NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 9

Some terrible things happened since last Saturday. I won’t even begin to mention the non-football related stuff, as I am sure you don’t want to hear about Grandma again! As far as football is concerned, well it was a tough week to say the least with unLucky Lester going 4-8.Like the Packers start to this year; I too am in a slump that I never thought possible! But hopefully, like The Pack, I can pull myself up from the curb and jump-start my season with a Super Sunday for the first week of November. Here’s to the hopes of a predictable Sunday. Time to suck it up and bolster my now 55-53-5 record for the season.

Texans(+6.5) @ Broncos – The Texans have only proven they can play with the best teams in the NFL, nearly beating the Vikings, and spanking the Jaguars a week ago. The Broncos have taken two losses in a row, and have only managed to cover a couple times this year. With these two things ringing in my ears, I can’t even imagine why Denver is favored by nearly a touchdown. What is it? The air in Mile High makes it impossible for away teams? Or maybe all the close games the Texans have played, plus their winning record are just flukes? I think not. David Carr has done exactly what I predicted this year, and shown why he was a number one draft pick. Andre Johnson has been fantastic as Carr’s number one guy, and Dominic Davis is healthy for the first time in weeks. I’ve been wrong lately, and maybe the Broncos will find a way to pull this one off, but lets get real, 6.5-point favorites? That’s absurd. Game Date: 11/07/04 16:15 ET

Patriots(-2) @ Rams – The Rams showed two weeks ago that they don’t belong on the field with top teams. They lost to the Dolphins for God’s sake. The inconsistency and inexcusable mistakes that seem to embody the Rams team make it impossible for me to take them here. The Patriots are still one of the best teams in the league. They still have a quarterback that is a proven leader and an amazingly accurate passer. They also have one of the best coaches, if not the best coach in football. Belichick won’t let the end of his teams winning streak affect their play against an inferior Rams team this Sunday. The Rams are coming off a bye week, having two weeks to prepare for New England, but I don’t see that deciding the fate of the Patriots. Game Date: 11/07/04 16:15 ET

Jets(-3) @ Bills – Okay, so the Bills finally scored more than a single offensive touchdown against a team that wasn’t Miami. So what? The Bills only beat the Cardinals. Sure, sure, I was wrong about that game. But I am saying right now, like a much more renowned person before me, that I guarantee a Jet victory on Sunday. Yes, yes, you’ve heard it before, but there is no way the Bills… the terrible Bills, should cover a measly three point spread against the powerful Jets. Curtis Martin has been better than anyone thought, and the dismantling of a strong Miami defense last Monday Night is enough to convince me that this Jets squad is for real. The Bills stand as merely a speed bump in New York’s road to the post-season. Don’t let one week fool you, the Bills are just as good as their record.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Chiefs(+1) @ Buccaneers – Priest Holmes is playing the best I’ve seen him play, and he’s been the best running back in the league for the last two or three years. Even Ray Lewis has been quoted saying there isn’t a running back like Priest. If Ray is throwing out compliments to an offensive player, you know he’s got to be great. The Buc’s haven’t done anything special, only managing to beat sub par teams. The Chiefs are back in the playoff hunt, and I just don’t see them taking a step back against a much lesser Tampa Bay team that has played better of late. Their defense is always strong, but I don’t see Tampa Bay making it past 7 wins this season. The Chiefs are back on track and it’s going to take more that an average Tampa Bay team to derail the Kansas City Train.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Lucky Lester’s Picks For Week Nine

Eagles @ Steelers(even) – I have to go with the Steelers here. They finally made my prediction of the end of New England’s win streak come true, and I can only bet they’ll do the same thing to an undefeated Eagles team. The Steeler D is much better than advertised, just ask Tom Brady. Joey Porter is back to his old self, sacking Brady three times in week 8, while causing two fumbles. Duce Staley will do his best to thump an Eagle team that showed no appreciation for his abilities this off-season, as well as last year. Duce has done a lot for a Pittsburgh team that has as much firepower on offense as they’ve ever had. Hines Ward is a great receiver, and the strong arm of rookie Ben Roethlisberger has energized super talented Plexico Burress. With Duce in the backfield and Jerome Bettis behind him, the Steelers should sock it to an Eagle defensive line that has trouble stopping the run. The Eagles are good, but with Roethlisberger getting a chance to end two different undefeated records in consecutive weeks as a rookie, it only seems proper to take the Steelers. Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Redskins @ Lions(-3) – I’ve decided that +3 is something odds makers give to an away team that in their minds, is equal to the home team. In this case, they either are crazy or, they know something I don’t. The Lions for starters, are better at home and maybe even more importantly, are better than the Redskins straight-up. The Redskins have one thing going for them on offense and that’s Clinton Portis. The problem is even he can’t do well because the rest of the offense is so bad. The Lions might not be able to stop Portis from scoring, but what they can do is stop the rest of the Redskins. Roy Williams is supposedly suiting up for this game. If he does the Lions chances get a lot better. I can’t take the Redskins until they prove to me they can move the ball in other ways then hoping Portis breaks one. Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Raiders(+7) @ Panthers – While both of these teams have managed to disappoint, I can’t imagine the Panthers playing a team poor enough to warrant them giving 7 points. The Raiders are bad, don’t get me wrong, but the Panthers are equally pathetic. They gave up nearly 200 yards to Shaun Alexander last week, and that was after Mike Holmgren announced that Alexander was going to carry the ball often. He told them what they were going to do and the Panthers still couldn’t slow Alexander down. Taking the Raiders has made me realize how far the Panthers have fallen from their Super Bowl runner up performance less than a year ago. Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Cardinals(+3) @ Miami – The Dolphins are pretty bad. That’s it. They lost another key player to injury. I can’t imagine their confidence has grown in the wake of Junior Seau’s season ending injury. With Ricky Williams trying his damnedest to work out some way that he doesn’t have to pay the Dolphins back all the money he owes them, the only thing the Dolphins should be favored to win is a court case. If you’re a Miami fan look at the bright side, at least the Dolphins will guarantee a number 1,2 or 3 draft pick. The Cardinals slipped last week, but look to get back to playing tough defense against one of the worst offenses the NFL has to offer.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Bears @ Giants(-9) – The Giants dismantled a decent Lions team last week, and the Bears skipped past possibly the leagues worst team, the 49ers. The Giants are much better than a Bears team led by Craig Krenzel. Just look at the spread and you could figure that out. What you might not know is that Tiki Barber has been amazing this year, running all over any opponent the Giants have faced. Another small fact you might not know, the Bears gave up 170+ yards to Clinton Portis earlier this year. Tiki will plow his way into the end zone with ease. The Bears will be forced to scramble, throwing too much , especially with Krenzel at the helm. It will be to easy for the Giants to run, and when Tiki has been given the green light this year, good things have happened for New York.
Game Date: 11/07/04 16:05 ET

Seahawks(-7) @ 49ers – Ken Dorsey is behind the helm again for a Niners team that should be begging for Jeff Garcia to come back. The Niners offense hasn’t looked this bad since… since… well since the West Coast was invented. Dennis Erickson was offered this job as a joke to see how bad the 49er front office could make him look. He’s tried valiantly but lets be honest, this is a lose, lose situation. They lose all the time, and it looks like it’s at least a little bit his fault. The Seahawks haven’t been the team I thought they’d be, but even at their slumping stage, a touchdown should be easy to make up against a porous Niner D. Game Date: 11/07/04 16:05 ET

Saints @ Chargers(-6.5) – If I was told that I would have been taking this bet before the season started, I would have laughed in whoever’s crazy face those ridiculous words had spilled from. But, the NFL is a crazy place and this game contains two of the most unbelievable teams the league has. The Chargers are 4-3 and actually looking pretty good under the leadership of Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson. Keenan McCardell brings a much-needed lift at the receiver position instantly taking pressure off the sensational Antonio Gates. The Saints, on the other hand, have only amazed me week after week with how inept they are. They aren’t the worse team in the league but with their talent level I’d think they’d be near the top of their league. Yet they manage to lose week after week. Like I said, both teams surprise me equally. The Saints have shown they can compete offensively with any team. The Chargers have shown they can just flat out compete with anybody, on both sides of the ball. At -6.5 it’s a tough bet, but it looks better than the Saints at +6.5.
Game Date: 11/07/04 16:05 ET

Cowboys @ Bengals(even) – I like the Bengals at home giving no points to a Cowboy squad that is searching to find an identity. On offense, the Cowboys cannot effectively run the ball and has been decimated by injuries at wide receiver. Defensively, they are a far cry from last years top rated unit. The Bengals are inconsistent but should prevail against this depleted Cowboy bunch.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Browns @ Ravens(-6) – The Ravens got their asses handed to them in week one when they wondered into Cleveland expecting to dominate the Browns. But the Browns proved to be more than the Ravens had expected. Jamal Lewis, who rushed for 500 yards in two games last year, got stymied by a defense that was ready for him. Well, the way I see it, Jamal has a lot of yards to gain to get 500. I imagine he’ll get a big chunk of them in week nine, as he comes off his 2 game suspension. The Ravens missed their offensive leader and he will look to make it up to them in a big performance at home on Sunday. The Browns are coming off a bye week after barely getting beat by the Eagles two weeks ago. The Ravens got beat 15-10 by the Eagles last week. Jamal Lewis will prove to be the difference in this game, augmented by the Ravens playing at home. My bet is with Ray Lewis this week. Game Date: 11/07/04 20:35 ET

Vikings @ Colts(-6) – I’d take the over in this game. But, if I had to take a winner I’d take Peyton and his Colts. The Vikings have struggled without Randy Moss and it looks like Moss might sit this week. Even if he doesn’t, the Colts have more to lose if they fail to beat Minnesota this Monday Night. The Colts find themselves in third place in their division after a week 8 loss to the Chiefs where their defense looked horrendous. Tony Dungy should really get after his defensive squad this week, after they flat out embarrassed him last week. Dungy, known for his defensive brilliance, has found it tough to build a defensive stopper in Indianapolis. This week the Colts will do the unthinkable and hold Daunte Culpepper and his Vikings below season averages, while their offense scores at will against a pretty poor defense in their own right. Take the Colts here because they have more to lose. Game Date: 11/08/04 21:05 ET

Good Luck with your NFL Football Wagering!
Lucky Lester

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