Week 9: Predictions

Week 8 was better than Week 7 – no idea how, but I am taking it and awaiting the inevitable regression. Period. So it is ALL DOWNHILL from here. Consider yourself warned, since what goes up MUST COME DOWN…

Survivor Pool Pick of the Week: Chicago Bears

The Bills are not a good football team. The Bears are not the easiest team to figure out, as Trubisky is a mixed bag of tricks, sometimes across games and other times within games (and as such the Bears offense as a whole). I am of the opinion that the team with playoff aspirations is able to get the job done here on the road. Bills coming off a short week where they got beat down by the Patriots, I envision a similar outcome on Sunday as the Bears work to keep pace with the front running Vikings in a VERY winnable NFC NORTH division. Also, the Bills are back to the Peterman Trials as Derek Anderson joins Josh Allen on the infirmary report, so the QB play in Buffalo could get more ugly once more. GO BEARS!

#Don’tCallItAnUpsetPartTrois: The Saints marched into Minnesota as a 2.5 point underdog for a second consecutive week, and win again. The reward? A home game against their primary competition at the moment for the overall #1 seed in the NFC in the LA Rams. AND for the third straight week, they are the underdog. The Saints are playing solid football, balanced football. They are finding key plays in critical moments, and that is what winners do. I will continue with my Saints love here, and pick the Saints to continue to thrive in the underdog role.

#UndefeatedWatch: All Good Things come to an END! The Rams were not going to go 16-0, and the schedule makers have built quite the schedule for 2018. The Rams have looked more vulnerable with the passing weeks. The Packers gave them all they could handle at home last week, and now they travel to one one of the tougher venues to win on the road at in New Orleans. The Saints are running the ball well and rising to the occasion. I don’t see a letdown in them, especially since they have been the underdog in each case and are led by Drew Brees. The Rams have to lose eventually, so I am picking it to happen here.

#NFLDraft2019RaceToTheTop: We are halfway (for the most part) through the NFL season, so it is time to begin taking stock of teams in contention for the “Bosa Sweepstakes”. Not as sexy or the Manning or Luck sweepstakes, but it is something. He is supposed to be better than his older brother, and even has taken the remainder of his collegiate season off to heal and prepare for the draft. Good for Bosa. BUT, WHO will “earn” the right to pick him? Contenders include the 49ers, Raiders, Browns, Cardinals, Giants, and Bills (the current list of 1 and 2 win teams). The Raiders face the 49ers and will surely find a way to hurt themselves here as the 49ers are trending to having to start a 3rd stringer at QB with exactly 0 snaps to his portfolio at the NFL level. Then there are the Cleveland Browns, who decided it was time to clean house and launched not only the player development extraordinaire HC in Hue Jackson but the supposed replacement by sending Todd Haley packing alongside. This leaves criminal DC Gregg Williams at the helm of a now hapless team possessing a tie that could wreak tiebreaker havoc in this race. But they are sure to lose some more games too. The Giants and Raiders, in fact, are the only teams from this list with their original starting QB playing, as even the Cardinals shifted to the rookie from UCLA in Josh Rosen. Eli Manning and David Carr likely sneak a couple of undesired wins in the pursuit of the top pick that has me thinking they fall out of this particular competition. Also, what is the tank level with these respective teams? We need to start evaluating that over the next 3-4 weeks more closely.

My WAY TOO EARLY PREDICTION: San Francisco 49ers get that 1 pick and select Bosa (since Jimmy G is locked in, and I will presume that he makes the full recovery and returns to the fold for 2019). FYI – to me, the more interesting question is what becomes of teams looking for a QB, since we still are not seeing even one player who is a clear cut top of the draft caliber NFL prospect at this critical position.

BYE WEEK: Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars

SU = Straight Up, SU-C = Confidence Index (Straight Up), ATS = Against the Spread

Atul (SU) Atul (SU-C) Atul (ATS) Larry (SU) Larry (SU-C) Larry (ATS)
Oakland Raiders (1-6) at San Francisco 49ers (1-7) Raiders 2 Raiders (+4)
Chicago Bears (4-3) at Buffalo Bills (2-6) Bears 12 Bears (-10)
Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) at Cleveland Browns (2-5-1) Chiefs 13 Chiefs (-8.5)
New York Jets (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-4) Jets 3 Jets (+3)
Detroit Lions (3-4) at Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1) Vikings 8 Vikings (-6.5)
Atlanta Falcons (3-4) at Washington Redskins (5-2) Redskins 1 Redskins (-2.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) at Carolina Panthers (5-2) Panthers 11 Panthers (-5.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (4-4) Steelers 7 Steelers (+3)
Houston Texans (5-3) at Denver Broncos (3-5) Texans 6 Houston (+1)
Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) at Seattle Seahawks (4-3) Seahawks 9 Seahawks (-2.5)
Los Angeles Rams (7-0) at New Orleans Saints (6-1) Saints 4 Saints (+2.5)
Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) at New England Patriots (6-2) Patriots 10 Patriots (-6.5)
Tennessee Titans (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (3-4) Cowboys 5 Cowboys (-4)
Week 9 0/91 0/91
Overall 72-32-1 470/570 45-24-4 57-32 349/450 32-23-3

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