NFL Week 9 preview, picks
By Josh Dubow
AP Pro Football Writer
Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly couldn’t do it in their one season as head coach in San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan hasn’t done it in two years with the 49ers.
The past three coaches in San Francisco have combined to lose eight straight games against the NFC West rival Cardinals heading into the first meeting this year Thursday night in Arizona.
The Niners’ last victory in this rivalry came in Jim Harbaugh’s final game as coach in 2014 when the playoff-bound Cardinals lost a most meaningless Week 17 game in San Francisco. It’s not as if the Cardinals have been world-beaters during this stretch. After winning 13 games in 2015, Arizona hasn’t had a winning record the past three seasons despite sweeping the 49ers.
Last season’s result was most glaring as Arizona won both meetings and only one other game in a 3-13 campaign.
This season, the Niners (7-0) come into the game tied for second in the AP Pro32 power poll and are one of two remaining undefeated teams, while the Cardinals (3-4-1) are 21st and once again have a losing record.
Could the streak continue even though San Francisco is favored by 10 points? …
KNOCKOUT POOL: The AP prognostication crew is still alive after eight weeks but it’s getting tougher to find good choices still available. Considered taking the Jets at winless Miami but remembered they are still the Jets.
So the pick will be SAN FRANCISCO.
No. 26 Tampa Bay (Plus 6½) At No. 7 Seattle
Jameis Winston makes plenty of big plays for the Buccaneers and far too many mistakes. Russell Wilson simply makes big plays for the Seahawks.
NO. 10 HOUSTON (MINUS 1½) VS. NO. 18 JACKSONVILLE IN LONDON
The Texans needed a goal-line stand to beat Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars in Week 2 but won’t have J.J. Watt in the rematch.
UPSET SPECIAL: JACKSONVILLE, 23-21
No. 30 Washington (plus 9½) at No. 12 (tie) Buffalo
The Bills didn’t have enough to handle the Eagles last week, but Washington should be a lot easier.
No. 17 Tennessee (plus 3½) at No. 15 Carolina
Ryan Tannehill won his first two starts in place of Marcus Mariota for the Titans, while Kyle Allen lost his first in place of Cam Newton. That trend won’t continue.
No. 20 Chicago (plus 5) at No. 14 Philadelphia
Eagles have struggled in the secondary. That shouldn’t be a problem against Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears.
No. 5 Minnesota (off) at No. 8 (tie) Kansas City
Patrick Mahomes’ status remains in doubt for Chiefs but no way they lose four straight at home, especially with how well Andy Reid’s offense is functioning with Matt Moore at the helm.
KANSAS CITY, 27-24
No. 28 New York Jets (minus 3) at No. 32 Miami
If Dolphins are going to win a game this figures to be one of their best chances. Nope, maybe wait for the Bengals in Week 16.
NEW YORK, 21-20
No. 8 (tie) Indianapolis (pick ‘em) at No. 21 Pittsburgh
Steelers got back into contention by beating winless Dolphins. The Colts offer much stiffer competition.
No. 16 Detroit (plus 2) at No. 19 Oakland
The Raiders look to give home fans something to celebrate in their first home game since Week 2.
No. 24 Cleveland (minus 3) at No. 25 Denver
The Browns were unable to dig out of an early hole last week at New England. Beating the Broncos with backup Brandon Allen at QB should be a bit easier.
No. 4 Green Bay (minus 3) at No. 23 Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers got lucky to win at Chicago last week. That might be just enough to provide momentum against the much tougher Packers.
LOS ANGELES, 28-24
No. 1 New England (minus 3½) at No. 6 Baltimore
League’s top two scoring offenses meet up in prime-time showdown. Patriots also have stingiest defense.
NEW ENGLAND, 27-24
No. 12 (tie) Dallas (minus 7) at No. 27 New York Giants
The Cowboys have beat up against bad teams except for a loss at the Jets. No way they lose twice at the Meadowlands.
BEST BET: Dallas, 30-17
Last Week: 9-6 against spread, 12-3 straight up.
Season Totals: 66-54-1 against spread, 76-43-1 straight up.
Best Bet: 6-2 against spread, 6-2 straight up.
Upset special: 5-3 against spread, 5-3 straight up.
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