Week 9 NFL Predictions

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Week 9 NFL Predictions

I bet you're wondering how in the world a replacement head coach for one of the worst teams in the NFL could make the front page on this blog. Well, have the kind of Sunday Mike Singletary had, and you get rewarded. Singletary wasted little time in letting the struggling 2-5 Niners know who's boss. He  In the second half of their 34-13 loss, TE Vernon Davis got called for a personal foul penalty for slapping the bottom of safety Brian Russell's helmet after being tackled below the legs on the previous play. While on the sidelines, Davis, sitting down by himself and tuning out the coach as he shouted at him, was ordered to leave the game. After the game, Singletary explained his actions to the media, stating that he'd rather play a game with 10 guys on the field than 11 if one wouldn't make the commitment. If that's not enough, he revealed on his radio show the next day that he pulled down his pants in the locker room at halftime and showed his backside to the players in a vain attempt to motivate them. When asked about it, he said "I could go in and throw chairs and tear up the locker room but I chose to do something differently to get the point across and move on." I guess by differently he meant he could have shown the team naked pictures of Mike Ditka and William "Refrigerator" Perry.

Houston at Minnesota

Line: Vikings by 4.5

Don't look now, but the Texans are about to break even at 4-4 after a nightmarish 0-4 start. Matt Schaub has been torching defenses with 926 passing yards and 6 TD's in the past three weeks. Houston's defense will have its hands full, however, with Adrian Peterson. In what is sure to be a shootout, Schaub must take advantage of the Vikings' struggling pass-rush to hit his playmakers and record a win in Minnesota and get the team back to .500. Texans 27, Vikings 25

Jacksonville at Cincinnati

Line: Jaguars by 7.5

The Jags have underachieved all year and their latest loss to Cleveland puts them in danger of falling into the cellar in a season of high expectations. Luckily for them, the Jags essentially get a bye week this week when the sad-sack Bengals come to town. 0-8 and reeling with a Harvard QB at the reigns and a non-existant running game, this Bengals team is a serious threat to go 0-16. Jaguars 42, Bengals 17

Tampa Bay at Kansas City

Line: Buccaneers by 9.5

The Bucs gave up first place by posting an anemic offensive effort in a 13-9 loss to Dallas. They need this win going into the bye to put pressure on the Panthers. They get a pushover opponent in Kansas City. Tyler Thigpen had a good passing game last week against the Jets, but don't expect two in a row against Tampa's experienced defense. Buccaneers 27, Chiefs 7

Baltimore at Cleveland

Line: Browns by 1.5

Derek Anderson runs on hot and cold, but he'll likely be running on frigid against the Ravens' hard-hitting defense. The key to the game will come at the line of scrimmage and Baltimore is excellent at stopping the run while Cleveland is one of the worst in the league, even with the addition of Shaun Rodgers. Baltimore should establish dominance at the LOS early and often and ugly out a win in the Dawg Pound. Ravens 17, Browns 14

New York Jets at Buffalo

Line: Bills by 5

Buffalo got off to a nice 16-7 start against the Dolphins in the 3rd quarter before giving up the last 19 points of the game and losing the game to fall into a 1st place tie with the Patriots. Now with the 4-3 Jets nipping at their heels, this game suddenly looms large. Both teams have struggled against inferior opponents so this matchup is fairly neutral. The difference will come down to passing with both teams being very good against the run, and I like Edwards's efficient passing over Favre's feast-or-famine wildness. Bills 28, Jets 27

Arizona at St. Louis

Line: Cardinals by 3

For those of you who remember my columns back to the Mikerophone era (that's right, all three of you), you'll no doubt remember my clever nickname for Kurt, Mr. Brenda Warner. The moniker started because back in Kurt's playing days in St. Louis, he was struggling with a bad thumb and not playing well. Mike Martz decided to go with Marc Bulger after Kurt led them to an 0-4 start. His wife went on radio and questioned the coaching decision, leading me to wonder who really wears the pants in the household. I'd be remissed to keep pounding away at a good-hearted Christian, though, and Kurt has earned back his old name after having a fountain of youth moment and returning to his old self. Now he faces his old team, having won the last two in St. Louis and looking to make it three. The Cardinals have struggled on the road and the Rams are playing hard, but I think Arizona can eek one out in a shootout. That is, if they really are a legit playoff team. Cardinals 31, Rams 30

Detroit at Chicago

Line: Bears by 12.5

The sandwich game traps the Bears, as the Lions have played hard the past three weeks. It's doubtful they actually threaten to win the game, but if the Bears get caught looking ahead, they could have a tougher time than expected against a division rival. Bears 24, Lions 14

Green Bay at Tennessee

Line: Titans by 4

This Titans team just won a statement game against Indianapolis yet the public seems to be backing the Packers with the smallish 4-point spread. Tennessee had trouble against the pass on Monday Night, mostly because they didn't have Kyle Vanden Bosch to rush the passer. Well KVB is back this week and the Titans should resume their defensive dominance. Even so, I think Green Bay can keep it close, as Aaron Rogers is a very capable passer, but whether or not they win will be determined by how well they run the football. Titans 20, Packers 17

Miami at Denver

Line: Broncos by 3.5

Denver might be the worst division leader in the NFL. While their offense certainly isn't the problem, their atrocious defense has forced the offense to work extra hard to win games. It seems like they just hit the wall against the Patriots, but I expect the offense to come out focused against the Dolphins with Jay Cutler doing just enough to overcome the huge rushing totals the Broncos' struggling D will undoubtedly give up. Broncos 31, Dolphins 24

Atlanta at Oakland

Line: Falcons by 3

The Raiders have been a tough team to beat at home since being humiliated on opening night against Denver. They led San Diego in the 4th quarter before losing and beat the Jets in overtime. I think they steal against the young, road-weary Falcons. Raiders 20, Falcons 17

Dallas at New York Giants

Line: Giants by 8.5

Dallas's passing offense with Brad Johnson is anemic, but the Giants might get a little cocky. They're the kind of team that plays well when the odds are against them but relaxes a little bit when they're expected to win. Earlier this year, they had trouble putting away Cincinnati and lost badly in Cleveland. Dallas has much more to lose, a loss would put the odds-on preseason Super Bowl favorite in last place. Giants 27, Cowboys 20

Philadelphia at Seattle

Line: Eagles by 7

In a matchup of girth, the hippo (Andy Reid) beats the walrus (Mike Holmgren) as his offense has the better personell. Philly shouldn't worry too much about an anemic Seattle offense that couldn't outscore the Phillies. Eagles 28, Seahawks 6

New England at Indianapolis

Line: Colts by 6.5

This is a desparate game that Indy has to win. While they haven't lived up to their end of the bargain with a sluggish 3-4 start, New England, given its circumstances, has performed surprisingly well in a 6-2 start, but they still have obvious weaknesses the Colts can exploit. For one, they can't run the football, and secondly, Matt Cassel can't throw the deep ball. With Bob Sanders back in the lineup, it'll be tough for New England to generate any kind of a passing offense. Meanwhile, the Colts should torch a weak Patriots' secondary as long as Manning gets time to throw the football and spread the defense to set up Addai for big runs. Colts 31, Patriots 21

Pittsburgh at Washington

Line: Redskins by 2

The Redskins have struggled for wins in their last three weeks, losing to the Rams and barely edging out the Lions and Browns. The Steelers seem to match up very well with the Redskins, as they can stop the run and rush the passer, while Washington doesn't have as good a pass-rush as New York, meaning Big Ben will have more time to throw the football. Even so, they're hosting a Monday Night game two days before Election Day and the atmosphere could be electric. I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins came out fired up with something to prove and got an emotional home win. Of course, if you follow Chris Berman's pre-election logic, that could also mean John McCain would be the new president, despite the fact that he's trailing Barack Obama in the popular vote. Redskins 24, Steelers 21

Week 8 vs Spread 10-3-1

Week 8 Straight up 12-2

Season vs Spread 68-46-2

Season Straight up 73-43

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