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Pay Homage To Gamblor: Week 9

by Jeff Briggs

Living in Philadelphia during the World Series has reduced the amount of time I typically watch the NFL Network and look at football stats over the last week. Maybe that lack of information will help my picks. I clearly wasn’t doing well when I tried to study up on the games. If anyone is actually using my picks as any sort of guide, you should probably stop, it’s not happening this season.

I could try to find a reason that the second half of the season looks promising for gambling, but it doesn’t; just bide your time until the playoffs. There is a high chance that there will be two to four awful teams in the playoffs this year, and unlike in the regular season, awful teams don’t win in the playoffs. So wait, and hopefully we’ll see the Jets on the road at Pittsburgh come January, or any NFC East team traveling to which ever team wins the NFC North and/or West. Then liquidize all your assets, take out a huge loan, and bet: it is a can’t miss cash opportunity. But before we can get to the playoffs, you have to make it through the regular season. The goal is still .500% for the year. On to the picks…

Last week: 5-7-2
Season: 51-60-5
Lock of the week: 4-4

Home team in CAPS

Texans (+4.5) over VIKINGS The Texans have come on lately after a slow start. Andre Johnson is an absolute beast; one could argue he is the best receiver in the league. On the other end, the Texans won’t be able to stop Purple Jesus, but they won’t need to stop them, just outscore them.

Jaguars (-7.5) over BENGALS T.J. Houshmandzadeh says he will walk the 27 miles from his home to the NFL Network’s LA studio if the Bengals don’t win at least two games this season. Interesting time to make that statement, as it seems over the last few weeks the Bengals have stopped trying to play football. I think it’s safe to say Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer. Unless the question is, “Which NFL starting quarterback went to a wicked smaht school?”

Buccaneers (-8) over CHIEFS Jeff Garcia won’t throw 3 interceptions like Brett Favre did. Tyler Thigpen won’t pass for 280 yards against the Bucs’ D, like he did against the Jets. And the Bucs will run away with this game and remind everyone of how bad the Chiefs really are, like the Jets couldn’t.

Ravens (+1.5) over BROWNS Both of these teams are surprisingly 5-2 against the spread this season (this also happens to be the first game the Browns have been favored all season). If there were an opposite to a lock of the week, I’d paste it all over this game. I actually think the Browns are the better team, but just don’t like them here for unknown reasons.

BILLS (-5.5) over Jets The Bills need to prove that they can beat the teams in their division. No luck last week in Miami, but at home the story should be different. The Jets almost lost to Kansas City at home last week, and lost to the Raiders the week before. Those are not the signs of a good team. Favre has already thrown for 11 interceptions this season and is looking more like 2005 Brett (20 TD, 29 INT) every week. The fact that the Jets have a winning record is sickening. But hey, keep it up Jets – I’d love to see you in the playoffs.

Cardinals (-3) over RAMS If the Rams win this game, they are suddenly just one game back in the NFC West. This is the same Rams team that was universally thought of as the worst team in football for the first four weeks of the season. It really makes you wonder what Scott Linehan did when he was running that team. Instead of practicing, did he have the team play drinking games? Did he design plays by watching electric football? I mean, it really takes a lot to make Jim Haslet look like a genius.

Lions (+13) over BEARS Even picking the Lions with as much as 25 points is still scary, but it must be done: this is too many points. Somehow the Lions have played three straight relatively close games; I guess there is reason to assume they could somehow continue only losing by 7 or 8 points. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, then I don’t know what is.

TITANS (-5.5) over Packers The Titans are for real. Or at least, as real as any other team this year. Kerry Collins has a legitimate chance to join Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson in the “Wait…That Guy Won a Super Bowl? Really? Him??” Hall of Fame.

BRONCOS (-3.5) over Dolphins Will someone please step up and win the AFC West with a record better than 8-8? Maybe Jay Cutler needs to learn he has some other disease – it really looked like diagnosing his diabetes made him into an NFL stud the first few weeks, but not anymore. Could he have mono or something?

Falcons (-3) over RAIDERS I got to see the Falcons in person last week, and the Matt Ryan-Roddy White tandem really has potential to be great over the coming years. They aren’t quite a playoff level team yet, but that’s still a lot more than the Raiders can say (although it’s the AFC West, anything is possible… No, never mind, I can’t talk myself into believing the Raiders have a chance to win anything). At least we'll get to see lots of crazy costumes on Halloween weekend in Oakland.

Cowboys (+8) over GIANTS I know the Cowboys aren’t the same team without Tony Romo, but 8 points is too many for any NFC East battle.

Eagles (-7) over SEAHAWKS The best thing the Seahawks will do all season is beat the 49ers bad enough to cause Mike Singletary’s press conference. Their quarterback and wide receivers are injured, they don’t have a legit running back, the defense is far weaker than anyone expected, and the players have no reason to play for the coach they know is leaving at the end of the year. LOCK OF THE WEEK.

Patriots (+6) over COLTS NBC isn’t getting quite the marquee match up it thought it had when they put this on the Sunday Night Football schedule. No Tom Brady, and a diminished Colts team. Not that it won’t still be a good game; it just doesn’t have quite the same hype as the Pats-Colts match ups of old. People aren’t really paying attention, but the Patriots are 5-2 and it wouldn’t be all too surprising to see them end up with a first-round bye in the playoffs.

REDSKINS (-1.5) over Steelers The Steelers haven’t been able to figure out the NFC East yet. The Redskins have a way of playing to the level of their competition, which means this game will almost certainly be close. This should be a big test for Dr. Do-Itch-Big and the Redskins running game, but so far, they’ve met just about every challenge.