NFL Gridiron Guide Week 9: Drew Brees and Saints too much for Jets
SAINTS (6-1) at JETS (4-4)
Saints by 6; O/U: 45 1/2
TV: Ch. 5. Radio: ESPN (98.7)
Ouch! That's all I kept thinking as I watched "Gag" Green endure a 49-9 loss to Cincinnati. Rex Ryan said that his Jets had to move on and turn their focus to New Orleans. They better, or this one could get ugly, too! I agree with Rex that the Jets aren't as bad as their 40-point loss indicates. I just don't think they are in the class of the Saints, one of the NFL's best. Ryan said if his vaunted 'D' plays like it did last week, Saints QB Drew Brees could throw for 700 yards. We doubt that, but he could notch another of his five-TD games like he did for an NFL-record eighth time last week. The Saints are 15-6 against the spread (ATS) in their last 21 games following a win. Brother Rob -- and the better 'D' -- prevails.
The pick: Saints
1 P.M. GAMES
VIKINGS (1-6) at COWBOYS (4-4)
Cowboys by 10; O/U: 47 1/2
With all the talk about whether Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is selfish and not a good teammate, most of us forgot one thing: Dallas is one of the NFL's worst late-game teams. Why couldn't Dallas put away a game in which it led by 10 points with under seven minutes left last week in Detroit? The Cowboys are the first team to lose a game in which it held a +4 turnover margin this season (the previous 10 teams won). No matter who starts at QB for the Vikings, I think they'll play good enough defense and run the ball well enough to keep this one close.
The pick: Vikings
CHIEFS (8-0) at BILLS (3-5)
Chiefs by 3; O/U: 40 1/2
Kansas City is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 games vs. losing teams while Buffalo is 6-0 ATS in its last six games after a loss. Call it a hunch.
The pick: Bills
FALCONS (2-5) at PANTHERS (4-3)
Panthers by 7 1/2; O/U: 44
Why do I keep going back to the Falcons? This reminds me of the time I asked a girl to my senior prom a year after she had shot down my offer for the junior prom. (I was 0-for-2.). Atlanta is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
The pick: Falcons
CHARGERS (4-3) at REDSKINS (2-5)
Chargers by 1; O/U: 51
This amounts to a "must-win" for Washington. Normally, I'm not big on taking West Coast teams playing East Coast games at 1 p.m. But the Bolts have won at Jacksonville and Philly this season. This is a bigger test, but San Diego (5-1-1 ATS) will pass it.
The pick: Chargers
TITANS (3-4) at RAMS (3-5)
Titans by 3; O/U: 39 1/2
While St. Louis might still be reeling from failing to score a late TD to stun Seattle on Monday Night, Tennesse is rested after a bye. It's also 6-2 ATS in its last eight games.
The pick: Titans
4 P.M. AND LATER
EAGLES (3-5) at RAIDERS (3-4), 4:05 p.m.
Raiders by 2 1/2; O/U: 45
I cringe every time I see the words "Eagles and Raiders" in the same sentence. In 1980, when I was 7, I enjoyed one of the Iggles' best seasons, only to watch them lose to the Raiders in Super Bowl XV. I'll admit it, I cried. But this Sunday, it will be this edition of the Eagles who are crying after another loss.
The pick: Raiders
BUCS (0-7) at SEAHAWKS (7-1), 4:05 p.m.
Seahawks by 16 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2
Seattle has lost three of its last four when it was a double-digit favorite. That said, it is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 overall, and a solid 35-15-1 ATS in its last 51 at home.
The pick: Seahawks
RAVENS (3-4) at BROWNS (3-5), 4:25 p.m.
Ravens by 2 1/2; O/U: 41
Ravens QB Joe Flacco and coach John Harbaugh have never lost to Cleveland and have won 10 in a row vs. the Browns. The Ravens have covered five straight in Cleveland.
The pick: Ravens
STEELERS (2-5) at PATRIOTS (6-2), 4:25 p.m.
Patriots by 6 1/2; O/U: 44
I'll follow two trends: Pittsburgh is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Patriots are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a cover.
The pick: Steelers
COLTS (5-2) at TEXANS (2-5), 8:30 p.m.
Colts by 2 1/2; O/U: 44 1/2
TV: Ch. 4
Indy had the benefit of a bye week to rework its receivers after Reggie Wayne went down. Things continue to be grim in Houston as QB Matt Schaub has lost his job to Case Keenum. This line opened with the Texans as a 1 1/2-point favorite, and seems too good to be true, so tread softly.
The pick: Colts
BEARS (4-3) at PACKERS (5-2)
Packers by 10 1/2; O/U: 50
TV: ESPN, 8:40 p.m. Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
This is the lone Week 9 game with both teams over .500. The Bears won't have QB Jay Cutler, but I think they'll keep it close enough.
The pick: Bears
STAFF PICKS (best bets in caps)
JOHN BOELL 54-63-3, 3-5 best bets, last week 5-8: SAINTS Vikings Bills Falcons Chargers Titans Raiders Seahawks Ravens Steelers Colts Bears
BOB GLAUBER 61-56-3, 4-3-1, last week 6-7: Saints Cowboys Chiefs Falcons Redskins Titans Raiders Seahawks RAVENS Steelers Colts Packers
KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN 61-56-3, 5-3, last week 6-7: Saints Vikings Chiefs Panthers Redskins Titans Raiders Seahawks Ravens Steelers Colts PACKERS
TOM ROCK 56-61-3, 3-5, last week: 7-6: Saints Cowboys Bills Falcons Redskins Rams RAIDERS Seahawks Ravens Patriots Colts Bears