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Saturday, November 04, 2006

NFL Week 9 picks

This week has some interesting lines. I'll pick:
- Giants (-13) over Houston. Thirteen points is a lot. But Giants are looking like Super Bowl contenders and Houston is losing to Tennessee. Giants play this one at home, the only danger is overconfidence. Against a weak defense like Houston's, Eli & Co. can really rack up the points. While Houston has a pretty good offense, their offensive line isn't up to the task of standing up to this Giants defense, battered as it may be.

Giants have good players even in 3rd and 4th positions all the way down the depth chart. If you think the Giants are good this year, just wait - they are full of talented young players who will only get better over time. Jacobs will pick right up where Tiki left off, and don't be surprised if the Giants pick a good pass-catching RB in the next draft.

- Kansas City (+2) over St. Louis. I wouldn't be surprised if half the fans at this game are from KC; the two cities are not far apart. This will help to moderate the Rams' home field advantage. But mostly I pick the Chiefs because I got burned picking against them two weeks in a row.

- Baltimore (-3) over Cincinnati. Ravens are putting together a complete package; Cincy has issues to sort out.

- Tennessee (+9.5) over Jacksonville. Jax will probably win the game, but Tennessee will keep it close.

- Dallas (-3) over Washington. Tony Romo looks like the real deal. Will he be consistent enough to save their playoff hopes? We'll see. Washington has nothing on them, it is still waiting for its own Tony Romo; while Brunell is not the worst QB in the league, DC can do better.

- Green Bay (+3) over Buffalo. The Pack is on a roll, Buffalo has a QB whose name might as well be Lose-man. These Packers are not a good team, but they don't suck quite as bad as some of the stinkers in the league... stinkers like Buffalo.

- Tampa Bay (+1) over New Orleans. Tampa Bay played the Giants a lot closer than the score indicated; they were two dropped passes (sure scores that should have been caught) away from a tie game. Gruden is smart enough to run extra catching drills. New Orleans' luster is coming off and they have not been playing well recently.

- Atlanta (-5.5) over Detroit. This is more likely to be a blowout than close. Cold weather or not, Atlanta is clicking in the post-Giants aftermath, and they will not play a close game with a bad team.

- Chicago (-13.5) over Miami. Ouch! Could there be a bigger mismatch? Miami won't even get close to matching Arizona's feat of almost beating Chicago.

- Minnesota (-5) over San Francisco. Vikings will be eager to redeem themselves; San Francisco continues to play below professional level football.

- Cleveland (+12.5) over San Diego. The Browns aren't as terrible as their record might indicate. San Diego isn't as good as the hype, in my estimation. Consider this my anti-hype vote of the week.

- Denver (-3!) over Pittsburgh. Super Bowl champs or no, Pittsburgh has simply been playing bad football and has made many mistakes. Denver showed what it was capable of against Indy (which is that given home field advantage, they are almost as formidable a team as the Colts). This is my slam dunk pick for the week. I should put money on it. Steelers won't make the playoffs this year.

- New England (-3) over Indiannapolis. The hardest pick of the week, I really wanted to pick Indy, especially given the points. But I got burned picking against the Pats two weeks in a row, and I can't help but think that Belichik is fully capable of exploiting the Colts' run defense in a way that the Colts can find no answer within 60 minutes. Pats also have a knack for intercepting Manning so I think this week very well will be the end of the Colts unbeaten record for the season.

- Seattle (-7) over Oakland. Oakland gives no compelling reason to believe that they can do well on the road against a decent team. On the other hand, strange things do happen on Monday Night.

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