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Week 9 NFL Picks

I devoted as much time to this week’s picks as Dwight Howard did to improving his free throw percentage. I need an assistant. Or a million dollars. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

[Due to the hurricane and subsequent Internet issues, I’m behind on almost everything this week. (My kid hasn’t eaten since Tuesday… Just kidding.) Thus, I’m going no-huddle this week so I can try to salvage a semi-productive week.]

Last Week:  8 – 6 – 0
Season:      76 – 42 – 0

Thursday Night (8:20PM ET)

Chiefs 13 at Chargers 31
I went to see Argo last night. It was excellent. I got home just in time to catch the Thunder/Spurs thriller. I only checked in on the football game a few times. The first time, Eric Weddle fumbled a punt. The next time, Matt Cassel nearly got his receiver, Dexter McCluster, killed. The third time I tuned in, Cassel was sacked in the end zone and fumbled. San Diego recovered for a touchdown. And finally, I switched back in enough time to see McCluster carelessly muff a punt in the closing minutes. As I predicted, Thursday’s matchup was a train wreck. I’m certain I didn’t miss much.

Analyzing Presidential Polls (Bye Week)

Rams
Sam Bradford has certainly improved over his sophomore season, but I’m not so sure he’s the franchise quarterback the Rams thought they were getting when they drafted him 1st overall in 2010. Even worse, he was the last top pick of the previous bargaining agreement before the new rookie scale was implemented. Therefore, in addition to not playing like a franchise quarterback, he’s getting paid like one. (In fact, he has the largest rookie contract in NFL history.) Double whammy.

Patriots
Given their recent play, the Ravens appear to have fallen out of the AFC title race. That leaves the Patriots and Texans as the most likely candidates to reach the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick better use the bye week to fix his defense if he hopes to hang with the balanced Texans.

Jets
Rex Ryan said he’d use the bye week to get Tim Tebow more involved. Here’s an idea; start him at quarterback. What do the Jets have to lose?

49ers
Contrary to public belief, Alex Smith’s performance Monday night doesn’t mean the 49ers are set at quarterback. I still don’t trust Smith to come through in big games. Besides, over the past few weeks, the Cardinals have been one of the worst teams in football.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Broncos at Bengals
Bye week mojo team against semi-complacent team off a nice win. If the Broncos are indeed among the elite, they’ll handle the Bengals. BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Broncos -4

Ravens at Browns
Brandon Weeden nearly knocked off the Ravens in October when the Ravens were healthy. Not this time. Baltimore will be motivated out of the bye. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens -3

Cardinals at Packers
Clay Matthews should reap the benefits of the Cardinals offensive line’s strategy; don’t block, anyone. Ever. Packers do have a bye next week, so there’s potential for a lack of focus by Green Bay. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers +10.5

Bears at Titans
The Bears have been itching to lose and their opponents continue to bail them out. The Titans are the bailout type. BEARS If I were Charles Barkley; Bears -3.5

Dolphins at Colts
A surprisingly intriguing matchup with AFC Wildcard implications. I like the Dolphins, or the Colts. Coin flip. (I really did flip a coin. And it said Colts. I think I prefer the Dolphins.) DOLPHINS If I were Charles Barkley; Dolphins -2

Panthers at Redskins
As I told my brother recently, the Panthers were in close games last season because Cam Newton was unstoppable at times. This year, the Panthers are in close games because Cam Newton struggles more often than not. The Panthers are due to break through. Take notes, RobertGriffinSkins. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers +3

Lions at Jaguars
Will Calvin Johnson drop another touchdown pass in the 1st quarter, the 2nd quarter, the 3rd quarter, or the 4th quarter? The suspense is killing me. The Jaguars are going to win again at some point. JAGUARS If I were Charles Barkley; Jaguars +4.5

Bills at Texans
Arian Foster has been awesome. He hasn’t had a MONSTER day, though. The Bills are ranked dead last against the run, 34 yards per game worse than the 3rd worst defense. Sunday smells like 160 yards and 3 touchdowns for Foster. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans -10

Late Games (4:25PM ET)

Vikings at Seahawks
The bloom is off the rose for both of these teams. Christian Ponder is a mess. The Seahawks can’t win on the road. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -4

Buccaneers at Raiders
Random thought: I don’t understand the love affair fans have with Jon Gruden. I wouldn’t want him coaching my team. Gruden won a Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s defense and then slowly led the Buccaneers into irrelevance. BUCCANEERS If I were Charles Barkley; Buccaneers +1

Steelers at Giants
Justin Tuck said the Steelers offensive line gets away with murder. Someone should bring it to Tuck’s attention that, based on his contract and production; he steals from the Giants on a weekly basis. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Steelers +3.5

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Cowboys at Falcons
This just feels like one of those games the Cowboys win. I have no reasonable explanation for that feeling. Dallas went into New Orleans and took out the undefeated Saints in 2009. They’ll do it again in Atlanta. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley; Cowboys +4

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Eagles at Saints
Michael Vick put his shield back on. Michael Vick put his shield back on! MICHAEL VICK PUT HIS SHIELD BACK ON! Please, is that really supposed to make me feel better? Regardless, I can’t pick against the Eagles. They’re like family. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles +3

*****

If I were Charles Barkley
Last Week: 9 – 5 – 0
Season:    60 – 55 – 3

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