With Week 9 upon us, that means we are now officially more than halfway through the 2019 NFL season, which makes right now the perfect time to hand out some midseason awards.
Ironically enough, I actually hate giving out awards, so I'm only going to hand out one, and that award goes to all the creative people who turned their Antonio Brown jerseys into the must-have Halloween costume of 2019: Antonio Clown.
If you have clown makeup and an Antonio Brown jersey, then you can be "Antonio Clown" for Halloween, and chances are, you'll steal the show wherever you go.
I can't tell if that guy's feet are frostbitten under his clown shoes, but he definitely gets bonus points if they are.
Speaking of clowns, I promise not to clown around on my picks this week. Actually, we all know that's not true. There will likely be at least three picks this week that will make you think I let a clown make them, but I promise you, I didn't, and to prove it, let's get to the picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here, but you probably knew that already, because I mention it all the time. Something else I mention all the time is the fact that you can now find me regularly on the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com.
Will Brinson is the host, and for some reason, he lets me join him three days per week. My own family can't even handle hanging out with me for three days per week, so I'm not quite sure how Brinson does it.
Even though I'm only on three days per week, there's a new episode every single day from Monday thru Friday and you should try to listen as often as possible. On Tuesday's episode, we talked about the Dolphins-Steelers game, plus we also chatted about who has the best chance to win each division at this point in the season. One thing we didn't do is pick out Halloween costumes for each other, which is too bad because I would have definitely told Brinson to be Antonio Clown. (You can listen to Tuesday's episode below and make sure to click here to check it out and subscribe).
By the way, if you're wondering what I'm going to be for Halloween, I'm probably going to go as Santa Claws, which is where I don't actually wear a costume, but I give away White Claws for free to all the parents who are walking their kids around. I feel like people will enjoy that. Let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 9 picks
Week 9 is here, so who's going to win and cover every game? Pete Prisco and R.J. White join Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to break down their best bets, gambling and advice and more. Listen below, and be sure to subscribe here for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
Houston (5-3) vs. Jacksonville (4-4) in London
9:30 a.m. ET (NFL Network)
Point spread: Texans, -1.5
Two years ago, I promised to never complain about the 9:30 a.m. kickoff times ever again, but I have to break that promise, because I'm going to a wedding this weekend, and quite frankly, I have no idea how I'm going to wake up in time for the kickoff. I hate 9:30 a.m. games and I hate them even more when they start at 8:30 a.m. like they do for me in the central time zone. I've been to many weddings in my life, and rarely am I ever up by 8:30 a.m. the next day.
The way I see it, if I want to watch this game, I feel like I have three options:
- Option one: Skip the wedding, which I don't think my wife would be happy with since it's her sister getting married.
- Option two: Go to the wedding, but go to sleep at a reasonable time, although I think we can probably eliminate this option, because in the history of weddings, no one has ever gone to bed at a reasonable time after a wedding.
- Option three: Go to the wedding, take advantage of the free alcohol and then cross my fingers that I wake up in time for this game, which kicks off at 8:30 a.m., because, oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this wedding is taking place in the central time zone. And now that I've thought about this out loud, it's pretty clear that option three is the only viable option. Thanks for talking that through with me, guys.
Anyway, it's almost fitting that I brought up free alcohol, because my one rule of picking games in London is to always pick the Jaguars. The only time this rule doesn't work is if half the team decides to go out and get drunk while running up a $64,000 bar tab the night before the game, which is exactly what happened last year.
That's one way to start an international incident.
The Jags have actually won three of their past four games in London, with their only loss coming after last year's late night debacle. Jacksonville and Houston actually played each other back in Week 2 in a game where the Texans were supposed to win big because Garnder Minshew was making his first career start. Instead of winning big though, the Texans ending up winning just 13-12 after the Jags failed on a two-point conversion in the final seconds.
Since that game, Minshew has only gotten better and the Texans defense has only gotten worse. Not only has Houston lost multiple players in their secondary to injury, but J.J. Watt is also now out for the year after tearing his pec against the Raiders. I think what I'm trying to say here is that Minshew Mania is going international this week. As everyone knows, mustaches are big in London, so there's no way I can pick against the Jaguars on Sunday.
And just for the record, I feel good with this pick as long as the Jaguars don't get drunk and walk-out on a $64,000 bar tab for the second straight year.
The pick: Jaguars 27-24 over Texans
N.Y Jets (1-6) at Miami (0-7)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Jets, -5.5
The fun thing about this game is that I have no idea who's going to be playing for either team on Sunday because there's a 70 percent chance that one or both of these teams will end up trading away half their roster before the trade deadline hits at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The two teams clearly plan to get busy, and I know that, because In a span of about three hours on Monday, we saw both the Jets (Leonard Williams) and the Dolphins (Kenyan Drake) trade a player away.
The problem with these Tuesday trades is that I turn my picks column in on Monday night, which means I'm not going to be able to account for any more deals that either team might make. Of course, the good news for me is that neither team really seems to have any idea what they're doing this season, so I can probably safely assume that if there are any more Jets or Dolphins trades this week, they will almost certainly lose those trades and their team will get worse.
One person the Jets won't be trading away is Sam Darnold, although he's probably wishing the team would trade him after the month he's had. If you need a quick refresher, here's what Darnold has gone through over the past four weeks: He injured his thumb, he had a toenail removed, he was diagnosed with mono, he had a paranormal experience (he saw ghosts). At this point I feel like Darnold probably just wants the season to end.
As for the Dolphins, I'm not sure this technically qualifies as a revenge game for them because they fired Adam Gase, but I feel like everyone in the Dolphins' organization really, really wants to see him go down this week, which is almost enough to make me pick the Dolphins. The crazy thing about the Dolphins is that they've actually beaten the Jets in five of the past six games these two teams have played. Also, this might actually qualify as a revenge game for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played for the Jets in 2015 and 2016. If Fitzpatrick is good at one thing, it's winning games when you least expect it, and no one is really expecting the Dolphins to win any games this year.
Guys, I think I just talked myself into picking a winless team to win a game. Please send help.
The pick: Dolphins 20-16 over Jets
Minnesota (6-2) at Kansas City (5-3)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: NO LINE YET
I should probably start things off here by saying that I have no idea if Patrick Mahomes is going to play this week. Usually, when someone's knee cap slides out of place, they generally have to sit out a few weeks so it can heal, but apparently, Mahomes' knee isn't built like a normal human's knee, which is why there's a chance he might be able to play this week.
My knees are also unique, but only if the fact that they hurt all the time counts as unique. I should probably see a doctor.
If Mahomes can't play on Sunday, that means the Chiefs will be going with Matt Moore again, which is like going from a Ferrari (Mahomes) to a small unicycle (Moore). Since I don't know who's starting for the Chiefs, the only way to do things this week is to make two picks: One for if Mahomes plays and one for if he doesn't play.
The twist here is that I don't really need to make two picks because I'm taking the Vikings either way. That's right Andy Reid, I'm not going to play your mind games, I don't care who you start at quarterback, I'm picking against your team no matter what.
The odd thing about this game is that if I should be concerned with any quarterback on the field, it's probably the one who plays for Minnesota. As you've probably heard at some point over the past few years, Kirk Cousins always seems to lose whenever he plays against a team with a winning record and the Chiefs have a winning record (Cousins is 6-27 in his career against teams with a winning record).
The good news for the Vikings is that Cousins might not even have to throw a pass for them to win. Going into Week 8, the Vikings have the NFL's leading rusher in Dalvin Cook and they're also averaging 160.1 yards per game on the ground, which is the third-best number in the NFL this year. On the other hand, the Chiefs haven't exactly been able to stop the run. Through eight weeks this season, the Chiefs are giving up 145.0 yards per game on the ground, which ranks ahead of only the Bengals and the Dolphins, which arguably means the Chiefs actually rank last because the Bengals and Dolphins have been so bad this year that I'm not sure anything they've done should actually count toward anything.
Before I make my pick here, I would like to note that Vikings-Chiefs was Super Bowl., and although I think I was three White Claws in when I made that pick, I'm going to stand by it. I think the Vikings win this game and then they face each other again in the
The pick (if Mahomes plays): Vikings 30-27 over Chiefs
The pick (if Mahomes doesn't play): Vikings 30-20 over Chiefs
New England (8-0) at Baltimore (5-2)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Patriots, -3.5
Although the Browns have been a giant disaster this year, they actually did something interesting over the weekend: Cleveland might have developed a blueprint for a game plan that could potentially beat the Patriots. In Week 8, the Browns decided they were going to run the ball down New England's throat, and their plan actually worked as Cleveland rushed for 159 yards on 22 carries, which is an insane average of 7.2 yards per carry. If the Browns weren't the Browns, they could have put themselves in a position to pull off the upset, but of course, they are the Browns, which is why they didn't win. The Browns literally turned the ball over on three consecutive plays against the Patriots, which included Baker Mayfield somehow throwing an interception on a shovel pass.
Besides the turnovers, the Browns were also hurt by the fact that Freddie Kitchens seems to be slightly in over his head on the sideline.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say here is that if you can run on the Patriots, you can beat the Patriots. In their past four road games where they've given up at least 150 yards rushing, the Patriots have gone 0-4, and all four of those games came last season. You can bet John Harbaugh knows this and you can bet Harbaugh plans to run the ball 90 times on Sunday.
The X-factor in this game is definitely going to be Lamar Jackson. Although Bill Belichick and the Patriots have 24 straight wins over quarterbacks under the age of 24 -- they basically dominate young quarterbacks -- their last loss came in 2012 against another running quarterback (Colin Kaepernick). You can bet John Harbaugh also knows this. The Ravens will also be coming into this game off a bye, which means Harbaugh has had two weeks to devise a game plan to beat the Patriots. For most coaches, two years probably wouldn't even be enough, because Belichick is that much better than everyone, but Harbaugh has actually had some success against the Patriots coach.
So what does this all mean? It means for the first time this season, I'm picking against the Patriots. The good news here is that if I'm wrong on this one, I'll be too hungover from the wedding to read all the hate tweets that Patriots fans will inevitably send me.
The pick: Ravens 23-20 over Patriots
Lock of the Week (or is it the Upset of the Week?)
San Francisco (7-0) at Arizona (3-4-1)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime)
Point spread: 49ers, -9.5
Guys, I'm not going to lie, if there's one team in the NFL I've absolutely sucked at picking this year, it's the San Francisco 49ers, and the reason I know I've sucked is because their fans let me know every week. Through eight weeks, I'm just 2-5 picking 49ers games, which is pretty ugly when you consider that I'm 77-36-1 picking all other games. I thought about listing off all the 49ers games that I've picked wrong so far this year, but this one guy on Twitter did it for me, so let's just use his list.
Right? This dude picked the Bucs, Bengals, Browns, Rams and Panthers to beat us...says we haven’t played anyone, says the Patriots are the greatest team ever with no mention of schedule. Dude is the biggest clown on out here. 🤡— Nick In Los Altos (@NWhiting7) October 27, 2019
That guy even called me a clown. Maybe I should be Antonio Clown for Halloween.
I'll be honest, the only pick I regret on that list is taking the Browns. In Week 1, I picked the 49ers to lose because the opening week is usually a toss-up, so I went with the home team (Tampa Bay), and the joke was on me, because Jameis Winston threw two pick-sixes. In Week 2, I picked them to lose because the Bengals looked better in Week 1 than the 49ers did. In Week 6, I picked them to lose against the Rams, because the 49ers hadn't played anyone good yet and I wasn't sure if they were for real.
In Week 8, I picked them to lose to the Panthers because I'm still bitter about the fact that a studio apartment in San Francisco costs roughly $30,000 a year, and I decided to hold that against the 49ers. I mean, if you don't make your game picks by penalizing teams for playing in a city that has a high cost of living, then you're not doing it right.
So am I finally sold on the 49ers? Well, I was, until I saw that BRUCE IRVIN wasn't.
I asked Panthers end Bruce Irvin just how good this 49ers team is. “They’re OK. They’re OK. They’re not world-beaters,” he said. My guess is SF will use this as another log on the motivational fire.— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) October 27, 2019
If Irvin thinks they're just OK, then they're just OK.
So who am I going to pick this week?
Well, the Cardinals have won EIGHT straight games against the 49ers, and there's just no way I can pick against that. Actually, I'm just kidding, I just wanted 49ers fans to think I was going to pick against their team again. The fact of the matter is that the 49ers defense is going to devour Kyler Murray and the Cardinals are going to be lucky to score two touchdowns.
Not only am I picking the 49ers to win this week, but I don't think I'm going to pick against the them ever again as long as they remain undefeated. As a matter of fact, I've decided that the "Lock of the Week" section is going to be renamed the "Why I'm not picking against the 49ers this week" section, and each week, I'll explain why I'm not going to be picking against the 49ers.
This experiment is going to go one of two ways: Either I'm going to get all my 49ers picks right because they keep winning or I'm going to jinx them and they're going to start losing, which basically means there's no downside here for me.
The pick: 49ers 27-13 over Cardinals
Lock of the week record: 7-1 straight up, 3-5 against the spread
NFL Week 9: All the rest
Bills 24-17 over Redskins
Bears 19-16 over Eagles
Colts 20-17 over Steelers
Panthers 22-19 over Titans
Raiders 30-23 over Lions
Seahawks 26-23 over Buccaneers
Browns 20-13 over Broncos
Packers 27-20 over Chargers
Cowboys 34-24 over Giants
Best pick: Last week, I predicted the Bearsand lose to the Chargers, and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? The Bears scored 16 points and lost to the Chargers. Now, did I know that Matt Nagy was going to totally botch the end of the game with poor coaching, which would then be followed by a Bears kicker missing a potential game-winning field goal? Of course, I did. I mean, I literally wrote in my predictions last week that if one team in the NFL could "out-Charger the Chargers," it would be the Bears, and that's exactly what happened.
Nagy should have fired himself after the loss or at least suspended himself for a week for his poor coaching in the final minute. The Bears actually got the ball down to the Chargers' 21-yard line with 43 seconds left to play in this game while also holding one timeout. Considering their history with kickers, you would think that the Bears would've wanted to get as close as possible for Eddy Piniero's field goal attempt, but instead, Nagy had Mitchell Trubisky kneel the ball for a loss, which was followed by Piniero missing the field goal.
If you're wondering how fans in Chicago took the loss, well, this guy's dad wants to see Trubisky benched and Nagy fired.
"I would fire Nagy today, and I would bench Trubisky."— Jon Reimer (@jonnyreimer) October 27, 2019
- My dad just now
I'm starting to think that maybe that guy's dad should be the general manager for the Bears.
Worst pick: So guys, it turns out the 49ers might actually be good. Last week, I picked the Panthers to beat them, and not only did Carolina lose, but they lost by 38 points, which makes the loss the biggest blowout in the NFL this year in a game that didn't involve the Dolphins. I mean, just think about that: The 49ers made the Panthers look like the Dolphins, and I'm not even sure if I'm talking about the football team or actual Dolphins. The Panthers were that bad.
I've made a lot of bad decisions in my life and picking the Panthers to win is definitely in the top-five: It's ahead of the time I ate falafels for an entire year, but behind the time I tried to write a children's book about a bear that eats people. Apparently, children just aren't ready for a carnivorous bear.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered if I actually know what I'm doing with these picks, here's what the best and worst individual team picks look like heading into Week 9 (All records listed are straight-up).
Teams I'm 8-0 picking this year: Patriots, Dolphins (7-0)
Teams I'm 7-1 picking this year: Falcons, Redskins, Vikings, Packers, Jets (6-1), Lions (5-1-1).
Team I'm 2-5 picking this year: Buccaneers, 49ers.
Every other team is somewhere in-between.
Straight up in Week 8: 12-3
SU overall: 79-41-1
Against the spread in Week 8: 10-5
ATS overall: 59-61-1
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably in the process of buying seven new alarm clocks so he can make sure he actually wakes up early enough to watch Sunday's game in London.