The 2009 NFL Picks
Week ten


The Dogs have stormed back to life. Turning in a 9-4 week… and frankly, the four they lost included a couple that sure looked good with games like those involving Carolina and Detroit starting out with quick leads for their picks… they are closing in on a .500 record and have the top three slots in their sights. Having just crossed the mid-point of the year, they have time if they turn in another week or two like the one just recorded.

As a side note… I’m going to start including the individual records for the Dogs below as well at this point. Probably should have been doing that all along. Gus gets the extra pick as we reach a slate of 15 games, including a Thursday night contest.

Most of the teams… thanks to Tampa Bay storming past Green Bay last week… have taken care of their needs for the year. And by that I simply mean that most of the sucky teams have a win. Not to rain on a good moment… but as everyone on the Tampa bench was smiling and laughing and enjoying the victory over Green Bay, the network was gushing about Tampa and showing game stats. Josh Freeman was 14 for 31. Really? Glowing terms from the announcers? Roughly 200 yards passing. Eh… credit given for a first start, but still. And yet… he had also tossed 3 touchdown passes and controlled the ball better than Aaron Rodgers did. (Much better.) Let’s just say I don’t expect the run of prosperity to continue for the Bucs.

Alot of the so-so teams have exposed what they really are. And the better teams have now played enough that jostling for seeding is a possibility. (Note… huge game this week for Indianapolis and New England. Both need the win if they want to have that first week of playoffs games off. Indy is still in good shape even with a loss, but they virtually have a ribbon on a bye week if they win this Sunday.)

And what I mean by these last thoughts is simple. We’ve seen… especially when checking out Green Bay visiting Tampa Bay last week and Oakland beating Philadelphia a few weeks ago… several examples where you can take the spread and chuck it out the window. Last week the favorites went 4-9… many losing the game entirely. And… when considering something like two weeks ago when Miami went to New York and won after scoring 21-points without sending the offense on the field… we’ve seen crazy events determine the outcomes. That stuff happens.

But as the calendar turns to November… and teams begin considering their fates… these final few weeks often kick things to a different level. Bad teams that have a win or two are more than likely going to play bad. Part of that is no motivation… part is playing youngsters to get a feel for the future… part is just that bad teams are often just bad. There might be a win or two.. and they will fight the spreads... but surprise victories by bad teams should slow down. And good teams are going to go on runs of three… four… five straight wins. Many games will be close, hard fought affairs, as the wear and tear of a long season becomes apparent. A good team may struglle against a bad team... but watch who earns the victory. And… my favorite part… teams that seem out of it, because they are two or three games out of the playoffs today, will find that if they did what they should have they might have made it in. Basically, several teams that don’t have fate in their own hands today will see fate place in their hands in weeks fourteen, fifteen and sixteen… and they’ll piss it away.

15 games this week… as the NFL struggles to figure out how to organize a schedule while running a network.

I’m going with a theme for the next three weeks… the John Cusack Trilogy. We’ll kick it off with Better Off Dead.

Chicago at San Francisco (3)“Her?” “Mm-hmm.” “And him?” “Mm-hmm.” “That makes sense.” Very little about this game makes sense at all. In the past four weeks the Bears have lost to Atlanta (in a game they should have won), lost to Cincinnati (in a game where they should have stayed in the hotel), defeated Cleveland (yup… big accomplishment there), and been pounded by Arizona (and I am really pissed about this one, since Jay Cutler kept managing to find Greg Olsen, so the only thing he did all game was kill me by scoring points for my opponent in a fantasy game). Sure… they’ve won since the Steelers game, but it looks really obvious now that Chicago may have peaked in week two. Ah… San Francisco though… all they can do is be envious of Chicago’s 4-4 record, because at 3-5 they’ve been an even bigger disappointment after a nice start. They’ve lost 4 in a row… the last one at home against Tennessee. I could talk ball control… I could talk special players… but the reality is, this game comes down to the Chicago offense and the San Francisco defense. The same unit that shut down Indy two games ago was steamrolled by the Titans. Heck… they led 17-10 at halftime against Tennessee and were outscored 24-10 in the second half. And it’s not like this is something rare… since Atlanta came to town a few weeks ago, and just like the Titans did on San Francisco’s home field, the Falcons blew the doors off the 49ers. So home field? Yeah… not feeling it. Heck, starting with the loss to Minnesota, 4 of 6 opponents have scored 24 or more, Indy was one of the two that didn’t, and they still won… so really only St. Louis bombed against them. You could say I think Chicago will clear 3 or 4 scores and 20+ points in this one. Now… I am on record as saying Jay Cutler is brutal and Matt Forte is inconsistent. Can Cutler protect the ball and Forte run for 80-100+? I don’t know. But I don’t want to make it about that. Instead… Bears offense, 49ers defense. We’ve established that the 49ers can give up 20 or more points in a contest. We’ve established that I think the Bears can score. Question is… will they? I say, yes. In the 8 games they’ve played, most of them have been scrappy affairs. A 21-15 loss to Green Bay… a 21-14 loss to Atlanta… and they could have won either of those. (Damn… there goes that Cutler and Forte problem again, coming into the conversation. Still… one score games.) Cincinnati and Arizona leveled them, but they’re division leaders right now. Chicago has won 4 games, lost 2 they probably could have won, and lost 2 to teams that we can now say are clearly better than them. I expect Chicago to do fine here.
Bob: Chicago
Terry: Chicago
Dad: San Francisco
Mike: San Francisco
Gus: San Francisco

Jacksonville at New York (Jets) (6½)“This isn’t funny, Charles! If I don’t have a dream, I have nothing!” “Ah, come on! It’s Christmas Eve! I could be home right now, drinking this monster eggnog my brother makes with lighter fluid.” The New York Jets are 4-4 and… depending on how you look at things... still look ok... or... they are in deep trouble. This game should provide some clarity. See… New England (road), Indianapolis (road), Atlanta (home) and Cincinnati (home) are all games remaining on their schedule. Pretty... right? You would almost have to call that four losses. 2-2 would be amazing. And... umm... see... 2-2 means they will have at least 6 losses. Right now New England, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver and San Diego all have better records than New York. Houston is off this week, but with a 5-4 record we’ll place them ahead of the Jets too. That’s 7 teams ahead of them in a race for 6 playoff spots. And 3 of those 7 have games coming up against the Jets. (See where winning the games they should win becomes so important? Let’s add to it.) Miami is only a game behind them with a head-to-head sweep in a tie-breaker scenario. Miami will be defeating Tampa this week. (Seriously... the only question in that game is by how much.) And… Baltimore is also 4-4. So... we have 9 AFC teams that are hanging around New York or currently sit way out in front. And, of course, getting back to that 2-2 mark against the teams I mentioned... New York needs to win 2 of those rough games and then sweep the other 4 in order to get to 10 wins and not make the playoffs. Because 10 wins just isn’t looking like it will get it done in the AFC. (Again.) But it all starts here… with Jacksonville. Because a loss to the Jaguars and you can just start taking names off the lockers. It will be over for them. Turn out the lights. Cue the music. (Which is funny… because wouldn’t you know it… the Jaguars are 4-4 as well. But they’re a fake 4-4, and we don’t need to talk about the Jaguars and playoffs.) The last time we saw the Jets they outplayed Miami and lost by 5 points when their special teams gave up 2 returns for touchdowns, and the offense turned one over that was brought to the end zone. Take out the third quarter and it’s clear, that Miami offense scored a whopping 9 points against them. I don’t think they’re panicking about Jacksonville’s running game. Jacksonville has one impressive win… over Houston. Other than that, nothing all year. And divisional games are impossible to really read well. Take that game out, and here’s how they travel… 14-12 loss to Indy, 41-0 loss to Seattle, and 30-13 loss to Tennessee. New York starts out the second half of their year on the right foot.
Bob: New York
Terry: New York
Dad: Jacksonville
Mike: New York
Molly: New York

Denver (3½) at Washington“It’s got raisins in it. You like raisins.” Talk about the right opponent at the right time… this game comes along at the perfect moment for Denver. The trick is… some times you need to be careful what you wish for. Sure… there’s raisins in it… but what exactly are the raisins in? Following losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh here comes Washington. Sure looks good to me. But the Denver offense hasn’t been the same since their two weeks off. They scored 7 against the Ravens and 14 against the Steelers. The defense hasn’t been good either. The big thing though is easy to see… Washington cannot score more than 17 points against the weakest of defenses. So if Denver comes out and just plays a decent game, they should win this one 24 – 10 or so, shake off the past 2 losses, and refocus on their season. (And if they don’t… look out… it’s 2008 all over again with San Diego storming back.)
Bob: Denver
Terry: Washington
Dad: Denver
Mike: Denver
Gus: Denver

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (7)“I have great fear of tools. I once made a birdhouse in woodshop and the fair housing committee condemned it. I can’t.” “‘I cannot do it’ is your middle name.” Often times I look at 7-point spreads and under as the same thing. Why? Because it’s just one score. And if you think Pittsburgh is going to win, then it isn’t much different winning 13-10 or 17-10. I know that seems like an absurd statement... but the idea is simply that some times you just need to focus on who is going to win the game. We know Minnesota is winning this week... spread matters there. I don’t think Pittsburgh is a given to win this one. Let’s be serious for a second here… the Bengals have faced the top scoring team in their division twice already… that would be Baltimore folks… won both games, and the Ravens turned in 14 and 7 in those contests. I like the way the Bengals are playing this year. They’ve only lost to Denver and Houston… which happen to be a combined 11-6 and both have winning records. And on the road they haven’t lost yet. I think the Bengals can actually win here… but in this case, definitely expect the 7-points to matter.
Bob: Cincinnati
Terry: Pittsburgh
Dad: Pittsburgh
Mike: Cincinnati
Molly: Pittsburgh

Buffalo at Tennessee (6½)“She only speaks French, Roy. She doesn't speak imbecile.” The Bills suck. I know… I know… 2 wins in the last 3 games. Wow. Not impressed. Check out the stats… the Jets and Panthers both self-destructed. I believe the Titans are poised for a late season run that makes you wonder what was going on in September and October.
Bob: Tennessee
Terry: Buffalo
Dad: Tennessee
Mike: Tennessee
Gus: Buffalo

Detroit at Minnesota (16½)“Two brothers. One speaks no English. The other learned English from watching The Wide World of Sports. So you tell me. Which is better? Speaking no English at all, or speaking Howard Cosell?” Here’s the scary thing about this game… in 4 road games so far this year, Detroit has lost 3 of them by 18 or more. Of those opponents, only New Orleans is better than Minnesota. So yeah… the Lions and traveling… nasty combination. But the only team the Vikings really destroyed this year so far is the Rams. Absolutely… they’ve dominated games. But at home they’ve won by 3, 7 and 2 points. I’m taking Detroit here, because a 17-point pasting isn’t all that easy to pull off. (And, for some reason, I actually like the Lions to put up a fight and keep this one close.)
Bob: Detroit
Terry: Detroit
Dad: Minnesota
Mike: Minnesota
Molly: Minnesota

New Orleans (13½) at St. Louis“Look Charles, I gotta do this. If I don’t, I’ll be nothing. I’ll end up like my neighbor Ricky Smith. He just sits around crocheting all day and snorting nasal spray.” Unlike the combination of the Vikings and Lions, the Rams have been shut out twice, failed to break 10-points 5 times in 8 games, and have lost by 14 or more 5 times. In 2 of 3 road games, the Saints have cleared this spread. And even struggling in recent weeks, they’ve won by 8 and 10. Winning by two touchdowns should be something they can accomplish.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: St. Louis
Dad: New Orleans
Mike: New Orleans
Gus: New Orleans

Atlanta (1½) at Carolina “Gee, I’m real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.” This is a tough one… because I like Atlanta… and I’ve seen Carolina outperform teams this season and still lose convincingly. Heck, last week the Panthers led 14-0 against the Saints and still lost by 10… 30-20. (As a matter of fact… they even led that game 20-6 at halftime! Still lost by 10.) Only against Arizona and Tampa Bay… and they were tied, 21-21 late against Tampa Bay… has the offense shown any real signs of life and also managed to score. The Falcons wobbled a bit, but actually looked good against New Orleans and took care of business last week against Washington.
Bob: Atlanta
Terry: Carolina
Dad: Carolina
Mike: Atlanta
Molly: Carolina

Tampa Bay at Miami (9½)“Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.” If Tampa plays against Miami the way they did last week when they beat Green Bay, the Dolphins will win by 17. (Think about that as we approach the Green Bay game analysis for this week.)
Bob: Miami
Terry: Tampa Bay
Dad: Miami
Mike: Tampa Bay
Gus: Miami

Kansas City at Oakland (2)“Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we’ve raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.” I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Kansas City impressed me last week against Jacksonville. Sure… they lost. I thought they’d be distracted. And instead, they only lost by 3. The Raiders have a horrible team, sound more disorganized every week, and haven’t shown any ability to play offense.
Bob: Kansas City
Terry: Oakland
Dad: Oakland
Mike: Kansas City
Molly: Oakland

Seattle at Arizona (8½)“I’ve been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I’m no dummy.” Let’s start with this… in the past 5 games the Cardinals are 4-1, have scored at least 21-points in every game, and for the most part have controlled every contest. Last week they traveled to Chicago and tore the Bears apart. Seattle hasn’t won on the road at all this year… in fact, they’ve lost all 3 road games to date by 13 or more. The Seahawks include Detroit and St. Louis as 2 of their 3 wins. Enough said. I don’t see it happening for Seattle.
Bob: Arizona
Terry: Seattle
Dad: Arizona
Mike: Arizona
Gus: Seattle

Philadelphia at San Diego (2)“I think all you need is a small taste of success, and you will find it suits you.” Sure… the Chargers have won 3 straight. Let’s see… Kansas City… Oakland… and a wobbly New York team in a game where San Diego scored late to win by 1. Give credit for the wins… but Philadelphia is the best team they’ve played in a while. 2 of their 3 losses have come at home… and all 3 losses came to teams in the playoff hunt. In fact… Oakland (twice), Miami, Kansas City and New York… you could say the victory against the Giants is the only one they have over a potential playoff team, and for the Giants, that description is a stretch right now. (That said... go back to the introduction. 10 wins may not do it in the AFC... 10 wins should do it in the NFC when it comes to the playoffs. New York will get a shot at the playoffs by taking care of their own business. The question is whether or not they piss it away. Or does Dallas piss it away... or Philly...) Guess what? Philly’s not much better than San Diego... if they are better. They also have a victory over the Giants. Their other 4 wins? Carolina, Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Washington. They actually lost to Oakland. I could see this game developing a few different ways… but the reality is, I think San Diego is playing better football over the past few weeks, and feels better after last week’s contest. At this point in the season... they are the better team.
Bob: San Diego
Terry: Philadelphia
Dad: Philadelphia
Mike: Philadelphia
Molly: San Diego

Dallas (2½) at Green Bay“He keeps putting his testicles all over me.” “Excuse me?” “You know, like octopus? Testicles?” “Ohhh… tentacles. N-T. Big Difference.” They lost to Denver and struggled against Kansas City. Since then… pounded Atlanta, roughed up Seattle, and traveled to Philadelphia to win an important division game, on the road, to take the lead in the NFC East. Nothing much in Dallas to be upset by right now. I don’t believe they’re a threat to really good teams. But... is Green Bay a really good team? Nope. Green Bay has lost 2 in a row, and count Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis as 3 of their 4 wins. The same Chicago club that Arizona and Cincinnati embarrassed is their other victory. Call me crazy… I actually trust Dallas more in this one.
Bob: Dallas
Terry: Green Bay
Dad: Dallas
Mike: Dallas
Gus: Dallas

New England at Indianapolis (3)“What’s a little boy like you doing with big boy smut like this?” Indy has a great defensive line and Peyton at quarterback. Their defensive secondary is banged up and running on fumes… and they’ve held on for dear life two weeks in a row. I think the Pats are playing better every week and could run the table… keep in mind, another big game against New Orleans remains for New England.
Bob: New England
Terry: New England
Dad: New England
Mike: New England
Molly: Indianapolis

Baltimore (10½) at Cleveland“I want my two dollars!” Went to see A Christmas Carol last weekend. I liked it. Very smooth effort… no slow parts… really well done overall. I’d still recommend The Polar Express as the holiday movie of recent years without a second thought, but this was a holiday movie worth seeing. This game though… well… yeah… look for anything else on TV, because this is going to be ugly.
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Cleveland
Dad: Baltimore
Mike: Baltimore
Gus: Baltimore

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dad – Last week 6-7, season 68-59-2
Bob – Last week 5-8, season 66-61-2
Mike – Last week 6-7, season 65-62-2
The Dogs – Last week 9-4, season 62-65-2
Terry – Last week 5-8, season 52-75-2

Molly: Last week 5-2, season 33-31-1
Gus: Last week 4-2, season 29-34-1

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at