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Old 11-04-2012, 02:42 AM    (permalink
Eazy Picks
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Default Eazy Picks week 9

ok so 11-3 last week, bringing me to 76-41 on the year.


Week 9 Picks

Tampa Bay (3-4) at Oakland (3-4)
This is an interesting matchup between two rookie head coaches trying to turn around a losing culture. Both teams got off to rocky starts, but have been playing better as of late. Whoever wins this game will have their recent success validated, while a shadow of doubt will be cast over the loser. The Bucs just lost pro-bowl OG Carl Nicks for the season and traded away CB Aqib Talib, and have to travel across the country to play against the Raiders. It seems like a good spot for the Raiders, but they are a team that tends to play their worst when they are expected to win.

Advantage Bucs: QB Josh Freeman has been on a roll lately, and they face an undermanned Oakland secondary. The Raiders could have a hard time matching up with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. HB Doug Martin has also been hot lately, emerging as a potent weapon in both the passing and running game.

Advantage Raiders: The Bucs started the season with two pro-bowl guards, Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks. Both are out for the season and the Raiders have some of the leagueís best interior penetrators on their defensive line. Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, and Lamaar Houston could have big games.

Eazy Pick: Raiders

Denver (4-3) at Cincinnati (3-4)
The Broncos are suddenly one of the leagueís hottest teams, and will look to keep it going against a Bengal team that is coming off a bye and in desperate need of a win. The Bengalsí run game has been pretty nonexistent this year, and this week would be a good time to get it going. The Broncos are clearly the better team, but the Bengals may come into this game a little bit more focused.

Key Matchup: WR AJ Green v CB Champ Bailey
The Bengals are completely reliant on WR AJ Green on offense. Andy Dalton doesnít appear to have a lot of confidence in his other receivers, and they donít have a strong run game. Champ Bailey is getting long in the tooth, but is still one of the leagueís best corners. If he can keep up with the Bengalsí young star wideout, the Broncos should be in good shape.

Eazy Pick: Bengals

Baltimore (5-2) at Cleveland (2-6)
When the Ravens played the winless Browns a few weeks ago, the game seemed like a huge mismatch, with the Ravens looking like Super Bowl contenders. Now that the Browns have won a couple games and the Ravens have been rocked by injuries, the complexion of the match-up has changed quite a bit. The Ravens didnít bring their A game the last time they played the Browns, but should be much more focused coming off a bye week that they spent thinking about their embarrassing loss to the Texans.

Key Factor: Running Games
Both defenses have really been struggling against the run, and will be tested against talented running backs. Baltimore needs to make sure they give Ray Rice plenty of carries, and will try to rally their once-proud defense to shut down rookie HB Trent Richardson. Whichever team runs the ball best should be able to control the tempo of the game and will have a big advantage

Eazy Pick: Raiders

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

The Cardinals have lost four straight and have to go to Green Bay on a short week after a demoralizing loss to the 49ers. Luckily for them, they will face a seriously shorthanded Packersí team. After Alex Smith had a near-perfect day against the Cardinal defense, itís hard to see them slowing down Aaron Rodgers. The Cardinals have been doing a terrible job in pass-protection, which could mean a big game for Clay Matthews. The Packersí aggressive defense will put a lot of pressure on QB John Skelton and try to force some turnovers.

Cardinals Key: Get after Rodgers
The Packersí offensive line is nothing special, and has struggled against good interior penetrators in the past. Calais Campbell and Darnell Docket can both bring pressure up the middle and MLB Daryl Blackstock is an excellent blitzer. The Packers donít have much of a running game right now, but Rodgers will tear up the Cardinalsí secondary if they let him get in rhythm.

Chicago (6-1) at Tennessee (3-5)
The Titans have been playing better the last few weeks, but they are going up against a different level of competition this week. The Bearsí defense ranks first in the league against the run, and the Titans will be without LT Michael Roos, which means it could be a rough day for HB Chris Johnson. Matt Hasselbeck is going to need to be smart with the football against a Chicago defense that has intercepted 16 passes this season.

Titans Key: Tighten up the coverage
If the Titansí secondary keeps playing like they have all year, Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall will have a field day. DEs Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley could have success getting pressure on Cutler, but it wonít matter if Cutler is eating them up with quick slants, outs, and seem routes.

Bears Key: Establish the run
The Bearsí passing game has looked great at times, but overall, it hasnít been efficient. The Bearsí defense should be able to lock down the Titan offense, so the Bears mostly need to avoid mistakes on offense. The Titans donít have an especially stout run defense, so Matt Forte and Michael Bush should be able to break some runs if they keep feeding them the ball.

Eazy Pick: Bears

Carolina (1-6) at Washington (3-5)
This game will be the battle of the leagueís two most dynamic, young, mobile passers. Robert Griffin is lighting the league on fire, just like Cam Newton did last year. The Panthersí season has gotten away from them, but maybe Cam Newton can take solace in beating the quarterback everyone is comparing to him. Newton should have a good opportunity to bust out of his slump against the Redskinsí depleted defense. Robert Griffinís receivers dropped 10 passes last week. He has to be missing Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis bad.

Key Matchup: LT Trent Williams v DE Charles Johnson
Getting some pressure on Griffin is going to be essential for the Panther defense. Johnson is their best pass-rusher, but Williams is having a great season. Johnson needs to find a way to be disruptive without breaking contain and letting Griffin loose. Whoever gets the best of this individual match up should give their team a big boost.

Eazy Pick: Panthers

Detroit (3-4) at Jacksonville (1-6)
The Lions should have a good chance to keep their winning streak going against the Jaguars, who will be without HB Maurice Jones-Drew and several key players in their secondary. QB Mathew Stafford should have all day to throw against a Jaguar defense that only has 7 sacks this year. The Lions have some injuries of their own in the secondary, but the Jaguars may not have a strong enough passing attack to take advantage and Blaine Gabbert could easily get rattled by the Jaguarsí pass-rush.

Key Player: WR Calvin Johnson
The Jaguars have no way of matching up with Johnson, but he has missed practice all week with a knee injury. Johnson has had a series of injuries that have kept him out of practice all year. He has still been productive, but not nearly as dominant as he was a year ago. If he comes out strong, he could have a monster game. If he has to play a limited role, the Jaguars might be able to stay in this game.

Eazy Pick: Lions

Miami (4-3) at Indianapolis (4-3)
Two surprising teams fighting for a potential wild card spot meet here. Miamiís secondary has been a surprisingly strong unit, but they will be put to the test against Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne. The Coltsí ground game hasnít been strong and the Dolphins have been shutting down the run, so it could be on Luck to get the offense going. The Colts will have pass-rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis in the lineup and need to find a way to get some pressure on the Dolphinsí QB. Ryan Tannehill is expected to start, but Matt Moore could end up playing.

Key Matchup: CB Sean Smith v WR Reggie Wayne
Sean Smith and Reggie Wayne have both bean having great seasons, and both are by far the best players on their teams at their respective positions. Smith will likely spend most the game matched up on Wayne, and if he can do a good job, it will seriously hamper the Colts run game.

Eazy Pick: Colts

Buffalo (3-4) at Houston (6-1)
The Bills season is quickly slipping away from them, and this could be a tough week to stop the bleeding. The Bills have been getting steamrolled in the run game, which could mean a big day for HB Arian Foster. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to need to play as smart as his degree from Harvard indicates for the Bills to pull this upset.

Key Player: DE Mario Williams
Williams has some hard feelings about the way the Texans chose to part ways with him. He obviously got a nice deal on the open market, but he didnít appreciate that the Texans didnít even attempt to resign him. He had wrist surgery recently, but is expected to play this week. He has the ability to be a dominant player, but hasnít really shown it this year. Now would be a good time for him to start earning his $100 million contract.

Eazy Pick: Texans

Minnesota (5-3) at Seattle (4-4)
The Vikings will be the latest team to make the dreaded trip to Qwest Field. QB Christian Ponder has been struggling lately, and could have a hard time getting going against a tough Seattle defense. WR Percy Harvin is having an outstanding season and is one of the best catch-and-run receivers in the league, but he could struggle against the Seahawksí physical press coverage. Russell Wilson has been playing well lately and should be able to keep it going against a vulnerable Viking secondary.

Key Players: HBs Adrian Peterson & Marshawn Lynch
Peterson missed practice all week, but is expected to play. The Seahawks have a solid run defense (5th ranked in the league), but they did let Frank Gore have a big game against them a couple weeks ago. Peterson is one of the best pure runners the league has ever seen and is clearly capable of having a big game against even the best run defenses. The Seahawksí entire offense is predicated on establishing the run with Marshawn Lynch, and they will look to get him going against the Vikings. The Vikings donít have as strong a rushing defense as the Seahawks and need to make sure they swarm Lynch, who never goes down easy.

Eazy Pick: Seahawks

Pittsburgh (4-3) at New York Giants (6-2)
Hurricane Sandy will play a role in this game, as the Steelers will be forced to travel to New York on Sunday because of the unavailability of hotel lodgings. The Giants will look to uplift suffering New Yorkers by delivering a big win. The Giants nearly picked Ben Roethlisberger in the draft in 2004 before pulling a trade for Eli Manning. Both QBs have won two Super Bowls, so it worked out well for both teams. The Steelers are still without S Troy Polamalu, which will make life easier for Manning. This game could easily come down to which of the two star QBs shines brighter.

Key Player: HB Isaac Redman
Jonathan Dwyer has given the Steelers a real spark in the run game, but will miss the game, along with Rashard Mendenhall. This means a heavy burden will fall on Redman, who is returning from injury himself. The Steelers donít want to be completely one-dimensional and need to be able to establish the run against the Giants.

Key Matchup: Steelers Offensive Line v Giants Defense Line
The Giants can really get after the QB, itís how they won two Super Bowls. Nobody is better at making plays under duress than Roethlisberger, but he could struggle if he has Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck in his face all game. The OT position is not a point of strength for the Steelers, so they will need to assign extra blockers or scheme some other way to slow down the Giantsí pass-rush.

Eazy Pick: Giants

Dallas (3-4) at Atlanta (7-0)
Cowboysí defensive coordinator has announced that the Cowboys are going to pull the upset, but at this point the Ryan brothersí bold predictions arenít worth much. The Cowboys will be without HB DeMarco Murray again, which means Tony Romo will need to play a great game against a very solid Atlanta secondary. Michael Turner hasnít been very effective as of late, but the Falcons need to make sure they get their power running game against a Cowboy defense that is without star ILB Sean Lee. The Falcons will also be without their best LB, Sean Weatherspoon, who would have been the ideal player to cover TE Jason Witten.

Advantage Cowboys: The strength of the Falcon offense is the WR duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones. Both are big and physical and can stretch the field. The Cowboys are one of the few teams who can match up favorably with White and Jones. CBs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne both have good size, speed and coverage skills and should be able to limit the Falconsí talented tandem.

Advantage Falcons: Tony Romo leads the league with 13 picks, and the Falconsí defense is third best in the league with 10 interceptions. Not having DeMarco Murray to take pressure off Romo will only make things harder for Romo. Thomas Decoud, Assante Samuel and co. will be waiting for Romo to force a throw so they can make a game-changing interception.

Eazy Pick: Falcons

Philadelphia (3-4) at New Orleans (2-5)
Thereís been a lot of talk about Andy Reid benching QB Michael Vick, who has really been struggling. If Vick canít get right against the Saintsí defense, Reid might actually want to consider it. Vick has been dealing with injuries to his offensive line and gone up against some pretty good defenses (Ravens, Giants, Cardinals, Steelers, Falcons), but there is no excuse for him to struggle against the Saints. The Eaglesí defense has been up and down this year, so it will be interesting to see how they fare against Drew Brees.

Key Factor: Limited arsenal for Saints
Drew Brees is used to having a vast array of weapons to use, but that isnít the case right now. TE Jimmy Graham has been hobbled and ineffective and HB Darren Sproles is out. It could be hard to work the ball to WR Marques Colston with CB Nmandhi Asomugha marking him, which means Brees will have to do what great quarterbacks do and make average receivers look great. The Saints may need to get major contributions from guys like Pierre Thomas, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, and David Thomas.

Eazy Pick: Eagles
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