With the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers on a bye in Week 9, blowout victories will be hard to find this weekend.
Instead, the first weekend in November will feature a handful of toss-up matchups. These include a potential Super Bowl preview in East Rutherford, where the Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the defending champion New York Giants.
The Giants are favored in that matchup and rightfully so. They've won four in a row. However, that doesn't mean you should roll with all the favorites in Week 9.
Let's take a look at some favorites to avoid at all costs this weekend.
*All spread info according to Covers.com.
Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Robert Griffin III and the 'Skins have lost two in a row for the second time this season, and will host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon in DC.
Ron Rivera's squad has only managed one win through its first seven games this fall, but has lost its last four games by a combined 12 points. Consider Carolina unlucky not to be 5-2 right now. Sure, they have come up small in important areas, but the Panthers have been extremely competitive despite what their record would suggest.
With Washington struggling themselves, it's hard to imagine the Panthers winding up on the short end of the stick for the sixth straight week.
With drops becoming a major issue for Washington's receivers, Cam Newton will outshine RG3 on Sunday. Give me the Panthers on the road in Week 9.
Oakland Raiders (-1)
Okay, so the Raiders have won two in row after a dismal 1-4 start to the year. Unfortunately, those two wins have come against the two worst teams in the NFL this season. Oakland beat the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs by a combined 13 points, and will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend.
Tampa is coming off a 19-point victory on the road against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8, and boasts more offensive firepower than Oakland, with versatile talents like Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson both making plays. Although the spread isn't overwhelming, I still don't give the Raiders any shot at winning at home in Week 9.
Even in their wins, the Raiders haven't been impressive. They are mediocre on both sides of the ball and will continue to be one-dimensional offensively on Sunday, as their rushing attack has sputtered all season long.
New Orleans Saints (-3)
Besides possessing the top-ranked passing attack in the game, the New Orleans Saints don't have much else going for them this season.
On the other hand, while not all that much better, Week 9 opponent the Philadelphia Eagles are a much more balanced football team that is at least capable of winning in more than one way. It should also be noted that the Saints are just 1-2 at home this season, falling to the Redskins and Chiefs earlier this year.
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