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NFL Picks, Week 9: Falcons-Colts, Buccaneers-Saints, Ravens-Steelers And More

A lucky 13 games await fans in Week 9, including Atlanta back from its bye week (allegedly), a Bucs-Saints rematch in The Big Easy, and Jay Cutler getting sacked in cold weather. The picks are here!

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 16:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons prepares to enter the field to face the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on October 16, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 16: Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons prepares to enter the field to face the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on October 16, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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NFL odds found here.

So last Saturday, I agreed to have 50 people at my house for a Halloween party. I spent all day cleaning, thinking I'd soon be done and have plenty of time to write this column. Then somebody tapped the keg early and presented me with my favorite vodka (grape, of course), and the girls dressed as cheerleaders showed up. So right, priorities and stuff. I ended up posting the picks to Twitter (@joshmassey1) early Sunday morning, and had my first .500 week as payment for my sins.

(Yes, that was really just a long-winded way of saying I've only had one .500 week, and zero sub-.500 ones. A roll is on, as they say. Saying this, of course, guarantees I'll be crashing and burning today.)

The picks:

Atlanta (-6 1/2) @ Indianapolis. If the Falcons want to be taken seriously as a championship contender, this needs to be something like 38-7. The Bengals beat Indy by 10. The Titans beat them by 17, the Texans by 27, the Saints by freakin' 55. No excuse for there not to be a three-touchdown separation in the final score. PICK: Atlanta

NY Jets @ Buffalo (-1). The Bills stand at 4-3, coming off a shutout of Washington, having lost no game by more than three points - and they're just a single-point home favorite to a thoroughly underwhelming Jets squad? Recent home wins against San Diego and Miami are supposed to be inspiring for New York, which is 0-3 on the road by the way? Easy pickins. PICK: Buffalo

Seattle @ Dallas (-11 1/2). Scratch the one-win Rams, and Dallas hasn't won a game by more than four points. That will probably change here, but are you really willing to lay double digits with Tony Romo? PICK: Seattle

Cleveland @ Houston (-10 1/2). Chris Ogbonnaya, signed last month off Houston's practice squad, faces his old team as the starting running back for your 2011 Cleveland Browns. With Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty already declared out, it's up to the little-known, little-producing Texas native to shoulder the running load. Even my horrible waste of a fantasy football team isn't this desperate for a starter. PICK: Houston

Miami @ Kansas City (-4). The turnaround in Kansas City has gone fairly unheralded. After losing the first two games by a combined score of 89-10, the Chiefs have gone 4-1 with wins over some allegedly decent teams (Vikings, Raiders, Chargers). Miami is not going 0-16, but the first win won't come here. PICK: Kansas City

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-8). The Saints go up against the Bucs for the second time in four weeks, having fallen 26-20 in Week Six. I'm not buying the whole "New Orleans is embarrassed by the St. Louis loss" angle that portends a blow-out. A decent Tampa team and an honestly just-pretty-decent Saints team will hang together. PICK: Tampa Bay

San Francisco (-4) @ Washington. Alex Smith vs. John Beck! It's only half the punchline it would have been a few months ago. PICK: San Francisco

Denver @ Oakland (-7). For his first 2011 start, Carson Palmer couldn't have asked for a better opponent. And yes, you've just read the only write-up of this game mentioning Oakland's quarterback before Denver's. PICK: Oakland

Cincinnati @ Tennessee (-2 1/2). Both the Bengals and Titans could conceivably tie for their respective division leads at the halfway point. And that's why they play the games, folks. PICK: Tennessee

St. Louis @ Arizona (-2 1/2). The "Jack & Jill" of NFL football games. The entertainment value will be non-existent, paychecks will nevertheless be delivered, and everybody involved will feel dirty. Ok, I'm not sure Adam Sandler has the capability to feel dirty anymore, but then again neither does Todd Heap. Arizona starting QB John Skelton will no doubt add to the wacky shenanigans. PICK: St. Louis

NY Giants @ New England (-9). It's a bit surprising, but Eli Manning is quietly putting together a pretty decent year. He's seventh in the league in passing yards, seventh in touchdowns, and has only five picks in seven games. Even with Hakeem Nicks out, Eli won't be rattled by a Foxboro crowd, at least keeping it close. PICK: NY Giants

Green Bay (-5 1/2) @ San Diego. The Chargers are awful. Awful. Recipients of their usual pre-season hype, combined with wins over awful teams, and apparently Vegas hasn't even figured them out yet. Assuming Aaron Rodgers is awake for the game - literally awake, he doesn't even have to really pay attention - Green Bay covers easily. PICK: Green Bay

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3). The battle of "We've been good in recent years, but are exceedingly average now, but nobody seems to notice us squeezing out wins over the Colts, Jaguars and Cardinals, and our records looks ok but I'm afraid we're destined for early playoff blowouts" AFC North teams! PICK: Pittsburgh

Chicago @ Philadelphia (-9). If you've read about the Eagles this week, you've seen they're "back" and have "figured it out." One dominating win over the Cowboys goes a long way, long enough to become a pretty big front-runner to a Bears team with a winning streak, off a bye. Philadelphia is surely capable of a sizable win over damn near any team in the league, but we're talking probability here. PICK: Chicago

For the rest of the season, the Thursday game pick will be posted that day to Twitter: follow @joshmassey1

Last week: 6-6-1
Yearly total: 66-47-3

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.