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Pigskin Pick'em: Trick-or-treaters in for a surprise!

Posted: October 30, 2013 - 8:40pm

Trick-or-Treaters are in for quite a surprise this Halloween. Come knocking on the Sultan of Sides’ door and you’ll get nothing but ATS winners! No chocolate bars, no candy corn, just football knowledge by the handful. The incredible hot streak continued last week with a sparkling 9-4 mark. That ups our record to a tidy 63-50-7 on the year. Over the last three weeks the column has hit on an incredible 73% spanning a 43 game stretch. Wow! That’s how you atone for a challenging start to the season.

This run of NFL intelligence is as good as any I’ve experienced but I’m not naïve. When you’re taking on the books in Vegas things can turn sour quickly and I’m not referring to the delicious sour candies your kids will be eating all weekend. I’m talking sour like the Seattle Seahawks offensive line play last Monday against the St. Louis Rams. Have you ever seen anything so frightening on a football field? I was certain the little quarterback that could, Russell Wilson, was going to leave the field on a stretcher due to all the crushing hits he was taking. It was the nightmare on N. Broadway Street! Despite the lackluster effort Seattle remains a Super Bowl favorite, I think...

Contenders and pretenders have separated themselves at the mid-point of the NFL calendar. It’s not a stretch to say that this year’s champion will be one of four fantastic teams. The Denver Broncos have established themselves, unequivocally, as the top team in the AFC. In the NFC, the Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints appear to be at the top of the conference. The New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs are in position to join the fantastic four with improved play in the second half of the season.

Before we get to the week nine picks I would be remiss if I did not congratulate the Soldotna Stars football team on another State Championship! I was in Anchorage last Saturday but unfortunately I couldn’t catch the game in person, but thanks to the Clarion’s Joey Klecka, I was able to get live game updates on Twitter. The Kleckinator’s tweets are a great way to follow your favorite high school team when you can’t be at the game. It was good to see SoHi prove they could come from behind to win a football game, something they haven’t had to do in quite a while, especially in such dramatic fashion. Congrats to all involved! Even if it pains a really old Skyview alum to write that.

CINCINNATI BENGALS @
Miami Dolphins +3

The 6-2 Bengals are only laying a field goal in Miami? The Dolphins resembled canned tuna in the second half of their matchup last Sunday against the Brady Bunch losing by double digits after entering halftime with a 14 point edge. The Bengals are coming off a thorough 49-9 lambasting of the New York Jets. Bengals QB Andy Dalton has been on fire of late. Can the Fish find a way to slow the Red Rocket down? I wouldn’t bet on it. Bengals win 33-17

Kansas City Chiefs @
BUFFALO BILLS +3

How can the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL be a three point favorite against the 3-5 Buffalo Bills? The records suggest this game will be a blowout but you can throw records out the window when you travel to hallowed Ralph Wilson Stadium to face the mighty Bills! Really though, Buffalo has been sneaky competitive all season. The Chiefs are coming off narrow victories over the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans, hardly murderer’s row. Bills win 21-20

Minnesota Vikings @
DALLAS COWBOYS -11

The Vikings are “Ready for Teddy”. It doesn’t matter who is throwing passes for the purple this season. Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and the newly acquired Josh Freeman have all been equally horrendous. The poor play has left Minnesota in contention to select Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater in next year’s NFL draft. The one win Vikings can’t afford another victory if they want to keep pace with the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars in the standings. Cowboys win 38-20

TENNESSEE TITANS @
St. Louis Rams +3

The Rams near victory on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks didn’t impress me. The Seahawks were awful. That was as poor a performance by an Offensive Line that I can remember. Awful! A desperate 3-4 Tennessee team won’t make the same mistake of overlooking the injury riddled Rams. A win leaves the Titans in position to contend for a playoff spot in the AFC. Titans win 23-17

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @
New York Jets +6

Hear the fat lady singing? That’s the sound of the New York Jets season ending. I’ve been wrong about the Jets all year but how can they rebound from the 49-9 embarrassment they suffered in Cincinnati just a week ago. Jets QB Geno Smith was benched in the losing effort and now he’s faced with matching future Hall of Famer Drew Brees score for score? That’s not happening. Saints win 35-17

San Diego Chargers @
WASHINGTON REDSKINS +1

Robert Griffin III and the Native Americans enter this contest as a slight home dog against the San Diego Chargers. RG3 was awful a week ago in Denver but had been showing signs of returning to form in previous weeks. The Chargers are the AFC version of the Dallas Cowboys, a Jekyll and Hyde team. Philip Rivers and company are due for a poor performance. Traveling cross country to play a morning game is a good spot to fade the lightning bolts. Redskins win 30-24

Atlanta Falcons @
CAROLINA PANTHERS -9

Things are about to go from bad to worse for the Dirty Birds. Atlanta’s dream season has spiraled out of control. Injuries to the offensive line and star wide-outs Julio Jones and Roddy White has dropped the Falcons to an unimpressive 2-5 on the year. Atlanta has failed to win a road game in three attempts. The 4-3 Carolina Panthers have an opportunity to cement themselves as legitimate postseason contenders in the NFC with a victory over their division rival. Panthers win 30-13

Philadelphia Eagles @
OAKLAND RAIDERS -1

Chip Kelly and his high powered Oregon Duck offense hasn’t scored a touchdown since October 13th. The Eagles failed to reach the end zone in back to back home games facing the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Nick Foles will get another turn at QB for Philadelphia as they travel west to face the rising Oakland Raiders and Terrelle Pryor. Pryor has been a Bay Area revelation leading the team in passing and rushing. Most quarterbacks don’t do that. Raiders win 24-21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -18

I’m as big a Seahawks homer as there is on the planet, but laying 18 points to any team after the dreadful performance Seattle gave on Monday Night football is a scary proposition. Tampa Bay demands that disrespect. The Bucs are that bad at football. On the road, with a 6-7 toothpick at quarterback, this Tampa team that has clearly turned on its coach may not score a single point. Seahawks win 34-3

Baltimore Ravens @
CLEVELAND BROWNS +3

The post championship hangover continues for the Baltimore Ravens as they travel to Cleveland to face the ferocity that is Browns football. Newly inserted Browns QB Jason Campbell wasn’t awful in Kansas City against the Chiefs last Sunday. If he can repeat that production Cleveland will hand Baltimore a crippling loss. Something is missing from this Ravens team… Talent. That’s the result of paying the very average Joe Flacco an absurd average of 20 million a year. Browns win 19-16

Pittsburgh Steelers @
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -8

The Brady Bunch was trailing the Miami Dolphins 17-3 at halftime a week ago and I was left lamenting my poor decision to side with the Chowder Heads. Thirty minutes of football later and New England had posted a double digit victory for an easy cover. Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling to move the ball consistently on offense with a battered offensive line. The Steelers are old and the fountain of youth isn’t in the Northeast. Patriots win 27-13

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @
Houston Texans +3

The Colts will be without all world receiver Reggie Wayne for the first time in nearly a decade when they face their division rivals, the Houston Texans on Sunday night. Wayne’s injury, a torn ACL, will have a huge impact on quarterback Andrew Luck’s production. In real life and on my fantasy team. The Texans are giving the youthful Case Keenum another start at quarterback despite Matt Schaub’s reported health. These teams are trending in opposite directions. Colts win 26-17

CHICAGO BEARS @
Green Bay Packers -12

Green Bay has been bruising opponents of late behind a powerful rushing attack featuring Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Couple the running game with the brilliant play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have staked themselves as Super Bowl contenders. The Bears can’t stop anybody under new coach Marc Trestman. Trestman’s team will put points on the board but their sieve of a defense will prevent them from pulling off the upset in Lambeau. Packers win 38-27

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