With the NFL season more than half way through (for regular season anyways) Week Nine presents us with interesting challenges. Six teams will be on bye (as many of you Fantasy Football players are already aware of), and Divisional match-ups are starting to count for more. The pretenders are starting to make their way down to Earth (and the shitty teams are fully exposed). Two unbeaten teams still remain in the NFL (the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts), while one team (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) struggles to find their first.
Last week, I took a personal bye on my selections (mainly because I was busy horse's assing it up at Halloween parties all across the Tama Bay area). But I can say that I got my ass kicked in my personal wagering with all the underdogs getting by last week. But in Week Seven, we went 10-3 in our pool selections, and a shocking 3-0 (5-0 if you took the Bonus picks as well), giving us an 11-6 record for the season so far (15-7 including Bonus picks). Let's see if we can get ourselves back on that good foot...
Week Nine Winners
Ravens @ Bengals- Bengals
Texans @ Colts - Colts
Packers @ Buccaneers - Packers
Cardinals @ Bears - Cardinals
Chiefs @Jaguars - Jaguars
Dolphins @ Patriots - Dolphins
Redskins @ Falcons - Falcons
Panthers @ Saints - Saints
Titans @ 49ers - 49ers
Lions @ Seahawks - Lions
Chargers @ Giants - Giants
Cowboys @ Eagles - Eagles
Steelers @ Broncos - Broncos
Hootie da Greek's Stone Cold Locks
Green Bay Packers (-9 1/2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (±43 1/2)
It is rather fitting that the Bucs are having donning the orange creamsicle unis in a game where the winless Bucs will be facing off against an angry Green Bay team that can put up points. The Packers have had relatively no issues putting points in the board this season, averaging around 30 ppg (while only yielding 16.7 ppg). The Bucs, on the other hand, having had little luck this season with the crafty veteran (the statuesque Byron Leftwich) and the young mobile journeyman looking for his big break (Josh Johnson) are turning the team over to 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft Josh Freeman. Green Bay's stingy defense (averaging 5th overall, 9th in passing defense) should make it a long day for Freeman and the Bucs, giving Rodgers a short field to tend to. Look for Green Bay in a romp.
Take Green Bay and the 9 1/2 points.
Miami Dolphins (+10 1/2) @ New England Patriots (± 46 1/2)
This is a flat out trap. New England has looked like it is back to its world beating self over the past two weeks. But when it is the Titans and the Buccaneers you are kicking the shit out of, it should be expected. Now the Dolphins are not a great team. But they are a pretty damn good one, with a very solid running game and have some stability at QB. But with their defense coughing up 22.3 ppg, the Dolphins "Wildcat" offense if going to have to produce a little more than the 16.7 ppg it has been rolling off thus far this season.
All that considered the Dolphins are 7-0 against the spread in their last 7 games where they are catching more than ten points. This will be no different. Look for the Dolphins to hold the number.
Take the Dolphins and the 10 1/2 points.
Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Chicago Bears (±44 1/2)
Where do we pick in this mess...
The Cardinals got their asses kicked in last week by the horrific Carolina Panthers while the Bears have looked less than stellar this year all together with QB Jay Cutler at the helm. I would try to rationalize this with some sort of research but why bother. The Cards are catching points, enough said.
Going with the gut on this one; ride the Cardinals plus the 3.
Take the Cardinals and the 3 points.
Tennessee Titans (+4 1/2) @ San Francisco 49ers (±40 1/2)
Sure the Titans won last week... big fucking deal. For the two months prior they have looked like hot shit on a shingle more often than they have looked like the Tennessee team that went to the playoff last season. But they are starting Vince Young again. And Chris Johnson has seemed unstoppable these past few weeks.
And the Titans are going to need that heading into San Fran to meet a 49ers team that almost beat the Colts, almost beat the Vikings, and almost beast Houston. Hell, this 49ers team is almost good. And almost good is enough to beat the hapless Titans who might have maybe found a glimmer of offense now, but still have a horrific defense that they are relying on. Look for the Niners to cover the number easily.
Take the 49ers laying the 4 1/2 points.
Carolina Panthers (+13) @ New Orleans Saints (±51 1/2)
The Saints are a perfect 7-0 for the season. At some point they are due for a clunker. Had this game been scheduled in Carolina, my reasoning might be different. Carolina has a fairly strong rushing attack, an opportunistic defense, and (baring a Jake Delholme meltdown) can keep a game within reach. Hell, they managed to beat a pretty decent Cardinals team in Arizona last week using that very game plan.
But the Saints are not the Cardinals...
Riding the winds of destiny the New Orleans Saints every week look more and more like the TEAM to beat in the NFC, if not the NFL as a whole. With a stout defense and a lightning fast offense, the Saints are a formidable foe for any team, but at home they are damn near unbeatable. Despite Carolina's motivations heading into this game, there is little chance for them winning outright, let along holding on to this number. Look for the Saints to roll them, easily covering the 13 points (for fun, you might also want to look at the 51 and a half point spread. There is a good chance this game could go over).
Take the Saints laying the 13 points.