NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Week 9
by Matt Severance - 11/4/2009
Week 8 in the NFL was another very chalk week of results. Maybe Carolina beating Arizona knocked a player or two out of your Suicide Pool, but that's the only game I would call truly surprising last week. I recommended the Chargers, and they beat Oakland for the 13th straight game.
It's a good and bad bye week when picking your team this week. I say good because there's only one dominant team off the board because of the bye in Week 9, and that's the Vikings. I say a bad thing, because there are five pretty bad teams not playing (Bills, Rams, Jets, Browns and Raiders), so that obviously takes away five potential "lock" choices in one-sided matchups.
Without delay, here are the picks:
FIVE TO SWEAR BY IN WEEK 9
New England Patriots (vs. Miami). Hard to believe it's Week 9 and I still have the Patriots among the teams I have yet to recommend as my top choice. I am a little leery this week that Tom Brady has struggled against the Dolphins in the past - he is 9-5 in 14 starts against them and his 13 picks against Miami defenses are his highest total against any opponent. Plus the Fins are 3-0 in the AFC East this year. But the Dolphins secondary is young and inexperienced, and Brady and Co. had last week off to prepare for this one.
New Orleans Saints (vs. Carolina). I might have picked New Orleans as my top choice, but I already used the Saints. And they are coming off a short week. But if you go by point spread, they are the biggest favorites on the board. Carolina looked pretty good last week, but I can't see Drew Brees turning the ball over six times like Kurt Warner did. And the Panthers didn't have to account for a running game in Arizona like they will have to Sunday. It does scare me a bit that Carolina ran for 270 yards last week. If the Panthers can even get to 200 this week, another upset could be coming.
Seattle Seahawks (vs. Detroit). It looks like Calvin Johnson will return this week for Detroit, which will certainly help the Lions. But who knows about running back Kevin Smith after he was hurt in that embarrassing home loss to St. Louis? Seattle simply isn't very good either, having lost five of six, with four of those by double-digits. But this is about the lesser of two evils and which team is at home.
Atlanta Falcons (vs. Washington). The actual schedule turns this one into a potential upset for the Falcons, as they are on a short week while the Skins are coming off a bye. But as far as I know, Jim Zorn is still the Washington coach, so I'm sure Atlanta will pull this out.
Pittsburgh Steelers (at Denver). They want five of these in each category, otherwise I would never include this game. But I don't believe in the Broncos at all, and their starting right tackle is out for this one. I think Baltimore exposed Denver last week.
FIVE TO BE SCARED BY IN WEEK 9
Green Bay Packers (at Tampa Bay). Look, the Bucs are probably not going 0-16. They are coming off a bye week, while Green Bay is coming off another hyped meeting with Brett Favre. It's also throwback day for the Bucs, as they will be wearing those awful Orangesicle uniforms while unveiling a team Ring of Honor, with Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon as the first inductee. So it could be the last sellout of the year. Did I mention the Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is totally beat-up after getting sacked six more times last week? This one screams Bucs upset.
Chicago Bears (vs. Arizona). Chicago's offense still doesn't look right. Arizona, meanwhile, is 3-0 on the road this year. I certainly don't think Kurt Warner has two terrible games in a row, whether or not Anquan Boldin plays this week or not. And the Bears are fairly susceptible to the pass. This matchup is too close to pick.
San Francisco 49ers (vs. Tennessee). It's the battle of former top-three overall picks trying to resurrect their careers. The Titans looked completely different last week with Vince Young on the field, but that's because they ran, ran and ran all day in the win over Jacksonville. Young, to his credit, didn't turn the ball over. Alex Smith, meanwhile, has been pretty solid in the past two weeks. But the Niners lost one of their best offensive linemen, Joe Staley, to injury in last week's loss to Indy.
Baltimore Ravens (at Cincinnati). The Ravens looked back in full force last week against Denver and are actually three-point road favorites this week. But Cincy had last week off to heal up and has the confidence of that 17-14 win in Baltimore earlier this season.
New York Giants (vs. San Diego). The Giants defense has allowed 112 points in the past three games, all losses. And Eli Manning's foot obviously is bothering him, as he has thrown six picks in the past three games. New York is limping toward next week's bye.
To recap, I recommend the New England Patriots as your top choice this week. That means off the board for me are the Patriots, Chargers, Colts, Steelers, Eagles, Texans, Redskins, Ravens and Saints. Not many good teams left!
Good luck. Oh, and by the way: Thursday games begin next week.
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