I would like to thank Mike White for just adding onto what was a bad week for me. Then again, it's kind of scary for New York Jets fans that another guy can come in and throw for 400 yards to beat one of the best teams in the AFC while your No. 2 overall pick is struggling. Even with the bad week overall, #DajaniDimes again had a winning record with the top five locks, and that's the most important goal of this column. The other, of course, is to be way ahead of .500 on the total ATS record, which is something we will work on this week. We are currently middle of the road among CBS Sports experts. Expect that to change.
We got caught up in some narratives last week. Without Davante Adams, Allen Lazard and defensive coordinator Joe Barry, I thought the Arizona Cardinals could cover against the Green Bay Packers, Tom Brady is also officially cursed when it comes to facing the New Orleans Saints, and then everyone's sexy pick of Detroit Lions +3 over the Philadelphia Eagles flopped in the biggest way possible.
There are several spots that may trip up bettors this week as well. Do the Indianapolis Colts deserve to be double-digit favorites over the Jets? Can Jordan Love step in for Aaron Rodgers and cover against the Kansas City Chiefs? And do the Tennessee Titans have a chance to challenge the Los Angeles Rams without Derrick Henry? It's sure to be an interesting week.
Let's jump into the picks. Peep the season stats below.
Top five picks record: 24-16
Overall ATS record: 61-60-1
Straight up record: 78-44
2020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Vikings should be embarrassed of their loss to the Dak Prescott-less Dallas Cowboys. They converted just one third down on 13 attempts -- which was the worst third-down performance by a Vikings team since the stat was first tracked back in 1991. Minnesota scored a touchdown on its opening drive and then everything went downhill from there. The Ravens' last outing against the Cincinnati Bengals was surprising as well, but they had a bye week to regroup for the second half of the season.
The Ravens are going to try to pressure Kirk Cousins this week, and they should. Cousins is averaging 3.5 yards per attempt when under pressure -- which is by far the fewest of any quarterback in the NFL. Lamar Jackson is much better than Cooper Rush, and he's going to find success against this defense.
The pick: Ravens -6
Projected score: Ravens 30-17
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Bills did not have a great showing against the Miami Dolphins last week, as it was a one-score game heading into the final quarter. Still, Buffalo out-scored Miami by eight points in the fourth to cover. I think we will see a more complete performance from the Bills here on the road as they continue to build their case for being the best team in the NFL.
Buffalo leads the NFL in both scoring offense (32.7) and scoring defense (15.6). The Bills are tied for first in the NFL with 18 takeaways and they have been dominant on the road. In his last six starts away from Buffalo, Josh Allen is 5-1 and is averaging a whopping 37.3 points per game. Geno Smith just outscored Trevor Lawrence by 24 last week and I think Allen can do something similar.
Buy a full point if it makes you feel more comfortable, but I'll take this as one of my ATS picks.
The pick: Bills -14.5
Projected score: Bills 31-14
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Yikes. What is going on in Cleveland? The Browns were one of my losers of the trade deadline, as Odell Beckham sent out his father and LeBron James to campaign for a change of scenery. Well ... allegedly. That's just how I saw it. But now all of a sudden it looks like Beckham may have played his last snap in Cleveland. What a mess.
As for the Bengals, they embarrassed themselves last week against the Jets but that may be a throwaway game. It was by far their worst defensive performance of the season, and it came after one of their best when they defeated Lamar Jackson and the Ravens two weeks ago. After a 3-1 start, Cleveland has lost three out of its past four games. The pass game is broken and the run game will have to dominate the seventh-best run defense in the league Sunday if the Browns want to emerge victorious. I'll say the Bengals bounce back.
The pick: Bengals -2.5
Projected score: Bengals 27-23
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Apart from the Jets upsetting the Bengals, the Panthers upsetting the Atlanta Falcons was what burned me in my top five picks last week. I guess it was dumb of me to pick the Falcons as one of my most confident picks of the week, but as I stated, it was more me fading the Panthers. Carolina actually has made my top five picks in six out of nine weeks now, and I'm 1-1 picking against them.
The Stephon Gilmore revenge game is an intriguing storyline but Sam Darnold is banged up with a concussion and right shoulder injuries. The Patriots aren't a Super Bowl contender, but they have won two straight games and rookie quarterback Mac Jones has looked pretty decent. Darnold's performances have been much more up-and-down, plus Bill Belichick knows him very well from his days with the Jets.
New England is undefeated on the road this season and Carolina's offense isn't consistent. Throw in Darnold being banged-up and I have to take the Patriots this week.
The pick: Patriots -3.5
Projected score: Patriots 24-17
Los Angeles Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Chargers find themselves on a two-game skid and they need this win to keep pace in the AFC West. There's no denying Justin Herbert has struggled over his last two outings. He has thrown the same number of interceptions (three) in his last two games as he did in the first five games of the season. Still, I think this L.A. team is better than Philly.
I am worried about the Chargers' blatant inability to defend the run, but is Nick Sirianni confident enough to lean on the ground game without Miles Sanders if the Eagles go down early? The stats say that the Eagles have the No. 6 rushing attack in the league, but I think that's mostly because of last week's historic outing against a very bad Lions team. Let's not kid ourselves: quarterback Jalen Hurts is the main player you need to worry about on the ground for the Eagles. The Chargers have won four of their past five games on the road while the Eagles have lost four straight home games. In fact, the Eagles haven't beaten an AFC team since 2019.
The pick: Chargers -1.5
Projected score: Chargers 26-20
Other Week 9 picks
Colts 27-20 over Jets (+10.5)
Raiders (-3) 28-23 over Giants
Dolphins (-6.5) 30-23 over Texans
Cowboys (-10) 31-20 over Broncos
Saints 21-17 over Falcons (+6)
Cardinals (-1) 28-24 over 49ers
Chiefs (-7.5) 28-20 over Packers
Rams (-7.5) 35-24 over Titans
Steelers 24-20 over Bears (+6.5)