | Spread: NE -3 (45)

What to watch for: Lamar Jackson has produced an NFL-best 262 scramble yards this season -- 88 more than anyone else -- by sidestepping and sprinting past tacklers. Meanwhile, the Patriots have allowed the second-most yards per rush on scrambles in the past 10 years. -- Jamison Hensley

Bold prediction: Ben Watson will catch a touchdown pass from Tom Brady. The Patriots have struggled to run consistently, so the odds are greater that the offense will once again need to rely more on the passing game. -- Mike Reiss

Stat to know: Mark Ingram II has seven rushing touchdowns this season, the fourth most in the NFL. And over the past five seasons, his 37 rushing scores trail only Todd Gurley II (52).

What to know for fantasy: The Patriots' D/ST has scored at least 23 points four times this season. The other 31 D/STs in the league? Four such games. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Over the past 10 seasons, New England is 31-13-2 ATS in prime-time games. But over the past six seasons, Baltimore is 11-4 ATS in prime time. Read more.

Reiss' pick: Ravens 20, Patriots 17
Hensley's pick: Ravens 27, Patriots 17
FPI prediction: NE, 62.3% (by an average of 4.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bets pouring in on Patriots to finish unbeaten ... Patriots add kicker Nick Folk to replace Mike Nugent ... The NFL's ultimate cheat code: A Lamar Jackson scramble

Cowboys (4-3) at Giants (2-6)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN/ESPN App
Matchup rating: 42.9 | Spread: DAL -7 (48)

What to watch for: Dak Prescott and the Cowboys bring the NFL's No. 1 offense (437.9 yards per game) to Monday Night Football. That could spell trouble for a Giants defense that ranks 25th against the pass. Prescott has thrown 13 touchdowns passes and no interceptions in his past five games against the Giants. -- Jordan Raanan

Bold prediction: The Cowboys will hold Saquon Barkley to fewer than 100 rushing yards. Barkley has two 100-yard outings in three games against the Cowboys, but he has needed runs of 68 and 59 yards to reach 109 and 120 yards in those. The Cowboys' run defense has been only OK, but it is as healthy and as confident as it has been all season. -- Todd Archer

Stat to know: The Cowboys have done most of their damage this season using 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE and 3 WRs). They are averaging an NFL-high 7.5 yards per play out of that package, with 18 offensive touchdowns. Only the Chiefs have scored more touchdowns using 11 personnel this season (20).

What to know for fantasy: The Cowboys have won five straight over the Giants, and Prescott is a big reason why, averaging 310 passing yards and 25.1 fantasy points per game. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Over the past three seasons, Dallas is 13-2 outright and ATS in division games, including covering seven straight. It has covered all five meetings against New York in that span. Read more.

Archer's pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 17
Raanan's pick: Cowboys 34, Giants 26
FPI prediction: DAL, 80.7% (by an average of 11.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Even without Jamal Adams, Cowboys show they're all-in ... Giants' Jabrill Peppers: Don't blame Pat Shurmur -- blame the players

Jaguars (4-4) at Texans (5-3), London

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET | NFL Network
Matchup rating: 63.1 | Spread: HOU -1 (46)

What to watch for: How do the Texans cope without defensive end J.J. Watt? Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II was sacked four times when the teams played in Houston in September. Jacksonville has allowed 18 sacks this season, which ranks 17th in the NFL. -- Sarah Barshop

Bold prediction: The Jaguars will hold running back Carlos Hyde to less than 40 yards rushing. After giving up 176 yards and two touchdowns rushing to Christian McCaffrey in Week 5, the Jaguars have shut down Alvin Kamara (31 yards), Joe Mixon (2 yards) and Le'Veon Bell (23 yards). -- Mike DiRocco

Stat to know: Houston's DeAndre Hopkins has at least five receptions in 11 straight games dating back to last season, the second-longest active streak in the NFL (Michael Thomas, 13).

What to know for fantasy: Leonard Fournette leads the NFL in touches (198) and owns the longest active streak of games with at least 75 total yards (eight in a row). See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Favorites are 16-10 against the spread (ATS) all time in London games (2-1 this season). Read more.

DiRocco's pick: Texans 17, Jaguars 14
Barshop's pick: Texans 24, Jaguars 17
FPI prediction: HOU, 67.9% (by an average of 6.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Replacing J.J. Watt won't be a one-man option for Texans ... Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew? Jaguars' quarterback decision looms