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An Idiot's Guide to Week 9 in the NFL

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I hang my head in humble shame at last week's picks -- I went a dismal 4-10 for the week and 60-47 so far for the year. It was so bad, the NFL put me through their concussion protocol. Here's hoping this week is better.

The big winner in the Eagles/Rams QB trade: Nick Foles, who got to wear these excellent throwbacks last week.
The big winner in the Eagles/Rams QB trade: Nick Foles, who got to wear these excellent throwbacks last week.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Note: All times Eastern.

Ten Random Thoughts

Raiders @ Steelers (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 27-16 Steelers

At least Oakland doesn't have Terrelle Pryor: Given the Steelers' history over the last 10 years or so against the Raiders, I'd be worried about this one, regardless of circumstances or records. If you recall, the last time the teams met at Heinz Field, Terrell Pryor scored from 93 yards out, just 19 seconds into the game. The Raiders took a 21-3 lead into halftime, but the Steelers came storming back. Unfortunately, they ultimately came up three points short. The good news is, the Steelers are a much better team now. The bad news is that the Raiders are, too. However, I expect a very ticked-off Steelers team to emerge from the tunnel on Sunday, and woe befall the poor saps who get in their way.

Dolphins @ Bills (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 21-20 Bills

It would be easier to pick an angry lion’s nose than this game's winner: If tornadoes could get drunk, they’d be more predictable than the outcome of this matchup. For two weeks, the Dolphins looked like they had things figured out, only to get thoroughly dismantled by the Patriots. The Bills were within a single score of the Patriots before the wheels came off at the very end of the game, but they lost to the Jaguars in their most recent game. The Jaguars. The Jaguars. Screw it, I'm taking the home team.

Packers @ Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 19-13 Panthers

If you polled 100 people in August about which of these teams would be undefeated entering week nine of the season, it would be unanimous: you'd get 117 responses in favor of the Packers. And all 146 of them would be wrong. Also, I'm not very good at math.

Rams @ Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 23-17 Vikings

Now, a serious note about wildcard, really, I'm not joking!: Approximately four people would have thought, when the season started, that this game could have significant playoff implications. Both of these teams could find themselves fighting for a wild-card spot, and the winner will have the tiebreaker advantage.

Titans @ Saints (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 41-9 Saints

Another week, another former Steelers assistant coaching the Titans: The firing of head coach Ken Whisenhunt ended with tight ends coach Mike Mularkey becoming the Titans’ interim skipper. Both have formerly served as offensive coordinators for the Steelers, and both have been head coaches for other teams.  With Mularkey now at the helm, expect to see the Titans do some unorthodox things on offense -- like, maybe, score points. But it's a very big maybe.

Jaguars @ Jets (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 31-13 Jets

Jacksonville will not be inviting Willie Nelson to any upcoming games: The Jaguars have a 2-2 record and a minus-15 point differential at home. They are 0-3 on the road and have been outscored by 44 points in those games. They may not be great at home, but "utterly inept" does not do their road tendencies justice.

Falcons @ 49ers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Score: 24-10 Falcons

I’m Colin it a loss for the Blaine-Jane 49ers: Raise your hand if you thought there was any chance outside of injuries that Blaine Gabbert would unseat Colin Kaepernick as the 49ers’ starting quarterback. Now, put your hand down, because you are either lying or drunk. Blaine-freakin’-Gabbert. Then again, no one would have thought two weeks ago that the Falcons would at one point find themselves trailing Tampa Bay by 17 points and eventually losing to them.

Giants @ Buccaneers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Score: 23-20 Buccaneers

Crazy Stats of the Week #1: Tampa Bay has not won consecutive games since beating the Dolphins, Falcons and Lions in weeks 10 through 12 of the 2013 season -- almost two years. Crazy Stat of the Week #2: The Buccaneers lost by 28 points in the season opener. They have been outscored by just eight points in the six games since.

Broncos @ Colts (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Score: 37-20 Broncos

Mister Ed will reportedly be in the front row: The NFL’s two teams whose names derive from equine sources are going to square off in what figures to be one of the more lopsided games of the year. Peyton Manning is hitting his stride, while the Colts just fired their offensive coordinator after three straight losses. Maybe it’s not Luck’s injuries, after all: in two straight games, the Colts have come up short after mounting huge, fourth-quarter comebacks. Maybe it’s the early-game play calling and Luck’s head that are the problems. Or, maybe, desperation is a good motivator.

Eagles @ Cowboys (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

Score: 19-17 Cowboys

Did the NFL want "parity" or "parody"?: The Cowboys have lost five in a row since losing Tony Romo to a broken collarbone -- and, at 2-5, are only 1.5 games out of first place in the NFC East. Of course, that degree of Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot isn't limited to the Cowboys, who are a full game better than the Tennessee Titans. At 1-6, the Titans are the same 1.5 games out of first place in the AFC South, who collectively have one of the worst inferiority complexes I've ever seen.

All The Rest

Browns @ Bengals (Thursday, 8:25 p.m.)

Score: 24-14 Bengals

Redskins @ Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 34-10 Patriots

Bears @ Chargers (Monday, 8:30 p.m.)
Score: 16-13 Bears