Week 9 NFL picks
Bengals at Dolphins
After starting the season 3-0, the Dolphins have dropped 4 straight games. Ryan Tannehill's numbers reflect the difference in their wins and losses:
The Bengals, meanwhile, are rolling toward an AFC North title. They've won their last 4, which included two road wins, a win over the Pats, and a 49-9 drubbing of the Jets. Somehow they're only favored by 2.5 in this game. That doesn't make much sense to me.
Chiefs at Bills
The Bills have played very well at home this season. They lost on the final play of the game at home against two of the AFC's best teams, the Pats and Bengals. They also beat the Ravens at home, as well as a good Panthers team.
The Chiefs have 36 sacks on the season. That not only leads the NFL, but the next closest team has 27. Fortunately for the Bills, they like to pound the run, as they have the 5th highest run play percentage in the NFL.
With their bye coming up, and 3 straight games against AFC West opponents (including 2 against Denver), it could be easy for the Chiefs to look past the Bills. Not to mention, while the Chiefs defense is playing well, their offense has yet to score more than 24 points in any game. The NFL's last unbeaten team goes down this week, and those 1972 Dolphins tools can pop their champagne.
Vikings at Cowboys
It's going to be fun watching Marcus Mariota and Adrian Peterson in the same backfield. Unfortunately, next season is a long way away for Vikings fans.
Titans at Rams
The Rams are very unpredictable. There are games where they don't even bother showing up (Cowboys, 49ers), and games where they look great (Texans, and their defensive performance against the Seahawks).
Jake Locker got a game in under his belt against the 49ers last week, and played reasonably well in his return from a hip injury. In the 4 games Locker played before he got hurt, the Titans did not turn the ball over once.
I like the Titans to get back to their ball control offense and wait for Kellen Clemens to be Kellen Clemens.
Saints at Jets
The Jets are 4-4, but have a point differential of -68. Only 3 teams in the league (the Jags at -178, the Giants at -82, and the Texans at -72) are worse. The Saints continue to roll on the road.
Chargers at the Washington team
Four weeks ago, Washington had their bye. That gave them the chance to self scout and figure out their troubles on defense. How'd that go for them? Welp, they've given up 117 points over their last 3 games (39 per game), and lead the NFL in points allowed per game (*the Jaguars don't count), with 32.7.
The Chargers are 4th in total offense and 3rd in yards per play. Expect more crooked numbers on the Washington scoreboard this week.
Falcons at Panthers
As noted in my hierarchy/obituary post earlier this week, the Falcons can't run the ball to save their lives:
What I didn't note is how particualrly bad they've been running the ball the last 4 weeks:
Pats: 58 yards
Jets: 64 yards
Buccaneers: 18 yards
Cardinals: 27 yards (Matt Ryan led the team with 13 yards in this one)
Total: 167 yards.
That's disgusting. The Falcons are too one-dimensional right now, and their best weapon in the passing game is out. Panthers all day.
Eagles at Raiders
I'm not sure anyone really has a good feel for this game. That includes Vegas, whose lines on this game are all over the map. Some have the Eagles favored by 2.5, some have the Raiders favored by 2.5, and there a couple of 'Pick'ems' thrown in (via ESPN):
For me, the logic is pretty simple. The Eagles need to show that they're not the awful football team they've been over the last two weeks before I'll trust them.
Buccaneers at Seahawks
Ravens at Browns
The Ravens are rushing for 2.8 yards per carry this season. Gross. That's worst in the NFL. While the Ravens at least have a competent passing game, the Browns have the 6th ranked pass D in the league, and the 7th ranked D overall.
Of course, if you're picking the Browns to win this game, you're betting on Jason Campbell, which is dicey. But the Ravens just aren't very good, so I'll take the team with the best unit on the field, which is the Browns defense.
Steelers at Patriots
The Patriots are good. The Steelers aren't.
Colts at Texans
Anyone who does weekly picks knows the Colts are a nightmare to figure out. They beat 3 teams who are arguably among the 5 best in the NFL (Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks), but lost to the Dolphins and got shut down by a below average Chargers D.
I watched Mike McGlynn in Philly for 3 years. McGlynn vs JJ Watt is about as lopsided as matchup as you'll find between 2 NFL starters, and Watt has a chance to wreck this game for the Colts.
This game IS the Texans' season. If they lose, they're done. If they win, they're 2 games back from the Colts with a hint of life. I tried to sell myself on that, but couldn't pull the trigger, so I'll take the safe play in the Colts. But I'm going to be mad when the Texans win.
Bears at Packers
Josh McCown vs. Aaron Rogers... soooooo... yeah.
How'm I doin'?
Last week: 11-2 (.846)
On the season: 81-39 (.675)
Here's how that compares to others.