Another wild and wacky week for the NFL, and my picks are starting to be affected. I was doing pretty well against the spread, but after last week's poor performance, I dipped below .500 for the first time this year. I am pretty confident I will bounce back, despite all of the upsets and the crazy games. There really aren't a lot of very good teams in the NFL right now. The Tennessee Titans are probably considered the best team if the best record is the standard. Being undefeated will get them that title, but I am not sure they are the best team. But until someone knocks them from the ranks of the unbeaten, many will consider them the top dog. The Giants, at least right now, could be the favorites in the NFC. But, as the old saying goes, that is why they play the games. And that is why I make the picks, and right now we will get to them.
As always, home team in CAPS.
THIRSDAY NIGHT MATCHUP
CLEVELAND 3 Denver
It is hard to trust either team right now, but it is easier to go with the Browns. They at least haven't been playing too badly, while the Broncos lately have been bad. I don't think either team is going to make the playoffs. The Browns have the edge here simply by being at home. I'll take Cleveland.
ATLANTA 1 New Orleans
The Falcons have been playing pretty well, but beating Oakland is no big deal. The Saints are coming off of a bye week, and are probably going to be geared up for this game. The Falcons have been a surprise, but I have to go with New Orleans here. They are the better team.
Tennessee 3 CHICAGO
The Bears are the latest team to try to oust the undefeated Titans. Tennesee needed overtime last week, and most of their games have been very close. This one will be too, but I think they will have enough to beat the Bears. With the Titans' very good defense, the Bears are going to struggle to move the ball. I will take the Titans here.
Jacksonville 6 DETROIT
The way the Jaguars are playing, they have no right to be favored over anybody. They are playing the Lions though, but I think six points is awfully high here. As bad as the Lions are, I can't believe they are going to go winless. This might be one of their only chances the rest of the year. I can't trust Jacksonville at all right now. Detroit is the pick here, and to win the game outright.
MIAMI 8 1/2 Seattle
Don't look now, but the Dolphins are going to be playoff contenders the rest of the year. They have a very favorable schedule the rest of the season, and they have been playing very decent. The Seahawks have been borderline dreadful all year, and there is no light at the end of their tunnel. The points are high, but with the way Seattle is playing, I have to take Miami.
MINNESOTA 2 1/2 Green Bay
A battle of two mediocre teams here, but it is a big game in the generally weak NFC North. The winner here could likely win the division. But they won't get much further than that. I guess I will take the Vikings here being at home. A Green Bay win wouldn't stun me at all though.
NEW ENGLAND 3 1/2 Buffalo
This is a big game in the surprisingly competitive AFC East, but the Bills have been reeling lately. They got sent back to earth after a flying start, but they are still tied for first in the division. I think the Patriots will keep them reeling. The Patriots have not been that impressive, and the combined record of the teams they have won against is well below .500. But they are the better team here, and look for them to get back on top of the division.
NEW YORK JETS 8 St. Louis
I will never be able to trust Brett Favre, but against the Rams it might not make much of a difference. The Jets are in a three way tie for first place, and they will be in a two way tie after this week. They do have the home field edge here, but Jim Haslett has the Rams playing better. It won't be enough here though.
Baltimore 1 HOUSTON
Just when I think the Texans are going to make a run, they put up a laugher last week. May be next year they will put it all together. The Ravens have been playing well, and they are starting to get some notice. I have been picking the Texans a lot and usually losing with them. I will go against them this week and of course lose. But I have to take the Ravens here.
Carolina 9 OAKLAND
I actually almost feel bad for the Raiders. They decide to clean house this week, and now they will have nothing left. I am not a fan of the Raiders ( except for those heavenly Raiderettes ), but they are one of the legendary NFL franchises, and they have completely fallen apart. They are at home, but catch a very good Carolina team coming off of a bye week. This could be over early. Take Carolina here.
PITTSBURGH 4 Indianapolis
The Steelers are coming off of a short week, and they are battling injuries. So are the Colts ( I guess many teams are really ), and Peyton Manning just has not been playing his usual football. The Colts are actually lucky to have the record they do. The Steelers are the better team this year, and despite the short week, I'll take Pittsburgh.
ARIZONA 9 1/2 San Francisco
It looks like the Cardinals are on their way to the division title, barring something drastic happening. Granted, the division stinks, but they are the best team in it. The 49ers are coming off of a bye week, and hopefully interim coach Mike Singletary has taken the week to calm down. San Francisco is a bad team right now, and the Cardinals will gladly take advantage.
Game of the Week
PHILADELPHIA 3 New York Giants
This is a huge game in the very tough NFC East, and both teams have looked very good lately. Both teams are very likely heading to the postseason. I like Philadelphia here at home. I am not sure they are the better team, but they very well could be playing better at this point in time.
Stinker of the Week
SAN DIEGO 15 Kansas City
I couldn't find too many options this week, so I went with this game, which will probably be a blow out. The Chargers are coming off a much needed week of rest, and they need a convincing win to establish themselves in the AFC West. With Denver playing so poorly right now, San Diego needs a win here. And they will get it easily.
Record For Week Nine: 6-8 ( 9-5 without spread )
Record Through Week Nine: 64-65-1 (78-52 without spread )
Game of Week Record: 3-6
Stinker of Week Record: 3-6
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:
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