Sports Gab Network Columnist Russ Loede’s Week Nine NFL Picks

With his punishing running style, LeGarrette Blount is “punching” defenses in the mouth

Week 8 Results ATS: 6-7

Season Record ATS: 52-60-4

Week 8 Confidence Meter Points: 33 out of 91

Week 8 one-star games: 1-2, 2 for 9.  Two-star games: 1-0, 5 out of 5.  Three-star games: 1-1, 8/15.  Four-star games: 1-2, 4/29.  Five-star games: 2-2, 14/33

Week 9 Power Rankings

1-star game, 11 on the confidence meter: Chicago Bears (-3) @ Buffalo Bills – Envisioning one of those rare games where Mike Martz hands the keys of the offense to Matt Forte, and not Jay Cutler.  Balance, more Forte, and timely defensive stops will propel the Bears and keep the Bills winless.  Chicago Bears 23 Buffalo Bills 19

4-star game, 2 on the confidence meter: San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans (+3) – Undoubtedly, the most puzzling spread of Week 9.  Do they still expect San Diego to turn it around?  I don’t.  Arian Foster and Andre Johnson will electrify the Reliant Stadium crowd.  San Diego Chargers 27 Houston Texans 34

2-star game, 8 on the confidence meter: New Orleans Saints (-7) @ Carolina Panthers – I was a sucker for taking the Chiefs and 7 at home against Buffalo last week, and I’ll be a sucker once again this week for taking an inconsistent favorite giving 7.  This game yells for me to take the underdog, although it’s Carolina.  I guess I haven’t learned from my past mistakes.  I’m banking on the Saints carrying over their momentum from the Superdome against Pittsburgh on Halloween Night and producing a similar performance like they delivered in Tampa during Week 6.  New Orleans Saints 30 Carolina Panthers 17

3-star game, 7 on the confidence meter: Arizona Cardinals (+8) @ Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings are having trouble winning games, let alone winning games while covering the spread.  However, Chris Wells is hurt, to no surprise, and the Cardinals lack of QB will prevent the Cardinals from notching a win in the super-loud Metrodome.  LeGarrette Blount looked like Christian Okoye against the Arizona defense last Sunday and Adrian Peterson will turn into Bo Jackson this Sunday against that same defense.  Arizona Cardinals 20 Minnesota Vikings 27

5-star game, 12 on the confidence meter, Upset of the Week: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8.5) @ Atlanta Falcons – Let the battle, rivalry begin: Josh Freeman vs. Matt Ryan.  Two of the most promising young QB’s will face each other in the Georgia Dome this weekend and I think this match-up has the makings of a classic.  I’m going with Raheem Morris and his playmaking defense to get a signature victory in city of “Peaches”.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Atlanta Falcons 21

5-star game, 6 on the confidence meter: New York Jets @ Detroit Lions (+4) – I’m in love with the Detroit Lions’ stars.  In this contest, Sanchez will be running for his life from Ndamukong and Vanden Bosch and the Lions will jump out ahead to an early lead never to look back.  I don’t think the Lions winning is that much of an upset.  Remarkably, Thanksgiving Day against the Patriots looks magically delicious.  What’s even more magically delicious; watching Stafford throw a jump ball to Calvin in the end zone with the game on the line in the 4th quarter on 4th down to take the lead, eventually win the game.  New York Jets 17 Detroit Lions 25

4-star game, 5 on the confidence meter: Miami Dolphins (+5.5) @ Baltimore Ravens – This game favors the Dolphins and plays right into their strengths.  Miami has all the right ingredients to bake a win on the road against Baltimore.  Balance on both sides of the ball and toughness in the trenches will keep the visiting team within striking distance.  Miami Dolphins 15 Baltimore Ravens 18

3-star game, 13 on the confidence meter, Lock of the Week: New England Patriots (-4.5) @ Cleveland Browns – Belichick vs. Mangini: Mismatch on paper, and on the field.  Patriots may be looking ahead to Sunday night showdown in the Steel City.  Green-Ellis/Woodhead duo is running with purpose.  Only way Cleveland stays close, is they force Brady to turn the ball over -not happening.  New England Patriots 26 Cleveland Browns 10

3-star game, 9 on the confidence meter: New York Giants (-7) @ Seattle Seahawks – If Hasselbeck starts, I may take the points.  I have no faith in a QB named Charlie, especially when he’s facing a team that has already knocked out five QB’s on the season.  Giants are coming off of a Bye week and they possess the mentality needed to go on the road and win in Seattle. Visions of illustrious 2007 Super Bowl run – “Road Warriors”.  New York Giants 28 Seattle Seahawks 14

5-star Game of the Week, 10 on the confidence meter: Kansas City Chiefs (+1) @ Oakland Raiders – I like the Chiefs passing game more than I do the Raiders passing game.  It’s the only difference between these two teams, other than the coaching advantage which Kansas City’s staff holds.  Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden are both playing out of this world, this will be a fun division rivalry game to watch.  Slight edge goes to the Chiefs in close games, and this will be a close game.  Kansas City Chiefs 20 Oakland Raiders 16

5-star game, 1 on the confidence meter: Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3) – Hard to go against the “Greatest NFL QB of All-Time”, but I will when he’s in on the road against a hungry Eagles sqaud led by Michael Vick.  Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will wreak havoc on Peyton and LeSean McCoy will post over 150 total offensive yards.  Indianapolis Colts 27 Philadelphia Eagles 31

2-star game, 3 on the confidence meter: Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5) – Packers defense was stifling in the “City that Never Sleeps” and will continue stifle in the city of “cheeseheads”.  Lambeau will witness a second Sunday night victory this season.  As long as Rodgers’ uni is kept relatively clean, I see Green Bay covering.  Dallas Cowboys 13 Green Bay Packers 23

4-star game, 4 on the confidence meter: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (+5) – Do the Steelers have more strengths than the Bengals have weaknesses?  Whatever the answer may, I think it’s irrelevant because when you are hosting a hated team within your division at home on Monday night; all things get thrown out the window.  Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Cincinnati Bengals 26

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