Thursday, November 17, 2011

NFL Week 11 Picks

NFL Picks Time! Woo Woo Woo, You Know It!

Last Week's Record: 7-9 YUCK!
Year to Date Record: 91-55

New York Jets vs Denver Broncos
Just when it looks like the Jets are about to become the team to beat in the AFC East they go and lay an egg against the Patriots. It looked like the same Jets team I thought had problems earlier in the year. Mark Sanchez struggling, the run game not going, and the defense looking confused a bit at times. Now the Jets have to go to Denver to face a Broncos team that has won three of their last four games. They beat the Chiefs by only completing two passes, and only attempting eight! No matter how much we try to deny it, Tim Tebow has brought new life to this Broncos team. Now, I don't think the Broncos can beat the Jets throwing only eight passes and running 54 times. But the Jets may have problems stopping the Broncos new option offense on such a short week. But if there is one guy that can do it, it may be Rex Ryan. I think this game is close, and the Broncos may very well pull off the upset. But the Jets have more talent and win in a very close affair.

NY Jets 20  Denver 16

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Green Bay Packers
And the Packers just keep rolling rolling rolling. They just swept the Vikings under the rug on Monday night. That passing offense may be one of the better passing attacks in the league history. Aaron Rodgers is winning the MVP award, end of story. There are some other nice stories but it is Rodgers award to lose. The Packers still have some flaws in their pass defense, but their front seven makes up for it with a great attack. Can they go undefeated? Absolutely. In order for a team to beat them, they need a great front seven that can pressure Rodgers. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they do not have that. Tampa looked terrible in their loss to Houston last week. It's frightening to see how much the offense has regressed this year. And the defense was exposed big time by Houston. I would expect Green Bay to do much of the same to Tampa. They will shut down LaGarrette Blount and force Josh Freeman to beat them, which is not happening. Packers win.

Green Bay 34  Tampa Bay 21

Carolina Panthers vs Detroit Lions
Both of these teams are coming off losses they would like to forget. I thought the Panthers would be a good second half spoiler, but the Titans may have demoralized them last week. They came up with a great defensive strategy that shut down Cam Newton. The Panthers special teams was also burned big time for a couple of plays. The Lions, meanwhile, were absolutely trounced by the Bears in Chicago. Matthew Stafford can't throw the ball 60+ times and be expected to win. The lack of a running game for the Lions is disturbing. They really miss Jahvid Best, and he may not be back for the rest of the year. That could hurt the Lions when it comes to their playoff chances. Their secondary is also weak and that could be a problem this week. Steve Smith could be in line for a big game. The Panthers could easily walk into Detroit and steal one, but I think the Lions are a better team and they will win a close one.

Detroit 28  Carolina 23

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cleveland Browns
This may be a game between the two worst offenses in the NFL. Neither team seems able to eclipse the 24 point mark this year. Blaine Gabbert has shown some signs of improvement the last few games, but he still is just an average QB at best for Jacksonville. The Browns can't get anything going at all on offense. They were only able to score 12 points last week against St. Louis. It's almost like they are afraid to go into the end zone. Both teams have some strengths on defense. Jacksonville can stop the run, whereas Cleveland can stop the pass. But Cleveland has problems stopping the run, so Maurice Jones-Drew should have a nice game. Jacksonville wins a game no one watches.

Jacksonville 19  Cleveland 9

Oakland Raiders vs Minnesota Vikings
In the weekly "Favorite to Win the AFC West" contest, Oakland has taken a one game lead over everyone else in the division. Carson Palmer finally looks comfortable under center. He should look more comfortable here as the Vikings have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, and they just lost CB Antoine Winfield for the year with a broken collarbone. Darren McFadden is likely to miss this game, but the Raiders shouldn't miss a beat with Michael Bush, who had a breakout game last week. The Vikings struggled Monday night against the Packers. Hopefully it wasn't too deflating for them. Christian Ponder was pressured a lot by the Packers defense. Expect another game with a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson from the Vikings. The Vikings will improve eventually, but the Raiders are the better team right now and are playing the better football. Carson Palmer has a big game and the Raiders roll.

Oakland 27  Minnesota 17

Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins
Where have everyone's Lovable Bills gone. After scoring 30 points with ease their first few games, the Bills have scored a combined 18 points in their last two outings. They have steered away from handing off the ball to Fred Jackson, which is what they should be doing more often. The loss of Center Eric Wood for the year will hurt, as he was arguably their best offensive linemen. The defense, especially the secondary, has also been pushed around the last few weeks. Tony Romo was nearly perfect against them. While the Bills have lost two in a row, the Dolphins have won two in a row. Reggie Bush has looked like a feature back these last two games. Matt Moore looks comfortable in the pocket. The defense is also playing much better. A few weeks ago this looked like a very winnable game for the Bills. Now? It could be much worse. If Brandon Marshall keeps up his hot play, it could mean trouble for the Bills. But the Bills are the more talented team, and they should pull out a close victory here.

Buffalo 28  Miami 24

Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins
The Cowboys looked like the team everyone thinks they are last week. Tony Romo looked like Aaron Rodgers, and DeMarco Murray continues to run all over any defense he faces. And the defense looks like they have finally come around after getting smoked by the Eagles a few weeks ago. The Cowboys have a very soft schedule left. Their only tough games are against the Giants. The Redskins, well, who knows. They probably hope that the Dolphins and Seahawks continue to win so they can get a higher pick the Draft next year. It is pretty clear Mike Shanahan doesn't care for either Rex Grossman or John Beck. Grossman started last week and looked almost as bad as Beck did. The offense is right up there with the Jaguars and Browns as far as bad offenses go. How did they win 3 games? They don't win this one. The Cowboys walk all over the Redskins.

Dallas 34  Washington 17

Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens
Another huge AFC North showdown. The Bengals were brought back down to earth a bit last week with their home loss to Pittsburgh. They competed the whole game which was a good sign. Andy Dalton made a couple rookie mistakes, including that interception had the end of the game. The Bengals may be without WR AJ. Green for this game. That would be a huge loss for the Bengals, as it takes away their main offensive threat. The Bengals also lost CB Leon Hall for the rest of the year with a torn ACL. That's a big loss for a good Bengals defense. Hall was their best corner, and now teams may be able to throw on them more often. The bad Ravens showed up again last week, getting beat by the Seahawks in Seattle. How do you only give Ray Rice five carries? He is your best offensive weapon, he should be touching the ball 20+ times a game. Joe Flacco shouldn't carry your offense, Ray Rice should. The Ravens defense should stack the box and force Dalton to beat them. I think the Ravens will re-focus on Ray Rice here. If they don't, the Ravens may start to question the thinking of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Ravens in another close one.

Baltimore 21  Cincinnati 20

Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers
Don't look now, but the Cardinals have won two in a row with John Skelton at QB. He even threw for 3 touchdowns last week against a pretty good Eagles secondary. Do they even go back to Kolb when he gets healthy? The Cardinals suspect defense also shut down Mike Vick last week. If they can shut down Vick, can they do the same to Alex Smith? The 49ers have won eight in a row and seem poised to lock up the NFC West by the beginning of December. Frank Gore may sit out this game, but they wouldn't drop too far off with Kendall Hunter in the backfield. Hunter already proved he can handle the workload in the backfield. Expect Smith to look for Vernon Davis a lot in this game. The 49ers defense shouldn't have a problem shutting down an injured Beanie Wells, but Larry Fitzgerald may have a good game with the 49ers secondary playing just average. I like the 49ers here to get to 9-1.

San Francisco 23  Arizona 17

Seattle Seahawks vs St. Louis Rams
The Seahawks shocked everyone last week with an upset of the Ravens. Marshawn Lynch is finally running like the feature running back everyone thought he could be when he was traded to Seattle. Lynch's moves to get the first down to seal the game for Baltimore were great. Expect another heavy dose of Lynch from the Seahawks in this game. Seattle may be without WRs Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin, as both men suffered concussions last week. The Rams picked up an ugly road win last week at Seattle. The Sam Bradford-Brandon Lloyd connection looks like it could be a good one in the future. The Rams should do everything they can to sign Lloyd in the off-season. Those two combined with Steven Jackson could form a nice trio for the Rams. The Rams defense has stepped up its game recently, so expect them to do everything they can to shut down Lynch and make Tavaris Jackson beat them. I like the Rams to win here. They're finally getting healthy on offense.

St. Louis 30  Seattle 20

Tennessee Titans vs Atlanta Falcons
This may actually be the biggest game of the week as far as playoff implications go. Both of these teams are 5-4 and hanging on to their wild card lives. The Falcons are coming off an OT loss to New Orleans which saw them go for a 4th and 1 at their own 29 and not convert. I defended Mike Smith and still do, but a lot of people are questioning that decision. The Falcons are still a good team. They have the talent to make the playoffs, but they need to figure out who the primary threat is on offense and focus on that. This game, the Falcons should focus on their passing attack and take advantage of a weak Tennessee secondary. The Titans keep winning and sticking around in the playoff race despite no one talking about them. Chris Johnson has played surprisingly well the last couple games, but he faces a stiff test here in the Falcons front seven. And if that front seven can pressure Matt Hasselbeck it could be a long day for the Titans offense. I think the Falcons are the better team and they pull out the win here.

Atlanta 27  Tennessee 21

San Diego Chargers vs Chicago Bears
Talk about two teams heading in opposite directions. Lets start with the Chargers, losers of four straight after a hot 4-1 start. The Kansas City debacle may comeback to be the turning point of the season. Or you could go back to the week before where the Chargers lost a double digit second half lead against the Jets. Philip Rivers isn't the same Philip Rivers of recent years. Sure he's putting up big stats, but he's also making some bad throws and questionable decisions. The defense is also having problems stopping anything through the air, and the run defense was torched by Michael Bush last week. The Bears, meanwhile, have won four in a row and have looked like the same team that won the NFC North last year. Jay Cutler is getting time to throw and Matt Forte is arguably the best running back in the league this year. And Devin Hester is a serious threat on special teams. And with the problems the Chargers have on special teams, they may find it best to just punt away from Hester in this one. The Bears front seven will pressure Rivers and force him into the same mistakes he's been making. Bears win in a high scoring affair.

Chicago 35  San Diego 30

Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants
The Eagles are the drama darlings of the NFL. Last week DeSean Jackson was benched for missing a team meeting, and the offense struggled without the threat of his big play ability. Then Mike Vick suffered broken ribs during the game. When it happened remains a question we probably won't ever find out. And then there is the defense. The Big $$$ secondary was burned by a QB named John Skelton. This team may have packed it in already for all we know. The players may cost Andy Reid his job. The Giants lost on the road last week, starting their tough stretch 1-1. They hung around and were driving late but they couldn't find a way to get into the end zone. Eli Manning looks good when he has all of his weapons at his disposal. They held San Francisco in check early, but couldn't keep them contained the whole game. This is a big game for the Giants and a needed win. They have New Orleans and Green Bay back to back coming up, a loss here would hurt their division chances. But the Giants are the more complete team, are in better shape mentally, and have already beat Philadelphia in Philly. And with Mike Vick not likely to play, the Giants should roll rather easily here.

NY Giants 30  Philadelphia 17

Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots
A few weeks ago this game looked promising after Kansas City won three straight and looked like a good team on offense again. But the last two games? They scored a combined 13 points and look like the same bad team that started the season. And now they lost Matt Cassel for likely the rest of the year with a hand injury. The defense got shredded by the Tim Tebow option. They won't have to worry about that this week, as Tom Brady will just throw the ball at will on them. The Patriots once again looked like the favorite in the AFC East last week against the Jets. They still don't have much of a running game to speak of, which could hurt later on. The defense looked improved last week and will gain more confidence this week playing a bad Chiefs offense. No reason to think the Patriots won't role here.

New England 41  Kansas City 17

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week's Record: 1-3
Year to Date Record: 23-16-1

Buffalo +2 at Miami: Bills are the more talented team.

Chicago -3.5 vs San Diego: Bears are playing much better than the Chargers right now.

NY Giants -4 vs Philadelphia: No Vick pretty much means no chance for Philadelphia.

New England -15 vs Kansas City: Chiefs may not score 15 points.

Survivor Series Preview up probably early Saturday.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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