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NFL week 9, afternoon picks against the spread: Home teams provide safe shelter

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Week 9 is already upon us as we make our picks against the spread for the late games on Sunday.

Joe Sargent

Another week, another set of picks against the spread. As always, the lines come to you from Bovada.

Minnesota Vikings +4 1/2 vs. Seattle Seahawks

I don't really know what it is, but it almost seems as if the 'Hawks are invincible at home. The 12th man at the CLink provides Russell Wilson and, apparently the referees, with superpowers to decide games. That is why I have made a solemn commitment to rarely, if ever, vote against the Seahawks when they are at home. Seattle is undefeated at home this season and that doesn't figure to change this week. Take them minus the points.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1 vs. Oakland Raiders

This will be the only game I pick against the home team. Josh Freeman is playing on another level right now and even with the loss of Carl Nicks for the season, Doug Martin should continue to run like a man on fire. Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark have added new dimensions to their offense. The Carson Palmer acquisition is beginning to look like a dud already. I think Martin runs all over a poor, but improving, Raiders defense this weekend. Take the Bucs and the points.

Pittsburgh Steelers +3 1/2 vs. New York Giants

The Giants do not have the best record in the NFC, but they very well could be the best team. Eli Manning is seemingly going through the motions, putting up big numbers on his way to another playoff appearance. They are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in their division. The Steelers, on the other hand, trail the Ravens in the AFC North. Their running back crew is depleted, as Jonathan Dwyer, who has rushed for over 100 yards in his past two games, may not play this Sunday either. Take the Giants with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to burn a Troy Polamalu-less secondary.

Dallas Cowboys +4 1/2 vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons, unlike the Giants, do have the best record in the NFC and they are playing like it. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have a special connection that should be there for years to come. Even their defense is playing pretty well. The Cowboys, in my opinion, don't really stand much of a chance. Demarco Murray will still be out more than likely, so expect Tony Romo to have to throw the ball over 50 times. That is not a recipe for success. Take the Falcons at home minus the points.

Enjoy the games!