Fun starts after the jump.
Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts: Hmm...let's see. A Falcons team that suddenly figured out how to win away from the Georgia Dome against a team full of unmotivated jackoffs who have quit on their own coach. Yea I'll take the visitors, thanks. Degenerate Gambler Angle: 91% of the public is betting on the Falcons here, which leaves the potential for some shady Vegas shenanigans and bogus calls to give the Dirty Birds a close victory. But the Colts have waived the white flag this year and so I can't endorse betting on them again. Seriously, watching this team play is like watching a hobo leap into a dumpster fire. Falcons (-7). Atlanta 27-16.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints: The Saints are coming off being flat out embarrassed by the Rams and they'll be out for blood in this divisional matchup. Plus, and this is the key here, the game is in the Superdome. Drew Brees numbers on the road: 8TDs, 8INTs, 88.4 QB rating, 7.85 YPA. At the Superdome? How about 11TDs, 2INTs, 124.4 QB rating, 8.32 YPA. He's obviously just a different player in the dome with the crowd behind him -- I'll bank on that. Degenerate Gambler Angle: The Bucs usually play the Saints very tough, and this game certainly has upset potential. However, for the reasons stated above, I think the Saints win big at home and get up for a game with tremendous playoff implications. Saints (-8). New Orleans 32-20.
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans: This pick is 100% gut feeling. All the statistics say that Houston should light the Browns' collective taint on fire then piss on them to put them out. The Browns always pull one or two wins a year out of their ass when they have no business doing so. In 2008 it was the Giants, in 2009 it was the Steelers, in 2010 it was at New Orleans and against New England. This year? No signature upsets...yet. Admittedly, the Browns have yet to play the Steelers or Ravens- but I think they'll win one of their 4 remaining games against those two teams and pull one other upset. To me, this is that upset. Degenerate Gambler Angle: I'm struggling for a logical way to support this pick. Houston goes on the road next week against a better team than the Browns (the Bucs) and then has their bye week. They may not be "all there" against the Browns this week -- not that they need to be to beat the Browns. The good news is, you're getting 10.5 points with the Browns and I can support that since the Browns have just one loss by more than 10 this season. Take the Browns and the points (+10.5). FOOTBALL RANTER WEEK 9 UPSET SPECIAL: Cleveland 22-17.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: As I said in the Week 8 Power Rankings, this is a playoff game for both teams. Ultimately one of the AFC wild card slots may come down to head to head record, so it would behoove both these teams to go for the jugular and sweep the season series. The Jets rank 6th overall in total defense, but only 25th against the run. Fred Jackson should have a good day, but the Bills are going to have trouble throwing the football. 20 points is the key here: the Jets defense against the Bills offense will result in ~20 points on the board. So if the Jets can score 21 or more on the Bills defense, they'll win this game. I believe they will. Degenerate Gambler Angle: Generally I don't get excited about being given two points, but since I think the Jets will win outright there's no reason to give up points. Take the Jets (+2) and give yourself some insurance in the case of a very close Buffalo win. New York 24-20.
Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs: Ugh...I hate picking the Problem to win anything. Unfortunately, the Chiefs have shown that they take care of business against inferior competition (wins over Minnesota, Indy and Oakland), and the 'Fins qualify as inferior. The only danger here is that they overlook the Dolphins after their emotional win over Norv Turner and the
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins: Uh oh- a west coast team coming east for a 1pm game. Bet you think you should pick the 'Skins here. Nope! Chuck Testa. The Redskins are awful. Take the Niners long and strong. Degenerate Gambler Angle: this spread is absurdly and ridiculously shady. As in, shady to the point that I wouldn't bet this game because I Vegas MUST know something we don't for the Redskins to only be getting 3.5 points. If I wasn't so absolutely terrified that the game was fixed, this would easily be the pick of the week. The Niners are arguably the 2nd best team in the NFL, the Redskins are a bottom ten team. How are the Niners only giving up 3.5? It defies logic. That being said, the Skins are awful and I can't support betting them either. Stay away from this one unless you have no Vegas/mob related concerns. In which case, bet the Niners (-3.5) like crazy. San Francisco 19-13.
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys: Seattle did beat the Giants on the road in a 1pm game earlier this year, so why not the Cowboys? Mainly because they're so bad I would rather claw my eyes out with a plastic sandbox shovel than watch them play. Dallas will want to rebound after an awful loss to the Eagles. Demarcus Ware sacked Vick 4 times in that contest -- there's a non-zero chance he fucks Tarvaris Jackson up the butt so hard that his prostate shoots out his pee-hole. Degenerate Gambler Angle: I hate laying 11.5 points with the Cowboys, since they're liable to sleepwalk through a game at any point, but I just can't see the Seachickens putting up much of a fight on the road after getting stomped at home by the Bengals. I wouldn't bet heavily on this game one way or the other, but gun to my head go with a motivated Dallas squad (-11.5). Dallas 24-10.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders: I never in a million bajillion fafillion years thought I would be saying this, but the Raiders are just not the same team without Jason Campbell at quarterback. Combine that with the fact that it looks as if Darren McFadden will miss this contest and this game has loss written all over it. Oh yea, and Carson Palmer will be back out there for the Raiders. I now feel completely comfortable picking the Broncos to win. Degenerate Gambler Angle: DEGENERATE GAMBLER PICK OF THE WEEK: OK, so my pick of the weeks have been comically inept to this point. But this spread (Raiders -7) is inflated because the public hasn't realized that Oakland with Carson Palmer at the helm is a bottom-5 team. Meanwhile the crushing end of Tebowmania last week has people down on the Broncos. So do it up, people! Bet your house! Bet your car! Bet your kids' college fund! Bet your mother-in-law! No seriously. If you can get any kind of cash for that bitch, throw it down on this game. Broncos (+7). Denver 16-13.
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans: This one seems almost too easy. The Titans are awful and Cincinnati, well, isn't. I'm officially down with the Red Rifle and the Green Dream. (But seriously, they haven't beaten a good team all year. No way they're anything more than a nice little feel good story this year.) Degenerate Gambler Angle: you know the rules people, take the better team and the points. Bengals (+3). Cincinnati 24-20.
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals: This weeks' "I just puked in my office trashcan thinking about this game" game. A possibly Bradford-less Rams vs. Kevin Kolb-less Cardinals is about as awful as it gets. This game wouldn't be a primetime contest if it were in the UFL. Still, I'll take a healthy Steven Jackson and the team who's used to their backup over an Arizona team that now has to learn to play without Kolb under center. But no, I don't feel good about it. Degenerate Gambler Angle: Sweet baby jesus do not bet this game unless you are a truly sick degenerate (like me). Getting 2.5 points is a total sucker bet, so I hate taking the Rams here. But I just don't see Arizona winning without Kolb. Rams (+2.5). St. Louis 26-24.
New York Giants at New England Patriots: This game scares the living shit out of me. Pretty sure I just sharted a little out of nervousness. No time to check now though, I'll worry about that later. The sad thing is, normally I would say the Patriots in Foxboro were the easy choice here, but their defense looks like an origami swan placed in front of a steamroller whenever it's on the field. On the other hand, I just have no fucking clue whether the Giants are actually good or not. Ugh, screw it. I hate them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but I'll take the Giants pass rush to beat up Brady. (REVERSE MORTAL LOCK ALERT: The Giants now officially have no chance. Especially without Ahmad Bradshaw or Hakeem Nicks). Degenerate Gambler Angle: I'm banking on the fact that the Giants play to the level of their competition and aren't just a bad team. We'll find out if I'm right this weekend. Giants (+9). New York 27-26.
Green Bay Packers at San Diego Chargers: I have a rule about betting against Aaron Rodgers this season: I won't do it until someone shows he can be beaten. Fortunately that makes what might be a tough call very easy. Green Bay can't sleep walk through this though -- the Whale's Vaginas have the league's #4 pass defense. Fortunately for the Pack, the Chargers have .6 healthy running backs and so probably won't be able to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. Degenerate Gambler Angle: Phil Rivers just doesn't look good enough to cover this spread right now. Something isn't right here, and without him in the fold I can't endorse betting the Whales' Vaginas. Packers (-5.5). Green Bay 33-24.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers: Everyone knows what happened between these two teams in week 1 (and if you don't, Baltimore debacled Pittsburgh at home 34-7, kicking off the "Steelers dynasty is too old and slow" debate before every two-bit charlatan analyst on earth jumped right back on the bandwagon to the point that it's now scraping the ground as it rolls forward). I'm not so much jumping on the Steeler bandwagon as admitting I've lost a huge amount of faith in Baltimore's offense. Joe Flacco looks like something your cat retched up after licking itself for a few days. Do you trust him to put the points he'll need against the #1 pass defense in the NFL? Me neither. Degenerate Gambler Corner: This line says these teams are dead even. The Steelers are playing better football right now and three points isn't a tremendous amount to give up when Baltimore just cannot put points on the board. Pittsburgh 21-16.
Monday Night Football
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles: Poor Chicago. They get to step in front of the freight train after it's picked up steam. Say it with me Bears fans: In Forte I Trust. Him going absolutely bonkers and ripping Andy Reid's heart out then eating it front of the Eagles' bench is pretty much their only hope in this one. Degenerate Gambler Angle: The Eagles are giving up 7.5 points, which feels like a lot until you consider the fact that it means if the game were in Chicago, they would only be giving up 1.5. (Move the line 3 points to take away Philly's home field, then move it another 3 to add in Chicago's home field advantage). Philly is definitely 1.5 points better than Da Bears in Chicago. They should be more than 7.5 better at home -- the value here. Eagles (-7.5). Philadelphia 38-28.
Until next time, Lunatics.