We correctly picked 11 of the 14 Confidence Pool winners in Week 8 with the Lions as the biggest disappointment at No. 8, but we didn’t see another loser until the bottom two picks. Let’s see what Week 9 brings where we rate our most confident straight-up pick (13) (six teams on a bye) all the way to our least confident (1). The point spread on each game is in parentheses but these picks are not against the spread.
Week 8 Straight Up Record: 11-3 (94 of possible105)
13. Bears: Bears (-9) at Bills: Eventually the Bills will score a touchdown and perhaps even win a game. OK, we’re kidding about that last part, which is why they are on auto-fade for the foreseeable future. Buffalo has no quarterback healthy enough and capable enough to compete with any team, let alone Chicago. This is a slam dunk unless the Bears get trapped looking ahead to their divisional showdown with Detroit in Week 10. Even if they do, they still win but may not get the cover.
12. Panthers: Bucs at Panthers (-7): Jameis Winston’s four-pick performance last week may have cost him more than the starting job this week as Ryan FitzMagic returns for an encore. Next season is the team option on Winston’s rookie deal, and if he doesn’t get another opportunity to atone for his sins then he might be pink-slipped along with head coach Dirk Koetter. Regardless who is slingin’ for Tampa this week, the Cats’ defense is up to the task to keep the scoring to a minimum.
11. Chiefs: Chiefs (-9) at Browns: On paper, this should be a cakewalk for KC, but with the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley of Cleveland, Baker Mayfield and the entire Browns offense may be eager to explore this new chapter under new management. The Chiefs D is nothing to write home about, but their offense can score early and often which is why they rank so high on the confidence totem pole this week.
10. Cowboys: Titans at Cowboys (-6½): We were interested to see what the best online sportsbooks were dealing on this game between our beloved Titans and Jerry Jones’ favorite toy, which is why we clicked over to Sportsbook Review where all those numbers can be compared and contrasted in one convenient location. Well, the line looks a little long for Dallas as neither team can really score but both have top-five defenses. That means it will be a slow grind with the Cowboys eking out a win by a field goal in the waning moments. But that also means Tennessee could be a sharp play with the points. Let’s win them both and go with Dallas on the money line and Tennessee plus the points. We’ll engage in a little arbitrage and pocket the dough on both ends!
9. Vikings: Lions at Vikings (-4): This line looks a bit out of whack, which is why we are cautious about betting Minnesota here. As those who never placed a wager, yet know everything there is to know about sports betting, would say in a whisper, “Vegas knows something.” Yeah, well if the oddsmakers knew something that the rest of us didn’t they wouldn’t be making book for a living. Instead, they’d be living on an island, sipping umbrella drinks and destroying bookmakers all over the planet. Regardless, the Vikings are better in all facets than the schizophrenic Lions and will be eager to redeem themselves after their loss to New Orleans last week.
8. Seahawks: Chargers at Seahawks (-2): Seattle is starting to convince us they’re better than average as their defense always comes to play and they have a solid quarterback in Russell Wilson, who gets good looks because the rushing attack is so prominently featured. Yes, the Bolts are coming off of their bye and should be well-rested and are on a four-game winning streak. However, those wins came against weak teams and that all changes this week.
7. Dolphins: Jets at Dolphins (-3): Both teams are regressing but in the Land of the Blind the one-eyed man is king. Guess which team has the dark sunglasses and the cane? Hint: It ain’t Miami.
6. Falcons: Falcons (+2) at Redskins: We believe Atlanta is better than their record indicates, and after having had two weeks to prepare against a team that has had two grueling divisional games in a row, they are poised to come away victorious.
5. Raiders: Raiders (+3) at 49ers: Now tell us again why the 1-7 49ers are favored against anyone on Thursday? Oh, home-field advantage and the opponent happens to be the 1-6 Raiders, you say? That is indeed true but Derek Carr finally got his groove on last week after a two-year sabbatical when he fired three TD passes and ran one in for good measure. That mojo continues this week over a lackluster Niners squad.
4. Patriots: Packers at Patriots (-6 ½): Despite beating Buffalo on the road by 19 points and covering the number being dealt by all the best online sportsbooks, found only at Sportsbook Review, it wasn’t a terrific offensive showing Monday by the Pats. TB12 was held without a passing TD for the first time this season, but beating New England at the Razor is no easy task and we feel that the Pats win the game but the Pack gets the cover.
3. Saints: Rams at Saints (-1½): The Rams are generating all the buzz as the only undefeated team in the league, but the Saints are quietly killing it. If you’re a betting man, or woman, then Nawlins’ has been a license to print money recently, covering in each of their last five games. Jared Goff is the golden boy but he’s no future Hall-of-Famer – yet – but Drew Brees is and he’s been there and done that. LA could be a bit gassed after their hard-fought win over Green Bay last week and must now compete in a track meet with one of the best ever.
2. Steelers: Steelers (+3) at Ravens: Pittsburgh won last week, and for that matter has won the last three weeks. Baltimore lost last week and are now on a two-game schneid. Get where we’re going?
1. Texans: Texans (+1) at Broncos: Somewhere, someone on this big blue marble has a very strong opinion on this game and sees something that we don’t. But Houston has won their last five and that’s good enough for us.