Josh Katzowitz's Week 9 NFL Picks
For some reason, I’m still in the mindset that the Texans are supposed to be terrible this year, and when they lost J.J. Watt for the season in Week 5, it was easy to forget them as a potentially major player in the AFC South.
But if you watched Deshaun Watson last Sunday vs. the Seahawks—or, if you’ve seen him at all since he took over for Tom Savage as Houston’s starting quarterback—it’s obvious we’re watching a special player that’s good enough to keep his team in the game against anybody in the league.
In his last four games, Watson has thrown 16 touchdowns against five interceptions while averaging 293 passing yards per game. The Texans have averaged 40.5 points per game during that span, and Watson is coming off a contest where he also rushed for 67 yards on eight carries. He, as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has attested, is a dominant player.
“My God, Houston’s so lucky,” Sherman said, via SI.com. “By next year he’s going to be a top-five quarterback in this league, and that includes the two big dogs [Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers]. He makes you dig to the deepest part of your competitive juices to beat him.”
Yet the Texans have only triumphed in two of those four games, so when betting on Houston to win, remember that the defense allows the fourth-most points in the league. That, of course, will make your job to win money on the Texans that much tougher.
As usual, check out Pickwatch’s John Halpin’s full slate of Week 9 picks and the Upset Watch from Shaun Lowrie. Now, here are a few of mine (If I’m right, make sure to congratulate me @jkatzo on Twitter).
1)Bet your life savings on this game*
Broncos at Eagles
A few weeks ago, I probably couldn’t fathom that I would have bet everything I have on the Broncos to lose. But since its Week 5 bye, Denver has lost three straight with an offense that’s turned the ball over and struggled to score points. This week, it was announced that Brock Osweiler would replace Trevor Siemian as starting quarterback. And my rule of thumb is simple: if a team is starting a quarterback who was released by the Browns only a few months before AND he only has six days to prepare for the game AND he has to travel across the country AND he has to play the team with the best record in the league, you bet it all on the opponent.
Straight up: Eagles
Against the Spread: Eagles -8.0
2017 record for the “Bet your life savings” game: 6-2 S/U and 4-4 ATS
2)This game scares the hell out of me
Falcons at Panthers
The Panthers continue to confuse me. They go on the road to beat the Buccaneers a week after scoring three points vs. the Bears at home. They win at New England only a week after being non-competitive vs. the Saints. I think the Panthers could make a playoff push this year, but we’ll need to see more consistency against the Falcons, who had an utterly unimpressive month of October. In this matchup, the Falcons defense will be a little too much for Cam Newton and the Panthers, and Atlanta will squeak out a win on the road.
Straight up: Falcons
Against the Spread: Falcons +1
2017 record for the “Scares the hell out of me” game: 7-1 S/U and 7-1 ATS
3) Fun game of the week
Buccaneers at Saints
Seemingly out of nowhere, New Orleans has reeled off five-straight wins and zoomed into first place in the NFC South. One big reason has been the Saints’ defensive resurgence. As CBS Sports (https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/is-the-saints-defense-for-real-well-soon-find-out-against-better-offenses/) points out, New Orleans is the only team in the league that ranks in the top-five in yards given up and points allowed, but one has to wonder if the Saints have made such huge gains because they were playing mediocre offensive teams. We might not get our answer this week, because Tampa Bay rates 18th in the league in points scored. But the Saints score points, and it’ll be interesting to see the Buccaneers try to keep up.
Straight up: Saints
Against the Spread: Saints -7
2017 record for “Fun game of the week”: 6-2 S/U and 5-3 ATS
2017 record for every game picked in this column: 19-5 S/U and 16-8 ATS
BUF over NYJ BUF -3
HOU over IND IND +13
JAC over CIN CIN +4.5
NO over TB NO -7
TEN over BAL BAL +4.5
LAR over NYG LAR -3.5
ATL over CAR ATL +1
PHI over DEN PHI -8.0
SF over ARI SF +2
SEA over WAS WAS +7
KC over DAL KC -1
MIA over OAK MIA +3
DET over GB DET -2.5
*Don’t really bet your life savings. Please.