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Week 9 NFL Picks

The annual Peyton Manning – Tom Brady showdown is this weekend. Why is there a picture of Ryan Tannehill here? I’m not even sure. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Season:       79 – 41 – 1
Last Week:  11 – 4 – 0

Thursday Recap

Saints 28 at Panthers 10
Cam Newton is totally disinterested, or at least that’s how it appears. He was awesome through the season’s first five weeks. He’s played awful the last three. There’s a ton of available excuses but none excuse a lack of effort. Newton’s been careless and sloppy. His mechanics are a mess and he’s carried himself and the offense with little urgency. Then again, the Panthers reside in the NFC South so they’re just fine… at least for now.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Buccaneers at Browns
Lovie Smith wishes he stayed retired. Also, the Browns are badly overrated. BROWNS If I were Charles Barkley; Buccaneers +6.5

Cardinals at Cowboys
No, Larry Fitzgerald, you are not the San Antonio Spurs. Please don’t ever use your team and the Spurs in the same sentence ever again. I’m still out on the Cardinals. That Arizona offense made two plays last week. That’s it. Instead of comparing his squad to the Spurs Fitzgerald should be sending thank you cards to Nate Allen and Bradley Fletcher. Anyway, If Tony Romo plays, the Cowboys win. If not, they don’t. Please adjust my pick accordingly. Thanks. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley; Cowboys -3

Eagles at Texans
I felt more confident about the Eagles last week than I do this week. The Texans do two things really well; run the football and get after the quarterback. Arian Foster is quietly having a stellar comeback season after a disappointing, injury-riddled 2013 campaign. He’s once again one of the top backs in the NFL. I actually think he’s a better back than DeMarco Murray. Put Murray behind Foster’s offensive line and I think Foster comes out as the top back. But that’s just my opinion. Back to the game… The thought of JJ Watt chasing Nick Foles all afternoon isn’t pleasant. The Eagles will need the running game to escape Houston with a victory. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -1.5

Jets at Chiefs
14 months ago Mike Vick looked lethal in Chip Kelly’s offense. It was opening night of the 2013 season against the Redskins. Vick threw for 200 yards, ran for 50 more and finished the night with three touchdowns. Now Vick is the Jets’ last resort at quarterback after Geno Smith imploded a week ago. Fittingly, Andy Reid, the man who resurrected Vick’s career, has a chance to unofficially end it once and for all. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs -9.5

Jaguars at Bengals
If you thought the Bengals were lousy through eight weeks of the 2014 NFL season, you’d be right. If you thought the Bengals were in last place as a result, you’d be wrong. In fact, the Bengals sit atop the competitive, yet wildly overrated, AFC North. Marvin Lewis and Cincinnati must feel great about where they’re at in the standings given how they’ve performed on the field. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -10.5

Chargers at Dolphins
San Diego is walking wounded. Every week they lose another key player to injury. Winning Sunday is obviously goal #1. Escaping Miami without accumulating any more injuries is goal #1A. The Chargers will enjoy a much-needed bye next week. Hopefully they’ll get some bodies back. Just remember not to go overboard and judge the Chargers on this week’s performance. DOLPHINS If I were Charles Barkley; Dolphins -1.5

Redskins at Vikings
Robert Griffin III is back! I’m legitimately excited. I want RG3 to be healthy and doing all the things he did in 2012. Sadly, Griffin’s situation reminds me too much of Derrick Rose’s. Both were (and maybe still are) phenomenal athletes with unique skill sets that have been cut down in their primes. While both are still young, it’s totally possible, and maybe even likely, that we’ll never see either player perform at the same level he was at two years ago. Bummer. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins +0.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Rams at 49ers
I’ve given up on figuring out who the 49ers are each week and what kind of performance we’ll get from them. Though, I will continue to argue they need a running game to reach a fourth straight NFC title game. If Frank Gore is too old or slow to get it done then insert Carlos Hyde. Colin Kaepernick can’t do it alone. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers -10

Broncos at Patriots
Interesting fact: Excluding one game, Peyton Manning’s lowest regular season Passer Rating over the last two seasons (’13 and ’14) is 92.4. Manning’s lowest regular season Total Quarterback Rating over that same span is 52.7. Manning’s ratings against the Patriots: 70.4 and 28.1, respectively. Of course, Manning torched the Patriots in the playoffs but let’s not dwell on the negatives here. I believe in you, Bill Belichick! PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots +3

Raiders at Seahawks
Let’s cut to Raider fans midway through the 3rd quarter:

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 1.40.02 AM

SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -14.5

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Ravens at Steelers
A classic rivalry that will feature a different look Sunday night. Pittsburgh is no longer a defensive pillar capable of smothering and bullying opposing offenses. Instead, Dick LeBeau’s defense is the one being bullied and needing a bailout from Ben Roethlisberger and the offense. While Baltimore’s defense isn’t at the level it was at the height of the Baltimore – Pittsburgh rivalry, it ranks 21 spots higher than Pittsburgh’s in defensive efficiency ratings and 19 spots higher in points allowed per game. Historically, the better defense wins this matchup. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens -1.5

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Colts at Giants
Eli Manning and the Giants as 3.5 point home dogs seems excessive. I’m not ready to write off the Giants just yet. My feelings here could be due to an NFC East bias or a lack of faith in the Colts, or both. Probably both. With Seattle, San Francisco and Dallas on deck, this is a must win for the Giants. Also, the drubbing Indianapolis took last week in Pittsburgh didn’t feel like a fluke. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants +3.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley…
Season:        66 – 54 – 1
Last Week:   9 – 6 – 0

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