After several years of waiting, the impossible has finally happened: Sports betting is now available in the state where I live (Tennessee), which means I can now legally gamble on my own picks. This is either the best thing that has ever happened to me or the worst. I'm not sure.
For the past three years, I've been circumventing Tennessee's gambling laws by betting Kohl's Cash on everything and let me just tell you that you haven't lived until you've had $400 of Kohl's Cash on the line in a game where you need the Jets to cover (Side note: Never bet on the Jets). You also haven't lived until you've spent all your gambling winnings on a waffle maker at Kohl's. They have the best waffle makers and I will not be told otherwise.
If the winner in the presidential election decides to make Kohl's Cash an actual currency, I'm pretty sure that will immediately make me the third richest person in America, so let's hope that happens.
Speaking of the election, if your guy loses, you're probably going to need a mental escape for the next few weeks (or years) and you're in luck because I can offer you that. All you have to do is sign up for the NFL newsletter that we have here at CBSSports.com. I'm in charge of it and I get paid $1.73 in Kohl's Cash every time someone signs up, so make sure to click here so you can add yourself and all your friends.
I do not get paid any Kohl's Cash to show up on the Pick Six Podcast, but I do it anyway. For the rest of the season, I'll be podcasting three days per week -- Monday, Tuesday and Friday -- with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson, who both prefer Monopoly money over Kohl's Cash. We got together for a show on Tuesday and you can listen to it below. The reason you're going to want to listen is because we spent an inordinate amount of time debating whether or not it's time for the Giants to move on from Daniel Jones.
If you don't have time to listen now, make sure to click here so you can subscribe and listen later.
Alright, I'm going to stop stalling so we can get to the picks, and no, I will not be making any election picks.
NFL Week 9 Picks
Which teams will cover the spread in Week 9? Pete Prisco, R.J. White and SportsLine's Kenny White join Will Brinson to break down their best bets and every game; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Green Bay (5-2) at San Francisco (4-4)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox/NFL Network/Amazon)
Point spread: Packers -2.5
I'll be honest here, at 11:51 p.m. ET on Monday, I was ready to pick the 49ers in this game, but then I remembered that I have no idea how to pick Thursday games. We're headed into Week 9 of the NFL season and somehow, I still haven't correctly picked a winner in a Thursday game. I'm 0-6.
(Note: I did pick one Thursday game correctly, but that came in Week 1 when the Chiefs and Texans didn't have to play on short rest. Apparently, I have no idea how a team is going to play on short rest.)
I've tried everything to get a Thursday game right. I've picked the favorite. I've picked the underdog. I've done the opposite of what my first instinct told me to do. I've done the opposite of what my fourth instinct told me to do, which was to do the opposite of whatever my gut was feeling. As you can see, I have now completely psyched myself out and there's no way this losing streak is ever going to end and the worst part is that I've lost a lot of Kohl's cash betting these Thursday night games.
The one time where I did pick a Thursday winner came in Week 6 when the Chiefs played the Bills, but that just happened to be the one week where the game GOT MOVED to a Monday, so it didn't count as a Thursday win. Even the NFL is mocking me.
This week, we have a 49ers team that's dealing with multiple injuries, but I've lost track of everyone who's injured, so I'm going to let this lady fill us in.
Thanks for that list Jennifer!
On other hand, we have a Packers team that can't stop the run and that is also dealing with a COVID situation after running back AJ Dillon tested positive on Monday. The positive test also impacted running back Jamaal Williams, who had to sit out practice, and honestly, I'm not even sure if the Packers have any running backs left (Aaron Jones is dealing with an injury).
The COVID situation means the Packers have to spend the rest of the week following the NFL's intensive protocol guidelines and as if that's not bad enough, they also have to fly halfway across the country on just three days rest. Since "Thursday Night Football" started in 2006, NFL teams are 0-11 when they have to fly two time zones or more west for a Thursday game.
Also, if there's one person 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has been able to coach circles around, it's Matt LaFleur. Since LaFleur was hired by the Packers in 2019, he's gone 0-2 against Shanahan and 19-4 against everyone else. Guys, I just did my best to talk myself into taking the 49ers, but I'm still taking the Packers, which actually might end up being good news for San Francisco.
The pick: Packers 27-24 over 49ers
Which picks can you make with confidence in Week 9, and which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which NFL teams will cover in more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that is up over $7,600 on its top-rated picks.
Denver (3-4) at Atlanta (2-6)
1 p.m. (Fox)
Point spread: Falcons -4
Whoever was in charge of making the Broncos schedule this year definitely has a sense of humor, because that's the only way to explain how Denver gets to face the Chargers and Falcons in consecutive weeks. Honestly, every team in the NFL should get to face the Chargers and Falcons in back-to-back weeks. As you've probably noticed this year, there are two teams that have perfected the art of blowing gigantic leads and those teams are the Chargers and Falcons.
The Falcons are basically the Chargers of the NFC, which is good news for the Broncos, because they just beat the Chargers of the AFC on Sunday in a game where they trailed by 21 points in the second half. I think what I'm trying to say here is that there's a 100% chance that the NFC Chargers are going to shoot out to a lead in this game and then somehow blow it.
The Falcons have held the lead in five of their six losses. Being a fan of the Falcons is like riding a roller coaster through a grenade factory. I have no idea why anyone would put a roller coaster in a grenade factory, but I also have no idea how the Falcons have managed to blow so many leads.
I think the Broncos defense is going to do just enough to keep Denver in the game and then at some point in the second half, the Broncos will do the smart thing and just let the Falcons beat themselves.
The pick: Broncos 20-17 over Falcons
Baltimore (5-2) at Indianapolis (5-2)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Ravens -3
The Ravens are favored in this game, but maybe they shouldn't be, because I'm starting to think that no one should be favored to win anything the week after playing the Steelers. In what is easily one of the most unbelievable stats of the year, NFL teams are 1-6 this season the week after facing the Steelers and I'm only mentioning that because the Ravens played the Steelers on Sunday. Basically, the Steelers are the NFL's version of a bad hangover, except in this case, the hangover lasts for a week and you automatically lose your next game.
I'm not sure why this is happening, but it is. The most most recent team to fall victim to this curse was the Tennessee Titans. They played the Steelers in Week 7 and then lost to the Bengals in Week 8. I REPEAT: THEY LOST TO THE BENGALS. The Ravens have no chance against this curse and I'm calling it a curse, because crazy things are happening.
In the 24 hours since playing the Steelers, the Ravens have lost their starting left tackle (Ronnie Stanley) for the season and there's a very real chance that one of their best defensive backs (Marlon Humphrey) won't be playing in this game because he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
I was thinking about picking the Colts before those two things happened, so I'm just going to stick with my gut, even though it's feeling a little weird right now after I ate that egg salad sandwich for lunch. I don't even like egg salad sandwiches. The Ravens are the only team I still have a perfect record picking this season so let's hope that egg salad sandwich doesn't ruin things.
The pick: Colts 23-20 over Ravens
New Orleans (5-2) at Tampa Bay (6-2)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Buccaneers -4.5
I'm not saying there's any sort of conspiracy going on, but if I'm Saints coach Sean Payton, I'm renting 10 busses this week and taking my team to a secret location for practice. As a matter of fact, every team should probably start doing that before playing the Buccaneers because things are getting a little weird. In each of the past two weeks, Tampa Bay's opponent has had to deal with serious COVID issue before playing the Buccaneers.
In Week 7, the Raiders entire offensive line missed out on a week of practice after they were sent home to quarantine.
Not surprisingly, the Raiders lost to the Bucs 45-20.
In Week 8, the Giants also had to practice part of the week without a few members of their offensive line after they were also sent home to quarantine.
Not surprisingly, the Giants also lost.
If Payton doesn't have his offensive line locked in a sterile room at an undisclosed location all week, then he's already lost the game. The reason the Saints are going to need their offensive line is because it's not going to be easy to keep Drew Brees in one piece for this game. There are only three teams in the NFL that have racked up 28 or more sacks this year and the Buccaneers are one of them. Although the Saints have done a pretty good job of protecting Brees this season -- he's only been sacked nine times -- that's mostly because they've played teams that just aren't good at sacking the quarterback.
Of the Saints' seven opponents this year, three of them have 10 or fewer sacks on the season, which doesn't even seem possible when you consider that there are only six teams total in the NFL that have 10 or fewer sacks. Brees is 41 years old and let me just tell you that there is not a 41-year-old alive who wants to spend three straight hours running away from grown men twice his size.
Also, this game will feature the 2020 debut of Antonio Brown and if it goes anything like his 2019 debut with Tom Brady (four catches, 56 yards, one TD), then the Buccaneers offense is going to be almost impossible to stop. Of course, if it goes like his 2019 debut, then it will be his only game with Tampa Bay and he'll be cut by next Monday.
The pick: Buccaneers 30-23 over Saints
Lock of the Week
Seattle (6-1) at Buffalo (6-2)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Seahawks -2.5
The "Lock of the Week" is 9-1 straight-up this season, which makes me think that maybe I should make a Thursday game the "Lock of the Week" so I CAN ACTUALLY GET ONE RIGHT before the season ends. I'm not sure if I told you guys, but I hate Thursdays.
Anyway, the lock this week isn't a Thursday game, but I am picking a six-win team to lose, which is way bolder than my usual strategy of just picking against the Jets. My problem with Buffalo in this game is that the Bills defense hasn't been playing well and the last guy you want to see when you're not playing well is Russell Wilson.
Over the past four weeks, the Bills have been one of the worst teams in the NFL at stopping the run. As a matter of fact, since Week 5, the Bills have given up a total of 672 yards on the ground, which is an average of 168 yards per game. To put that in perspective, only two other teams -- the Cowboys and Eagles -- have even given up more than 600 yards on the ground in that span and they both play in NFC East, which barely qualifies as football right now. When your defense is mentioned in the same breath as the two NFC East teams, you are definitely doing something wrong.
Although the Seahawks haven't been running the ball as often as they usually do because they've been letting Russ cook, don't be fooled, this team can still run when they want to. The Seahawks are averaging five yards per carry this year, which is tied for the fifth-highest number in the NFL. Basically, I think the Seahawks are going to run up and down the field on Buffalo -- both figuratively and literally -- and the only reason this won't be a blowout is because the Seahawks defense is terrible, which means the Bills should be able to keep things close.
The pick: Seahawks 34-27 over Bills
Lock of the week record: 9-1 straight up, 6-4 against the spread
NFL Week 9 picks: All the rest
Titans 30-20 over Bears
Chiefs 34-23 over Panthers
Vikings 24-17 over Lions
Washington 19-16 over Giants
Texans 31-20 over Jaguars
Raiders 22-19 over Chargers
Steelers 34-17 over Cowboys
Cardinals 27-23 over Dolphins
Patriots 27-17 over Jets
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Chiefs would destroy the Jets and win by at least 25 and guess what happened? The Chiefs destroyed the Jets and won by at least 25. Now did I know that Adam Gase was going to completely hand the game to the Chiefs by kicking field goals and running the ball way more than he should have? Of course I did. He's Adam Gase. No coach in the NFL is better at putting together game plans that don't actually work than Gase.
Surprisingly, the Jets offense was actually somewhat competent in the first half as they got into Chiefs territory four times. However, they attempted four field goals. I'm not sure if Gase has ever actually watched the Chiefs play, but you're not going to beat them by kicking field goals, especially if you're 0-7. Also, the Jets ran the ball MORE than the Chiefs. It's almost like he was just trying to run out the clock so the Chiefs couldn't score 60 points on his team, which might have actually been his strategy.
Worst pick: I picked the Chargers to win last week even though in my heart of hearts, I knew they were going to blow a lead. I mean, that's literally all they know how to do. It's like calling Pizza Hut and asking them to deliver you some Burger King. Like, of course, they can't do that, they're Pizza Hut. They deliver pizzas. And the Chargers are the Chargers, they deliver heartbreaking losses.
Although I almost never learn any type of lesson from my missed picks, I did learn a lesson this week and that's that I should always assume every Chargers game is going to be close, but that it's ultimately going to end with them losing. That's why I'm picking them to lose this week.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, I'm going to start sharing that information with you now that we're eight weeks into the season and have a decent sample size.
Here's a quick look at the teams I've done well picking:
Teams I'm 7-0 picking this year (Straight up): Ravens
Teams I'm 7-1 picking this year (Straight up): Jets, Chiefs, Saints (6-1), Steelers (6-1), Giants (6-1)
On the other hand, there's no team I've been worse at picking than the Arizona Cardinals (2-5). I only have one theory on why I've whiffed on so many of their games this year I'm thinking it's because I'm still jealous of the fact that Kliff Kingsbury lives in a house that's 10 times cooler than mine.
After six months, I thought i would get over it, but apparently, I haven't.
Straight up in Week 8: 7-7
SU overall: 73-44-1
Against the spread in Week 8: 7-7
ATS overall: 58-59-1
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably voting or trying to get people to sign up for his NFL newsletter or both, and remember, you can sign up by clicking here.