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NFL Picks Week 9: Golden Opportunities

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In Week 8, the Saints climbed closer to the .500 mark with a huge win over their west coast enemy. Now they travel west to face one of their oldest rivals. Let's take a closer look what Week 9 has in store for the Saints and the rest of the NFL.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints have the opportunity to reach .500 for the first time this season while simultaneously defeating a longtime former divisional rival in the San Francisco 49ers.  The last time the Saints traveled to the Bay to face the Niners, was when they brutally lost the Divisional Playoff game in January 2012.

Now, the Niners are flatlining and the Saints have the opportunity to pull the plug on their hated rival while keeping themselves alive in the NFC South.  The Saints have all of the motivation they need to seize these golden opportunities, now its up to them to do it.  Let's take a look at this and all of the upcoming Week 9 action.

Last week I went 5-8 (I count the tie as a loss, I picked a winner)

I told you so: Texans over Lions!

What do I know: Seahawks over Saints?!

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WEEK 9

Thursday, November 3rd - Thursday Night Football

Falcons(5-3) at Buccaneers(3-4)

In a game that will feature a good amount of offense, Tampa will use their size advantage at receiver over Atlanta's defenders to pick up a huge divisional win at home.  Tampa wins 31-23.

Pick: Buccaneers

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Sunday, November 6th - Early Games

Lions(4-4) at Vikings(5-2)

After suffering two consecutive embarrassing losses on the road, Minnesota returns home against Detroit in what should amount to a "get right" game for the Vikings.  Minnesota wins 30-19.

Pick: Vikings

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Eagles(4-3) at Giants(4-3)

The Giants' lack of any rushing attack will force them to be one-dimensional against a very good Philly defense, which will play right into the Eagles' hands.  Philadelphia wins 28-21.

Pick: Eagles

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Jets(3-5) at Dolphins(3-4)

Miami got their bye week at the worst possible time, just as they were heating up.  The Jets defense will be up to the task of keeping the Dolphins ground game from another monster day.  Jets win 28-10.

Pick: Jets

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Jaguars(2-5) at Chiefs(5-2)

Nick Foles, Alex Smith, it doesn't really matter.  Kansas City is much better than Jacksonville.  Kansas City wins 30-12.

Pick: Chiefs

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Cowboys(6-1) at Browns(0-8)

Cleveland will be dealt another crushing blow after being road-grated by the Cowboys.  Dallas wins 32-14.

Pick: Cowboys

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Steelers(4-3) at Ravens(3-4)

This should be one of the most unremarkable games in the history of the Pittsburgh/Baltimore rivalry.  Pittsburgh wins 20-13.

Pick: Steelers

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Sunday, November 6th - Late Games

Panthers(2-5) at Rams(3-4)

The Carolina offense will overwhelm Los Angeles early in the game, behind Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, before utilizing the rushing attack to seal this one in the second half.  Carolina wins 38-23.

Pick: Panthers

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Colts(3-5) at Packers(4-3)

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis passing game will be completely ineffective against the Packers in Green Bay.  Green Bay wins 32-26.

Pick: Packers

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Titans(4-4) at Chargers(3-5)

San Diego rebounds from a tough road loss at Mile High with a big home win this week.  San Diego wins 28-14.

Pick: Chargers

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Saints(3-4) at 49ers(1-6)

New Orleans must have one primary defensive focus going into this game, stop the San Francisco running game.  Should that fall into place, the Saints will have their most complete performance we've seen from them in quite some time.  Running the ball effectively is the only thing the Niners have had going for them in this thoroughly atrocious season.

San Francisco's run defense has been horrendous this season, so expect the Saints to run as well as they did last week.  Unsurprisingly though, expect Drew Brees to have a big game through the air, and really take out some frustrations from the ghosts of Saints/Niners past on this diminished Niners defense.  The Saints will reach .500 by dumptrucking the 49ers in their own building.  Saints win 31-14.

Pick: Saints

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Sunday Night Football

Broncos(6-2) at Raiders(6-2) - Game of the Week

This is the biggest game in Oakland in well over a decade and the Raiders will finally play up to the occasion.  The Denver defense is the vaunted unit compared to the Raiders' tattered D, but Oakland will make just enough plays against the Broncos offense to give Derek Carr the chance to carry the Silver and Black to victory.  Oakland wins 23-14.

Pick: Raiders

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Monday, November 7th - Monday Night Football

Bills(4-4) at Seahawks(4-2-1)

Seattle's tattered offense will continue to struggle, but their defense will keep Buffalo in check.  Seattle wins 16-13.

Pick: Seahawks

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That's how I see Week 9 shaping up.  Hopefully, the Saints will reach the .500 mark this Sunday.  Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below.