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Week Nine Picks

November 3rd, 2013

Let’s see how much more I can get wrong this week. Here’s the rest of what not to expect.

Atlanta (+7.5) at Carolina
The 2-5 Falcons have one game they should win and two others they could win left on their 2013 schedule. This doesn’t fall into either category. Panthers by 10.

Minnesota (+9.5) at Dallas
The Cowboys are headed for 8-8 and an NFC East title (followed by a first-round exit from the post-season). The Vikings are headed for 2-12, maybe 3-13 and yet another new starting quarterback. That, I suppose, makes the Cowboys the least diseased organization in this matchup. So that’s gotta feel good. Dallas by 17.

New Orleans (-6.5) at NY Jets
Jets owner Woody Johnson says his team is “improving rapidly.” I’d tend to agree. I mean, look: Two weeks ago in a game against the division rival Patriots, the Jets found a way to come out on top. That was disappointing. Then last weekend, the Jets traveled to Cincinnati and got the snot beat out of them. Clearly, they did a much better job last weekend of remembering that they’re the Jets. That’s the kind of improvement I like to see. I assume that’s what Johnson is talking about. Right? Saints by nine.

Tennessee (-3) at St. Louis
There are probably people out there for whom Jeff Fisher vs. the Titans makes for an interesting story line. I’m not one of them. I’m one of those who looks at two mediocre teams squaring off with the winner probably getting the privilege of picking just behind the loser in the 2014 draft and thinks, “Yeah, that’s not an interesting story line either.” Titans by six.

Kansas City (-3.5) at Buffalo
If the Bills can avoid a fatal error, they have a solid chance to pull off a big upset here. It’s not that I think the Bills are that much better than advertised, or the Chiefs that much worse. It’s just that Kansas City is due for a loss and Buffalo has a way of beating better teams on their field under the right circumstances. Avoid turnovers (which they’re completely capable of doing) and the Bills will come out with a victory. Let’s go out on a limb and call it Buffalo by three.

San Diego (pick ’em) at Washington
The difference between a 4-3 team in the AFC West and a 2-5 team in the NFC East is considerably greater than records alone let on. The only thing likely to slow down the Chargers today is that they have to play an early game on the east coast. That probably helps keep the difference to something like seven. Chargers win.

Philadelphia (+2.5) at Oakland
Hey, look, it’s a Super Bowl XV rematch. Or, um, something like that. I wonder if Ron Jaworski could run Chip Kelly‘s offense. Raiders by a touchdown.

Tampa Bay (+15.5) at Seattle
I suspect that this game will be much more competitive than anyone thinks. I figure the Bucs keep it close right up through Seattle’s first offensive possession. After that, it’s a turkey shoot. Seahawks by 20.

Baltimore (-2) at Cleveland
The only reason I can come up with to think that the Browns could possibly beat the Ravens is that I can’t come up with a single reason to think that the Browns could possibly beat the Ravens. So I’m taking the home dogs. Cleveland by a field goal.

Pittsburgh (+6.5) at New England
Yeah, the Steelers are bad. And, yeah, they turn the ball over way too often, which is the kiss of death when you’re facing Bill Belichick‘s team. So of course I’m taking New England. But I’m not giving more than three points to any opponent of these increasingly banged up Patriots. Not now and probably not eight weeks from now. New England by a field goal.

Indianapolis (-2) at Houston
In which Case Keenum makes the starting quarterback position in Houston his for the remainder of the season. Texans win a fairly high scoring game by a field goal.

Chicago (+10.5) at Green Bay
One good thing to have when you’re trying to win games in the NFL is a quarterback. Green Bay by two touchdowns.

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