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Kibbles and Picks 2020 – Week 9

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That … was embarrassing.

In one of my worst single weeks in the eight years I’ve been writing this feature, Week 8 saw me go an abysmal 5-9. While I’ve never claimed to be legitimately good at any of this, I have to say that I believe myself better than I showed this past week.

Stella, on the other hand (paw?), went 9-5. Of the six games on which we differed, I managed one lousy solitary win – much obliged, Russell Wilson and company – so she tacked another four games onto her already-significant lead.

Long story short? Here, at the halfway mark of the season, I now trail by double digits.

It’s quite a hole that has been dug here, but all we can do is try to climb out a bit at a time. I’ll have six chances to do so this week, so it’s conceivable that I can make a pretty big dent. Of course, I said that last week and we all know how that turned out.

First up, I have Atlanta winning at home against Denver. The Falcons offense has looked solid – or at least solid enough – in recent weeks that I’m ready to pick them against an iffy Broncos squad. Expect a big game out of Julio Jones, especially if the Atlanta receivers are still banged up. Stella isn’t so much a proponent of the Broncos as she expects the Falcons to continue their trend of figuring out ways to lose games. She’s expecting a couple of key takeaways to be the difference.

Next, in the Seattle/Buffalo tilt, I’ve got the home Bills taking the victory. I believe Josh Allen is heading for a significant upswing; I’m betting he makes at least one big play with his legs to go with some big passes. And the Bills defense looks ready to at least make Russell Wilson sweat a little. Stella likes the Seahawks here, precisely because she DOESN’T think the Bills can handle Wilson. She’s guessing that Tyler Lockett and/or D.K. Metcalf will blow up against the Buffalo secondary and that Seattle’s D will harass Allen into a turnover or two.

From there, it’s off to Indianapolis, where I’m picking the visiting Ravens to take down the Colts. While Baltimore hasn’t looked nearly as dominant this year, the fact is that they’re still winning. And while Lamar Jackson has come back down to earth, he’s still a great offensive performer. And I think the Ravens have the talent on defense to largely shut down the Colt. Stella disagrees; she’s coming around on Indy as a legitimate contender in the AFC. There’s nothing all that flashy about the Colts, but they’ve quietly had an excellent first half. Stella thinks that continues and expects Indianapolis to win a close one.

In Detroit/Minnesota, I’m going with the Lions – a pick I may regret if QB Matthew Stafford is unable to play, but it sounds like he’ll be a go. No, Detroit hasn’t had a great 2020, but I feel like there are a couple of guys who could potentially break out on this offense. Stella thinks I’m a crazy person; she anticipates that Dalvin Cook is going to have a huge game against this inconsistent Lions defense. She also expects a big performance from either Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen. While she’s no fan of the Vikings defense, she thinks the Lions are going to continue to struggle with execution on the offensive side.

Up next is Raiders/Chargers. I’m going with Los Angeles because I like what I’m seeing out of rookie passer Justin Herbert and I think he’s going to be able to put up some points against the Raiders. And if Justin Jackson can continue to perform both rushing and receiving, so much the better. The circumstances look good for an explosive day for the Chargers. Stella likes L.A. well enough, but she has a hunch about the Raiders this week. She expects Josh Jacobs to get the ball a ton to control the clock; she also thinks that tight end Dustin Waller is poised for a big game. She’s not sure about the Vegas defense, but she thinks the Raiders will score enough to win.

Finally, we’re looking at the New Orleans/Tampa Bay game. I went with the Buccaneers at home. With the way that the offense has looked the past few weeks – Tom Brady has been spreading the ball around very effectively – and the surprisingly stout defense, it’s hard to pick against them. They’re firing on all cylinders. Stella agrees that the Bucs look good, but she’s going with the Saints. Her take is that this is going to be the signature game of the season for Drew Brees – she expects that he’s going to want to be the one who leave the building atop the touchdown list. She also thinks that Brady may try too hard to include incoming wideout Antonio Brown. One thing we agree on – this is going to be a good one.

And there we have it. Six games. Hopefully, I can do something to reduce the enormity of Stella’s 10-game lead. Or maybe she just starts running it up. We’ll have to wait and see.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Nov. 5

GREEN BAY at San Francisco

Sunday, Nov. 8

Denver at ATLANTA

Seattle at BUFFALO

Chicago at TENNESSEE

BALTIMORE at Indianapolis

Carolina at KANSAS CITY

DETROIT at Minnesota

NY Giants at WASHINGTON

HOUSTON at Jacksonville

Las Vegas at LA CHARGERS

PITTSBURGH at Dallas

Miami at ARIZONA

New Orleans at TAMPA BAY

Monday, Nov. 9

NEW ENGLAND at NY Jets

Week 8 record: 5-9

Season record: 70-48-1

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Nov. 5

GREEN BAY at San Francisco

Sunday, Nov. 8

DENVER at Atlanta

SEATTLE at Buffalo

Chicago at TENNESSEE

Baltimore at INDIANAPOLIS

Carolina at KANSAS CITY

Detroit at MINNESOTA

NY Giants at WASHINGTON

HOUSTON at Jacksonville

LAS VEGAS at LA Chargers

PITTSBURGH at Dallas

Miami at ARIZONA

NEW ORLEANS at Tampa Bay

Monday, Nov. 9

NEW ENGLAND at NY Jets

Week 8 record: 9-5

Season record: 80-38-1

Last modified on Thursday, 05 November 2020 10:20

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