Week 9 is difficult to navigate.

There are several teams on bye, which creates some issues. And there’s several games that have big spreads with road teams.

That creates some uneasiness. I need a lot of winners, so here’s my week 9 NFL picks featuring three favorites to watch in this week’s SuperContest.

Overall: 21-24-3 ATS

SuperContest: 17-19-4 ATS (19 points)

Favorites: 10-13-1 ATS

Quarterback Cam Newton should lead the Carolina Panthers in the week 9 NFL best bets. Flickr/http://bit.ly/1G1r1FZ/Keith Allison

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-6)

I do this with a bit of hesitance, but I can’t ignore everything surrounding this game.

Carolina has a legitimate home-field edge. Everyone believes oddsmakers give teams a blanket three-point advantage for just being at home. That’s not true. There are teams that register a real home-field advantage, and others that do not. The Panthers are much better at home than on the road, so that’s one factor.

This also is back-to-back road games for Tampa Bay, so a team that is struggling as much as the Buccaneers, that could have a detrimental effect.

Injuries are hampering Tampa Bay. Carolina only had one player listed as a non-full participant in Thursday’s injury report.

All these things would be enough, but there’s also those happenings on the field, where Tampa Bay is a mess at the quarterback position, and the Panthers are getting better. Carolina is showing strides on both sides of the ball, which should be enough to cover the six-point spread. — Go Chalk with Carolina

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)

Minnesota isn’t a great team. It won’t beat the upper echelon teams in the NFL. But Kirk Cousins sure can beat mediocre or bad teams.

And make no mistake about it, the Lions are mediocre at best.

The defense is among the worst in the NFL, giving up 6.6 yards per play in the last three weeks. The offense is good, but I’m not sure it can score enough against a Minnesota defense that looks like its getting better. The Vikings have allowed just 4.5 yards per play in the last three games.

Minnesota is tough on passing games and it appears that Xavier Rhodes will be coming back in week 9. Detroit appears to be signaling it has given up on this season with the trade of Golden Tate, so I’m backing the Vikings in this one. — Go Chalk with Minnesota

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-3)

I think Miami is just a better team.

This is the second of two straight road games for a rookie quarterback who is having trouble moving the ball with injuries piling up. The Jets’ wide receiver corps is the walking wounded, which is a bad look for a team in desperate need of some offensive consistency.

Miami has an offense that looks to get betting better, generating 6.4 yards per play in the last three games, compared to New York’s 4.4.

Miami needs some help on the defensive side of the ball, but I’ll back the offense in this one. — Go Chalk with Miami

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