Most won't need me to tell you that the New Orleans Saints are not as good on the road as they are at home, while there is the feeling they got away with one last week thanks to the Aaron Rodgers hamstring issue at a critical point of the game when it was tied. It allowed the Saints to play their Defense in a manner that they were barely worried about Rodgers running the ball, but that won't be the case against Cam Newton.
On the other hand, Rob Ryan won't be as concerned with the passing game and the Saints have been decent against the run despite a returning DeAngelo Williams for the Panthers at Running Back. The front seven finally got some pressure going too so the Saints may be able to bring Newton down in the backfield as they had success doing last season.
Mark Ingram is back to full health for the Saints as he showed on Sunday Night Football and the former Heisman Trophy winner could rip off big gains for New Orleans in this one. Carolina have struggled to contain the run and that will open up the play-action for Drew Brees to find Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills deep down the field.
New Orleans aren't as good outdoors as they are in the SuperDome, but they should have won here last season and Brees won't have to worry as much about the six sacks he took in the loss here. Greg Hardy's absence has been huge for Carolina and they haven't generated the same success up front as they did in the 2013 season and Ingram's ability to run the ball should also keep the pocket clean for Brees.
With the Saints performances as a road favourite over the last two seasons, this is the kind of pick you could end up hating yourself for making, but New Orleans should have won at least 2 of their 4 road games they have lost this season. With Carolina just struggling a touch Offensively and their Defense not playing to the standard of last season, I like the New Orleans Saints to win and cover on the road.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Cleveland Browns Pick: When the Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and then looked at a schedule that saw them take on Jacksonville, Oakland and Tampa Bay in succession, there was no much positive energy going into this stretch of games. However, the Browns have been fortunate to win even one of the games with the Jaguars and Raiders and now they have to try and focus on Tampa Bay just four days before a huge Divisional game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
That won't be easy for a team that has struggled to run the ball since Alex Mack went down with an injury and with a Quarter Back who is beginning to feel the pressure from a popular back up rookie.
Mike Glennon isn't having an easier time with Tampa Bay and must know that the Buccaneers are likely to have been eyeing a new Quarter Back in the next Draft. Even Josh McCown looks closer to being re-named the stater for Lovie Smith, but Glennon may be able to relieve some pressure in this one.
He should be helped by the Buccaneers being able to establish the run which will at least keep the chains moving and also leave Glennon in short down and distance to work with which should, in theory, make it easier to hit Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans with big throws.
Getting a Touchdown start with Tampa Bay looks too big considering Cleveland have that Divisional game on Thursday Night Football and the fact they have been outgained by two teams that were winless going into the last two weeks. The Browns were very fortunate to beat Oakland by 10 last week and I like the Buccaneers to definitely keep this closer than that.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick: Usually I would shy away from picking a big favourite just four days before they have to play on Thursday Night Football, especially if that game is against a Divisional rival. However, that could be balanced out by the fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars are heading to London to face the Dallas Cowboys following this game and they were beaten by 17 points last season when going into that game.
Denard Robinson will get the start at Running Back and he should have a decent game for Jacksonville, but the problem is the Offensive Line which has struggled to protect Blake Bortles. That hasn't helped the rookie Quarter Back who has made too many mistakes and thrown too many Interceptions and that could make it difficult for the Jaguars to move the ball consistently.
The Defense has played well in recent games, but Andy Dalton has AJ Green back in the starting line up which should give him plenty of chances to hit the big pass downfield.
Cincinnati have been strong coming off a Divisional win in recent spots like that and have been a decent team to back at home against the spread. This is a big number, but I like the Bengals to prove too good for Jacksonville and come through with a win by two Touchdowns.
San Diego Chargers @ Miami Dolphins Pick: The San Diego Chargers have to travel across the country for an early kick off and I really like the Miami Dolphins to make it three wins in a row and really get themselves involved in the AFC Play Off discussion.
Injuries are another factor that are beginning to hurt San Diego and I think the Dolphins find it 'easier' to move the chains consistently in the game.
Lamar Miller can have a strong day running the ball and pick up from where Ronnie Hillman left off in Week 8 and that should set up Ryan Tannehill in short distances to make plays. With Jason Verrett ruled out and Brandon Flowers returning from a concussion, Miami should be able to score points and keep the Chargers off-balance with their Offense.
That won't be as easy for San Diego despite how well Philip Rivers has been playing this season as his Offensive Line is struggling in pass protection and that is where the Miami Dolphins can have a lot of success. Cameron Wake and the Defensive Line should crash down on Rivers which prevents the time for the big plays downfield, while he can't rely on a running game being established to ease that pressure as Miami have held teams to just 4.1 yards per carry.
This is a small spread which does concern me, but the Dolphins are 14-7 against the spread when either favoured or dogged by 3 points and I like them to cover in this one.
St Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers Pick: With both teams at 1-1 in the very tough NFC West, this is a game that neither the San Francisco 49ers or the St Louis Rams can dare to lose.
The Rams showed they are capable of going at it with the best in the Division when beating the Seattle Seahawks at home, but that took a lot of trickery for it to come through. San Francisco have already shown they have the team that can beat St Louis, although Jim Harbaugh won't take them lightly after the start the Rams made when these teams met earlier in the season.
The bye week will have given San Francisco time to get a little healthier Defensively and they showed their pass rush is able to get the better of the St Louis Offensive Line before Jake Long went down with an injury.
Colin Kaepernick should be able to pick up from where he left off in the last game with the Rams as the Secondary is still giving up big plays and the limited pressure they are getting up front shouldn't be a problem against someone who can scramble as well as this Quarter Back can. Russell Wilson had 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards against St Louis and while Kaepernick won't reach those numbers, he can have a huge game against them.
The 49ers are 3-1 against the spread in the last three season when favoured by between 7.5 and 10 points at home and I think they can improve on those coming off their bye and win this by double digits.
Oakland Raiders @ Seattle Seahawks Pick: They may be the Super Bowl Champions with wins over Green Bay and Denver this season, but the Seattle Seahawks haven't looked themselves over the last month. Closer than expected wins over Washington and Carolina is one thing, but losses to Dallas and St Louis are big disappointments.
Seattle did win in Week 8 and they looked a lot better Defensively which could be a big problem for rookie Derek Carr who won't have much support with Oakland establishing a running game. Carr is going to be playing in the most intimidating atmosphere so far in his NFL career and I just feel the game comes too early for him after the Raiders put in a lot of effort in coming close to upsetting Cleveland last week.
With the Denver Broncos next on deck, Oakland could definitely be looking beyond this non-Conference game that they aren't expected to win- some will call for a 'nothing to lose' attitude, but players may be saving themselves for Divisional rivals the Broncos.
I do have respect for the veterans in the Oakland locker room as they have been competitive in all but one game this season, but a road game against Seattle is incredibly tough especially if the Defense is creating turnovers as they did against Carolina.
The spread is huge and one that is tough to overcome in the professional game, but Seattle are going to blow someone out sooner or later and I think this game comes at the right time for them.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers Pick: This is one of the big feature games in the NFL and is one that has usually determined the winner of the AFC North, although the last couple of years has seen the Cincinnati Bengals getting involved and leading the way.
That won't lessen the the meaning of this game for both teams who come in at 5-3 with the winner in a strong position and the loser in a desperate spot. It will definitely be a worse loss for the Steelers who would be swept by Baltimore and drop to 1-3 in the Division, but the Ravens blew a second game against Cincinnati this season which means a loss here would see them at 2-3.
Both teams should have their chances to move the chains, although it does feel that Baltimore will get the better balance from their Offense as their Defense has been very good against the run. However, injuries to the Secondary could be a problem if Ben Roethlisberger is on fire as he was in Week 8.
The Steelers as the home underdog is very appealing this week although they haven't played well in revenge situations when it comes to covering the spread. However, it is tough to sweep a Divisional rival when they are as closely matched as these teams and I will take the points on offer.
0 Unit Picks: Arizona Cardinals - 1 Point, Philadelphia Eagles - 2 Points, Kansas City Chiefs - 9 Points, Washington Redskins + 1 Point, New England Patriots + 3 Points
MY PICKS: New Orleans Saints - 3 Points @ 1.92 Coral (2 Units)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers + 7 Points @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Cincinnati Bengals - 10.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Miami Dolphins - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 Coral (2 Units)
San Francisco 49ers - 10 Points @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Seattle Seahawks - 13.5 Points @ 2.05 Coral (2 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers + 1.5 Points @ 1.92 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Week 8: 1-8, - 13 Units
Week 7: 8-1, + 11.20 Units
Week 6: 2-3-1, - 2.46 Units
Week 5: 3-4-1, + 0.84 Units
Week 4: 4-4, + 0.02 Units
Week 3: 8-2, + 9.82 Units
Week 2: 5-3, + 1.50 Units
Week 1: 3-6, - 3.18 Units
Season 2014: 34-31-2, + 4.74 Units
Season 2013: 86-70-2, + 22.27 Units
Season 2012: - 4.78 Units