Adam: Week 9 officially kicks off the second half of the NFL season. With four squads on BYE weeks, Marley, Mitch and this week's Guest of the Week, Ser Daniel of Klau, are back at it with M and M's NFL Pickz. Usually Marley posts up the official Vegas spreads and the past records from each week and guest of the week, but this week Marley is slacking and went on vaction and left me to figure out how to post the tables (which obviously I could not figure out). Either way, the predictionz are spot on and badass per usual. So enjoy, broz.
Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals
Marley: Broncos -4
Mitch: Broncos -4
Danny: Broncos -4
Danny: Denver is firing on all cylinders after two very impressive wins on either side of a BYE week – shooting them into first place in the AFC West. Despite a modest 4-3 record, they look to be one of the best teams in the AFC. Their three losses came against Houston, New England, and Atlanta. The Bengals do not live up to the caliber of those teams, so they should be able to make up the 4 points. Many are talking about the impressive play of Peyton Manning but RB Willis McGahee is quietly having yet another productive year, averaging 80 yards on the ground per game, and is second in the NFL with 37 rushing first downs. If you give Peyton Manning that many 1st downs, he can make things happen.
Cincinnati will try to avoid losing their fourth in a row after starting the season 3-1. If they are to do so, A.J. Green will have to continue his dominance against a highly ranked pass defense.
Arizona Cardinals @ Green Bay Packers
Marley: Green Bay -10
Mitch: Arizona +10
Danny: Green Bay -10
Mitch: If this were last year I would definitely be going with Green Bay, yet, I’ve found this year that they have tended to play down to their competition. Yes, Green Bay has looked improved the past couple weeks, and all signs point to Green Bay dominating this game. Yet what some may not realize is that Arizona has the 4th best passing defense in the NFL. With this defense and the lack of running game from the Packers, I see Arizona keeping themselves within striking distance throughout the game. John Skelton will not do much, but look for LaRod Stevens-Howling to come up big in this game. I see Arizona staying within two touchdowns and getting a late-garbage TD to eventually lose by seven.
Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts
Marley: Colts +2.5
Mitch: Miami -2.5
Danny: Colts +2.5
Danny: Miami comes into this game confident after dismantling a division rival in the Jets, a statement game after they undeservedly lost the first matchup. While it is still unclear if Ryan Tannehill will be able to start after getting knocked out of the game last week, Miami’s game plan will have be in the running game, as Indianapolis has had a hard time stopping the run this year. Miami’s rushing attack has all but disappeared through their current winning streak, and will have to re-emerge if they are to win this week.
Andrew Luck orchestrated an impressive comeback last week culminating with one of the plays of the year by Vick Ballard to win the game in overtime. The Colts have shown a few times this year that they can win close games, and by all accounts it looks like they’ll have to do it again.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Marley: Ravens -3.5
Mitch: Ravens -3.5
Danny: Browns +3.5
Marley: The Baltimore Ravens are having some serious injury problems recently where three of their best five defensive players are either out for the season or trying their best to fight through their injuries. Maybe a week off will help them because this team looks like Jekyll and Hyde right now. Their offense when it's on can absolutely blow away teams and their once dominant defense is now struggling to fight against injuries and age.
The Browns on the hand look very promising. While they are still a losing team, they have one of the two youngest rosters in the NFL and that roster is packed with talent. They have a few more wins in them this year but I don’t know if this week is going to be one of them. It depends on which Ravens team shows up this week but if they play half as good as they can I think they will pull this one out in the end. It's 3.5 and I think the Ravens should be able to take the Browns for the points.
Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans
Marley: Texans -10
Mitch: Texans - 10
Danny: Texans -10
Marley: The Bills are a pathetic dumpster fire of a team right now. The only good thing about this team is CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson but against a team like the Houston Texans who can just shut down a team's running game I think this is going to be a blowout. Honestly I don’t know what more I can write about this game. The Texans are better in every aspect of the game and you can count on Fitzpatrick to throw a few picks once he's down a couple touchdowns. Texans by 10.
Carolina Panthers @ Washington Redskins
Marley: Redskins -3
Mitch: Redskins -3
Danny: Carolina +3
Marley: If it wasn’t for the amazing amount of dropped passes in last week's game, the Redskins would most likely have another win under their belt. This week's match up is certainly interesting as it is RGIII against the Rookie of the year for 2011. The Panthers and Cam Newton are struggling mightily and I think it's all a mentality thing. They just cannot put it together and Cam Newton is inside his own head. I would probably say that this season is over for the Panthers and better luck next year. The Redskins on the other hand might still have a chance at playoffs if they can go on a run in the second half. It stars with a home win against the Panthers. Redskins by 3
Detroit Lions @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Marley: Lions -4.5
Mitch: Lions -4.5
Danny: Lions -4.5
Mitch: The Lions looked improved in their game last weekend against Seattle, actually taking a lead early and keeping it for most of the game, eventually losing it and coming back to give Detroit a quality win over the Seahawks. I still am baffled as to why Matt Stafford doesn’t pass to Calvin Johnson until the fourth quarter. Detroit seems to have zero offens in about every game until the fourth quarter, a la when they start throwing to Calvin Johnson. Is there a rift between Stafford and Johnson? I feel like this offense should be doing so much more.
Anyhow, getting back to the game, the Jaguars have nothing this year. Teams are focusing on MoJo and Blaine Gabbert does nothing to pose any sort of threat in the passing game. I see this game staying close, if only for Matt Stafford not living up to his potential, then the Lions pulling away late and taking this by a TD.
Chicago Bears @ Tennessee Titans
Marley: Bears -4
Mitch: Bears -4
Danny: Titans +4
Mitch: Yes, the Bears looked horrible last week. Just as the Atlanta Falcons did in week four, Chicago slept on Carolina and nearly let Cam Newton and the Panthers pull away with a win. I think the near loss to a much inferior squad has given the Bears a wake-up call and they will take out their frustrations on the Titans. Tennessee has played improved ball with Hasselbeck at the helm rather than Jake Locker, but their offensive line will not be able to hold up against the Chicago defense. Additionally, Chris Johnson, who has played well the past few weeks, will not be doing much this week, as the Bears are ranked number one in the NFL against the run. Chicago by at least 10 here.
Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks
Marley: Vikings +4
Mitch: Vikings +4
Danny: Vikings +4
Mitch: Here we have a matchup of two teams coming off of tough losses last week. Minnesota could not get anything started last week against a Tampa Bay team that came into the game 2-4 before ahnihilating the Vikings. The lone bright spot against the Bucs, as usual, was Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 123 yards and a TD. Seattle also had a rough game, losing late to the Lions in a close one.
I don’t necessarily see Adrian Peterson rushing for over 100 yards against a tough Seattle D, but I do see an improved performance coming from Christian Ponder as well as the Vikings defense, who should be more than frustrated with their effort from last weekend.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Oakland Raiders
Mitch: Okay, yes, the Raiders have won two straight, but let’s get real: they’ve won two straight against two of the worst, if not the two worst teams in the NFL. The Buccaneers absolutely took it to a good Vikings team last weekend, with Doug Martin going over 150 yards and the Bucs defense creating turnovers which then offense then promptly took advantage of. The Bucs have the better offense AND defense, thus, in the even matchup I give the advantage to the Bucs.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants
Marley: Giants -3
Mitch: Giants -3
Danny: Giants -3
Danny: Any Giants fan will be the first to tell you that they are less than impressed with their win last week in Dallas. If Dez Bryant’s finger touches down an inch below where it did, the conversation this week would have concerned the Giant’s inability to score touchdowns rather than Dallas’ propensity to make mistakes. Either way, The Giants face an even tougher task with Pittsburgh in town this weekend. Pittsburgh’s #1 ranked passing defense will get their biggest test since losing easily to brother Peyton in Week 1. That said, this game will be won or lost in the running game. The teams that have given the Giants the most trouble this year have been able to run the ball effectively, and Pittsburgh has yet to find consistency in the run game this year, mostly due to injuries.
Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons
Marley: Atlanta -4
Mitch: Comboys +4
Danny: Cowboys +4
Danny: Throw that last game against the Giants out. Tony Romo is a professional QB who brought his team back from 23 down to beat the Giants 31-29. Ahhh Dez! Did you really have to break your fall? Yeesh. As a Giants fan my heart was broken when Dez Bryant caught that ball, only to be resurrected as soon as I saw the replay. Anyway, that inch changes the entire conversation this week, and we should all be praising Romo for a gutty performance on Sunday. Things get harder in Atlanta on Sunday night. But, as impressive as the Falcons have been, I don’t see them as a 16-0 team. Dallas has a very good pass defense and represents as tough a game as they have on the remainder of their schedule. Dallas not only covers, but I think they win this game.