We are in Week 9 of 18, and now that the trade deadline is squarely behind us, teams can either look ahead to 2024, or begin the playoff chase in earnest.
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-8.5)
A team firmly looking ahead is the Chicago Bears. As things sit today, they have the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks in next year’s draft. They feel good about the trade for Montez Sweat, and their ability to sign him long-term, and they are hoping to get Justin Fields back on the field soon.
All of that is well and good, but it is no match for a Saints team that wants to win right now, and is doing so with a revived offense. New Orleans scored 38 points against the Colts, and they will put up similar points against the Bears. This is going to be a double-digit win for the home team.
Washington Commanders (+3) at New England Patriots
The Washington Commanders have turned the page to next season, now that they have traded away their two good young defensive pass rushers, Montez Sweat and Chase Young. But this offense is still intact, with Terry McLaurin staying put as the WR1.
Quarterback Sam Howell is developing nicely, and this team can score points. And they will score points against a Patriots team that is even more short-handed now that their only viable wide receiver, Kendrick Bourne, is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Washington is getting points, and you should take them.
Los Angeles Rams (+3.5) at Green Bay Packers
Matthew Stafford is banged up and it’s possible he doesn’t play this week. But Brett Rypien is an experienced backup, and he has a great trio of wide receivers to throw to against a Green Bay defense that is not playing well.
Jordan Love is also not playing well, and the Packers have looked like one of the worst teams in football over the last month of play. They are at home, but this spread is still too big. Take the Rams and the points.
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-2)
The last time the Bills and Bengals met in Cincinnati in primetime, the game was canceled because of the scary incident involving Damar Hamlin. Hamlin is now fully recovered, and for the Bengals, the calf of Joe Burrow appears to be fully recovered.
When they played last season in Buffalo in the playoffs, it was all Cincinnati. There is every reason to believe that is what will also happen this Sunday night. The Bengals have won three straight games, and they will make it a fourth with a convincing win over Buffalo.
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