NFL Week 9 PicksPosted: October 30, 2014
Will was unable to contribute today, due to some combination of a mild health issue, a very important fedora fitting, a plan to end Halloween bullying once and for all, realizing how bad his picks were last week, and another, less important fedora fitting. Luckily, Derek is more than up to the job. Without further ado…
We are not gamblers. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Some of these choices have actual thought put into them. More of these choices were made with gut, intuition, and a little thing called grit.
Employ these recommendations at your own peril. Gambling is ungentlemanly.
[Home team in caps. Lines, team rankings, and standings as of 10/30/14 (before the Thursday night game). All lines per VegasInsider.com consensus. Bye: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee]
CINCINNATI (-11) vs. Jacksonville
Cincinnati: 4-2-1, 1st AFC North, #16 total offense, #18 scoring offense, #30 total defense, #17 scoring defense
Jacksonville: 1-7, 4th AFC South #30 total offense, #32 scoring offense, 25 total defense, #27 scoring defense
Derek: Allow me to be the first to point out that the Jags aren’t very good. But the thing is, they actually were okay against Miami last week. Yes, they lost by 14, but look at the box score. They were pretty even with (or better than) Miami statistically, except for one little area: turnovers. The Jaguars committed two more turnovers than the Dolphins. And, as fate would have it, the Dolphins ran two interceptions back for touchdowns.
What does this mean? Are the Jags underrated, or are they experts at finding a way to lose? Either way, it’s pretty difficult to trust them with their track record. As I mentioned in last week’s picks, the Bengals are money at home and A.J. Green could be back (for real this time). I’m going with the Bengals.
CLEVELAND (-6.5) vs. Tampa Bay
Cleveland: 4-3, 4th AFC North, #12 total offense, #16 scoring offense, #29 total defense, #13 scoring defense
Tampa Bay: 1-6, 4th NFC South, #32 total offense, #27 scoring offense, #32 total defense, #32 scoring defense
Derek: This is a big week for Brian Hoyer. The Bucs defense is atrocious. Don’t take my word for it. Check the rankings a few lines up. They were the worst defense in the league even before they started trading starters.
So unless the Bucs absolutely gift wrap the game with turnovers or something, Hoyer needs to have a big day. There isn’t a softer pass defense out there. This is Hoyer’s chance to silence the folks who started pining for Johnny Football after the Jacksonville game.
If he can’t torch Tampa at home, then why not start Johnny Football? If he can’t make his mark in this game, then just exactly when and where and against whom can he make his mark?
I believe in you, Brian. I believe. The Browns pull it off.
Will: Ok I’ll pick this one real quick go Browns go.
DALLAS (-4) vs. Arizona
Dallas: 6-2, 1st NFC East, #4 total offense, #8 scoring offense, #14 total defense, #9 scoring defense
Arizona: 6-1, 1st NFC West, #25 total offense, 15 scoring offense, #24 total defense, #5 scoring defense
Derek: The Cowboys could be out for blood after losing to the Redskins Monday night. The Cardinals also might be really, really good.
But you know what I like? The narrative that Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy were prominently involved in creating the Cowboys’ nosedive that we both think is inevitable. I think that’s pretty funny. I’ll take that potential comedy, and I’ll also take the points.
KANSAS CITY (-9.5) vs. New York Jets
Kansas City: 4-3, 3rd AFC West, #20 total offense, #11 scoring offense, #3 total defense, #3 scoring defense
New York: 1-7, 4th AFC East, #28 total offense, #28 scoring offense, #6 total defense, #30 scoring defense
Derek: When I switched Julian Edelman to Sammy Watkins in my FanDueling last week, one of the reasons was his ability to get deep and the Jets’ inability to stop deep passes.
Well, luckily for the Jets, they’re facing Alex Smith this week. Not exactly the type to chuck it deep. The Jets are also going to get some improved quarterback play this week, because I don’t think it’s possible for it to be any worse.
Unfortunately, the Chiefs’ D is playing really well and the Jets are going to be playing in front of an Arrowhead crowd that I imagine will have to let off some steam after the Royals lost the World Series.
The Jets seem to be imploding. I’m surprised the line isn’t higher. I’ll take the Chiefs.
MIAMI (-2.5) vs. San Diego
Miami: 4-3, 3rd AFC East, #13 total offense, #12 scoring offense, #7 total defense, #11 scoring defense
San Diego: 5-3, 2nd AFC West, #15 total offense, T-#9 scoring offense, #10 total defense, #4 scoring defense
Derek: San Diego has had extra time to prepare since they had the Thursday game last week. However, they also have the dreaded 10 a.m. PT start time. Plus, there’s the little matter of their offensive line. If that Denver game was any indication of their ability to block, then I’m not sure how they’re going to handle Cameron Wake and company. Did you see poor Branden Oliver last week? He could barely complete the exchange before he was swarmed by defenders.
I say these teams are about even. I’m tempted to take the home team, but the Dolphins aren’t really known for having a solid home-field advantage. So, I’ll take the points.
MINNESOTA (-1) vs. Washington
Minnesota: 3-5, 4th NFC North, #29 total offense, #29 scoring offense, #8 total defense, #12 scoring defense
Washington: 3-5, 4th NFC East, #7 total offense, #23 scoring offense, #11 total defense, #22 scoring defense
Derek: Not really sure what to make of this one. Everything I’ve read points to RG3 making his return this weekend, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Uhhh…I guess I’ll take Minnesota because they’re at home? Plus the Redskins have had a short week after the Monday night game in Dallas. Those seem like decent reasons.
Philadelphia (-2) at HOUSTON
Philadelphia: 5-2, 2nd NFC East, #5 total offense, #4 scoring offense, #26 total defense, #15 scoring defense
Houston: 4-4, 2nd AFC South, #17 total offense, #17 scoring offense, #23 total defense, #8 scoring defense
Derek: Did you know the Eagles have committed 17 turnovers, which is worse than every team in the league except Jacksonville? Further, did you know that the Houston defense has 17 takeaways, which is better than every team in the league except Buffalo?
And the Texans are at home? And I’m getting points?
Yeah, I’ll take Houston.
(Random side note: the Seahawks are the best in the league with just three giveaways, and the Browns are tied for second with four. Out teams know that a Gentleman doesn’t like to watch his team turn the ball over.)
SAN FRANCISCO (-10) vs. St. Louis
San Francisco: 4-3, 2nd NFC West, #11 total offense, #19 scoring offense, #2 total defense, #18 scoring defense
St. Louis: 2-5, 4th NFC West, #22 total offense, #26 scoring offense, #19 total defense, #31 scoring defense
Derek: It wasn’t all that long ago that the 49ers slapped the Rams around on national tetevision in St. Louis. That was also a few Ram injuries ago.
The 49ers have had a couple of weeks to sit and think about the beating the Broncos gave them. I think they come out fired up. The 49ers win, and I think it gets ugly.
Denver (-3) at NEW ENGLAND
Denver: 6-1, 1st AFC West, #6 total offense, #1 scoring offense, #4 total defense, #6 scoring defense
New England: 6-2, 1st AFC East, #10 total offense, #3 scoring offense, #12 total defense, #14 scoring defense
Derek: I think enough has been said about this game, so I’ll keep it brief: the Patriots are at home, Brady is on fire, and I’m getting three points. I’ll take New England.
SEATTLE (-15) vs. Oakland
Seattle: 4-3, 3rd NFC West, #18 total offense, #13 scoring offense, #5 total defense, #10 scoring defense
Oakland: 0-7, 4th AFC West, #31 total offense, #31 scoring offense, #17 total defense, #24 scoring defense
Derek: I’m terrified. Maybe everyone else forgot, but I didn’t forget what Derek Carr did to the Seahawks in the preseason. He had three touchdowns before two minutes passed in the second quarter.
Yeah, it was the preseason, and it was in Oakland. This is a real game, and it’s in Seattle. I still can’t shake the thought, though. Seattle hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire lately, as you’ll know if you’ve read anything at all about them in the last two weeks.
Fortunately, this is an easy pick because I’m a huge homer. I’m not picking against them even if I’m terrified and I have to lay 15 points. SEA! HAWKS!
Baltimore (-1) at PITTSBURGH
Baltimore: 5-3, 2nd AFC North, #9 total offense, #7 scoring offense, #13 total defense, #2 scoring defense
Pittsburgh: 5-3, 3rd AFC North, #3 total offense, T-#9 scoring offense, #16 total defense, #21 scoring defense
Derek: This one’s gonna be a slobberknocker! These two teams just plain don’t like each other! There’s no love lost between these two franchises!
These teams seem dead even to me. On a neutral field, I’d probably flip a coin. But Pittsburgh is at home, so I reckon I’ll take them.
Indianapolis (-3.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
Indianapolis: 5-2, 1st AFC South, #1 total offense, #2 scoring offense, #15 total defense, #16 scoring defense
New York: 3-4, 3rd NFC East, #23 total offense, #22 scoring offense, #27 total defense, #20 scoring defense
Derek: I’m just going to call last week’s Colts game an aberration. They’re much better at home, but surely they won’t drop two winnable games in a row. The Giants are coming off a bye, but they haven’t done well against good teams. They’ve played four teams over .500, with four double-digit losses to show for it. I’ll take the Colts.