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AFC East: Week 9 Preview and Point Spreads

Even though the AFC East was all tied up at 3-3 just a few short weeks ago, I think we finally know who these teams are. The Bills, for instance, are who we thought they were: a terrible team. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are continuing their scrappy upstart routine from the end of last season. The Jets kind of stink, except when they play the handful of teams that are worse than them, in which case they look like world-beaters. And it’s the same old story with the Patriots, too: terrible defense, amazing offense. Ho hum. The Pats get a bye week after their trip to London last weekend to beat up on the Rams, and the Jets are off too after getting thoroughly embarrassed by Miami. Speaking of those frisky Dolphins, let’s get to the Week 9 lines for the AFC East.

Miami Dolphins (-1) at Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

It’s the Frisky Bad Team Bowl! Neither one of these squads is going to be contending for a Super Bowl at year’s end, but they’re both far better than initially predicted, too. The Colts beat the Titans in a thrilling 19-13 OT victory last weekend, while Miami took it to the Jets on the road, winning 30-9. Both teams are now, somewhat shockingly, above .500 with 4-3 records. Both rookie QBs are playing well, too, though only one of them, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, is a surprise.

So who takes this game? It’s essentially a pick ‘em, as you can tell from the line. Miami is probably the better team, but Indy has the dome factor going for it in Lucas Oil Stadium. Still, the Dolphins are a historically tough out, especially on the road, so I like their chances here. I think Reggie Bush has a big day against this porous Colts defense, and Ryan Tannehill does just enough to propel the Fins to victory. Look out, but Miami could make some serious noise for a wild card spot as the season progresses. Stay tuned, but until then, take Miami at -1 in Indy.

Buffalo Bills (+10) at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. EST

The Buffalo Bills had a bye last week, and thank goodness for them. The week before that, they got gouged by a struggling Tennessee team, allowing Chris Johnson to rush for a mind-boggling 195 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, equating to 10.8 yards per rush. Indeed, Buffalo is ranked dead last in the NFL in rush defense, allowing an astounding 176.6 rushing yards per game – and they haven’t even played a great rushing offense yet. They made the likes of 2012 Chris Johnson look like 2009 Chris Johnson again.

That is why this line against the Texans can’t go high enough, and why the Texans at -10 are the lock of the whole damn season. What does Houston do better than just about anyone else in the league? Run the ball. What is Buffalo’s greatest weakness? Stopping the run. It’s a classic matchup of weakness and strength, and I think the Texans will absolutely steamroll the Bills this weekend. They beat Baltimore, who has the 30th best rush defense in the league, by 30 points. Buffalo is somehow ranked even below that in rush defense. Arian Foster could have 200 yards in this game by halftime, for pete’s sake. Take Houston at -10 and don’t look back.

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