Well, last week's NFL picks weren't a windfall, but they weren't a loser either. After back-to-back weeks making good cash, I'll take an NFL slate that ends even. The key was the Kansas City Chiefs game on Monday night. We knew the Chiefs would win, even though Vegas really made the San Diego Chargers attractive.
Why do we mention this? Las Vegas is doing the same thing in Washington this week. The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a bye, and the Washington Redskins were awful last week. The Redskins' offense looked about as potent as the Greek economy. But just maybe...
On to the Week 9 NFL Picks. All lines from SB Nation Odds.
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins (+4): Picking this game is incredibly hard. I am a Redskins fan and I love the team. As somebody who loves the team and had to sit through last week, I am pretty certain the Niners will blow out the Redskins. But then I crunched the numbers, looked at some trends and talked to a sharp, and he broke it down:
"The last thing you want is to look like the guy who just picks the Skins every week," he said. "But West Coast teams almost never win East Coast games and SF is already 3-0 this season thus far in those games, hard to imagine going 4-0. And here's the clincher: 93 percent of the public is taking SF and yet line went from SF -4.5 to SF -4, meaning Vegas wants even more action on the 49ers."
You heard the man. Pick: Redskins.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-2): The Bills are getting a lot of love this week. All of a sudden, they have an explosive defense because they shut out the worthless Redskin offense. But we are hip to that. The Bills defense is still a sieve, and Mark Sanchez and friends will show it. I expect a low-scoring game with a lot of Shonn Greene, and I think the Jets' defense finally plays up to potential. Fred Jackson gets some tough yardage, but Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills air attack loses its wings. Pick: Jets.
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-11.5): Maybe I am too high on the Cowboys, but their loss last week caught me by surprise. I thought they would come to play and they didn't. This week, at home, against a down Seahawks squad, I think Dallas comes to play. It's a lot of points, but Dallas has the horses. Expect DeMarcus Ware to terrorize either Seahawks quarterback and Dez Bryant to find the end zone. Pick: Cowboys.
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (-12): Call me crazy, but in a league where the Rams beat the Saints and the Cardinals almost beat the Ravens, 12 points is way too much for the Texans to be giving up. I know Houston is playing well. I also know that the Browns will probably start some dude named Chris Ogbonnaya at running back. I don't care. This NFL is crazy, and underdogs cover. Pick: Browns.
Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts (+8): The Colts come to play at home. Oh, the road the results can be ugly, but at home the crowd, Dwight Freeney and Pierre Garcon can keep a game tight. Especially when the opponent is coming off a bye and fighting a weird on-again, off-again trend of football. Pick: Colts.
Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs (-4): I'm not sure when it happened, but the Chiefs might be legit. They've won four in a row, and Tamba Hali is an absolute terror coming from the defensive end. Whatever schlub plays quarterback for the Dolphins will find that out soon. Pick: Chiefs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-10): What constitutes the real Saints team? The team that hung 62 on the Colts, or the team that lost in St. Louis last week? The Saints are somewhere in between. The defensive line can't make stops, and that's a problem with the Bucs coming to town. I expect a healthy LeGarrette Blount to chew up yardage and the Bucs to control the clock. The Saints might win, but the Bucs will cover. It's simply too many points in a divisional game. Pick: Bucs.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-9): This game could set an all-time record for quarterback futility. Carson Palmer sucks, Tim Tebow is an enigma, and despite those two descriptions, Kyle Boller is the worst of all three. I wouldn't bet on this with Bernie Madoff's money (mostly because he no longer has any), but this is a lot of points in a divisional rival. I might break the Internet, but Palmer < Tebow. Pick: Denver.
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-1): This is weird, but I think the Rams are going to win two games in a row. Steven Jackson played possessed last week, and I think the Rams are inspired. Remember, this was a sleeper team to make the playoffs before the year. That talent is still there, just needed some time to show up. Pick: Rams.
New York Giants at New England Patriots (-9): These two squared off in a pretty famous game not too long ago. The result was a pretty big upset. I think the Giants won. I have a feeling Bill Belichick and Tom Brady might be thinking of that this week. Add on the loss to the Steelers last week, and the Pats will have plenty of motivation, with or without Ahmad Bradshaw playing for the Giants. Pick: Pats.
Green Bay Packers at San Diego Chargers (+6): This is a big one. The Chargers are due for a big win, and this is the week they get it. The Packers will play well, but the Chargers will do enough. Norv Turner and Phillip Rivers may not be able to win big playoff games or manage the two-minute drill, but they can win at home on a big stage when nobody expects them to win. Pick: Chargers.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3): This rivalry really makes me mad. The NFL and its minions of talking heads act like this is some historic, vaunted rivalry. It isn't. The Ravens have existed for about 15 minutes. This game will have some hard hits, and lots of them will be illegal and cheap. My rant aside, the Steelers will win. The Ravens had a big win early, and the Steelers return serve at home. Big Ben is having an MVP caliber season. Joe Flacco is not. Pick: Steelers.
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-9): The Eagles looked like world beaters last week, and maybe all the pieces are coming together in Philly now. This game features two of the most dynamic running backs in the league in Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy. The Linc will be rocking for this Monday night affair, but one thing to remember is Jay Cutler plays well against the Eagles. I think the Eagles will win, but not running away like last week. Pick: Bears.
Last week: 6-6-1