Week 9 in the National Football League features another intriguing batch of games, from Bill Belichick taking on Eric Mangini in Clevleand, to the Bucs and Falcons battling for the NFC South lead, to the likely return of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson – just in time to take on Peyton Manning and the high-octane Indianapolis Colts.
What’s the opposite of high-octane? Last week’s results – as yours truly went from 7-for-7 at around 4pm on Sunday, to finishing the week with just 7 picks correct.
Last Week: 7-6
It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 9’s games in the NFL (spreads as they appear through CBSSports.com).
Pick Your Knows: NFL Week 9 Picks Against the Spread
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-8.5)
Moss is gone, Chilly is under fire and both Brett Favre and Percy Harvin are dinged up. All that equals more trouble for the Vikings. Meanwhile, Arizona showed some offense in last week’s loss to the Bucs. Don’t expect a two-score win for Minnesota, even at home.
KP’s Pick: Arizona
Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills (+2.5)
This game will be played in Toronto – and the Bears had a week off to attempt to figure out its offensive woes. Buffalo likely won’t remain winless all season long, and after two games in OT against Baltimore and Kansas City, this feels like the time Fitzpatrick and the Bills finally break through.
KP’s Pick: Buffalo
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)
The Dolphins are undefeated on the road and have been competitive all season long. The Ravens are a talented defensive bunch that has the talent to handle Miami’s unique offensive attack, but it would be surprising to see Baltimore cover – especially with how Miami’s defense has been steady both against the pass and the run.
KP’s Pick: Miami
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (+7.5)
Carolina does have a top five defense in the NFL, but the offense has struggled. In a 2-point loss to the Saints in Week 4, the Panthers were outgained by a few hundred yards and dominated in time of possession, too. The Saints will capitalize more often this time. New Orleans covers.
KP’s Pick: New Orleans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-8.5)
Tampa Bay has found a solid running game behind LeGarrette Blount – a nice compliment to Mike Williams and Josh Freeman in the passing game. The Falcons have plenty of weapons, too – but the Bucs are proving to be no fluke and should keep this one close throughout.
KP’s Pick: Tampa Bay
New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns (+4.5)
Belichick gets another faceoff against Mangini – but with the best record in football and likely a unqiue scheme to handle rookie Colt McCoy, even the feisty Browns won’t be able to keep this one close at home. Patriots cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: New England
San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans (+1.5)
The Chargers have the best pass defense and the Texans have the worst heading into the week. But San Diego is missing a number of passing weapons on offense, and when you look at past opponents, New England is the only prolific pass offense the Chargers have faced. Combine that with a winless road record, and the Texans steal a win at home.
KP’s Pick: Houston
New York Jets at Detroit Lions (+3.5)
Matthew Stafford was impressive in his return – but that was against a Redskins pass defense that has struggled. This week, it’s against a fierce Jets defense – and a New York team that is fuming after getting shutout against Green Bay last week. Jets cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: New York Jets
New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks (+5.5)
The Seahawks have allowed the third most sacks in the NFL and the Giants have a relentless pass rush. Combine that with Charlie Whitehurst filling in for a concussed Hasselbeck and this game has all signs pointing to New York covering on the road.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (-2.5)
These two teams are the two top rushing teams in the NFL – and each will try and control the clock. The key differences: The Chiefs have allowed the second lowest sack total in the NFL and Oakland has the 26th ranked rush defense. KC wins this one outright on the road.
KP’s Pick: Kansas City
Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
The Eagles appear to be getting both Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson back, and Austin Collie has been practicing for the Colts. Peyton will have his time and likely tear up Philly’s defense. Expect a shootout in this game – and the edge goes to Indy, but not by much.
KP’s Pick: Indianapolis
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
The Packers are 3rd in the NFL in total sacks and 3rd in the NFL in interceptions on defense. Dallas’ offensive line has struggled and Jon Kitna tossed four picks last week against the Jaguars. With these stats, it’s hard to pick against Green Bay playing at Lambeau.
KP’s Pick: Green Bay
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5)
The Bengals have been a disappointment and the Steelers defense has been nasty. But Pittsburgh’s strength is with the rush defense, and Cincinnati has enough passing weapons to keep this one interesting, especially when playing at home on the Monday night stage. Go with the Bengals and the points in what could be a 3 or 4-point game.
KP’s Pick: Cincinnati
Bye Week: Denver, Tennessee, St. Louis, San Francisco, Washington and Jacksonville