Friday, November 06, 2009

NFL Pick 5 -- Week 9

As I think I mentioned earlier this week, I had another over-.500 performance in Week 8, going 3-2 on the weekend to raise my overall season record so far in 2009 to 23-12 in 7 weeks of picking five games a week. Given how tough the last few weeks in particular have been to find winnable games, I'm very pleased to have escaped the past three weeks with a total record of 10-5 to raise me to a season high of 11 games over .500. This week there seem to be some more pickable choices among the lines I am seeing, although I suppose only time will tell if that means I can really gain some more ground over break-even in Week 9 or if it will be my first sub-.500 setback since Week 2 of the NFL season, which you know is coming sooner or later. Here are this week's picks, once again in no particular order:

1. Green Bay Packers -10 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I absolutely love this game, even though I would like 9 points a heck of a lot more than the 10 this game is currentiy sitting at. The Packers have played three of "The Stinkers" -- my new nickname for the surprisingly large cadre of teams clearly at the bottom of the NFL talent pool this year -- and has trounced them by an average of 25 points apiece. Two of those wins -- the Rams in Week 3 by 21 points and the Browns by 28 points in Week 7 -- came on the road, so I don't have concern that the Pack can't step it up on or score the ball against the bad teams on the road, and let's be honest: Tampa Bay might be worse than both Cleveland and St. Louis as it is. The Bucs are averaging just 11 points per game over their last 5 efforts, and with the Pack averaging over 28 points per game over their last five, 10 points should be beatable for sure this weekend in sunny Florida.

2. Miami Dolphins +10.5 at New England Cheatriots. I'm not trying to say that the Dolphins are on par with the caliber of team that the Cheatriots have returned to this year, but getting more than a touchdown and a field goal in what I think will be a reasonably good matchup is just too much value for me to pass up. The Dolphins have historically played decent defense against the Cheaters on the road -- holding the Cheats to 20 points in New England in 2006, 28 in 2007 and just 13 points in a huge road win for Miami early in the 2008 season in the midst of what was otherwise a nice run for Matt Kassell as the Cheats' backup quarterback. What's more, since Chad Henne took over the Dolphins' starting qb position, the team has now quietly scored 38, 31, 34 and 30 points in its last five games (admittedly some of those points on returns). And those four 30+ point outbursts were more than just the first four times the team broke the 30 mark this season -- they came against what I consider to be four fairly tough team defenses in the Bills, the Jets, the Saints and then again the Jets. So Miami has been finding a way to score some points after Chad Pennington went down in Week 3, and along with always playing the Cheats tough, I just can't pass up the 10.5 points this week. I like the Dolphins as a dog for the third time already this year.

3. Houston Texans +9 at Indianapolis Colts. Here's another road underdog I just can't bring myself to stay away from this week, even though they are facing a clearly superior team overall. Houston has been playing well lately, winning three in a row on their way to their best first half ever in the NFL at 5-3 through 8 games so far in 2009. The last three matchups between these two teams have been close games, shootouts for the most part, with the teams playing to winning margins of 4, 6 and 6 for the Colts over the last three meetings in what has become a regular tough battle every time these teams come together. But what really moves me to pick the Texans here is their road performance so far in 2009, which has been pretty awesome all things considered. The Texans are 3-1 on the road this fall, including outright wins at Tennessee, at Cincinnati and at Buffalo and just a 7-point loss at defending NFC champion Arizona. And over their four road games, the team has scored an average of nearly 23 points per game, with the three road victories garnering 28, 31 and 34 points, including 28 at Cincy and 31 at Buffalo, both teams considered to have fairly good defenses this year. So Houston, whose quarterback remember leads the league in passing yardage and passing touchdowns, should be able to score the ball on the Colts this weekend if nothing else, and that should make it very difficult for the Colts to cover the 9 point spread.

4. New Orleans Saints -13 vs Carolina Panthers. At home or on the road this year, the New Orleans Saints have come to play, and they have scored like madmen. In the dome in Louisiana, the Saints have scored 45, 24, 48 and 35 points, with the only aberration in the 24 points coming against the New York Jets back when they were playing a very solid team defense. And despite their past history, Carolina has not been a strong defensive team this season, giving up an average of over 23 points per game in four road games this season, including allowing Tampa Bay even to score three touchdowns against them in Week 6 in Florida. Jake Delhomme has been beyond atrocious this year, and despite running up tons of yardage on the ground against the Cardinals last week, the Panthers have had a heck of a time trying to establish the running game with their qb situation as bad as it is, having a 100-yard rusher only twice so far in eight games this season. I'm expecting to see the Saints score at least 35 points in this one, which would be the fewest points they've scored in five games against not-great team defenses this season, and I would be surprised if the Panthers broke 20 points themselves given all their problems moving the ball this season. I always always always hate having to give this many points, but I really think the Saints should be able to cover here.

5. San Francisco 49ers -4.5 vs. the Tennessee Titans. Here's another line that just seems a bit too low to me. Everyone knows by now that the Titans are among the worst teams in football this year, just a year removed from starting off the season 10-0, but just because they won their first game of the season last week, that doesn't suddenly erase this team's many problems on both sides of the ball. Sure the Titans have a great running game behind Chris Johnson, but with absolutely no passing game to speak of (and don't forget, Vince Young recorded just 125 yards in the air last week in his first start of the season against the Jags), the Titans' offense has been abysmal on the road so far. In four road games this season, Tennessee has scored 10, 17, 17 and most recently 0 points, and the 49ers are sure to be raring to go on defense after three straight losses including a tough last-minute defeat last week at the undefeated Colts. The way I see it, this game is the 49ers' chance to get back on track with a clear win, and against a very young quarterback making his second start, whose team has had loads of trouble scoring on the road even with a veteran taking the snaps, I expect a very long day for Vince Young and the Titans on Sunday afternoon. The Niners should score somewhere at least in the 20s, and I don't see the Titans keeping it all that close this weekend in San Francisco.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home