It was sort of a strange week for us on the east coast and especially here in Baltimore. With the Ravens on their bye and Hurricane Sandy dominating the local news, even the NFL took a backseat for many.With the storm and loss of power, it became almost impossible to stay abreast of the week that was and I didn't even find out that I had correctly picked the winner and point total for the Monday Night Football game until just a few hours ago!
The Ravens return to action on Sunday at the Cleveland Browns and we will make that pick tomorrow. Until then, starting with tonight's Thursday Night Football game, here are the NFL Picks & Pans for Week 9:
Chargers over Chiefs (Thursday Night Football): San Diego is a mess but Kansas City cannot seem to find the goal line so with this game at home, I have to think the Chargers will basically just suck less than the Chiefs.
Broncos over Bengals: Looks like home-field advantage has not proven to be just that this season. Cincinnati is having a tougher go this year than last while it appears Peyton Manning is beginning to click in the Denver offense.
Redskins over Panthers: This is actually a fascinating match-up of two of the most athletic QB's in the league in Washington's Robert Griffin III and Carolina's Cam Newton. RG3 is having the better season but Newton almost pulled off a huge upset last week. The combination of the supporting cast and home-field advantage leads me to take the Skins.
Colts over Dolphins: Miami has looked pretty solid lately and while they won on the road last week in the division, two straight road games is tough. Indianapolis is playing solid and not giving up and I like them at home in a close one that qualifies as an "Upset Special Pick of the Week."
Packers over Cardinals: Green Bay has been one of the most puzzling teams in the league this season,playing great one week and awful the next. While this game seems a no-brainer, which Packers team will show up. We know which Arizona team will be at Lambeau Field, so that's why I have to take the Pack.
Titans over Bears: Here is another "Upset Special Pick of the Week" in taking Tennessee over Chicago. The Titans have been able to put up points, especially at home and Jay Cutler, while having a pretty decent season, can be rattled. Chris Johnson might be able to run on a great defense and if so, there's the upset in the making.
Raiders over Buccaneers: I was going to take Tampa Bay, which has flashed big offense at times. Oakland won on the road last week and should be good enough to win at home but I still won't be surprised to see this game go either way.
Seahawks over Vikings: Minnesota may have been exposed last week while there is no question how much better Seattle is at home versus on the road. Seahawks play great in the northwest while Vikes should stumble again.
Giants over Steelers: In what I see as the best match-up of the weekend, we see two Super Bowl contenders from different conferences based on solid defense and clutch offenses. If this game were in Pittsburgh, I'd take the Steelers. Since it's in New Jersey, I like New York in a back and forth close game that could come down to the final possession and we all know how good both these two QB's are with the game on the line.
Falcons over Cowboys (Sunday Night Football): Some people are looking at this as the best game of the weekend but all I see are two completely different teams headed in opposite directions. Atlanta is undefeated and will remain so, while Dallas continues to find ways to disappoint their fans and anger their owner. All I see here is a blow-out.
Saints over Eagles (Monday Night Football): Two teams with significant problems this season. New Orleans defense can't stop anyone, but Philadelphia's offense constantly stops themselves. That combination will probably lead to a ton of points, a fun game to watch and ultimately Drew Brees leading his team as well as my fantasy team to victory!
Last Week: 8-6
Season Record: 76-43