• A Consistently Inconsistent Season: Pigskin Pundits Picks, NFL Week Nine

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    Surge Summary: Coaches are on the chopping block, while a predictably unpredictable National Football League season continues apace. Here are Pigskin Pundit’s picks for NFL Week Nine.

    by Pigskin Pundit (Nathan Clark)

    The horrors of Halloween have passed….or have they?  It’s getting close to the Firing Line for some coaches, where there just doesn’t seem to be a way forward and time to cut losses on what appear to be poor fits.  First up, Josh McDaniels has GOT to be feeling crosshairs on his back, as his talented team has played so far below their potential.  This will certainly be his last head coaching shot, and I would be amazed if he isn’t gone before the Thanksgiving leftovers are.  Dan Campbell’s seat is getting hot, because he coached up half a football team.  His Lions couldn’t defend themselves against newborn baby chicks at this point.  All the pep talks and chest thumping have gotten very stale in the face of poor results.  Nathaniel Hackett is about to tumble down the Rockies, because he too has developed half a team.  Unless Denver’s defense hangs 20 points on the board each week, they can’t win.  Say goodbye to Cliff Kingsbury over the holidays, because he will be scooting back to college faster than you can say ‘Matt Rhule’.  Frank Reich may also be in the wind, if the irascible Irsay sobers up enough to realize his team stinks.  On the plus side of coaching, Bill Belichick passed George Halas on the all-time wins list, leaving only Don Shula in his sights.  Shula hates Belichick, so I will relish watching that record fall in the next year or so.  Another week of inconsistency in the NFL, which has, ironically, become the ONLY consistent factor this season.  Even I fell to mediocrity this week, going 8-7.  Since we’re ALL FIRED up (sorry, bad coaches), here’s the picks.

    Eagles at Texans – Nothing to see here.  Houston should have shed payroll and gathered draft picks on deadline day.  Instead, they did nothing except anger Brandin Cooks.  Even the unbeaten Eagles made moves to improve, taking nothing for granted.  This is why the Eagles are in first overall, and Houston is….Houston.  By all means watch Philly vs. Houston this week….in the World Series.  Eagles crash the trash that is the Texans dumpster fire.

    Chargers at Falcons – This game is interesting.  The Chargers are beat up, and if Atlanta gets Cordarrelle Patterson back it will create matchup problems for LA’s weak run defense.  Mike Williams is out (again), Bosa is out (still), and nobody knows if Allen is Keen to return and play at 100%.  Falcons are appalling at pass defense, pass rushing, and passing the football, despite the fact they sit atop the division.  Kyle Pitts his skills against the Bolts secondary, but even on low voltage the Chargers win again.

    Dolphins at Bears – Miami made moves at the deadline to shore up their team, landing Bradley Chubb to crush opposing QBs and Jeff Wilson to deepen their RB room.  Chubb will make a big impact, both here and in Denver where he left a very good defense.  Chicago also made moves to upgrade their offense plucking Chase Claypool from the Steelers, but softened their defense greatly by trading away Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn.  Miami has settled on Tua as the man, and they should not have significant problems scoring on the ground or in the air in the Windy City.  Fields yields as the Phins win agin.

    Panthers at Bengals – The Bungles got kicked out of Ohio Monday night, and Joe is living up to his name as he Burrows into the turf more than every other QB but one this season.  The nothing-to-lose Panthers can bring the heat, with Burns scorching opposing QBs regularly.  Cincy’s Ah-Woozie-Aye was carted off the field last week, weakening their secondary.  As much as I’m ticked at Cincy for laying a rotten egg on MNF, they still have more juice than Carolina.  In this magnum catfight, Tigers maul the Panthers.

    Packers at Lions – This game has been a foregone conclusion for so many years past that it is actually interesting to think it isn’t, this season.  Detroit can stuff the endzone, as they have proven all season, and Jared Goff has found a strange new life in Michigan.  The defense can’t stop a bag of kittens, but in fairness Green Bay’s D hasn’t risen to the task this year either.  If the Packers rely on a run-heavy game plan, they should find enough push to control the time of possession, and thereby the score.  Extra Cheese, please.  Pack smacks the hacks in Pontiac.

    Raiders at Jaguars – I can’t look…is Josh McDaniels still a head coach?  The Raiders hadn’t crossed mid-field until the 3rd quarter last week, against the 2-5 Saints.  In come the 2-6 Jaguars, who appear to be stuck in arrested development, especially their ‘generational’ quarterback, who seems to be in a retrograde orbit.  I don’t get these hair farmer pro football players, in a league where pulling long hair is within the rules.  But I digress.  Nevada’s back is literally to the wall, they have the horses and experience to beat this Jacksonville team, and it would take a total meltdown for them to screw this up, home or away.  Eyepatches punch the peppered pussycats.

    Colts at Patriots – The Colts have talent.  They can run the ball.  They have pass-catchers.  They own a stout rund defense, and decent D-backs like Gilmore.  What they can’t seem to do is put together two decent games in a row, or beat teams they should beat.  New England has a defense that is good at taking away the one thing the opposition does best.  Bill Belichick’s record against rookie quarterbacks is astonishing as well.  The Pats can pound the ball with anybody, and if Jones gets a little protection from his dinged-up O-line (thanks, Chicago…), he is a capable and thoughtful passer.  The Colts fail to coalesce as the Minutemen hold the line.

    Bills at Jets – Low-hanging fruit here.  The Jets have stockpiled talent after so many high draft picks, and it is showing.  Their D is legit, and getting better.  But it should be clear to everyone on this planet that they do NOT have their QB of the future…again. Zach ‘Baby-face’ Wilson looks like the second coming of Sam Darnold, from the frequent maladies to the inexplicable passing misjudgments to ‘hearing ghosts’ in the backfield.  One quality no player combine can reveal is football intelligence, which in quarterbacks is paramount.  It doesn’t matter if you can throw the ball 400 yards on a rope or scamper 15 yards downfield, if you’re a dope.  I don’t know what the Jets have in Wilson, but it isn’t looking promising at this point in his career.  Bills shoot the Jets down, as their tailspin back to mediocrity begins.

    Vikings at Commanders – I love Terry McLaurin.  He finds tiny seams and pockets in the defense and his sure-handedness with the ball is clutch, literally.  Heinicke has breathed some more of his vivacity into Washington’s moribund offense, and their D can pressure-cook a QB over 60 minutes.  In come the Game of Thrones crowd in purple ready to get rowdy on someone else’s turf, in true Viking form.  Captain Kirk has been throwing less and winning more this season, which suggests good coaching.  Justin Jefferson continues to be other-worldly in his accomplishments, and Dalvin still Cooks every chance they turn him loose.  Add to these weapons TJ Hockenson just liberated from the Lions, and boom!.  Mr. Smith (Z’Darius) will be going to Washington every chance he gets, looking to plant Heinicke’s heinie deep in his own end.  Minnesota is loaded and focused under their new coach, and Washington is just the next land to be conquered as the Norsemen raid the NFC.  Vikings horn in on the Dubbyas.

    Seahawks at Cardinals – Bird Battle II, as these div-rivals meet again.  It’s put up or shut up time for Arizona, who lost to the Squawks two weeks ago.  Seattle is very tenuous in first place, because Geno Smith is playing out of his mind (top completion percentage in the league) and thereby hiding a very weak defense.  Seattle’s D actually stinks, by the numbers, so their hold on the NFC West is not expected to last, in my opinion.  Arizona has a chance in this game, because their passing game and running game are both visible weaknesses for Seattle.  But will they control the time of possession and not get into a shootout?  D-Hop’s return could easily be the game-changer this time, and I think Seattle is due to be exposed for the sieve that they are, at least for one game.  Cardinals guard the roost while the Squawks get goosed.

    Rams at Buccaneers – This should have been a riveting clash of two champion gladiators…instead, it looks like two exhausted & battered centurions leaning against each other, feebly batting away as strength ebbs.  These teams match up well, because they share the same weaknesses on both sides of the ball, and extended losing streaks.  Brady hasn’t been sharp this year, and Staffie has been very pedestrian as well.  His overdependence on Kupper Coop has put the league’s most elusive receiver in harm’s way of double and triple-team coverage, which increases the odds of injury.  So who wins this match of broken warriors?  Flip your coin.  Mine says Sean McVay has more answers than Todd Bowles…but just barely.  Rams win this Ugly Sweater contest.

    Titans at Chiefs – Tennessee gets a taste of where they REALLY stand, against a strong contender.  It’s likely to be a bitter pill, as the Chiefs are just better everywhere.  Add to that Tennessee’s horrible ranking on defending the deep ball, and…well, you get it.  Not to mention that the league’s Lightning Offense just had a week off…while Derek Henry was supplying practically ALL of the Titans’ offense again.  This is just not a good matchup in any way for Vrabel’s one-dimensional try-hards.  Grit isn’t a substitute for ability, and the Titans are simply outgunned by a team that can sleep away the first 3 quarters of a game and still smoke you in the fourth. Even without Tyreek the Freak they are still very much the Chiefs.  Titans clash while the Chiefs dash, slash and stash away a home win.

    Ravens at Saints – The Saints have showed spirit and depth at times this season, even with their losing record.  Beltimore is clearly gearing up for a hard run at the Super Bowl, with the addition of Roquan Smith from Chicago this week.  That one trade shores up their run & pass defense in the middle, while improving their pass rush as well.  Of all the pickups this trading deadline, this one might be the most impactful.  If the Ravens’ defense can continue to improve, it will take pressure off Lamar Jackson to have to carry the team every game.  The Saints aren’t going to go away in a division that is completely up for grabs, but they are overmatched in this game.  The Baltimore Express picks up speed as it passes through N’Awlins.

    Enjoy the games!

    -Pigskin Pundit (Nathan Clark

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    Image: Belinda Hankins Miller – originally posted to Flickr as OK, so that's five for Chili's after the game?, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4218602

    Nathan Clark is a conservative commentator who resides with his wife in New Hampshire. He is passionate about preserving the vision of our nation’s Founders and advancing those tried and true principles deep into America’s future. His interests range broadly from flyfishing, cooking and shooting to pro sports, gardening, live music and fine-scale modeling.

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