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NFL Picks Week 9: Picking The Pats And The Pack

After going 10-3 in Week 8, this week's slate of games look to be a whole lot tougher.

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I had my best week so far last week, picking 10 of the 13 games correctly. A lot of them went down to the wire, but when the three I missed came from surprising play by Miami and St. Louis, and a poor call going with my gut on the Browns, I'd say it was an overall success. I'm now 32-22 on the year. This week looks a lot trickier, between Jets-Bills, Giants-Patriots, Cincy-Tennessee and Baltimore-Pittsburgh, among others. Picks are in bold, and lines are from Bodog (via OddsShark).

Early Games

New York Jets (+2) @ Buffalo Bills -- I don't like this line at all. It comes down to a pick-em essentially. Although I am leaning more towards the Bills and Fred Jackson to exploit the soft Jets' run defense, I have a sneaking suspicion that New York pulls the minor upset.

Dallas Cowboys (-12) vs. Seattle Seahawks -- It's hard to pick the dysfunctional Cowboys to cover anything at this point, after the drubbing they received last week, but they're at home, and it is Seattle. Romo gets it right, at least for one week, and Murray has a solid game running the football. I like Dallas to win this one by 14.

Houston Texans (-10.5) vs. Cleveland Browns -- The Browns are a mess right now. The defense played a lot better than the score last week, and actually had a terrific second half, but the offense isn't exactly going to be able to use a combination of Chris Ogbannaya and Jordan Norwood to beat the Texans. Massaquoi and Hillis practicing on Thursday is a good sign, and if both play, I think the Browns have a much better shot. This line isn't final, so if it moves one way or the other, I'm inclined to make a switch, but as of now, I'm sticking with Houston to cover.

Atlanta Falcons (-7.5) @ Indianapolis Colts --  Falcons in a rout. The Colts are 2-6 ATS this year, and Atlanta is coming off a bye. Easiest pick of the week.

Kansas City Chiefs (-5) vs. Miami Dolphins -- Yes, Miami covered last week. And good for them. It was their first of the year. The Chiefs looked very good at times on Monday, and as long as Matt Cassel takes care of the football, KC's opportunistic defense should be able to make Matt Moore pay. I've really been impressed with Todd Haley's club the last few weeks. NOTE: this line also isn't final.

San Francisco 49ers (-4) @ Washington Redskins -- The Skins looked abysmal last week. Just downright awful. The injuries have clearly hurt, as has the uncertainty at quarterback. A game against San Fran's solid defense and ball control offense won't help. The 49ers have beat the spread or tied it in every game this season. And a heavy dose of Frank Gore and blitzes on defense should do the trick to get them another cover.

Late Games

Oakland Raiders (-9) vs. Denver Broncos -- This line started at Raiders (-7) and has already moved to (-9). Clearly, the Tebow stuff has people scared to take Denver. Carson Palmer had the bye to get acclimated with the offense, and should look better this week. If McGahee returns, this thing gets a little more interesting, but Oakland has more weapons and a better team. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if this one went the other way.

St. Louis Rams (+3.5) @ Arizona Cardinals -- I have no idea what to do with this one. Kevin Kolb has turf toe and the Rams came out of nowhere to beat the Saints. That's about all I have on this one. I think St. Louis uses Stephen Jackson a lot, and we might see a bit more of Brandon Lloyd as well. Although, Beanie Wells owners should be really excited this week for the Cardinals.

New England Patriots (-8.5) vs. New York Giants -- Have to believe the Pats aren't too thrilled about their loss to Pittsburgh a week ago. The Giants' defense isn't as good as the Steelers', and I'm looking for Tom Brady to have a big week. The injury to Ahmad Bradshaw doesn't help the Giants either. He hasn't been ruled out, but it isn't looking good.

Green Bay Packers (-5.5) vs. San Diego Chargers -- Gotta go with Aaron Rodgers and the Super Bowl Champions here. San Diego is coming off a short week and a heartbreaking overtime loss to Kansas City, and it has all kinds of injuries at the RB position. The Packers are rested, and Rodgers should have no trouble throwing against the Chargers' secondary.

Sunday Night

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) vs Baltimore Ravens -- Baltimore had Pittsburgh's number in the first meeting, but since then, the teams have gone in two directions. The Steelers are looking stronger from week to week, while Baltimore, despite leaning heavily on Ray Rice, has had a lot of trouble putting together a complete game. Joe Flacco is inconsistent, the defense isn't quite right, and the wide receivers, outside of Anquan Boldin, leave something to be desired. Gotta go with the Steelers at home on this one.

Monday Night

Chicago Bears (+8) vs. Philadelphia Eagles -- I think the Eagles win, but I think it will be close. Philly certainly looked like they had it all together last week, but their porous run defense will get a heavy dose of Matt Forte on Monday night. It will come down to whether or not the Eagles can get to Jay Cutler. If he has time to throw the football, he is extremely dangerous.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.