Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week 9 NFL Picks: Bye, Week

Last week, my laundry was on a bye, and to be honest, I don't think I enjoyed it enough. What with it also being Halloween with all kinds of family stress, and having fantasy players in the terrible UK game, I downright wasted my true favorite holiday of the year -- turn back the clock day. At least the NBA was back, and man alive, did I need that. You don't care about that, however, so let's just get to the picks, which had only their second down week out of eight, and dragged the career mark back to .500. Let's get back on the horse, shall we?

And with that... on the picks!

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Cleveland at CINCINNATI (-11)

This game is usually a lot closer than this, and the Browns have handled the Bengals physically. But with QB2 Johnny Manziel looking turnover-ish, the Cleveland run defense in free fall and the Bengals just playing like a team that's determined to not lose in the first round, I think they cover the number. Besides, Terrible Night Football needs an honest to God boring blowout.

Bengals 34, Browns 20

GREEN BAY (-2.5) at Carolina

Gut check time for the Packers, who got handled badly by the Broncos last week, and are in danger of not just losing any shot at home field in the NFC Championship game, but actually making the NFC North something they won't be able to clinch until after Thanksgiving. Carolina's weak passing game has to catch up to them sometime.

Packers 24, Panthers 20

Washington at NEW ENGLAND (-14)

If you just took the Patriots at home during the Belichick era regardless of the spread, you'd win over 58% of the time, because that's what happens when a superior team is combined with a remarkable lack of sportsmanship. Teams are sweeping the area for bugs, and the Pats are said to be scared of a team setting them up, so the tenor is set early: the hosts are going to cheat, you can't do anything about it, and their management just wants to win more than your team does. Have a good game! Oh, and the Slurs won't be able to stop this offense, or avoid turnovers. Also, their record after a bye is even more of a bad joke than their embarrassment of a name.

Patriots 38, Racial Slurs 20

Tennessee at NEW ORLEANS (-8)

Wow, did Ken Whisenhunt crap the bed or what? Gifted with the #2 overall pick and a division that is there for the taking, he went 1-6 despite a point differential that's the same or better as everyone else in his division, because his offense was just plain pooty. Now that he's gone, the Titans get to try to pump the brakes on the Saints, last seen putting up a 50-burger in a home win against the Giants. They'll score, but not enough, and I'm also leery that QB Marcus Mariota can or should play in this one.

Saints 31, Titans 20

Miami at BUFFALO (-3)

A real pick another game to watch affair, with the dregs of the AFC lEast fighting to see who can remain quasi-relevant for another week. The winner is .500, the loser is buried, and while both teams were supposed to be beastly on the defensive lines, they just haven't been. I'll take the home team, who also are coming off more rest.

Bills 24, Dolphins 20

St Louis at MINNESOTA (-2.5)

A battle between two rising clubs. The Rams have the league's best young RB, but they've been erratic at best, and the passing offense has been a train wreck. Minny's fairly limited as well, but have the home field and the game's lone plus WR in the emerging Stefon Diggs (assuming health; grr). It will be just barely enough.

Vikings 20, Rams 16

Jacksonville at NY JETS (-7)

The line for this game has been hard to determine, because the Jets have QB concerns with both guys being hurt, following last weekend's disaster in Oakland. For a team that is actually fourth in the conference in record and net points behind only the three unbeaten teams -- yes, the AFC is incredibly top-heavy this year -- the Jets need a statement game against a bad club, and at 2-5 and -60, the Jags qualify. Especially on defense.

Jets 31, Jaguars 20

Oakland at PITTSBURGH (-4)

Isn't it nice to have old-school 1970s matchups like this one matter again? Both teams really need the game to solidly wild-card hopes in divisions that seem out of reach. While the Raiders have some of the best young talent in the league, with WR Amari Cooper in particular looking utterly terrifying to the Steeler DBs, I think the Steeler passing game gets all the way back in this one. What with the Raiders having one good DB (Charles Woodson), and that guy being mind-bogging old.

Steelers 37, Raiders 27

NY GIANTS (-2.5) at Tampa

Mind-bogging loss last week for Blue in New Orleans, when 49 points somehow wasn't enough, and yet another last second loss happened due to special teams not being able to cover a kick. This week, they'll bounce back against a Bucs team that has to be feeling good about themselves after a surprising win in Atlanta, because Tampa has no home field advantage, and QB Jamesis Winston hasn't gotten to the point of being able to play four good quarters.

Giants 27, Bucs 24

Atlanta at SAN FRANCISCO (-7)

The suddenly reeling Hawks go to California to face the comical stylings of QB Blaine Gabbert, given the keys the Niner popgun attack with QB Colin Kaepernick well and truly ruined. There isn't an easier way to break into the lineup than a home game against this toothless pass rush, and Gabbert will have that game manager game that's a close loss, rather than a runaway.

Hawks 20, Niners 17

DENVER (-5.5) at Indianapolis

The Broncos played their most complete game of the year last week against the Packers, with the offense looking competent, and the defense downright intimidating. This week in Indy has Trap Game written all over it, except for the fact that QB Peyton Manning played here forever, and is still butthurt over having to move. He'll get it done, and then some, against a Colt defense that will be on the field way too long.

Broncos 26, Colts 17

PHILADELPHIA (-2.5) at Dallas

I hate when my laundry is on in prime time, because I value my sleep more than I do this collection of chuckleheads, but at least this week I'll pass out in my recliner while feeling stupid for watching, rather than actively infuriated. The Dallas offense is just too limited to overcome mistakes, and QB Matt Cassel is a mistake machine. The Eagle offense isn't much better, but eventually, QB Sam Bradford will have enough time to stare cross-eyed at an open WR to make five of his good throws before completing them, and idiots will think that a corner has been turned. NBC will, I hope, become the latest top broadcasting team to tell America that the Eagles game they are watching is terrible.

Eagles 27, Cowboys 17

Chicago at SAN DIEGO (-4)

Speaking of teams that shouldn't be on prime time, Chicago goes to California to face a post-bye Charger team that's going to bounce back for a not good enough second half run. Expect the usual ESPN salivating over how good QB Philip Rivers is, because mildly competent QB play makes the World Wide Lemur even more embarrassing than usual.

Chargers 27, Bears 20

Last week: 6-8

Year to date: 64-50-1

Career: 682-682-46

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