Just when you thought the primetime games were becoming our bread and butter, we fell flat on our face.
We went 0-3 in primetime games in Week 8, starting with Thursday’s Chargers loss by 14 points to the Broncos, followed up by Sunday’s Packers embarrassment to the hands of the Saints and Monday’s typical Cowboys letdown at home to the Redskins.
Despite the 0-3 when the lights were brightest in Week 8, “Casino” Joe and his team salvaged a 7-8 record against the spread and still hold a record above .500 for the season at 60-58-2.
Talk about indigestion!
Put down some Pepto-Bismol, have a short memory and get ready for Week 9.
New Orleans (-2.5) at Carolina
Do we have to pick a Thursday night game? By the law of averages we have to get one of these right. The Saints looked great on Sunday night embarrassing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the Superdome. Carolina, on the other hand, squandered a late lead and lost in the last minute to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Will this loss hang over their heads four days later? The Saints have to win a road game some time. Keenan Lewis, New Orleans best cover man, will slow down rookie Kelvin Benjamin.
THE PICK: Saints (-2.5)
San Diego at Miami (-1.5)
This may be the toughest game on the board to pick. Miami is a talented team that played so poorly last week, but still won in a blowout in Jacksonville thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns. The Chargers secondary was exposed a bit in Denver as Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders ran circles around San Diego’s backup cornerbacks. Miami’s receivers aren’t that talented and Ryan Tannehill is not Peyton Manning. This is a 1 p.m. ET kickoff, which in the past has hampered the Chargers, but with a few extra days of rest, San Diego starts fast and the slow-starting Dolphins can’t catch up.
THE PICK: Chargers (+1.5)
Jacksonville at Cincinnati (-11)
A.J. Green is back and so will the Bengals offense that has looked out of sync at times without their superstar receiver. He’ll open things up in the passing game, as well in the running game for Andy Dalton and company. Blake Bortles was bad at home last week. How bad will he be on the road?
THE PICK: Bengals (-11)
Tampa Bay at Cleveland (-6.5)
Cleveland is 30th against the run and Tampa Bay is 29th in rushing yards. Something has to give. Cleveland is 3-1 at home with their only loss being a last-second defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. Tampa Bay is struggling but they’ve lost four games by six points or fewer, so they’ve been competitive for the most part. Doug Martin may miss this game with an injury and that’s a positive for Tampa Bay as he’s a shell of his 2012 self. Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims will step in and add some juice to an offense looking for a running game. Tampa Bay keeps it close, even if they lose.
THE PICK: Bucs (+6.5)
Washington at Minnesota (-1)
This line isn’t fully on the board yet by most books, due to the unknown at quarterback for Washington. However, it was just announced Robert Griffin III will make the start for Washington, despite Colt McCoy getting the Monday Night win over Dallas. He’ll be rusty most likely and Minnesota will get after him. The Vikings have been good defensively as they are 4th in opponent’s passing yards an 11th against the run. The Redskins love drama and a loss to Minnesota after beating Dallas will cause just that … drama.
THE PICK: Vikings (-1)
Philadelphia (-2) at Houston
The Philadelphia Eagles come off a hard-fought loss against the Arizona Cardinals and have to go on the road again to face J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. They are 1-2 on the road and bring the 26th defense against the pass and 21st defense against the run. Arian Foster should have a big game against Philadelphia and carry his team to a victory.
THE PICK: Texans (+2)
N.Y. Jets at Kansas City (-9.5)
Looks like the Geno Smith era has ended and it concluded in pathetic fashion after an embarrassing home loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 8. Mike Vick will step in and take over this week. Historically he’s good for a fumble or two that leads to a defensive score. Kansas City has won four out of their last five and is playing good football. Don’t overthink this, roll with the hot team.
THE PICK: Chiefs (-9.5)
Arizona at Dallas (-4)
Tony Romo’s ability to play in this game is the big question going in to this Week 9 powerhouse matchup. Whether he plays or not, four is too many points. We still maintain Dallas doesn’t have much of a home field advantage in Jerry’s World and Arizona fans will travel to see their NFC contending team take on the Cowboys. Dallas’ best strength is their rushing attack DeMarco Murray. Arizona is No. 1 in the NFL against the run. DeMarco may get 100 yards just on sheer volume, but Arizona will keep this close, if not win this game on the road.
THE PICK: Arizona (+4)
St. Louis at San Francisco (-10)
The Rams stink. They usually play the 49ers tough and did a few weeks ago on Monday night, but off a bye and getting healthy, the 49ers are looking to make a run and keep pace with the Cardinals in the NFC West. Kaepernick torched the Rams secondary in the aforementioned primetime game and he should have no problem doing so again this Sunday.
THE PICK: 49ers (-10)
Denver (-3) at New England
Both teams are “en fuego” heading in to everybody’s favorite quarterback rivalry, Peyton Manning verse Tom Brady. The Broncos offense looked like a fine-tuned machine against San Diego last Thursday, but so did New England against the hapless Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon. Antonio Gates lit up Denver for two touchdowns last Thursday. We imagine Rob Gronkowski is licking his chops to maneuver against Denver’s linebackers and safeties. If there is one coach who can slow down Peyton Manning, it’s Bill Belichick.
THE PICK: Patriots (+3)
Oakland at Seattle (-15)
The question is not whether Seattle will win this game or not, but by how much. The Seahawks haven’t won a game by at least 15 or more since opening week against Green Bay. There are a lot of doubters when it comes to the Seahawks right now, but we’ve backed the Raiders the last three weeks and they’ve handed us a 1-2 record. We’ve learned our lesson. If they want to backdoor the point spread and cover, fine. But we’ll take our chances with Seattle at home.
THE PICK: Seahawks (-15)
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (PICK)
Have to love a pick game! No spread to worry about, just pick the winner. Easier said than done. Our rule of thumb in a pick game is to side with the home team. Ravens clipped the Steelers in Week 2. The Steelers get revenge in Pittsburgh.
THE PICK: Steelers (PICK)
Indianapolis (-3) at N.Y. Giants
Andrew Luck started the season losing two games in a row. That’s like a once-in-a-generation event in his world. After the Colts were embarrassed in Pittsburgh by Ben Roethlisberger they’ll clean it up against a less talented Giants offense.
THE PICK: Colts (-3)
Best of luck in Week 9!
Follow Joe on twitter @jscum13.