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NFL Picks, Week 9 Thursday Edition: 'Greek' says ...

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First off, I have to apologize to Ed for neglecting my “expert” duties here over the past week.

Granted it’s his fault for affording me this title, and it was only a matter of time before I let it all go to my head and started making outrageous demands, such as someone else to write for me. This week we start our first of several NFL Network exclusive games. For most of you out there, this means either going to a sports bar, getting NFL’s Sunday Ticket, available exclusively on Direct TV, or just not caring.

It seems like the third option has been the one adopted by the majority of people out there, at least in terms of demanding that their cable provider make the channel available. It wasn’t long ago that this dilemma was thought to be something that could cause anti trust exemptions to be dropped, satellite subscriptions to increase, and a general sense of outrage to permeate the NFL fans. Only a couple of years after the first NFL Network game aired, and there is hardly the outrage that the NFL had anticipated in trying to strong arm cable companies to add the network to their lineup at a reduced rate.

The NFL did itself no favors in airing last year’s season finale between the Giants and Patriots on network television. Fans realize that the NFL may want to promote its network to the ends of the earth, but they do not want to alienate their fans. So the NFL tries to cause panic by not showing what looks like an underwhelming matchup between the Broncos and Browns, or several other less than stellar matchups over the years.

The problem they have is that they have oversaturated the market with games. At least 3 per market every Sunday, and another on Monday, plus college games throughout the week and all day Saturday, and an individual Thursday night game no longer holds the appeal that it might have several years ago. Until there is a premier matchup that the NFL will not allow to air on any other channel, the NFL network will remain a niche channel with limited viewership and limited availability. On to the Thursday pick, and tune in later this week for Sunday’s picks.

Denver at Cleveland (-3)

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 72-54-4