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Pudge’s Picks – Week 9

November 2nd, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s contest, even though my pick of the Bengals was off. Andy Dalton had the egg-laying performance I suspected he was poised to have. And the Dolphins defense was the only reason why they won the game as they scored 9 points. Their offense only scored 3 points off the other 3 Bengals turnovers. And they also needed a late-game game-tying drive from Ryan Tannehill, when they got a bit of a gift call on a Brian Hartline catch on the sideline. The point I’m trying to make is that it really was Cincinnati losing the game than Miami winning the game. But the fact that it resulted in a “walk-off” safety in overtime completely whitewashes the previous 68 minutes. What was even more amazing is that is the third time that’s happened in NFL history, and all were in my lifetime. That’s the sort of crazy ending that you’d think you could go 40 years between seeing. But it happened in the past decade.

Here are my picks for Sunday and Monday’s games:

Atlanta Falcons (2-5) at Carolina Panthers (4-3)
Sunday, November 3 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Panthers (-7.5)

Coming off a very poor performance against Arizona, I expect the Falcons to bounce back…some. But they are playing a better team in Carolina, and I suspect the Falcons flaws: their offensive line and defense will continue to plague them. But I expect that the Falcons might get a backdoor cover.

Spread Pick: Falcons
Straight Pick: Panthers

Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-5)
Sunday, November 3 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Bills (+3.5)

Because Kansas City is not an explosive offense, I think Buffalo could find a way to make this interesting even without Thad Lewis starting. If the Chiefs don’t come out scoring, then Buffalo can continue to play to their strength and run the ball with both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller at their healthiest since September. And I like the matchup of the Bills defensive line against an unspectacular Chiefs offensive line that features liabilities in Jeff Allen and Eric Fisher. The key for the Bills is keeping Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs offense in check, because offensively they are not going to be score any points with either Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn starting.

Spread Pick: Bills
Straight Pick: Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
Sunday, November 3 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Cowboys (-10.5)

Christian Ponder is starting this week which doesn’t bode well for the Vikings offense. But maybe this is the week that the Vikings finally get Adrian Peterson going, because they’ll need him to keep pace with the Cowboys. The fact that Brian Waters is out and Mackenzy Bernadeau will be facing Kevin Williams, does give me a bit of hope that the Vikings defense could slow down the Cowboys offense. But the return of DeMarco Murray probably gives Dallas the necessary boost.

Spread Pick: Cowboys
Straight Pick: Cowboys

Tennessee Titans (3-4) at St. Louis Rams (3-5)
Sunday, November 3 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Rams (+2.5)

This is a game that should feature two very tough defensive lines. The problem is that the Titans are better in the other areas of their roster. Kellen Clemens was terrible last Monday night, and with injuries to both Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson, I don’t see how St. Louis scores enough points to win this one.

Spread Pick: Titans
Straight Pick: Titans

New Orleans Saints (6-1) at New York Jets (4-4)
Sunday, November 3 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Jets (+5.5)

The things I like in the Jets favor are that they are playing at home and the Saints are pretty beat up. I think they have the defense to keep Brees, and all they need is Geno Smith not to turn the ball over. Which he has only managed to do against a terrible Falcons defense, so that’s a pretty tall order. In the Ryan brother matchup, I’ll put my money on Rex, but unfortunately for him, Rob has Sean Payton backing him.

Spread Pick: Jets
Straight Pick: Saints

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

Line: Redskins (-0.5)

This really is a matchup that features teams with two of the weaker defenses in the league. But the bright thing for the Chargers has been their defense has made some strides in the past few games, although that included a game against Jacksonville, so it wasn’t that hard to look better. I like Washington only because of Alfred Morris and the fact that they are playing at home. Robert Griffin III is starting to look like his old self, and this is the point of the year where I feel like he’s going to start to take over and rattle off some wins for Washington to get back into the NFC East race.

Spread Pick: Redskins
Straight Pick: Redskins

Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Sunday, November 3 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

Line: Raiders (-2.5)

I said it on Thursday, I’m done picking the Eagles this year until they get their act together. It’s really that simple.

Spread Pick: Raiders
Straight Pick: Raiders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) at Seattle Seahawks (7-1)
Sunday, November 3 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

Line: Seahawks (-16.5)

A winless team going to Seattle? If the Bucs pull off this win, it will be the biggest upset of the year. The question is whether the Seahawks offense will put up enough points to cover the spread. But I think last week’s poor performance against the Rams was more because of the Rams having the horses to take advantage of the Seahawks’ beat-up offensive line. The Bucs do not have said horses, and thus I’m siding with the Seahawks.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

Baltimore Ravens (3-4) at Cleveland Browns (3-5)
Sunday, November 3 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: Browns (+2.5)

This is a tough game to pick because the Ravens are on the road and Jason Campbell is starting for the Browns. The Ravens are notoriously mediocre on the road, and one wonders if Campbell’s competent performance last week against the Chiefs defense was a sign of things to come or just a one-week outlier. I feel like I might regret this next week, but I’m going to put my hopes on the Browns fans giving them a home boost just because they won’t be forced to root for Brandon Weeden this week.

Spread Pick: Browns
Straight Pick: Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) at New England Patriots (6-2)
Sunday, November 3 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: Patriots (-7.5)

The Steelers have had some really strong performances against the Patriots under Mike Tomlin with a 2-2 record since his hire in 2007. I like the Pats at home, but that point spread gives me a little pause. I’ll give Dick LeBeau the benefit of the doubt and say that his defense keeps it close, but the Pats find a way to win. Oh wait never mind, Guy Whimper is starting for an already bad Steelers offensive line.

Spread Pick: Patriots
Straight Pick: Patriots

Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Houston Texans (2-5)
Sunday, November 3 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

Line: Texans (+2.5)

When first looking at this line, I was trying to figure out why I would take the Texans. Matt Schaub is returning to the lineup, but who knows if that is a good thing. I think the loss of Reggie Wayne could slow down the Colts. But then again, the Colts defense has been playing lights out this year, and with both teams coming off byes, I have much more faith in Chuck Pagano than Gary Kubiak to have his team ready to play.

Spread Pick: Colts
Straight Pick: Colts

Chicago Bears (4-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-2)
Monday, November 4 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

Line: Packers (-11.5)

Cutler is out and the Packers offense has been rolling these past two weeks. They are a balanced offense which compensates a lot for the injuries they have at wide receiver. And James Jones might return on Monday. Rodgers has played very well against the Bears the past few years, so I have no problem picking the Packers to cover a large spread in a divisional game.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

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