Pudge’s Picks – Week 9 2014

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Again

Well, the Carolina Panthers did not perform as well at home as I had predicted on Thursday. So once again, my inability to pick the Thursday game reared its ugly head. But that usually is a promising sign that Sunday and Monday’s picks will be a bit more favorable.

The New Orleans Saints are now in control of the NFC South with a 4-4 record. They have three consecutive home games upcoming, but they are against San Francisco, Cincinnati and Baltimore, none of which are going to be pushovers.

Carolina, whose record now sits at 3-5-1, has three of its next four on the road against Philadelphia, Minnesota and a rematch in New Orleans in Week 14. Sandwiched between that is a home game against the Falcons. It’s an lesser slate of opponents, but the Panthers haven’t won a road game since their Week 1 victory over the Buccaneers.

It’ll be interesting to see where the NFC South standings are after Thanksgiving. Of course, I’m not really considering the Falcons to be in that race.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1)
Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Bengals (-11.5)

With injuries to Gio Bernard and A.J. Green, coupled with a couple of starters nicked up on the offensive line, things do not bode well for the Bengals being able to put up a ton of points even against the Jaguars. So covering the large spread may be a bit more difficult than normal. But again, they are playing the lowly Jaguars offense and even a the less formidable 2014 Bengals defense could easily hold them to single digits.

Spread Pick: Bengals
Straight Pick: Bengals

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6) at Cleveland Brown (4-3)
Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Browns (-6.5)

The Browns have been a good team to bet on this year, as they have typically covered most weeks. The Bucs are hoping that rookie Charles Sims will provide a spark to their offense that Doug Martin failed to do. But I’m hard-pressed to see that happening since Sims did little in his lone preseason action (13 yards on six carries) and Bobby Rainey just has been of small consequence since Week 2.

Spread Pick: Browns
Straight Pick: Browns

Arizona Cardinals (6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-2)
Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Cowboys (-4.5)

Are things finally turning against the Cowboys? Tony Romo is nursing a back injury, which isn’t a huge deal given that their offense is still predicated on the legs of DeMarco Murray. Calais Campbell returned last week for the Cardinals and should help solidify the Cardinals run defense to slow down Murray. I like the Cardinals, who under Bruce Arians just manage to win games even if they aren’t in the most impressive fashion. It’s reminiscent of the Mike Smith-led Falcons of yesteryear.

Spread Pick: Cardinals
Straight Pick: Cardinals

Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) at Houston Texans (4-4)
Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Texans (+2.5)

It’s a bit concerning that Eagles right guard Todd Herremans suffered a torn biceps last week and is trying to play through it rather than have the season-ending surgery. That essentially means that Herremans will be only using one arm and could feature frequent matchups against J.J. Watt this week. But what is promising for the Eagles is that center Jason Kelce is expected to make his return to the lineup this week, which should somewhat offset Herreman’s issues on the interior. Watt is a great individual player, but his ability to turn the tides of games on his own has been overestimated by myself in the past. I won’t make that same mistake again, and assume that the rest of the Eagles will step up and do their jobs. Even if Jadeveon Clowney was fully healthy for this game, the Eagles have one of the few left tackles in Jason Peters that I believe can handle the bright, young phenom.

Spread Pick: Eagles
Straight Pick: Eagles

New York Jets (1-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)
Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Chiefs (-9.5)

My preseason pick of the Jets to make the playoffs is about as laughable as anything I’ve ever written or stated over the past year or so. Right now, the Jets have reached Jaguars status. I’m just saying no to picking them any longer, and the fact that it’s taken nine weeks for me to come to such a solemn realization is the second most laughable thing that has happened to me.

Spread Pick: Chiefs
Straight Pick: Chiefs

San Diego Chargers (5-3) at Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Dolphins (-1.5)

This matchup really boils down to the Chargers offense against the Dolphins defense and particularly the Chargers porous offensive line against a very formidable Dolphins pass rush. Cameron Wake & Co. really worked over the Chargers O-line last year in the Dolphins’ Week 11 in Miami last season. But that Chargers line was a bit more beat up than this current iteration, although it’s not as if the added presence of King Dunlap should make a night and day difference.

Spread Pick: Dolphins
Straight Pick: Dolphins

Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
Sunday, November 2 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Vikings (-1.5)

I’d like the Redskins chances a lot more if Brian Orakpo was still healthy and could square off against Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil. But I think without Orakpo, the Vikings aren’t as easily dominated in the trenches as they have been the past month since Teddy Bridgewater’s impressive debut against the Falcons in Week 4. Since then, the Vikings offense has grown stagnant largely due to the inability of the line to protect their rookie quarterback. The keys for the Redskins will be their ability to get Alfred Morris going, and whether or not Colt McCoy can find DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed as easily as he did a week ago. That’ll be tougher against an underrated Vikings secondary.

Spread Pick: Vikings
Straight Pick: Vikings

St. Louis Rams (2-5) at San Francisco 49ers (4-3)
Sunday, November 2 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

*Line: 49ers (-9.5)

The Rams threw all they could at the 49ers in the first quarter of their Week 6 matchup, but eventually the better team won out handily. I don’t think things are going to get any easier for the Rams on the road this week.

Spread Pick: 49ers
Straight Pick: 49ers

Denver Broncos (6-1) at New England Patriots (6-2)
Sunday, November 2 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Patriots (+3.5)

The Broncos are relatively untested on the road this year with a loss in Seattle and a win against the New York Jets as their lone trips outside Denver. It makes me think that they might not be able to roll into New England win as easily as many might think. But given that I picked the Patriots to go to the Super Bowl on a path that goes through Denver, I prefer the narrative where Peyton Manning and the Broncos overcome the Patriots this week, followed by the Belichickian learning curve catching up to them in January. It’s worth noting that Manning is 2-6 all-time at Gillette Stadium.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

Oakland Raiders (0-7) at Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
Sunday, November 2 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Seahawks (-14.5)

The Seahawks offense has been a lot less formidable in recent weeks, but I think they should handle the Raiders this week at home. I don’t expect this to be the sort of classic 45-14 type of game that the Seahawks would normally have against such a weak opponent at home, but 24-7 certainly seems likely.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

Baltimore Ravens (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
Sunday, November 2 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

*Line: Steelers (-0.5)

The Steelers have finally shown some life on offense in recent weeks, and perhaps they now have reached a point where they can overcome a very lackluster defense. This is the sort of game that historically has come down to a field goal, and it’s just a matter of deciding whether it’s Justin Tucker or Shaun Suisham kicking it. The fact that Jimmy Smith, by far the Raven’ best cover man, is out this week makes me lean towards Suisham this time.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at New York Giants (3-4)
Monday, November 3 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

*Line: Giants (+3.5)

The Colts got waxed by the Steelers last week, and it makes you wonder how they will respond this week on the road. The Giants don’t have an Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell to deal with, but one wonders if this is the week that Odell Beckham comes alive. The last time the Giants lost coming out of their bye week was in 2007 to the Dallas Cowboys.

Spread Pick: Giants
Straight Pick: Colts

 

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com