TheDC sports columnist Andy Hayes: Week 9 NFL picks

Andy Hayes Contributor
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8-5 last week, getting better. 59-58 overall. This week feels like a 13-0 week or a 0-13 week for picks – nothing in between.

Week 9 Picks

  • AZ @ MN (-8.5). This just in: Brad Childress just released Favre, Peterson, Harvin, Hutchinson, Jared Allen, Antoine Winfield, the Williams duo, Sidney Rice and Leslie Frazier. Despite the drama in Minnesota recently, the story of this game will be the terribleness of the AZ Cardinals – bad team. MN 34, AZ 24.
  • Chic @ Buff (+2.5). What in the world could Caleb Hanie possibly have done to be demoted to the #3 QB on the depth chart? Did he hit on Mike Martz’s daughter? Was he busted imitating Lovie Smith’s “I have no idea what to do right now” look that he sports occasionally on the sidelines? After Todd Collins had 2 unbelievably bad performances at the Giants and at Carolina, Hanie stepped in and did OK. So, Chicago wisely moved Hanie to the #2 QB. Now, he’s back at #3 and Collins is #2. Let’s look at their numbers this year with comparable playing time: Collins has 5 picks, 37% pass completion, 5.9 QB rating – yes, 5.9; Hanie has 0 picks, a 71% pass completion rate, and a 94.3 QB rating. Hmmm… Buff 29, Chic 23.
  • Miami @ Balt (-5.5). It’s gotta be odd for Balt to feel unsettled playing a home game because their opponent is undefeated on the road. Balt would probably rather play them in Miami (where they are 0-3). Balt 20, Miami 16.
  • NO @ Car (+7.5). Why are there so few mid-season coach firings? I just don’t get it. A lot can happen within a 16 game season, but usually nothing good happens if a lame duck coach stays on. If I were a fan of one of the teams that needs to fire their coach (i.e. Carolina, Dallas, Cincy, Minnesota), I would be frustrated that absolutely nothing is being done. Management is content just letting things ride out – comfortable with a totally lost season when sometimes, hiring a new coach can sometimes offer a jolt of excitement at least. After last week, NO is back on a mission. Despite the fact that Car almost stole one from NO in NO earlier this year, don’t like their chances this week. NO 31, Car 17.
  • TB @ Atl (-8.5). After the victory over St. Louis in Week 7, Raheem Morris said TB was the best team in the NFC. I’m just waiting for his next bold statement – guessing it will have to do with the Week 8 discovery of LeGarrette Blount. If you watched any of that game, Morris could pretty much say anything and have me believing – Blount is the real deal. He has a certain “punch-you-in-your-face” style about him.  Atl 26, TB 23.
  • NE @ Cleve (+4.5). One of the brilliant Patriot strategies over the years has been what I’ll call “equal opportunity stardom”. For as long as Belichick has been there, it seems that each week, the Patriots feature a different offensive player. This not only drives Fantasy Football players nuts, but it also makes things really difficult for opposing defenses. Just when the hype starts to flow in the direction of one player (like most recently, Danny Woodhead or Green-Ellis), Belichick is likely to switch it up and feature someone else. Even when Brady/Moss/Welker were going nuts a couple years ago, they still were mixing it up quite a bit. That said, I think this game will be all about the Cleve’s only star Peyton Hillis. Hillis and the Cleve to shock the Pats. Cleve 27, NE 24.
  • SD @ Hou (+1.5) I really like what Phillip Rivers is doing this year – with zero talent around him except Antonio Gates. Great players make mediocre players good. SD 34, Hou 24.
  • NYJ @ Det (+3.5). Picking Detroit here is risky I know. But I am convinced this is a team that can no longer be considered an automatic win for opponents. And the reason they’ll win this one? Their defense. Nobody talks about their defense but their defensive line with Suh and Vanden Bosch in particular is just plain quality. I don’t see the Jets getting their running game going even though they’ll try to and I think by the time they resort to passing, Stafford will already have built a lead for Detroit. Seems like a crack pick I know, but stay with me here as the next pick may be more questionable. Det 24, NYJ 17.
  • NYG @ Sea (+5.5). I know Pete Carroll is quietly excited for the day Charlie Whitehurst takes over for Matt Hasselbeck. But I have a suggestion Carroll ought to consider: start Hasselbeck for all home games and Whitehurst for all away games. Hasselbeck has a 87.2 QB rating (and a 3-0 record) at home and a 60.4 rating (and a 1-3 record) on the road. He’s thrown 5 of his 7 picks on the road and in the last road game, he was sacked 8 times. Sea 24, NYG 20.
  • KC @ Oak (-2.5). Hard to believe this is a game folks will be paying attention to – should be a good game. Oak 28, KC 24.
  • Indy @ Phil (-2.5). Has Jim Caldwell ever spoken? Watching the game last Monday, I tried to imagine what he might have said for his half-time speech. I couldn’t imagine him talking at all, so I concluded that a half-time speech simply didn’t happen – and that all that happens during the half-time is that everyone listens to Peyton Manning whine about stuff. (By the way, why is Philly favored in this one? Seems odd to me.)  Indy 24, Philly 20.
  • Dal @ GB (-7.5). If the Pack wins this week, that will make it 3 weeks in a row that they’ve silenced obnoxious NFL personalities: Brad Childress, Rex Ryan and Jerry Jones. Go Pack. GB 36, Dal 17.
  • Pitt @ Cincy (+4.5). As much as I am not a believer in Marvin Lewis and think he should have been canned a couple years ago, I don’t think Cincy is THAT bad. Because of that, I sort of want to go for the upset. But it’s just too easy for me to see disappointment and give-up on the Cincy sideline after a Polamalu pick-six or yet another strangely, unchallenged Rashard Mendenhall 40 yard TD scamper. Pitt 26, Cincy 13.