People who cover the NFL love to make predictions. Whether it's mock drafts or predicting the final standings, fantasy forecasts or individual awards, sportswriters, television personalities, and the like love to prognosticate.
When I make my predictions, I use the best information that I have available to me, and I put that information through the filter of my own intellect. I've had some success in the past. And looking at my preseason predictions for this year, I'm doing reasonably well, with every division winner that I predicted currently either in first or second place (including five first-place teams).
As we get ready for the rest of the Week Nine games on Sunday and Monday, I feel pretty confident about my picks for this week, and for my season picks as the 2018 NFL campaign continues. However, I know that my predictions are just that: predictions. The actual games, this weekend, and for the rest of the season, have yet to be played. And we're only at about the half-way point of the season.
Speaking of half-way points, or mid-terms if you will, this is a very important week in the United States. I've heard a lot of predictions, and I've seen a lot of polls. I'm sure you have, too. Based on these prognostications, a lot of people are really optimistic, hopeful that something really positive is going to happen. With what's been going on the past two years, who would begrudge people a little hope?
The thing is, things like what people are hoping for don't just "happen;" people have to make them happen. Just like how, in football, the better team on paper doesn't always win the game unless they put forth the effort and execute. You can't rely on predictions, or polls, or other people to do it. You have to put forth the effort, and execute.
Two years ago, what all the polls said, and what everyone thought was a foregone conclusion, turned out to be a huge upset.
Don't assume that what you want to happen will happen, just because "they" say it will.
So, enjoy the football this weekend. There are some pretty good matchups, some that I'm particularly excited about.
But on Tuesday, if you want to win, please, put forth the effort, and execute.
That's enough of that. Let's get on with it...
Week Nine Picks
Winners in Bold
Chicago at Buffalo
To me, New England gave merely the barest effort on Monday night, knowing that Derek Anderson would not, could not beat them. In the likely event that the injured Anderson can't start this Sunday, Buffalo appears ready to turn once again, inexplicably, to Nathan Peterman. The only way that Chicago loses to Nathan Peterman is if they are, ironically, so paralyzed by the fear of losing to Nathan Peterman that they lose to Nathan Peterman.
Tampa at Carolina
Since Cincinnati is off this week, I'll use this space to congratulate/thank them for sending Jameis Winston back to the bench (and on his way to out of the league, I can only hope). I will also use this space to scold Cincinnati for letting Ryan Fitzpatrick tie the game late and costing me money (but that's another story). Fitzpatrick or no, as well as Carolina is playing right now, I can't see this one being that close.
Kansas City at Cleveland
The only curious thing about this game for me is seeing how the offence operates now that Hue Jackson (a former OC, don't forget) AND OC Todd Haley have been canned, and erstwhile pariah Gregg Williams has ascended (temporarily I'm sure, but this IS Cleveland...) to the HC slot. Cleveland will put up a fight, but KC should outgun and outlast the home team.
NYJ at Miami
Close call here, so I'm going with the home team in the warm weather.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Yeah, I know Baltimore won the first one, so Pittsburgh's supposed to win this one. Yeah, I know that Pittsburgh has been on a hot streak lately, while Baltimore has cooled off after a strong start. I still don't think Pittsburgh's defence is all that good, and I still think that Ben Roethlisberger is streaky and can get cooled off in a hurry by a good defence.
Detroit at Minnesota
Minnesota looked to be cruising against New Orleans early in their game last week. Then, after an uncharacteristic Adam Thielen fumble, they looked like a completely different team. I think Minnesota will bounce back this week against a struggling Detroit team that is still trying to find its offensive identity.
Atlanta at Washington
Atlanta is old news, right? Too banged-up on defence, no good on the road. Washington is the hot team, got it? Nope, sorry. I know I'm supposed to pick the home team here, and it's probably the smart pick, but I keep thinking that an offence that relies on Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson isn't matching a rested Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and co. score-for-score. I have to go my own way on this one.
Houston at Denver
This is another tricky one. Houston just keeps winning, Denver just keeps struggling. I'm a little worried about Desean Watson getting chased around by Von Miller, but I think tha Case Keenum has a bit more to worry about from Houston's defensive front.
LAC at Seattle
Seattle has been exceeding expectations on offence, particularly with their running game. At the beginning of the season, I would have picked LA in a walk here. I'm sticking with Rivers and the rest because I still think they're one of the better teams in the AFC, but it should be a competitive game.
LAR at New Orleans
LA struggled last week before barely beating Green Bay. New Orleans is red hot and playing at home. I know what I'm supposed to think here, but I see it differently. In spite of its struggles on defence in recent weeks, LA has the talent and they have Wade Phillips. If LA makes a concerted effort up front to limit New Orleans's running game, then I honestly believe that Drew Brees won't be able to match Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, et al. Whatever happens, I'm really looking forward to this potential NFC Championship preview.
Green Bay at New England
New England can be had. They're thin at running back, Gronk hasn't been healthy all season, and the defence has shown a propensity for giving up big plays. Still, they're much better than Green Bay. New England should win this, but it's Aaron Rodgers, so all bets are off. Should be a good one, folks.
Tennessee at Dallas
If you have either one of these teams figured out, then you're way ahead of me. Really, I could go either way on this one, but I'll lean towards the home squad, because they are the home squad, and because their offence should, at least in theory, be better than Tennessee's.