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NFL Bettors Guide: Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady in premier matchup Sunday

Unitas versus Starr. Layne vs. Graham. Kelly versus Marino.

Before the turn of the century, duels of the great quarterbacks were a lot more frequent than they are now.

When Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers square off Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., it will be only the second time the quarterbacks have opposed each other as starters.

They are the generally acknowledged as the two best active passers of their era, and that includes Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers.

Brady has faced Green Bay three times in his career and is 2-1 with eight touchdown passes and one interception.

However, he was on the wrong side of a 26-21 loss the only time he faced Rodgers on Nov. 30, 2014, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Rodgers completed 24 of 38 passes for 368 yards, two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 112.8 rating that day. Brady was 15 of 24 for 163 yards, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 110.2 rating.

Rodgers did not play in a 2010 game at New England and only saw mop-up duty in a 35-0 loss in 2006.

New England seems to be coasting to another AFC East championship against weak opposition in the division. Green Bay, though, is fighting to stay in contention in the NFC North, where the Packers (3-3-1) are looking up at the Chicago Bears (4-3) and Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) with road games against each left on the schedule.

A capsule look at the Week Nine games:

Game of the day

Rams (8-0) at Saints (6-1)

TV: Fox, 4:25 p.m.
The line: Pick 'em.
ATS: Rams 5-3; Saints 5-2.
Over/under: 60.
Times over/under: Rams 4/3/1; Saints 4/3.
The scoop: Saints have covered their last five games and are 3-0 as underdog this season. Rams have been favored in all eight games. ... NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley has 15 TDs. Only Jim Brown (17) as rookie in 1958 had more through the first eight games of season. Gurley had 800 yards, more than seven NFL teams including Bills.
Outlook: After close call at home against Packers last week, do Rams have stomach for another tough opponent, this one on the road versus Seahawks and the Chiefs lying ahead in Mexico City? Perfect spot for Rams to falter. Saints, 31-27.

Top attractions

Packers (3-3-1) at Patriots (6-2)

TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m.
The line: Patriots -6/
ATS: Packers 2-5; Patriots 5-3.
Over/under: 56 1/2.
Times over/under: Packers 4/1/2; Patriots 5/3.
The scoop: Pats have been favored every game. Packers covered as dogs at Rams last week after going 1-5 as favorites. ... Packers don't fool around. They cut RB Ty Montgomery, whose decision to run kickoff out of end zone and lost fumble cost Rodgers and Co. chance for last-minute win at Rams last week. They also traded Ha Ha Clinton Dix, their interceptions leader.
Outlook: Packers usually promise a thrill or two. They have won by 1 and 3, lost by 2 and played a tie. Patriots, 30-27.

Steelers (4-2-1) at Ravens (4-4)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Ravens -3.
ATS: Ravens 4-4; Steelers 4-3.
Over/under: 47.
Times over/under: Ravens 3/5; Steelers 4/3.
The scoop: Steelers have chance to open lead over Baltimore in AFC North with a win and even tiebreaker at 1-1. Ravens won first meeting, 26-14, on Sept. 30. ... Lots of people rooting for Steelers to tell holdout RB Le'Veon Bell to get lost. With James Conner going so well, they don't seem to need Bell.
Outlook: Ravens have been losing favorite four times ATS. Steelers have covered last three games, twice as favorite. Don't see those trends changing. Ravens a bit overrated off early-season results. Steelers, 27-17.

Panthers (5-2) at Buccaneers (3-4)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Panthers - 6 1/2.
ATS: Panthers 4-3; Bucs 3-4.
Over/under: 54.
Times over/under: Panthers 4/3; Bucs 5/2.
The scoop: For what it's worth, Ryan Fitzpatrick of Bucs has 6-0 TD-INT and 105.7 rating in four career games versus NFC South opponents. However, he has faced Panthers only once, with Bills in 2009 (11 of 23, 123, 1 TD 0 INT in 20-9 victory). ... Carolina is 2-2 as underdog last four games, including toughies at Philadelphia and home versus Baltimore.
Outlook: Despite record and QB changes, Bucs lead NFL in offense (467.6 ypg). Over-under is low considering five Tampa Bay games have been over, including whopping 88-, 71- and 63-point showings. Panthers, 34-31.

Lions (3-4) at Vikings (4-3-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Vikings -5.
ATS: Lions 4-2-1; Vikings 4-3-1.
Over/under: 50 1/2.
Times over/under: Lions 4/2/1; Vikings 4/4.
The scoop: Unpredictable Lions are 3-1 as dogs, including win over Patriots, but have had flat performances at home versus Jets and Seahawks. ... Are Lions so talented they could afford to trade leading receiver (Golden Tate) to Eagles this week? ... Vikings receiver Adam Thielen leads league with 74 receptions and has gone over 100 receiving yards in each of first eight games.
Outlook: It's a game the Vikings can't afford to lose, but they have lost three of last four versus NFC North rivals, including 14-7 at home last season. Lions have a chance if they balance their offense a little bit. Vikings, 24-21.

Falcons (3-4) at Redskins (5-2)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Redskins - 1 1/2.
ATS: Falcons 2-5; Redskins 5-2.
Over/under: 47 1/2.
Times over/under: Falcons 5/2; Redskins 2/5.
The scoop: Falcons are most overrated team in NFL. They have fewer rushing yards than the Bills and much fewer than Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt. Another loss leaves them for dead in division race. ... Redskins sitting atop weak NFC East but have two games versus Super Bowl champion Eagles and Turkey Day game at Dallas remaining. ... Atlanta was underdog only twice, but lost both ATS. Redskins covered last three as favorites.
Outlook: Falcons look like dead birds headed for coaching change. Redskins, 27-20.

Texans (5-3) at Broncos (3-5)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Broncos - 2 1/2.
ATS: Texans 2-3-2; Broncos 4-3-1.
Over/under: 46 1/2.
Times over/under: Texans 2/4; Broncos 5/3.
The scoop: Houston has won last five, including gift win from Bills, but it has been against opposition with combined 15-24 record. Still, Texans seem to be coming on with DeShaun Watson seemingly getting better each game and WR DeAndre Hopkins almost impossible to defend.
Outlook: Broncos covered four of last five weeks, including three times as underdog. Denver as favorite here is strictly the Mile High effect. After tough loss at rival Chiefs last week, not expecting Broncos to be at their best, even at home. Texans, 33-27.

Chargers (5-2) at Seahawks (4-3)

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Pick 'em.
ATS: Chargers 3-4; Seahawks 4-2-1.
Over/under: 48.
Times over/under: Chargers 5/2; Seahawks 3/3/1.
The scoop: Chargers haven't played a game in the U.S. since Oct. 14 at Cleveland and haven't had a home game since win over Raiders on Oct.7. It's also first home game for Seattle since Oct. 7. This is first of six home games left for Seahawks. ... Note: Obits on passing of Seattle owner Paul Allen erroneously credited him creating 12th-man idea, encouraging crowd noise to disrupt visiting teams. In truth, it was Chuck Knox, bothered by crowd noise Seattle encountered in visits to Denver and Kansas City back in its AFC days, who encouraged home fans help by creating din in old Kingdome.
Outlook: Seahawks have covered last three and again look like playoff contenders. Chargers seem to flop when they can least afford to. Seahawks, 23-20.

Best of the rest

Bears (4-3) at Bills (2-6)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Bears -10.
ATS: Bears 4-3; Bills 3-5/
Over/under: 37.
Times over/under: Bears 5/2; Bills 2/5/1.
The scoop: Vegas waited until Derek Anderson/Nathan Peterman decision at QB before installing line and over/under norm. What were they waiting for? Why? What difference did it make? ... It's Chicago's first regular-season visit to Orchard Park since 2002. Midway Monsters have been Dwarfs here, winning only once in five tries and by only 7-0 in 1979.
Outlook: Bills fans and Buffalo QBs have to be praying that Khalil Mack needs another week to rehab injured ankle. Tough for Buffalo "D" to come up big twice in six days. Bears, 24-10.

Chiefs (7-1) at Browns (2-5-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Chiefs -8.
ATS: Chiefs 6-2; Browns 5-3.
Over/under: 51 1/2.
Times over/under: Chiefs 5/3; Browns 4/3.
The scoop: Browns are 4-3 as underdogs, which they almost always are. Despite another impressive offensive showing, Chiefs didn't cover as favorite last week at home against Bengals after beating the number in three previous games.
Outlook: Can't see the Gregg Williams Effect lighting a fire under the Browns after firing of Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley this week. Unless Chiefs are looking ahead to date with Rams in Mexico on Nov. 19, they should blitz Browns with their speed and many weapons. Chiefs, 31-13.

Jets (3-5) at Dolphins (4-4)

Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Dolphins -3.
ATS: Jets 3-5; Dolphins 4-3.
Over/under: 45.
Times over/under: Jets 4/4; Dolphins 4/3.
The scoop: As if the South Florida heat and humidity wasn't enough of a benefit, Fish have new stadium canopy that shades Dolphins' side and leaves opponents under brutal sun. That has helped Miami go 3-1 at home against weak/mediocre opposition. ... Brock Osweiler gets another start at QB for Miami with Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) still out.
Outlook: Jets are 1-4 ATS as dogs. Fish covered in only game they were favored (Oakland, Week Three). ... New York running game and defense have slipped against tougher opposition (Vikings, Bears) last two weeks and Sam Darnold is not ready to carry the load. Dolphins, 28-20.

Dog of the day

Titans (3-4) at Cowboys (3-4)

TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:15 p.m.

The line: Cowboys - 6 1/2.
ATS: Titans 3-3-1; Cowboys 2-4-1.
Over/under: 41.
Times over/under: Titans 2/4; Cowboys 2/5.
The scoop: Titans coming off bye week after loss to Chargers in London. ... Amari Cooper, acquired from Raiders for No. 1 pick two weeks ago, makes Dallas debut. Cowboys fans wonder how their team got fleeced so badly in trade when division rivals Eagles picked up Golden Tate from Lions for a song. How 'bout them Cowboys?
Outlook: Tennessee has lost last three, scoring only 31 points and just two touchdowns. Dallas is 3-0 at home, 0-4 on road, which speaks volumes. Cowboys, 24-10.

Last week: Six favorites covered the spread, seven did not. Four games went over the number, seven went under and two matched it.
Last week results: 10-3 straight up; 8-5 versus spread.
Season record: 54-43-3 straight up; 48-48-4 versus spread.

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