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NFL Week 9 Expert Predictions: Early Slate Best Bets for Packers vs Lions, Dolphins vs Bears, More

NFL Week 9 Expert Predictions: Early Slate Best Bets for Packers vs Lions, Dolphins vs Bears, More article feature image
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Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images. Pictured: Detroit Lions.

Sean Koerner is Action Network’s Director of Predictive Analytics. Follow him in the Action App to get all his picks instantly as he makes them.


NFL Week 9 Predictions

 

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Vikings vs Commanders
Packers vs Lions
Chargers vs Falcons
Dolphins vs Bears

Pick
Commanders +3
Best Book
Time
1 p.m. ET

Sean Koerner: The Vikings are 6-1 on the season and have banked on quite a bit of luck to get there as they currently rank sixth in our Luck Rankings. They have gone 3-0 in one-score games and have been outgained 346 to 383 on the season.

The Vikings rank last in DVOA against opposing No. 1 wideouts, something Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin should be able to take advantage of here.

Heinicke should have a pretty clean pocket as the Vikings have the 12th-lowest pressure rate and will be without Dalvin Tomlinson, who was ruled out due to a calf injury. Heinicke has led the Commanders to two straight wins after Carson Wentz went down, and I think he extends that streak to three games.

I’m projecting this closer to Vikings -2, so I like that we get the key number of three.


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Pick
Lions +3.5
Best Book
Time
1 p.m. ET

Sean Koerner: Last week, the Lions managed to build a 14-0 lead in the first quarter against the Dolphins, only to lose by four points (causing me to push my Detroit +4 bet).

I’m going back to the well again as the Packers offense may not be able to take advantage of a Lions defense that ranks last in DVOA. Aaron Rodgers is struggling to get on the same page with his wideouts, and it’s absolutely baffling that they didn’t make a move to add any help before the trade deadline.

The Lions offense tends to lean on the run in close games as they have the fifth-highest rush rate on early downs in neutral game scripts. This sets up as a plus matchup for them as the Packers rank 31st in DVOA against the run. Look for big games from Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift.

I think the Lions keep this close and I like getting them at +3.5.


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Pick
Falcons +3
Best Book
Time
1 p.m. ET

Sean Koerner: The Falcons rush at the third-highest rate on early downs, so this is a great matchup against a Chargers run-funnel defense (13th vs. pass, 23rd vs. run). Plus, Atlanta gets one of its top weapons back in Cordarrelle Patterson.

Corner A.J. Terrell remains out, but the Chargers might not be able to truly take advantage of a weak Falcons secondary without both of their top WRs in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

I like getting three points on the Falcons here as they always seem to figure out a way to keep games close.


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Pick
Under 45.5
Best Book
Time
1 p.m. ET

Sean Koerner: The Dolphins dropped 31 points on the league’s worst defense (Lions) last week, marking just the second time this season they’ve scored more than 21 points.

It’s remarkable considering just how potent the Dolphins’ passing attack has been. This week, they face a Bears defense that has been somewhat respectable against the pass (18th in DVOA), while struggling against the run (28th). I expect the Dolphins to lean on their run game a bit more based on the matchup, especially if the expected 15-20 mph winds at Soldier Field come to fruition.

On the other side of the ball, the Bears offense doesn’t match up well against the Dolphins’ pass-funnel defense. Miami has been a top-10 defense against the run (9th), but rank 29th against the pass.

An extreme run-heavy team like the Bears isn’t as equipped to take advantage of this matchup. Adding Chase Claypool to their WR room could give the passing attack a boost, but he’s unlikely to see a full complement of snaps in his debut.

Meanwhile, stud edge rusher Bradley Chubb will be making his debut for Miami and he should give the defense an immediate boost. I’m projecting this total closer to 44.


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