NFL Picks, Week 9
Every year I participate in a Pigskin Pick ’em group organized by an obnoxious friend of mine from high school who spends his Sundays doing nothing but watching NFL football. I spend very little time watching football, and yet I continue to dream of beating him. And so every week I dutifully make my picks.
As always, winning teams in caps.
Kansas City at SAN DIEGO — Judging from their home loss to the Browns last week, the Chargers are clearly on a downward spiral. But so are the Chiefs. Expect a low-scoring, ugly game, and a narrow San Diego victory.
DENVER at Cincinnati — I’ve been in Colorado for the past week, and so I’ve been reading stories about how the Broncos can make the Super Bowl, and how Peyton Manning is basically like Moses, ready to lead his team to the promised land. And the Broncos did look really good against the Saints, though I’m not quite ready to buy the “dark horse Super Bowl contender” hype. But they should beat a flailing Bengals team.
BALTIMORE at Browns — I don’t quite know what to make of the Browns’ one point victory over the Chargers last week, and so I’m going to ignore it. The Ravens are banged up, but they should be able to beat Cleveland.
Arizona at GREEN BAY — The Packers are looking better and better, and the Cardinals are looking worse and worse.
CHICAGO at Tennessee — The Bears barely beat the Panthers last week, and this week they’re facing a Titans team that’s been a little better than advertised. I expect Chicago to win ... but it could be pretty close.
Miami at INDIANAPOLIS — I went back and forth on this, but in the end decided to go with the Colts, who are on a bit of a roll at the moment and should be able to win the battle of the up-and-coming rookie quarterbacks.
Carolina at WASHINGTON — For the Panthers, I imagine that this game will be similar to last week’s — they’ll hang in there, look like they’re really going to win, and then lose in heartbreaking fashion, in the final four or five minutes. Meanwhile, the Redskins will pick up another victory thanks to amazing rookie QB Robert Griffin III.
DETROIT at Jacksonville — I’ve been pretty down on Detroit, but only a crazy person would pick the Jaguars to win anything.
Buffalo at HOUSTON — Buffalo isn’t completely terrible, but they’re not good enough to compete with Houston on the road. Meanwhile, the Texans look like the real deal. Can they make the Super Bowl? I have no idea. Probably not. But they’re definitely in contention.
Tampa Bay at OAKLAND — Yes, Tampa Bay beat Minnesota on the road last week. But I still don’t see any reason to pick them to win a second game in a row, even if they are playing the woeful Oakland Raiders.
Minnesota at SEATTLE — This game could be described as the Battle of Teams That Burned Me Last Week. I’m going with Seattle ... but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings won.
Pittsburgh at NEW YORK GIANTS — After watching the Giants nearly blow a double-digit lead to the Cowboys, my friend Dave said, “I don’t know why you think the Giants are so good.” To which I said, “I think seeing the Giants beat the Patriots in two Super Bowls has something to do with it.” In other words, I now live in fear of watching the Patriots play the Giants in any game of significance. And expect the Giants to win on pretty much any given Sunday.
Dallas at ATLANTA — I just flew from Denver to Atlanta to Portland, Maine. In Atlanta, a charming Delta airlines employee regaled us with pro-Atlanta Falcons commentary while we were boarding the plane, and at some point, he seemed to realize he was speaking to a throng of Patriots fans who were not inclined to share his enthusiasm. “We’re 7-0. Don’t hate. Celebrate!” he said. In any case, the Falcons are very, very good, and should have no trouble beating an inconsistent Cowboys team.
Philadelphia at NEW ORLEANS — Neither of these teams is very good, but the Saints are at least capable of scoring lots of points, while the Eagles are a poor offensive team, led by a QB who is struggling.
Week 8 Results:
Me: 1-13 Overall: 68-50
My obnoxious friend: 8-6 Overall: 78-40
A WORD OF EXPLANATION:
Last week I was on vacation, and neglected to fill out my ballot. I became aware of this on Monday, and picked San Francisco to beat Arizona, but the damage was already done: Officially, I predicted just one game correctly. Unofficially, I got eight right, which isn’t very good, but it’s certainly better than one. So I am much further behind my obnoxious friend than I should be, and clearly have my work cut out for me during the second half of the season.
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