NFL Week 9 open thread

Last week the Steelers stumbled against the Saints, who not only kept the usually potent Steeler offense from getting in rhythm until the fourth quarter but also pushed the Steeler defense around a little, too.  Tomorrow, the Steelers play Cincinnati on the road, but the Steelers usually rise to the occasion on Monday Night Football.  The Bengals have been playing like the Bungles again this season, but they have usually been competitive in their five losses.  Ben Roethlisberger has to get the offense moving and the Steeler defensive backs have to pick up their game against Chad Ochocinco.  I’m picking the Steelers in a tough game, 28-17.

After getting back into the plus side in Week 7, I split last week 3-3 on my picks, bringing my season total to 27-22.  Let’s try to improve with these picks:

  • Arizona at Minnesota – The mood hasn’t gotten any better here in the Twin Cities after the bizarre pas de duh with Randy Moss.  Now the Vikings don’t have a reliable deep threat and they won’t have a third-round pick next year, either.  Brilliant!   However, Arizona is only 1-3 on the road this year, while the Vikes should play better at home.  I’ll pick the Vikings to win while the front office decides just when to fire Brad Childress, 24-20.
  • Patriots at Browns – The Browns have had flashes of brilliance this season, but the Pats are going to be too much for them even at home.   31-14, Pats.
  • Buccaneers at Falcons – This may be the game of the week.  Tampa Bay is unbeaten on the road, while Atlanta is unbeaten at home.  Both are 5-2.  The betting is going to the Falcons, and I’m inclined to agree — but not by the wide spread given.  Call it 27-24, Falcons, possibly in overtime.
  • Bears at Bills – The Bills are the only team without a win this year, but they almost won both of their last two games, going into OT on the road in each.  The Bears are struggling badly now.  I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Bills to win and get off the schneid, 22-19.
  • Chiefs at Raiders – What has gotten into the Raiders?  They’ve won three of their last four and their last two by a combined 92-17.  One of those was against a hapless Denver Broncos, but the other was against a surprisingly good Seattle team.  Now the surprisingly good Kansas City Chiefs come to Oakland to face them.  The Chiefs barely got past Buffalo last week in OT; I don’t think they’ll be ready for their rivals.  Oakland keeps the magic going, 33-24.
  • Jets at Lions — Per the Jazz Shaw Paranoia Rule, I have no opinion whatsoever about this game.  Well, I do, but the poor guy just finished up a tough campaign in NY-22, and I don’t want to give him any more heartburn…