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Sunday, 3 November 2013

TPL Picks: Week 9, spread picks & Game of the week

Firstly our apologies for not getting our picks piece out last week. The NFL Fan Rally in Trafalgar Square and all the other pre-game coverage for the Wembley game kept us busier than we thought.

Week 9 sees the Kansas City Chiefs maintain their spot as the NFL's lone unbeaten team (Congratulations if you saw that coming!) while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars remain winless, but for different reasons. All the stories coming out of Tampa are hilarious to watch as an outside (they're not so hilarious for Gur though), the most recent one was coaches trying to tell Gerald McCoy for helping an opposing player up of the ground after a play. Because gentlemanly conduct seems to have no place in Greg Schiano's system. That guy will be lucky to get a Division III co-ordinators job next year.


Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) @ Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Sunday 4:05pm ET

We're at the mid point in the season and I think it's safe to say I was wrong with both of these teams. I had the Eagles winning the division (which could still happen, but not because they're good) and the Raiders as the worst team in football, which they are most definitely not.

As far as the Raiders are concerned the big difference in pre-season thinking to today is the play of quarterback Terrelle Pryor. As an Ohio State fan I've seen a lot of Pryor, and the guy who played there was no threat to play well in the NFL. But since being selected in the 3rd round of the 2011 Supplemental Draft he's worked and worked to become a decent pocket passer. His ability to stand in the pocket, progress through reads and not panic is impressive given where he used to be, and he's retained his good rushing instincts and his ability to run zone reads, as the Steelers can attest. Pryor hasn't been great by any means, but his 63.1 completion percentage and solid 7.3 yards per attempt should give the Raiders some pause before diving on the best available quarterback in the next draft. The Raiders roster still has a ton of holes that need addressing, not least both lines, and perhaps giving Pryor 2014 as well wouldn't be a bad decision.

As for the Eagles, well the fireworks of week 1 seem a distant memory, and now that Michael Vick and his popping hamstring are out it doesn't look like that majestic offense will be making a reappearance any time soon. The Eagles are still the 2nd best rushing offense (in yards per game) in the NFL despite their recent stutters, and this week will probably be starting Nick Foles under centre which is an upgrade on Matt Barkley for sure, but won't come close to what they can do with Vick.

An interesting caveat for this game is that the Eagles take their 3-1 road record into Oakland, where the Raiders are 3-1 this year, we also have the worst passing attack (Raiders are 32nd in pass yards per game) against the 31st worst passing defense. Games like this are always fun, and it's as close as Chip Kelly will get to Oregon this season so maybe he'll get some support at the Coliseum too. In a week where there's just one game between .500 or better teams, why not turn onto this one? (TD)


Toby's spread picks - (last week 2-1, overall 7-14)

I hit on Cowboys +2.5 and San Fran -14.5 last week, let's see if the magic continues!!

Seattle (-14.5) over Tampa

Yes, the Seahawks offensive line isn't good and the Bucs have started to realise that Darelle Revis guy is pretty good in man coverage, but I still think this is a no brainer. Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon were teammates at NC State, and when Wilson was drafted in the 4th round of the MLB draft and had graduated he was told that Glennon would be the new starting QB, Wilson went and played a year at Wisconsin and has become on of the better QB's in the NFL on a great team while Glennon is finding his feet in an organisation that's more of a soap opera than a football team.

Cleveland (+1.5) over Baltimore

Joe Haden will take away Torrey Smith, the front 7 will take away Ray Rice and Jason Campbell can do just enough to find Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon who are very quietly having excellent seasons and will be the best skill position players on the field in this one. Also watch out for a classic between a rejuvenated Terrell Suggs and Joe Thomas.

Indianapolis (-2) over Houston

Arian Foster looks doubtful to play in this one, and Ben Tate's 4 cracked ribs are going to severely limit him, meaning the Houston offense will be run through Case Keenum and Deji Karim... Ouch. Sure, Keenum is a hometown hero getting his first start in Reliant Stadium which will give the crowd a boost, and JJ Watt utterly ruined the Colts interior offensive line last year. And Reggie Wayne is out. And Trent Richardson is terrible.... This one could be close. But the Colts defense is better than a lot of people give it credit for, Robert Mathis is a terror this year and won't always be lined up over Dwayne Brown. 







Toby Durant 
Phil Gaskin 
Gur Samuel 
Bengals @ Dolphins

Bengals 
Bengals 
Bengals 
Chiefs @ Bills

Chiefs 
Chiefs
Chiefs
Vikings @ Cowboys

Cowboys 
Cowboys
Cowboys
Titans @ Rams

Titans 
Rams
Titans
Saints @ Jets

Saints 
Saints
Saints
Chargers @ Redskins

Chargers 
Chargers
Chargers
Falcons @ Panthers

Panthers 
Panthers
Panthers
Eagles @ Raiders

Raiders 
Raiders
Raiders
Bucs @ Seahawks

Seahawks 
Seahawks
Seahawks
Ravens @ Browns

Browns 
Ravens
Ravens
Steelers @ Patriots

Patriots 
Patriots
 Patriots
Colts @ Texans

Colts 
Colts
Colts
Bears @ Packers


Packers 
Packers
Packers
Last Week: 

10-3 
10-3 
11-2 
Overall: 
76-43 
74-45 
78-41 

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