FIWK the NFL: Week 9 Picks

Week 9 picks are in the bag!  How many incorrect 'locks' am I going to decide upon this week...

Kansas City at BUFFALO -3.0
I have lost by picking the Chiefs something like three weeks in a row.  I am so mad at the stupid Chiefs.  It's doubly frustrating cause they keep winning the games but not beating the spread.  As a result, they remain unbeaten at 8-0, though their DVOA has fallen to 10th in the league (+18%).  Buffalo's inferior DVOA (-7%) still makes me pick the stupid Chiefs, but LORD HELP ME I AM NOT BETTING YOU AGAIN KANSAS CITY!!  (Naturally they will easily cover this week.)

Minnesota at DALLAS +10.0
Interestingly, the DVOA gap between these two teams (Dal +12% and Min -14%) is about the same as the previous game, but the spread is 10 instead of the implied 6.  Classic demasiados puntos situation for me.  That said I have absolutely no idea who is starting at QB for Minnesota, and if it's Josh Freeman I am running for the hills faster than Jesse Pinkman ran for freedom.

ST LOUIS vs. Tennessee +3.0
I'm guessing this line reflects the fact that Sam Bradford just got hurt and is out for the year.... and as a result, for me this is a stay away.  For FIWK lines purposes I'll just take the home dog.  The bigger question for me... are Tennessee a legit AFC playoff team with Jake Locker healthy?  They were balling before he got hurt.

New Orleans at NY JETS -6.0
I am surprised that this line isn't bigger... whenever this happens, I wonder if it's as a result of the size of the NY fanbase moreso than the product on the field.  NO has a DVOA of +20% and the Jets is -11%, so I feel like this will be a bloodbath.  Question - do you think New Orleans are a legit Super Bowl contender?

San Diego at WASHINGTON -1.0
Washington's DVOA of -24% is just woefully atrocious, to take a favorite phrase from Simmons.  However, they've been playing better lately and they scare me this week.  I think San Diego is better and deserves to win (this is basically a pick), but I'm nervous.  SD has to win this to keep any semblance of playoff hope alive.

CAROLINA vs. Atlanta -7.5
I am staying away from the Falcons, I have no idea what to make of them.  Last time I figured they were too hurt to be competitive, they won.  So I don't know what to think.  On the flipside, the Panthers are apparently in a winning cycle right now ... don't worry, the cycle will flip back to weird losing season by next year.  Are they also a legit playoff contender?

Philadelphia at OAKLAND +2.5
These teams are both playing mediocrely (that's right, they're so mediocre I had to adverb it) and I don't want to pick or watch this game.  It seemed like Chip Kelly running the Eagles O would result in a fun team to watch, but so far I haven't found them to be appointment viewing.  Let's just take the points and move on.

SEATTLE vs. Tampa Bay -16.5
Ahh.... a classic conundrum.  The dominant Seahawks at home vs. an atrocious opponent.... demasiados puntos, or unzureichend punkte?  Too tough for me to call, but I don't want to be associated with the Bucs in any capacity so I'm sticking with the Seahawks and the massive point spread.  Anyway I am wondering how good their offense will become when Percy Harvin comes back.... enough to separate them from the Niners?

CLEVELAND vs. Baltimore +2.5
These teams appear to be about the same per the DVOA ratings, but Cleveland is a home dog?  Obviously they weren't as good without the immortal Brian Hoyer at the helm, but still.  For the Ravens, I'm curious if they have anything left to make a playoff push, or if they're going to be one of those Super Bowl teams that can't even get close to defending the next year.

NEW ENGLAND vs. Pittsburgh -6.5
I am shocked - SHOCKED! - to discover that Pitt somehow has the 16th ranked DVOA in the league at -4%, despite their crap 2-15 record.  That's only 3 spots below NE and their +7% rating.  That makes me question everything about this pick - nay, about my life.  I don't know what to think anymore.  I'm taking NE then diving for cover under my couch.

Indianapolis at HOUSTON -2.5
Just now realizing that I'm picking a looooot of favorites to cover spreads this week.  Oh well.  This is why I suck at picks and am getting my butt kicked by the indefatigable MP.  But as for THIS particular pick.... Indy is incredibly good (3rd best DVOA) and Houston is incredibly bad (4th worst DVOA), so I feel incredibly good about the pick.  Meaning it will definitely lose.  FML.

Chicago at GREEN BAY +10.5
Fun fact!  Chicago: not as bad as you think.  Their 6th-best DVOA of 21% ranks them slightly ahead of GB at 20%.  Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs are out, so that's a problem, but I still feel this line is much too high.  Please remind me I said this when they are losing 35-10 in the 3rd quarter.


  1. Aaron already made the following:

    $55 on SD -1
    $44 on KC -3, Indy -2.5
    $33 on NO -6
    $22 on StL +3, Car -7.5, NE -6.5

  2. Love calling teams "so mediocre", the immortal Brian Hoyer, the indefatigable MP, and your general probabilistic [read: lack of confidence] way of thinking.

  3. The Jets beating the Saints cost me my Eliminator season.

  4. WOW I just realized I didn't actually put in my $ picks. Luckily the two games I like the most are the Sun and Mon night games. $100 on Indy -2.5 and $100 on Chicago $10.5.

    Also in a Freudian slip in the NE vs Pitt pick, I said that Pitt has a crap 2-15 record. Which would be historically crap, because they'd have played a whole extra game just to get that record.

    Naturally this is the week that KC easily covered their spread. Good thing I avoided them out of spite instead of a sound, reasonable, data-drive process. I'm so good at this.

  5. I remember reading the 2-15 Steelers and thought that was an appropriate typo.

  6. And I honestly thought it would be the Jaguars first win that cost me the Eliminator challenge.

  7. Whew! Thank you Indy! I was despondent when the Texans started the game up 14-0. I was legitimately contemplating moving to Canada and assuming the pseudonym Carlos Danger so that I'd never have to show my face here again.

  8. I would have lost on the Raiders & pushed on the Pats. I can't pick tonight's game. I think GB wins big, but I feel as if the NFC North teams always play each other close.

  9. Royce had a monster week, spurred on by the close NFC North battle from last night. I think Chicago would've covered even w/ Rodgers in there.

    Interesting plot going on in Green Bay right now. Where do they finish the season? I've seen reports w/ Rodgers out for up to a month. What % of their team success is due to him? I feel like he's the single most important player to any team in the league. Even more than Brady & Manning (who're tied at number 2 for me).

    Updated standings here.

  10. Aaron noted the other day that their line for this week dropped by I think 7 points when Rodgers was out and Seneca Wallace was the starter. That's a big impact.

    I think that pretty much bones their chances. There's a slight chance he can be completely healthy by the start of the playoffs, but I wouldn't totally bet it. Niners and Seahawks have to be licking their chops in the NFC now.

  11. What about the Saints? Do you put them a tier below the Niners/Seahawks right now?

  12. For Week 10, I'll put:

    $55 on Oakland +7.
    $44 on Buffalo +3
    $33 on Carolina +6 and Arizona -2.5.