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NFL Picks for Week 9
by John Canton (NFL)
Posted on November 3, 2006, 7:57 PM

John: Welcome to week nine of our weekly NFL picks column. I'm going to be very brief this week due to a personal issue, so I'll just pass it off to my buddies here and I'll see you when we get to the pick section although as I said my comments will be quick.

drq: Man alive, what a pitiful week for yours truly. I don’t think there’s ever an occasion where a 5-9 prediction week is acceptable, but seeing that both of my comrades only managed a record of .500 themselves, well that makes me feel a little bit better. After all, they’re the brains of this outfit... I’m just here for a little comedic relief and a wildcard pick here or there, I think? Like I said the last time I had an awful showing, I’m not going to let a bad week or two throw me off of my game. I’m here to call them as I see them, no matter how bad my NFL-angled eyesight may actually be.

Last Week:
John Canton: 7-7
Brett Berliner: 7-7
drqshadow: 5-9

Brett Berliner: 77-37 (.675)
John Canton: 73-41 (.640)
drqshadow: 66-48 (.579)

Sorry Q. I'm just sorry.

Note: The following teams have byes this week: Arizona, Carolina,
N.Y. Jets, Philadelphia

Atlanta at Detroit 1:00 p.m.
drq: I haven’t seen anything out of the Lions this year that would lead me to believe they deserve any kind of respect going into this one. The Falcons have had their problems, but those pale in comparison to the kind of season Detroit’s been enduring. Both teams should put up multiple scores, but in the end I think the Falcons will have too big a day from Vick and Dunn to be matched. Atlanta: 34 - Detroit: 17

Brett: Yikes - this should be a pretty stinky one. The Lions need some help - they basically need playmakers. They have some talent and they're in most of their games, but they do NOT have guys on offense or defense who can make the big play - beyond Roy Williams - and until they get some of those, they aren't going to be contenders. The Falcons have looked great lately. Vick has looked good and the defense has been playing well. Even on the road, they should roll. Atlanta 30, Detroit 17

John: Mike Vick is playing out of his mind right now and until he faces a great defense I'm going to think that streak continues. Detroit, sorry, but you're not that defense. Falcons 31-20

Cincinnati at Baltimore 1:00 p.m.
drq: To borrow a phrase, this is shaping up to be one hell of a slobberknocker. I love the way Chad Johnson informed everyone that his coach asked him to keep quiet and cut down on the end zone celebrations, yet not even a week later he was right back to his same old game, calling out defenders and putting his bleached mohawk on the line. If there’s one guy in the league I wouldn’t want to fool around with, it’s probably Ray Lewis, but I don’t think that face-off is the real story here. The big question is which Carson Palmer will show up, and how much of the load can Rudi Johnson carry against this smothering Raven defense. It should be close, but I’m siding with the Ravens defense right now. I can see them coming up big with a turnover and maybe a score late to turn the tide. Baltimore: 21 - Cincinatti: 20

Brett: This could easily morph into the game of the week. It's the old classic - the really good defense against the really good offense, and the less than good offense against the less than good defense. This one is going to be interesting - the Baltimore defense is playing really well, and Cincinnati has the firepower to keep up with anyone, although they haven't been doing a great job of that lately. I still think that the Rats - I mean, Ravens - are overrated a bit despite an impressive performance last week, and I think the Bengals are better than their record indicates. Certainly, the Browns proved that people can score on the Ravens, but I wouldn't expect the Ravens to do enough scoring back. Thus, I think the Bengals squeak one out. Cincinnati 24, Baltimore 21

John: Every week I seem to say that I don't believe in Baltimore. Well guess what I think after last week's impressive win? I think they're still not great. Bengals win a tight one. Bengals 26-23

Dallas at Washington 1:00 p.m.
drq: I’m expecting something of a repeat of the Indianapolis / Washington game from two weeks ago, right here. The Cowboys are beginning to stir on offense, although it’s only a matter of time before the focus turns away from Tony Romo and back to Mr. Owens, and I can’t see Washington’s defense turning them away more than once or twice in this game. Dallas has problems on the near horizon, but for at least one more week, things should remain stable and optimistic in Cowboy country. Dallas: 35 - Washington: 24

Brett: Is everyone ready for the Tony Romo show? Romo was actually relatively impressive last week. He's not great, yet, but he could be passable and I think the Cowboys would take that - they have a lot of talented receivers and backs, and if somebody can just get the ball to them, they can make plays. The Cowboys D has been pretty good, regardless, and with a slightly improved O, I don't think the 'Skins and their anemic offense and slow defense can keep up with them. Dallas 30, Washington 20

John: Can't really figure these teams out. The Skins are 2-5 coming off three straight losses and a bye while Dallas looked impressive in beating the Panthers while on the road. Logic says Dallas. I've been screwed by logic too much, so the Skins it is. Redskins 24-20

Green Bay at Buffalo 1:00 p.m.
drq: Here’s a limp one. Both of these teams may as well be out of the playoff hunt after such slow starts, and are playing more for pride than anything else at this stage. I think Buffalo can and will run the ball on the Pack, but that Green Bay will be able to match them on the ground and overwhelm them through the air. Neither team has the defense to really shut the other down, so I see the Bills closing a gap late in the fourth, followed by a monotonous, time-killing Packer drive to seal things out. Green Bay: 20 - Buffalo: 17

Brett: Yikes. I thought the Bills would be doing better than they are right now, especially after they played well early. They aren't. Green Bay is playing better than I thought they could, but guess what? I am stubborn. I think the Bills D is going to step up big this week and knock Favre around, and I think the Buffalo offense is going to break out of their slump with a big day by McGahee - and what better defense to break out against? Buffalo 17, Green Bay 10

John: Buffalo, I guess, because I think McGahee should be able to run on the Packers defense. It's not like either of these teams are any good anyway. Bills 30-20

Houston at N.Y. Giants 1:00 p.m.
drq: The Giants are the hot story in the NFC right now, riding on the wave of several impressive, consecutive victories. The Texans, meanwhile, are slowly making the right adjustments on both sides of the ball, and building toward possible contention in the next three or four years. They’re right at the point now where they’re beginning to surprise teams, as evidenced by their deconstruction of the Jaguars a few weeks back. Unfortunately, that also means they’re at the point where things are at their most unstable, as seen in last week’s loss to the Titans. I don’t think New York’s defense is as air tight as they’d like you to believe, and their offense still has a few question marks, but they should have enough firepower to handle Houston fairly easily nonetheless. New York Giants: 35 - Houston: 13

Brett: Gotta respect the way the Texans have played this year - by all rights, they should be in line for the #1 pick, and they are actually competing with (and beating!) some teams that they shouldn't. That ends this week, though, as the Giants are on too much of a roll and are too talented to be upset at home against a team who isn't quite there yet. Plus, the Texans are lacking along the O-line, and the Giants have maybe the best pass rush in the league. Sorry, David Carr. N.Y. Giants 35, Houston 17

John: I think the Giants are the best team in the NFC. I think Houston blows. So take a guess what the result will be here? Giants 41-6

Kansas City at St. Louis 1:00 p.m.
drq: I haven’t seen much of either of these teams this season besides the clips and highlights they air on the highlight reels, which makes this one a little bit tough for me to call. The Chiefs seem to be doing a fairly impressive job of recovering from the chaos at QB, and Larry Johnson is finally becoming the back that everybody expected him to be when he went #1 in so many fantasy drafts this summer. On the other hand, Marc Bulger is having a terrific year at QB and Tory Holt is making some of the most unbelievable plays I’ve ever seen. Stephen Jackson hasn’t even begun to show what he can do this season. Too many offensive weapons without a real answer on the Chiefs’ defense, plus the home field advantage means I’m going with the Rams in this one. St. Louis: 28 - Kansas City: 24

Brett: Tough loss for the Rams last week. I really thought they had a shot at pulling what I didn't believe to be too big of an upset. This has always been an interesting game for me, for whatever reason, when these two teams play. Specifically, I remember one a few years back when the 6-0 Rams came into Arrowhead and got their butt kicked. I don't think it happens this time. Although I think the Chiefs are a good team, I'm not a huge Herman Edwards fan and I never thought his team had the necessary attitude. The Rams are playing tough this year and Bulger should have a real nice day. St. Louis 30, Kansas City 21

John: I don't know anymore about my Rams. I have some worries here because Larry Johnson could run wild, but I have confidence in the Rams at home and I think the Chiefs are a flawed team away from Arrowhead. So I'll go Rams in a close one because close games are what the Rams have. Rams 30-27

Miami at Chicago 1:00 p.m.
drq: Yet another game that looks like it could be a trap for the war worn Bears. You know what it means when a team has three or four “potential trap” games in a row? It means they’ve had an easy schedule. The Dolphins are a team with so much wasted firepower on offense that I can’t help but imagine they’ll finally make a correct alignment one of these weeks and just shock the league by dropping fifty on a legitimate contender. I don’t think Chicago is their opportunity to do so, although stranger things have certainly happened. The Bears offense takes advantage of a few turnovers in Dolphin territory, then goes into hibernation at halftime. Chicago: 24 - Miami: 10

Brett: Oh boy. Uh.. yeah. This is going to be ugly. Chicago 35, Miami 10

John: Joey Harrington against THIS defense? Ha..haha…hahahaha! Bears 40-3

New Orleans at Tampa Bay 1:00 p.m.
drq: The Bucs did everything but close out the game when these two teams last met, and that was on hostile territory. In Raymond James, the Bucs are an inspired club, while the Saints are a bit nicked up and uncertain about themselves after a tough loss against Baltimore. I think Tampa comes in prepared, shuts down the offense once again, and remembers to send out some punt coverage this time around. Incidentally, take a good look at Bruce Gradkowski this week. He really shined against the Saints in his first start as a pro four weeks ago, and with Chris Simms placed on IR today in the last year of his contract, the chances are good that this rookie will be the Bucs’ starter when the 2007 season officially kicks off. Tampa Bay: 20 – New Orleans: 14

Brett: Nice division matchup here. Tampa Bay really struggled early, but since inserting Bruce Gradkowski, they've been able to stay in and win some games that they don't deserve. This could be one. The Saints have been playing very well lately, but they're coming off of a tough loss at Baltimore and they may be coming back down to earth. I think they're probably a 9-7 or 10-6 team at best, so I don't expect them to slaughter the Bucs, but I think they have a pretty good shot at a win. New Orleans 24, Tampa Bay 23

John: The Bucs are hard for me to figure out, but they play tough at home and I have little faith in the Saints as a good team at this point. With that said, I'll take the home guys in a close battle. Bucs 20-19

Tennessee at Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
drq: Behold, the majesty that is the AFC South. Jacksonville is beginning to come back down to Earth after a terrific 2004 and a good start to 2005, and (surprise) some of their offensive playmakers are coming up a little worse for wear. The Jags’ defense really preys on uncertain passing games, and that’s exactly what the Titans bring to Jax this Sunday afternoon. This won’t be pretty. Jacksonville: 24 - Tennessee: 6

Brett: This could be a VERY interesting game. It depends a lot on Vince Young. The dude needs to be a SPONGE right now. Seriously, a SPONGE. He has to listen and listen and watch film, because he isn't a very good passer and if he wants to become even average, he needs to learn how to pick apart an NFL defense. Jacksonville is a good place to start, to be honest. They're a tough team, but their defense, while well coached and solid, has its weak spots. I don't think Vince is advanced enough to beat a defense like this. Jacksonville 16, Tennessee 7

John: The Jags running game is looking good and the defense is usually solid at home. That should be enough to win. Jags 17-13

Minnesota at San Francisco 4:05 p.m.
drq: Well, I went out on a branch and bet on my hunch with the Vikings last week, and they let me down in horrific fashion. They really are a one-track offense, and when you throw a wrench into things by derailing their running game or distressing Brad Johnson, they completely collapse onto themselves. Fortunately for Minny, there aren’t a lot of teams in the league like the Patriots, and the Forty Niners don’t even belong in the same league. The Vikes should be able to handle this match easily. Minnesota: 35 - San Francisco: 10

Brett: SPOILER ALERT: Chester Taylor runs wild, Brad Johnson gets back on track, and the 49ers die a little bit more inside. Minnesota 35, San Francisco 20

John: This could be a nice upset special here. However, I'm gonna go with the Vikes because I think they're going to bounce back strong after last week's home disaster against the Pats. Vikings 23-20

Cleveland at San Diego 4:15 p.m.
drq: The Browns were never really a winning team this year, but they did start out the season tough. As we’ve caught sight of the mid-season, though, they’ve begun to doubt themselves as a unit, and it’s beginning to show in their play and in the gaps between their own score and that of their opponents. San Diego is precisely the wrong team for the Browns to run into at this point in the season, as I can’t see morale improving after a lopsided loss such as this one. San Diego: 42 - Cleveland: 13

Brett: Go, Browns, go! I think they have a shot this week, I really do. As silly as it may sound, the Bolts are without their top 3 OLB, a critical position for the 3-4 D (that's Shawne Merriman, Steve Foley and Shaun Phillips), and a few other players on the D might be out. The Browns probably aren't ready to take this just yet, but I wouldn't write them off. San Diego 28, Cleveland 17

John: I don't like the Browns chances. Chargers are very strong at home. Chargers 31-10

Denver at Pittsburgh 4:15 p.m.
drq: Denver has its problems on defense, as I suspected, but it takes a great offense like Indy’s to really take advantage of it. If Pittsburgh can come into this game, get Willie Parker moving and deliver a half-dozen big pass plays, they could very easily disorient the Broncos and steal this game. From what I’ve seen, however, this isn’t the same Steelers team that dominated the Broncs in the AFC Championship game last year. They’re having serious problems on offense, and the legacy of their defense has hit a few snags this season. Even in familiar territory, I don’t think the black and gold can keep pace with the Denver proud. It’ll be a sobering sight, watching the Broncos dispose of the Steelers in a similar fashion to the way they brushed off the Raiders, but it’s looking like more and more of a possibility. Denver: 17 - Pittsburgh: 7

Brett: As much as I hate to say so, I don't think the Steelers are as bad as their record implies. Sure, Roethlisberger doesn't look great, but the defense is still the defense and they have the core of their team intact. I also don't think Denver is that great, and I think they won't be able to leave Heinz Field with a victory. Pittsburgh 21, Denver 17

John: I don't understand how Pittsburgh is favored here. I guess the Vegas oddsmakers missed the memo that says they can't score on good defenses. Maybe the thought is that they're at home, so they'll play better. I don't see it, though. They're in the kind of funk that they'll be unable to get out of until next year because after this week they're pretty much done as a 2-6 team. Broncos 17-10

Indianapolis at New England 8:15 p.m.
drq: This is your potential game of the year right here. So much history, so many back stories, so many new faces and so many old foes. Indy / New England in 2006 has the same ring to it that Dallas / San Francisco had in the early 90s. The Colts have had success in Gilette Stadium in the past, and I’m not just talking about last year’s 40-21 shellacking on Monday Night. Indy opened up the 2004 season with a road game in New England, moved the ball at will on the Pats, and ultimately fell to a missed Vanderjagt field goal in the game’s final moments. With Adam Vinatieri on an absolute tear this season, (as of this week, he’s a picture perfect 14/14 on field goals, and he’s only played in four games) I think Indy finally has the ultimate answer to the Patriots’ puzzle. It’ll be a tough pill to swallow for the New England faithful, but I see this Super Bowl hero taking one away from the Pats in the closing seconds. Indianapolis: 21 - New England: 20

Brett: Likely game of the week. I know people propose that Belicheck owns Manning, but I think it's that whichever team has Vinatieri wins. I think Manning is playing too well and it's too hard to stop somebody on that kind of a roll. He's almost untouchable right now. Bill is the man, for sure, and if this is a playoff game, I don't bet against the Pats, but I think Peyton will get some revenge, and a late field goal by the clutch killa steals the victory. Indianapolis 35, New England 34

John: Yes, this game is as good as the hype for it. No, I'm not sure who is going to win. Depends on a number of things, really, like turnovers. I'm going to go with the Pats because I think they'll be able to run on the Colts, dominate the time of possession battle and put up enough points to where the Colts will lose even if Manning continues to play out of his mind. Patriots 30-20

Oakland at Seattle 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
drq: Are people really uncertain about why the Sunday Night game is quickly overtaking the Monday Night matchup in terms of interest, excitement and overall presentation? They’re landing the better teams, they’ve got the better announce team, and they don’t constantly insist on dragging celebrity guest after celebrity guest into the booth to kill some time. I’m not tuning in to see what Spike Lee is up to, or what Hank Williams, Jr’s hat looks like on Joe Theisman’s head, I’m interested in seeing some prime time football. Watching the Seahawks massacre the Raiders, while Tony Kornheiser talks about his fantasy team and Charlie Sheen tells us all about his current role, well... that doesn’t sound so good to me. Screw this game. Seattle: 45 - Oakland: 6

Brett: Oh, fuck off, NFL. This is Oakland's SECOND Monday Night game, and their third prime-time game of the season. Sure, they've won two but do they deserve that much? Meanwhile, Cleveland has ZERO Monday or Sunday night games. STUPID. Ugh. Seattle 24, Oakland 10

John: Can't believe Oakland is on primetime again. Three times in eight games? What a joke. They're playing better, but they still suck and it's hard to take them in Seattle even with the Seahawks being without their two best players. Seahawks 20-7

JC vs. The Spread
I'll use the line that TheGreek.com provides and I'll pick four games that I think you should bet on for the week. Why TheGreek.com? Because that's where I place my bets. I'm Greek. That's where I belong.

Last week: 1-3 - Ouch. Nothing to say other than ouch.
Season: 16-13-3

Denver (+3) over Pittsburgh
I don't understand the odds. Pittsburgh is struggling and Denver's going to force turnovers to win this game.

Chicago (-13.5) over Miami
Even though it's a lot of points the Bears are just too tough at home this year.

New York Giants (-13) over Houston
Same as above.

Atlanta (-5) over Detroit
One thing is going in the right direction. The other is not. I like this pick.

Until next week, for Drqshadow and Brett Berliner this is John Canton saying enjoy the games. You know we will.

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