2014 Quick Hitters (Week 9 NFL Picks)
Sorry for the dreadful 8-7 record last week as we transition into the Week 9 NFL Picks. I want to let everyone know that I never feel good when I place below the average in a particular week and it has me left asking whether my pick average is regressing to the mean. Luckily, I keep track of everything and my 1-5 record in “Even” lines pretty much tells you that regression is not necessarily the case yet. Hopefully I can do a bit better on those “Even” games this week to swing my record back in the high percentile of NFL pick’em pools. Week nine sees the embarrassing Atlanta Falcons, trendy Buffalo Bills, imploding Chicago Bears, lucky Detroit Lions, wounded Green Bay Packers and mysterious Tennessee Titans on a bye.
*Remember that my picks are straight up (MONEYLINE) and vegas lines are merely used to determine whether I’m choosing an upset, favorite or even pick.
Here are my results on the year:
Overall Record: 80-40-1 (66.1 %)
Last Week’s Record: 8-7
Record in Thursday Games: 7-1
Record in Sunday Games: 64-31-1
Record in Sunday Night Games: 2-6
Record in Monday Games: 7-2
Record in Upset Picks: 7-9
Record in Even Picks: 18-12
Record in Favorite Picks: 55-19-1
Record in “Toss-Up” Picks: 38-26
Record in “Moderate Confidence” Picks: 37-12
Record in “Lock of the Week” Picks: 5-2-1
*Even picks are classified as opening lines under 2.5 points.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (Thursday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Carolina (-2.5)
The Pick: New Orleans in an UPSET
Reason: I’m really excited for this game and that’s because it’s a divisional bout between a couple of atrocious defenses. New Orleans offense is back on track and Cam Newton poses all kinds of problems for the Saints defense. I don’t want to read too much into the Saints impressive victory over the Green Bay Packers, but a healthy Mark Ingram gives them an entirely new element to the offense. The Panthers played the Seahawks very tough last week, but it’s a game they should have won with all the self-induced mistakes Seattle made. I’m rolling with the Saints in a Thursday slot which has been very interesting the last couple of weeks.
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys
Vegas Odds: Dallas (-4)
The Pick: Dallas as a FAVORITE
Reason: Washington pulled out all their tricks on defense to derail what has been a dominant Dallas offense. I’m not saying that Arizona can’t do the same thing, but the Cardinals offense is not that scary a unit in my opinion. The Cowboys’ defense won’t be nearly as good as it’s been, but I think they’re good enough to shut down what’s been a one-dimensional Arizona offense. Tony Romo’s back health scares me, but I think DeMarco Murray can still run behind that amazing offensive line no matter who is playing quarterback. Give me the Cowboys to bounce back versus those pesky Cardinals.
Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans
Vegas Odds: Philadelphia (-2.5)
The Pick: Houston in an UPSET
Reason: Pretty crazy to think that the Eagles defense has been significantly better than the Eagles offense, but that really has been the case. Nick Foles was the model of consistency last season, yet has been the model of inconsistency this year. Foles is going to play JJ Watt and one of the best pass-rushes in the league and I don’t like that matchup at all. Give me the Texans and their average offense at home to pull the upset.
San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins
Vegas Odds: San Diego (-1)
The Pick: Miami in an EVEN Pick
Reason: Miami’s defense is legit (Cameron Wake is a monster), very evident from the two touchdowns against Jacksonville. The defense was arguably the sole reason they won that game last week. The offense has some issues to figure out, but they can do it against a San Diego defense that’s been bad this year. Don’t put a lot of confidence here because Philip Rivers knows how to beat good defenses. This is one of the best games this weekend.
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings
Vegas Odds: Washington (-1.5)
The Pick: Washington as an EVEN Pick
Reason: Here’s a very tough game to predict because both of these teams are carried by their respectable defensive play. Washington does a lot of things well on the defensive side which should neutralize Minnesota’s league-worst offense. I can see the Vikings giving Colt McCoy fits, but the Redskins should be able to do enough in the rushing game to pull out a tough win on the road.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Baltimore (-1.5)
The Pick: Baltimore as an EVEN Pick
Reason: Pittsburgh is going to gain a lot of fans after the 51-34 shellacking they put on the Indianapolis Colts and deservedly so. However, there’s no way they’re a better than the Ravens. The Ravens are one of the few balanced teams in the NFL with a top five offense and defense. I’m still very concerned with the Pittsburgh defense who hasn’t impressed me in any facet of the game. They recorded a pick-six against Andrew Luck, but that was due more to Luck living on the edge than it was about the Steelers making a great defensive play.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants (Monday Night Football)
Vegas Odds: Indianapolis (-3)
The Pick: NY Giants in an UPSET
Reason: Here’s my weekly coming-off-a-bye upset pick and not just because the Colts were killed in Pittsburgh last week. Tom Coughlin is a good coach and I think he’s the kind of a guy who can gameplan against Andrew Luck who hasn’t been as good as the stats would say. I also think the Giants can have just enough success against the Colts’ secondary to pull out an unexpected, but much needed win.
MODERATE CONFIDENCE PICKS
Tampa Bay Bucs at Cleveland Browns
Vegas Odds: Cleveland (-6)
The Pick: Cleveland as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Browns are having to make a huge adjustment due to the loss of center Alex Mack and the running game has suffered because of it. The good thing about this week is that they don’t necessarily need both facets of the offense to beat a bad Tampa Bay team. I also think Cleveland’s secondary, led by Joe Haden, can shut down the Tampa Bay passing game. My one area of concern is Brian Hoyer against the pass-rush, but he has showed flashes of brilliance when blitzed.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas Odds: Kansas City (-7.5)
The Pick: Kansas City as a FAVORITE
Reason: The Jets are on a seven game losing streak and pretty much gave the game away last week with three turnovers from both Geno Smith and Michael Vick. The only way the Jets have a shot at pulling the upset is if Alex Smith can’t play with a shoulder strain. I don’t think the Jets are as bad as everyone thinks, but they need to limit the turnovers and they don’t have the quarterback to do so.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals
Vegas Odds: Cincinnati (-13.5)
The Pick: Cincinnati as a heavy FAVORITE
Reason: These picks in pick’em pools are pretty much a waste of time because every single person is going to pick the heavily favored team. Not only that, they will put their full confidence on the game which they should do because the Bengals are more than good enough to handle the Jaguars at home.
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Vegas Odds: San Francisco (-7.5)
The Pick: San Francisco as a FAVORITE
Reason: We just saw this match-up a couple of weeks ago and it was the San Francisco 49ers who pulled away with a dominant second half in St. Louis. To make matters worse for St. Louis, they lost WR Brian Quick and OT Jake Long to season-ending injuries. I don’t see any way that the Rams will be able to compete with a rested San Francisco team in their new shiny stadium.
Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks
Vegas Odds: Seattle (-16)
The Pick: Seattle as a heavy FAVORITE
Reason: This is quite possibly the most ludicrous line I’ve ever seen. Seattle is a different team at home, but does it really take that many points for someone to put money on Oakland? I think they would still get some action at 12 or 13 points as they’ve played competitive football with pretty much everyone they’ve lost to. Luckily for us, there’s almost no chance of the Seahawks losing this game.
LOCK OF THE WEEK PICK
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Vegas Odds: Denver (-4)
The Pick: Denver as a FAVORITE
Reason: I could have picked a bunch of games as heavy favorites, but like I’ve said before, I want to play it risky with my “Lock of the Week.” The Broncos are comfortably the best team in football and I think Peyton Manning is the man to take advantage of a banged up New England defense. Moreover, the Broncos have the defensive weapons to control the Patriots in the middle of the field and take away Rob Gronkowski. The Broncos should keep rolling towards the AFC’s number one overall seed.
Week Nine Pick Summary: 7 Favorites, 3 Upsets and 3 Even Picks
Let me know where you agree and disagree in week nine. Good luck and most importantly enjoy the games!