By Mike Crum
Dallas Cowboys Team Analyst and Co-Host of the Across The Cowboys Podcast
A sweep of the final five games saved me in week eight. I got to 9-5 overall after a 4-5 morning start. This leaves me at an okay 30 games over .500 at 74-44. Let’s get to the picks.
Green Bay Packers (GB) at San Francisco 49ers (SF)
Look, the 49ers are just too beat up. At some point it’s gonna be too difficult to win games when all your horses are unavailable. I honestly believe it is time to play for the draft considering how tough of a division they are in. Green Bay just got beat down for the second time in three weeks, after the first time they bounced back and they will again. The Packers are gonna call two of the A's in their AAA - Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams - to the rescue. I don’t often take road teams on short weeks, but I have to do it this week.
Houston Texans (HOU) at Jacksonville Jaguars (JAX)
At this point in the year you kind of know what teams you can’t pick almost any week. Teams like the Jaguars, the Jets, and the Cowboys are teams you just can’t pick to get wins this season. I’m going with Deshaun Watson and the Texans to get a win, and keep the Jags picking in the top three picks in the draft.
New York Giants (NYG) at Washington Football Team (WAS)
My goodness this is a tough game. I believe the Giants are the better team here. Washington just doesn’t have much on offense. I could see the Giants putting James Bradberry on Terry McLaurin and making somebody else beat them. Washington has an excellent defense and I believe they will make this game close by getting Daniel Jones to turn the ball over. In a game I believe will be close, I’m going to lean on my principals. Washington is at home this week, they are off of a bye week, and the Giants are on a short week and had to travel as well. Give me Washington with absolutely zero confidence.
Baltimore Ravens (BAL) at Indianapolis Colts (IND)
I can make one hell of a case for the Colts to win this game. With LB Darius Leonard playing the Colts have a great defense. The Colts can run the ball well behind one of the better offensive lines in the league, and Phillip Rivers is a veteran QB that can make enough plays, even against a great Ravens defense. Why am I taking the Ravens then? The Ravens are 25-1 vs anybody not named the Chiefs or Steelers in the regular season with Lamar Jackson starting. Why pick against that if the matchup is so close? I’m taking the Ravens to bounce back and win a tough road game. If the Colts can win this they become a legit contender to be taken seriously.
Detroit Lions (DET) at Minnesota Vikings (MIN)
When we went through each division to predict team records on the ATB Cowboys Podcast, I picked the Vikings to be in a transition year. I knew they had a lot of young guys coming in and that Mike Zimmer and his staff would have to coach them up. I think the fruits of that labor will begin to produce more now. These two teams are pretty similar, but the Lions just aren’t healthy right now. WR Kenny Golladay is gonna miss another week, Trey Flowers just went down this past game as well, and now Matt Stafford is out on the COVID-19 list. The Vikings aren’t going to be a bottom five team. They have too much talent and too good of a head coach. I’m taking them to get the W here.
Chicago Bears (CHI) at Tennessee Titans (TEN)
The Titans got shocked by the Bengals last week. Typically when a good team has a loss like that, I pick them to bounce back and play well the next week. The Titans went out and added Desmond King to help their defensive back room as well. I don’t trust Nick Foles and the Chicago offense to go into Tennessee and put up enough points to beat a really good team that is motivated by a loss, in which they no-showed. Take the Titans to bounce back.
Carolina Panthers (CAR) at Kansas City Chiefs (KC)
The Panthers are scrappy and they play every team on their schedule tough. They are 3-5 with a point differential of only 14 total points. This game may surpass that alone. I expect KC to breeze to a home win, as they just have a much better roster.
Seattle Seahawks (SEA) at Buffalo Bills (BUF)
The Seattle Seahawks are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They have a top-tier QB leading them and they seem poised to hit a stride. The Buffalo Bills are starting to look like pretenders, and the shine is wearing off of Josh Allen now after he was an MVP candidate a month into the season. It’s a long trip for the Seahawks, but I think they go in and beat Buffalo. Russell Wilson over Allen is just too easy to walk away from.
Denver Broncos (DEN) at Atlanta Falcons (ATL)
Atlanta is finally starting to hold on to late game leads as they've earned two wins in the last three weeks. Since week one, the Falcons have only lost by more than one score one time, and that was against the Packers. They have a high-powered offense that will put up points on almost anybody. The question is can they hold off their opponent at the end of the game? I just saw the Broncos beat the Chargers in the last seconds of the game this past Sunday, but I don’t see them going into Atlanta and doing it in back-to-back weeks. The Falcons are getting on a roll with new leadership. A win in this game would put them at 3-1 with an interim coach, losing only one game because Todd Gurley accidentally fell into the end zone thereby giving the Lions a chance to win at the end, which of course they cashed in on.
Las Vegas Raiders (LVR) at Los Angeles Chargers (LAC)
I seriously can’t get a read on the Raiders. They lose to the Bills, okay, that’s not a bad loss. Then they go to KC and beat the mighty Chiefs. After a bye they get destroyed by the Bucs, only to then shut down the Browns who had been playing well. So, which Raiders team shows up to play the Chargers? I have no damn idea. QB Justin Herbert should be able to put up good numbers against a very poor Raiders defense, so I’m gonna say the Raiders play well offensively but still come up short. Maybe they miss a field goal late, or the Chargers hit a field goal late. Either way I’ll take the home team in a toss up.
Miami Dolphins (MIA) at Arizona Cardinals (ARZ)
Miami is traveling across the country to face a Cardinals team coming off a bye. That is not ideal. Miami has an excellent defense, but I trust Kyler Murray to score more on that defense than I do Tua Tagovailoa to score on the Cardinals defense in just his second start. Tua should be a future star QB, but he needs time and an improved offensive line.
Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT) at Dallas Cowboys (DAL)
I don’t care what QB the Cowboys roll out to be slaughtered, the Steelers will score more than 30, and the Cowboys will score less than ten. This game will not be competitive.
The Steelers win big.
New Orleans Saints (NO) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TB)
This is going to be the best game of the week. Both of these teams are real contenders for the Super Bowl. This probably comes down to who gets their weapons back. Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Chris Godwin, etc. Can any of them play AND stay healthy all game? I’m gonna pick this game as if all three are going to suit up and play, and I’m going with TB. This matchup is even, I don’t expect either team to sweep, and a home and home split makes sense.
New England Patriots (NE) at New York Jets (NYJ)
Can someone please explain to me how this game is on Monday Night Football? One very poor team vs the worst team in the league. I hope nobody watches this trash. The Patriots win big because the Jets absolutely stink.
Okay guys, that’s week 9. I’m hoping to get out of this eight-to-nine win rut I'm currently in and hit a 10-12 win week. Let me know your picks and enjoy football this Sunday!
Week 9 Pick Summary:
GB over SF
HOU over JAX
WAS over NYG
BAL over IND
MIN over DET
TEN over CHI
KC over CAR
SEA over BUF
ATL over DEN
LAC over LVR
ARI over MIA
PIT over DAL
TB over NO
NE over NYJ
Across the Board Sports