Week 9 NFL Picks: Falcons March Closer To Undefeated Season, RG3 Vs. Cam Shows Promise
BOSTON (CBS) — Tim Tebow trade rumors? Is that really where we’ve arrived as a society? That’s what we need to get through our sports week? Tim Tebow trade rumors?
Come on, people. You’re better than that. Well, some of you aren’t better than that, if I’m going to be completely honest, but I’m choosing to lie instead. You’re better than that!
Alas, the Internet was clogged with Tim Tebow trade rumors all week. TMZ was reporting on Tebow being in Jacksonville as if that was newsworthy. It’s not. He’s from there. Tweets and blog posts were fired off at a rapid pace. “Which teams are interested in Tebow?” That might be a legitimate question, but the more apt question is “What would teams actually give up to acquire Tebow, and what would the Jets want for him after they gave up a fourth- and sixth-round pick for him just seven months ago?” But if you start asking those questions, you realize there are no answers that actually make sense. And then you don’t have your sensational Tebow trade story.
We also don’t have a Jets game to pick this week, so let’s get into all of this week’s picks, as well as the Ridiculous Quotes From Last Week’s Picks.
(Home team in caps; Thursday’s lines)
SAN DIEGO (-8) over Kansas City
I have no explanation for what the Chargers did last week, but I’m thankful for it. If they had beaten the Browns by 17 points like they should have, it would have made this week’s spread 12 or 13 points. Thanks to strong winds and heavy rain, a San Diego stinker last week makes this week’s selection that much easier. Remember, these Chargers beat the Chiefs 37-20 in Kansas City a month ago. You think the Chiefs will play better with a quarterback with confidence issues who was benched for Brady Quinn but then forced back into action only after Quinn was knocked out of a game?
Plus, don’t the Chargers always manage to win just enough games to somehow justify Norv Turner’s existence? Isn’t this the game they win to do that? It is.
INDIANAPOLIS (+2) over Miami
This one comes down to just how much you really like the Dolphins. After I spent the preseason and first couple of weeks of the season saying the Dolphins may be the worst team in the NFL this year, I’m aware enough to admit I was very wrong. (My apologies to the Jaguars, Chiefs and Browns for my overlooking their lack of eptitude.) I’m still not ready to say the Dolphins are a playoff team, or that they’re even a good team. They’ve only beaten the Raiders, Rams, Bengals and Jets, teams with a combined 12-18 record. I don’t see the Dolphins (and their 27th-ranked passing defense) having any answer for Reggie Wayne, who leads the NFL in receiving yards. He’ll be the difference in this one.
Plus, any time there’s a possibility of a Matt Moore sighting and you’re not getting any points, you have to go the other way.
Ridiculous Quote From Last Week’s Picks: “I like the Rex Ryan defense going against the rookie head coach/rookie quarterback combo [of Miami] for the second time of the year.”
Note: This is why making picks can be so frustrating. Ryan Tannehill was out of the game early, and the Miami offense only ended up gaining 236 total yards … yet the Dolphins still won by 21 points. Just goes to show how terrible the Jets are. I’ve learned my lesson.
HOUSTON (-10.5) over Buffalo
The Texans spent their bye week basking in the glow of a dominating win over one of three or four true AFC contenders. The Bills spent theirs lamenting another loss. Not even a bye week can spare the Bills from the Texans keeping their roll going. The Bills allow the most rushing yards in the NFL. The Texans have (arguably) the best running back in the NFL. If you can put two and two together, you see where I’m going with this one.
Baltimore (-3.5) over CLEVELAND
This one’s really confusing. In games where there aren’t 40 mph winds and steady rainfall, the Browns are 1-6. In games when there are 40 mph winds and steady rainfall, they’re 1-0. Sunday calls for partly sunny skies and 7 mph winds. It’s simple, really.
Denver (-3.5) over CINCINNATI
The Broncos are going to wallop every single bad team they play this season. The Bengals are a bad team.
Chicago (-3.5) over TENNESSEE
It’s road favorite weekend!
A 3.5-point cover seems tough for the Bears, considering they’ve won their last two games by a grand total of seven points. But on the whole, they’re outscoring opponents 26-14 this season, and that’s even with a 13-point loss to Green Bay included. They can win big, and though Tennessee has played tough at home (Week 1 excluded), they’ve struggled to compete with any high-quality teams all season.
Detroit (-3.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Oh, crap. Really? This is a thing that’s happening? That’s unfortunate.
GREEN BAY (-11) over Arizona
The Packers really let me down by not covering that monster spread against Jacksonville last week, but fortunately they have another shot this week, and this one seems more reasonable after watching Arizona’s “offense” attempt to operate on Monday night. Seven rushing yards on nine carries? That’s impossible. Though I watched it happen, I refuse to believe it.
RQFLWP: “The Cardinals have yet to allow an opponent score more than 21 points, allowing on average 17 points per game. If Alex Smith’s offense becomes the team to buck that trend, then I won’t feel badly about making this pick.”
Note: After watching John Skelton and the Arizona offense for a full three hours, and watching Alex Smith go 18-for-19 with three touchdowns, I do in fact feel badly about making that pick. I’m still learning and growing.
WASHINGTON (-3) over Carolina
I continue to stick with the Redskins, even if it’s not working out just yet. They’re 0-2 against the spread when favored this year, and they actually lost both of those games outright, which gives me some concern here. But the Panthers are 3-4 against the spread, so there’s not exactly a safe bet either way.
May I propose they just spend the three hours pitting Robert Griffin against Cam Newton in various physical challenges? Perhaps a 100-meter sprint, one of those cool obstacle courses they used to have quarterbacks run through before the Pro Bowl, a one-on-one basketball game, a three-round boxing match and a race up the Super Aggro Cragg (emceed by Mike O’Malley, naturally) to finish the day would be good. It would definitely get better ratings than the actual football game.
Minnesota (+5) over SEATTLE
What would make anyone think the Seahawks are capable of beating anyone by five points, let alone a 5-3 team from a superior division? The Seahawks haven’t won by five or more points since Sept. 16. They haven’t won period since Oct. 14. Their last three wins have been by a combined total of five points.
I recognize that the Vikings’ biggest weapon (Adrian Peterson) will be slowed by that impressive run defense, but the Minnesota run defense isn’t exactly a push-over. It should be a low-scoring and close game. Five points is more than enough to take here.
Tampa Bay (pick ‘em) over OAKLAND
I could blabber on and on with what I think about this game, or I could let McKayla Maroney take care of it in one photo.
(Thank you, Halloween costumes, for handing me a lifeline by allowing me to reach back to August for a pop culture reference!)
NEW YORK GIANTS (-3) over Pittsburgh
Maybe this is stupid, but every now and then, sports find a way to make things better for people, even if only for a few hours, and even if it’s only mental relief from a horrible situation. And nobody needs a mental relief more than the people of New Jersey and New York City, some of whom have spent the week dealing with minor inconveniences while others have lost everything to their name. When you lose your car, your house and in some cases, your whole damn neighborhood, there’s really no quick fix to feel better, and I wish all those people the best in their recovery from this awful disaster.
So while it may lack rationality, I just see this game as a major rallying point for folks in that area to get in, get loud, and go crazy for the Giants.
RQFLWP: “The Steelers are a lousy football team. It’s this weird phenomenon this country’s experiencing where we see the same jersey and the same quarterback and the same head coach from when they were still good, but they’re not.”
Note: You see, I didn’t know they were going to wear those hideous throwbacks! It threw off my whole point! That’s my bad for not knowing that ahead of time.
ATLANTA (-4) over Dallas
I said last week that if the Falcons could get past the Eagles, they have no reason to not be undefeated (triple-negative!) when they host the Giants in Week 15. I’ll stick with that belief, and a four-point spread isn’t nearly enough to scare me away this week.
Philadelphia (+3) over NEW ORLEANS
The Eagles are pretty bad, but they’re not that bad. Right? Right?!
If ever Michael Vick could have a monster performance, it would be this one, against the Saints’ dreadful passing defense (30th in NFL) and even-worse rushing defense (32nd). If the Eagles’ defense can have at least a decent day, this should be the game that gets the Eagles back to .500.
Last week: 7-7