Danny O’Neil’s Week-9 NFL picks: Will Seahawks’ running game find traction against the Bills?
It’s Week 9 of the NFL season. Let’s get to the picks:
Atlanta at Tampa Bay (Thursday)
Matt Ryan has thrown seven touchdown passes the past three games while being picked off only twice. Jameis Winston has six scoring tosses versus one interception in the same time frame, which means this might be a surprisingly competitive game. The Falcons get the edge because they’re used to playing in close games, their last three games having been decided by a total of six points.
Pick: Falcons 38, Bucs 35
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Remember when this used to be a battle between two of the league’s toughest defenses? Well, the Ravens are holding up their end of the bargain. Baltimore has allowed the fourth-fewest yards in the league. The Steelers rank 27th in that category, though, and whether Ben Roethlisberger plays or not isn’t going to help the Steelers improve in that regard.
Pick: Ravens 23, Steelers 20
Dallas at Cleveland
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Owen. Owen who? 0-8. The Browns were the last winless team in the league back in 2012. They “only” started 0-5 that year, though, and after losing at home to the Jets, any win Cleveland does get this year is going to be an upset. Meanwhile, Dallas has the highest point differential of any team in the NFC.
Pick: Cowboys 37, Browns 30
Jacksonville at Kansas City
The Chiefs have won nine in a row at home. None of those nine straight victories have come with Nick Foles as the starting quarterback. Not that he’s worse than Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles, though. However, the Jags fired their offensive coordinator after their last game, which usually gives that side a kick in the butt if only because the players want to show that they weren’t the ones who got the dude fired.
Pick: Jaguars 24, Chiefs 17
New York Jets at Miami
The Jets have won two in a row. So have the Dolphins. The Jets are 3-5. So are the Dolphins. It’s really hard to take the Jets seriously. Same for the Dolphins.
Pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 20
Detroit at Minnesota
Sam Bradford has yet to be picked off in a home game for Minnesota, and his quarterback rating is 114.6 in the four games he’s played at home with the Vikings. On the road, though? His passer rating is 83.2. Meanwhile, the Lions are 1-3 on the road.
Pick: Vikings 20, Lions 17
Philadelphia at New York Giants
The Eagles have won four of the past five games in this series.
Pick: Giants 26, Eagles 20
Carolina at Los Angeles
Is Cam Newton packing his security blanket for this one? Seriously. Because we want him to feel safe. Well, not really. The Panthers’ victory over Arizona last week showed that they’re not out of it, but they certainly don’t have much margin for error. The Rams have lost three in a row, but even the week off couldn’t talk them out of starting Case Keenum apparently.
Pick: Panthers 19, Rams 16
New Orleans at San Francisco
The Saints’ passing game is twice as good as San Francisco’s. Seriously. The Saints are averaging a league-best 326.9 passing yards, the 49ers a league-worst 161.4. Not only have the 49ers have lost six in a row since that season-opening shutout of the Rams, but five of those six losses have been by double digits.
Pick: Saints 34, 49ers 33
Indianapolis at Green Bay
The Packers’ defense is a bit of mystery. They’ve allowed the seventh-fewest yards in the league but are a decidedly mediocre 15th in points allowed. No mystery about the Colts’ defense. It’s just bad. The Colts have yet to hold an opponent to fewer than 22 points in a game this season.
Pick: Packers 28, Colts 20
Tennessee at San Diego
The Chargers have a better point differential (+13) than the Raiders (+2). Oakland is 6-2 and leads the division while the Chargers are 3-5 and in last place. San Diego is a good team, but blowing two double-digit leads early in the season means that they need a win to keep their playoff chances from being more than theoretical.
Pick: Chargers 27, Titans 17
Denver at Oakland
The Broncos have won eight of the past nine games in this series. That one Raiders’ victory? It came earlier this year. If Oakland last swept the regular-season series against Denver in 2010.
Pick: Raiders 23, Broncos 15
Buffalo at Seattle (Monday)
The Bills allow 118.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks No. 25 in the league. That’s no guarantee to help Seattle, though. The Seahawks have played the Dolphins and the 49ers, who’ve both allowed more rushing yards than Buffalo, and Seattle still has only the 28th-ranked rushing offense in the league. Not only that, but Seattle’s offense managed just 13 points last week against a Saints’ team that was allowing 32.5 entering the contest. Best of the west? The Bills are 3-0 against the NFC West this season. The Seahawks have won five of their last six against the AFC.
Pick: Seahawks 34, Bills 20