Like Joe Namath describing the poor play of the New York Jets in a 2003 prime time sideline interview with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber, I ended up ‘struggling’ with my NFL picks in Week 8.
8-6 straight up is nothing to write home about, but I will take 5-9 against the spread to the bank, thank you very much.
It’s Week 9, we’re already halfway through the season, so let’s start the home stretch on a high, shall we?
Oh, by the way, Broadway Joe’s description of the Jets more than holds true for this year’s team. More on that below.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (+5.5) This is a rematch of last year’s NFC title game. I can’t envision the 4-4 Niners, who will be without QB Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end Greg Kittle because of injury matching the 37 points they scored in their win over the Packers. Green Bay running back Aaron Jones is questionable because of a calf injury but the 5-2 Pack should prevail on the road. Green Bay 27-17
Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills (+2.5) The 6-1 Seahawks make the cross country trip when they visit 6-2 Buffalo. Seattle QB and midseason MVP candidate Russell Wilson torched San Francisco’s defence for four touchdowns last week and will be looking to add to his NFL-leading total of 26. The Bills are going for their third straight win after squeaking by the Patriots and Jets in successive weeks. Seattle 31-27
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis (+2.5) Both the Ravens and Colts are 5-2 and sport defences that have given up the second and third fewest points in the league this season. This feels like a game that will come down to which team has the ball last. I think Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rebound from last week’s loss against Pittsburgh and get the ‘W’. Baltimore 24-20
Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons (-4) Denver is still coming down from cloud 9 after an improbable, last second victory over the Chargers last week. The Falcons have won two of three games under interim head coach Raheem Morris. I’ll take NFL passing leader Matt Ryan to outduel Denver’s Drew Lock. Atlanta 31-24
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) 2020 has not been kind to the Texans and Jaguars. Both clubs are 1-6, Houston fired head coach Bill O’Brien after an 0-4 start and the Jags have benched starting quarterback Gardner Minshew for rookie Jake Luton. Jacksonville is at home, but even some home cookin’ won’t help. Houston 27-17
Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (-11) Carolina and Kansas City are heading in opposite directions as they get set to butt heads at Arrowhead Stadium. The Panthers have lost three in a row while the defending champion Chiefs have strung together three consecutive wins. K.C. QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 416 yards and five touchdowns last week. Can he top that? Kansas City 31-14
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-4) This NFC North clash could actually turn out to be an exciting game. The Vikings are coming off their biggest win of the year after dispatching Green Bay. The Lions got railroaded by Indianapolis in Week 8 and have placed quarterback Matthew Stafford on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Minnesota 27-24
Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans (-6) Chicago has lost two straight, so has Tennessee. Something’s gotta give and I think the Bears free fall continues. The Titans defence has been exposed over the last couple of weeks but Chicago’s less than stellar offence if the perfect tonic. Tennessee 24-17
New York Giants at Washington Football Team (-3) As bad as these two teams have been this year, a victory for 1-7 New York or 2-5 Washington would remarkably vault them into the battle for first place in the dreadful NFC East. Washington is coming off their bye week. New York is on a short week after playing on Monday night. I’ll go out on a limb and say the G-Men beat Washington for the second time this season. New York 23-21
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals (-4.5) A week after their defence dominated the L.A. Rams to hand rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa a victory in his first NFL start, the 4-3 Dolphins travel to 5-2 Arizona. Both teams put three-game winning streaks on the line but the advantage should go to the hometown Cardinals because they’re coming off a bye week. Arizona 24-16
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-1) I have a feeling that this is going to be the game of the week. The Chargers have blown a handful of 17-point leads this year, including last week’s implosion against Denver. The Raiders dumped Cleveland last week but have shown a lack of consistency this season. L.A. Chargers 27-24
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys (+13.5) Coming off an emotional win in Baltimore last week, the Steelers could very well lay an egg in Dallas on Sunday. This will be Pittsburgh’s third straight game on the road, but let’s face it, the Cowboys have been ravaged by injuries and just aren’t equipped to stay with the Steelers. Pittsburgh 31-17
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5) This Sunday night showdown is a repeat of their Week 1 matchup in which the Saints beat the Bucs 34-23. Tom Brady and Tampa Bay have won three straight and can open a bigger lead atop the NFC South with a victory. I say they get it. Tampa Bay 30-24
New England Patriots at New York Jets (+7) The Jets wish Joe Namath was still their quarterback, even at 77 years of age. He couldn’t do much worse than starter Sam Darnold, who has three touchdowns and six interceptions for the 0-8 Jets. The Patriots have lost four games in a row and their two-decade long dominance of the league is clearly over. Still, the Pats are better than New York. New England 24-14
Overall straight up 76-45-1
Overall against the spread 50-66-3
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.