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PFT’s Week Nine picks

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

As we reach the exact midpoint of the season — with eight weeks in the books and eight more to come after Sunday and Monday — I’ve managed to slap a temporary tourniquet onto the competition, matching Rosenthal with a record of 9-4 for the Week Eight picks.

But I’m still stuck in a seven-game hole.  And I’ve only got two chances this week to gain ground.

Needless to say, I’ll be openly rooting for the Titans and Steelers on Sunday.  To the chagrin of Titans and Steelers fans everywhere.

For the year, Rosenthal has a record of 80-36.  I’m now at 73-43.

Jets at Bills

Florio’s take:  Wins over the overmatched Dolphins and overrated Chargers have caused the Jets to spend the bye week thinking they’re better than they are.  They’re not.  The Bills have proven that they have staying power, and they have the firepower to stay ahead of the Jets for the full game, not just part of it.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 27, Jets 20.

Rosenthal’s take: The Jets think they found their running game and Plaxico Burress’ mojo before the bye.  The Bills think they found a pass rush with Marcel Dareus moving to nose tackle. I think the Bills will find a way to keep their home record perfect because the Bills running game will roll and Mark Sanchez isn’t made for shootouts.

Rosenthal’s pick: Bills 30, Jets 27.

Seahawks at Cowboys

Florio’s take:  Though the Cowboys can’t play up to the level of their competition, they know how to take care of business against bad teams.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 41, Seahawks 20.

Rosenthal’s take: Jerry Jones says Cowboys fans shouldn’t focus on the team’s humbling loss to the Eagles. That’s easier to say when Seattle is next on the schedule. Tarvaris Jackson amazingly isn’t the Seahawks’ biggest problem. He’s just not nearly good enough to overcome Seattle’s total absence of a running game and terrible special teams.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cowboys 30, Seahawks 17.

Browns at Texans

Florio’s take:  With the Colts, Titans, and Jaguars vanquished, the Texans have a clear path to their first playoff berth.  To get there, they need to drop the hammer when playing inferior opponents at home.  The Browns had better get comfortable in the AFC North basement.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 34, Browns 17.

Rosenthal’s take: Browns fans are starting to notice that the Browns offense is worse under Pat Shurmur and Mike Holmgren than it was under Eric Mangini. Houston’s offseason coaching move has worked much better. Wade Phillips is my pick for coordinator of the year, if that was actually an award.

Rosenthal’s pick: Texans 24, Browns 13.

Falcons at Colts

Florio’s take:  The Falcons need to keep winning.  The Colts need to keep losing.  Both teams will meet their objectives.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 36, Colts 19.

Rosenthal’s take: The Falcons have played in four straight dome games, and they get three straight in Atlanta after this one. In short:  They should enter December in good playoff position.  That little nugget was my way of not talking about the Colts, because there’s nothing left to say.

Rosenthal’s pick: Falcons 26, Colts 21.

Dolphins at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  The Chiefs need to keep winning.  The Dolphins need to keep losing.  Both teams will meet their objectives.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 31, Dolphins 14.

Rosenthal’s take: This looks like a dangerous spot for the Chiefs. The Dolphins keep every game competitive, even against good teams like the Giants. Kansas City isn’t talented enough to take any team lightly, and they are coming off an emotional high on a short week.  Take the Dolphins to cover and the Chiefs to win. Yeah, I’m a wimp.

Rosenthal’s pick: Chiefs 23, Dolphins 21.

Buccaneers at Saints

Florio’s take:  The up-and-down Bucs have won two in a row in New Orleans.  The up-and-down Saints are reeling from a loss to the Rams.  This one could go either way.  Call it a hunch, but even while operating from the coaching booth it’s hard to imagine Sean Payton not coming up with a way to win this one.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Buccaneers 24.

Rosenthal’s take: The Saints are a different team at home, winning all three games by an average score of 44-17. (The Colts blowout looms large, but the Saints also waxed the Bears.) The Bucs are a different team than their record indicates.  With all four wins coming in one-score games, the Bucs have been lucky. Tampa doesn’t stand out in any facet of offense or defense.

Rosenthal’s pick: Saints 35, Bucs 28.

49ers at Redskins

Florio’s take:  Last week’s win by the Rams over the Saints is a reminder that anything can happen in the NFL.  And that’s precisely what 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh needed to see in order to get his players to guard against a letdown in D.C.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 20, Redskins 14.

Rosenthal’s take: This is the wrong matchup for Washington. They give up too many big plays on the ground (hello Fred Jackson) and the collapsing offensive line can’t handle the 49ers’ front seven. John Beck is 0-6 in six career starts.  If it goes to 0-7, Washington’s playoff hopes are just about done.

Rosenthal’s pick: 49ers 23, Redskins 14.

Broncos at Raiders

Florio’s take:  When Tebow tries to take a knee on Sunday, he’ll tumble into a Black Hole.  The Raiders are rested and ready to make better use of Carson Palmer.  With or without Darren McFadden, the Broncos can’t beat anyone but the Dolphins.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 37, Broncos 17.

Rosenthal’s take: The AFC West will likely get only one playoff team this year. That means the Raiders, Chiefs, and Chargers can’t afford any slip-ups to the division also-ran.  The Oakland are lucky to face the Broncos at a good time: While they are still starting Tim Tebow.

Rosenthal’s pick: Raiders 24, Broncos 10.

Bengals at Titans

Florio’s take:  Rosenthal and I make our picks without knowing the other guy’s selections.  But since Rosenthal apparently is preparing to add a tiger head tattoo to a collection that includes Pat Patriot on one shoulder and a fleur-de-lis on the other, and given that I have a lot of ground to gain in the season-to-date standings, I’ll assume that he continues to buy the Bengals, who have yet to play the Steelers or the Ravens.  This week, I’ll trust in the team that already has beaten one of Cincinnati’s chief AFC North rivals — even though I’m prepared to put no trust in Chris Johnson.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 24, Bengals 21.

Rosenthal’s take: A matchup of two winning teams that no one takes seriously. The Bengals look closer to being contenders because of a truly stout defensive line, strong special teams, and the belief of a young team that doesn’t know any better. Perhaps the Bengals will be taken seriously once they are 6-2.

Rosenthal’s pick: Bengals 16, Titans 13.

Rams at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  The two teams for which Kurt Warner starred currently are struggling at the quarterback position.  Sam Bradford continues to deal with a high ankle sprain, and Cardinals fans can’t figure out whether they prefer a healthy or an injured Kevin Kolb.  The battle-hardened Rams get the benefit of the doubt after shocking the Saints behind A.J. Feeley.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 28, Cardinals 21.

Rosenthal’s take: I’m not sure whether the quarterback matchup will be Sam Bradford versus Kevin Kolb or A.J. Feeley versus John Skelton. The Rams won in spite of Feeley last week; he was spraying passes.  Skelton is popular in Arizona only because fans forgot how he played last year.  I’ve already spent too many words on a game no one is going to watch.

Rosenthal’s pick: Rams 24, Cardinals 20.

Giants at Patriots

Florio’s take:  It’s yet another Super Bowl rematch (there are at least 15 of them this year), and most of them have seen the team that won the Super Bowl prevail in the 2011 regular-season reunion.  Last week, the Bills broke that trend by beating the Redskins.  This week, the trend of beating the trend continues.  Even though the team that first figured out how to beat Tom Brady will likely try to use the same formula (i.e., pound the pretty boy into the ground), the Pats are dangerous when motivated — and they typically are extremely motivated after losing a game.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Giants 27.

Rosenthal’s take: I was attending my first Super Bowl the last time these teams played, way back when I was 11. This matchup has a lot of similarities. New York’s pass rush can get after Tom Brady and Eli Manning comes into the game playing well. That’s a long way of saying this game will be tight, but the Patriots are too good coming off a loss, especially at home, to suffer another upset.

Rosenthal’s pick: Patriots 31, Giants 27.

Packers at Chargers

Florio’s take:  In this craziest of NFL seasons, it would be fitting for the suddenly struggling Chargers to take a chunk out of the unbeaten defending champs.  But the Packers are playing like a team on loan from a higher level of football, and they’re coming off a bye.  Throw in the fact that they’ve never lost to the Chargers in San Diego, and the Packers are poised to move to 8-0.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 33, Chargers 21.

Rosenthal’s take: In theory, the Packers could be walking into a hornet’s nest. This is a huge game for San Diego coming off two home losses. Philip Rivers wants to put The Phumble behind him. In reality, the Chargers defense doesn’t do anything well. The secondary is searching for answers. That’s not how you want to enter a game against Aaron Rodgers.

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 35, Chargers 24.

Ravens at Steelers

Florio’s take:  The Steelers carry a four-game winning streak into a game for which they may not have four healthy linebackers.  But it doesn’t matter.  Motivated by a 35-7 Week One thumping that seems so distant it may as well have been Week One of the 2004 season, the Steelers will find a way to hold serve at home.  They might even turn the tables with a blowout of Baltimore, but I’ll stick with a close game in the hopes that NBC will be able to carry a huge rating for all three hours on Sunday night.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 16, Ravens 13.

Rosenthal’s take: Everything points to the Steelers based on the last two weeks. Everyone will pick the Steelers in this game. Florio will pick the Steelers. All of that makes me want to pick the Ravens because that’s usually how things work out. (Plus picking against Florio is generally a profitable strategy.)

Rosenthal’s pick: Ravens 20, Steelers 17.

Bears at Eagles

Florio’s take:  The Dream Team is back, so spread the word.  Actually, they’ll do a good job of spreading the word on their own, by spreading the ball in balanced fashion between passes and runs.  Andy Reid does some of his best coaching with his back pressed firmly against the wall.  At 3-4 and two games behind the Giants, his back will remain their indefinitely.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 28, Bears 17.

Rosenthal’s take: The Eagles aren’t the only team coming into this game playing well. Chicago tightened up its pass protection and defense before the bye. Jay Cutler is playing well. This is a huge game in the NFC playoff picture and won’t be the cakewalk for Philly everyone expects.

Rosenthal’s pick: Eagles 28, Bears 27.

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45 Responses to “PFT’s Week Nine picks”
  1. howley1 says: Nov 3, 2011 10:11 AM

    What does “can’t play up to the level of their competition” mean? They beat the 6-1 49ers in Candlestick Park, took the Patriots down to the wire in Gillette Stadium and have been competitive in every game except the Eagles game. You went to WVU, right?

  2. notrelated says: Nov 3, 2011 10:11 AM

    Who exactly is this “everyone” that expects a cakewalk in Philly?

  3. bengalsown says: Nov 3, 2011 10:11 AM

    Bengals defensive line > Lions defensive line.

    Bengals defensive line salaries (eight players) < Suh's salary

  4. warvette says: Nov 3, 2011 10:15 AM

    bears and eagles. wonder how many fights there’ll be in the stands?

  5. dccowboy says: Nov 3, 2011 10:18 AM

    “Washington’s playoff hopes are just about done.”

    PLAYOFFS!? … PLAYOFFS??

  6. ken0west says: Nov 3, 2011 10:18 AM

    Pick against the spread if you are going to post your record.

  7. dmaziuk says: Nov 3, 2011 10:27 AM

    Washington had playoff hopes?

  8. Tribe&Browns&Cavs says: Nov 3, 2011 10:29 AM

    Browns fans are starting to notice that the Browns offense is worse under Pat Shurmur and Mike Holmgren than it was under Eric Mangini.

    I don’t think it’s worse. I think it’s suffering due to losing Hillis for half their games so far (mentally maybe for all of them) and now the backup RB. I’m certainly not going to write of McCoy after two coaches/systems in two years and all the injuries around him. He doesn’t have time in the pocket to be a decent QB.

    I still think, big picture, they are headed in the right direction. They need more pieces, healthy pieces (and/or some depth) and an Offensive Coordinator before they can be fully judged. It’s still way too early.

  9. southpaw2k says: Nov 3, 2011 10:30 AM

    No matter what happens Sunday night, I won’t be surprised. I would scream from the highest of mountaintops if the Ravens marched into Heinz Field and took down the Steelers, since that would all but cement the division in the Ravens’ favor, but I can’t see the game being an easy match at all.

  10. londonfletcher says: Nov 3, 2011 10:33 AM

    I picked up the Raiders D in fantasy this week just for this game. I’m a fan of Tebow, but I’m also a realist.

  11. rexelmania74 says: Nov 3, 2011 10:38 AM

    So when the Jets take down the Bills than will you show some love??Instead of your typical hatred for gang green?

  12. cmutimmah says: Nov 3, 2011 10:44 AM

    ken0west says:
    Nov 3, 2011 10:18 AM
    Pick against the spread if you are going to post your record.

    —————————

    They are picking against each other… hence the record. It’s for fun, Ken… relax a little.

  13. aircoryell says: Nov 3, 2011 10:48 AM

    The Chargers aren’t coming off too home losses Rosenthal. They are coming off two BAD losses, but they weren’t home losses. They were both on the road.

  14. cowboyhater says: Nov 3, 2011 10:52 AM

    Skins-24
    49′ers-23

    Beck: 19-24, 225 yds, 2 td, 1 int

    Look out 49′er fan. Trap game at FedEx. 1pm start for a west coast team is trouble. HTTR!!

  15. jerruhjones21 says: Nov 3, 2011 10:53 AM

    @ howley

    I have been a Cowboys fan since my first game in 1969 but how many excuses can you put into one post?

    Jerryball doesn’t work so we are doomed until he dies and then pray that Stephen doesn’t replicate the incompetent GM story…

  16. 10nygeliteeli says: Nov 3, 2011 10:54 AM

    I thought they would give the GMEN a little bit of respect
    Against the secondary that’s dead last in the league but well just take it!

  17. sensiblebuc says: Nov 3, 2011 11:04 AM

    Rosenthal says “With all four wins coming in one-score games, the Bucs have been lucky.”

    That’s a pretty silly statement Greg. Most NFL games are decided by one score. Good teams win those games and bad teams lose those games (see: Carolina). To say the Bucs are lucky to have won 4 games is ignoring the fact that the Bucs came out and took it to our two biggest rivals (the Falcons and the Saints).

    Don’t confuse inconsistency with luck. You are what your record says you are.

  18. klunge says: Nov 3, 2011 11:04 AM

    bengalsown says:
    Nov 3, 2011 10:11 AM
    Bengals defensive line > Lions defensive line.

    Bengals defensive line salaries (eight players) < Suh's salary
    ———————————————-

    Last post of yours I read, you were complaining about Suh's level of media exposure. Now here we are on a bye week and no mention of them in this story, yet here you are again bringing them up out of the blue. Are you envious? Can't get Suh out of your mind? Maybe a closeted Lions fan, talking trash to divert suspicion? Seems you have some self-searching to do.

  19. JackLeone says: Nov 3, 2011 11:13 AM

    79-37

  20. fatbaby81 says: Nov 3, 2011 11:26 AM

    Philly needs to expose the bears O line this week.

  21. MPell says: Nov 3, 2011 11:26 AM

    I could actually see both Indy and Miami upsetting the Falcons and Chiefs this week. Falcons keep games close and the Colts have played “well” at home. KC may overlook Miami after big win against SD on MNF.

  22. waxthat says: Nov 3, 2011 11:27 AM

    @cowboyhater
    Skins-24
    49′ers-23

    Beck: 19-24, 225 yds, 2 td, 1 int

    Look out 49′er fan. Trap game at FedEx. 1pm start for a west coast team is trouble. HTTR!!

    __________________________

    The 9ers have already handled that pretty well this year. (See game vs Detroit.)

    You guys think this Niners vs. Skins game is going to be close? lol C’MON MAN!

  23. radrntn says: Nov 3, 2011 11:29 AM

    GO RAIDERS!

  24. steelerchicken says: Nov 3, 2011 11:29 AM

    Which Bears team is going to show up after the bye? They are getting 7.5 points!

  25. camdenyard says: Nov 3, 2011 11:29 AM

    “The Steelers carry a four-game winning streak into a game for which they may not have four healthy linebackers. But it doesn’t matter”

    Doesn’t matter, huh?

    I think it does matter.

  26. camstradamus says: Nov 3, 2011 11:37 AM

    I hope Rex takes the boys for a snack at Duffs or Anchor Bar after the loss…

    Buffalo will continue to prove that they’re the real deal and NY will be 4-4 mid-season…Sounds like a nice Sunday to me. GO BILLS!!!

  27. elchivoj says: Nov 3, 2011 11:37 AM

    Bears fan heading to Lincoln Financial this monday….

    HELP

  28. Howie Veltersnatch says: Nov 3, 2011 11:49 AM

    A couple of them may have felt like losses, but the Chargers haven’t lost at home this season, Rosenthal. (That’ll probably change on Sunday, but in the meantime, they’re 4-0 at home.)

  29. bobbyhoying says: Nov 3, 2011 11:50 AM

    Who expects the Eagles to have a cake walk over the Bears? I seem to recall the Bears beating them in Chicago. The Bears scare me far more than the Cowgirls.

  30. cowboyhater says: Nov 3, 2011 11:55 AM

    waxthat says: Nov 3, 2011 11:27 AM

    @cowboyhater
    Skins-24
    49′ers-23

    Beck: 19-24, 225 yds, 2 td, 1 int

    Look out 49′er fan. Trap game at FedEx. 1pm start for a west coast team is trouble. HTTR!!

    __________________________

    The 9ers have already handled that pretty well this year. (See game vs Detroit.)

    You guys think this Niners vs. Skins game is going to be close? lol C’MON MAN!

    _______________________________

    So what you’re saying is I’m way off base on this one? I could be, but I’m sticking with my prediction.

  31. sportsguybayarea says: Nov 3, 2011 12:39 PM

    what will it take for fans (haters) around the nation to give the niners their credit?? before the season started all i heard was “the niners suck, they wont make playoffs” and now that they got this division on lock, theyre saying “niners schedule sucks! they play in a weak division”! (have only played one division game) after they take down the skins on the road, all were gonna hear is “niners are one and done in january” (yes Niners are better than the seahawks who beat the saints in the wild card) Defense is ELITE, allow the least points in the league, first againts the run, 6th running the ball, second fewest TO’s in the league, 6th in the league in scoring. all im asking is to please open your eyes ppl, dont hate too much. give credit where credit is due. 9ers are a good team. we’ll prove it in january, just watch!

  32. EJ says: Nov 3, 2011 1:05 PM

    Jets at Bills

    The Jets will try to run the ball right down the throat of the Bills porous Defense. If they succeed, it will be hard for Buffalo to leave Ralph Wilson stadium undefeated at home. If Buffalo can shut down or at least slow down NY’s running game and force Mark Sanchez into throwing the ball, they should be able to take the game.

    Go Bills!!!!

  33. oside760 says: Nov 3, 2011 1:06 PM

    its gonna be embarrassing to watch my chargers game this weekend. i’m seriously considering just considering this week another bye week, with a loss

  34. no1dman43troy says: Nov 3, 2011 1:12 PM

    Week 1 meeting between Steelers and Ravens was a perfect storm for Ravens. Opening day AT HOME, screwy off seaon with the lockout, and a Steeler team out of sync on both sides of the ball. These two teams will be within 7 points of each other 9 out of the next 10 times they play (as we have seen over the past several years). It was a fluke and anybody who doesn’t think so doesn’t know football, or is a passion blinded Raven fan. Now it’s at Steelers, they have righted the ship on both sides of the ball (Ravens have regressed badly on offense), and the Steelers have a big chip on their shoulders after that FLUKE game. Should be a good one, “CAN’T WAIT”. Oh, bye the way Raven fans who ran their keyboards after that FLUKE game… It’s still tilted toward the Steelers until you can beat them when the division is on the line or in the playoffs and get to the Superbowl, like the STEELERS JUST KEEP DOING. If Flacco can’t beat the Steelers in Heinz Field this week with 3 out of 4 starting linebackers out of the game… HE NEVER WILL WHEN IT COUNTS. Lets see what ya got Joey!!!

  35. mkivland says: Nov 3, 2011 1:16 PM

    PFT,

    You need to change the color of some of your header tags so the teams, your picks, and your names don’t all bleed together. It makes it very difficult to find a specific game. As of now the Team, Name, and Pick all seem to camouflage each other. Perhaps use a header tag that is red or a color that stands out from the black bolded font. Thanks!

  36. childressrulz says: Nov 3, 2011 1:42 PM

    fatbaby81 says: Nov 3, 2011 11:26 AM

    Philly needs to expose the bears O line this week.
    ___________________________
    Really? Expose huh? No offense meant but what Philly needs to do is take advantage of an o-line that everybody in the league knows sucks. The next thing Philly needs is a real QB not a glorified RB but whatever it looks like the dream team is back!

  37. cjtogay says: Nov 3, 2011 1:48 PM

    At least we can all get one prediction right this week, C.J. still won’t get more than 25yds this week! Anybody want to take the over under?

  38. rabidbillsfan says: Nov 3, 2011 2:11 PM

    This Bills game against the Jets should be one of the top games of the weekend. The Jets need to show they have truely “Righted the Ship” in all phases. If you don’t recall, the Jets run D was pretty bad to start the season, and nothing fixes that like bottling up a potential MVP canidate at home. However, they won’t, because this Bills offense is a more balanced clone to that of NE. I could see FJ leading the league in yards from scrimmage after this game, and solidify himself as an MVP canidate. Best Matchups of the week… Florence vs. Burress, Wilson Vs. Keller, Mangold Vs. Dareus, McGee vs. Holmes, Stevie vs. Revis. Sanchez throws 3 picks, Bills win 24-13.

  39. Satan's Valet says: Nov 3, 2011 2:21 PM

    rexelmania74 says: Nov 3, 2011 10:38 AM

    So when the Jets take down the Bills than will you show some love??Instead of your typical hatred for gang green?

    —————————————————-

    Eh he he he he he he he…. you said “gang green”, which sounds like “gangrene”, he he he, that’s funny, cause it makes me think “The Jets are rotting away”. Get it? Eh he he he!

    God I hate the Jets.

  40. jjefferson13 says: Nov 3, 2011 4:42 PM

    I’m a Pats fan but seriously, when was the last time these guess picked against them? I don’t even know why I bother reading their Pats prediction every week, it’s ALWAYS the same thing.

  41. nuclearwarfare says: Nov 3, 2011 6:19 PM

    If the Raiders QBs play as awful as they did in week 7 and the Broncos start Tebow…

    This could be the worst football game in history.

    “Just a recap for those fans tuning in, the Broncos have the ball on the Raiders 15 yard line because a deep pass from Palmer to Heyward Bey was picked off, let’s see if Tim Tebow can make something ha—that’s a fumbled snap, Raiders recover!”

  42. cowboyshater says: Nov 3, 2011 6:39 PM

    cowboyhater says:
    Nov 3, 2011 10:52 AM
    Skins-24
    49′ers-23

    Beck: 19-24, 225 yds, 2 td, 1 int

    Look out 49′er fan. Trap game at FedEx. 1pm start for a west coast team is trouble. HTTR!!

     ————————

    LMAO!

    Beck will be sacked into oblivion because the skins won’t be able to run on the Niners D and they’ll be forced to pass. Nighty night Beck…

  43. 3octaveFart says: Nov 4, 2011 4:05 PM

    The worst thing come Monday morning, will be the certain avalanche of Raven’s fans crying about the officiating.
    You know it’s coming.

  44. dixonorifice says: Nov 4, 2011 4:32 PM

    elchivoj says: Nov 3, 2011 11:37 AM

    Bears fan heading to Lincoln Financial this monday….

    HELP
    _____________________________________ Sell your tickets to an Eagles fan or suffer the consequences.

  45. dspohn55 says: Nov 5, 2011 12:52 PM

    Rosenthal says he was 11 the last time the Pats and Giants met in the Super Bowl. Explains a lot since he’s only 15 now, apparently.

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