Browns (2-6) at Falcons (5-3). Line: Falcons by 8½. Over-Under: 41½.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Falcons -12.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Falcons -11.

The Game. Edge: Falcons.
Injuries: Browns: OUT: C LeCharles Bentley (IR), C Alonzo Ephraim, CB Gary Baxter. DOUBTFUL: CB Leigh Bodden. QUESTIONABLE: QB Charlie Frye*, WR Joe Jurevicius, WR Dennis Northcutt, TE Kellen Winslow Jr.*, OT Ryan Tucker, G Joe Andruzzi, G Cosey Coleman, DE Orpheus Roye, LB Willie McGinest, CB Daven Holley. Falcons: OUT: WR Brian Finneran (IR), DE John Abraham, CB Jason Webster, CB Kevin Mathis (IR). QUESTIONABLE: RB Jerious Norwood, WR Ashley Lelie, TE Alge Crumpler*, OT Todd Weiner, DT Grady Jackson, LB Edgerton Hartwell, CB DeAngelo Williams, CB Jimmy Williams.

It’s assuring to know that Michael Vick was able to escape from Matt Schaub’s basement. Schaub, who obviously stole Vick’s jersey and painted himself black in order to take over the starting job without anyone noticing, was replaced by the real Vick last week, as the Falcons lost to the Lions. It’s good to have you back, Mike.

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned that Atlanta didn’t improve its run defense in my season previews. That was pretty evident as it surrendered 110 rushing yards to Kevin Jones last week. Reuben Droughns should enjoy similar success against the league’s 17th-ranked unit against ground attacks, allowing Charlie Frye to utilize play-action to Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards. Frye has played extremely well since offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon was fired; Frye was 25-of-43 for 236 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Chargers.

I talked about Droughns enjoying success on the ground. Imagine what Vick and Warrick Dunn are going to do to the Browns, who yield 5.1 yards per carry, which is second-worst in the NFL (Colts). Vick may not even need to throw the ball.

A conflict of interest here: The Falcons are coming off a loss to the pathetic Lions, so they’ll try to bounce back with a win. On the other hand, with the public betting heavily on them, they happen to have the Ravens next week. This is one of the toughest games on the board.


The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
This new section of my predictions will explore the mindset of each team, and how much the game means to both participants.

The Falcons have a tough game against the Ravens next week, but given that they're coming off an upset loss to the Lions, they could be focused for this contest. Cleveland has been playing tough since offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon was fired three weeks ago.

The Trends. Edge: Browns.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current head coaches are 71-51 ATS on the road following a road loss (Romeo Crennel 2-0 regardless).
  • Weak Arm: Charlie Frye is 3-2 ATS on the road.
  • Opening Line: Falcons -8½.
  • Opening Total: 38½.
  • Weather: Dome.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Reuben Droughns, Kellen Winslow Jr., Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn, Alge Crumpler.
  • Sit Em: Falcons Receivers, The restraints in Matt Schaub's basement.

Prediction: Falcons 31, Browns 24. (Browns +8½).
Correct: Browns 17, Falcons 13.




Chargers (6-2) at Bengals (4-4). Line: Chargers by 1½. Over-Under: 48.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Bengals -2.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Bengals -1.

The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: Chargers: OUT: OT Roman Oben (PUP), LB Shawne Merriman (SUSP), LB Steve Foley, KR Darren Sproles (IR). QUESTIONABLE: DE Luis Castillo, LB Shaun Phillips, S Marlon McCree. Bengals: OUT: RB Chris Perry (PUP), OT Levi Jones, C Rich Braham, LB David Pollack (IR), LB Odell Thurman (SUSP), CB Rashad Bauman (IR). DOUBTFUL: LB Brian Simmons, S Kevin Kaesviharn.

Did anyone see Chris Henry’s lack of effort on Carson Palmer’s final pass of the Bengals-Ravens game? Palmer yelled at Henry for barely making an attempt at the ball. How did Henry respond? Here are a few possible answers: “Yo man, who cares? Let’s go get drunk so I can throw up in your car again;” “Does there seem to be a problem occifer? I swears I’m drunk;” “Sorry that I’m a lowlife, Carson. I’ll try to become a better human being, and a better teammate. I’m going to turn things around, starting right now!” OK, I’m just kidding about that last one.

It’s tough to decide whether or not if all of the bickering, latency and insubordination will cause the Bengals to go into a downward spiral. But it certainly can’t help. It seems like the only positive thing for them going into this contest is the fact that Shawne Merriman is out for the Chargers. Without Merriman, San Diego had problems containing Charlie Frye and Reuben Droughns, which bodes well for a much more talented group of offensive players. Frye threw for 236 yards and a score, so expect Palmer to dissect a weak secondary, utilizing Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry.

The Bengals, meanwhile, can’t stop the run, which means LaDainian Tomlinson will continue to punish opponents with his speed and power. Philip Rivers will capitalize on Tomlinson’s punishing runs, utilizing play-action to Antonio Gates and Eric Parker; Cincinnati can neither stop the pass nor get to the quarterback. However, one possible drawback is Rivers’ inexperience; he didn’t play well in Kansas City and Baltimore, so he may experience problems again.

I’m not sure how Cincinnati will approach this game, but I do know it needs to win in order to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Chargers, on the other hand, will be more focused on next week’s matchup against the Broncos.


The Psychology. Edge: Bengals.
Even though the Bengals are a formidable opponent, this is a Look-Ahead Alert for the Chargers, who play the Broncos next week. The Bengals, meanwhile, need a win in the worst way possible.

The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
  • Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 15-24 ATS since 2002 (Marty Schottenheimer 7-2).
  • Weak Arm: Philip Rivers is 2-2 ATS on the road.
  • Chargers are 15-7 ATS vs. opponents coming off a loss under Marty Schottenheimer.
  • Opening Line: Chargers -1½.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 49 degrees. Light wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson (and his Christmas ornaments), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (and his helmet), Chris Henry (and his AA sponsor), LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates.
  • Sit Em: Rudi Johnson, Both Defense.

Prediction: Bengals 27, Chargers 24. (Bengals +1½).
Incorrect: Chargers 49, Bengals 41.




49ers (3-5) at Lions (2-6). Line: Lions by 6. Over-Under: 45.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Lions -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Lions -3.

The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: 49ers: OUT: C Jeremy Newberry (IR). DOUBTFUL: TE Vernon Davis*. Lions: OUT: WR Scottie Vines (PUP), G Damien Woody, DE James Hall (IR), DT Shaun Rogers (SUSP), LB Teddy Lehman (PUP), S Idrees Bashir. QUESTIONABLE: DT Shaun Cody.

It’s bizarre that we’re talking about a 49ers-Lions game in Week 10 with playoff implications, but San Francisco is only two games out of first place behind a hobbled Seahawks team. Imagine if you went back in time to August, and told someone that the 49ers had a legitimate shot to win the NFC West in the middle of the season. That person may have jumped off a building, or something. Time travel is a dangerous thing.

I mentioned last week how well Alex Smith has played at home. In his previous two road contests, Smith has thrown for 238 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and three fumbles, as the 49ers lost by a combined score of 82-10. Ouch. However, those two losses were at Soldier Field and Arrowhead, two very tough places to play. In his other away contest, at Arizona, Smith was 23-of-40, 288 yards and a touchdown. I’m expecting similar stats from him, as the Lions can’t stop the pass or get to the quarterback. Frank Gore will also have success against the league’s 17th-ranked ground defense.

The 49ers have the same defensive problems the Lions do, although last week’s performance in which they surrendered only three points to Minnesota was pretty admirable. That said, Detroit’s high-powered offense – it feels really weird to type that – should be able to score on San Francisco with ease.

I was surprised when this high point spread came out. I was even more shocked to discover that the public is all over the Lions. People better be careful, or else all the money they lose will have them jumping off buildings.


The Psychology. Edge: 49ers.
Well, what do we have here? The 49ers are just two games out of first place in the NFC West! How miserable is that division? They need this game a lot more than the Lions do.

The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Lions -6½.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Dome.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Antonio Bryant, Jon Kitna, Kevin Jones, Roy Williams, Mike Furrey.
  • Sit Em: Both Defenses (Like you were thinking of starting either one anyway).

Prediction: 49ers 31, Lions 24. (49ers +6).
Money Pick.
Correct: 49ers 19, Lions 13.




Bills (3-5) at Colts (8-0). Line: Colts by 13. Over-Under: 45.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Colts -16.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Colts -17.

The Game. Edge: Colts.
Injuries: Bills: OUT: RB Willis McGahee*, WR Josh Reed, DT John McCargo, S Troy Vincent (CUT). Colts: OUT: FB James Mungro (IR), DT Corey Simon (IR), DT Montae Reagor, S Mike Doss (IR).

OK, let’s admit it – this game means absolutely nothing to Peyton Manning and the rest of his team. Imagine how many shots, mixed drinks and beers the Colts consumed on the plane ride home to Indianapolis after beating the Patriots. The drinking will undoubtedly continue throughout the week, and I won’t be surprised if half the squad shows up drunk and/or hung-over on Sunday. If Manning pulls a Donovan McNabb and pukes on the field, we’ll know the ugly truth.

Since this matchup doesn’t mean much to the Colts, I expect them to come out with a very vanilla game plan. They may use this “easy contest” to work on their running game, which will be successful, given that the Bills are ranked 24th against ground attacks. Throwing into Buffalo’s secondary would be a different story – for most quarterbacks. If he wants to, Peyton Manning could easily dissect the Bills’ defense, which has permitted 28 or more points on three occasions this season.

If the Bills stick to their game plan, they have a shot at staying within striking distance of Indianapolis. The Colts are pitiful against the run, so look for Anthony Thomas to carry the load. Thomas gained 95 yards on 20 carries last week in relief for a hobbled Willis McGahee, who is doubtful for this contest. If Buffalo gives Thomas between 25 and 30 carries, play-action opportunities for J.P. Losman should open up.

I know taking the Colts seems like an easy proposition – everyone and their mother is betting the house on them this week – I feel obligated to remind you that they failed to cover a very large number against the Titans about a month ago. Since this game is sandwiched between two tough ones, it’s the Bills or nothing for me.


The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
Following last year's win at Foxboro, the Colts failed to cover a 17-point spread against the Texans. Indianapolis is actually confronted with a Sandwich Situation, as they have Dallas next week.

The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Colts -12½.
  • Opening Total: 45.
  • Weather: Dome.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Anthony Thomas, Colts Offense.
  • Sit Em: Bills Defense.

Prediction: Colts 24, Bills 17. (Bills +13).
Money Pick.
Correct: Colts 17, Bills 16.




Texans (2-6) at Jaguars (5-3). Line: Jaguars by 10½. Over-Under: 37½.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Jaguars -13.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Jaguars -14.

The Game. Edge: Jaguars.
Injuries: Texans: OUT: RB Domanick Davis (IR), OT Charles Spencer (IR), LB Kailee Wong (PUP), CB DeMarcus Faggins, KR Jerome Mathis (PUP). Jaguars: OUT: RB Greg Jones (IR), DE Reggie Hayward (IR), DT Marcus Stroud, LB Mike Peterson (IR). QUESTIONABLE: TE George Wrighster, DT John Henderson, CB Rashean Mathis, CB Terry Cousin, S Donovin Darius.

Fred Taylor has guaranteed that the Jaguars will beat the Texans next week. Wow, bold move, Fred. You’re only, what, 60-point favorites? Taylor also told reporters that he guarantees Thanksgiving will be arriving in only a matter of weeks: “Thanksgiving’s coming, man,” Taylor never told reporters. “It’ll be here in a few weeks – I guarantee it.”

With all of the injuries to Jacksonville’s defensive front, I’m shocked that neither the Eagles nor the Titans attempted to exploit that liability. Well, at least we know the Texans will; in their 27-7 victory over the Jaguars a few weeks ago, Wali Lundy and Samkon Gado combined for 120 yards on 29 carries. Look for that to continue, with David Carr connecting on short passes to Andre Johnson, Eric Moulds and emerging tight end Owen Daniels. Carr was 25-of-34 for 224 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars the last time these two teams clashed.

Jacksonville, on the other hand, had problems mustering any sort of ground game; Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew totaled 94 yards on 24 carries. That’s really surprising because Houston is ranked 28th in that department. A slightly more focused Jaguars team – I’ll get to that in a moment – will have a bit more success running the ball, which should open up play-action for David Garrard, who is unquestionably the right quarterback for this squad. Keep in mind that the Texans didn’t have to defend Garrard’s scrambling ability in their previous meeting.

The fact that Taylor guaranteed a victory tells me that the Jaguars don’t take the Texans seriously. If he thinks his team can magically come away with a win by being more focused, he’s completely wrong. If anything, his comment provided bulletin-board material for the Texans, who have stated that Jacksonville is their greatest rival. The Jaguars play the Giants next week, so don’t be surprised if they lose this one outright.


The Psychology. Edge: None.
Although the Jaguars battle the Giants next week, this may NOT be a Look-Ahead Alert; Jacksonville lost to Houston as a huge favorite on Oct. 22. Big-time revenge in this spot.

The Trends. Edge: Jaguars.
  • History: Texans have won 3 of the last 5 meetings.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 38-24 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current head coaches are 71-51 ATS on the road following a road loss (Gary Kubiak 1-0).
  • Third Road Alert: Teams in their third-consecutive road game are 7-14 ATS since 2000.
  • Texans are 5-14 ATS after a win.
  • Jaguars are 7-4 ATS in November home games since 2000.
  • Opening Line: Jaguars -11½.
  • Opening Total: 37½.
  • Weather: Sunny, 72 degrees. Light wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: David Carr, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Fred Taylor.
  • Sit Em: Jaguars Receivers.

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Texans 17. (Texans +10½).
Correct: Texans 13, Jaguars 10.




Chiefs (5-3) at Dolphins (2-6). Line: Dolphins by 1. Over-Under: 40.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Chiefs -4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Chiefs -3.

The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: Chiefs: OUT: QB Trent Green, OT John Welbourn (RET), G Brian Waters, DT John Browning (IR). QUESTIONABLE: OT Kevin Sampson, LB Derrick Johnson, S Greg Wesley. Dolphins: OUT: G Seth McKinney (IR), G Bennie Anderson (IR), CB Will Poole (IR).

Here’s how much of a football addict I am: Remember last year’s Dolphins-Chiefs game that was moved to Friday night because of a pending hurricane? Well, I had to cover a high-school football game for a local paper I was interning for. So, I told all of my colleagues not to spoil the result for me. When I got home, I grabbed a soda, opened up a bag of Doritos, and went to nfl.com’s play-by-play page. I went down line-by-line, reliving the game as if I were watching it on TV. I’m Walter Cherepinsky, and I have problem.

I joke about promoting Damon Huard for MVP, but a real MVP candidate is Larry Johnson, who is single-handedly carrying Kansas City’s offense. Johnson is on pace for 1,632 yards and 18 touchdowns, but imagine how great his stats would be if Willie Roaf hadn’t selfishly retired. Miami could have some success against Johnson; unlike the Rams (30th) and Seahawks (20th), both of whom Johnson has bulldozed, the Dolphins can actually stop the run, as they’re ranked third in the NFL. If they can manage to limit Johnson to less than 100 yards – the last team to do so was the Steelers (26 yards) – Huard won’t have as much success throwing the ball, as he’ll be stuck in a plethora of long-yardage situations.

Joey Harrington threw three touchdowns last week, but the offensive catalyst for the Dolphins was Ronnie Brown, who compiled 157 yards against the league’s 16th-ranked run defense. Kansas City is 19th. Expect a similar game plan from the Dolphins, who seem to be improving every week.

Based on how the public is betting this game, a lot of people think the Dolphins’ victory over the Bears was a one-hit wonder. I disagree; I think they’re going to finish this season like they did in 2005. The Chiefs, who don’t play particularly well on the road, will be more worried about battling a pair of divisional foes the next two weeks.


The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
This is could be a Look-Ahead Alert, as the Chiefs have two divisional rivals (Oakland and Denver) following this contest. I'm not sure how focused they'll be against the Dolphins, who have shown that they don't lie down for anyone.

The Trends. Edge: Chiefs.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current head coaches are 64-50 ATS on the road following a road win (Herman Edwards 3-3).
  • Extreme Line Movement: Teams that had the line change in their favor by three or more points are 5-10 ATS since 2005.
  • Opening Line: Chiefs -3.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees. Light wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Tony Gonzalez, Ronnie Brown, Chris Chambers, Randy McMichael.
  • Sit Em: My not going to Football Addicts Anonymous.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Chiefs 13. (Dolphins -1).
Money Pick.
Correct: Dolphins 13, Chiefs 10.




Packers (3-5) at Vikings (4-4). Line: Vikings by 5½. Over-Under: 39.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Vikings -6½.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Vikings -6.

The Game. Edge: Vikings.
Injuries: Packers: OUT: WR Robert Ferguson, OT Kevin Barry (IR), LB Abdul Hodge, S Marviel Underwood (IR). DOUBTFUL: RB Vernand Morency. QUESTIONABLE: WR Greg Jennings*, WR Charles Woodson. Vikings: OUT: DE Erasmus James (IR), LB Chad Greenway (IR), S Tank Williams (IR). QUESTIONABLE: RB Chester Taylor*, FB Tony Richardson, WR Marcus Robinson, DE Darrion Scott, DT Pat Williams, LB Napoleon Harris.

If Brett Favre retires after this season, this will be my final chance to comment on his inability to play in domes. I’ve always wondered why he can’t play with a roof over his head, and I’m beginning to suspect that Favre visited a shaman in South America who offered him the following: “I’ll give you a glorious football career and a Super Bowl ring. In return, I’ll make it so you won’t be able win in a dome – ever! (Insert sinister laugh here).” Sounds absurd, but that’s the best explanation I could come up with.

But before I go on about voodoo shamans and cursed domes, Favre threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over the Lions this year. Favre should have similar success against the Vikings, whose defense was exposed by the Patriots. Minnesota just doesn’t have the secondary to cover Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and David Martin. The Packers shouldn’t even bother with Ahman Green, who will undoubtedly be stymied by the league’s third-ranked rush defense.

The Vikings will also have success against the Packers, who similarly excel against ground attacks, but cannot stop the pass. Brad Johnson will methodically move the chains with Troy Williamson, Travis Taylor, Jermaine Wiggins and Marcus Robinson. Chester Taylor will not find much running room, however, as Green Bay is 10th in that department.

The majority of the public is betting the Vikings, which leaves me scratching my head. This is a heated divisional rivalry as both teams hate each other – and the results prove that fact. The past seven regular-season meetings between these two squads have been decided by: 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 5 and 4. Hmmm… I wonder if this game is going to be close.


The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge here; both teams are bitter rivals, both of whom must win.

The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
  • History: Vikings have won the last 3 meetings.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current head coaches are 71-51 ATS on the road following a road loss.
  • Brett Favre is 13-30 ATS (18-25 straight up) in domes.
  • Brett Favre is 15-12 ATS as an underdog since 2002.
  • Vikings are 9-3 ATS at home since 2005.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -6½.
  • Opening Total: 41½.
  • Weather: Dome.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Brett Favre, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jermaine Wiggins.
  • Sit Em: Both Running Backs.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Packers 17. (Packers +5½).
Money Pick.
Correct: Packers 23, Vikings 17.




Jets (4-4) at Patriots (6-2). Line: Patriots by 10½. Over-Under: 38.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Patriots -12½.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Patriots -13.

The Game. Edge: .
Injuries: Jets: OUT: RB Curtis Martin (PUP). QUESTIONABLE: WR Laveranues Coles*, WR Justin McCareins, WR Tim Dwight. Patriots: OUT: S Rodney Harrison, S Mel Mitchell. QUESTIONABLE: RB Laurence Maroney*, TE Daniel Graham, TE Garrett Mills, G Steve Neal, DE Richard Seymour, DE Ty Warren, CB Ellis Hobbs, S Eugene Wilson.

Have you ever played Horse against someone who made some kind of miraculous turn-around jump shot, and instead of embarrassing yourself you just concede, “I’ll take the letter, man – that’s impossible?” Well, maybe the Jets should do that. They should sell their plane tickets to Foxboro and party all week instead of playing the Patriots. They would have had a shot at this game if New England beat Indianapolis. However, the Patriots are coming off a loss, which is a situation Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been successful in the past.

The last time these two teams clashed, the Jets needed a huge comeback and a few miraculous catches from Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles to keep the game within double digits. That’s because they couldn’t run the ball; Kevan Barlow and Derrick Blaylock totaled 49 yards on 20 carries. New York still hasn’t fixed its rushing problem, which has to be a huge concern going into Foxboro. Pennington will once again be forced to operate out of long-yardage situations, so he may need to muster another comeback once his team is down by two touchdowns or more.

After their loss to the Broncos this year, the Patriots responded with 38 points against the Bengals. Expect a similar output in this contest, as the Jets have severe problems stopping the run. Laurence Maroney and Corey Dillon will have a field day running through wide-open lanes, which will create play-action opportunities for Brady. As if he needs any.

There’s nothing I hate more than going with the public, but I feel the bettors are on the ball with the Patriots. I love going with Belichick and Brady coming off a loss, and I’ll continue to do so this week.


The Psychology. Edge: Patriots.
There isn't a team in this league that rebounds off a loss better than the Patriots. Think the Jets were angry that the Colts beat them on Sunday night?

The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
  • History: Patriots have won the last 7 meetings.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 38-24 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Jets are 10-19-3 ATS as an underdog the previous 32 instances (3-2 in 2006).
  • Patriots are 30-18 ATS at home under Bill Belichick.
  • Patriots are 6-3 ATS in November home games since 2001.
  • Patriots are 19-7 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Patriots are 11-6 ATS in November since 2001.
  • Patriots are 8-2 ATS after a loss since 2003.
  • Tom Brady is 74-22 as a starter (60-34 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Patriots -10½.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: Rain, 54 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Tom Brady, Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney, Ben Watson.
  • Sit Em: Jets Running Backs and Defense.

Prediction: Patriots 34, Jets 20. (Patriots -10½).
Incorrect: Jets 17, Patriots 14.




Redskins (3-5) at Eagles (4-4). Line: Eagles by 7. Over-Under: 42.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Eagles -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Eagles -6.

The Game. Edge: Eagles.
Injuries: Redskins: PROBABLE: WR Santana Moss*, TE Christian Fauria. Eagles: OUT: DE Jevon Kearse (IR).

It’s official: Al Saunders is the most overpaid person on this planet. How stupid do you think Daniel Snyder felt when he watched his “genius” offensive coordinator call six running plays up the middle out of seven opportunities inside Dallas’ 4-yard line? Does anyone else find it odd that despite having a 700-page playbook, Saunders called the same play six times? Was he missing the other 699 pages, or something? Seriously, my 4-year-old, 110-pound dog, who happens to be afraid of construction workers, could have mustered a better game plan. Maybe Snyder will pay her a few million a year.

If Saunders calls another poor game, the Redskins will not win because they won’t luck out with another blocked field goal. He needs to keep things on the ground with Clinton Portis, given that the Eagles couldn’t stop Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew two weeks ago. Mark Brunell will then be able to utilize play-action against Philadelphia’s secondary, which has been brutal this season. However, if Saunders decides to drop back and pass with Brunell, he’ll get his quarterback killed; the Eagles have one of the top pass rushes in the NFL.

Washington’s defense is a shell of its former self. It is ranked 22nd against the run, surrenders 243 passing yards per game and cannot get to the quarterback (12 sacks). Think the Redskins miss LaVar Arrington? We all saw what Tony Romo did to them last week, so Donovan McNabb should be able to enjoy similar success. Washington just doesn’t have the tools to cover Brian Westbrook, Reggie Brown, Donte’ Stallworth and L.J. Smith.

This is a must-win for both squads, but I think the Eagles are a lot better than the Redskins. There aren’t any weird trends going against them, and the public money is about 50-50, so I’m going with the home team.

Sunday Morning Update: With 75 percent of the public now on the Eagles, I have nixed this as a Money Pick.


The Psychology. Edge: None.
A must-win for both squads. The loser will be out of playoff contention.

The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
  • History: Eagles have won 7 of the last 9 meetings.
  • Bye Bye: Andy Reid is 5-2 ATS off a bye.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 38-24 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002 (Joe Gibbs 1-1).
  • Emotional Win Alert: Teams are 55-79 ATS after an emotional win since 2001; REDSKINS kicked a GW FG as time expired.
  • Eagles are 15-9 ATS vs. NFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Eagles are 18-10 ATS vs. teams with losing records since 2001.
  • Donovan McNabb is 13-8 ATS after a loss since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -5½.
  • Opening Total: 43½.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 50 degrees. Mild wind: 15 mph.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Clinton Portis, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Donte' Stallworth, Reggie Brown. L.J. Smith.
  • Sit Em: Mark Brunell, Santana Moss*, Redskins Defense.

Prediction: Eagles 31, Redskins 17. (Eagles -7).
Correct: Eagles 27, Redskins 3.




Ravens (6-2) at Titans (2-6). Line: Ravens by 7½. Over-Under: 38.
Sunday, 1:00 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Ravens -3½.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Ravens -6.

The Game. Edge: Ravens.
Injuries: Ravens: OUT: G Edwin Mulitalo (IR). QUESTIONABLE: TE Todd Heap*, LB Ray Lewis*, CB Corey Ivy, S Ed Reed*. Titans: OUT: DE Antwan Odom, DT Albert Haynesworth (SUSP), DT Rien Long (IR). QUESTIONABLE: WR David Givens*, G Benji Olson, LB David Thornton.

I’ll admit that I’ll be rooting for the Ravens in this game for one simple reason: I want Steve McNair to make Titans general manager Floyd Reese look like a fool. Reese, who is this close to surpassing Matt Millen as the worst GM in the NFL, kicked McNair out of the team’s practice facility because he wanted to get a good deal for him. If you’re unfamiliar with Reese’s blunders, he notably took Pac Man Jones over a plethora of talented players in the 2005 Draft. Here was his thought process: “This Pack Guy spits on people, gets arrested from time to time, and can’t cover a single soul, but he looks like a good prospect! Let’s take him!” I’m shocked that Jeff Fisher hasn’t paid the mafia to make Reese disappear yet.

Fisher’s defense proved how bad it was last week at Jacksonville. David Garrard, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew basically did whatever they wanted to do. Considering that Baltimore’s offense has exploded since Jim Fassel hit the road, the Titans could be in for another long afternoon. Jamal Lewis will trample the league’s 29th-ranked ground defense, while Steve McNair will have the luxury of going against a stop unit that can neither stop the pass nor get to the quarterback.

Tennessee’s offense figures to be just as bad as its defense. Baltimore’s top-ranked run unit will put the clamps on Travis Henry, forcing Vince Young to throw the ball early and often. Young was 15-of-36 for 163 yards for one touchdown, three interceptions and a fumble against the Jaguars. That doesn’t bode too well for the Titans.

This seems like a complete mismatch, so I’d be crazy to take Tennessee. Well, call me a lunatic because I’m going with the home dog for three reasons: The Titans are coming off a blowout loss; nearly 90 percent of the public is on Baltimore; and the Ravens are undoubtedly preparing for Michael Vick, as they play Atlanta next week.


The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
This is personal revenge for Steve McNair, who will make it an effort to beat the team that betrayed him. We'll have to see if Ray Lewis and company try to help him out. I have to note, however, that the Ravens may be in a Sandwich Situation, as this contest is scheduled between Cincinnati and Atlanta.

The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Ravens are 17-7 ATS in November.
  • Titans are 2-0 ATS after losing by 30+ this year.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -7½.
  • Opening Total: 38.
  • Weather: Sunny, 59 degrees. Light wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Ravens Offense and Defense.
  • Sit Em: Titans Offense and Defense.

Prediction: Ravens 27, Titans 23. (Titans +7½).
Money Pick.
Correct: Ravens 27, Titans 26.




Broncos (6-2) at Raiders (2-6). Line: Broncos by 9½. Over-Under: 33.
Sunday, 4:05 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Broncos -9.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Broncos -11.

The Game. Edge: Broncos.
Injuries: Broncos: OUT: OT Matt Lepsis (IR), DE Courtney Brown (IR). QUESTIONABLE: RB Tatum Bell, FB Kyle Johnson, WR Rod Smith*, DT Gerard Warren, LB Al Wilson, LB Ian Gold, CB Darrent Williams, S John Lynch. Raiders: OUT: QB Aaron Brooks, LB Grant Irons. QUESTIONABLE: FB Zack Crockett, G Barry Sims.

Since this game figures to be a boring blowout, I have to comment on Heroes. Is anyone else tired of the story behind the woman with two personalities? She doesn’t have any super powers – she’s a schizophrenic with multiple personalities, who obviously doesn’t know that she takes steroids. She should be locked up in a psyche ward.

As I said, blowout. The Broncos have finally got things rolling on offense, as the team generated 62 points the past two weeks against the Colts and Steelers. Look for Mike Shanahan to establish Mike Bell early and often; the Raiders surrendered 138 yards to Maurice Morris on Monday night. This will open up play-action bootlegs for Jake Plummer, who will be throwing into a vastly overrated secondary. The Raiders are ranked first against the pass, as many of the talking heads on ESPN ceaselessly point out, but that’s because no one needs to throw against them.

Let’s make this quick: Andrew Walter will get sacked. Art Shell will stare into space. LaMont Jordan will get stuffed in the backfield. Art Shell will continue to stare into space. Randy Moss will drop passes. Art Shell… Art Shell??? Is this man even alive?

I’d call for an easy blowout, a Double Money Pick and the works, but that’s what everyone else is doing; as of Wednesday morning, 93 percent of the money is on Denver. I’m still siding with the Broncos, but if you plan on betting this game, please be careful; Vegas seldom loses.


The Psychology. Edge: Raiders.
The Broncos could be looking ahead to their battle against San Diego next week. On the other hand, Mike Shanahan hates Al Davis, and always tries his hardest to beat his former boss.

The Trends. Edge: TBA.
  • History: Broncos have won 14 of the last 18 meetings.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 38-24 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current head coaches are 64-50 ATS on the road following a road win (Mike Shanahan 5-3).
  • Broncos are 14-9 ATS vs. AFC West opponents since 2001.
  • Broncos are 27-36 ATS vs. opponents coming off a loss under Mike Shanahan.
  • Opening Line: Broncos -9½.
  • Opening Total: 33½.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 61 degrees. Mild wind: 11 mph.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Broncos Offense and Defense.
  • Sit Em: Raiders Offense, Defense and Existence.

Prediction: Broncos 37, Raiders 3. (Broncos -9½).
Incorrect: Broncos 17, Raiders 13.




Cowboys (4-4) at Cardinals (1-7). Line: Cowboys by 7. Over-Under: 43.
Sunday, 4:15 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Cowboys -5½.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Cowboys -6.

The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
Injuries: Cowboys: OUT: S Marcus Coleman (CUT), KR Tyson Thompson (IR). Cardinals: EXPECTED TO PLAY: WR Larry Fitzgerald.

Listen to what Mike Vanderjagt said about last week’s blocked kick: “I’m a guy who’s kicked thousands of balls in his life … I hit it solid … it takes 11 players.” Thanks, Mike. It’s great to know that you would have made a 35-yard field goal. It’s great to know that you had nothing to do with the loss. It’s great to know that you threw the other 10 players under the bus. Remember the South Park episode that had John Edward winning the “Biggest Douche in the Universe” award? Well, I’d like to nominate Vanderjagt.

The only silver lining in Dallas’ 22-19 loss to Washington was the play of Tony Romo. For the second consecutive week, Romo was brilliant, as he threw for 284 yards and two scores. His onslaught should continue against the Cardinals, who can’t seem to do anything right. They can’t stop the pass (219 yards per game), they can’t get to the quarterback (17 sacks) and they can’t stop the run (25th in the NFL). That’s the trifecta right there.

After starting off great against the Bears, Matt Leinart has fizzled, throwing three interceptions to just one touchdown against the Raiders and Packers. It’s safe to say that Dallas has a superior stop unit than those two teams. The Cowboys will effortlessly put the clamps on Arizona’s non-existent rushing attack, which will allow them to feast on Leinart, who is protected by one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Cardinals should use a lot of quick drops, similarly to what they were able to do against Chicago. But oh, wait, the offensive coordinator who thought of that plan is no longer with the team. Thanks a lot, Dennis Green.

Like the Falcons-Browns matchup, this is one of the tougher games on the board. Dallas is coming off a loss, and Bill Parcells has always done a masterful job of getting his team to bounce back. However, his squad has the Colts next week, which is something most bettors are ignoring because the Cowboys are receiving most of the action in Vegas. And by the way, this is Dallas’ third straight road game.


The Psychology. Edge: Cowboys.
Coming off a loss against the Redskins that the Cowboys should have won, Dallas must avoid a sub-.500 record. Arizona, meanwhile, may have quit on Dennis Green after he sheepishly fired his offensive coordinator in the wake of the Monday night loss to the Bears.

The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
  • Third Road Alert: Teams in their third-consecutive road game are 7-14 ATS since 2000.
  • Weak Arm: Tony Romo is 1-1 ATS on the road.
  • Cowboys are 16-9 ATS as a favorite under Bill Parcells.
  • Cardinals are 10-7 ATS as a home underdog since 2003.
  • Opening Line: Cowboys -7.
  • Opening Total: 43½.
  • Weather: Dome.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Cowboys Offense and Defense.
  • Sit Em: Edgerrin James, Cardinals Defense.

Prediction: Cowboys 34, Cardinals 31. (Cardinals +7½).
Incorrect: Cowboys 27, Cardinals 10.




Saints (6-2) at Steelers (2-6). Line: Steelers by 5½. Over-Under: 46.
Sunday, 4:15 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Pick.

The Game. Edge: Steelers.
Injuries: Saints: OUT: FB Mike Karney, TE Ernie Conwell, G Jermaine Mayberry (IR), LB Tommy Polley (IR), LB James Allen (IR), P Mitch Berger (IR). QUESTIONABLE: WR Joe Horn*, OT Jammal Brown, CB Fred Thomas, S Steve Gleason. Steelers: OUT: LB James Harrison, KR Willie Reid. DOUBTFUL: C Jeff Hartings. QUESTIONABLE: LB James Farrior.

This year’s upstart team and the most disappointing squad battle it out in Heinz Field. Speaking of disappointing, was anyone else extremely upset when they heard ABC announce that it was airing the season finale of Lost this week? That single-handedly ruined my Wednesday night; I frantically made calls to everyone in my address book. Eventually, someone told me that ABC meant the season finale would be the final episode of 2006, and not the actual season. Thank God. But I think ABC’s confusing message may have caused people to end things on their own terms, if you know what I mean.

The Steelers cannot afford a loss if they wish to make the playoffs. Yeah, they have to go 8-0 to have a shot. Improbable, but not impossible. They need to start here against the Saints, who are coming off an easy road victory at Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh’s front seven will be able to shut down Deuce McAllister, but I’m not sure if the rest of the defense can take care of Reggie Bush, Marques Colston and Joe Horn. Bush is a little banged up, so that may help the Steelers’ cause.

Pittsburgh moved the chains extremely well last week against Denver’s vaunted defense, but shot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions, as they missed a short field goal, and committed six turnovers, four of which were inside the Broncos’ 10-yard line. The Steelers should have success advancing the ball versus New Orleans’ stop unit, which features the league’s 23rd-ranked ground defense. Willie Parker will total more than 150 yards, allowing Ben Roethlisberger to orchestrate a few play-action passes downfield.

One thing that stands out at me is the point spread. The 2-6 Steelers are 4-point favorites over the 6-2 Saints? Does anyone else see anything wrong with that? Considering 80 percent of the public (as of Tuesday afternoon) is betting on New Orleans, I guess not.

Friday Morning Update: Check out these quotes from Bill Cowher and Joey Porter:

"This week is bigger than any other week. It's the second half of the season," Porter said. "We're 2-6. It's time to make no more excuses, so I'm going to put some of the pressure on my shoulder for us to go out there and get this victory: We will come back with a victory on Sunday."

"We have to win a football game," Cowher said. "I have a sense that we will do that ... We are going to attempt to do that. I am not making any guarantees about anything. I learned that a while back."

I was waiting this week to see whether the Steelers were in desperation mode, or if they felt sorry for themselves. I'm actually considering this as my Pick of the Month, but for now, this is a Double Money Pick.


The Psychology. Edge: Steelers.
The Saints, coming off a divisional victory, may have trouble against the Steelers, who will be fighting for their lives; Pittsburgh needs to finish the season with an 8-0 record to even have a shot at the playoffs.

The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current head coaches are 64-50 ATS on the road following a road win (Sean Payton 1-0).
  • Saints are 32-20 ATS on the road since 2000.
  • Saints are 20-13 ATS as a road underdog since 2000.
  • Steelers are 4-7 ATS in November home games since 2000.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 28-9 as a starter (23-14 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Steelers -3.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: Rain/snow showers, 44 degrees. Light wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Joe Horn, Marques Colston, Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker Hines Ward, Heath Miller.
  • Sit Em: Deuce McAllister, Saints Defense.

Prediction: Steelers 31, Saints 24. (Steelers -5½).
Double Money Pick.
Correct: Steelers 38, Saints 31.




Rams (4-4) at Seahawks (5-3). Line: Seahawks by 3½. Over-Under: 43½.
Sunday, 4:15 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Pick.

The Game. Edge: Rams.
Injuries: Rams: OUT: G Claude Terrell (IR), C Andy McCollum* (IR). QUESTIONABLE: LB Pisa Tinoisamoa. Seahawks: OUT: QB Matt Hasselbeck*, RB Shaun Alexander*, DT Marcus Tubbs, LB D.D. Lewis, S Mike Green (IR). DOUBTFUL: OT Sean Locklear. QUESTIONABLE: WR Bobby Engram*.

Two comments regarding Seattle’s 16-0 victory over the Raiders on Monday night: I was really upset that the Seahawks failed to sack Andrew Walter 13 times, which would have set an NFL record. Also, how terrible is Oakland’s offense? It can’t do anything, which isn’t surprising when you consider they have no talent on the offensive front, the quarterback stinks, Randy Moss drops balls like there’s no tomorrow, and the coordinator is too busy deciding whether to go with regular or blueberry pancakes. The Raiders could have played 275 quarters, and they still wouldn’t have scored.

That said, Seattle’s offense wasn’t much to brag about either. The Seahawks ran the ball well with Maurice Morris, but Seneca Wallace was mediocre, compiling just 176 yards. St. Louis’ defense isn’t great, but it should do a better job containing Seattle than it did on Oct. 15. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in that contest, but as you all know, he won’t be available on Sunday. If the Rams want to finally beat the Seahawks for the first time in a few years, this is their greatest chance.

We all know the Rams can score on Seattle. Steven Jackson didn’t do much in the previous meeting – he garnered 56 yards on 20 carries – but Marc Bulger compiled 360 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Seahawks’ secondary will once again have severe problems covering Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, as most teams do. If Seattle wants to keep St. Louis at bay, it will have to pressure Bulger; the team collected six sacks last time, but it’ll need a few more than that to give itself a chance to win.

As I said before, this is the Rams’ best opportunity to beat the Seahawks. I think they’ll get the job done.


The Psychology. Edge: None.
The winner takes control of the NFC West. Both teams will bring 100 percent.

The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Seahawks have won the last 3 meetings.
  • Post-Monday Night Magic: Mike Holmgren is 2-0 ATS after Monday Night Football.
  • Two Homes: Mike Holmgren is 3-8 ATS at home following a home win.
  • Rams are 10-25 ATS in road games since 2001.
  • Rams are 3-7 ATS on the road since 2005.
  • Opening Line: Seahawks -3½.
  • Opening Total: 43½.
  • Weather: Rain, 48 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Marc Bulger, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Deion Branch, Darrell Jackson.
  • Sit Em: Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander.

Prediction: Rams 31, Seahawks 26. (Rams +3½).
Correct: Seahawks 24, Rams 22.




Bears (7-1) at Giants (6-2). Line: Giants by 1. Over-Under: 37½.
Sunday, 8:15 ET
Walter's Game of the Week

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Giants -1.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Giants -2½.

The Game. Edge: Giants.
Injuries: Bears: OUT: DT Dusty Dvoracek (IR), S Mike Brown (IR). DOUBTFUL: WR Bernard Berrian*. Giants: OUT: WR Amani Toomer*, DE Michael Strahan*, LB LaVar Arrington (IR). DOUBTFUL: DE Osi Umenyiora*. QUESTIONABLE: WR Plaxico Burress*, LB Carlos Emmons, CB Sam Madison.

ESPN has to feel really stupid right now. No, I’m not referring to the fact that they have to listen to Merril Hoge discuss “factor backs” every week. I’m talking about NBC’s flex-scheduling ability. NBC gets to showcase the Giants and the Bears, while ESPN will be running a countdown to the Buccaneers-Panthers matchup, just one week after airing the Seahawks and Raiders. Why even have a countdown? I’m sure there’s one person out there watching the seconds tick down, but no one really cares about him.

I think everyone overrated the Bears when they were 7-0. They destroyed the Packers (3-5), Lions (2-6), Seahawks (5-3; at home and without Shaun Alexander), Bills (3-5) and 49ers (3-5). They barely squeaked by Arizona (1-7) and Minnesota (4-4). And then there was their loss to Miami (2-6). So, the only winning team they played was one that was missing the reigning league MVP. Interesting.

I would have boldly stated the Giants would be able to apply tons of pressure on Rex Grossman, but I can’t; Michael Strahan is out and Osi Umenyiora is questionable. However, that doesn’t mean the Bears will be able to score freely; Bernard Berrian will be MIA as well. Coming off a shaky performance, and playing without his deep threat, Grossman could be prone to a few more turnovers Sunday night, especially considering that the Giants – ranked seventh against the run – will nullify Thomas Jones.

Chicago’s defense is also banged up, as Brian Urlacher is questionable. If Urlacher is out, forget about it. If he’s in, the Giants still may score enough points to win. Eli Manning, who plays extremely well at home, should be able to spread the Bears out, and complete short passes to Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber. That’s a lot of weapons for any defense to handle. Barber may eclipse the century mark on the ground, as Chicago has shown susceptibility to the run; it surrendered a whopping 157 yards to Ronnie Brown last week.

The Bears are still a very public team, which would explain why 67 percent of the money (as of Wednesday afternoon) is going toward them. I think most bettors are completely discarding the Miami loss, which would be a mistake. The Giants, meanwhile, are underrated in the wake of their close call against the Texans. But like Chicago, New York was simply looking ahead.

Friday Morning Note: Plaxico Burress, who happens to be questionable for this game, has guaranteed a victory for the Giants. Not good if you were backing them. I'm changing this pick to the Bears. The fact that both Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora are likely out helps matters.


The Psychology. Edge: None.
A major nationally televized game between two powerhouse teams, neither of whom really needs to win.

The Trends. Edge: Bears.
  • Bears are 12-5 ATS in November since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Giants -1.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: Showers, 50 degrees. Mild wind, 15 mph.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Tiki Barber, Giants Defense.
  • Sit Em: Bears Offense.

Prediction: Bears 20, Giants 17. (Bears +1).
Correct: Bears 38, Giants 20.




Buccaneers (2-6) at Panthers (4-4). Line: Panthers by 10. Over-Under: 38.
Monday, 8:30 ET

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9 Games): Panthers -7½.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9 Games): Panthers -9.

The Game. Edge: Panthers.
Injuries: Buccaneers: OUT: QB Chris Simms, DT Anthony McFarland (TRADE). QUESTIONABLE: DE Simeon Rice, DT Ellis Wyms, LB Shelton Quarles, CB Juran Bolden. Panthers: OUT: OT Travelle Wharton (IR), DT Jordan Carstens, LB Dan Morgan. DOUBTFUL: C Justin Hartwig. QUESTIONABLE: CB Ken Lucas.

Since I have no comment about this miserable Monday night matchup, let me give you a synopsis of what Joe Theismann will say during this game: “Carolina is a really good team because they run the ball really well. I’d like to see the Panthers develop a stronger rushing attack. I talked to Jon Gruden and he told me Bruce Gradkowski is developing into the second coming of John Elway. Jon Gruden would like Bruce Gradkowski to get better every week because of all the mistakes he’s making. I talked to someone else, and he told me Julius Peppers is a really good player. Julius Peppers needs to get better every week so he can develop into a John Elway-type of player.”

Speaking of Peppers, think he’ll have his way with Tampa Bay’s offensive line? He’ll be going against rookie right tackle Jeremy Trueblood, so the Buccaneers will have to double-team him, opening up opportunities for Mike Rucker. Bruce Gradkowski will somehow have to survive in long-yardage situations, given that Carolina’s defense will nullify Cadillac Williams; the unit restricted Cadillac to just 48 yards on 19 carries in their September meeting.

The Panthers were able to jump out to a 17-0 lead in that game because of Jake Delhomme’s ability to connect with Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson. The two receivers compiled 14 receptions for 209 yards. DeShaun Foster, meanwhile, gained 82 yards on 20 carries – a number that should increase because the Buccaneers are now without Anthony McFarland.

Carolina needs this game to avoid a 4-5 record. That’s one of the reasons why I’m making this my Survivor Pool Pick. I was debating between the Panthers and Falcons, but the latter is erratic and may not be focused against Cleveland. Plus, there is a slight edge in money going toward Tampa Bay, so that’s always a plus.


The Psychology. Edge: Panthers.
Tampa Bay may come to play against its archrival, but the Panthers need a win to avoid a sub.-500 record.

The Trends. Edge: Panthers.
  • History: Panthers have won 7 of the last 8 meetings.
  • Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 38-24 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
  • Weak Arm: Bruce Gradkowski is 1-1 ATS on the road.
  • Panthers are 8-18 ATS as a home favorite of 3½ or more since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Panthers -10.
  • Opening Total: 37.
  • Weather: Clear, 42 degrees. Light wind.

Fantasy Spin
  • Start Em: Jake Delhomme, Steve Smith, Keyshawn Johnson, Panthers Defense.
  • Sit Em: Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers Defense.

Prediction: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 14. (Panthers -10).
Survivor Pool Pick (9-0)
Correct: Panthers 24, Buccaneers 10.


My Team-by-Team ATS Record
This section shows how well I do when picking each team. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed.


Cowboys: 7-1
Eagles: 6-2
Giants: 6-2
Redskins: 5-3

Bears: 5-3
Lions: 7-1
Packers: 6-1
Vikings: 5-3

Buccaneers: 2-6
Falcons: 4-4
Panthers: 3-3
Saints: 3-5

49ers: 6-2
Cardinals: 2-6
Rams: 4-3
Seahawks: 5-3

Bills: 4-4
Dolphins: 5-2
Jets: 6-2
Patriots: 4-3

Bengals: 4-3
Browns: 3-3
Ravens: 3-5
Steelers: 3-5

Colts: 2-5
Jaguars: 4-3
Texans: 7-1
Titans: 5-2

Broncos: 1-6
Chargers: 5-3
Chiefs: 3-5
Raiders: 3-4

Divisional Games: 23-21
Trend Edge: 14-15
Game Edge: 22-28
Psychological Edge: 8-8
Double Edge: 8-9
Triple Edge: 0-2


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1 5 Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 12, 2014): 7-8 (+$100)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 12, 2014): 3-3 (+$480)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 12, 2014): 1-1 (+$60)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 12, 2014): 8-7 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 12, 2014): -$220

2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-1, 66.7% (+$1,070)

2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 96-90-6, 51.6% (+$245)
2014 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 35-29, 54.7% (+$1,280)
2014 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 7-10-1, 41.2% (-$1,200)
2014 Season Over-Under: 97-76-2, 56.1% ($0)
2014 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,030

1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%)
2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%)
2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%)
2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%)
2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%)
2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%)
2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%)
2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550)
2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620)
2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370)
2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080)
2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925)
2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760)
2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)

2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)
2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)

2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%)
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2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%)
2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%)
2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420)
2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055)
2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330)
2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790)
2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260)
2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650)
2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)

2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%)
2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%)
2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%)
2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%)
2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%)
2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900)
2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860)
2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)
2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)

2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
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2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865
2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200
2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590
2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685
2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245

2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400)
2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720)
2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640)
2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810)
2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560)
2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)

Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,110-1,934-116, 52.2% (+$12,660)
Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 679-612-31 (52.6%)
Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 283-244-11 (53.7%)
Career Over-Under: 1,638-1,613-48 (50.4%)
Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-14-1 (61.1%)
Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-16 (65.2%)



My Team-by-Team ATS Record
This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

Cowboys: 4-7
Bears: 5-6
Bucs: 8-3
49ers: 4-6
Eagles: 7-4
Lions: 3-7
Falcons: 6-5
Cardinals: 6-5
Giants: 3-8
Packers: 8-2
Panthers: 5-6
Rams: 5-6
Redskins: 8-3
Vikings: 9-2
Saints: 4-6
Seahawks: 5-6
Bills: 4-7
Bengals: 4-8
Colts: 6-5
Broncos: 7-4
Dolphins: 7-3
Browns: 6-3
Jaguars: 6-5
Chargers: 3-8
Jets: 6-5
Ravens: 4-6
Texans: 5-6
Chiefs: 7-3
Patriots: 5-6
Steelers: 6-5
Titans: 6-3
Raiders: 3-8
Divisional: 24-24* (2011-13: 141-137)
2x Game Edge: 11-14 (2011-13: 55-62)
2x Psych Edge: 16-19 (2011-13: 92-80)
2x Vegas Edge: 30-30 (2011-13: 129-142)
2x Trend Edge: 26-12* (2011-13: 72-78)
Double Edge: 8-10 (2011-13: 27-33)
Triple Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 2-1)
Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 0-0)

2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
2003 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 20 | XXXVIII
2004 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
2004 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XXXIX
2005 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
2005 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XL
2006 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
2006 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLI
2007 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
2007 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLII |
2008 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2008 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIII |
2009 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIV |
2010 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2010 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLV |
2011 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2011 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLVI |
2012 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2012 Season:
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Super Bowl XLVII NFL Pick
2013 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2013 Season:
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Super Bowl XLVIII NFL Pick 2014 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
2014 Season:
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