This has certainly been a different season for me than in years past. Because of work during the MLB postseason plus a wedding and week-long honeymoon last month, I have seen only two of the Dolphins' seven games this season live. Fortunately, I should be free for every game the rest of the way, leading to more consistent coverage and hopefully better game picks as well!
I'm still not doing too badly this season, as my percentage correct through eight weeks (66.4) is higher than the one I finished with in 2010 (65.4). On to this week's games!
Last week's record: 8-5
2011 season record: 77-39 (66.4%)
It's an upset with the Jets on the road and the Bills playing so well, but New York has the talent to win this game, and I think they will in a game that could define their season.
Dallas is coming off an embarrassing prime time rout at the hands of the Eagles, but they are a far superior team than the Seahawks, and I like their chances here.
There's no question the Falcons have been underachievers this year, and the passing game hasn't quite gotten into a rhythm, but I haven't seen a worse team this year than the Peyton Manning-less Colts. I don't see how Indy wins this game barring a miracle.
Chiefs over Dolphins
I don't think Kansas City is as good as their record, nor do I think Miami is as bad as theirs. Still, the Chiefs are at home and playing pretty well off a nice win over the Chargers last week, so they're the pick.
Which winless team will earn their first victory in Week 9?
The Saints strangely followed up a 62-point performance with an upset loss to the Sam Bradford-less Rams, and Tampa Bay always gives them a challenge. I still like New Orleans to even up the season series at home.
It's hard to believe San Francisco is this good, and part of me wants to pick the Redskins to break their three-game skid, but I can't go with a team having major quarterback issues against a defense playing as well as the Niners' is.
Cleveland is down to Chris Ogbonnaya at running back with Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty out, and they'll have a hard time beating Houston even with Andre Johnson still on the shelf. I like the Texans.
Cincinnati is performing better than expected with rookie Andy Dalton at quarterback, but I like the solid Titans at home and expect Chris Johnson to finally break out a little bit.
New England is coming off a close loss to fellow AFC East elite Pittsburgh, but I think they'll rebound with a big offensive day against the Giants.
Rams over Cardinals
Part of this pick is banking on Sam Bradford playing, especially considering Arizona will be without their own starting quarterback. But even if Bradford is out, I think St. Louis has the upper hand with the experienced A. J. Feeley against second-year man John Skelton.
Packers over Chargers
San Diego is once again underachieving despite good talent, and Green Bay is simply too good to pick against right now.
One of the NFL's best rivalries is always a toss-up, but Pittsburgh has been consistently good this year, while Baltimore has been extremely up and down. I'll play it safe(r) and take the Steelers at home.
Eagles over Bears
Philadelphia's offense looks to be back on track and is pretty unstoppable right now, so I like them over the Bears.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.