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Weekend Football Picks and Fantasy Football 2020 (February 8-17)

The English Winter Break is in play for the first time this season and I think it has not gone as well as the Premier League and the top clu...

Sunday, 8 November 2015

NFL Week 9 Picks 2015 (November 5-9)

So I have mentioned a couple of times that the last seven days have been ridiculously busy for me and that has meant the Week 8 NFL Recap had to be cut this week.

It also meant the Week 8 Picks couldn't be researched to the level I wanted so I wasn't comfortable putting them up, but I am back for Week 9.

Of course I can't go without mentioning the Greg Hardy story that continues to rumble on- the timing of the pictures being released of his domestic abuse case is strange to say the least. The pressure is being put on the Dallas Cowboys to release him, but I am not sure you can punish someone twice and he was suspended for a full year and now has been afforded a second chance.

Michael Vick served his time before being given that opportunity, but there was no 'time' for Hardy to serve and I am not sure what his critics expect. Unless they are saying that Hardy should be banned full stop from the NFL, I am not sure I understand what the outcome they want... And then I go on and ask where is the line for second chances?

What Hardy did was terrible, but he has missed a year and has to be given a chance to improve himself as a person. He has made some unseemly comments this season, which perhaps show he hasn't learnt from his mistakes, but you can't punish someone for a poor choice of words.

Else I would ask where is the outcry every time the racist Riley Cooper is on the field?

I need to do more reading into what has happened here and what the purpose of the released photos was before I can make a final opinion, but I am not sure what people expected to happen?

Week 9 Picks
My hope is I will have no more distractions through the rest of the season which prevent me from getting the picks out in a timely fashion, but you simply can't predict what life is going to throw at you.

The tennis season ends in a couple of weeks so I think time should be less of an issue going forward.

I've had a couple of poor weeks in the NFL and I am looking to get things turned back in the positive direction this week.

Tennessee Titans @ New Orleans Saints Pick: I have never been a fan of mid-season firing in the NFL or in College Football because I don't think it has enough of an impact and could easily see a team give up on the year. The Tennessee Titans could have made the move on Ken Whisenhunt at the end of this season, but a heavy loss to the Houston Texans was too much and a poor tenure here in Tennessee might mean Whisenhunt doesn't get another shot as a Head Coach.

Now they face an improving New Orleans Saints team that will know they are still alive in terms of the Play Offs after an up and down win over the New York Giants. The NFC South is far different from previous years though as both Carolina and Atlanta have strong winning records so the Saints can't afford to drop one at home this week.

Confidence should be high in the New Orleans camp after three wins in a row and their Defensive unit might have a chance to get something done facing an Offensively challenged team like the Titans. Tennessee have failed to score more than 13 points in any of their last four games since almost upsetting the Indianapolis Colts and look like a team that will challenge for the Number 1 Overall Pick in the Draft next year.

Marcus Mariota is expected to be sidelined again so Zach Mettenberger has another chance to win his first game as a starter. I actually like Mettenberger and the talent he has and actually thought the New Orleans Saints might have groomed him as a potential replacement for Drew Brees before Tennessee picked him, but he isn't the most mobile of Quarter Backs to say the least.

Behind this porous Offensive Line, Mettenberger is unable to escape from the pressure and he won't be too keen to take on a Rob Ryan Defense that has begun to get to the Quarter Back. The Saints Defense has done that against more mobile Quarter Backs than Mettenberger and it could be another tough day for the Titans in trying to move the chains.

If they had a more reliable Running Back, Tennessee could perhaps gash New Orleans on the ground and keep their Offense on the sidelines, but it looks difficult for them to do that. The challenge becomes much bigger when thinking they have to face Drew Brees fresh off a 7 Touchdown passing game in his home Dome.

I have to give the Tennessee Defense some credit as they have been effective at time this season, but they might find it tough to stop a team like New Orleans if their own Offense is giving them little time to rest. Three and outs against the Saints will mean the Titans Defense is eventually worn down and Drew Brees has found a couple of reliable weapons in the absence of Jimmy Graham.

Both Benjamin Watson and Willie Snead have made some big catches for Brees, while he can also hand the ball to Mark Ingram and CJ Spiller who should find some running lanes. While the Titans focus on Brees, both Running Backs could punish a team looking to drop men in coverage and New Orleans are a team that can score enough points to beat this spread.

Tennessee haven't played well when coming off a Divisional loss and have gone 1-5 against the spread in that situation in recent times. Off the firing of their Head Coach, I am not sure the Titans have had time to think about the New Orleans game and the Saints can win by double digits at home this week.

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills Pick: This is the start of a three game stretch against Divisional rivals which will make or break the Buffalo Bills season. There was some optimism that came out of the appointment of Rex Ryan as Head Coach and the win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 suggested the Bills could end their long wait for a Play Off appearance, but they are a disappointing 3-4 coming out of the bye week.

The season is far from over for the Bills or for the Miami Dolphins despite the heavy loss to the New England Patriots in Week 8. At 3-4 both teams can still get into the Wild Card Race, but the losing team in Week 9 could find themselves playing catch up with the tie-breakers likely to begin to go against them.

Now Rex Ryan isn't great coming off the bye and you have to say that the game against the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football is a big one for him personally. However, I can't see how the Bills could afford to have looked over Miami in a big Divisional game and Tyrod Taylor is back at Quarter Back which could give them a spark.

Sammy Watkins might not have recovered in time, but Taylor had success in helping Buffalo beat Miami on the road earlier this season and is a definite upgrade on the mistake ridden EJ Manuel. Taylor will also be pleased to know that the suddenly revitalised Miami pass rush was dealt a huge blow last week when Cameron Wake was lost for the season and he might have a little more time to get the ball downfield on his return.

It will be interesting to see how Miami will deal without Wake as he had come alive following an early season injury, especially with a Secondary that has struggled in coverage. Taylor also has the legs to exploit lanes he sees, although the Dolphins have become a little more stout in recent games after early season problems stopping the run. However with Taylor and LeSean McCoy able to run the ball, the Bills should have a chance to pick up from where they left off in South Florida earlier in the season.

I am looking to see what Rex Ryan has done with the Defensive unit which has largely failed to impress considering the talent at her disposal. Can they get some pressure on Ryan Tannehill having failed to really put together the sacks that many would have expected in the off-season? Tannehill's Offensive Line took another hit last week and he has struggled in protection, although that has lessened the more that Lamar Miller has been able to run the ball.

One thing that Buffalo have been able to do is stop the run and keeping Miami in third and long will make it difficult for Tannehill behind that Offensive Line. Buffalo blew out Miami earlier this season and I do think they are just good enough to get the better of the Dolphins again who had that set back last week in New England.

The Bills are a decent home favourite in Divisional games and they are facing a Miami team who are 2-6 against the spread in road Divisional games as the underdog. At less than a Field Goal, I like the Bills to win this one.

St Louis Rams @ Minnesota Vikings Pick: This is a battle of the future and the present in the world of the Running Backs as Todd Gurley looks to continue his special season in Adrian Peterson's house. The St Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings could be fighting it out for Wild Card spots in the NFC Conference later this season so this is a huge game for both teams who have been winning plenty of games of late.

Gurley has been the man for St Louis since coming back from an injury that curtailed his College Football career at Georgia and has given the Rams some Offense to go with the Defensive unit that is so fearsome. Like Peterson, Gurley never seems to be too far from breaking a really big run and he might be able to get something going in Minnesota too.

The Vikings Defense hasn't been playing the run as effectively as they would like and I do think Gurley will get his yards. However, this Defense also sees Adrian Peterson all the time in practice so they might have an idea of what kind of special talent Gurley is, but that will also mean knowing he will likely have a couple of break out runs on the day.

A key for Minnesota is how much they can limit what Gurley does because he will power this Rams Offense- stopping or limiting his impact will give the Vikings a chance as they will be facing a team that isn't throwing the ball as well as they are running it.

Nick Foles has been a little up and down but that is because his supporting cast is not the best and so St Louis know they will go where Gurley can carry them on his back.

No one in Minnesota will dismiss that decision as their own team did the same for a long time with Adrian Peterson in his prime. There are more weapons for the team now with Teddy Bridgewater a decent Quarter Back and some solid Receivers at his disposal, but this will be a game where Minnesota use Peterson to set up the Offense.

This is an area St Louis have improved in recently, but they haven't faced someone as strong as Adrian Peterson and I think the Vikings will establish him as they have run the ball well. That is the best chance of Minnesota winning this game because the Rams have a fearsome Defensive Line which will get pressure on Bridgewater whenever he drops back to pass.

But this is an under-rated Minnesota team playing at home where they have thrived under Mike Zimmer as a favourite. Also I can't ignore how St Louis have done as a road underdog in recent years and Minnesota blew out a Rams that was weaker than this one on the road last season. I like the Vikings to find a way to the win this season too and move into a position to become a real contender for the Play Offs.

Busy Week as I said so the rest of the Picks can be found below with a Monday Night Football one to come later this evening.

Chicago Bears @ San Diego Chargers Pick: I have been thinking about this game for a while and the public are hammering San Diego without the spread moving too far and that suggests the sharps are backing the Chicago Bears.

I can't blame them because I like the Chicago Bears to cover on Monday Night Football too, and that is despite the fact that Matt Forte will not be in action. It has a lot to do with the fact that the San Diego Chargers are dealing with a whole host of injuries themselves which have seen them drop four straight games and unlikely to make the Play Offs in the AFC Conference.

Both sides of the ball have been ravaged by injury and Philip Rivers can't get this team moving the right way despite being one of the most under-rated Quarter Backs in the NFL. He is playing at a very high level and will still exploit some match ups against this Secondary, but Keenan Allen is out and Antonio Gates is banged up so Rivers has to look to less reliable options in the passing game.

Rivers has not been helped by Melvin Gordon's failure to produce the yards on the ground and his inability to look after the ball, but he might have some help this week. Danny Woodhead and Brandon Oliver can help Gordon at least pick up some yards on the ground against a poor Chicago run Defense, although a banged up Offensive Line is helping very little too.

However, I think Chicago might have just as much success moving the chains against this Defensive unit. Jay Cutler has so far avoided the back breaking turnovers that have been a feature of his play and has a big target in Alshon Jeffery back in the line up.

A Secondary that is hurt and limited pressure up front should mean Cutler is going to have a decent game flinging the ball around. I also think Jeremy Langford has shown enough of a burst to think he establishes the run even if he is clearly a downgrade to what Matt Forte offers out of the backfield.

The San Diego Chargers just haven't been a good team to back at home going 1-8 against the spread in their last nine there. This one looks like it could easily be decided by a Field Goal either way with the chance that both teams move the ball more effectively than some may think in light of injuries, but I like the Chicago Bears with the points on offer.

MY PICKS: New Orleans Saints - 7 Points @ 1.95 Coral (2 Units)
Buffalo Bills - 3 Points @ 1.91 Coral (2 Units)
Minnesota Vikings - 1 Point @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)
Oakland Raiders + 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (2 Units)
New York Giants - 2 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Atlanta Falcons - 7 Points @ 2.05 Paddy Power (1 Unit)

Philadelphia Eagles - 3 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Chicago Bears + 4.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (2 Units)

Week 8: 0-1, - 1 Unit
Week 72-4, - 4.23 Units
Week 63-5-1, - 3.33 Units
Week 53-5-1, - 3.48 Units
Week 44-3-1, + 2.24 Units
Week 38-2, + 9.03 Units
Week 24-5, - 1.71 Units
Week 15-2-1, + 6.46 Units

Season 201529-27-4, + 4.98 Units
Season 201477-80-2, - 8.47 Units
Season 201386-70-2, + 22.27 Units

Season 2012- 4.78 Units

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