My week nine picks went 0-2 as despite a good start to the game, the Dallas Cowboys dropped their second game in a row, this time to the Arizona Cardinals. Also, the Denver Broncos defence was torn apart by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in what turned out to be a lopsided affair in favour of the hometown Patriots.
Dallas began their matchup against the Cardinals by creating a pick-six right out of the gates and eventually scored the first 10 points of the game. After that, it was mostly all Cardinals as their run-stuffing defence was the first this year to hold DeMarco Murray under 100 yards (79) and the Cards defence also held Dez Bryant to zero catches through the first three quarters, eventually surrendering a touchdown to the explosive receiver. Arizona definitely took advantage of the fact that Tony Romo was a late scratch due to his recurring back issues, and had I known earlier that Romo would not play, I likely would not have taken this pick. However I did run the risk of him not playing and it is just unfortunate he missed this game as the Cowboys certainly missed him as well.
Denver and New England played a rather uninspiring first quarter of their Sunday afternoon game as the score sat 7-3 Broncos after the first quarter. However, the Patriots would go on to score the only 24 points of the second quarter and handed the Broncos their second loss of the season in a 43-21 blowout. Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns to Peyton Manning two, and Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman ran wild all over the Broncos much-improved defence in this one. A lesson to take away from this is even the best can have some off-games, and as weird as it sounds to say this was an off-game for Peyton despite 438 yards in passing, his turnovers cost Denver in this one.
There is lots of football left in the season and as playoff races begin to heat up, so will we.
Miami Dolphins @ Detroit Lions
Lines – Detroit -2.5 (-125) @ 5dimes.eu
OVER 43.5 (-110)
My Pick – LIONS -2.5 (-125)
The Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions will meet at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday afternoon in what will be a true test of Miami’s worth. The Dolphins were perhaps the most impressive team coming out of week nine (New England might have something to say about that) after they destroyed Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers to the tune of a 37-0 score. Everything was rolling for the Dolphins as they held Rivers to zero touchdowns and forced three interceptions from the first-half MVP candidate. However, things are about to get a lot tougher for Miami as they will face one of the league’s best defences and have to deal with Calvin Johnson as he returns from a lengthy absence due to a high ankle sprain. Detroit’s defence surrenders just 74 yards per game on the ground and they will most definitely pose a problem for Lamar Miller who has been a great surprise for this Dolphins out of the backfield. The 15.8 points the Lions surrender per game is at the top of the league, as is their 290 total yards allowed per game and their 32% third-down conversion rate against this defence. The offense for the Lions just got a heck of a lot better as Megatron returns to re-unite one of the best 1-2 receiver punches in the NFL alongside Golden Tate. Tate absolutely went off in Johnson’s absence and currently stands 4th in the NFL in receiving yards with 800 on the season. The dual receiver threat is music to Mathew Stafford’s ears, however it’s not as if the Lions were completely lost without Johnson at their disposal. They haven’t had much of a running game all season and yet they stand at 6-2 and lead the NFC North by one game over the Green Bay Packers, who they held to just 7 points at Ford Field earlier in the season. Ford Field has always been kind to the Lions offense and now it is also a formidable place to face the Lions defence, unlike years past. In my opinion, Miami is riding a little too high after a huge win over the Chargers, and they are in for a setback this weekend as they collide with a Lions team coming off of a bye and with the face of their franchise returning. Take the Lions minus the points this Sunday afternoon.
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Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens
Lines – Baltimore -10 (+100) @ 5dimes.eu
OVER 43.5 (-110)
My Pick – RAVENS -10 (+110)
An AFC matchup featuring the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens will take place this Sunday as the 3rd place Titans look to knock off the 4th place Ravens. Yes, you read that right. The 2-6 Titans sit in 3rd place in the very weak (minus the Colts) AFC South, while the 5-4 Baltimore Ravens sit in 4th place in the ultra-competitive AFC North. The Ravens are due for a bounce-back effort as their defence as embarrassed by a six touchdown performance on Sunday night by Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens second consecutive loss after losing a tough one a week earlier to the Cincinnati Bengals. The silver lining for the Ravens in Sunday night’s contest is that they gave up just 55 yards to one of the league’s top rushers in Le’veon Bell, and you can expect that run defence to stand out once again against a Titans team who’s leading rusher Bishop Sankey has just 302 yards this season. Compare those numbers to the 609 yards that Runningback Justin Forsett has accumulated for Baltimore this season, good for 5th in the NFL. The Titans 28th-ranked run defence will be put to the test by the multiple backs that Baltimore can throw at you, and once Tennessee is occupied by the run, Joe Flacco is likely to connect downfield with one of the Smith’s, whether it be Steve or Torey. Steve in particular is having a great season after being let go by Carolina, as the veteran ranks 10th in the league with 711 receiving yards so far this year. The dynamic offense of the Ravens will be licking their chops at the opportunity to get after the poor Titans defence. Their run defence gives up 134 yards on the ground per game, they give up over 25 points per game, and they surrender over 375 yards of total offense per game. Their offense that scores just over 17 points per contest and converts on less than 30% of third downs will have a very tough time on the road this week, especially with a rookie Quarterback once again at the helm. If this was a divisional game I would expect it to be much closer, however the ten-point spread doesn’t faze me in this contest as the Titans are seriously lacking in motivation while the Ravens are out to avenge back-to-back losses and climb the standing in what is still a very winnable division. I smell a blowout, so take the Ravens minus the 10 points and watch them dominate the lowly Titans.