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Kibbles and Picks 2016 - Week 9

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It has not been a great first half of the season here at Kibbles and Picks.

Week 8 saw another mediocre showing from both of us 7-5, plus yet another tie. We've struggled right along with the NFL this season, proving that neither man nor beast is immune to this year's seeming downgrade in on-field performance.

Week 9 promises to be a big one, however even with just 13 contests because of teams on bye, Stella and I are at odds on six games. That's nearly half. If I make a big move on those games, I could potentially vault into the lead. Of course, if Stella makes a big move, she'll put me in a hole from which I might well prove unable to overcome.

First up is the Thursday night game. I've ridden Falcons QB Matt Ryan to fantasy football relevance this year, so obviously I'm pulling for a big game out of Atlanta. They've put up numbers against much better defenses than Tampa Bay's. But they haven't really stopped anyone either, and Stella thinks the Jameis Winston-led Buccaneers have the weapons to take advantage. Tampa Bay's running game is questionable, but she really likes wideout Mike Evans in this matchup. In a move that surprised me a little, she also picked the Ravens to defeat the Steelers. She thinks Baltimore will get it done on their home field even if Ben Roethlisberger does wind up coming back this week (though obviously, she'd prefer it if he didn't). I like Pittsburgh to get things done here; one of their skill players is going to go off, whether it's Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown. It'll be hard-fought, but the Steelers will come out on top.

It's not much more than a gut call, but I'm picking the Jets to go into Miami and eke out a victory over the Dolphins. They've struggled, but the Miami defense can help an offense get right in a hurry. Stella doesn't like either of these teams, but she's willing to cede the advantage to the home team. Neither one of us is thrilled about this one. I'm rolling the dice with the next one as well, picking the Rams to win in Los Angeles against the visiting Panthers. It feels weird to be picking a kind of crummy team over the reigning NFC champs, but Carolina's struggles appear to be real. Their once-vaunted defense is poised to give up a long-overdue big game from Todd Gurley. Stella agrees that Carolina is basically a hollowed-out shell at this point, but she refuses to believe that the Panthers have fallen so far as to lose to a bad Rams team.

I like the Chargers to win at home against the Titans. The San Diego offense looks ready to give the Tennessee defense fits; Philip Rivers will be slinging it all over the stadium. Stella believes that the talented Titans running back duo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry will have no problem churning out yardage against the San Diego front. She's going with her furry little gut on this one; I respect that. And finally, we're at odds in the Denver/Oakland game. I'm picking the home team. While Denver's defense is obviously elite, the Raiders passing game has looked awfully good. I like that matchup far better than the reverse; Denver's offensive attack will struggle to score enough even against an iffy Raiders defense. Meanwhile, Stella believes the exact opposite she thinks the Broncos D shuts down the Oakland attack and likes the offense to do enough to pull out the win.

Ultimately, this could prove to be a make-or-break week for me there's a lot of football left to be played, but that three-game lead is starting to look more and more daunting with every passing game. Time to make my move.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN'S PICKS

Thursday, Nov. 3

ATLANTA at Tampa Bay

Sunday, Nov. 6

PITTSBURGH at Baltimore

DALLAS at Cleveland

Jacksonville at KANSAS CITY

NY JETS at Miami

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

Detroit at MINNESOTA

Carolina at LOS ANGELES

NEW ORLEANS at San Francisco

Tennessee at SAN DIEGO

Indianapolis at GREEN BAY

Denver at OAKLAND

Monday, Nov. 7

Buffalo at SEATTLE

Week 8 record: 7-5-1

Season record: 65-53-2

STELLA'S PICKS

Thursday, Nov. 3

Atlanta at TAMPA BAY

Sunday, Nov. 6

Pittsburgh at BALTIMORE

DALLAS at Cleveland

Jacksonville at KANSAS CITY

NY Jets at MIAMI

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

Detroit at MINNESOTA

CAROLINA at Los Angeles

NEW ORLEANS at San Francisco

TENNESSEE at San Diego

Indianapolis at GREEN BAY

DENVER at Oakland

Monday, Nov. 7

Buffalo at SEATTLE

Week 8 record: 7-5-1

Season record: 68-50-2

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