Thursday, November 17, 2011

NFL Week 11 Predictions

This week's slate of games is loaded with a bunch of duds. The best analogy I can come up with is as follows: Imagine your at a "happening" party, everything has been going great, and you're in line at the bar waiting for a drink. Then out of nowhere this foul-smell hits your nostrils and you realize that someone has just cut one of the most rotten farts. Soon enough everyone has cleared the bar and the party momentarily stops as everyone gags for fresh air. That what this weeks NFL Matchups feel like. The entire NFC West plays against one another, the Jaguars and the Browns square off in what should be an offensively handicapped matchup, and the Chiefs and Broncos somehow score primetime games this week. Basically this will be one of the hardest weeks to hand out our weekly "game to avoid watching at all costs." Click after the jump to see if we can sift through the crap to find some winners this week...

Thursday, November 17th (8:20 ET)
New York Jets (-6.5) vs. Denver Broncos
Talk about an absolute gem to start off the week! Handoffs, punts, and low excitement. That's how every football fan wants to enjoy their Thursday Night. Tim Tebow is one of the most unique quarterbacks that we've seen in a while. He doesn't need to throw to win as he's gone 3-1 in four starts (I am 0-4 betting on Tebow games). He nearly ran for as many yards as he threw for last week and he only completed TWO pass attempts. For as odd as his game is - the Broncos are very much back in the thick of the AFC West which is where I thought they would be at the beginning of the season - just not this way. In this grind it out game, I look for Tebow to come up with more ways to try to lull us to sleep. I just don't trust Tebow enough especially on primetime and against a Jets team that is reeling from last week's loss to the Patriots. I'll take the Jets on the road.

Sunday, November 20th (1:00 ET Kickoffs)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (-7)
How frustrating have the Ravens been this year? Just when you think they've taken control of the AFC they go and lose to teams that shouldn't even step on the same field as them. Seems a bit fraudulent. There's no way after a win against Pitt you shouldn't keep that momentum going against a much weaker opponent. Now they get the Bengals at home - which is a big game in a very tight AFC North race. Going by the logic that the Ravens only play in big games this year - I'll take them to win this game over the Bengals who may be without star WR AJ Green. Take the Ravens and lay the points.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-1) vs. Cleveland Browns 
This game is screaming at me to pick it for our weekly award. While the thought of sitting down and watching multiple plays from this game does make me want throw up in my mouth - I'll hold off on the award for now. The two offenses are 2 of the 3 worst in the league at scoring points. I wouldn't be shocked if this game ended in a 0-0 tie. I'll take the Browns plus the 1 point for insurance. 

Carolina Panthers vs. Detroit Lions (-7)
After a week up in the windy city - the Lions return home to host the Panthers which should allow this offense to get back on track. The Panthers have struggled lately dropping 5 of their last 6 contests with their only win coming against the Redskins. I think the Lions win this game - the only concern is that it might be a look-ahead game to the Packers on Thanksgiving. Jim Schwarz will do his best John Harbaugh (Ravens) impression. I'll take the Panthers to cover this game - but the Lions improve to 7-3 on the year. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers (-14)
How can someone in their right mind pick against the Green Bay Packers after the season they've had, the incredible numbers that Aaron Rodgers has been putting up, and the absolute domination on both sides of the ball they exhibited over the Vikings? Easy - gambling is always 50/50 (excluding the juice and all that other noise). The Bucs have struggled to score early in games this year as they join the Browns as the only teams to not record an offensive TD in the first quarter. I look for them to change that this week and stay close enough to the Packers. I'll take the Bucs plus the two TDs in Lambeau. 

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins (-2)
I said it earlier this week in the week 10 recap but if the Bills have any hopes of the playoffs this year this is an absolute must win. The offense has looked terrible the past two weeks against the Jets and Cowboys and have struggled on the road (1-3) this year. There's just no way I pick against the Bills in this game. I know the Dolphins aren't the laughing stock of the league that they were two weeks ago - but they are still not a good football team. At the end of the day - I'll take my odds on Ryan Fitzpatrick over Matt Moore. Let's go Buffalo

Oakland Raiders (-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Raiders enter this game as the sole leader in the AFC West with a 5-4 record, with a one game lead over the Broncos, Chargers, and Chiefs. With all three of those teams underdogs this week - they have a golden opportunity to separate themselves from the rest. I don't think that will happen - plus what would the AFC West be without some more drama? The Vikings have played much better at home and I expect Jared Allen to wreak havoc on Carson Palmer all day long. I'll take the Vikings at home. 

Dallas Cowboys (-8) vs. Washington Redskins
I know, I know - I continue to take the Redskins when they haven't proved anything to me at all. Losses in their last 5 games - I'm not saying that they will beat the Cowboys outright, I just think they finally cover a game. Getting eight points at home against a division opponent is a lot. With Rex Grossman back under center the Redskins actually have a chance to move the ball. It's also no mistake that the Cowboys are 1-3 on the road - they don't play the same brand of football away from la casa de Jerry Jones. I'll take the Redskins plus the points in this one. 

Sunday, November 20th (4:00 ET Kickoffs)
Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams (-2)
It's no surprise - this is the game. These are the two perennial powerhouses for teams that I take no interest in. It's no different this week which is why I'll award the "game I'll avoid watching at all costs." I'll take the Rams in this one. Oh, No - I just saw that this will be the week 14 Monday Night Football Game -_______- (blank face).

Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)
The 49ers continued their impressive win streak on games Against the Spread as they improved to 8-0-1 on the year. The Cardinals coming off a huge road win in Philadelphia last week look to build off the Skeleton-Fitzgerald connection. Certainly didn't think I would be writing that last sentence this year. I think the 49ers win streak ATS is snapped - but not their win streak in the NFL. I'll take the Cardinals to keep this closer than most think. 

San Diego Chargers vs. Chicago Bears (-3.5)

The Bears have been playing really well lately - while the Chargers have been going in the exact opposite direction of up. On the road against a hot Bears team it would be easy to write this Chargers team off. I just can't bring myself to do it. As bad as Rivers has been I still think they have time to right the proverbial ship. They're only 1 game out of first place in the AFC West and if they can manage to keep the ball away from Devin Hester it increases their odds ten-fold. The real issue will be stopping Matt Forte and the Bears running attack. The Chargers allowed the Raiders to go for 191 in week 10 - that can't happen against the Bears offense which is still suspect. I'll take the Chargers to figure things out in Chicago this weekend. 

Tennessee Titans vs. Atlanta Falcons (-6)
Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith has come under the microscope this week after his debatable OT decision to go for it on 4th and short. A lot has been made of this by the national media (myself included) - but at the end of the day the Falcons still control their own destiny. The key to a Falcons win will be limiting Chris Johnson early on so that he doesn't pick up any type of rhythm. Easier said than done - I know. The best way to do that will be to establish Michael Turner early and often. I think that the Falcons simply have too many weapons for this Titans team to contend with. I'll take the Falcons to cover at home. 

Sunday Night Football (8:20 ET)
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants (-4.5)
Every game from here on out is a playoff game for the Philadelphia Eagles. Everything swirling around the Eagles organization feels negative. Michael Vick played a majority of last weeks game with broken ribs and his status is still uncertain. DeSean Jackson missed last weeks game due to "missing an alarm clock" - aka "Eff You, Pay Me" syndrome. And numerous fans and 'pundits' have called for Head Coach Andy Reid's job. I'm not saying that all of these issues are going to get miraculously better for this Eagles team - but I still believe they can play with the best teams in the league. They still have LeSean McCoy. That alone should by them a couple wins coming down the stretch. I like the Eagles to avenge their week 3 loss against the Giants. I'll take the Eagles to pull out every last trick in the book to beat the Giants. If the Eagles start Vince Young - all bets are off. 

Monday Night Football (8:30 ET)
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots (-15)
The Chiefs start Tyler Palko at QB who used to room with Larry Fitzgerald at Pitt. That's really all I have on this game. The Patriots should continue to roll with their two stud TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Just mismatches all day. I'll take the Patriots to win convincingly at home on MNF. 

Byes: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh

Last Week: 6-10
Season Record: 71-69-5

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