NFL Week 9 open thread

All right, you guys.  Some of you scoffed at my predictive abilities when I said the Steelers would beat the New England Patriots.  In your defense, maybe you had a point when I couldn’t come up with a good reason why the Steelers would beat the Patriots, but clearly my intuition is just sooo freaking awesome that from now on, you should just consider me a genius and let it go at that.  Fortunately, this week I think Pittsburgh can use its pressing defense to take away the offense of the Baltimore Ravens when they come to Heinz Field today.  This should be a low-scoring game, but expect the Steelers to avenge the beating they took early in the season with a 20-9 home win.

Speaking of my fabulous intuition, how did I do with the rest of my picks last week?  Er … not too bad, 4-2, taking my season record to 31-17.  Can I do better this week?

  • Packers at Chargers — The Chargers are undefeated at home, and smarting after an OT road loss in Kansas City.  Green Bay is coming off of its bye week, which has tripped up most of the other teams in the league.  Recipe for an upset?  Well … maybe, but Green Bay would have to lose a lot of steam in the bye to allow the Chargers to surprise them.  I’ll go with a close win for the Pack on the road, 30-24.
  • Giants at Patriots — The Pats also lost a tough game on the road and come home to fight a good team — but the Giants are not good enough.  New York might try to duplicate Pittsburgh’s defensive strategy, but Bill Belichick will have a week to prepare for that, too.  Pats top Giants, 33-21.
  • 49ers at Redskins — The 49ers have quietly become one of the top teams in the NFL, and it’s not a fluke.  They’re undefeated on the road, while the Redskins have lost one game at home, and let’s face it, they’re not impressing too many people this year anyway.  Don’t expect San Francisco to be too intimidated, winning 28-20.
  • Bengals at Titans — Cincinnati is another team having a surprisingly good year, tied with Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the loss column for the AFC North lead (Pittsburgh has played one more game than either). They have played well on the road (3-1), but Tennessee is 3-1 at home, too.  This should be a close, exciting game, but Tennessee has the worst rushing offense and only a middling pass offense, while the Bengals rank 2nd and 9th in defense in those areas, respectively.  Bengals win one on the road and challenge the winner of the Pittsburgh/Ravens game for the division lead with a 27-24 win in Tennessee — maybe in OT.
  • Buccaneers at Saints — Like San Diego and New England, New Orleans just suffered a tough loss — and not just tough but downright embarrassing, to the lowly and previously-winless St. Louis Rams.  The Saints are now 2-3 on the road, but they’re undefeated at home, and the Bucs are just 1-1 on the road this season.  Drew Brees will be looking for a little redemption in this game, plus the Bucs are challenging the Saints for the division lead.  Key matchup is New Orleans’ top-ranked passing offense against Tampa Bay’s 26th-ranked passing defense.  At home, that’s a recipe for a rout.  New Orleans 42, Bucs 21.