November 4, 2016

Who’s the top dog? + Week 9 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

We’re halfway through the NFL season and it seems the few true contenders that have emerged all some critical flaws. Be it either offence, defence or just a terribly flawed offensive line, there’s something that could bring down any team with Super Bowl ambitions.

The New England Patriots have been on a roll since Tom Brady returned, but their defence could be an issue down the road – especially after trading away Jamie Collins this week. We’ll see how Bill Belichick adapts after the bye.

The Cowboys defence remains a concern and just lost two key members of their secondary last week. If Dak Prescott plays more like he did in the first half against the Eagles than the second, that’s an issue, too. And what happens when Tony Romo is healthy?

The Vikings have been exposed a bit the past two weeks and their offence looks to be a big issue, especially on the offensive line. Whether or not Norv Turner’s resignation helps remains to be seen.

The Seahawks and Cardinals just don’t look like the same teams they were last year. Of course, either could put it together down the stretch and become really dangerous, but time may have run its course for these two titans.

Out in the AFC West, there’s surprisingly three teams that are looking stout. But the Broncos offence is a concern, as is the Raiders defence. As for the Chiefs, they can grind out games, but what happens when they need a quick score or two?

There’s no runaway train headed for the title this year and it’s making this season better than ever.

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

Atlanta -4 over TAMPA BAY

What a dominant performance by the Falcons. That win should essentially wrap up the NFC South for them and launch some Matt Ryan or Julio Jones for MVP-type questions.

Detroit +6.5 over MINNESOTA

The Viking got exposed on Monday night like they haven’t been all season.

KANSAS CITY -7.5 over Jacksonville

Firing the offensive coordinator isn’t going to fix the Jags. They may have had a few extra days to prepare for K.C., but that doesn’t mean that Blake Bortles is going to start producing in the first half now.

CLEVELAND +7 over Dallas

Josh McCown makes the Browns look at least competent on offence and Dallas losing two key defenders could make this an interesting one. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys overlook the Browns here.

MIAMI -3.5 over New York Jets

Will the Dolphins’ momentum be slowed by their bye? It won’t matter against a team that struggled to get by the winless Browns, like the Jets.

Philadelphia +2.5 over NEW YORK GIANTS

The Eagles took the Cowboys to overtime before finally falling, so why shouldn’t they be just as dangerous against the Giants? New York hasn’t impressed this season, especially as it should on offence, and could have a hard time against Philly.

Pittsburgh (no line) over BALTIMORE

This line obviously depends on Big Ben, who will probably somehow play after tearing his meniscus just two weeks ago. Even if he’s out, the Steelers are the better team in this rivalry game.

SAN FRANCISCO +4.5 over New Orleans

The Saints aren’t a team that shouldn’t be trusted on the road, especially giving points. Sure, the 49ers are among the league’s worst teams, but coming off their bye, they could pull an upset at home.

Carolina -3 over LOS ANGELES

Could that big win over Arizona be the start of a Panthers turnaround? The Rams aren’t exactly a stiff test and won’t provide much challenge for a Carolina secondary that’s a true weakness.

Tennessee +4.5 over SAN DIEGO

The Titans have had some extra time to prepare for the Chargers and that’s good news for them since DeMarco Murray is on the limp with a toe injury. San Diego has been solid on defence since Joey Bosa started suiting up, but we’re not sure if it can win by more than a field goal.

GREEN BAY -7.5 over Indianapolis

The big risk here is Andrew Luck picking up a garbage-time TD to cover, but, really, the Colts don’t have much of a chance at Lambeau on Sunday.

Denver (even) over OAKLAND

I think that the Raiders are good enough to make the playoffs, but they haven’t really notched a quality win yet. The Broncos defence will be able to slow down Oakland’s attack.

Buffalo +7 over SEATTLE

Have you watched the Seahawks lately? They struggle to block and move the ball on offence and that will be just as hard against the Bills, even at home. This is far too many points to give in what should be a tight, defensive game.

Last week: 3-9-1

Season: 58-56-3

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