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WEEK 9

“Las Vegas Line”

Harrah’s Sports Book & Casino

Las Vegas, NV

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 CLEVELAND @ DALLAS +7

-4 NEW ENGLAND @ OAKLAND

 CHICAGO @ PHILADELPHIA -4.5

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46 ACTIVE GAME DAY ROSTERS 19

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LINEUP CHANGES

NEW ENGLAND (Active- 46) READY FOR WEEK 9

QB Tom Brady- OUT

FS Devin McCourty- OUT

SS Patrick Chung- OUT

TE Rob Gronkowski- OUT

DT Terrance Knighton- OUT (Released)

QB Blake Bortles- IN

TE Jordan Cameron- IN

DE Rob Ninkovich- IN

LB Dee Ford- IN

SS Duron Harmon- IN

DALLAS (Active- 46) READY FOR WEEK 9

NONE

CLEVELAND (Active- 46READY FOR WEEK 9

CB Xavier Rhodes- OUT

OT Jake Matthews- OUT

HB Tim Hightower- OUT

CB Bashaud Breeland- OUT

OT Jared Veldheer- IN

TE Ladarius Green- IN

HB Doug Martin- IN

CB Jamar Taylor- IN

CHICAGO (Active- 46READY FOR WEEK 9

FB Patrick DiMarco- OUT

FB Will Johnson- IN

OAKLAND (Active- 46READY FOR WEEK 9

WR Brandin Cooks- OUT

CB Leon Hall- OUT

QB Jameis Winston- OUT

CB Kareem Jackson- OUT

QB Drew Brees- IN

FB John Kuhn- IN

CB Jason Verrett- IN

CB Terrance Mitchell- IN

PHILADELPHIA (Active- 46) READY FOR WEEK 9

SS T.J. Ward- OUT

OG David DeCastro- OUT

CB Nolan Carroll II- OUT

WR Donte Moncrief- OUT

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie- IN

WR Mike Evans- IN

LB Brandon Marshall- IN

OT Anthony Castonzo- IN

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Jimmy “The Greek”

Picks of the Week

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Last week the pesky Cowboys got in the way of me having a winning week. I just can’t seem to put my finger on them. They are a handicappers nightmare. This week the playoff atmosphere will be ramped up an octave or two with a donneybrook match-up in Philly with the hungry Bears needing a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Belichick Pats also head to the Puppy Pound in Oakland to take on a suddenly floundering Raiders squad that has lost 4 in a row after a 3-1 start. The Pats will be motivated after losing their first game of the season last week in Cleveland…but the injury bug has played a big role in the Vegas line this week.

NEW ENGLAND (-4) @ OAKLAND For the second time this season, Patriots QB Tom Brady will not be available for NE when they travel to Oakland. In fact, rumour has it that HC Bill Belichick-Fraser has sent both he and TE Rob Gronkowski to Tahiti for some R&R until playoff time as neither will play this week. Both have been instructed to stay within a specially made bubble wrap and to report 4 times daily to a designated “safety area” to avoid any further damage. New England will also be without 2/3 of its starting safeties as Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung will not be travelling with the team to Oakland. All kidding aside, the Pats know they can win with Blake Bortles under centre so their is no panic in NE. Or will it be Jimmy “The Kid” Garrapolo?

For Oakland, this season’s struggles came to a head last week in Chicago where they were manhandled by Ben Roethlisberger and the Bears. The defense has fallen apart while the offense has remained largely inconsistent leaning on TE Delanie Walker while abandoning the run game. QB Drew Brees returns after missing last week and the team better hope that his time away has strengthened his resolve and focus. This was not the week Oakland wants to face NE when their season is teedering on the brink. However, that just may be the tonic for a team that needs to get back on track. The point spread would be larger if Brady was playing but 4 points is still a lot considering a back-up will be facing off with Brees on the road. This is a tough one but I am going with history in this one.

Jimmy’s Pick- New England -4   (NE 21  OAK  16)

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CHICAGO @ PHILADELPHIA (-4.5) The Eagles ripped the Bears 31-17 in Chicago in Week 5 to exorcise some demons. It had been 8 years since Philly had won in Soldier Field. This one is in Philly where the Eagles where they are a pedestrian 2-3 at Lincoln Financial Field. However, the Eagles return lockdown CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and MLB Brandon Marshall just in time to aid in defending the speediest receiving corps in the VMFL. WR Mike Evans also returns to help take some pressure off of Julio Jones who has carried the Eagles for 8 weeks. The combination will mean Cam Newton will see plenty of zone coverage. Something special seems to be brewing in Philly this season and they are no longer the underdog in this one. How they deal with being The Hunted and a passing attack in Chicago that was on fire last week will be paramount.

The Bears took their training to Connecticut this week, thinking that branching out would help relax the team and take its focus off of the pressure of possibly having to run the table to make the playoffs. There is little wiggle room and Big Ben will face the best set of man lockdown CB’s in the VMFL. Big Ben showed last week that he can still carry this team through the litany of injuries the team has suffered this season. If he gets in rhythm early the ball starts to snowball down hill on defenses. However, I don’t see the openings in Philly’s defense that were available to them vs Oakland last week, so the trudging will be a lot tougher. The Bear defense stiffened last week and showed some teeth after being a non-factor for most of the first half of the season. If they can get some turnovers early, look out. I’m taking the Bears in an upset…revenge is the sweetest drink.

Jimmy’s Pick- Chicago +4.5  (CHI 29   PHI 21)

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Season Record “Against The Spread” ~ 10-6

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~SCOREBOARD~

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27 CLEVELAND

24 DALLAS

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20 NEW ENGLAND

12 OAKLAND

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30 CHICAGO

17  PHILADELPHIA

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