We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2023 NFL season, and it has certainly been an entertaining one. Of course, we have some of the usual suspects that have risen to the top – Kansas City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco most notably – but there have been some surprises, also. Who would have conceived that the Miami Dolphins would have been this good to start 2023? Or the Baltimore Ravens? The Jacksonville Jaguars?
With every up, there must be a down (that whole “yin/yang” thing). It is almost embarrassing to say you’re a fan of the Las Vegas Raiders at this point, with the dysfunction that has enveloped the team (first to fire their head coach in the 2023 season), but the New England Patriots have been surprisingly bad this year – is this the final season for Dark Hoodie on the sidelines? The remainder of the 2023 season will be the determining factor for these and many other teams.
There’s a huge slate of big games on the roster for the 2023 NFL Week Nine schedule, and we’re staying away from one of them. The Dallas/Philadelphia tilt is going to be a tough game to call, with the Cowboys holding a solid record coming off their bye week, but they’re heading into the home den of an Eagles squad that is looking to maintain control of the NFC East. Thus, we’re not going to entertain a pick there.
We will, however, step into one of the other big games on this week’s roster. As always, all advice is offered for entertainment purposes only, but be ensured that a significant amount of thought has gone into each selection (home team in ALL CAPS).
Miami Dolphins v. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-1.5)
I WISH I had gotten in on this line at the start of the week. The open was the Chiefs (-5.5), a complete miss by the books for what is a neutral field game going on in Germany on Sunday morning (what a way to reward people for that “fall back” hour from Daylight Savings Time!). Add into this the fact that the Dolphins made sure to get to Frankfurt, Germany, early in the week to acclimate themselves to the area (the Chiefs did not arrive until Friday), and I would have loved to have gotten my money down with a complete miss by the books.
The actual data also states that the opening line of this game for NFL Week Nine was way off. The Dolphins have the advantage in the running game, the receiving corps is in the ‘Fins’ favor, and the defenses are equal. The only area where you might be able to say the Chiefs have the advantage is in QB Patrick Mahomes over Dolphin QB Tua Tagovailoa and coaching (even with his clock management issues, I’d take Andy Reid over Michael McDaniel). I’m leaning toward the Dolphins as the out-and-out winner in this game.
PICK: Dolphins +1.5
Buffalo Bills v. CINCINNATI BENGALS (-2.5)
The Bills started NFL Week Nine as the pick of the sharps (by 1.5 points), but that swung over to the Bengals as the week progressed. The Bengals are on a great streak at this point, with a big win over the 49ers as a part of a three-game winning streak. What does give me pause, however, is that Buffalo is coming off a long layoff after their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ten days ago. I think the Bengals are the pick in this game, as Joe Burrow seems to have worked through his early season doldrums and he has more weaponry than Bills QB Josh Allen.
PICK: Bengals -2.5
Seattle Seahawks v. BALTIMORE RAVENS (O/U 44.5)
Long known for their defenses, these two teams also have some potent offensive threats. The Ravens have moved out to the lead in the AFC North, averaging over 25 points per game, while the Seahawks are no slouch in putting up 24 per game. These teams won’t run up and down the field against each other (and you can probably count on at least one defensive touchdown between the two teams), but I see them going over the 44.5 line that has been set.
PICK: OVER 44.5