By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
The thing about predicting the outcomes of football games is that there are no recounts or allegations of skewered numbers. I can’t ask for the tabulations to be halted. I can’t threaten to take the results to the Supreme Court. The numbers are simply out there for all to see, and what you see is what you get. No excuses. But trust me, if I ever go 1-5 or (gasp!) 0-6 one of these weeks, I will ask for a do-over.
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On to this week’s picks:
♦ INDIANAPOLIS @ TENNESSEE: Here’s a key AFC South matchup for you. The Titans are atop the division with a 6-2 record, but the Colts are just one game back. The obvious storyline here is whether the Colts’ stout defense will be able to contain Derrick Henry, who is the league’s No. 2 rushing leader (behind Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook). Led by former Punahou standout DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis boasts a top-flight defense. Still, I think Henry runs for 100+ yds. and two TDs. Pick: TITANS
♦ HOUSTON @ CLEVELAND: Nick Chubb is back, but what about Baker Mayfield? The 5-3 Browns’ starting QB was placed on the COVID-19 list earlier this week. Cleveland DE Myles Garrett also returned to practice and is seemingly a do for this Sunday. The Texans, meanwhile, are 2-6 and are simply trying to keep their heads above water. Poor Deshaun Watson. Pick: BROWNS
♦ L.A. CHARGERS @ MIAMI: Suddenly, this is one of Week 9’s most anticipated games, with two top rookie QBs strasquaring off. Justin Herbert was thrown into the fire early this season, and he’s responded with one of the best rookie campaigns in years: 2,146 passing yards, 17 TDs and only 5 picks through the first half of the season. Tua Tagovailoa, meanwhile, has been eased into Miami’s lineup and is 2-0 as a starter. This will be entertaining. Herbert will get the stats, but Tua gets the W. By the way, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has to be a front runner for “Coach of the Year,” right? Pick: DOLPHINS
♦ BUFFALO @ ARIZONA: A co-worker of mine, account executive Chris Mols, is a Bills fan – the only Bills fan in
Hawaii the Western Hemisphere. But even Chris couldn’t have predicted that Buffalo would be 7-2 and 2.5 games atop the AFC East at this point in the season. The Bills’s win over Seattle on Sunday was impressive, but now they’re on the road to face a team that needs a win. Kyler Murray will light up the scoreboard – that’s my Fantasy QB, thank you – and the Cards will pull off the upset. Pick: CARDINALS
♦ BALTIMORE @ NEW ENGLAND: Say, didn’t you used to be Bill Belichick? The Patriots have fallen on hard times this season, losing four out of their last five games (and came within a FG of possibly losing five straight). As the head man suggested, years of salary cap issues have taken their toll, and the talent just isn’t there anymore. Don’t expect the Ravens to feel sorry for New England, either. They’re too busy trying to keep up with the undefeated Steelers. Pick: RAVENS
♦ MINNESOTA @ CHICAGO: After starting the season 3-0, the Bears have had a rough go of it lately. Chicago has lost three straight, but all to playoff contenders (Rams, Saints, Titans). The Bears’ defense is still legit, but the offense is just unBEARably bad. In comes division rival Minnesota, winners of two straight games. The Vikings’ Dalvin Cook is suddenly playing like best RB in the league. It’s time for Chicago to stop their skid. Pick: DA BEARS
Last Week: 4-2
Season to Date: 34-20 (.630)
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