NFL Week 11 Picks

Holy Jags and Bucs… One was a game that I didn’t care about, the other took advantage of a starting quarterback going down, and now both have removed themselves from the ranks of the totally beaten. They also prevented me from having my best week of the season. Still 10-4 ain’t too shabby. The overall bumps up to 93-54, in line with Mike Golic, Chris Carter, and Merrill Hoge over at ESPN.

On to Week 11.

Your byes: Dallas, and St. Louis.

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans, Thursday, 8:25pm

For anyone that called the complete collapse against the Rams at Lucas Oil, more power to you. Every team is apt to have a game or two like that each year, and I doubt the Colts are a team that will let that happen twice in a row. Luck-ily (hehe) for them, they get a favorable matchup as they look to bounce back. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the call again while Locker remains out the rest of the season. The Titans have faired well against the pass this year (8th overall, 211.3 yds/game) but haven’t faced a formidable foe like Luck. Colts win 27-23

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1pm

Only one team in the NFC East has rattled off three W’s in a row, and it’s not the Cowboys. The Eagles look to join the G-men as winners of three straight when they host the Skins on Sunday. They’ll also look to snap their dubious streak of 10 straight home losses. The Eagles and Skins both are built similarly, believe it or not. They excel in the run game (1st and 3rd), and are mediocre at stopping the run (14th an 18th); both have high-level passing attacks (9th and 10th), but can’t stop the pass for shit (31st and 26th). Homerism, my gut, and the way Nick Foles has stepped it up make me believe the Birds can grab the outright lead in the division. Eagles win 34-27

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills, 1pm

Buffalo has been able to be effective with their run game—it ranks 7th in the league with 140.7 yards per game. The problem is, they haven’t been able to sustain a lead in recent weeks which means they’ve been relying more on Jeff Tuel, Thad Lewis, and E.J. Manuel to try and sling their way back into games, which hasn’t gone so well. The Jets, meanwhile, have the best rushing defense in the league (73.8 yards per game), which should be enough to steal one on the road. Jets win 24-21

Baltimore Ravens @ Chicago Bears, 1pm

I don’t like this one for the Bears. They’re without Jay Cutler for the game (though #McClown has stepped up well in his absence), but the more impactful injury is the one suffered by All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman. The Bears D has struggled mightily the season, and this is almost like the knockout punch. The Ravens blew their late lead on a miracle Hail Mary against the Bengals, but were able to overcome that in OT. Baltimore struggles on the road, though, which is the only reason I’m going this way. Bears win 21-20

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1pm

Cleveland had an extra week to enjoy their impressive home win against the Ravens, and Jason Campbell had an extra week to get acclimated to the Browns’ system. Cincy, on the other hand, has lost two heartbreaking overtime games in the last two games, with the most recent coming after a miraculous last second Hail Mary by Andy Dalton. If they can avoid going the extra session in this one, they should be able to hold off a divisional opponent that they’ve been able to hold serve against at home since 2008. Bengals win 23-14

Detroit Lions @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 1pm

This should be a great watch for those in the Steel City. Pittsburgh has always boasted a great defense, especially against the pass, and this year is no different–they’re 4th overall, allowing just over 201 yards per game through the air. They’ll have their toughest test yet, though, when they play host to the Detroit Lions who come in with the leagues 3rd ranked passing offense (306.9 yards per game). The all-time record in this one is 14-15-1 in favor of the Steelers, with the most recent Lions non-loss in Pittsburgh coming way back in 1959, when the teams tied—before that, they pulled out a 31-28 win in 1955. Megatron and Stafford should be able to balance this one out. Lions win 31-20

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1pm

Call me crazy, but with all of the injuries that have completely decimated this Falcons offense, and how poorly they’ve played on defense (25th overall, 378.8 yards per game, and 28 pts per game) the door is wide open for the Bucs to go on their own little winning streak. They’ll have to find a way to slow Matt Ryan and the 6th ranked passing attack down, though it hasn’t looked that threatening in the last few weeks. Bucs win 20-17

Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 1pm

The Jags did the unthinkable last week and actually won a game. They did so, though, against a team that lost its starting quarterback for the second (and final) time this year. Unless something similar happens to Carson Palmer, the football world should get back to normal. Cardinals win 34-19

Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans, 1pm

Two teams with two unresolved quarterback situations. Is Terrell Pryor the QB of the future in Oakland? (Maybe for the next few weeks if the knee is healthy enough, but doubtful beyond that.) Why won’t Gary Kubiak put the keys to his offense in the hands of Case Keenum? And what’s all this mean for Schaub’s future? (No clue on either here.) Good luck to both teams in their quests to sort all that out. Defense will be the name of the game, here, and Houston’s is by far the more dominant unit. This should end a few months of hell for Texans fans (at least for a week). Texans win 26-23

San Diego Chargers @ Miami Dolphins, 4:05pm

Holy hell, another cross county trip for this Chargers team… The schedule makers were not nice this year. At least they’ve had probably the easiest East Coast schedule imaginable, and have favored nicely against it. This one’s no different as they travel to take on a Miami team that has for too many distractions, as evidenced by their loss to the previously-winless Bucs. Chargers win 32-13

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints, 4:25pm

The 49ers offense had been on a roll, but in almost no way is their success attributable to Colin Kaepernick’s abilities as a quarterback. That was exploited last week against a Panthers defense that is among the elite units in the game. This week they travel back to the scene of their failed comeback attempt in Super Bowl XLVII. There’s no way an offense so predicated on the run will be able to keep pace with a high-powered offense like the Saint, who, by the way, are nearly unbeatable in the Superdome. Saints win 38-28

Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants, 4:25pm

This whole not having Aaron Rodgers thing is really going to bury the Pack. The Scott Tolzien era got off to kind of a rocky start, and Green Bay will stick with him for at least another week as Matt Flynn gets reacclimated with their offense. They travel to New York at a most inopportune time, as the G-men have been able to find their groove on defense—four INTs, four fumble recoveries, a boatload of sacks, and their first defensive touchdown all came in the last three weeks. Those great stats should continue against a third-string/patchwork offense. Giants win 26-20

Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:25pm

Great win last week against the Redskins at home for the Vikings. But that was the Redskins, at home. This one is not the Redskins at home. Seahawks win 28-14

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos, 8:25pm

Woah boy. The Chiefs are gearing up for an incredible three-week stretch that seems them square off against the Broncos twice and New England. Their 9-0 record, and standing as an elite team in the game this year, are going to be put to the test. Their defense is capable of slowing down the best offenses, but they have yet to see one quite like Denver’s. On the flip, Denver hasn’t really seen a defense quite like Kansas City’s. The extra week off is a huge advantage for them—as is going up against a dinged up Peyton Manning. But I like the Broncos as home on the strength of Manning’s football IQ, and the atmosphere at Mile High. This is one that everyone should be tuned into. Broncos win 34-33

New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers, Monday, 8:30pm

This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend. Carolina’s defense is for real. They’ve proven that week in and week out, with no better example than their most recent performance against the 49ers, on the road. This week they get the chance to square off against one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. It won’t be so much about Newton vs. Brady, but Brady vs. this Panthers D—a group that hasn’t allowed more than 15 points in seven of their nine games this year. Newton has an opportunity to prove himself as well against a Pats passing defense that ranks 12th overall. The Pats have been vulnerable on the road this season, going 2-2 so far—and those two wins are by a combined nine points against the Falcons and Bills. I like the Panthers to step it up at home. Panthers win 21-16

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