Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons
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NFL Week 9 Preview: Falcons’ playoff chase and Rams’ huge trip

| 30.10.2018

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We’re heading into the second half of the regular season in NFL 2018, and this weekend’s key fixtures look set to separate the men from the boys.

On the agenda are a tricky test for an Atlanta Falcons side picking up steam, as well as a vital NFC North clash – and much more.

Ahead of more top-notch Gridiron contests, we look at the major talking points…

Can improving Falcons end Redskins’ run of close wins?

Washington Redskins may sit top of the NFC East with a 5-2 record, but they’re still yet to fully convince. Each of their last three games have produced wins – but all have come by seven points or fewer.

Those results were preceded by a 43-19 hammering at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. While New Orleans Saints are tough opposition, they showed the Redskins defence can be got at.

And Jay Gruden’s men could meet their match again this weekend, as they host Atlanta.

The Falcons struggled in the opening weeks, but head into this clash after successive wins, followed by a Bye week.

Their Quarterback Matt Ryan is fifth in NFL passing yards this year, while Julio Jones is the second-top Wide Receiver by yards. So they’re a tough side to handle in offence. Ahead of this game, Atlanta are 21/20 in the Money Line.

NFC’s top two face off in titanic showdown

The calendar could hardly have thrown up a bigger clash than Los Angeles Rams’ visit to New Orleans this weekend.

Not only do the pair boast the NFC’s strongest records right now, with the Rams the only 8-0 team – but they’re also both offensive juggernauts.

These are two of only four sides in the country to have scored over 230 points so far, with the Rams posting over 30 points in six of their eight games.

The signs point to a close, and thrilling affair. But the Rams could have the edge. While they’ve been defensively sound, the Saints have been giving up an average of over 26 points per game.

In the betting, it’s 27/20 for Over 64.5 Total Points in this game. As for the Rams, they’re 7/5 to rack up Over 32 against their hosts.

Do Vikings have the edge ahead of NFC North crunch match?

There’s almost nothing to separate the NFC North sides so far, with Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings just a single win ahead of the chasing pair.

That means Detroit Lions’ trip to Minneapolis this weekend could be a season-defining game for both sides, and even the division as a whole.

But while the pair’s results have been similar, there are signs that Mike Zimmer’s men should edge this. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is in truly inspired form, and threw for over 350 yards against New Orleans Saints – a better side than the Lions.

Minnesota also have home advantage, and the Lions just aren’t good travellers. They’ve lost four of the last six on their travels, including giving San Francisco 49ers their only win in eight games this season.

The Vikings are 4/9 in the Money Line, while it’s 6/4 they land the more ambitious -7.0 handicap.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Dave Burin