Sorry that I'm lagging a bit behind...but I'm still having lots of technical problems posting. It's a royal pain in butt. That said, onward into Week Nine (9), with the "Game of the Week" being:
1.) (4-3) Chicago Bears (+11) @ (5-2) Green Bay Packers: Huge Monday Night road game for the Bears, who must go into Green Bay without star LB Lance Briggs, and QB Jay Cutler: http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/23404217-419/trestmans-stern-test-readying-banged-up-bears-for-packers.html. The Packers are on a roll, having won four straight games, despite some significant injury problems of their own: http://www.packersnews.com/article/20131028/PKR01/310280389/Ascending-Packers-shrug-off-injuries-stay-focused?nclick_check=1. In this fierce divisional rivalry game, an eleven point spread seems a tad high: PICK: Bears;
2.) (6-2) Cincinnati Bengals @ (3-4) Miami Dolphins (+2.5): A 2.5 point spread? Really?? If the Dolphins thought that the Patriots' pass rush was tough, wait til they experience what the Bengals have to offer: PICK: Bengals;
3.) (2-5) Atlanta Falcons (+7.5) @ (4-3) Carolina Panthers: Though a 7.5 point spread may seem to be a tad high, these Falcons are a far cry from the group that earned an NFC Championship game birth last season. The 2013 edition of the Falcons think defense is something that's put up around a home. As for the Panthers, their front seven is developing into one of the games' best, led by their firey MLB, "Crazy Luke" Kueckley: PICK: Panthers;
4.) (1-6) Minnesota Vikings (+10.5) @ (4-4) Dallas Cowboys: Time for the Vikings to consider trading away some of their aging stars, like RB Adrian Peterson and DE Jared Allen, for draft picks. The Cowboys never cease to amaze, as to find improbable ways to give away games. Last weekend in Detroit, they outdid themselves by allowing Matthew Stafford and company to march 80 yards in 50 seconds for a game winning TD, during the final 1:12 of play. Perhaps the Cowboys' coaching staff should take a cue from WR Dez Bryant, and give their players the verbal butt-whipping that they so richly deserve. What? Jerry Jones says no? Oh, never mind: PICK: Cowboys;
5.) (6-1) New Orleans Saints @ (4-4) NY Jets (+5.5): The Jets showed us what they're really about last weekend in Cincinnati. If their "D" couldn't contain Andy Dalton, how can they be expected to fare against Drew Brees? The Patriots must still be kicking themselves for that costly conference loss to this Clown Car franchise: PICK: Saints;
6.) (3-4) Tennessee Titans @ (3-5) St. Louis Rams (+3): Both teams will be starting back-ups (Ryan Fitzpatrick for Tennessee, and Kullen Clemens for the Rams). In what should be a boring, low scoring game, look for ex-Titans' coach Jeff Fisher to pull out all the stops to gain a measure of revenge against his former employer: PICK: Rams;
7.) (8-0) Kansas City Chiefs @ (3-5) Buffalo Bills (+3): One has to begin to wonder about the Chiefs. Sure, they're unbeaten. But, in their last two games against Houston and Cleveland, both of which were played in Kansas City, the Chiefs barely eeked out wins. Though the Bills have a poor record, they have played nearly every opponent tough. Still, is a three (3) point spread enough of a cushion to roll dice on an upset?: PICK: Chiefs;
8.) (4-3) San Diego Chargers (PK) @ (2-5) Washington Redskins: RG III suffered another knee injury last weekend, in Denver. Though he'll play, it's hard to envision him breaking out of his season long funk. Mike Shanahan should have been fired last season for letting the obviously injured Griffin play in the play-offs. By so doing, he may have ruined the Redskins' best hope of escaping another decade of mediocrity: PICK: Chargers;
9.) (3-5) Philadelphia Eagles (PK) @ (3-4) Oakland Raiders: Michael Vick is hurt yet again. So, rookie Matt Barkley will start, just north of the cite of his glory days, at USC. But, while the Eagles are hoping that Barkley can demonstrate that he's the man for their vacant QB job, the Raiders may have already found their guy in Terrelle Pryor: PICK: Raiders;
10.) (0-7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+16.5) @ (7-1) Seattle Seahawks: Though I'm extremely tempted to take Tampa and those 16.5 points, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that the Bucs couldn't score a TD even if the Seahawks replaced their DL with tackling dummies: PICK: Seahawks;
11.) (3-4) Baltimore Ravens @ (3-5) Cleveland Browns (+2.5): It's really simple...if the Ravens are to have any hope of defending their championship in the play-offs, they must win this game: PICK: Ravens;
12.) (2-5) Pittsburgh Steelers (+7) @ (6-2) New England Patriots: No game has been easy for the Patriots this season. So, a seven point spread seems a tad high. Expect the Steelers to do whatever they can to pressure and hit a swollen handed, overburdened Tom Brady. To help Tom out, the OL needs to step up, and establish the run. On defense, the Pats must be prepared to deal with a fleet set of Steeler WRs, set on running deep post routes, a variety of bubble screens and slants. Don't let Pittsburgh's 2-5 record lull you into a state of complacency. The Roethlisburger led Steelers are still a dangerous team. Anything less than a solid, full 60 minutes of football, and the Pats will head into their bye week on the heels of a stinging defeat: PICK: Steelers;
13.) (5-2) Indianapolis Colts @ (2-5) Houston Texans (+2.5): Both teams are coming off a bye week. Look for the Texans to play the Colts tough, behind rookie QB Case Keenum. In his first start two weekends ago, the "K-man" played well in hostile Kansas City, albeit in a losing cause. Still, as I explained regarding the Chiefs/Bills game above, is a 2.5 point spread worth risking hard earned greenbacks, against a good Indy team led by QB Andrew Luck?: PICK: Colts.
BEST BETS: Bengals, Raiders, Ravens, Saints, Chargers, and Rams.
As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome, especially with regards to the Patriots' game. Goodnight, my friends.
GO SOX!! Let's deal those Cards their final defeat of 2013 in our beloved Fenway Park, and close 'em out!!!!