Antigonish - November 4, 2012 - With another 3 for 5 outing last week, Pigskin Picks moves to 20-33 on the season. Week 9 has a number of intriguing match-ups, so on to the picks!
Game of the Week - Pittsburgh at New York Giants - both teams are rolling, with Pittsburgh having a balanced attack behind a trio of runners and the arial contributions of QB Ben Rosthlisberger and his posse of explosive receivers, not to mention steady TE Heath Miller. The only caveat here is that none of the Steelers top 3 running backs, Rashard Mendenhall, Johnathon Dwyer or Isaac Redman are fully healthy, leaving the offence a bit one-dimensional (though that one dimension is impressive). the Giants, meanwhile, have an equally explosive offense, with a big play passing game led by Eli Manning, WR's Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz as well as a solid running attack led by Ahmad Bradshaw. The difference is that the G-Men also have one of the best pass rushing groups of D-lineman in the league, and with the Steelers run game hurting, look for the Giants to have lots of opportunity to tee off on Big Ben. Giants win!
Lock of the Week - Detroit at Jacksonville - Despite Calvin Johnson's questionable injury status (he did not practice all week) the lions and QB Matt Stafford in particular have rediscovered their mojo, and look dangerous. The same cannot be said of the Jacksonville passing attack, as rookie WR Justin Blackmon is still struggling to find his game, and QB Blaine Gabbert inconsistency as a passer. the one constant in Jacksonville is RB Maurice Jones Drew, but he will find to tough to run on the stout Lions D-line. for the Jags to win, they will need to pass the ball effectively, and even though the lions are vulnerable in the passing game, the Jags simply do not have the personnel to get it done. Lions win!
Upset of the Week - Miami Dilphons vs Indy Colts - That either team is sitting at 4-3 at this point in the season could be considered a huge upset, as both were forecast to be bottom dwellers, not teams in the hunt for a playoff spot. A lot of the reason for each teams success can be found in the play of the rookie QB's each has at the helm - !st overall pick Andrew Luck has been everything the Colts hoped he would be and more, revitalizing the team to a greater degree than Peyton Manning did as a rookie, while Dolphin QB Ryan Tannehill's play has been an even greater surprise, with the young QB playing far beyond his meagre experience level. The Dolphins are favored here, but look for the Colts to surprise yet again, especially considering their recent visit from ailing coach chuck Pagano, whose presence will likely provide a boost to his young charges. Colts win!
Chicago at Tennessee - The Titans run game has been one of the best of the league over the past 5 weeks, with RB Chris Johnson showing the speed and determination that made him a fantasy football terror in previous seasons. With the offense handed over to veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck, the Titans have showed improved play, although this might be brought to a screeching halt vs the Bears stout defence, one of the leagues best. If QB Jay Cutler can move the ball and use all of his weapons witht he same degree of success that he and WR Brandon Marshall have had, the Bears will be tough to stop. In a battle of tough defense vs middling offense, the defense wins!Bears win!
Carolina at Washington - This years rookie sensation (one of them at least) RGIII takes on last years rookie sensation QB Cam Newton in what should prove to be an entertaining offene filled scorefest. Newton will no doubt be looking to prove that he is still the player in the league wth the highest upside, although RGIII's stellar play is likely to silence those claims. Both teams boast effective running games with Alfred Morris churning out tough yards with regularity for Washington and RB Johnathon Stewart taking over as a full time RB for the first time in his career. Ultimately, this game comes down to which QB plays smarter and uses the weapons around him best - while Newton may actually have a better supporting cast with star WR Steve Smith and TE Greg Olson to throw to, my money is on RGIII to demonstrate the more consistently superior play !