College Football’s “Game of the Century” between LSU and Alabama didn’t quite live up to the hype on Saturday night, even though the matchup was indeed a defense-filled, intense game that resulted in a 9-6 overtime victory by the LSU Tigers. But while that game fell short of many expectations, Sunday’s NFL slate could easily make up for it.
The Week 9 NFL schedule features a number of key matchups, as the Giants and Patriots face off, the Ravens and Steelers renew their rivalry and the Chicago Bears travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles on Monday night.
In the “Pick Your Knows” department, it was another decent week for me, as I further pushed myself up the ranks. I still remain off last year’s pace, but there’s plenty of time to right that ship.
Last Week: 7-6
This Season: 61-55
Last Season: 144-112
It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 9’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appear through CBSSports Fantasy).
Pick Your Knows: 2011 NFL Week 9 Picks Against the Spread
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
The Jets are 29th in total offense, and will need its defense to step up on the road this week. The Bills have allowed just nine sacks on the season, and the aggressive Jets could still have issues getting to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jets have allowed just four passing TD’s, which means this game could come down to Fred Jackson versus New York’s 25th-ranked run defense. Here’s betting the Jets, with a week of rest, get the better of the Bills in the final minutes.
KP’s Pick: New York Jets
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-12.5)
The Seattle run defense allows the fewest yards per carry (3.2) in the NFL this season, so it could be a challenge for DeMarco Murray and the Dallas run game to get going. But Seattle’s 31st-ranked offense has allowed the most sacks (28) and could have trouble keeping up with Dallas’ pass attack. All signs point to Dallas winning this game, but the question remains, by how much? Dallas should be angry after last week’s performance. With that in mind, Cowboys cover.
KP’s Pick: Dallas
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (-10.5)
This game’s result will revolve around injuries. Andre Johnson is out for the Titans, while Montario Hardesty is out for the Browns. Peyton Hillis is also out after re-injuring his hamstring. Houston will clearly rely heavily on Arian Foster and the run game. The Browns feature a top five defense in yards per game, and should therefore slow down the Houston offense to some degree. With all this in mind, the line is still a bit steep. Take the Browns and the points.
KP’s Pick: Cleveland
Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts (+7.5)
Michael Turner has rushed for 120+ rushing yards over Atlanta’s last two games, and this week, faces Indy’s run defense, which has allowed the second most yards per game (144.0) and the third most rushing touchdowns (10). The winless Colts have failed to get consistent play on offense, and there’s no reason to believe that will change this weekend. Falcons cover.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta
Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)
Daniel Thomas remains questionable this week, and that provides a slight hit to Miami’s offense. But the most interesting stat of this game could be Miami allowing the league’s second most sacks (27), while the Chiefs have the NFL’s fewest total sacks, with nine. Kansas City is on a four-game win streak and plays at home. KC’s pass defense (13 INT’s) has been solid, and could win this game with Matt Moore playing QB. Chiefs cover.
KP’s Pick: Kansas City
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
The Saints were shocked last week by the Rams, and this week, host the Bucs, a team they lost to back on October 16th. Tampa Bay plays the Saints tough, and should have LaGarrette Blount back, which will provide a major boost to the team’s offense. It would be shocking to see Drew Brees have a second consecutive sub-par game, but that doesn’t mean that New Orleans will cruise to a double-digit victory. Take the Bucs and the points.
KP’s Pick: Tampa Bay
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins (+3.5)
With all of its injuries, the Washington offense struggled last week, posting a goose egg against the Bills. This week, the Redskins face the 49ers, a team that has the NFL’s top run defense. That would leave John Beck and the pass game to have to put points on the board. Meanwhile, Frank Gore has posted four straight one hundred yard games, and it seems likely that the Niners will send the reeling Redskins to another loss. San Francisco covers.
KP’s Pick: San Francisco
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-7.5)
Darren McFadden is out again this week, which will provide a major hit to the Oakland offense. On the other side, it’s heavily documented just how bad Tim Tebow and the Broncos O-line played last week. This matchup was a three-point game during Week 1, and that game featured McFadden at running back. As bad as the Broncos played last week, Denver often plays the Raiders tough – and could easily keep this a one-score game.
KP’s Pick: Denver
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
The Bengals have the 2nd-ranked rush defense, and should have success against Chris Johnson, who has struggled all season for Tennessee. Both teams have kept opponents away from their QB’s, as the Titans have allowed 10 sacks and the Bengals 12. Cincy’s pass defense has just three INT’s on the year, which means Matt Hasselbeck could flourish. The Bengals have overall been the better team, but my gut tells me Cincy is due for a loss. Titans barely cover.
KP’s Pick: Tennessee
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5)
The key to this game is quarterback injuries. Sam Bradford is listed as questionable and may play, but if not, it will be A.J. Feeley again. Kevin Kolb is doubtful, and there’s a liklihood that John Skelton will start for the Cardinals. St. Louis will likely focus most of its energy in stopping Beanie Wells and the Arizona run game. Also, with how well the Rams played last week against the Saints, plus the absence of Kolb, St. Louis should keep this game close, or even win it.
KP’s Pick: St. Louis
New York Giants at New England Patriots (-8.5)
With the Giants already ruling out Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw this weekend, this clearly is a tricky line. Both teams have potent offenses, with New England’s being the third-best in the NFL. Eli Manning has been great this season, and still has Brandon Jacobs in the backfield and a Mario Manningham/Victor Cruz combo in the passing game. As beatable as the New England pass defense has been, it’s hard to imagine the Giants not keeping this game within reach until the end. Take the Giants and the points… but not by much. Pats win by 7.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants
Green Bay Packers at San Diego Chargers (+5.5)
The Chargers continue to deal with injury issues, as well as inefficiency and inconsistent play by Philip Rivers. Heading into the week, the Chargers had injuries to all three of its running backs, but Tolbert is now listed as probable and Mathews questionable. Still, the undefeated Packers have had a week to rest, and a heavily injured San Diego roster could have trouble keeping up with Green Bay’s potent (and rested) attack. Green Bay should cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: Green Bay
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
This game matches up two bitter rivals that are also the NFL’s top two defenses in regards to yards allowed per game. The Steelers have allowed 25 sacks on the year (4th most), while the Ravens have 25 sacks (2nd most). One major reason for these statistics is due to the lopsided result between these teams during Week 1. Since, the Ravens have had their struggles, while the Steelers have played great football. And that’s why I’m taking Pittsburgh to cover at home.
KP’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
The Eagles dominated the Cowboys last week, clearly making many prognosticators think that this team is finally playing at a level that it should have since day one. The Eagles’ run defense has been vulnerable this season, and Matt Forte has been one of the better backs in the NFL. But with the kind of performance that the Eagles put forward against Dallas last week, it’s hard to envision Jay Cutler being able to keep this game within a touchdown. Philly covers.
KP’s Pick: Philadelphia