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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Week 12: #NFLGame Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) THANKSGIVING EDITION


Week 12: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 11 results: 8-5 wins (season: 81-52; .609); 4-9 v. spread (season: 64-69; .481)

 Thanksgiving food for thought: OJ will be watching Thanksgiving Day football from home this year. 

Minnesota Vikings 8-2 (-3) @ Detroit Lions 6-4 (44.5): Vikings 28-24
Thursday, 12:30 PM, Ford Field, Detroit, MI (Weather: Indoors)

Reasons: The Minnesota Vikings might be the best team in the NFL, especially after undressing the league’s best offense in the Rams 24-7 Sunday, but for some reason this feels like a trap game in the sense that the Lions suddenly love their annual Thanksgiving Day home game (4-0 since 2013), and as good as the Vikings have been on both sides of ball, one expects something to go wrong, at least offensively, any week. The truth is, however, nothing seems to be going wrong for this Vikings team, save perhaps and early injury to rookie sensation Dalvin Cook and the awkward fumbling of the current quarterback situation. The only thing the Lions do really well is hold on to the ball (7th in turnover ratio) and score (5th in points per game, 27.1), but the Vikings just happen to be 2nd in the NFL in points allowed (17.2 ppg). The Lions winning streak on Turkey Day could be coming to an end.

Los Angeles Chargers 4-6 (-1)  @ Dallas Cowboys 5-5 (48): Chargers 23-21
Thursday, 4:30 PM, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX (Weather: Indoors)

Reasons: These two teams are relatively evenly matched, although in vastly different areas. For example, the Cowboys are the 9th-ranked scoring offense (24.2 ppg) while the Chargers are the 8th-ranked scoring defense (19.6 ppg); the Cowboys are a mediocre team in turnover ratio, yards per play and time of possession, but they ranked 7th in 3rd-down efficiency, while the Chargers are one of the worst teams in the NFL at two of those things (TOP: 27th; 3rd-down efficiency: 25th) and one of the best teams in the NFL at two of those things (Turnover ratio: 5th; Yards per play: 9th). The one clear separation between these two teams in point differential, where the Cowboys rank 3rd (7.2 ppg) and the Chargers rank 21st (-0.8 ppg), but all that really tells us is that the Chargers have played a lot of close games, which we already knew, and the Cowboys are inconsistent, which we already knew. The Cowboys are reeling without Ezekiel Elliot and with left tackle Tyron Smith still questionable on a short week, I don’t expect much of a rally from Dallas. Expect another close game with the Chargers prevailing.

 Things haven't gone well in Dallas in the absence of Ezekiel Elliot and the Cowboys better figure things out quick if they want to salvage their season.

New York Giants 2-8 (+7) @ Washington Football Team 4-6 (44.5): Washington 24-21
Thursday, 8:30 PM, FedEx Field, Landover, MD (Weather: Clear; High 30s)

Reasons: The Giants may be 2-3 after starting the season 0-5 (although 3 of those losses were by 5 or fewer points), but they remain one of the worst teams in the NFL. All is essentially lost for the Giants in 2017, some of which has been out of their control, but the Washington Football Team has something to play for considering the floor may be falling out from underneath the Cowboys season. The Washington Football Team is also respectable, ranking in the top-12 in the NFL in points (12th: 23.8 ppg), time of possession (12th), yards gained (9th) and yards per play (7th). The Washington Football Team also just lost to the hottest team in the NFL in the New Orleans Saints in OT by only three points; however, two of Washington’s four wins have also come by three points, and that three-point lose to New Orleans came after holding a 15-point lead with only a few minutes remaining in the game. The point is Washington is exactly who we thought they were, and have key injuries on offense to deal with, but the New York Giants are absolutely terrible.

Stay tuned for the remaining Week 12: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) coming Sunday morning.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tuesday's Gone: Week 11 #NFL Game Reviews APOLOGY WEEK EDITION


Week 11: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 11 results: 8-5 wins (season*: 81-52; .609); 4-9 v. spread (season*: 64-69; .481)

This might be the only person in the world that would make one question whether or not an annual salary of $30+ million a year is really worth it.


Detroit Lions 5-4 (-3) @ Chicago Bears 3-6 (41): Lions 28-24 Lions 27-24
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL (Weather: No issue)

The Lions did exactly what I thought they’d do – struggle to barely beat a bad-but-not-as-bad-as-we-thought team with a rookie quarterback. I predicted this Detroit team would make the playoffs (I think), and it seems they just might, despite all their attempts to avoid them.

Jacksonville Jaguars 6-3 (-7.5) @ Cleveland Browns 0-9 (37): Jaguars 24-14 Jaguars 19-7
Sunday, 1:00 PM, First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, OH (Weather: Issue)

Ahh, the old Score-a-late-but-meanlingless-defensive-touchdown-to-cover-the-spread routine. You have to love it…if you had the Jaguars covering.

Baltimore Ravens 4-5 (-2) @ Green Bay Packers 5-4 (38): Ravens 21-20 Ravens 23-0
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI (Weather: No issue)

The Green Bay Packers are doomed with A-Aron Rodgers, but you already knew that.

 Things aren't the same for the Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-6 (+1) @ Miami Dolphins 4-5 (41.5): Dolphins 20-17 Buccaneers 24-20
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL (Weather: No issue)

This Week 11 game, a makeup game from Week 1 delayed by Hurricane Irma, when these teams would most likely have been on their respective bye weeks, went exactly how many might’ve have assumed it would’ve gone to start the season, with a good young Buccaneers team edging out a slightly older but just as good Dolphins team, except both of these teams are trash and all this game did was hurt their chances of accomplishing anything going forward considering their rest week was swept away Week 1.

Los Angeles Rams 7-2 (+2.5) @ Minnesota Vikings 7-2 (45.5): Vikings 24-23 Vikings 24-7
Sunday, 1:00 PM, US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN (Weather: No issue)

The Vikings defense proved they’re for real by stopping the league’s top offense, but if we’re being realistic, the Rams haven’t exactly beaten a string of playoff teams on their way to seven wins. It still amazes me the Vikings went from having no quarterbacks in 2016 to a situation where they’ll be forced to let Case Keenum go (a relative no-one in the NFL quarterback ranks in 2016) and be stuck with the decision whether to keep or let go of Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater, respectively. Maybe they ditch everyone and end up right back where they started.

Washington FB Team 4-5 (+7.5) @ New Orleans Saints 7-2 (51.5): Saints 31-21 Saints 34-31
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Superdome, New Orleans, LA (Weather: Indoors)

A classic tale of Drew Brees going Drew Brees again and Kirk Cousins getting struck by the curse of Dan Snyder owning the Washington Football Team again.

 Things haven't been the same for the New York Giants without Odell Beckham Jr., either.

Kansas City Chiefs 6-3 (-10) @ New York Giants 1-9 (46): Chiefs 27-14 Giants 12-9
Sunday, 1:00 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Issue)

Of course this game happened this way. Andy Reid, Dr. Bye Week, lays a f***ing egg against possibly the worst team in the NFL after a bye week, largely because he out-smarted himself trying to trick play the hapless Giants into defeat. By the way, are the Giants undefeated when Olivier Vernon plays? I have to check that stat…

Arizona Cardinals 4-5 (+1.5) @ Houston Texans 3-6 (38.5): Texans 24-21 Texans 31-21
Sunday, 1:00 PM, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX (Weather: Indoors)

I might start betting on the exact amount of points a team scores (I picked five correctly, including two whole games – although one I picked the winners backwards so…)

Buffalo Bills 5-4 (+5.5) @ Los Angeles Chargers 3-6 (41.5): Chargers 24-20 Chargers 54-24
Sunday, 4:05 PM, Stub Hub Center, Carson, CA (Weather: No issue)

Just when you hitch your wagon to the Buffalo Bills defense they start giving up and average of 40+ points a game. Add the absurd quarterback situation to this wing sauce and Buffalo has squandered another great defensive unit, not to mention another year of a really talented quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. Meanwhile, the Chargers continue to confuse everyone.

 Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers is questionable Sunday. When's the last time you heard that phrase uttered? 

Cincinnati Bengals 3-6 (+2.5) @ Denver Broncos 3-6 (38.5): Broncos 20-17 Bengals 20-17
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO (Weather: No issue)

I wish I could brag about nailing this score, but alas, I had the winner backwards. Why? Because I didn’t realize the Broncos season was so finished even the lowly Bengals could come in and beat them at home.

New England Patriots 7-2 (-7) @ Oakland Raiders 4-5 (54.5): Patriots 28-24 Patriots 33-8
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico (Weather: No issue)

The league’s most disappointing team wasn’t prepared for the altitude, but the surging Patriots were, and right on schedule New England is rounding into Patriots form just as November/December rolls around, which means the rest of the NFL is in trouble. But they already knew that. And Robert Kraft is no pussy.

Philadelphia Eagles 8-1 (-5.5) @ Dallas Cowboys 5-4 (48): Cowboys 27-24 Eagles 37-9
Sunday, 8:30 PM, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX (Weather: Indoors)

Maybe the Eagles are really this good, but it’s much more likely the Cowboys are really no good without left tackle Tyron Smith and running back Ezekiel Elliot gone, two of the best players in the NFL at their respective positions. Oh yeah, then there’s Sean Lee. Sorry Dallas, it’s been real.

The Philadelphia Eagles will see if they can keep flying high in Dallas, but the embattled Cowboys will be looking for revenge. 

Atlanta Falcons 5-4 (+3) @ Seattle Seahawks 6-3 (45): Seahawks 24-20 Falcons 34-31
Sunday, 1:00 PM, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA (Weather: No issue)

It was an entertaining game, but the Seahawks proved they’re not nearly as intimidating a team without their defensive unit intact, losing two homes game in a row for the first time in five years. Despite the Falcons offensive woes Atlanta was able to out-gun Russell Wilson, who nearly pulled a win out of his scrambling hat. It’s amazing what a few weeks in the NFL does; it wasn’t long ago the Falcons were done for the season and the Seahawks were clear NFC favorites, yet here they both sit at 6-4 through ten weeks.

 Week 11 #NFL byes: Carolina Panthers; Indianapolis Colts; New York Jets; San Francisco 49ers

Stay tuned for Week 12: #NFL Game Predictions (w/spreads & analysis) THANKSGIVING EDITION coming Thursday morning!

*Doesn't include two weeks due to technical difficulties

Week 11: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) APOLOGY EDITION


Week 11: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 10 results: 1-0 wins (season: 73-47; .606); 0-1 v. spread (season: 60-60; .500)

I apologize again for not releasing the remaining Week 10 #NFL Game Predictions (Sunday/Monday Night Football) on time, publishing Tuesday's Gone: Week 10 #NFL Game Reviews and for not releasing Week 11 Thursday Night Football review in time or providing analysis for the Week 11: #NFL Game Predictions. While no excuse, I experienced technical difficulties with the websites and had not been able to successfully address the issues until today (Saturday 11/19). I do my best to publish the website content in time every week, and will continue to ensure these issues do not become common. 

Week 11: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads) will not feature analysis due to publishing time constraints, but Week 12: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) will continue during Week 12 as scheduled. Thanks again for reading!

Week 11 #NFL byes: Carolina Panthers; Indianapolis Colts; New York Jets; San Francisco 49ers

Stay tuned for the remaining Week 11: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads) coming Sunday morning!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Week 10: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) THURSDAY NIGHT EDITION


Week 10: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 9 results: 8-5 wins (season: 72-47; .605); 7-6 v. spread (season: 60-59; .504)

 The Seattle Seahawks are right where they want to be at mid-season, largely due to their defense, but after struggling through the first few weeks the offense has found their ground.

Seattle Seahawks 5-3 (-6) @ Arizona Cardinals (41.5): Seahawks 27-20
Thursday, 8:25 PM, Univ. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ (Weather: Indoors)

Reasons: The Seahawks were about 90 seconds from their 6th win and keeping pace with the young Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West, but Kirk Cousins happened, and Seattle lost 17-14. What’s interesting is, despite managing only 14 points against Washington and being burdened most of the season with a patchwork offensive line, Seattle has quietly become a top-10 offense in points (10th), yards per play (9th), point differential (8th), 3rd-down efficiency (6th), turnover ratio (6th) and yards gained (4th) to compliment their 5th-ranked scoring defense (18.5 ppg). The Cardinals, on the other hand, are absolutely awful. One of the worst teams in the league statistically, ranking in the bottom 25% of most offensive and defensive categories, it’s almost seems impossible Arizona would be 4-4 until you see those wins have come against the Colts, the Buccaneers and the 49ers (twice), who have five combined wins.

Week 10 #NFL byes: Baltimore Ravens; Kansas City Chiefs; Philadelphia Eagles; Oakland Raiders;

Stay tuned for the remaining Week 10: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) coming Sunday morning!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tuesday's Gone: Week 9 #NFL Game Review


Week 9: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 9 results: 8-5 wins (season: 72-47; .605); 7-6 v. spread (season: 60-59; .504)

Buffalo Bills 5-2 (-3) @ New York Jets 3-4 (42.5): Bills 23-17 Jets 34-21
Thursday, 8:25 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Cloudy; low 60s)

Reasons: The Bills are 5-2 and only a half game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East, which is a pretty big deal through Week 9. The Jets aren’t nearly as bad as advertised, but they’re still 3-4 with no real intentions of accomplishing anything. So it’s a funny thing when one looks into these two teams statistically and sees many similarities (time of possession, yards per play, yards gained, points), especially along the offensive side of the ball, but even with yards allowed (BUF: 22nd; NYJ: 25th). Yards allowed is where the defensive similarities between these two teams end and the two-game separation becomes clear. Buffalo has the 3rd-ranked scoring defense, allowing only 16.4 ppg (PIT allows 16.4 ppg, but has played 8 games), and the Bills lead the NFL in the most important statistic in football: turnover ratio (+14). 

Tyrod Taylor was sacked seven times and the Bills lost three fumbles as Buffalo fell to 1-3 on the road, just when a win would have given Buffalo a share of the AFC East divisional lead. Maybe be more alarming was Buffalo gaving up 34 points and allowed 194 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry.

Baltimore Ravens 4-4 (+3.5) @ Tennessee Titans 4-3 (43): Titans 21-20 Titans 23-20
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN (Weather: Partly sunny; low 80s)

Reasons: The Ravens don’t turn the ball over much (7th TO ratio) and posses a top-10 defense (5th point allowed; 10th yards allowed), but that’s the only reason they’re 4-4, because the Baltimore offense, led by the very un-elite Joe Flacco, cannot gain yards (31st) and are one of the worst 3rd-down efficiency team in the NFL (28th). The Titans are right there in 3rd-down efficiency (27th), but are the opposite of the Ravens in points allowed, meaning they’re one of the worst (24.7 ppg allowed; ranked 26th). One then has to wonder why the Titans are still favored by more than the customary home three points, because Tennessee is a supposedly much better team at home, but they’re only 2-1; the Ravens are 2-2 on the road this year. This will be a close one.

The Ravens never led in the game as the Titans came off of their bye to win their third-straight game to keep pace with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-5 (+7) @ New Orleans Saints 5-2 (52): Saints 28-23 Saints 30-10
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Superdome, New Orleans, LA (Weather: Indoors)

Reasons: The Saints come into Week 9 one of the hottest, if not the hottest team in the league, but the most surprising aspect of that unexpected surge is the Saints defense, the laughing stock of the league for much of the past decade, is suddenly 12th in the league in points allowed, and have only allowed 16 ppg over their five-game winning streak, which would place them second in the league overall by mere tenths of a point over that span. The Buccaneers are trending in the opposite direction, as the team that many had winning the NFC South is struggling with injuries and consistent play from quarterback Jameis Winston (10 TDs; 6 INTs).

The Saints routed to Buccaneers with an efficient game from Drew Brees (22-27 for 263 passing yards; 2 TDs), but the low-light for Tampa Bay was when their immature leader Jameis Winston (2 sacks; left game with a shoulder injury) instigated a fight with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (4 tackles; 1 PD), which led to Mike Evans (1 reception on 6 targets for 13 yards) launching at Lattimore, earning him a one-game suspension. It's no wonder the Buccaneers are 2-6.

Los Angeles Rams 5-2 (-4) @ New York Giants 1-6 (42): Rams 27-20 Rams 51-17
Sunday, 1:00 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: 60% rain; low 60s)

Reasons: Theoretically the Giants have no shot, which usually means the game will be close or even that the underdog wins out. That probably doesn’t happen here. Not only is the Giants season essentially over with the attrition they’ve dealt with, but the Los Angeles Rams are for real. Even with second-year quarterback Jared Goff still finding his way (59%; 9 TDs; 4 INTs) the offensive line and running back Todd Gurley (627 rushing yards; 4.3 ypc; 5 TDs) have literally paved the way for an offense that ranks 9th in yards gained, 6th in yards per play, 2nd in points scored (30.3 ppg) and 1st in 3rd-down efficiency and point differential (10.6 ppg), which is to say nothing about the Rams stellar defense. New York is none of those things.

This game was a microcosm into two quarterback's trending careers, one who threw four touchdown passes on a young team on the rise (Jared Goff), while the other threw another interception trying to force the ball to a rookie tight end  because he has no weapons or desire left (Eli Manning). Attrition notwithstanding, it's hard to believe the team many had as a sleeper to win the NFC is 1-7 and looking towards rebuilding.

Denver Broncos 3-4 (+7.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles 7-1 (43.5): Eagles 21-17 Eagles 51-23
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA (Weather: 40% rain; low 60s)

Reasons: The Broncos are reeling, losers of three straight by an average score of 24-10. What’s worse is Denver hasn’t won on the road yet this season, while the Eagles haven’t lost yet at home. That’s not a good sign for Denver, which is losing because they can’t score points, although the 24 ppg the Broncos have allowed in those three games is nearly a touchdown (5.5 ppg) more per game than they were allowing during their first four games, a stretch that produced a 3-1 record. The Eagles, on the other hand, are flying high with the best record in the NFL and a top-10 ranking in every crucial statistic with the exception of yards per play (12th), which can be explained away by several Philadelphia takeaways that led to short yardage TDs and a poor running game earlier in the season. The Eagles just traded for Jay Ajayi (465 rushing yards; 3.4 ypc), so the running game should be fine.

Carson Wentz has the fourth-worst passing percentage (60.5%) of quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 pass attempts, putting him ahead of the likes of CJ Beathard (50.9), Deshone Kizer (52.1), Blake Bortles (59.1) and Jared Goff (60.2%); he's 12th in passing yards per game (251.3) and is only 8th in yards per attempt (7.8). Wentz also leads the NFL in wins (8) and touchdown passes (23), however, and he just put up 51 points on the league's top defense. Wentz isn't the best quarterback in the NFL, but he's one of them, and the Eagles aren't the best team in the NFL, but...are they?

Atlanta Falcons 4-3 (-2) @ Carolina Panthers 5-3 (42.5): Panthers 21-20 Panthers 20-17
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC (Weather: Sunny; low 70s)

Reasons: I’m not quite sure why, but the Falcons just played the AFC East in four straight games and came out of it 1-3, barely beating the New York Jets to finish to with a division they’ll be glad to avoid for four years. The Panthers haven’t been much more consistent, going 2-2 in the same span, while also dealing with Cam Newton’s fragile and complicated mind, which tends to cause major distractions for Carolina. The Panthers defense (2nd points allowed; 4th yards allowed) is the only reason this team is 5-3, and the offense just lost a huge weapon in Kelvin Benjamin, traded to the Buffalo Bills for draft picks, so the defense will continue to be the only reason they win. Nothing has gone right for the Falcons since they started 3-0, and that trend will likely continue Sunday.

Cam Newton led the Panthers in passing and rushing again Sunday, and again only managed 223 total yards, but instead of losing again, the Panthers found a way to squeak out the win against the formerly good Falcons. Anyone who says the Panthers are "back" or that they're suddenly Super Bowl contenders because they're 6-3 and the defense is playing great is delusional. As for the Falcons, I love being right (refer to my preseason predictions).

Cincinnati Bengals 3-4 (+5.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars 4-3 (39): Jaguars 24-17 Jaguars 23-7
Sunday, 1:00 PM, EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL (Weather: Sunny; high 70s)

Reasons: The Jaguars are suddenly one of the best teams in the NFL, at least statistically, and are an OT loss to the New York Jets away from a 5-2 record. I only mention this because Jacksonville is much better than their record would suggest, ranking in the top-10 in yards per play (9th), points (8th; 26.1 ppg), yards allowed (6th), time of possession (5th), turnover ration (3rd), point differential (2nd) and lead the NFL in points allowed. The only thing the Bengals possess is a dominant defense (5th yards allowed; 9th points allowed), meaning we’re probably in store for a low-scoring game.

This game featured Leonard Fournette being benched for insubordination before the game even began, a shouting match between Blake Bortles and Doug Marrone, and a hilarious fight between AJ Green and Jaguars rookie Jalen Ramsey that had Green punching Ramsey's helmet as he tried to get on injured reserve to save the embarrassment of being on the field with the Bengals the rest of 2017. What this game didn't feature was any offense from Cincinnati, which only managed eight first downs and a measly 148 total yards.   

Indianapolis Colts 2-6 (+7) @ Houston Texans 3-4 (46): Texans 24-21 Colts 20-14
Sunday, 1:00 PM, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX (Weather: Indoors)

Reasons: What a bummer. Deshaun Watson was well on his way to shattering the rookie record for TD passes (26), held by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson, because he already had 19 touchdown passes through 5.5 games, but the football gods did smite owner Bob McNair for his racist comments regarding his and other NFL players and poor Watson was lost for the season to a non-contact knee injury.  The Colts also lost their franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, for the season, which was more denial than karma, but the Colts are a joke anyway (-13.0 point differential). So basically what we have Sunday between these two teams is a bitter, broken AFC South match up.

Watch as the Texans ship continues to sink but they don't sign the one quarterback that not only fits their system, but could turn their season around: Colin Kaepernick.

Arizona Cardinals 3-4 (-2.5) @ San Francisco 49ers 0-8 (39.5): 49ers 24-20 Cardinals 20-10
Sunday, 4:05 PM, Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, CA (Weather: Sunny; low 60s)

Reasons: The 49ers don’t seem like the worst team in the NFL, but they are this week because the other, worse, 0-8 team, the Cleveland Browns, is on a bye. They could be the worst team, in general, because they’re not only win-less, but the 49ers are the only team other than the Indianapolis Colts that ranks in the bottom 25% of every major statistical category (e.g. even Cleveland ranks in the top-30% in yards allowed), and the 49ers rank just above the Colts in point differential (-10.8). For the record, the Browns rank just below the 49ers in point differential (-10.4). Guess who ranks just below the Browns? The Arizona Cardinals (-10.3), who are sinking faster than a cardinal who just spotted a much bigger bird coming to eat it. 

Adrian Peterson rushed for 159 yards on 37 carries (4.3 ypc) and was the lone old highlight in a game that featured Drew Stanton v. CJ Beathard in a sport where people are wondering why the ratings are down.

Washington Football Team 3-4 (+7) @ Seattle Seahawks 5-2 (44): Seahawks 27-21 Washington 17-14
Sunday, 4:05 PM, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA (Weather: 50% rain; low 40s)

Reasons: The Seattle Seahawks are mudders, and Sunday is going to be a mudder kind of game. Washington has to play in the driving rain for the second week in a row, but it wasn’t 42° last week. Washington hovers around mediocrity while the Seahawks have turned a slow start into a 5-2 tie for the division lead with a Seattle team that would rank in the top-10 in every meaningful category if not for a 41-38 battle with potential Rookie of the Year Deshaun Watson last week. I don’t like Washington’s chances anyway, especially traveling to Seattle in the cold rain.

Seattle is inconsistent offensively to say the least, with quarterback Russell Wilson (347 total yards; 2 INTs; 2 TDs) leading the team in passing and rushing, again, but their defense is so dominant that Seattle was 5-2 coming into the game, and it almost won them another game Sunday. Sound familiar? It should, except Russell Wilson isn't the headcase Cam Newton is. Washington took the ball down the field and scored the game-winning touchdown in the final minute to stun the Seahawks at home.

Kansas City Chiefs 6-2 (+2.5) @ Dallas Cowboys 4-3 (53.5): Cowboys 28-27 Cowboys 28-17
Sunday, 4:25 PM, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX (Weather: Indoors)

Reasons: The game of the week is a confusing one, because this spread was originally a pick, which would make sense if Ezekiel Elliot was playing, but he wasn’t when this spread was released at the start of the week. That would’ve made sense because Elliot is a running force and the Chiefs can’t stop the run. Now Elliot is playing, thanks to the most annoying and confusing court proceedings known to man, so the spread makes a bit more sense with Dallas instilling enough confidence in bettors to give the 6-2 Chiefs 2.5 points. The Cowboys are home, have their star running back, at least again for this week, and the Kansas City defense isn’t even good (19th points allowed; 30th yards allowed), let alone the dominant defense we all expected. The Chiefs offense is a juggernaut, however, and the Cowboys will have a tough time slowing them down. Both teams are 2-2 in their last four games, and Dallas has lost their last two home games, although those losses were to the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packers, before they lost Aaron Rodgers, but Elliot is feeding off the domestic violence accusation distractions, and Dak Prescott’s dismissals, and starting to carry this Cowboys team.

The Chiefs have now lost three of their last four games and have gone from the league's best team to a team that only beat the best teams in the NFL their first two games (NE; PHI). At least people will be talking about the Hill Mary for years. The Cowboys are a week-to-week drama so of course suspended-until-the-last-hour Ezekiel Elliot (93 rushing yards on 27 carries) scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter, and was basically the difference in the game.

Oakland Raiders 3-5 (-3) @ Miami Dolphins 4-3 (44): Dolphins 23-21 Raiders 27-24
Sunday, 8:30 PM, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL (Weather: 20% rain; low 70s)

Reasons: This game will not be pretty. The Dolphins once dominant defense is slipping (7th yards allowed; 15th points allowed), having given up 68 points the past two weeks, but they’re still good enough to stop an Oakland offense (20th overall) that has underperformed to say the least. The Dolphins offense is record-breaking abysmal (32nd points scored; 32nd yards gained), managing only 13.1 ppg, so the hapless Raiders defense (23rd points allowed; 26th yards allowed) won’t have to worry about stopping anyone. Getcha’ popcorn ready, but don’t cook it on the stove in case you fall asleep.

Jay Cutler threw for 311 yards and three TDs on 75% passing, and even threw a touchdown to bring the Dolphins within three points with under two minutes to go in the game, but the Raiders won out by overcoming two turnovers and on a pair of rushing touchdowns from Marshawn Lynch. 

Detroit Lions 3-4 (-2) @ Green Bay Packers 4-3 (43.5): Lions 24-20 Lions 30-17
Monday, 8:30 PM, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI (Weather: Freezing; low 30s)

Reasons: Is any game featuring the Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers worth watching? It reminds me of the famous philosophical question about the falling tree making a noise in an empty wood. That’s how I picture the Packers on Monday night: Falling trees making no noise with no one watching. Having said that, I’m putting my trust in the indoor Detroit Lions of all teams, at Lambeau Field, in freezing temperatures. Why do I feel like I’m going to regret this?

The Green Bay Packers look a little different without Aaron Rodgers, and the other Aaron - Jones, the supposed only hope for any Rodger-less success - was held in check for the first time since he burst onto the scene a few weeks ago. The Lions took advantage of the wounded Packers and jumped all over the chance to be 4-4, in a year in which all of a sudden .500 could win the division.

Week 9 #NFL byes: Chicago Bears; Cleveland Browns; Los Angeles Chargers; Minnesota Vikings; New England Patriots; Pittsburgh Steelers

Stay tuned for Week 10 #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) coming Thursday and Sunday mornings!