Each week this season, OutKick will get you primed for an NFL Sunday on the couch by telling you which games deserve the most attention. For Week 9, here we go...
NFL Games Worth Watching From Opening Kick Until Final Whistle
Main storyline: Last week, I accurately predicted that the Jets -- desperate to prove they belong -- would lose to the Patriots in a game they really needed to win for legitimacy. This week, they could turn it all around with a win over the Super Bowl favorites. But they won't. They're nearly two touchdown underdogs for a reason.
So why is this a must-watch game? Well, for one thing, it's funny to see the Jets fail -- especially when Jets fans finally think their team is good. But more importantly, this is actually the only game in the early afternoon window that features two teams with winning records. With six teams on bye this week, the NFL slate is a little light.
Main Storyline: OutKick's Armando Salguero wrote a detailed piece on why this is the Game of the Week, which you can read here.
Main storyline: Want to know something really interesting? There are only two games on the entire Week 9 slate that features two teams with winning records. The Bills-Jets game mentioned above and this one. That's not the interesting part. The interesting thing is this: these two games features the highest point spreads -- by a wide margin. Both the Bills and the Chiefs are double-digit favorites, despite facing teams that are currently in playoff position in the AFC. In fact, no other team on the Sunday or Monday schedule is favored by more than seven.
So, despite what looks to be a fun matchup on paper between two division leaders, Vegas thinks the Chiefs should roll Tennessee rather easily. But, it's worth tuning in to see the Carrie Underwood open for Sunday Night Football, regardless if that ends up being the most exciting thing that happens all broadcast.
Games To Flip To During Commercials Of Better Games
Main Storyline: This game might not end up being super exciting -- at least if you like offense -- given that the point total sits under 40. But it should be a good game. The Colts defense is getting healthy and Mac Jones is under a ton of pressure to perform. The New England fans will turn on him quickly if he struggles. Plus, Stephon Gilmore returns to Foxboro and Sam Ehlinger makes his second career NFL Sunday start. There's enough here to flip over when the Bills start waxing the Jets.
Jonathan Taylor is out for this game, but I don't even think that matters. He's quietly been pretty bad this year. And when Deon Jackson filled in for him in Week 6, he scored 28 fantasy points. Oh, and if you're wondering, I like the Colts plus the points. I wrote about it here.
Main storyline: Although this game is kind of here by default since there are only two games in the late afternoon window, I actually think it should be a lot of fun. Kyler Murray has finally started to put up some numbers since the return of DeAndre Hopkins -- something my fantasy team is very thankful for -- and Geno Smith has yet to turn back into Geno Smith. I don't know what it will take for me to finally buy into Geno. But it hasn't happened yet.
Oh, and if you like free money ... there is a player prop that you should absolutely HAMMER in this game. I wrote about that here.
I Guess It's OK If This Game Shows Up On NFL RedZone
Main Storyline: I get it. This is not a sexy matchup on paper. However, I think it has a chance to be one of the best games on the slate, though it lacks a ton of intriguing storylines. So why do I think it will be a fun game? Well, for one thing, it has one of the highest totals on the slate. And, for the record, I like the Over on it. So, we should see some points.
Plus, there's always the chance that Brandon Staley does something crazy like go for it on fourth down. I know, wild concept. And then the loser media will get super mad at him for it and scream "ANALYTICS!" I love when people who don't understand analytics get really angry about analytics. But if the Chargers go for it and get it and it helps them win the game, nary a word will be spoken. Sorry for the tangent, but thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
Main Storyline: Full disclosure: I am a Miami Dolphins fan. However, I can set that aside and properly discuss this game. You know, journalistic ethics and all that. I am also a noted Justin Fields hater.
I will readily admit that he has played well over the past couple weeks. I even swallowed my pride and picked him up on a few fantasy teams. However, I didn't do it for this game. I think Miami is going to expose him for the below-average NFL QB that he is.
The Dolphins absolutely smoked Lamar Jackson last season with a complex blitz scheme and used safety Jevon Holland to basically spy him the entire game. I see them doing the same thing here to limit Fields main weapon: his legs. Plus, they finally added a legitimate pass rusher at the trade deadline in Bradley Chubb.
OK, maybe I didn't set my bias aside and maybe all of this is based on very personal narratives. So what? It's my column, I can do what I want.
If You're A Fan Of These Teams, I Guess You Might Care. But I Don't.
Main Storyline: I've said this before, but my dad is a big Bengals fan and I do root for them, so I somewhat care about this game. Probably more than you do, reader who I can't believe made it this far. But, again, my journalistic integrity is so strong, that I moved it to a lower tier. I do it for the fans, just like OutKick's fearless leader, Clay Travis.
Main Storyline: I did a super-thorough -- if I do say so myself -- breakdown of this game when I picked Detroit to cover the 3.5-point spread. So, if you're a fan of one of these teams, just go read that.
Main Storyline: Kirk Cousins is better than you think. Hopefully if I say that enough, people will believe it. I’ve long been a defender of Cousins and with a 7-1 start, it will make me seem less insane. So, I’m pulling for the Vikes in this one. I even placed a preseason bet on Cousins for MVP and a Chargers-Vikings Super Bowl matchup. So yeah, I'm all-in.
If This Game Shows Up On My TV, I'm Punting It Off My Back Deck
Main Storyline: Yuck. I can find almost nothing redeeming about this matchup. This game is so bad that the most exciting thing either team did at the trade deadline was to acquire a player who is suspended for the entire season.