Predictification - NFL Week 9 Picks, Including Colts v. Dolphins

Scott Cunningham

Predicting the NFL action before it happens isn't easy... unless you're a Predictificationist like me. Sit back, relax and know that you've come to the right place.

THIS SEASON: 75-43* (.636)

LAST WEEK: 10-4

COLTS PREDICTIONS: 4-3

The Predictificationer had another solid week last week going 10-4 and an average 7-7 against the spread (hey, at least I didn't COST you any money). The Vikings, Chargers, Jets and Chiefs let me down this week... Looking at that list it isn't all that surprising. I don't think anyone knows what to think about the Vikings and the Chargers, Jets and Chiefs have all underperformed this season - I should've known better.

Got to watch the Colts in Nashville this past Sunday and it's a good thing they won - Predictificationists get cranky when they spend ten hours of their Sunday driving back and forth to Tennessee to watch their team get beat. Overall, the visit to LP Field was a pleasant experience. There are still a lot of Colts fans in Tennessee despite the absence of Peyton Manning (although most Colts fans in attendance were still rocking a #18 jersey). I was expecting a little hostility from the Titan faithful - a good ribbing or playful insult at least - but no one said a word. There were quite a few empty seats, too... Made me thankful for Colts fans - even after a down season the Colts Faithful have been FAR more supportive than what I saw in Nashville.

Colts fans that don't realize the team got away with one last Sunday need to pinch themselves. The touchdown in overtime by Vick Ballard was the best play of the Colts season so far... incredible. The rest of the game was less impressive and the Colts benefited from several favorable calls (I'm not complaining). A Colts fan said to me this week, "Do you realize we are one miracle pass (Jacksonville game) away from being 5-2?" While that's true, the Colts aren't really that far from being 0-7. Think about it:

- Needed a miracle field goal from Adam Vinatieri to beat Minnesota in Week 2 after nearly giving the game away in the second half.

- Needed a miracle second half to come back and beat the Packers... and a Mason Crosby miss at the end of the game

- Needed a burst of sunlight to blind Josh Gordon after he beat Jerraud Powers for what looked like the go ahead touchdown against Cleveland.

- Needed a favorable whistle to negate a Dwayne Allen fumble that would have allowed Tennessee to kick the winning field goal.

While it can be said that the Colts are winning these games because they have heart (which I believe), it'd be crazy to believe the team will continue to win playing the way they've played. They've forced just 3 turnovers all season (last in the league) and are -10 in takeaway/giveaway ratio (30th in the league). The defense hasn't forced a single turnover and has just three sacks over the last three games - and the Colts are 2-1 in those games. They are consistently getting beat by average quarterbacks like Christian Ponder, Matt Hasselbeck, Blaine Gabbert, Mark Sanchez and Brandon Weeden (who no one has on their Pro Bowl ballot) who've thrown for a combined 982 yards with 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions - a 98.2 rating. (The Pro Bowlers Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers have a combined 100.8 rating)

Bottom line is this: I'm glad luck has been on our side (in more ways than one) but something has to change to keep playoff hopes alive. The team is winning on borrowed time right now.

I'm happy to report that my movie quote trivia is back for another week. Congratulations to Patrick Neeley of Wellington, FL for correctly spotting all three movie quotes last week (Anchorman, Back to the Future and The Shawshank Redemption). $50 more in Buffalo Wild Wings deliciousness are up for grabs this week. If you are new to the game (where have you been?) it works like this: Three movie quotes from my favorite movies are hidden in this article. If you find them, send me an email to predictification@gmail.com (yes, this is different than previous weeks). The first person to send me an email with all three quotes and the movies they come from will win the gift card.

Let's recap this past week shall we?

Here's why I'm a genius:

1) Colts @ Titans

What I said: "I think the Colts win the game, overcoming their struggles on the road and finally getting healthy. It will be closer than we want it to be, though."

What happened: Colts were a lot healthier with the return of Cory Redding and Donald Brown - and the game was a lot closer than any of us wanted it to be. I called the Colts by six - and they won by six.

2) Seahawks @ Lions

What I said: " The Seahawks haven't been able to take their show on the road yet, just 1-3 as the visitor. I think the Lions have one last good game in them - they win and cover the spread."

What happened: The Seahawks still aren't ready to win on the road and the Lions were able to pull this one out by four points at home. I can't remember... how much did I say the Lions would win by? Oh yeah - 4.

3) Falcons @ Eagles

What I said: "Falcons return from their bye week as the only undefeated team in the NFL and are UNDERDOGS to the struggling Eagles. The Falcons do just about everything right and the Eagles have done just about everything wrong. Philadelphia is 3-3.... time to get busy livin' or get busy dyin'. I think they will die a little more this weekend - Falcons win and remain unbeaten."

What happened: The Eagles were the sexy underdog pick of the week with a lot of people thinking they would upset the undefeated Falcons. Predictificationers don't get caught up in the hype - we see through it.

4) Redskins @ Steelers

What I said: "Did you know that rookie quarterbacks are 1-16 against Dick LeBeau's defenses all time? I didn't either until I caught that stat somewhere this week. Makes it hard to pick Robert Griffin III and the Redskins, doesn't it? With the Ravens loss last week to the Texans the Steelers have a chance to get back in the hunt for the AFC North title... I don't expect them to let it slip by."

What happened: RGIII completed less than half of his passes for just 177 yards and ran for just 8 yards. Remember this stat when rookies take on Dick LeBeau in the future.

5) Giants @ Cowboys

What I said: "The Cowboys and Giants always seem to play a close game. The Giants haven't lost both games in this series since 2007 - and even then they beat the Cowboys in the playoffs. The Cowboys didn't look like a team that is getting any closer to being a playoff team last week against Carolina and DeMarco Murray is still out - be smart and take the Giants."

What happened: Once again the Giants didn't lose both games in the series and the Cowboys found a way to lose. I hope you were as smart as I was.

Here's why I'm dumb:

1) Buccaneers @ Vikings

What I said: "The Buccaneers thought they had a franchise quarterback in Josh Freeman just two seasons ago (25 TD, 6 INT) but he hasn't been the same since (27 TD, 27 INT). In a short week look for the Buccs to beat the spread but the Vikings to win the game."

What happened: Well, Josh Freeman threw for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns and the Vikings defense didn't show up. The Vikings remain one of the great mysteries of this NFL season - still not sure what to think of them.

2) Chargers @ Browns

What I said: "Phillip Rivers has been terrible lately and they Chargers are going to need a much better performance than they saw against Denver two weeks ago. The team isn't doing anything well - maybe they can rebound against the Browns. Cleveland has been in about every game this season and will give the Chargers all they can handle. At the end of the day the Chargers should win and cover the spread."

What happened: I wasn't exactly glowing about the Chargers last week but I did think they'd pull out the win. Ugly game and the Chargers season is getting even uglier.

3) Dolphins @ Jets

What I said: "The Dolphins, like the Colts, are a young team that struggles to win on the road. The Jets got a lot of confidence against the Colts and nearly upset the Patriots last week. Don't be swayed by the hype for the Dolphins and the mockery of the Jets - Jets win comfortably."

What happened: Oops... I don't know what else to say. I was fooled.


Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions for Week 8:

  • The Broncos will have more fans at their road game against the Bengals than any other away game this season. Not because Cincy loves the Broncos - most of Peyton Mannings biggest fans live just two hours away.
  • The Saints put a bounty on Michael Vick's dog and Bill Belicheck videotapes it. Roger Goodell's head explodes.
  • The Buccaneers and Raiders matchup this week isn't going to attract a lot of attention - but someone should lose an eye and somebody is walking out on a peg leg.
  • The Chiefs play the Chargers on Thursday Night Football this week and, despite all the evidence to the contrary, the NFL will be successful in convincing me to waste three hours of my time.

On to the picks!



Miami Dolphins (4-3) at Indianapolis Colts (4-3)

Line - Dolphins by 2.5

The Dolphins could easily be 6-1 heading into the matchup against the Colts. Two of their losses (Jets and Cardinals) have come in overtime and they have blowout wins over the Jets and Raiders. This team is a lot better than it appeared during 'Hard Knocks' this summer - especially on defense. The Dolphins defense is ranked third against the rush but have started to show some cracks lately. The Jets ran for over 100 yards last week and the Rams rushed for 162 yards before that.

The Colts are still looking for consistency and a dominant win. All of the Colts wins have been by six points or fewer and they haven't been able to put together four solid quarters of football yet this season. The running game has awakened a bit after a miserable start to the season and should help balance the offense. If Robert Mathis and Fili Moala are able to return this week it would be a huge lift to the defense that has struggled to generate pressure and turnovers. The Dolphins have turned the ball over as often as the Colts in their first seven games (13 times) and if there was a week for the defense to wake up and cause a turnover - this is it.

Those of you who read this article frequently know this: There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that and everything else is cream cheese. Oh yeah... When the game looks even on paper take the home team by a field goal - works every time.

COLTS WIN 27-24

Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) at San Diego Chargers (3-4)

Line - Chargers by 8.5

The Chargers looked dreadful against Cleveland this past Sunday but maybe a game against the Chiefs is just what they need. The Chiefs are being forced to go back to Matt Cassel this Sunday after Brady Quinn was hurt last week - and Cassel may be the only option worse than Phillip Rivers right now. If the Chargers don't win on Sunday things will get awfully ugly in San Diego.

CHARGERS WIN 20-17

Denver Broncos (4-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)

Line - Broncos by 3.5

I'm shocked the Broncos aren't getting more respect against the Bengals this weekend... Only 3.5 points, really? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Peyton Manning has been on fire lately and the Broncos seem to be hitting their stride. The Bengals, on the other hand, have lost three straight (Dolphins, Browns and Steelers) and seem to be falling apart. Watch for the Broncos to start fast and not look back - Indianapolis residents that make the two hour trip should be happy to see Manning get a win.

BRONCOS WIN 27-17

Baltimore Ravens (5-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-6)

Line - Ravens by 3.5

Don't look now but the Browns are 2-1 over their last three games - and the only loss was to the Colts when Josh Gordon was 'blinded by the light'. The Ravens haven't played very well on the road this season (1-2) but have won 9 straight against the Browns since 2007. The Ravens will win again - but this game will be close.

RAVENS WIN 24-17

Arizona Cardinals (4-4) at Green Bay Packers (5-3)

Line - Packers by 11

Remember when the Cardinals were 4-0 and everyone thought they were this great sleeper team? That seems like a long time ago. Remember when the Packers were 2-3 and everyone was wondering what went wrong with this team? That also seems like a long time ago. The Packers have been hit hard by injuries (Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings to name a few) and probably won't cover the 11 points - but they should win the game easily.

PACKERS WIN 27-17

Chicago Bears (6-1) at Tennessee Titans (3-5)

Line - Bears by 3.5

The Bears continue to be one of the most underrated teams in the NFL. Last week they played terribly against Carolina - and still won. The Titans pass defense won't have an answer for Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte should have a field day (If you thought Vick Ballard and Donald Brown looked good, just wait) running the football. This one is going to be a blowout - don't let the small spread scare you.

It's the lock of the week.

BEARS WIN 31-13

Carolina Panthers (1-6) at Washington Redskins (3-5)

Line - Redskins by 3.5

The Panthers have played a lot of close games this season and this one should be no exception. The Redskins will win this game and the Panthers season will continue to go down the toilet - but it will be a last second field goal that pulls it out.

REDSKINS WIN 27-24

Detroit Lions (3-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)

Line - Lions by 3.5

The Lions started to look a little bit more like the Lions of 2011 last week - which is bad news for the Jaguars. Although the season is already a dumpster fire for the Jaguars they decided to make it worse this week by trading WR Mike Thomas to the Lions - the same Lions they will be playing this Sunday... Dumb. Take the Lions and they should cover the 3.5.

LIONS WIN 34-20

Buffalo Bills (3-4) at Houston Texans (6-1)

Line - Texans by 10

The Bills aren't as bad as they get made out to be - I think this game is close. The Texans have every reason to win this game but the Bills have shown that they aren't afraid of a good ol' fashioned shootout. They won't be able to hang with the Texans until the end - but they should be within ten points when the game is over.

TEXANS WIN 34-27

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)

Line - Raiders by 1.5

History hasn't been kind to teams traveling across the country for games - even if they are against the Raiders. The Buccaneers looked pretty dominant against the Vikings last week but I'm not sold that it can continue. Stick with the formula - home team by a field goal

RAIDERS WIN 23-20


Minnesota Vikings (5-3) at Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

Line - Seahawks by 5

The Vikings seemed to be exposed this past Thursday during their loss to Tampa Bay. I'm not confident that they can go into Seattle (who is a perfect 3-0 at home) and win this game. The Seahawks have been competitive in just about every game this season and seem to get the extra push they need at home. Take the Seahawks.

SEAHAWKS WIN 27-21

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at New York Giants (6-2)

Line - Giants by 3.5

I don't know why but I sense this is a letdown week for the Giants - they tend to have a few of these every year. The Steelers are going to come in desperate and physical and I think they beat up the Giants a little bit this week. Look for a tough physical game with the Steelers coming out on top.

STEELERS WIN 23-21

Dallas Cowboys (3-4) at Atlanta Falcons (7-0)

Line - Falcons by 4

The Cowboys were fingertips away from getting back into the playoff hunt and saving their season - I think this week it all begins to fall apart. The Falcons look primed and ready and I don't see any answers for Dallas. Take the Falcons to win - and by a lot.

FALCONS WIN 34-20

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (2-5)

Line - Saints by 3.5

I know I love the NFL when I can't wait to see a game between two teams with a combined record of 5-9. What can I say? I'm smitten. I'm in deep smit. The Eagles announced that they have decided to stick with Michael Vick at quarterback (lucky him - who wouldn't want to play the Saints defense?) and will try to save their season. The Saints can score with the best of them and will look to rebound after an embarrassing loss to the Broncos. I like the Saints here by six points.

SAINTS WIN 34-28

***

Did you see the movie quotes? Be the first to hit me on my email Predictification@gmail.com for a $50 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card!

Agree? Disagree? As always, comments are welcome! I will track my picks during the season and brag when I'm right (and pretend I was right when I'm wrong). Pick against me if you dare - remember, I'm a Predictificationist.

Follow me on Twitter at @ColtsInsiders

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