After a successful, if somewhat unsatisfying, week where I went 1-0-2, it’s on to Week 10, and I think this is the trickiest batch of dogs of the season. But I’ve yet to taste a losing week, and I don’t plan on starting now. And I’m guaranteed there will be no ties this week.
Browns +3.5 at Miami
I know, this one looks scary, but work with me here. The Cleveland Browns are well rested, coming off its bye, and are healthy; in particular, they get CB Denzel Ward back, which is huge against the Miami Dolphins’ speedy receivers. The last time we saw the Browns, they ran the Cincinnati Bengals off the field 32-13. Meanwhile, the Fish have won three straight and will get next week off — maybe they’re dreaming about partying in South Beach over the bye week. They were lucky to win in Chicago (if the officials call PI on a play where they assaulted Chase Claypool, the Chicago Bears might have won). Miami’s D is susceptible against RBs in the passing game, so Kareem Hunt could be a secret weapon, and Nick Chubb has been wearing out defenses. I think the Browns keep it close.
Jaguars +9.5 at Kansas City
We saw it last week, and it’s been a consistent trend: the Kansas City Chiefs are lousy as big favorites. When they’re favored by more than a touchdown, they rarely cover. And while the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t great, they showed a lot in their comeback win over the Las Vegas Raiders last week. They can move the ball on the ground with Travis Etienne, and their pass rush can cause Patrick Mahomes problems. Trevor Lawrence is developing some chemistry with WR Christian Kirk and is getting more comfortable in Doug Pederson’s offense. Jacksonville rarely gets blown out these days: they’re 1-6 in one score games. This one has back door cover written all over it
Broncos +2.5 at Tennessee
I’m going against my rule of picking dogs of at least a field goal here, but maybe this line creeps up to 3 by kickoff, especially with Ryan Tannehill expected to return for the Tennessee Titans. I was debating between this game and the Green Bay Packers as four-point dogs at home, but I just find it hard to believe the Pack can keep up with the Dallas Cowboys on the scoreboard.
I love this spot for the Denver Broncos, another team coming off its bye facing a Titans team that played a hard-fought game in Kansas City last week. This feels like a Russell Wilson redemption spot: you can throw all over the Titans and Russ and the Broncos have shown signs of life lately. Plus, the Titans are missing three key defensive players: Jeffery Simmons, Marcus Dupree and Zach Cunningham. Mike Vrabel’s team is great when they feel disrespected as a dog, but they’re less successful when they’re favored. I think the Broncos can contain Derrick Henry and win this one.
Last week: 1-0-2