NFL Survivor and Confidence Pool Picks and Advice: Week 9
Well, that was an interesting NFL trade deadline Tuesday, wasn't it? And I believe my Bears' chances of winning the NFC North just improved.
It was interesting to see which teams were clearly trying to get better now while which were already thinking toward 2019 in terms of getting draft picks or salary-cap space. For example, do the Lions trade their best receiver, Golden Tate, to Philadelphia if Detroit is 4-3 instead of 3-4 and last in the North? OK, I get that one in a way because Tate is set for free agency after the season.
But what the heck are the Green Bay Packers doing? First off, thank you! Second, I understand trading Ty Montgomery to Baltimore after Montgomery ignored specific instructions to kneel on a kickoff return late in last Sunday's loss to the Rams. Montgomery, some believe because of spite due to playing time, took it out and fumbled it away. That took away Aaron Rodgers' chances of delivering another game-winning drive and ending L.A.'s unbeaten season.
Montgomery probably couldn't go in that locker room again after that, but what's the deal with giving up a good safety in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins - a team the Packers might end up competing for a playoff spot with? Clinton-Dix, 25, has been a starter since his rookie season in 2014. Yep, he's set for free agency, but aren't the Packers worried about 2018? The move leaves the Packers with former undrafted free agents Kentrell Brice and Jermaine Whitehead as their top two safeties as they visit Tom Brady on Sunday night. Just puzzling, but again, good for the Bears! Maybe the Vikings will release Adam Thielen or something.
Really no huge surprises from a Survivor or Confidence standpoint in Week 8. I didn't have Seattle winning in Detroit, but can't call that stunning. The Rams probably should have lost, but Rodgers can beat anyone. Buffalo hung around Monday night with New England, before the Bills remembered they have less offensive talent than my intramural team at Western Michigan.
It was such a relatively predictable week that one person had an Immaculate Week in one of my Confidence Pool competitions. All of them right. I get only Lions and Vikings wrong, and I'm near the bottom. WTF?!
Here are my Week 9 Survivor Picks in order of how I would also do my Confidence Pool selections (with occasional exceptions noted when necessary). The team listed first is my choice. Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, NY Giants, Philadelphia and Arizona are on the bye, so we start at 13.
13. Carolina vs. Tampa Bay: The Bucs are turning back to Ryan FitzMagic because they really had no other choice. It's not going to matter. Sad when a team thinks it's an improvement benching a guy after four picks for one who once threw six.
12. Minnesota vs. Detroit: I can't imagine the Lions players are feeling great about things right now watching Tate walk out the door. Management just gave them the giant middle finger. Minnesota won't lose back-to-back home games.
11. Dallas vs. Tennessee (Monday): Yawn. Two teams who can't pass a lick - remember when Marcus Mariota and Dak Prescott were good? Cowboys win at home and lose on the road, so this pick is as simple as that.
10. Kansas City at Cleveland: I actually think this could be a trap game for the Chiefs as the Browns players are surely thrilled to be rid of the coaching comedy duo of Hue and Todd. But in trap, I mean close win for K.C.
9. New England vs. Green Bay: Love to see Rodgers' reaction when his team just traded two key contributors. Last meeting, probably, between he and Tom Brady (and only second career).
8. Chicago at Buffalo: I wouldn't touch this spread on the Bears (-9) as I think this will be close because that's what the Bears do on the road, but I don't know how the Bills are going to score more than 10 points behind the laughable Nathan Peterman (Derek Anderson has a concussion). They also should be flat off their first home Monday night game in a decade and blowing a chance to upset the Pats.
7. Miami vs. NY Jets: Meh. The Dolphins aren't good but are on extra rest and the Jets are quite a bit worse, especially on offense.
6. Houston at Denver: Should be an interesting Sunday for Demaryius Thomas considering he was traded Tuesday from the Broncos to the Texans. Doesn't he go tell his new teammates every play and snap count? Yeah, I'm sure the Broncos know that, but could cause issues.
5. Washington vs. Atlanta: I think the Redskins are the worst team in the NFL with at least five wins, certainly, but the Falcons are ravaged by injuries and haven't looked good out of their dome.
4. Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh: Just take the home side in this rivalry … even though Ravens won in Pittsburgh earlier this year and are trending downward.
3. LA Chargers at Seattle: The Seahawks have surprised some people, but the Chargers are well-rested off their bye and playing like a legit Super Bowl contender.
2. New Orleans vs. LA Rams: The winner probably gets the top seed in the NFC playoffs. Too bad this game is being overshadowed by Rodgers vs. Brady. The quest for 16-0 ends.
1. San Francisco vs. Oakland (Monday): (Comments section blank on purpose because this prime-time embarrassment might as well not exist. Why do I think Joe Buck and Troy Aikman both call in sick?)
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