Welcome comrades to my weekly NFL football picks column. My aim is to help you with some tough choices, whether it be in your office pool or betting against the spread. I will provide analysis and commentary for both.
I suffered through a 7-6 office pool prognostication disappointment this week, my second worst week of picks this year, and stunk up the joint by missing on both my Lock and Upset Special of the week. Fortunately there is a silver lining, I did well against the spread going 4-1, and my overall straight up picks winning percentage is hanging tough at 67%.
~NFL football picks for the office pool~
Week Nine 7-6 Season prediction tally: 86-43
Chicago at San Francisco- The 49ers have lost 4 straight and the Bears are out of sync. Both have to play on a short week. I think these teams are evenly matched but I'll side with the home team.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh- The defending Super Bowl champs stymied a hot Broncos team and I think they will make it two in a row vs. another surprisingly solid squad. Pittsburgh is itching to pay back the Bengals for the loss in their first meeting.
Atlanta at Carolina- The Panthers have warmed up double trouble and held the Saints' rushing game in check. I say they do the same to Michael Turner and force Matt Ryan to come out of his unexpected funk, which I don't think he is ready to do just yet.
Tampa Bay at Miami- Man did I underestimate Josh Freeman's ability to make an immediate impact. Can he do it again? Could be, and I am certainly not making Miami a lock to win this one, but the Dolphins may be the best 3-5 team in football.
New Orleans at St. Louis- I really want to pick the Rams in this one, but when you look at their recent history of effectiveness it pales in comparison to the juggernaut Saints.
Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets- The Jaguars won-loss pattern for the last five games is such: W-L-W-L-W. I see another L coming.
Buffalo at Tennessee- Don't look now but the Titans have their mojo back.
Denver at Washington- I can't pick the Redskins to beat anybody right now. I hope DeAngelo Hall gets suspended for scuffling with Falcons head coach Mike Smith last week. He is a top notch clown, always has been and always will be. I'll take the Broncos simply because they are a football team, not a poorly run business endeavor.
Detroit at Minnesota- Minnesota is coming off of a week of rest and they were really good even when they were worn out.
Kansas City at Oakland- The Chiefs are playing better than their 1 win would indicate, and I wonder how much the Tom Cable saga hangs over this Raiders team?
Dallas at Green Bay- Dallas is suddenly alone at the top of the NFC East and the Packers are shaky.
Philadelphia at San Diego- Two 5-3 teams going at it, this should be a great game. As much as I'd like to see the Chargers potential fully realized, the Eagles are still the better team right now.
~Lock of the Week= Cardinals~
Seattle at Arizona- I know it is preposterous given their history, but Arizona has to eventually string two dominating games together don't they? Seattle doesn't have much of a running game so the only way they can win is if Matt Hasselbeck catches fire, and I believe the Cardinals have Hasselbeck's number.
~Upset Special= Patriots~
New England at Indianapolis- I know this wouldn't be a huge upset, but the Colts are undefeated. Against the Colts' depleted secondary I am banking on Tom Brady to gash them and leave a mark.
Baltimore at Cleveland- Cleveland stinks.
~Against the spread picks~
Week Nine 4-1 Season prediction tally: 70-58
This is where things get a little tricky. Veterans know that when you bet against the spread you aren’t simply picking the winner, you are also betting how close the loser will be on the scoreboard. When betting against the spread, if you choose the team that’s favored, they must win by more than the spread number in order for you to get credit for a correct pick. If you choose the underdog, they have to lose by less than the spread number in order for you to get credit.
Baltimore (-10.5) @ CLEVELAND (+10.5) = Bet Baltimore
The Browns have lost by at least 13 points in 6 out of their 8 games.
@ INDIANAPOLIS (-3) vs New England (+3)= Bet New England
With 3 out of their 4 starting DBs out injured, the Colts are ripe for an upset engineered by someone as talented as Tom Brady.
@ ARIZONA (-8.5) vs Seattle (+8.5)= Bet Arizona
The Cardinals are too talented to yield to another let down game opportunity.
@ NEW YORK JETS (-6.5) vs Jacksonville (+6.5) = Bet New York Jets
Coming off a bye I think Rex and crew will be able to handle an inconsistent Jags' team that just barely beat a 1-7 team.
@ TENNESSEE (-6.5) vs Buffalo (+6.5) = Bet Tennessee
The Bills have a talented secondary but aren't too great at stopping the run.