The byes are done, meaning the NFL has seven weeks to determine which teams qualify for postseason play.
That is, except for Kansas City.
The Chiefs are alone at 9-0 and history shows that teams going this deep into the season unbeaten have an excellent chance of making it to the Super Bowl. In their last two games, the high-powered Kansas City offense has posted impressive wins over Buffalo and Cleveland.
Tennessee appears to be the second best team in the AFC although it is hard to argue with how New England has played through the first nine games. Indianapolis, despite last week’s loss, remains a formidable contender.
The NFC has no outstanding teams. Carolina and Dallas lead the conference at 7-2. Seattle, St. Louis and Minnesota are at 6-3. Philadelphia will have joined that group with an upset win at Green Bay last Monday night.
The Oakland Raiders finally pushed the point spread last week in an overtime loss to the Jets after going 0-8 ATS in the first half of the season.
Five or last Sunday’s 13 games were won straight up by underdogs, however the dogs were just 5-6-2 ATS. Home underdogs were 4-0-1, but are still below .500 for the year at 17-24-2.
Here’s a preview of all 16 games this weekend.
Texans (+7) at Bills (37Â½): The Bills are totally different at home than on the road where they struggled again last week on offense at Dallas. The defense has played well all season. Houston is improved but inconsistent, with defensive weaknesses. It’s wagon-circling time. BUFFALO.
Giants (NL) at Eagles: The Eagles stole the first meeting between the teams with a punt return for a TD in the closing minutes. The Giants continue to move the ball up and down the field but keep committing costly turnovers. Both teams feature solid defenses. UNDER.
Cards (+6Â½) at Browns (39): Arizona has been able to run the ball behind RB Marcel Shipp in recent weeks. The Browns have been vulnerable to rushing attacks. Cleveland has topped 20 points just once in nine games. UNDER.
Chiefs (-6Â½) at Bengals (46Â½): Kansas City continues to roll with outstanding play in all three phases. Cincinnati can get to .500 with a win. The Bengals are clearly improved, especially on defense, but mostly against one-dimensional offenses. The Chiefs may be the best-balanced offense in the league. KC.
Rams (-6Â½) at Bears (43Â½): St. Louis has struggled on offense in its last two games, even with Marshall Faulk back. The Rams defense forced seven Baltimore turnovers last week. Chicago has gained under 275 yards six times in nine games. UNDER.
Redskins (+6) at Panthers (37): Washington got a much-needed win last week as sack prone QB Patrick Ramsey was well protected. Carolina rallied to defeat Tampa Bay for a second time this season after giving up a 13-point lead. The Panthers strong running game and aggressive defense presents problems for the Redskins. CAROLINA.
Jaguars (+10Â½) at Titans (45Â½): Tennessee showed no signs of rust following a bye in its 31-7 rout of Miami. QB Steve McNair continues to impress despite a running game that averages a league low 3.0 yards per rush. The Jaguars continue to play hard and their effort was rewarded last week. They’ll be competitive here too. JAX.
Ravens (NL) at Dolphins: Baltimore starting QB Kyle Boller was injured in Sunday night’s loss at St Louis. Miami QB Brian Griese was ineffective in a loss at Tennessee. The Dolphins have a defense every bit as good as Baltimore. Both teams prefer to run the ball due to ineffective passing attacks. UNDER.
Falcons (+8Â½) at Saints (44): New Orleans crushed the Falcons 45-17 last month and has started to show signs of life. Atlanta defeated the Giants last week despite being outgained. Atlanta has covered 16 of the last 21 games in the series and may have some confidence following last week’s upset. ATLANTA
Jets (NL) at Colts: An injury to the Colts’ WR Marvin Harrison kept the game off the board early in the week. The eventual line may be inflated with the Colts seeking to avenge last season’s 41-0 playoff loss to the Jets. The Jets are playing much better following a 0-4 start. NY JETS.
Chargers (NL) at Broncos: No early line due to the possible return of Denver QB Jake Plummer from injury. The Broncos routed the Chargers 37-13 in Week 2. San Diego received a spark from ageless QB Doug Flutie in beating Minnesota. Denver’s season is on the line. DENVER.
Packers (NL) at Bucs: Green Bay is off two tough games following the Monday night tilt with Philadelphia and the win a week earlier at Minnesota. Tampa Bay’s streak of alternating wins and losses ended with last week’s last minute loss at Carolina. The Bucs have won five straight at home against GB. Urgency has set in. TAMPA BAY.
Lions (+10) at Seahawks (41): Seattle cannot be trusted very often as a favorite. When favored by at least a TD, the Seahawks are just 1-5 ATS since late 1998. The Lions are improving on defense, allowing less than 100 yards rushing and 300 total yards in each of the last three games. DETROIT.
Vikings (-4Â½) at Raiders (44Â½): Despite their woes, the Raiders produced a 19-play, 11 minute scoring drive last week against the Jets. San Diego torched Minnesota’s defense, explaining the Vikings sudden three-game slide after a 6-0 start. Look for plenty of points. OVER.
Cowboys (+4) at Patriots (36): Should be a classic defensive chess match as Dallas coach Bill Parcells faces his former defensive coordinator Bill Belichick. Both teams are 7-2 and overachieving. Remarkably a win by the Cowboys would already put them over their projected season total wins of 7Â½. UNDER.
Steelers (NL) at 49ers: The status of 49ers QB Jeff Garcia kept this game off the board early. Pittsburgh got a much needed win over Arizona last week. The 49ers have some momentum after a rout of the Rams prior to last week’s bye. Both teams rank among the league’s top 10 defense. The Niners should win the turnover battle. SF.
Last week: 8-5