NFL Week 9 Picks

In a lightly-scheduled week, there’s always the possibility that things could’ve gotten ugly, quickly. They didn’t, though, and this kid went 10-3, making the overall record 76-44 (here’s the link for those of you keeping track of how I’m doing vs. ESPN’s experts). It’s another light week this week, and we’ll look to keep the train rolling.

Your byes: New York Giants, Denver, Detroit, Arizona, San Francisco, and Jacksonville

Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) @ Miami Dolphins, Thursday, 8:25pm

It’s been a whole lot of junk on Thursday night this year, which has made picking them that much easier (7-1 to this point—thanks, Philly). This week sees the finally-surging Bengals, who look to rattle off their fifth win in a row and really take control of the AFC North, going up against a Dolphins team that is looking to avoid it’s fifth straight loss after a 3-0 start (remember when everyone wanted to pick them @ the Saints on MNF in week 4??? Seems like ages ago.) Since then, Miami’s offense hasn’t really been able to get anything going, and the defense isn’t doing much to help. The Bengals have been propelled forward on the arm of Andy Dalton who’s thrown 11 TDs to just 2 INTs over his last three games. Bengals win 31-21

Kansas City Chiefs (-3) @ Buffalo Bills, 1pm

Buffalo was able to hang around well into the second half of their game against the Saints last week, before eventually getting blown out. This week they get to host the league’s top-rated defense, at least in points per game (12.2). That’s a tall task for a Bills team that struggles to score in their own rite (18th with 22 per game) and is going with their not-completely-healthy backup QB. To think, Andy Reid might be 9-0 heading into his first bye week in Kansas City… Chiefs win 27-16

Minnesota Vikings (+10.5) @ Dallas Cowboys, 1pm

I can wholeheartedly relate to Vikings fans and how miserable it is to have an absolutely insane amount of instability at the quarterback position. It can really ruin a team, as we’re both seeing. The Vikings were able to squeeze into the postseason last year with a Week 17 win against the Packers, but that’s a far cry away after their 1-6 start this year—their only win coming on another continent. They get to head to Big D this week to take on a Cowboys team that seems just as unstable anymore after a collapse against the Lions with just seconds left of the clock. Meltdowns should be abound in this one, but the talent on the home team’s roster more than outmatches their visitors, plain and simple. Cowboys win 28-16

Tennessee Titans (-3) @ St. Louis Rams, 1pm

Both sides here are in desperate need of a win in this one. The Titans are coming off of a bye and a really rough stretch in their schedule, but have an opportunity to make up a ton of lost ground—three of their next four games are against opponents with a combined 6-17 record. Jake Locker should be much closer to 100 percent after the week off, and will look to attack a Rams defense that has the third worst QB rating against (104.5) and has given up the ninth most TD passes (14) and has the ninth fewest INTs (5). Plus, I can’t see myself picking Kellen Clemens any time soon. Titans win 24-12

New Orleans Saints (-5.5) @ New York Jets, 1pm

The fifth edition of the Ryan Bowl is bound to be an interesting one (they all are though, aren’t they?). Since they’ve been in the NFL  in the 90’s Rob is 0-4 against Rex. He has his best shot to end that losing streak this week as the Saints, who’ve been on a roll this year on defense, head to New York to take on a Jets team that managed just a week ago against the Bengals, and got torched on defense—just imagine what Drew Brees and Co. are going to be able to do. Part of me hopes it doesn’t have to come down to a last second defensive stand for Rob, because we all know how those one’s end up:

Rob-Ryan-Sad-face(GIF via DiehardSport.com)

Saints win 34-27

San Diego Chargers (EVEN) @ Washington Redskins, 1pm

At least the NFL gave the Chargers the week off between West to East trips this time, geesh. In weeks 2 and 3 they went from Philly to San Diego then back out to Nashville, and split those games. This time they headed from Jacksonville to SD and head back out to play in Washington, where they were 0-4 as a franchise until 2005. Philip Rivers has made quite the statement this year, leading the league’s 6th ranked passing attack, but despite the 4-3 record, the Bolts are finding that they have to keep pace with Denver and Kansas City in the AFC West. Rivers should shred the Washington secondary, but this could be a back-and-forth game like that week 2 matchup against Philly. I see the result being the same though for SD. Chargers win 33-30

Atlanta Falcons (+7.5) @ Carolina Panthers, 1pm

These NFC South rivals are on completely opposite trajectories. The Panthers have been on fire on offense, specifically the running game which is averaging 130 yards per game (8th best), putting up 30+ points in four of their last five (including three straight). The Falcons, meanwhile, have been completely decimated by injuries on offense, and have asked Matt Ryan to carry the load without his top two receivers and starting running back. Carolina has the running attack; Atlanta’s passing game is equally as good; this one should come down to what defense can step it up, and the way the season has gone, I’m pretty sure it’ll be the Panthers who put the clamp down at home. Panthers win 30-27

Philadelphia Eagles (EVEN) @ Oakland Raiders, 4:05pm

You know what’s ridiculous? The Oakland Raiders, the goddamn Oakland Raiders, are more stable at the quarterback position than the Philadelphia Eagles. W.T.Holy.F.? With how uninspired the Birds have looked over the last month and a half, and how far they have to travel for this one, and how flashy Terrelle Pryor looked against the Steelers, I have no reason to believe the Eagles will get back on their plane with a W. What happened to that high-octane offense that had me all giddy the first few weeks? Cummon Chip. Raiders win 17-13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+16.5) @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:05pm

Mike Glennon. LOL. Seahawks win 24-3

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ Cleveland Browns, 4:25pm

This is an extremely dangerous game for the Ravens, who look for their 12th straight win against the AFC North rival. The games here tend to be close (like any divisional game), decided by just a possession or two, and the Ravens have been teetering all year long. An upset here wouldn’t surprise me, especially considering Flacco loves to struggle against the Browns defense, but I like the extra week of rest and preparation for the Ravens on the other side of the ball. Two weeks of studying Brandon Weeden is so much more than enough time to figure him out. Ravens win 20-16

Pittsburgh Steelers (+7) @ New England Patriots, 4:25pm

Streaky, this Steelers team is. Lose four. Win two. Now they’re back on the losing shnide. Interesting note about Big Ben so far this year, and the stat which will likely determine the outcome of this one. In Pittsburgh’s two wins Ben was able to keep the INT column empty, but in each of their losses he’s thrown at least one. The Pats rank 6th with 10 INTs this season, and something tells me they’ll be able to get at least one out of Roethlisberger. Pats win 23-19

Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) @ Houston Texans, 8:25pm

Musta been nice for Indy to be able to soak in that win over their old QB for an extra week. They get a few extra hours this Sunday, before taking part in their second consecutive Sunday Night Football game, this one at Houston. Earlier in the year, you might have circled this one as a potential playoff preview, but that’s not likely the case anymore. Houston also comes into this one off their bye, but having dropped their last five games and seeing their once-stable QB spot get turn into something of a revolving door (thanks to injuries and poor performance). Case Keenum is expected to make his second career start after successfully snapping the Texas five-straight games with a pick-six streak. I’m not sure how exciting a shootout Luck-Keenum is going to be, though. Colts win 26-21

Chicago Bears (+11) @ Green Bay Packers, Monday, 8:30pm

Chicago had their best offensive output of the season against Washington two weeks ago, but it wasn’t enough, thanks to a last second Roy Helu Jr. TD. They’ll have had an extra week and a day to prepare for their showdown at Lambeau against a Packers team that hasn’t missed a beat on offense, despite missing more than half of their regular starting skill-position guys. Defense is going to be at a minimum in this one (odd for a game involving the Bears, but that’s just the way it’s been this season). Given Chicago’s struggles against the Pack of late (six straight losses, and no wins in Green Bay since 2007), I’ll stick with the cheeseheads. Packers win 48-41

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