Guide to every Week 9 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more


The Week 9 NFL schedule is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each contest, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy‘s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk‘s Dave Bearman hand out helpful nuggets, as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let’s get into the full Week 9 slate, including Tom Brady and Drew Brees fighting for the NFC South.

Jump to a matchup:

Thursday: GB 34, SF 17

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
78.5 | Spread: BAL -3 (47.5)

What to watch for: This matchup is all about the Ravens’ rushing attack and the Colts’ run defense. The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing at 178.7 yards per game, while the Indianapolis D is the second stingiest in the league in that category at 79.9 yards per game. The Colts should have the advantage in this area on Sunday because they’re heading into the game healthy on the defense, whereas the Ravens will be without starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle). — Mike Wells

Bold prediction: J.K. Dobbins will become the first Ravens running back in two years to gain over 100 yards rushing in back-to-back games. The Colts are the NFL’s No. 2 run defense, but Dobbins rushed for a career-high 113 yards on Sunday against the Steelers — who had the top-ranked run defense at the time. — Jamison Hensley

Stat to know: The Colts are one of five unbeaten teams at home this season (3-0). But the Ravens are one of three squads that haven’t lost on road (3-0).

Injuries: Ravens | Colts

What to know for fantasy: Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has four games this season with fewer than 18 fantasy points, after having just one such game last season. That’s a tough trend to take into a matchup with the top defense thus far in terms of limiting QB points. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Indianapolis is 0-3 against the spread (ATS) as a home underdog under coach Frank Reich. Read more.

Hensley’s pick: Ravens 34, Colts 23
Wells’ pick: Colts 27, Ravens 23
FPI prediction: BAL, 59.8% (by an average of 3.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Ravens need Lamar to be their MVP againColts’ No. 2-ranked defense respects Ravens’ Jackson, can’t ‘fear him’Jackson takes blame for lack of targets to BrownAre Colts for real? Four-game gauntlet ahead will likely determine thatScars of the NFL’s QB guard: How Rivers and others have worked through injuries

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
76.2 | Spread: SEA -3 (55)

What to watch for: The Seahawks are allowing 358.7 passing yards per game; no team has ever allowed even 300 such yards per game over the course of a full season. It could be a get-right game for the Bills’ passing attack, which has averaged just 210.5 yards over its past four games after averaging 316.3 in the first four weeks of the season. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Bold prediction: Seattle safety Jamal Adams will get two sacks. The All-Pro’s return from a four-game absence comes one week after the Seahawks executed one of the most blitz-heavy game plans in 11 seasons under Pete Carroll, something they had to do without the ability to get pressure with their front four. The addition of Carlos Dunlap to the Seahawks’ defensive line would ideally make them less reliant on blitzing, but expect that to still be a big part of their defensive approach now that Adams is back in the lineup. — Brady Henderson

Stat to know: Seahawks wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are the first pair in NFL history with 500 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns each in their team’s first seven games.

Injuries: Seahawks | Bills

What to know for fantasy: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is pacing toward a season with 4,900 passing yards and nearly 600 rushing yards. There has only been one instance in which a quarterback threw for 4,500 yards and ran for 400 in NFL history: Daunte Culpepper in 2004. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Bills have failed to cover in four straight games. Read more.

Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 30, Bills 27
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 35, Seahawks 31
FPI prediction: SEA, 54.8% (by an average of 1.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: How blitzing could be key to reviving Seahawks’ pass rushBills crank up run game, give needed boost to pass-heavy attackMetcalf emerges with Lockett to give Seahawks two No. 1 wide receivers



Mike Clay loves the matchup for Stefon Diggs and John Brown against the Seahawks secondary.

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
65.8 | Spread: KC -10.5 (52.5)

What to watch for: Can the Panthers find a strategy to keep the game close? If the Chiefs score points like they have recently — they’re averaging 39 over their past two games — Carolina won’t be able to keep up. Whether it’s to run the ball consistently to chew up the clock or find a defensive scheme to frustrate quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Panthers have figure out a plan that works for which the Chiefs’ past two opponents, both also under .500, couldn’t. — Adam Teicher

Bold prediction: Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will have 150 total yards from scrimmage after missing six games with a high ankle sprain. He returns against the league’s 29th-ranked run defense (142.8 yards per game), and his performance will help keep Mahomes off the field with sustained drives. — David Newton

Stat to know: Mahomes has 21 touchdown passes and one interception this season. That’s the highest touchdown pass count with one or fewer pick through a player’s first eight games of a season in NFL history, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Injuries: Panthers | Chiefs

What to know for fantasy: Touching the ball is the best way to accrue fantasy points, making Curtis Samuel a free-agent bargain, given that he ranks eighth among wide receivers with 6.9 touches per game. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is 20-4 ATS in his career as an underdog, including the playoffs. Read more.

Newton’s pick: Chiefs 35, Panthers 28
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 33, Panthers 16
FPI prediction: KC, 84.1% (by an average of 13.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Why McCaffrey will again be Panthers’ workhorse — immediatelyMahomes has some advice for “young Patrick”Panthers will have to fight through as schedule turns tougherMahomes adds deep ball back into bag of tricks

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
48.2 | Spread: TEN -6.5 (47.5)

What to watch for: Who plays left cornerback for Tennessee? Adoree’ Jackson missed practice on Thursday and is yet to be added to the 53-man roster after spending most of the season on the injured reserve list. If Jackson is activated, it’s not likely that he’ll see a high volume of snaps, so someone will have to rotate in. The Titans released veteran Johnathan Joseph, leaving Tye Smith and Breon Borders as possibilities on the left side. — Turron Davenport

Bold prediction: Bears quarterback Nick Foles will be sacked a minimum of four times. Chicago could be without four Week 1 starters along the offensive line when they face the Titans — and the best-case scenario still leaves it down two of them. Foles has been under tremendous pressure since he took over for Mitchell Trubisky in Week 3, as the Bears have surrendered 20 sacks (tied for ninth most in the NFL) and rank 21st in pass block win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information data. Foles is in for a long afternoon. — Jeff Dickerson

Stat to know: Tennessee is last in the NFL in opponent third-down conversion rate allowed at 61.9%. The team was eighth last season at 36.3%. But lucky for the Titans, the Bears’ offense rank 31st in third-down conversion rate at 34.9%, meaning third down could be interesting on Sunday.

Injuries: Bears | Titans

What to know for fantasy: Titans running back Derrick Henry has five straight games with at least 15 fantasy points but three or fewer receptions. That’s the longest streak of its kind since Arian Foster in 2012, and it might continue against a Bears defense that is worse against the run than you might think (below league average in both running back rushing yards and yards per carry). See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: When Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill starts regular-season games for Tennessee, overs are 15-2, including 6-1 this season. Read more.

Dickerson’s pick: Titans 21, Bears 13
Davenport’s pick: Titans 21, Bears 17
FPI prediction: TEN, 62.0% (by an average of 4.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bad to worse: Bears O-line beset by injuryDavis proving his worth to Titans ahead of critical offseasonBears can’t pull out another miracle winTitans release DB Joseph after getting King

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
40.8 | Spread: MIN -4 (52.5)

What to watch for: Who’s going to suit up at quarterback for the Lions after Matthew Stafford was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Tuesday? While coach Matt Patricia would not speculate about the QB’s status, it’s possible Stafford plays in Week 9 if he continues to test negative every day this week. If not, it’ll be Chase Daniel or David Blough under center. Since Stafford was drafted by Detroit in 2009, the Lions are 5-22 (.185) when he doesn’t start, including 0-8 last season. — Courtney Cronin

Bold prediction: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins continues his dominance over Patricia’s Lions with a 275-yard, three-touchdown day in which he completes 75% of his passes. Last year, Cousins threw for 580 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions against Detroit, and he has yet to have a game under 70% completions against the Lions since Patricia took over in 2018. — Michael Rothstein

Stat to know: This will be running back Adrian Peterson‘s third career game against Minnesota, whom he spent 10 seasons with earlier in his career. Peterson’s teams are 0-2 in his previous two tilts against his former club.

Injuries: Lions | Vikings

What to know for fantasy: Lions wideout Kenny Golladay will not be active this week, so it’s worth noting that Marvin Jones Jr. averages 22.2 points per game during his Lions career when seeing at least 10 targets. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Minnesota has covered each of the past five meetings between these teams. Read more.

Rothstein’s pick: Vikings 31, Lions 23
Cronin’s pick: Vikings 28, Lions 20
FPI prediction: MIN, 66.5% (by an average of 5.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: With Golladay out, Hockenson could emerge as go-to guyKey to Vikings’ success: Keep ball out of Cousins’ hands?What is happening to Lions run game?Stafford on COVID list again

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
39.4 | Spread: ATL -4 (50)

What to watch for: The Falcons’ secondary is improving, thanks in part to a pass rush that has generated 20 of its 47 QB hits and six of its 13 sacks over the past three games. And Broncos QB Drew Lock is completing an NFL-worst 58% of his passes and has the fifth-highest off-target percentage in the league, per ESPN Stats & Information. — Mike DiRocco

Bold prediction: The Broncos will rush for at least 140 yards, even after coach Vic Fangio was asked repeatedly about letting Lock throw more this week after the team scored 21 points in the fourth quarter when the Broncos were in up-tempo, chuck-it-around mode in Sunday’s win over the Chargers. The Broncos need to keep the ball to beat Atlanta. — Jeff Legwold

Stat to know: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has a 72.3% completion rate and 89.3 Total QBR with wide receiver Julio Jones on the field this season, but Ryan’s numbers fall to 59.1% completions and 45.1 Total QBR without him. Jones leads all NFL players with 123.7 receiving yards per game over his past three contests.

Injuries: Broncos | Falcons

What to know for fantasy: Denver rookie wideout Jerry Jeudy led the NFL with 159 air yards last week but scored just 11.3 fantasy points in the process. For reference, the other 12 players with at least 100 air yards last week averaged 21.6 fantasy points. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Atlanta is 0-4 outright at home and as a favorite this season. Atlanta is also 2-7 outright as a favorite since the start of last season. Read more.

Legwold’s pick: Broncos 27, Falcons 24
DiRocco’s pick: Falcons 31, Broncos 21
FPI prediction: ATL, 62.7% (by an average of 4.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: ‘Dream Killer’ Reed gives Broncos’ pass rush hopeFalcons’ defense changed the narrative to finish a game. Can they keep it up?Ex-Broncos QB Plummer on 499-yard day vs. Falcons: ‘I remember we lost’Falcons coach: McKinley to be ‘held accountable’ after tweeting on trade offersBroncos’ Callahan rewards Fangio’s faith with production

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
26.1 | Spread: WSH -1 (42.5)

What to watch for: How will Washington handle Giants QB Daniel Jones? Jones is 3-0 against Washington and 1-16 against everyone else. He has thrown seven touchdowns with three picks and owns a 75.0 total QBR in those three games — his best showing versus any NFC East team. Washington has only sacked Jones twice, and in Week 6, he only threw for 112 yards but ran for 74. — John Keim

Bold prediction: Giants RB Wayne Gallman will run for over 100 yards, making him New York’s first 100-yard rusher this season. No team is better at defending the pass than Washington. It is allowing just 185.9 yards per game. So how do you attack it? Run the ball! The Giants have rushed more effectively in recent weeks. That will continue on Sunday against Washington, with New York’s best individual effort this season. — Jordan Raanan

Stat to know: Washington is averaging 292.7 yards of offense per game this season, the third fewest in the NFL (Jets at 259.0, Giants at 291.8). And the team also has the second-worst QBR this season at 41.0.

Injuries: Giants | Washington

What to know for fantasy: New York wide receiver Sterling Shepard has gone over 15 fantasy points in both of his games back from injury, and he averaged 18.3 against Washington a season ago. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Giants have covered seven straight and 16 out of 20 on the road since 2018. Read more.

Raanan’s pick: Giants 22, Washington 17
Keim’s pick: Washington 20, Giants 19
FPI prediction: WSH, 65.4% (by an average of 5.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Frustrated Tate absent from Giants’ practice on WednesdayWashington coach Rivera won’t speculate on Kerrigan trade talkGiants’ Ryan says trainer’s advice helped save wife’s life



Field Yates and Mike Clay agree that Evan Engram has gotten “back on track” thanks to the sheer volume of targets.

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
10.5 | Spread: HOU -7 (50.5)

What to watch for: Don’t be surprised to see the Texans blitz more than they already do, even with outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus out. The Texans blitz an average of 12 times per game, per ESPN Stats and Information. On Sunday, they’ll be facing rookie quarterback Jake Luton, a sixth-round pick who hasn’t taken a game snap since Nov. 23, 2019, when Oregon State played Washington State. — Mike DiRocco

Bold prediction: Houston RB David Johnson will run for more than 100 yards for the first time this season. When these two teams played in Week 5, Johnson ran for 96 yards on 17 carries. And the Jaguars rank 28th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. — Sarah Barshop

Stat to know: Luton had 28 passing TDs and three interceptions last season at Oregon State. That 9.3 ratio ranked fifth in the FBS behind only Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow and Dustin Crum.

Injuries: Texans | Jaguars

What to know for fantasy: Houston wideout Brandin Cooks is very quietly one of just three wide receivers with at least seven catches in each of his past three games. On a per-game basis, he is WR5 over that stretch (21.6 fantasy points per game). See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: These two teams are a combined 3-12 ATS this season. Read more.

Barshop’s pick: Texans 27, Jaguars 17
DiRocco’s pick: Texans 24, Jaguars 13
FPI prediction: HOU, 68.8% (by an average of 6.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: Watt ‘not looking to rebuild’ as Texans stumbleJaguars to start rookie QB Luton vs. TexansTexans close facility after Martin tests positive for coronavirusWhat kind of ‘crazy’ stuff should Marrone try? Here are some ideasTexans sign quarterback McCown, 41, to active roster

4:05 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
36.9 | Spread: LAC -1 (51.5)

What to watch for: This is always a battle, but the matchup brings a little extra this year: rookie QB Justin Herbert vs. seven-year vet Derek Carr, who has been putting up impressive numbers. Both offensive lines are in flux, but each unit should be back at full strength or close to it on Sunday. But the Chargers will miss defensive end Joey Bosa, which should make Carr feel a little more comfortable in the pocket. — Shelley Smith

Bold prediction: The patchwork Raiders offensive line will throw a shutout against the Chargers’ hobbled pass rush, a week after shutting out an obviously hobbled Myles Garrett in frigid Cleveland. And Carr, able to extend plays, will rush for at least one first down. — Paul Gutierrez

Stat to know: The Raiders are 3-1 on the road this season after going a combined 3-13 on the road in the previous two seasons. And they will seek to win three straight road games for just the third time in the past 15 seasons.

Injuries: Raiders | Chargers

What to know for fantasy: Herbert has four straight games with at least 21 fantasy points, tying Deshaun Watson for the longest such streak by a rookie quarterback among active players. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Six of seven Raiders games have gone over the total this season. Read more.

Gutierrez’s pick: Raiders 23, Chargers 21
Smith’s pick: Chargers 24, Raiders 17
FPI prediction: LV, 53.9% (by an average of 1.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Raiders entering potentially season-defining stretch vs. AFC West foesWill Chargers wide receiver Williams put it all together after up-and-down start?When will the Raiders’ massive, and expensive, O-line get back together?Lynn on Chargers blowing another double-digit lead: Got to figure this out

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
54.9 | Spread: ARI -4.5 (49)

What to watch for: Despite the Cardinals playing well as of late, they’ll be down Byron Murphy Jr., and maybe Dre Kirkpatrick, at cornerback. If Kirkpatrick is out too, watch for Miami rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa to have a big outing, because whomever Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson isn’t guarding will be picked on all day. — Josh Weinfuss

Bold prediction: The Dolphins will hold Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins to under 50 receiving yards. In games during which both Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are healthy, the Dolphins are allowing just 5.5 yards per attempt and 13.8 points per game. They have the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense, and a big reason is their big-money cornerbacks. This is a marquee prove-it game for the Dolphins’ defense, though, and neutralizing Hopkins — who is currently averaging more than 100 receiving yards per game — would be a big accomplishment. — Cameron Wolfe

Stat to know: Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray finished 1-2 in the 2018 Heisman Trophy voting. This will be only the fifth time that quarterbacks who finished 1-2 in the Heisman in the same year have started against each other in the NFL. (Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson are the most recent pair to meet, earlier this season.)

Injuries: Dolphins | Cardinals

What to know for fantasy: Hopkins has been a top-10 wide receiver in five of seven games this season, and he faces a Dolphins defense that ranks 21st this season against fantasy wide receivers. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Miami has covered games by 11.5 points per contest this season, which is on pace to be the best mark in the Super Bowl era. (The current record is 11.1, by the Oakland Raiders in 1967.) Read more.

Wolfe’s pick: Dolphins 23, Cardinals 20
Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 31, Dolphins 24
FPI prediction: ARI, 69.7% (by an average of 7.0 points)

Matchup must-reads: The Tagovailoa tour: Four days, three states, two wins and one unforgettable weekendCardinals’ Baker is ‘chill’ until ‘he flips that savage switch’Flores says Dolphins are not auditioning TuaKingsbury confirms 2 Cardinals tested positive for coronavirus

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
40.5 | Spread: PIT -14 (42)

What to watch for: The Cowboys have had more than 25,000 fans in each of their past three games at AT&T Stadium, and a similar crowd is expected Sunday. How many of them will be Steelers fans? The Cowboys will be starting their fourth different quarterback against a ferocious pass rush. And Pittsburgh has a balanced offense that has scored at least 26 points in each game. When the Steelers visited in 2012, AT&T Stadium was overrun by Terrible Towels among the crowd of 95,595. The crowd will be smaller on Sunday, but the percentage of Steelers’ fans could be higher. — Todd Archer

Bold prediction: Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott will have his first 100-yard game. The Steelers struggled to stop the Ravens on the ground last week, giving up 265 yards — including 113 to rookie J.K. Dobbins. And they will likely be without defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, linebacker Devin Bush and defensive back Mike Hilton in their run defense. Still, Pittsburgh has had its fair share of tough tests on the ground, and it’s not getting any easier this week as the Cowboys will likely lean on their rush attack with the quarterback situation in flux. — Brooke Pryor

Stat to know: The Steelers are forcing 1.9 turnovers per game, tied for the second most in the NFL behind the Seahawks (2.0). The Cowboys, meanwhile, are committing a league-high 2.3 turnovers per game.

Injuries: Steelers | Cowboys

What to know for fantasy: Elliott is averaging 8.8 fantasy points per game in the three weeks following the Dak Prescott injury (RB25). He was RB4 in the five weeks prior, averaging 22.3 points in the process. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Dallas has failed to cover games by an average of 10.1 points per contest this season. That’s on pace to be the second-worst mark in the Super Bowl era. (The Baltimore Colts were at minus-10.7 in 1981.) Read more.

Pryor’s pick: Steelers 35, Cowboys 20
Archer’s pick: Steelers 37, Cowboys 17
FPI prediction: PIT, 78.0% (by an average of 10.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Return of ‘Backyard’ Roethlisberger signals more good things ahead for SteelersCowboys to start Gilbert or Rush at QB against SteelersSteelers changing their ways with another in-season tradeOnce Cowboys’ strength, this position group has been hit hardDalton news is proof it can get worse for Cowboys

8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating:
83.6 | Spread: TB -4.5 (50.5)

What to watch for: Wide receiver Antonio Brown will make his debut with the Buccaneers, who look to avenge a Week 1 loss at New Orleans and maintain hold of the NFC South. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said they’re “light-years” from where they were in Week 1 as an offense, and Todd Bowles’ defense has become one of the league’s best. But that D has shown some vulnerability over the past two weeks against the Raiders and Giants, having to overcome slow starts and rely on second-half interceptions to be the difference-makers. It’ll need a much faster start against Drew Brees. — Jenna Laine

Bold prediction: Bucs quarterback Tom Brady will burn the Saints with a 50-yard TD pass. OK, this one actually isn’t so bold, since the Saints have allowed an astounding seven passes of 48-plus yards over their past five games. New Orleans’ secondary has made gradual improvements, but who better to find and expose a breakdown in coverage than Brady — especially now that he has so many diverse playmakers to work with in Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, Brown and possibly Chris Godwin (if he is healthy)? — Mike Triplett

Stat to know: Saints running back Alvin Kamara has six straight games with 100 scrimmage yards, the longest active streak in the NFL and the longest streak by a Saints player since Deuce McAllister’s team-record nine-game streak in 2003. Kamara’s 27 career games of 100 scrimmage yards are tied with Joe Horn for third in franchise history.

Injuries: Saints | Buccaneers

What to know for fantasy: In his past three matchups with the Saints, Evans has just five catches on his 119 routes run. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: All seven New Orleans games have gone over the total this season. Read more.

Triplett’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Saints 23
Laine’s pick: Buccaneers 29, Saints 26
FPI prediction: TB, 64.9% (by an average of 5.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Scars of the NFL’s QB guard: How Brees, Brady and others have worked through injuriesBrown says he’s grateful to be back in footballSaints are 5-2 because Kamara is making NFL historyWhat can the Buccaneers expect from receiver Brown?



Mike Clay isn’t benching Michael Thomas, but expresses concern about his matchup against Bucs CB Carlton Davis.

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
Matchup rating:
22.5 | Spread: NE -7.5 (42.5)

What to watch for: The Patriots have lost four straight. The Jets have lost eight straight. Each team has gone three straight without a touchdown pass. Both quarterbacks, Cam Newton and Sam Darnold, are struggling. Once upon a time — say, 10 years ago — this was a fun rivalry. Then it became one-sided. Now it looks no-sided. — Rich Cimini

Bold prediction: Rookie Patriots linebacker Josh Uche, who played 13 snaps in his debut, will take on a larger role and get involved in creating a turnover that helps the Patriots to a victory. Uche, a second-round pick from Michigan, is the type of fast, physical linebacker the Patriots desperately need to become a centerpiece of their defense. — Mike Reiss

Stat to know: Over his past three games, Newton has zero touchdowns, five interceptions, a 21% off-target percentage and a 25.3 Total QBR. Part of the problem might be his wideouts. That group has one receiving TD this season (fewest in the NFL), and the Pats have thrown eight picks when targeting a wide receiver (one fewer than the most in the NFL).

Injuries: Patriots | Jets

What to know for fantasy: Is New England running back Damien Harris getting enough attention? His per-game average would have him trending toward an 1,100-yard season, and he finally got into the end zone last week in Buffalo. His role is game-script dependent, but even the struggling Patriots are 7.5-point road favorites over the Jets. See Week 9 rankings.

Betting nugget: Bill Belichick is 6-1 ATS in his career in New England when facing a team 0-3 or worse outright. Read more.

Reiss’ pick: Patriots 26, Jets 17
Cimini’s pick: Patriots 20, Jets 10
FPI prediction: NE, 72.6% (by an average of 8.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Dolphins trade WR Ford to PatriotsJets optimistic Darnold will play Monday night despite shoulder injuryAfter decades of dominance, Patriots are a long shot to win AFC EastJets GM Douglas shoulders blame while backing Darnold, GaseProjected 2021 NFL draft order: Who has the No. 1 pick?

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