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Week 9 NFL Picks: How Long Will Michael Vick's Job be Safe?

Rich Schultz

I went 8-6 with my picks last week, as I continue failing to put together solid weeks of picking games. My record on the season is 65-53. So many teams are contending for the playoffs right now, and with the parity running as wild as it is, I just can't seem to put my finger on how teams (besides the Browns) will match up against their opponents. At least teams like Houston and Atlanta allow me to pad my stats by consistently picking them to win. Let's get to my Week 9 NFL picks.

Week 9 Games Explanation Pick
vs. Romeo's Just Not Sure of Anything: Do you see how frustrated Chiefs fans are with how their team is performing? The team is 1-6 and has not held a lead during regulation all season. Running back Jamaal Charles is by far their best threat on offense, but he only received five carries this past Sunday. When asked why this was the case, head coach Romeo Crennel said the following:

"Now, that I'm not exactly sure either. We were rotating our running backs in there. Hillis was back, and he was able to get some carries. He was somewhat effective. When a guy's effective, we kind of stay with him a little bit. Hillis was able to run through there and break some tackles and get some things done."

Oh, Romeo. Chiefs fans should now understand why this the Browns were such a mess under him. Of course, the Chargers aren't much better off, being on a three-game losing streak and coming off a 7-6 loss to Cleveland. The Chargers are in much better position to put things together on a short week of work, but I do question their motivation under Norv Turner. I'll go with the Chargers, but in a closer game than expected. Chargers 24, Chiefs 21
vs. Unexpected Above .500 Teams: Is it time to say that the Dolphins are for real? I think so. Their defense is playing very well, and they are coming off a dominant divisional win over the New York Jets. No matter who they put under center, whether it be Ryan Tannehill or Matt Moore, they've had competency at quarterback due to how well all of the other units are playing. They are only yielding 12 points per game during their three-game winning streak. I wouldn't have expected both of these teams to be sitting at 4-3 heading into Week 9, but I think Miami is in better shape to continue their winning ways. Dolphins 23, Colts 16
vs. Blowout of the Week: The Bills are in a rough spot right about now. It appeared as though they would have strength along their offensive and defensive lines, but it hasn't been enough to post a .500 record. They are giving up way too many yards on the ground to opposing teams, which means they are going to be in for a painfully long day against Arian Forster and the Texans' running game. Some teams are rusty coming off the bye, but the Texans are going to be fresher and even more efficient than they already were. Texans 42, Bills 24
vs. The Elder Manning for MVP: Bengals fans were on cloud nine when they began the season at 3-1. Since then, they've dropped three games in a row, including division losses to Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Things aren't going to get any easier against the hottest quarterback in the NFL, Peyton Manning. The Bengals' defense doesn't have the personnel to stop Manning or Willis McGahee, so they'd better hope for some inclement weather. Cincinnati can still make a game of this if it's a shootout, but I was impressed with how Denver's defense stepped up last Sunday against the Saints. Broncos 38, Bengals 21
vs. CJ2K's Hot Streak Coming to a Halt: You know what...good for Chris Johnson. I've treated the guy (and the Titans' ground game) as a laughingstock for a season and a half now, but he's turned in four very good performances in his past five games. It's too bad, then, that it'll change this week against the Bears' defense. Tennessee has had some high-powered games offensively, but this won't be one of those weeks. We saw the Bears struggle offensively against Carolina a week ago, but they were still able to pull out a win. Bank on the same thing happening this week. Bears 20, Titans 16
vs. What's More Dangerous: a Lion or a Jaguar?: Are the Lions ready to turn things around to make the NFC North the most competitive division in football? Their offense came to life against Seattle last week, and they can ride that momentum against a 1-6 Jaguars team that is the worst in football. Jacksonville made a game of things against the Packers last week, but Blaine Gabbert still sucks. Sorry. Lions 28, Jaguars 13
vs. Tasting Below .500 After a 4-0 Start: I feel like I'm going from bad quarterback to bad quarterback in these games (Gabbert, and now Skelton). Those guys don't inspire any confidence, and Arizona's defense hasn't been as productive lately. With Aaron Rodgers trying to bring the Packers back to the top of the NFC North, they'll win big as Arizona struggles just to try to get first downs. Packers 31, Cardinals 10
vs. Mobile Quarterbacks Collide: Looking at the standings in the NFL, I think the Panthers have to be the league's most disappointing team. They didn't have a great record a year ago, but I still anticipated that Cam Newton would be able to lead a high-powered offensive attack. They've certainly had a chance to put teams away, but Newton keeps on making the big mistake -- last week, it was a pick six against the Bears. I would enjoy watching this game since it features the two mobile quarterbacks who have been drafted over the past two years. The Redskins' defense will prevent them from being a playoff-caliber team in 2012, but Robert Griffin III is playing better than Newton right now. Redskins 24, Panthers 20
vs. This Used to be a Super Bowl: Here is another oddity in the NFL: the Oakland Raiders being a 3-4 team at this point of the season. How in the world did that happen? Because they've faced -- and beaten -- the two worst teams in the NFL over the past two weeks, Jacksonville and Kansas City. They actually have a pretty soft schedule the remainder of the season, including this week's game against the Buccaneers. The Raiders are still a tough team to figure out. They are bad, but one of their units usually finds a way to turn it up a notch. The Buccaneers are coming off a great road win against the Vikings. This game can easily go either way, but I'll take the Raiders (again, with no rhyme or reason). Raiders 28, Buccaneers 24
vs. Seattle Fans Continue Being the 12th Man: The NFC West has quickly faded. After San Francisco, I see, "Lost 4, Lost 2, and Lost 3." That doesn't mean the Seahawks still aren't a good team. They can probably go toe-to-toe with any team in the National Football League, and I don't know if there's a team in the league that benefits more from playing in front of their home crowd. The Vikings are coming off of a surprising home loss to the Buccaneers, and that's the type of loss that could cause a team to start questioning their level of talent. Are the Vikings really a 5-3 type of team? Not for long, because they're about to drop to 5-4. Seahawks 21, Vikings 19
vs. Steelers Can't Hurdle Road Woes: It's good to see the Giants playing high-caliber football during the first half of a season, rather than having to turn things up a notch late. It looks like they are well on their way to capturing the NFC East at a faster rate than we're accustomed to for that division. The Steelers surprised me with how well they played against the Redskins last week. Pittsburgh has really struggled on the road, though, including losses to Tennessee and Oakland. The Steelers are going to get beaten by a Manning brother for the second time this season. Giants 28, Steelers 20
vs. Undefeated? It's still early, but is anyone going to start asking whether the Atlanta Falcons will go undefeated? It doesn't matter what Atlanta does the rest of the season, because my biggest question for them remains, "can they win in the postseason?" The Cowboys' late surge last week fell short, and their inconsistent nature isn't going to get it done on the road against Atlanta. Falcons 31, Cowboys 17
vs. Vick Has New Life...For Now: Hmmm...this is a compelling matchup for Monday Night Football. These are two of the NFC's underachieving teams, and their is technically still enough time for each one to turn things around and make a playoff run. Will Michael Vick be able to silence critics with a great game? He'd better deliver a good game, considering how awful the Saints' defense is. Will the Saints' receivers rebound against Philly's secondary after being shut down by Denver last week? Something has to give, and I like the Saints' prospects better. Saints 38, Eagles 31
vs. The Face of the Division is Changing: Despite being three games behind them in the win column, it's the Browns who have more momentum heading into this week's game against the Ravens. The Browns are getting Phil Taylor and Mohemed Massaquoi back, and have won two straight home games. Their defense has looked better since Joe Haden's return. The Ravens are shaky defensively after losing guys like Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, and are coming off a blowout loss to the Texans. My full game preview and prediction will be posted this Saturday, with a scouting report of the Ravens on Friday.
Teams on the Bye Week

Survivor Pick:
I am 4-4 in survivor, starting another one-game winning streak last week when the Packers beat the Jaguars. This week, I'll take the Texans to beat the Bills.