My Week 8 picks went 8-6, bringing my 2020 season mark to 81-37, or a 68.6 percent win rate.

Here are my Week 9 picks. Each section details which team is predicted to win and provides a quick summary of why that selection was made. The picks also contain a confidence value for each selection, based on a 1-10 scale with “10” being the most confident and “1” being the least confident.

Now on to the picks!

Thursday, November 5

Green Bay at San Francisco

KC’s pick: Green Bay

Confidence level: 4

The Packers started the year with four straight wins but have since lost two out of the past three in large part due to allowing 150+ rushing yards in both of the losses. This lack of ability to deal with the power rushing game has haunted the Packers in recent years and might pose a big problem against San Francisco were it not for the slew of injuries to the 49ers roster. Those ailments have caused San Francisco to use backup players at nearly every position on the team and they give the Packers the edge in this contest.

Sunday, November 8

Denver at Atlanta

KC’s pick: Atlanta

Confidence level: 5

Both of these teams have turned things around to some extent after terrible starts, as Atlanta has won two of its past three and Denver has notched victories in three out of its last four games. Defense has been the key in both of these turnarounds, as the Broncos have tallied six takeaways in its last three contests, while the Falcons have allowed 23 or fewer points in four straight games. The tiebreaker here is turnovers, as Denver’s error prone offense has given up two turnovers in all but two games this year while Atlanta hasn’t had more than one turnover in a game since Week 1, so the Falcons are the pick here.

Seattle at Buffalo

KC’s pick: Seattle

Confidence level: 7

Buffalo’s offense has been in a slump ever since the Tennessee Titans gave the league the blueprint to slow this former juggernaut. Seattle’s defense might have afforded this platoon a turnaround opportunity a few weeks ago, but the Seahawks just allowed their lowest yardage total of the year last week and have racked up at least two takeaways in all but one contest. Add that to Seattle having scored 31 or more points in six games this year and it equals a lot more paths to victory for the Seahawks, so they are the selection in this one.

Baltimore at Indianapolis

KC’s pick: Indianapolis

Confidence level: 3

This is a tough game to call because while both of these teams sport 5-2 records, they also have their share of question marks. Baltimore has posted fewer than 200 net passing yards in five of the past six games and has given up 28 points in two straight games. Three of the Colts wins have come against the Jets, Bengals, and Lions and they have allowed 80 points over the past three weeks. Both teams have notable injuries, but Baltimore’s potential COVID-19 issues and this game being at Indianapolis are strong enough elements to land this pick in the Colts column.

Houston at Jacksonville

KC’s pick: Houston

Confidence level: 7

Minshew Mania finally may be coming to an end for Jacksonville, as rookie Jake Luton will be taking over for the injured Gardner Minshew. That could be a huge impediment to Jacksonville putting up points, as the Jaguars scored 16 or fewer points in three of the past five weeks even with Minshew under center. Houston will also benefit from facing a Jaguars defense that has given up 400+ yards in four straight games. Jacksonville just isn’t suited to keep up in a high scoring contest, so the Texans get this pick by a solid margin.

Carolina at Kansas City

KC’s pick: Kansas City

Confidence level: 8

Carolina’s offensive struggles could come to an end since Christian McCaffrey is slated to return to the lineup for this matchup. That will obviously help the ground game, but CMC’s bigger impact could be to help a Panthers passing attack that has posted fewer than 200 net yards in two of the past three weeks. The Chiefs all-star offense gets all of the headlines for Kansas City, but their defense has racked up at least one takeaway in every game and allowed fewer than 230 offensive yards in two of the past three games. Those elements and home field advantage point this matchup in Kansas City’s direction.

Detroit at Minnesota

KC’s pick: Minnesota

Confidence level: 5

Lions head coach Matt Patricia has wanted to lean on a powerful rushing attack for his entire tenure in the Motor City, but 89 rushing yards over the past two games combined shows that it just isn’t happening despite his efforts. That hasn’t been an issue for Minnesota, as the Vikings have racked up 160+ rushing yards in four of the past five weeks and have an even higher ceiling based on Dalvin Cook’s incredible performance last week. Minnesota has been a more volatile team this year but given how these two teams trended in Week 8, the Vikings are the pick.

Chicago at Tennessee

KC’s pick: Tennessee

Confidence level: 2

Chicago had mastered the art of winning low scoring games in the first six weeks of the year, but that approach finally caught up to them during their current two-game losing streak. A total lack of a ground attack is the main cause, as the Bears have tallied fewer than 70 rushing yards in four of the past five contests. The Titans were embarrassed by giving up 31 points to an injury-wracked Bengals offense last week, but Tennessee’s offense has tallied 440+ yards in three of the last five games and should move the ball well against a Bears club that has allowed 50 points in the past two contests. Throw in this being a home game for the Titans and it moves the selection in their direction.

New York Giants at Washington

KC’s pick: Washington

Confidence level: 3

These teams have a combined total of three wins between them, but they are both actually playing at a much higher level of late. Washington’s offense took a significant step forward following the quarterback change and the Football Team tallied 208 rushing yards and nearly 400 total yards last week in a dominant win over the Cowboys. The Giants would likely have at least a couple of additional victories were it not for Daniel Jones’ penchant for turnovers, a trait that could be a hindrance against a Washington defense that has posted five takeaways in the past four games. Combine that factor and Washington’s home field advantage and the selection ends up in their column.

Las Vegas at Los Angeles Chargers

KC’s pick: Las Vegas

Confidence level: 3

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn used to be a running backs coach and thus would like to lean heavily on the ground game, but Justin Herbert’s go for broke style has led to the Chargers playing in four straight shootout games. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden also prefers the pound the rock approach, but his team has also been in three shootout games this season. This game will be a tossup if each coach gets his way and turns this game into a slugfest, but with the Chargers having won only one of their shootouts and the Raiders having won all three of theirs, it means that the Raiders get the edge in a high scoring matchup and in the overall selection.

Miami at Arizona

KC’s pick: Arizona

Confidence level: 2

This is one of the most interesting matchups of the week, as both the Dolphins and Cardinals come into this contest with three-game win streaks. Miami has won largely on the strength of their up and coming powerhouse defense that has posted eight takeaways, ten sacks, and two defensive touchdowns during their win streak. Arizona’s victories were more due to having racked up 1,453 yards and 105 points in their trio of wins. Great defense does tend to travel well, so this is the definition of a pick’em matchup, but the Cardinals advantage at quarterback and being at home is enough to shift this pick their way.  

Pittsburgh at Dallas

KC’s pick: Pittsburgh

Confidence level: 10

Were it not for the New York Jets being the worst team in the NFL, this would be a matchup of the hottest and coldest teams in the league. The Steelers are battling some defensive line injuries that were part of why they gave up 265 rushing yards last week, so Dallas does have a path to establish a ground game. That won’t be anywhere near enough, however, as Pittsburgh has tons of passing game talent and a rush game that should put up big yards against a Cowboys defense that has allowed 110+ rushing yards in all but one game this year. Combine that with Dallas starting a fourth string quarterback against the league’s best defense and it gives the Steelers pick a rare “10” confidence level.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay

KC’s pick: Tampa Bay

Confidence level: 4

This battle for the NFC South lead features two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, yet the reality is the passing game is not the strong suit of either of these clubs. Tampa Bay’s best trait is a defense that is tied for the league lead in takeaways and ranks second in yards allowed per play. For the Saints, it is a ground game that has posted a triple-digit yardage total in five of the past six contests and has been invaluable in helping this team overcome the potentially crippling loss of Michael Thomas. The tiebreakers here are home field advantage and Tampa Bay’s passing offense having displayed much more firepower than the Saints, so the Buccaneers get this one by a reasonable margin.

Monday, November 2

New England at New York Jets

KC’s pick: New England

Confidence level: 7

The Patriots have to be the most disappointing team in the NFL. The problems are on both sides of the ball for New England, as they have scored only 49 points in the past four games and gave up 387 rushing yards and 57 points in the last two contests. This trend might normally lead to a pick against the Patriots, but New York has the worst offense in the league by a gargantuan margin. Bill Belichick’s playcalling should allow the Patriots to maximize the edge of this platoon matchup and that leans this pick fairly strongly in New England’s direction.