JC's Take: NFL Week 9 Picks
Hello All! Welcome back for my Week 9 picks!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons
-What better place to start then with the game of the week? To me, this is the last chance for the Bucs to prove that they are for real. Sure their record, 5-2, would indicate that they are. But all five of their wins have come against subpar teams. In their two losses, they've gotten man-handled by playoff caliber teams (Pittsburgh & New Orleans). Now they get to go on the road and face a well-rested Atlanta Falcons team. Matt Ryan has been playing some good football this year. He should be able to find Roddy White early and often. But I'd definitely expect a heavy dose of Michael Turner in this game. I'm going with the Falcons here. No 4th quarter magic for Tampa this week.
Atlanta 24 Tampa Bay 14
Chicago Bears vs Buffalo Bills (game in Toronto)
-This is when it sucks being a Bills fan. Going and watching your team play a "home" game in front of lukewarm crowd. Apparently, the VP of Rogers Communications is talking about the possibility of playing half of the Bills home games there. Why? You can't sellout the games because of prices, there's no tailgaiting, and it's a better football experience at the Ralph. But I digress. The Bills played their second overtime game in a row last week, and it was even more of a heartbraker then the first one. They continue to come together as a team, but cannot get their first W. But I think it happens this week. Jay Cutler can be pressured into making bad decisions, as evident by his 4 pick performance two weeks ago against Washington. The Bills have been improving slightly on defense, and the Bears don't really have the offensive firepower of the Bills previous opponents. As long as the Bills offensive line can contain Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher, they can pull off the upset. It just sucks that their first win comes in Toronto.
Buffalo 23 Chicago 21
New England Patriots vs Cleveland Browns
-Don't sleep on the Browns here. The defense has had two weeks to prepare for Tom Brady & Co., and they just shut down Drew Brees and the Saints offense in New Orleans. Colt McCoy gets his third start at QB, and so far he's doing better than any other Browns QB this year, and Jimmy Claussen, who was taken a whole rond before him. And the Browns defense can hang with the Patriots offense. The Pats are coming off a home win against Minnesota, and currently have the best record in the NFL. Their offense is still missing something without Randy Moss, but to them it doesn't matter as long as they keep winning. I think this one will be closer than people think, but I'm still gonna go with New England here. I think the Pats offense will stay on the field long enough to eventually wear down the Browns D.
New England 24 Cleveland 16
New York Jets vs Detroit Lions
-In a way you kind of have to feel bad for the Lions. Their reward for winning last week against the Redskins? Getting a pissed off Jets team that was embarrassed last week at home against Green Bay. The offense looked absolutely dreadful. They'll be out for revenge this week. But even still, the Lions can be a dangerous team for the Jets. The best part of the game will be Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs Jets CB Darrelle Revis. A Top 3 WR vs the best CB in the league. I think this game potentially goes down to the wire, and since I'm feeling in a gutsy move today, I'm going with the Lions in an upset here. There offense is dangerous with Matthew Stafford at QB, and I think the Jets, even after last weeks loss, could be over-looking this young, hungry Lions team.
Detroit 27 NY Jets 23
Arizona Cardinals vs Minnesota Vikings
-Both of these teams are a mess for different reasons. The Cardinals have absolutely no answer to their QB problems. Derek Anderson has played terrible, and Max Hall is not ready as a rookie QB. Plus their defense hasn't been able to stop anybody, especially in the run. The Vikings, meanwhile, released Randy Moss after only four games, and now Brad Childress is coach numero uno on the the hot seat. Oh yeah, and there's still that Brett Favre guy who's playing on a broken ankle and looked like a grandpa napping after taking that hit last week against New England. As for the game? I'll go with the Vikings. Expect a huge day for Adrian Peterson. Brett Favre shouldn't have to do much in the game as long as they are smart and feed AP the ball.
Minnesota 31 Arizona 20
New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers
-The Saints are coming off a much needed win last week at home against Pittsburgh. It put them on the right side of .500. Now they can't lapse again like they have this season. They need to come out firing against a down Panthers team. One thing to watch in this game is Drew Brees. According to a report this week, Brees is playing with a microfracture in his knee. The Saints have denied it, but there's no questioning Brees's subpar play this year. It could be his knee, but it could also be because of the lack of a running game for the Saints. I still expect the Saints to win here. There's too much wrong in Carolina for them not to win. Of course the same could be said when they played Cleveland.
New Orleans 28 Carolina 14
Miami Dolphins vs Baltimore Ravens
-Big game as far as the AFC Playoff picture goes. The Dolphins are perfect on the road this year. In fact, that's where all of their wins have come. They're having problems on offense scoring touchdowns, and they may run into problems here against a stout Ravens D. The Ravens have had two weeks to fix the problems the Bills exposed. I'm sure Ray Lewis won't let that happen again. Joe Flacco will be the key here for the Ravens. The Dolphins secodary is the defense's weakness, and Flacco needs to be able to take advantage of that. Ray Rice may even be a nonfactor here. The game will rest on Flacco's shoulders. I like the Ravens here. Chad Henne, while winning on the road, has still been inconsistent and I think the Ravens D will put pressure on him and cause him to make mistakes.
Baltimore 20 Miami 13
San Diego Chargers vs Houston Texans
-Can you say shootout? Both defenses have problems stopping people, and both offenses have plenty of weapons to score. The Chargers, however, may be without their best weapon, TE Antonio Gates. Gates is dealing with a foot injury and may not be able to play. The Texans are coming off a disappointing outing against Indianapolis. It dropped them to 4-3. Both of these teams need this win. The Texans need to keep pace in the AFC South race, and the Chargers need it to keep their season going. In the end, I'll take the home team and the Texans. The Texans are also the healthier of the two teams.
Houston 41 San Diego 31
New York Giants vs Seattle Seahawks
-This is a bad spot for the Seahawks. They're coming off an absolutely embarrassing outing against the Raiders where they scored only 3 points and were held to under 50 yards rushing. And this week they'll be without QB Matt Hasselbeck. That means Charlie Whitehurst gets his first start at QB for Seattle. It may not be that bad for the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck hasn't looked that good this year anyways. But he gets to face a Giants defense that has improved every week since the start of the season. Expect pressure from the Giants. I also expect Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to handle much of the workload for the Giants offense. In order for the Seahawks to compete, they'll need big plays from their special teams. But I like the Giants here. Seattle plays well at home, but the home crowd won't be enough to help them here.
NY Giants 30 Seattle 17
Kansas City Chiefs vs Oakland Raiders
-Of course when we looked at the schedule in August, we all thought this game would have huge implications in the AFC West, right? It's actually probably true, most of us thought it'd probably help determine the last place team. But instead, it has implications at the top of the division. The Raiders have been playing some great football the past couple of weeks. Their offense is clicking, and their defense is shutting people down. The Chiefs, while having a 5-2 record, still have problems at times offensively. They looked a little inconsistent last week against Buffalo, only managing 13 points against the worst defense in the league. That's why I like the Raiders here. The offense should continue to keep rolling, and their improving defense should be able to pressure Matt Cassel into making mistakes. The Raiders go into their bye week at 5-4 and with hope.
Oakland 30 Kansas City 26
Indianapolis Cots vs Philadelphia Eagles
-This one is a tough one to call. The Eagles are rested and coming off a bye week. They get Michael Vick back at QB, and he should be able to run right through the Colts poor run defense. The Colts are banged up, but they still have Peyton Manning. Manning should be able to take advantage of a weak Eagles secondary, even with injuries at WR and RB. The Eagles are 11-0 after their bye week under Andy Reid, which is a big factor. The Eagles also should have DeSean Jackson back at WR. It's tough for me to bet against the Colts, but I think the injury bug catches them here. The Eagles should be able to run right through them with Mike Vick and LeSean McCoy. It'll be close, but I'll take the Eagles on a late field goal.
Philadelphia 27 Indianapolis 24
Dallas Cowboys vs Green Bay Packers
-Listening to NBC's commercial for the game it said, "Can the Cowboys salvage their season?" There's nothing left to salvage. Their 1-6, and have clearly already packed it in. Wade Phillips is gone at the end of the year. Tony Romo is out, and Jon Kitna isn't that great. Their defense, especially the secondary, is getting picked apart. That's bad news when you have to go to Lambeau and take on the Packers. With Aaron Rodgers at QB, they're a pass happy team. Even without Donald Driver, expect Rodgers to take advantage of a down Cowboys team. I like the Pack as my lock of the week. This one could get ugly.
Green Bay 38 Dallas 17
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals
-I bet when the schedule was made, people thought this would be a battle for 1st place in the AFC North. Instead, the Steelers are 5-2 and the Bengals are 2-5, and heading in completely opposite directions. The Steelers, even after last week's loss against the Saints, are still at the top of the class in the AFC. The Bengals, meanwhile, are just as big a disappointment as the Cowboys. Many, including me, thought they'd be a playoff caliber team with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens at WR. But Carson Palmer is struggling, and the defense is having problems stopping people. Expect the Steelers offense to take advantage of that. And their defense should shut down Cedric Benson and force Carson Palmer into some bad throws. I like the Steelers here.
Pittsburgh 31 Cincinnati 21
That's all for this week. I'll be back Monday & Tuesday with my normal reviews of the WWE and NFL!
Until next time,