Week Nine NFL Picks and Trends
By David A. Lane of Predictem.com
The NFL season, like Father Time, keeps rolling on getting one week closer to the end of the regular season each week. While some teams continue to surprise us with their crisp performances, others play as though they are still in their respective training camps trying to learn the playbook.
Never in the history of the league has the disparity between the very best teams and the very worst been so great, making up such a wide chasm between the two. It screams of irony because these are the same guys that used to take so much pride in alleging the reason it was so great was that the rules committee based everything they did on competitive parity, thereby bringing about what they deemed would end the dynasty in the NFL.
For a time, perhaps the committee did in fact seem to achieve the desired effect of bringing about parity which in turn was at first blush appeared to be in the interest of the greater good of the league. However, as the years have gone by and time has gone on, the rich teams have gotten richer and the poor teams poorer- it has just taken the so called “dynasty franchises” a few extra years to regroup. Eventually the cream rises back to the top and the challenged return to being in over their heads again and that seems to be what has happened here in this case. As the years went by, the winning franchises learned how to win under the new set of guidelines while the weaker ones continued making the same type of bad decisions- personnel, managerial, and day to day- that made them weak to begin with.
Though not quite as bleak as Major League Baseballs situation where if your team is in a small market and isnt named the Minnesota Twins, it hardly has a chance of making it to the post season against the larger market titans who continually outspend them by millions of dollars in an environment that allows them too because the collective bargaining agreement with its players association contains no salary cap to restrict their spending while having no mechanism either to share profits with less advantaged teams.
Football needs only to keep an eye on whats happening over there because there are really only a small handful of teams that stand a chance of winning it all each year, and although that might be a great thing for these bigger markets, the game continues to lose interest in many more smaller cities who annually realize their teams never stood a chance to win anything from the start of the season anyway.
Eventually, this can only lead MLB down a dangerous road because if the fans lose hope that their teams can ever win in a sport that has little or no regard for parity, it can only lead to fan apathy in my book- something that can totally annihilate the sport completely.
While pro football is much more healthy because it’s ownership tends to make moves which keep the sport competitive for all teams, any nudge away from the salary cap at all in upcoming bargaining agreements- a move that is already popular and is gaining in strength as it is- would not be good for the NFL, as the clowns running MLB should have made all too obvious already.
Surely, the players union will be fighting against capping the earnings of its members, so hopefully ownership will again realize how good the cap is for the league as a whole and not abandon the idea altogether.
Certainly, this has been a very profitable era for the owners and the players alike while at the same time the sport has reached new heights in popularity- so lets hope the changes if any will be subtle ones.
Now, onto the games!
Washington Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons - 10 - Though the 2-5 Redskins are coming off a bye week, so what? They have been painfully inept on offense scoring more than only three teams- St. Louis Rams (77), Oakland Raiders (78), and Cleveland Browns (78)- while scoring a grand total of only 96 in 7 games themselves. Meanwhile, this marks the first time Ive ever heard an NFL owner, Dan Snyder, apologize to anyone much less ticket holders for the pathetic performance of his franchise which comes only one week after he personally stripped head coach Jim Zorn of his play calling duties. The Skins do have D, allowing only 27 more points (123) than the Broncos have (96) in the same number of games- seven- however, they wont be able to keep up with the Falcons (4-3) who can be a scoring machine and who are perfect at home (3-0), take Atlanta by 10.
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts Total 48 - How can you NOT be attracted to the over in this game? Kinda the way that a may fly is attracted to a bug zapper, it has caught me! Now I dont mean to be a square here or anything, but you might want to jump on this one early before popularity and common sense push it through the roof to 52.5 or 53 (still probably low there as well) because these are the number 1 and number 3 passing offenses in the league, so the ball literally will be thrown all over the field and the scoreboard will be smoking by the end of this one. Whether or not Indy can win by 10 or more points might be the tougher question, although it would certainly be hard to argue with their success so far. Regardless, Ill take the Over 48 as the total should sail over that number easily! *Note: Colts safety Bob Sanders is now OUT for the year with a torn biceps.
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Arizona Cardinals +3 @ Chicago Bears - The last time these two played was on a Monday night when Dennis Green became famous for saying, They are who we thought they were, and we letem off the hook! The Cards took a 20-0 halftime lead to the locker room in what was the teams first taste of success at the then new University of Phoenix Stadium before a national TV audience. They then proceeded to come out and give up two fumbles for TDs to the Bears as well as an 83 yard punt return to Devin Hester in the second half; engineering what can only be remembered as a monumental meltdown of epic proportions before losing the game 23-24. Keep in mind that they didnt have Kurt Warner starting then and hopefully they wont/cant manage to choke another game away like that again, so this should be another close one as the Bears are 3-0 at home and Cards are 3-0 on the road - Take the Cards and the three points.
Tennessee Titans @ San Francisco 49ers -4 - Though the Titans played hard enough to get their first win of the season, the 49ers gave the Colts all they could handle at home before succumbing to a late touchdown and a four point loss late. The close loss should only encourage and stoke the 49ers fire and desire to win this week in what should be a winable game for them. This is one that San Fran definitely must have to stay in the playoff hunt and keep from falling back to .500 (they are 4-3). The Titans victory over the Jaguars though important, wont be enough to carry the team this week - take the 49ers and give the 4 points- running back Frank Gore will have another big day.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) @ Denver Broncos (6-1) +3 - Mondays match-up should be an awesome one at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Co, as the defending Super Bowl Champs take on the biggest surprise of the season in front of what should be a raucous home crowd for the Broncos. The hitting will be fierce, and the line play key in this big-time NFL game that already has me getting fired up just writing about it- the winner of which may have a lot of say about which team ends up with home field advantage in the AFC for the playoffs. Denver has been a perfect 3-0 at home so far while the Steelers have been 1-2 on the road- making the three points the Broncos are receiving very much like a bonus here since you dont have beg me to take a home dog usually ever- and this one is a really good one- Take Denver +3 for sure and strongly consider the underdog money line here as well.
Whichever games you choose to play for whatever reason, keep in mind that we are sprinting past the half way mark of another terrific NFL season- another one that is going to be here and gone before you know it. The season never lasts long enough for some of us fans who continually count down the final weeks of the season one by one until sadly enough there are no more games left to count. So take it all in, make good choices, and enjoy wagering on the games this weekend- there are some good ones out there that will definitely be entertaining!