Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts aren't getting any respect at home in Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins—one of five NFL underdogs that are sure to cover the spread.
Andrew Luck and the Colts are the real deal, and the Dolphins are too. Being that this game is in Indianapolis, I'm giving this game to the Colts outright.
Last week, the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and the Colts made oddsmakers look silly by covering their respective spreads or my simply winning outright.
It happens every week, too, because the NFL is full of teams that are closer to one another from a talent perspective than most people realize.
Here are my locks of the week: The underdogs you can take to the bank.
Note: All betting information courtesy of FootballLocks.com.
All you need to know about this matchup is this: If Pat Shurmur could beat Norv Turner's gang, then so can Romeo Crennel. Turner and Philip Rivers are sliding down a slippery slope, and the San Diego Chargers are in danger of losing out the rest of the season.
Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs look like the worst team in football, but I don't trust the Chargers to play with any kind of consistency.
The Chargers have lost their last three games, getting beaten by the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns. The Saints and Browns have a cumulative record of 4-11, and both teams only had one win before beating the Chargers.
Even if the Chargers win, you can be sure the Chiefs will keep the score close and stay within eight points by the end of the game.
Before you laugh, I remind you that the Cleveland Browns were a couple of dropped passes away from stealing their first game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore.
Since then, the Ravens have suffered some devastating blows on defense—losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season. Furthermore, Haloti Ngata has been trying to play through knee and shoulder injuries, and he had to come out of the team's last game against the Houston Texans (h/t Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston).
The Ravens have been extremely vulnerable to a strong running game, giving up 143 yards per game in 2012, No. 30 in the NFL.
Trent Richardson will have a big game, and the Browns will win at home.
Go ahead. Doubt Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Go ahead and forget about his last three games. After all, he's only thrown for 1,010 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception.
I picked the Bucs to beat the spread last week against the Minnesota Vikings, and I'm confident in this team's ability to do the same in Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders.
Besides Freeman's exemplary play the past three weeks, the Bucs have a solid front seven that won't get beaten often by Darren McFadden and the Raiders' running game.
And while the team's secondary is subject to getting toasted at times, this unit has been improving, albeit gradually.
Throw in rookie running back Doug Martin and the suddenly surging running game, and you have a recipe for another road victory for the Bucs.
After all, Vick has actually played pretty well the past four games, but the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three of them due to poor play from the entire team and poor playcalling on offense.
Thankfully for the Eagles, next up on their schedule are the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football—a team with a terrible defense and an inability to run the ball effectively.
The Saints are dead last in the NFL, rushing for just 73 yards per game.
This makes them extremely one-dimensional, and even though Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he can't win games by himself.
Jason Babin, Trent Cole and the rest of the Eagles pass-rushers will be able to pin their ears back and get to Brees with regularity.
On the other side, the Saints can't stop anyone's offense, allowing 475 yards per game—worst in the NFL.
This sets up perfectly for a huge bounce-back win for Vick and the Eagles.