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NFL Week Nine Preview & BRB Pick 'Em Update

The NFL season hits the midway point this week as the ninth week is upon us. Is it just me or has this season just flown by? Spring and summer just dragged on while the fall seems gone in a blink of an eye. It's not fair, I tell ya!

Your Houston Texans return to Reliant Stadium to welcome the San Diego Chargers. Will the Chargers continue to suffer from their road woes or is Houston returning home to a trap? Where's General Ackbar when you need him?

Ackbar jokes aside, it's a big game for the Texans. I won't say must-win, but it's pretty darn close. Hopefully the Texans will bounce back after crapping the bed on Monday night.

The only other AFC South team in action is Indianapolis, as they travel to Philadelphia to meet Michael Vick and the Eagles. Since it's a mostly-national game, this allows fans to get a look at the Eagles - who the Texans play in the upcoming weeks.

The BRB Pick 'Em League had a great week as a whole, so check out the league update below the NFL preview. Before you jump, have a look at the 506's TV coverage map.


San Diego Chargers (3-5) @ Houston Texans (4-3) (Sunday 11/7 at Noon CST)
After Monday night's performance (I'm writing this hours after Monday night's abysmal performance so I may be seeing this through heavily-tinted negative glasses), I just see visions of Antonio Gates destroying the defense while Matt Schaub gets brutalized. Chargers win 35-23.

Miami Dolphins (4-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Miami may be 4-3, but they are 4-0 on the road...they're the anti-Chargers. Behind Mike Nolan, Miami's defense looks pretty good. I just think a Baltimore team with two weeks of rest and preparation would beat any team in the league. Ravens win 23-16.

Chicago Bears (4-3) @ Buffalo Bills (0-7)
The Bears have regressed behind woeful offensive line and Jay Cutler play while Buffalo keeps getting beaten at the last moment. After two straight OT losses...I'm breaking my one rule....Bills win 20-16.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (5-2)
First place for the NFC South is on the line here. Yes, Bucs-Falcons is for the division lead. The Falcons have the talent, but Tampa Bay just wins games with their young players. The Tampa Bay secondary is also coming through with interceptions. Adding LeGarrette Blount will only help that offense. Buccaneers win 23-20.

New England Patriots (6-1) @ Cleveland Browns (2-5)
The Browns have lost 3 of their 5 games by less than a touchdown, so they're not a miserable 2-5 team. They're also coming off a big win against New Orleans two weeks ago. The Patriots are rolling, but going to Cleveland to take on a rest Cleveland team will not be an easy task. Patriots win 26-24.

New Orleans Saints (5-3) @ Carolina Panthers (1-6)
The Panthers nearly beat New Orleans earlier in the season, but I'm not taking a 1-6 offensively-deficient team here. Saints win 24-13.

Arizona Cardinals (3-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
Whether it's Brett Favre or Tarvaris Jackson, the Vikings have a much more talented team than the visiting Cardinals. I think the Minnesota front four is going to show up big against the Cardinals' offensive line. Vikings win 31-23.

New York Jets (5-2) @ Detroit Lions (2-5)
Matthew Stafford vs. Mark Sanchez provides an interesting match-up of youngsters. The Lions play much better with Stafford and at home. I think their aggressive front four, led by future Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh, will harass Sanchez into mistakes. Calvin Johnson vs. Darrelle Revis should be another great match-up. I think being at home...I am going....Lions win 23-20.

New York Giants (5-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (4-3) (Sunday 11/7 at 3:05 PM CST)
The Seahawks play incredibly well at home. There's really a night and day difference between the home and away Seahawks, but they allowed eight sacks to the Raiders last week...and the Giants defensive line is a walking wrecking ball that gets after the quarterback. Giants win 27-17.

Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) @ Oakland Raiders (4-4) (Sunday 11/7 at 3:15 PM CST)
This game may decide the AFC West. A win for Kansas City and they're up by a bunch. An Oakland win puts the Raiders right at the heels of the Chiefs. Oakland has played incredibly well the past two weeks behind a motivated defense and Darren McFadden. Both teams love to run, so this will be a trench battle. Oakland's lines looked great racking up 239 rushing yards against a top-five run defense and getting to Matt Hasselback eight times. Raiders win 24-13.

Indianapolis Colts (5-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)
I like Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, but the Eagles may be without their big-play WR DeSean Jackson (again, writing this on Monday so I don't know if he plays or not). The Colts can pick up the blitz, which will let Peyton Manning pick apart the defense. Colts win 26-17.

Dallas Cowboys (1-6) @ Green Bay Packers (5-3) (Sunday 11/7 at 7:20 PM CST)
This game is a compelling argument for year-round flex scheduling. Dallas is done after a mistake-prone loss to Jacksonville while Green Bay won a defensive slugfest over the Jets. This is all Green Bay at home. Packers win 37-17.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) (Monday 11/8 at 7:30 PM CST)
They need to flex Monday night games too. The Bengals just don't have the defense they had a season ago. The Steelers defense should feast on Carson Palmer, while the Steelers offense should be fine since Cincinnati cannot get pressure on the quarterback. Steelers win 26-17.

Bye Week Teams:
Denver Broncos (2-6)
Well, Denver fans won't have to suffer through another late season collapse. The Broncos can't stop anyone on defense and can't score touchdowns in the red zone. Can the Broncos show any signs of life after the bye? Is it Tim Tebow time?

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
David Garrard is coming off a career-best game as the Jaguars enter the bye off a stomping in Dallas. It's hard to figure out the Jaguars, as they have been the most inconsistent team in the league. Which Jacksonville team will show up next week against the Texans?

St. Louis Rams (4-4)
Wide receiver injuries aside, St. Louis fans have to be downright giddy about four wins. QB Sam Bradford is the clear leader for offensive rookie of the year. Playoff birth or not, the future looks good in St. Louis.

San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
The bad news: The 49ers are 2-6. The good news: They have five division games left and can still win the NFC West. They are capable of big things, so it could be a history-making comeback. Is Troy Smith the future?

Tennessee Titans (5-3)
They're playing better than most people expected thanks, in large part, to a defensive line that gets after the quarterback. The big question that has to be asked is: Will Vince Young's left ankle continue to give him problems the rest of the season?

Washington Redskins (4-4)
As predicted, Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb have made Washington a much more competitive and competent team.  However, a falling out has occured. Will McNabb and Shanahan get back to the love?

BRB Pick 'Em League Update

Eight weeks down, nine (plus playoffs) to go for the BRB Pickers. In Week Eight, the average week was an outstanding 8-5. This was helped by a fair amount of double-digit weeks. However, the most impressive weeks were once again at the top where the Week Eight winner of the Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence put together the best overall week in BRB Pick 'Em History.

Yet another mid-season joiner has taken the prize home in Week Eight. While SouthernLion went 11-2, Goomba's 11-2 put up better points. Missing only his minimum and maximum point games, Goomba did a Mario-esque stomp on the rest of the league's....Goomba-like heads. Honestly, Goomba's 11-2, 77 point week may be the best weekly performance of the entire BRB Pick 'Em League's history by being a mere fourteen points away from perfection. When you're talking about a near-perfect pick week...well, that kind of dominance really speaks for itself. The prolific open game threader that he is, Goomba just put on a clinic this week.

Since I'm writing this at night, let's all raise a Guinness to Goomba - Week Eight BRB Pick 'Em Winner of the Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence.

"Should've Put Money On It" Game of the Week: Forty-five out of 47 BRB Pickers luckily were helped out by Buffalo's ineptitude to close out an overtime game against the Chiefs.

"We Know Nothing" Game of the Week: Thirty-nine out of 48 BRB Pickers drank too much Deep Steel Blue Kool-Aid by picking Houston over Indianapolis.

Sippin' on Battle Red Drank: Goomba, SouthernLion, NoSafetiesNeeded, papabear, Distant_Texans_Fan, Shake, txknight, Jordann, texanmaniac, Jaws, Southpaw70, NWestTexan, DilloTex, Jahon, nolander, HoustonTransplant, RED56, Taco Joe, WhiskeyR, Fuzion, Remember The Alamo, .Bonzo, and  Pvavocalist put down 13 maxmium confidence points on the Texans.

Hidin' Out In the Back of the Meeting Hall:
USMC Texan, BrownCrayon, SATexan, BigTexBD, Diehard Chris, Xmant2000, bigfatdrunk, do, and peytonsurdaddy picked against the Texans.

The Rex Grossman "F**k It, I'm Goin' Deep" Award: Two men share Sexy Rexy this week as chrisd21 (yet again) and BrownCrayon, both of who were mid-season joiners, put down 11-points on 6.5-point underdog Jacksonville to beat Dallas. They were among 24% of Yahoo pickers who stuck with the Jaguars. Yet again, good things happen for those who let their Dallas hate flow unrestricted.

The David Carr Misguided Faith Award: Cubic threw down 11-points on 7.5-point underdog Buffalo to upend Kansas City. Second straight week that an overtime loss by Buffalo landed someone alongside David Carr on the 49ers bench. Why do people continue to pick Buffalo? Maybe I shouldn't be on the Buffalo Train because I'll be writing about me here next week...

The Charley Casserly Decision Making Award: Pvavocalist actually had a decent week at 6-7. However, he forgot to put confidence points. In football, you lose the game if you score less than everyone else as pvavocalist did this week.

For Comparison's sake...strictly straight up:
BRB Pickers: 8-5 (66-51).
ESPN Average: 7-6 (66-51).
Jerome Solomon: 8-5 (64-53).
TexansDC: 6-7 (63-54).
John McClain: DNS (64-40) Apparently, the Baylor alum was too excited about the Bears' win in Austin and forgot to submit any picks to his blog. Speaking of Baylor, congratulations to the Baylor alums out there in BRB-Land.

BRBer with the best weekly record: Goomba (Goomba) and Southern Lion (Bausch & Lomb Soft Helmets) 11-2.
BRBer with the most weekly points: Goomba (Goomba) 77 points.
Overall best record: SA Texan 75-42 lead by 1 game over CowboyH8ter (AJ Open Downfield).
Overall points leader: SATexan (Cake) 660 points leads by 57 points over CowboyH8ter (AJ Open Downfield).

Don't forget to submit your picks by Sunday, BRB Pickers. Congrats once again to Goomba! Enjoy this weekend's slate of football and GO TEXANS!

Chargers vs Texans coverage | Bolts From The Blue