Here are my NFL Week 9 Picks
(11-2 last week, 68-51 for the season)
Bye teams: Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots, Steelers
Here are my NFL Week 8 Picks
(11-4 last week, 57-49 for the season)
Bye teams: Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants, Titans
Here are my NFL Week 6 Picks
(7-7 last week, 40-37 for the season)
Bye teams: Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Seahawks
Phi @ Car – Finally, a Thursday Night matchup of equally excellent teams that could actually make for a great game to watch. The Thursday Night idea has basically been a disaster; the scheduling is weird, the games are never entertaining, and the time frame throws off the players, leading to their under-performing. Maybe this changes this week, because these teams are strong, these conference contests are important, and these quarterbacks are hot. Let’s just hope everyone doesn’t come out flat, but I’m confident that they won’t. The Eagles are scorching right now, they look unstoppable behind young Carson Wentz, but it’s never easy to head out on the road into a hostile environment. The Panthers are just as hot, Cam seems to have shaken off the rust, and their defense is playing stout football. I think we could see the most evenly matched game of the year, so I have to give the edge to the home team, if just slightly.
Chi @ Bal – I just can’t seem to pick games right this year, but one thing at least seems certain; the Bears are going to lose. In a year in which even bad teams like the Jets can win on any given Sunday, Chicago keeps losing, and that helps keep me sane. They have won one game this year, but that won’t happen very often, and they didn’t even win last week at home vs a team playing their backup QB & RB. They had to resort to trick plays, and they were surprisingly successful, but the Bears still didn’t win, and they won’t this week either. The Ravens have been a bit up & down lately, but they are 3-2, are tied atop the AFC North, so all is not lost. With Pittsburgh struggling with consistency as well, Baltimore can move into the lead, and there’s really no reason that they shouldn’t. They’re defense is playing well, the offense just needs to step up a bit, something we might see right away, as the Ravens get the easy win.
Cle @ Hou – The Browns are so bad that they lost to the Jets at home and benched their rookie QB in utter despair. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they just need to quit playing football. Or change towns or names or something, Jesus, anything to stop being exactly what you’ve been for the past 20 years; terrible. In their modern history, or since 1999, they’ve had a season with a winning record only twice and have made the playoffs only once. Actually, if I’m reading this right, 1950 was the last time the Browns won two playoff-style games in a row. They’re ineptitude is just sad, and I’m tired of them existing. The Texans, on the other hand, have something to play for, and their rookie QB is playing great, he’s not sitting the bench because he sucks. Houston is only one game out of first place, and even losing JJ Watt won’t derail their forward momentum, so I’m picking them to win at home in what should be a blowout.
GB @ Min – I’m mad because this lost me my fantasy game, but the dumbest fan could have told Jason Garrett that he needed to run out every second of the clock before attempting to score last week during the final minute, because any time you left for Aaron Rodgers was an open invitation for the Cowboys to lose. How they didn’t know this, how they threw an incomplete pass, how they left time on the clock for the Packers to score; someone needs fired. I won’t have won my fantasy game if Rodgers hadn’t has that final drive; the guy is amazing, you knew he was going to throw a TD. He’ll assuredly throw more this week; the Vikings defense is good, but they aren’t that good. They also don’t have their starting QB or RB, and I think they’ll be in panic mode pretty early in this one, so it’s hard to see them getting the momentum switched to their side. The Pack should travel well and get the win in Minnesota.
Det @ NO – Matt Stafford tried to come back against the Panthers last week, but it was too little too late, and the Lions got their second loss. He’s banged up as well, and the magic might have worn off a bit; even the defense isn’t playing quite as well as they were at the beginning of the season. I don’t know, I like the Lions, but they’re showing me that they might not be the shockingly elite team that they looked like earlier on, and it might be time to jump off the bandwagon. I definitely will if they lose in New Orleans, something that I’m pretty sure is about to happen. Drew Brees dominates coming off bye weeks, and I think he’ll revel in the fact that the Saints are fully rested and are back at home. They are going to put up some points in this one, but I also think NO is going to play some actual defense. They allow 20 points a game, which is few enough for Brees to win it with his arm on the other end.
Mia @ Atl – Matt Cassel vs Jay Cutler last week and the Titans lost that battle of the …well …Titans …and Tennessee can’t wait for Mariota to get back on the field. Cutler and the Dolphins aren’t doing too poorly, they’re 2-2, but still they don’t score very much, their defense stepping up to keep their team in games that they maybe should lose. Miami will be exposed eventually, they aren’t great in any way, and this could be the week that the flood gates open and Cutler throws 9 INTs in desperation. The Falcons got their first loss and then had a bye week, so they’ve had time to sit on their anger and to let it eat away at their souls. I can’t imagine anything else other than a complete dominating performance out of Atlanta in Week 6, as they let all that frustration loose on the Dolphins. The Falcons are back at home, they have something to prove, and they will win this game going away.
NE @ NYJ – WTF is up with the Patriots defense? They allow the most points in the league (except for the Colts) and they are basically embarrassing themselves. This isn’t what we are used to, I’m not sure what has changed, but something has got to be fixed. Tom Brady can’t win these games all on his own anymore, he’s getting old and he’s getting hit. He’s hurt coming into this week, and he could be one sack away from calling it a career, who knows. Protect Brady, play solid defense, and this team could still make it to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, as it is, the Pats are tied with the Bills and the Jets atop the AFC East, which just shows you that the world has lost its mind. The Jets for Pete’s sake, the Jets are winning the division, and they allow far fewer points than the Patriots. They also score far fewer, which will ultimately be their downfall, both during this season and during this game.
SF @ Was – We know how bad the Browns are, we delight in discussing the plight of the Giants, but we forget that the Niners are also 0-5, that they are also one of the worst teams in the league. But I guess we understand that this is truly a rebuilding year, that it’ll take some time to turn things around, which is funny, because weren’t they in the Super Bowl a few years ago? And isn’t the QB they had then still available? Hmm, you think they might pick him up and try to win with him before they draft another guy next year, but no, that’s crazy, I heard he knelt down or something equally sinister, better not invite him into a locker room or something political might happen. Speaking of politics, I can’t take the Redskins seriously until they change their ridiculously offensive nickname. But I do think they’ll win this game at home vs one of the worst teams in the league, so let’s just leave it at that.
TB @ Ari – The Bucs haven’t exactly started this season the way that many of us thought that they would. They’re 2-2, they have only won at home, they haven’t been as lights out on offense as predicted, and they’re falling behind the Panthers and the Falcons for the division. They need to fix some problems right away before they fall deeper into this hole, and a win here would go a long way toward climbing out. This is a winnable game, but it won’t be easy, TB will have to sure that they are capable of finding their problems and fixing them; we’re about to see what kind of team the Bucs really are. We’ve seen what the Cardinals have become without David Johnson, and I’m not sure what else there is to learn. Now, they did just pick up Adrian Peterson and release Chris Johnson, so maybe they’ll play at home with some renewed vigor, I think they have a solid chance. It’s just that TB has a higher ceiling, so I’ll pick them here.
LAR @ Jax – The Rams are an interesting team, one that I did not see coming. They score the most points in the league (other than the Chiefs) and are tied for the NFC West lead with the Seahawks. That’s good company both ways, and I did not think they would be this tough a team when I made predictions before the season started. They did lose last week, they aren’t dominant at home, and they do allow too many points to be considered elite. But LA is undefeated on the road, they score points in bunches, and I wouldn’t want to be the team to face them this season. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Rams are coming to town, and I would be concerned. Jacksonville is a similar team; scores, plays well on the road, is doing surprisingly well. But I imagine that their wheels will fall off sooner rather than later. They’re a little inconsistent, and I don’t trust Bortles at all. The D is great, but it will only take them so far.
Pit @ KC – Big Ben Roethlisberger sounded pretty defeated after last week’s loss and after throwing 5 INTs, so there’s reason to wonder if his heart is in the game or not, if he can successfully steer this team toward the playoffs. He’s been hinting at retirement, and you have to assume it’s crossing his mind right now, even though the Steelers have a winning record and are tied at the top of their division. I don’t know, it’s weird, and no one knows but Ben. Pitt can still win games down the road, they have some immense talent on both sides of the ball, I just wouldn’t pick anyone to go into Kansas City right now and leave with a W. The Chiefs are the league’s best team, the league’s only undefeated team, and they’re playing well enough right now to still any questions or doubts. They score like crazy, if the defense steps up they’ll be unstoppable, I just hope they stumble a bit before my Broncos have to play them.
LAC @ Oak – Here are two of the other teams of the AFC West, both with their sights set on the division, but only one with any real chance. And it’s not LA, that’s for sure. They won their first game of the season last week, but this team is no good, one win shouldn’t fool us into thinking that anything has changed. Rivers is still an idiot, there is still no fan base to support them, and I’m very confident that they will lose this game in Oakland, maybe by a lot. Derek Carr is back for the Raiders after sitting one week with an injury, and I imagine he’ll be slinging the ball and scoring multiple touchdowns. Oakland scores more, allows less, is playing at home; this is pretty much a lock. Division opponents always play each other fiercely though, so there’s always a chance that the Chargers pull off something tricky, I just wouldn’t bet on it. No, the Raiders will dominate and keep working toward the top of the division.
NYG @ Den – Hit with impossible injuries last week, the Giants can now be completely counted out. I was all about them coming into the season, I thought they had the best WR trio in the league, I thought they would win the NFC East. Well, they were bad before they lost all their wideouts, and they’ll be much worst now. Odell and BMarsh and one other guy all left last week’s game with season-ending injuries in a game that completely devastated New York, leaving them with literally no one to throw to. They were awful and just got worse; I almost feel bad for what the Denver D is about to do to them. I don’t want my guys feeling overconfident, but they should dominate the GMen from the first snap to the final whistle. The Broncos are better on every side and should be able to score with ease. They should also be able to crush poor Eli on Sunday Night football, in their all blues, for the whole world to see.
Ind @ Ten – Andrew Luck is inching closer to returning, but meanwhile the Colts are struggling, though they have pieced together enough to go 2-3. They aren’t awful exactly, they just aren’t a great team without their stud QB, and they need him back in a big way. TY Hilton has been impressive, Brissett has been serviceable, but the Colts are just OK, and probably won’t win many until Luck returns. The Titans actually have the same record, but should be a far better team than they’ve shown so far. Now, last week Mariota was hurt and the Titans lost under Matt Cassel. That would have gone the other way had Mariota played, so thankfully he’ll be back this week vs Indy on Monday Night Football. Tennessee’s defense needs to step up in a big way; they’ve been extremely disappointing so far this year. But I think Marcus will play well, I think so will the defense, and I’d say this game won’t really be that close.
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for the best fantasy football rankings each week.
QBs – Joe Flacco vs the Bears. DeSean Watson vs the Browns. Drew Brees vs the Lions. Matt Ryan vs the Dolphins. Kirk Cousins vs the 49ers. David Carr vs the Chargers. Trevor Siemian vs the Giants. Marcus Mariota vs the Colts.
RBs – Mark Ingram vs the Lions. DeVontae Freeman vs the Dolphins. Mike Gillislee vs the Jets. Todd Gurley vs the Jaguars. DeMarco Murray vs the Colts.
WRs – Kelvin Benjamin vs the Eagles. Jordy Nelson vs the Vikings. Willie Snead vs the Lions. Julio Jones vs the Dolphins. Mike Evans vs the Cardinals. Amari Cooper vs the Chargers. Emmanuel Sanders vs the Giants. TY Hilton vs the Titans.
TEs – Kyle Rudolph vs the Packers. Rob Gronkowski vs the Jets. OJ Howard vs the Cardinals. Delanie Walker vs the Colts.
Ks – Justin Tucker vs the Bears. Mason Crosby vs the Vikings. Matt Prater vs the Saints. Matt Bryant vs the Dolphins. Stephen Gostkowski vs the Jets. Brandon McManus vs the Giants. Ryan Succop vs the Colts.
DEFs – Baltimore vs the Bears. New Orleans vs the Lions. Atlanta vs the Dolphins. Washington vs the 49ers. Denver vs the Giants. Tenessee vs the Colts.
Here are my NFL Week 5 Picks
(7-9 last week, 33-30 for the season)
Bye teams: Falcons, Broncos, Saints, Redskins
NE @ TB – Other than the Colts, the Patriots have allowed the most points in the league. That’s an incredibly strange statistic; that never happens with a Belichick defesne. At least the Pats are able to put up points as well, scoring the most in the league other than the Rams, but it’s still a glaring problem that they can’t hold teams down and that Brady has to be perfect at all times since he can’t rely on his defense. Most of us think that New England can bounce back, that they’ll still win the division, but the fact they they’re currently tied with the Jets at 2-2 is odd beyond measure. The Pats are actually better on the road than they are at home this season, so perhaps they can get back on track in Tampa on Thursday, but the Bucs will have something to say about that. TB is 2-1, undefeated at home, Jameis is slinging it, and I really like this team, it’s just hard to pick against Brady, especially when he’s coming off a loss and feeling angry.
NYJ @ Cle – Why, gods, why, what did we do to deserve this? First the Jags vs the Jets and the Bengals vs the Browns, now the Jets vs the Browns, and another game that really isn’t worth watching. Now, in New York’s defense, they are 2-2, they are performing much better than anyone thought they could, but if we’re realistic we’ll understand that they really aren’t a very good team. I actually think they’ll go into Cleveland and lose, but I thought that about the Bengals, so what do I know. The Brownies got demolished at home last week and are winless on the season. They’ll win a game at some point, they aren’t horrible, they just aren’t good. Kizer has potential, the Browns can also run the ball, and the odds are in their favor since the Jets have outreached themselves and the Browns have nothing at all to lose. The people of Cleveland deserve a team that has some hope, some vision of the future, that gives them some reason to watch.
Car @ Det – The Panthers pull off an improbable win in New England and now it looks like Cam has shaken off enough rust to be formidable once again. Carolina is 2-0 on the road, they’re just getting warmed up, and so watch out for this team going forward. They’ll look to go into Detroit and keep the momentum going, but oddly enough, Detroit’s defense is much better than New England’s, so this won’t be an easy game for Cam & Co. Actually, the Lions have allowed the same amount of points as the Panthers this season, but they’ve scored 21 more. And they’re playing at home, where they are only 1-1 but they probably should have won that game vs Atlanta and should probably be undefeated. The only red flag is that Stafford threw 4 TDs, then 2, then 1, and last week zero, so the Lions will need him to get back on track if they’re to have any hope of beating Carolina, something of which I think they are more than capable.
SF @ Ind – Sadly, the Niners are one of the NFL’s four remaining winless teams, and I’m not sure when that changes. They gave it a shot last week in Arizona, but couldn’t do more than kick a bunch of field goals; they only have 5 total TDs on the season, the second worst in the league. San Fran simply can’t put up points, and they don’t have the dominant defense to make that passable. We know they’re rebuilding, it’ll take some time, but it sure doesn’t look pretty in the meanwhile. The Colts are waiting for Andrew Luck to return, but while he’s sitting Brissett has come in and played adequately. They picked up a win, and were competitive with Seattle until Brissett started turning the ball over, so it’s been a roller coaster. I can’t pick them to win many until Luck returns, but at home vs the 49ers is a good spot to be in if you think you can get on track. We’ll see, but I’m going with Indy.
Ten @ Mia – With Mariota hurt, who knows what’s going to happen with the Titans, but they already aren’t doing as well this season as many of us expected they would. Mariota might not be out long, which is great, but they’re still 2-2, aren’t playing consistently, and just got annihilated by the Texans last week. Is this a running team, a passing team, a solid defense; we thought we knew but apparently we didn’t, as Tennessee has been all over the place so far this year. Luckily, the Dolphins aren’t any better, actually they’re a good bit worse, and they have their own problems to deal with as a frustrated but talented team comes rolling into Miami. So far, the Dolphins have scored two total touchdowns in three games, and they were just steamrolled by the Saints in London. So both teams need a win here to boost their confidence, but I have to give the edge to the Titans, even with Mariota’s health and playing on the road.
Buf @ Cin – A quarter of the way through the season and the Bills are the best scoring defense in the league, are 3-1, and lead the AFC East, a division that has been the Patriot’s sole possession for as long as I can remember. What is this, the 90s? Who do these Bills think they are? They don’t let you score, they shut down your weapons, they play fast, they took down the Broncos and the Falcons; it’s hard to tell this early on, but Buffalo might be the real deal. They head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, who just got their first win of the season in Cleveland last week. Really, Cinci almost beat GB in GB, which would have been something, so maybe this team is a little better than their record. Good Andy has showed up in spurts, but you have to imagine that Bad Andy will make a return, and isn’t it likely that he would shown up vs the best defense in the league? This game will go a long way toward answering some questions.
LAC @ NYG – Woe to the Chargers, woe to their fans. At their last home game, there were more people rooting for Philly than for Los Angeles, and stupid Stink Schlereth kept calling them San Diego; they aren’t even worth remembering correctly. LA doesn’t want them, SD let them go, Rivers is about on his way out, their head coach won’t last but a season or two, and I can’t think of a single reason to root for this team. I’m a Broncos fan, I don’t like them anyway, but I especially don’t like them this year; it feels like they ought not to be here. The Giants need to wipe the table with them so we can all feel better, but, sadly, NYG probably isn’t good enough to muster that up. They did lose twice to last second field goals in the last two weeks, so perhaps they’re improving, but the standings don’t lie, and New York is 0-4. I think they’ll change that and make LAC 0-5 this week; I have just enough faith left in Eli, though it’s fading.
Jax @ Pit – If the Jags can lose on the road to the Jets, they can lose on the road to the Steelers, and I think they definitely will. Jacksonville has been clamoring to be taken seriously, claiming that they have the best defense in the league, but great defense travels well, and their trip to the Big Apple ended in disaster. Their trip to England went so much better, it’s hard to understand how this team can be so up & down. But they are, they’re hard to trust, and I can’t pick them to win this game, not against one of the better teams in the AFC. The Steelers beat the Ravens on the road to take the division lead, and and it doesn’t really matter how they’re winning, it’s enough that they are. That’s the kind of team Pittsburgh is, a team that just wins no matter the way. I like a team like that in the playoffs, because the postseason never goes as scripted, you need to adapt, and that’s what this Pitt team is good at.
Ari @ Phi – The Cardinals are quickly proving to be a mediocre team. They barely beat the Colts and the Niners, pushovers that elite teams ought to cream. Arizona, at least since David Johnson got hurt, is not elite, they’re scraping by hoping that he’ll come back before the season is over. The good news is that the Cards are 2-2, and only one game out of the division lead. There’s still plenty of time, I’m just not sure they have the talent to do the most with it. Palmer is in the autumn of his career, I think you can sense it, so they had better win; it might be now or never. But they have to play the Eagles, one of the hotter teams in the league. No Darren Sproles, no problem, as Smallwood and Blount both stepped up to run ragged over the Chargers. Wentz looks strong, the defense is OK, this team is exciting to watch right now, and things are going right. I think it will continue to do so at home this week.
Sea @ LAR – This has the potential to be a shockingly awesome game, as the Seahawks travel to meet the division-leading Rams. Seattle has looked very strange this season, so inconsistent that it’s painful to watch. Their offensive line gives Wilson no time, the running backs no room, and so the Seahawks aren’t scoring like this usually do. The defense actually scored two TDs last week, so you can’t dismiss that part of this team’s game, but will it be enough week in and week out, and will Seattle solve its problems before it’s too late? The Rams hope to remain in the driver’s seat for as long as possible before the Seahawks regain their footing. LA scores the most points in the league, Gurley is a madman, the defense just needs to improve if this team is going to be legit. At home, I think they can control Seattle, which doesn’t play well away from the 12th Man. It might be weird to have a new top dog, but it might be happening.
Bal @ Oak – After starting off so well, albeit against the Bengals and the Browns, the Ravens have dropped their last two games. The competition got stiffer (Jacksonville and Pittsburgh), and apparently they weren’t up to the challenge. They stopped scoring, which is a major problem, and their defense can’t be expected to be on the field that long. I’m worried that they were pretenders instead of contenders, but I guess we’ll soon see. It might be apparent this week against the Raiders, but then again it might not be, since their starting QB will be on the bench. Carr has an injured back, will be out a few weeks, courtesy of the Denver D, and I don’t know if this team can function as well without their star player. Well, that’s silly, of course they can’t, but their defense has been OK, and can hold its own. This game might be close, but I think Baltimore has the edge because they have Flacco.
GB @ Dal – How this isn’t a primetime game is beyond me; the Monday Night matchup is Vikings vs Bears. This is the game of the week, will be extremely entertaining, I just hope it’s on TV. The Packers are in mid-season form now, and Aaron Rodgers just keeps passing Jordy Nelson touchdowns, which is a beautiful thing to watch. He’s on point, doesn’t seem like he’s aging, and can take this team to the Super Bowl on his back. Now, this game won’t be easy, I think it could go either way, but I can’t pick against Green Bay right now, now the way they’re looking. The Cowboys are easy to pick against because they’re a little erratic. They’re very middle of the road, just got wholloped, and I’m about to say I Told You So if they lose this game. A sophomore slump was inevitable, and I’ll eat my words if they take it to the Packers, but I really don’t think they will, though I’m hoping for an instant classic.
KC @ Tex – The Chiefs are now the only unbeaten team in the league, and they have deserved every win. There’s no fluke here, KC is legit, and they are a threat to win the Super Bowl. I’m not jumping on their bandwagon, I still think the Patriots have the best chance, and I think my Broncos won’t stop fighting for the AFC West. I just think you have to give credit to the team with the best record, especially when they are playing like they deserve it. At home, on the road, it doesn’t matter, they score, they stop you; this team is all-around good, and at least in the regular season, should be continually feared. The Texans aren’t doing too bad themselves, coming off a huge win at home vs the Titans. They’ll look to defend their home turf on Sunday Night Football, and Watson is playing well enough that they might be able to score some points, but this Chiefs D is nasty, I wouldn’t want to face them right now.
Min @ Chi – Wow, this Monday Night matchup went from bad to worse. The Vikings lose Dalvin Cook for the season, when the rookie was looking so very good. They also don’t know about Sam Bradford, or when he’ll be back, so that position is up in the air too. Their defense is solid every week, that’s for sure, and I think it can win this game all on its own. That much pressure is tough though, the defense needs a break sometime, and if the offense can’t stay on the field at all, it’s going to be a problem eventually. Luckily, the Bears offense is even worse. Chicago will be starting rookie Mitch Trubisky, after benching Mike Glennon. Not a shocker, but the kid probably isn’t ready, and probably shouldn’t be asked to take on one of the best defense in the league. Now, it’s a Monday game, so that’s an extra day to prepare, and the Bears played last Thursday, so that’s even more time, I just don’t think it will be enough.
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QBs – Jameis Winston vs the Patriots. Jacoby Brissett vs the 49ers. Eli Manning vs the Chargers. Joe Flacco vs the Raiders. Aaron Rodgers vs the Cowboys.
RBs – Frank Gore vs the 49ers. LeSean McCoy vs the Bengals. Wendell Smallwood vs the Cardinals. Ezekiel Elliott vs the Packers. Latavius Murray vs the Bears.
WRs – Mike Evans vs the Patriots. TY Hilton vs the 49ers. Jordy Nelson vs the Cowboys.
TEs – Rob Gronkowski vs the Buccaneers. Eric Ebron vs the Panthers. Delanie Walker vs the Dolphins. Tyler Kroft vs the Bills. Jesse James vs the Jaguars. Jason Witten vs the Packers. Kyle Rudolph vs the Bears.
Ks – Matt Prater vs the Panthers. Adam Viniatiari vs the 49ers. Justin Tucker vs the Raiders. Mason Crosby vs the Cowboys.
DEFs – Pittsburgh vs the Jaguars. Philadelphia vs the Cardinals. Baltimore vs the Raiders. Minnesota vs the Bears.