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November 02, 2016

Week 9 NFL picks

Eagles NFL
110216JordanMatthews Kathy Willens/AP

The Eagles own the Giants the same way the Redskins own the Eagles.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 9 NFL picks. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.

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Falcons (-3.5) at Buccaneers: This is a sneaky game of importance. If the Falcons can put the Buccaneers away, they'll put 2.5 games of distance between them and the Bucs. It'll also give them a 3-1 divisional record. The Falcons' biggest threat in the NFC South isn't the Saints or the Bucs, who are both at 3-4. It's the reigning NFC Champion Panthers, despite their 2-5 record overall and their 0-3 record in the division. With a win over Tampa plus one more divisional win, the Falcons clinch a tie-breaker over Carolina.


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The Bucs are 0-3 at home this year, and 3-1 on the road. They've won just three home games since the beginning of the 2014 season.

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Steelers at Ravens (-2.5): The expectation from the Ravens (or at least Terrell Suggs, anyway) is that Ben Roethlisberger will play on Sunday: 

After starting the season 3-0, the Ravens have dropped four straight. That early 3-0 start felt fraudulent, and hey look, it was. Big Ben or not, the Steelers are just better.

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Cowboys (-7) at Browns: I don't know why this line is only seven, but I'll take the bait. 

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Jaguars at Chiefs (-7.5): The Chiefs announced that old friend Nick Foles will start this week in place of Alex Smith. That comes at a good time, as the Chiefs will face the Jaguars, who are absolutely brutal on the road. My one cause for for concern in this game is that Jaguars fans have begun calling the owner's son, Tony Khan, a nerd, which has caused things to spiral out of control a bit down in Jacksonville. Except, the nerds always won in Revenge of the Nerds:


So there's that.

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Jets at Dolphins (-3.5): In a weird scheduling quirk, the Dolphins haven't played a road game since Week 4. This is their fourth straight home game with a BYE mixed in the middle. Miami has found their running game, with Jay Ajayi rushing for over 200 yards in each of the last two weeks.

Even after winning two straight games, the Jets kind of feel like a mess.

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Eagles at Giants (-3): In their last 16 meetings (a full season's worth of games) with the Giants, the Eagles are 13-3 over their rivals up the NJ Turnpike.

Eagles vs. Giants Eagles Giants
3-Jan-16 35 30
19-Oct-15 27 7
28-Dec-14 34 26
12-Oct-14 27 0
27-Oct-13 7 15
6-Oct-13 36 21
30-Dec-12 7 42
30-Sep-12 19 17
20-Nov-11 17 10
25-Sep-11 16 29
19-Dec-10 38 31
21-Nov-10 27 17
13-Dec-09 45 38
1-Nov-09 40 17
Jan 11, 2009 (playoffs) 23 11
7-Dec-08 20 14

That is ownership.

The Giants have faced 500 plays on defense so far this season, and have only run 428 plays on offense. A disparity of 72 plays after seven games is pretty significant. As a result, they have the worst time of possession in the NFL, with an average of 25:57. As you might imagine, the Giants are not winning on third down. They are converting just 35 percent of their third down attempts offensively, while opponents are converting 42 percent of their third downs.

That plays into the hands of an Eagles' offense that is devoid of down-the-field weapons, and wants to control the football. 29-15 Eagles.

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Lions at Vikings (-6.5): In Week 7, the Eagles showed the rest of the league how to beat Sleevie Wonder, which really shouldn't have been that hard to figure out in the first place. The Vikings' offensive line is a mess. They can't pass protect or run block, which according to my team of football expert advisers are two very important components of offensive line play.

Still, we'll take the Vikes to get back on the winning side of the ledger at home against Detroit, but I love the Lions +6.5.

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Panthers (-3) at Rams: Are the Panthers now awake after an impressive beat-down of the Cardinals last week? It might be too late for them to be a factor this season, but I'll bet they go down swinging.

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Saints (-3) at 49ers: Wait... Why is this line only -3? I mean, I get that the Saints aren't world-beaters and their defense is often disgraceful, but has Vegas seen the Niners play this season?

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Titans at Chargers (-5): What are two teams I haven't watched at all this season, Alex?

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Colts at Packers (-7): The Colts are trash.

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Broncos at Raiders (pick 'em): Much like the Eagles have dominated the Giants, as noted above, the Broncos have owned the Raiders in recent years. The Broncos swept the Raiders in 2012, 2013, and 2014, although they split in 2015. Obviously, this Raiders team is not the same as those other Raiders teams.

The Raiders have the fifth-ranked offense in the NFL. The Broncos have the third-ranked defense. That's the matchup to watch in this one, and I tend to lean toward trusting defense more.

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Bills at Seahawks (-6.5): The Bills love to run the ball, as they are second in the NFL with 154.1 rushing yards per game. Conversely, as always, Seattle does a great job stopping the run, as they allow just 3.4 yards per carry. Again, trust consistent defense over offense.

BYE: Bears, Bengals, Patri*ts, Cardinals, Redskins, Texans.


• Picks against the spread: Steelers (+2.5), Cowboys (-7), Eagles (+3), Lions (+6.5), Saints (-3).

• 2016 season, straight up: 68-50-2 (.575)

• 2016 season, ATS: 21-15 (.583)

• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)

• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)


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