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NFL Picks: Will It Be a Keystone State Super Bowl XXV?
On To a Pennsylvania Polka To The Super Bowl
Forget the fellow who lives in the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. The real concern for the vast majority of the NFL should be the two franchises who rule over the gridiron in the state of Pennsylvania.
Bringing back memories of the mighty Steel Curtain of the 1970s, the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense held the Detroit Lions without a touchdown on the road in their 20-15 victory during Week 8. Meanwhile, their cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Eagles improved to 7-1, already matching last season's win total.
Elsewhere, the Kansas City Chiefs righted their ship with a solid win over the Denver Broncos and they will be the first team to face the Ezekiel Elliott-less Dallas Cowboys. In a huge Monday night meeting, two reeling NFC North squads clash as the Lions trek to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers. The loser of this one can probably bid adieu to their postseason hopes.
The Atlanta Falcons travel to Carolina to meet the Panthers in an NFC South game that also holds significant playoff implications.
The 5-2 Steelers will enjoy their bye week, as will the 0-8 Cleveland Browns, the Chicago Bears, New England Patiriots, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers.
Here are the Week Nine NFL picks, straight up and against the spread. The underlined team with their moneyline is the straight up pick, based on odds from Bovada.lv.
Bills Back Where It All Started
Buffalo (-160) at New York Jets (+140) - Could the Bills instead be the team en route to (losing) another Super Bowl? Okay, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Buffalo's run to an improbable 5-2 mark all began with a solid 21-12 Week One verdict at home over the Jets. A win in this one and the Bills will be 6-2 for the first time since 1993. Bills running back LeSean McCoy, who ran for a season-high 151 yards last week against the Raiders, should feast on a beat up Jets defense.
Pick: Buffalo (-3.5), under (43)
Watson On Record-Breaking Pace
Indianapolis (+475) at Houston (-750) - Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson was spectacular in a losing cause against the Seahawks, passing for 402 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Deandre Hopkins was on the other end for 224 of those yards. The Colts are not the Seahawks, so this one could get really ugly. Watson has already passed for 19 TDs and should obliterate the NFL rookie mark of 26 shared by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.
Pick: Houston (-13), over (50)
Eagles Will Buck These Broncos
Denver (+300) at Philadelphia (-400) - As if the Eagles weren't already powerful enough, they went out and added power running back Jay Ajayi in a trade this week with the Miami Dolphins. The Eagles have won six straight to soar to the top of the NFC. The Broncos are 0-3 on the road, have lost all three by at least 10 points, are coming east after a Monday night game, and QB Trevor Siemian has lost his job to Brock Osweiler.
Pick: Philadelphia (-8), over (43.5)
Rams Seek Fourth Straight Win
Los Angeles Rams (-175) at New York Giants (+155) - Both coming off their bye week, the 1-6 Giants were supposed to contend for the NFC East title but instead it's the 5-2 Rams running neck and neck with Seattle in the NFC West. The Rams have won three straight and running back Todd Gurley has gone for at least 100 yards in four of the last five games. The Rams have scored 30.3 points per game, second only to the Texans (30.7).
Pick: Los Angeles Rams (-4), over (42)
Falcons Will Soar By Panthers
Atlanta (even) at Carolina (-120) - Now here's two teams that no one can seem to figure out. The Falcons ended their three-game skid with a win last week against the Jets but impressed no one in doing so. The Panthers ended their two-game slide, triumphant over the Buccaneers. The Falcons' offense has too many weapons for the Panthers to handle, and Carolina QB Cam Newton has been picked off 11 times this season.
Pick: Atlanta (+1.5), over (44)
Ravens? More Like Jekyll And Hyde
Baltimore (n/a) at Tennessee (n/a) - The Ravens are this year's Jekyll and Hyde team. They lost 44-7 to the Jaguars in Week Three and last week, throttled the Dolphins 40-0. They've posted shutouts in two of their wins and surrendered at least 24 points in all of their losses. They won on the road against the Raiders and lost at home to the Bears. The Titans have won four of their last six overall and six of their last seven at home.
Pick: Tennessee (no line)
The NFL's Top Defense Just Got Better
Cincinnati (+180) at Jacksonville (-220) - Last week, the Bengals fumbled a punt, had a field goal blocked, allowed three QB sacks - and they still beat the Colts 24-23. They might not want to follow that blueprint against the Jaguars. The Jaguars are well-rested coming off their bye week and added two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to a defensive unit that is No. 1 in points allowed, No. 6 overall and No. 1 against the pass. And the Jags beat the Colts 27-0.
Pick: Jacksonville (-5), over (39.5)
Banged Up Redskins In Deep
Washington (-275) at Seattle (+350) - A short week for the Redskins followed by a West Coast trip to a place where visitors seldom thrive is not a recipe for success. Washington might not have enough players to suit up, listing 13 as questionable via injury, including tight end Jordan Reed, defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis and two starters on the offensive line. Oh, did we mention the Seahawks just picked up sack machine Dwight Freeney?
Pick: Seattle (-7.5), over (45)
Back Up QB Battle
Arizona (+135) at San Francisco (-115) - It's Drew Stanton for the Cardinals and C.J. Beathard for the 49ers under center, the latter the designated placeholder until newly-acquired Jimmy Garoppolo is up to speed on the San Fran playbook. The Cardinals needed overtime to vanquish the winless 49ers at home earlier this season. This could be the week that 0-8 San Francisco tastes victory.
Pick: San Francisco (+2), under (39.5)
A Ziggy For Zeke-Less Cowboys
Kansas City (n/a) at Dallas (n/a) - Ending their two-game slump with a win over division rival Denver, the Chiefs get the first chance to pounce on the Cowboys minus the suspended Ezekiel Elliott. The Chiefs are the NFL's top-scoring team (236 points) and only Tom Brady has thrown for more yards than KC's Alex Smith (2,181). Cowboys QB Dak Prescott will need to go to the air minus Elliott and that's when the opportunistic Kansas City defense will force turnovers.
Pick: Kansas City (no line)
Raiders Of The Lost Season
Oakland (-160) at Miami (+140) - Two teams in need of some salve for their sagging seasons, the Dolphins, down to third-string QB Matt Moore, got lit up 40-0 by the Ravens, while the 3-5 Raiders, a preseason pick by many to go to the Super Bowl, were rolled in Buffalo. The trade of Ajayi to Philadelphia is a white flag symbol for Miami. But Oakland is 4-20 in its last 24 on the East Coast, and the Dolphins have won 11 straight at home against West Coast clubs.
Pick: Oakland (-3), under (44)
Lions Pack A Punch
Detroit (-140) at Green Bay (+120) - Two playoff teams a year ago, time is running out on the 4-3 Packers and 3-4 Lions. Detroit has lost three in a row, while Green Bay has dropped two since QB Aaron Rodgers suffered a fractured collarbone. The Lions piled up yardage but couldn't score against the Steelers. They shouldn't have a similar problem with the Packers. In 2015, the Lions won at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1991. They will make it two out of three.
Pick: Detroit (-3) under (43)
Beabetterbettor's Top 10 NFL Teams This Week
(Current odds to win Super Bowl LII listed after team record. Odds provided by Bovada.lv)
- Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) +600 - Carson Wentz early MVP favorite
- Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) +700 - Offense starting to come around to match stellar defense
- New England Patriots (6-2) +350 - Tom Brady isn't getting older, he's getting better
- Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) +750 - Kareem Hunt leads the NFL in rushing
- New Orleans Saints (5-2) +2000 - Riding a five game winning streak
- Seattle Seahawks (5-2) +1000 - NFL's No. 3 passing offense
- Buffalo Bills (5-2) + - Own best turnover ratio in NFL (plus-14)
- Minnesota Vikings (5-2) - NFL's third-best defense is tough to beat
- Los Angeles Rams (5-2) - Todd Gurley has four 100-yard rushing games
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) - NFL leaders in rushing and at stopping the pass
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