TPS NFL Weekly Locks: Week 9

green bayFinally it happened!  We had the breakout week we were looking for as our picks were an impressive 3-1 during week 8.  Had the Cardinals not tanked against the Panthers in an unexpected turn of events, we would have made it a clean sweep, but I guess you can’t have it all.  We were, however, pleased to see that the Bears annihilate a poor Cleveland Browns team, and the Ravens and Broncos were able to keep the scoring low enough to put them just under the 41 1/2 total.  Add to all this the impressive outing put forth by the underdog Minnesota Vikings in Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau Field and we currently find ourselves at 15-17 on the year.  Now that we are on a roll, let’s keep it going for the remainder of the season.

Here is how we see things shaping up in the following four week nine games.

Game: Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pick: Green Bay Packers -9 1/2

Reason: After losing lat week to the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers’ record sits at 4-3.  Of those four victories, three of them have been by 19 points or more (the other was a six point victory in their first game of the season against the Bears).  The average margin of victory through their first four wins is an impressive 19.75, and although many of you may be thinking, “well those wins have come against easy competition,” you should remember that the Bucs are exactly that, having yet to win a game this season.  Green Bay will be looking to bounce back after a tough home loss to a division rival, and there is no better team to do so against than Tampa.  Expect Aaron Rodgers to be leading the offensive attack for a Packers team that will put up points all day and allow few to rookie quarterback Josh Freeman on route to another easy blowout victory.

Game: Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints

Pick: Carolina Panthers +13

Reason: Last week we went against the Panthers, but they showed us enough in their victory over the Cardinals to make us go with them this week.  They will be taking on a much tougher opponent in the New Orleans Saints, but the Carolina ground attack seems to be getting back into the same form that allowed the team to finish on top of the NFC South last year.  If there is one area that the Saints have showed a weakness in, it is their run defense.  In their last two games, which opposing teams have made interesting despite losing, the Saints have had a tough time defending the run.  Ricky Williams and the Dolphins had success on the ground early when they got off to a quick start against in week seven, and Michael Turner rumbled for 151 yards last week in a losing cause.  The Panthers will stick to the run (because they have no choice with Delhomme at quarterback) and their pass defense should be able to slow down the Saints just enough to keep this game within the large 13-point spread.

Game: Pittsburgh @ Denver Broncos

Pick: Under 40 1/2

Reason: The Broncos under was good last week, and we think it will be good again.  Why?  Because in their seven previous games, the total has gone over 40 only once, and that was against a Chargers team with a very strong offense and rather weak defense.  This week they will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, and as we saw last week when they lost to the Ravens, the short swing passes and runs do not work out all that well against quick, solid defenses.  That should be the case once again against an even better Steelers defense.  You should also condsider the fact that Denver has a strong passing defense, which will force the Steelers to run the ball, somthing that they are not particulairly good at.  When all these factors are taken into consideration, it is not hard to see why we believe 41 points is asking a little too much out of the Broncos and Steelers in this one.

Game: San Diego Chargers @ New York Giants

Pick: San Diego Chargers +4 1/2

Reason: At least New Yorkers have the Yankees’ World Series championship to cheer them up because they will be experiencing high levels of disappointment from the Giants throughout the remainder of the year.  Many people want to think of them as contenders, but with injuries in the secondary and Eli Manning falling quickly, it looks like it may be an ugly second half of the season for the 2007 Super Bowl Champions.  Teams have identified a weakness in their pass defense and are quickly exploiting it.  Now they will have to face a Chargers team that can put up points through the air in a hurry with their big receivers, and that does not bode well for the Giants in this one.  Expect their struggles to continue and the Chargers to come out of New York with the cover (and the victory) in this one.

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