I’m not starting this column off with NFL talk for once. Unfortunately this is my last column while a co-host of The Daily Blender. I’ve chosen to move back into behind-the-scenes TV work full-time and therefore have to give up the weekday radio gig. I’ve had a hell of a time these last nearly 13 months working with Jeffry O’Brien, Randy White, and the cast of characters around the station. I can’t thank Jeffry enough for giving me a shot on his show last October and based on the growth of our on-air texters, it seems fair to say that we’ve done more than a few things right. As many readers of this column know, I have never been afraid to make a bold prediction or two (or 100). I appreciate my co-hosts and the listeners dealing with my obnoxiousness on-air on the (few or many…depending on how you look at it) times I’ve been correct. It’s been a hell of a ride and one I hope continues in some capacity down the road.
Hopefully this column continues full steam ahead on both my website and 1580thefanatic.com…so I’ll do my best to continue picking NFL winners at a high rate as I’ve done this season. This week, however, I’m not nearly as confident. If I can achieve a 7-6 record with the tough slate of games, I might actually be content for once! On to the picks below…
Week 9 NFL Picks
Last Week: 11-3 Straight Up (SU), 8-6 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 83-36-2 SU, 62-59 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; home teams in caps)
Oakland 24, SAN FRANCISCO 17 (ATS: Raiders +3.5)
The first of many impossible games to pick this weekend. But give me Jon Gruden’s guys over a 49ers team that managed to lose to the pathetic Cardinals TWICE! In all honesty, the coin flip turned up Raiders so that’s who I went with…(or so you’ll believe).
Atlanta 24, WASHINGTON 23 (ATS: Falcons +1.5)
I had no idea what to think with this one either. Atlanta is coming off a bye and I think the Redskins might be a bit overconfident after another road victory. Atlanta steals one on the road to keep their slim playoff hopes alive for now.
Kansas City 31, CLEVELAND 20 (ATS: Chiefs -8.5)
I’m thinking that the Browns D keeps the Chiefs in check for a half before Patrick Mahomes and company find their legs. KC wins and covers in the end.
MINNESOTA 30, Detroit 20 (ATS: Vikings -5.5)
By trading WR Golden Tate to Philly on Tuesday, does that mean Detroit is giving up on their chances this season? Either way, I like Minnesota to bounce back after last week’s home disaster to New Orleans.
Pittsburgh 24, BALTIMORE 20 (ATS: Steelers +3.5)
Revenge factor is the only reason I made this pick. It’s probably not a smart one…but the Steelers were drubbed on Sunday night at home five weeks ago by the Ravens and this is their chance to split the regular season series as they usually do…
Chicago 23, BUFFALO 10 (ATS: Bears -9.5)
Nathan Peterman, aka the worst active QB in the NFL statistically and probably talent-wise is starting for the Bills on Sunday. Need I say more?
CAROLINA 34, Tampa Bay 26 (ATS: Panthers -6.5)
The Panthers have the look of an NFC dark horse who could make an NFC Championship Game run. But let’s be honest, they wouldn’t be able to beat the Rams even if they did. No Fitz-magic this week for TB.
MIAMI 24, New York Jets 17 (ATS: Dolphins -3.5)
Everything in my fiber told me to pick against former ASU QB Brock Osweiler. But then again he’s playing the Jets…so I’ll predict that Miami’s rushing attack is the difference in this ugly contest.
Los Angeles Chargers 30, SEATTLE 24 (ATS: Chargers +1.5)
Coin flip time once again! But the Chargers are rested off a bye and are still within striking distance of the Chiefs for the AFC West crown. Philip Rivers and company pull the minor upset in Seattle while at the same time damaging the Seahawks’ future playoff hopes.
Houston 24, DENVER 20 (ATS: Texans +2.5)
Why is Denver favored? The Texans have won five in-a-row and are playing some of the best football in their conference. Give me Deshaun Watson and company on the road with new WR and former Bronco, Demaryius Thomas, who scores against his old team.
NEW ORLEANS 41, Los Angeles Rams 37 (ATS: Saints -1.5)
Another absolute toss-up. The Rams have to lose at some point and looking at their remaining schedule, outside of a trip to Mexico City to take on the Chiefs, I’m not sure where that loss comes. New Orleans is playing like the second best team in the conference and they’re at home so give me them in an absolute thriller which will live up to the pregame hype!
NEW ENGLAND 34, Green Bay 30 (ATS: Packers +6.5)
I don’t know what to make of my Packers…but I’m not convinced that pretty much all of their games will be decided by a touchdown one way or another. In another really fun and exciting matchup, Tom Brady out duels Aaron Rodgers in a shootout.
DALLAS 23, Tennessee 20 (ATS: Titans +6.5)
Both teams are coming off bye weeks and the Cowboys can now showcase an actual #1 WR in Amari Cooper. I think the Titans have a real chance in this game but fall short on a late-4th quarter field goal by Brett Maher. Dallas HC Jason Garrett is off the hot seat for another week.
Week 9 Fantasy Football Guidance
‘Boom & Crush’ Record (15+ PPR fantasy points from a non-must start player)
Last Week: 2-1
‘Be Careful’ Record (12 or less PPR fantasy points from a top-15 player)
Last Week: 3-0
Boom & Crush:
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB at CAR)
RB: Latavius Murray (MIN vs. DET)
WR/TE: Devin Funchess (CAR vs. TB)
QB: Matthew Stafford (DET at MIN)
RB: Mark Ingram (NO vs. LAR)
WR/TE: Emmanuel Sanders (DEN vs. HOU)