Thursday, November 15, 2012

NFL Week 11 Picks

A bit of a down turn from previous weeks, but still respectable.

Last Week: 9-5
Year to Date: 94-51

Miami Dolphins vs Buffalo Bills
The Bills last week showed how good they can be when the offense plays to its potential. They came very close to beating the Patriots last week in Foxboro, but a bad Ryan Fitzpatrick interception in the end zone ended those hopes. The defense all was run over again. When you score 31 points in the NFL, you expect to win the game. But the defense barely put any pressure on Tom Brady and could not cause any turnovers. Buffalo has an easy schedule coming up so there is still a glimmer of hope for the team. Even without Fred Jackson, the Bills should be okay with the electric C.J. Spiller in the backfield. He needs more touches and he will get them now. Miami was embarrassed last week at home and might have ended any hopes of a decent season happening this year. The offense looked terrible for the first time all season. And the defense was ran over by Chris Johnson. I don't know what changed for Miami, but things didn't look good. On a short week, I like the Bills here. Miami will still be reeling from their bad loss.

Buffalo 27  Miami 17

Arizona Cardinals vs Atlanta Falcons
What did the Cardinals do during their bye week? Hopefully they used it to figure out what to do with their offense. It is still reeling and they need to find ways to get the ball in the hands of Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals defense can only hold teams at bay for so long. It did that with the Packers and other teams this year before letting up. And while the Cardinals may be coming off their bye week, they are going right to playing an angry Atlanta Falcons team. The Falcons suffered their first loss of the year last week against New Orleans. The offense didn't come through in the end. Atlanta has had a pretty soft schedule before this. They should have a big enough lead in the NFC South to still win the division. And I think they will take care of Arizona here.

Atlanta 34  Arizona 16

Cleveland Browns vs Dallas Cowboys
One thing you can expect the Browns to do is to fight in every game they are in this year. They've kept games close all year, and I would expect them to do the same against Dallas. Cleveland had their bye week last week. It was good timing to rest RB Trent Richardson. The young Browns, despite being on the road, should find ways to score against the Cowboys defense. They will rely heavily on Richardson to take the pressure off of Weeden. But Weeden should be able to throw against a suspect Cowboys secondary. The Cowboys may have saved their season with a win at Philadelphia. The defense took advantage of rookie Nick Foles being thrown into the game. Dallas will look to bring pressure on Weeden just like they did with Foles. It was a close game until Foles came in, then everything broke right for the Cowboys. The Browns have a stingy defense. But the Cowboys should be able to score on them. They have enough weapons that the Browns will have a tough time stopping all of them. Dallas rides the momentum and wins.

Dallas 24  Cleveland 20

Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions
Detroit looked to be righting the ship before they lost last week against Minnesota. The defense couldn't stop the Vikings, even without Percy Harvin. And now the Lions have to face a rested Packers team. Detroit's offense will need to score to keep with the Packers. But they need to get their running game going again. The Lions only mustered 60 yards of rushing. They need to get more if they want to compete with the Packers. It helps keep the ball away from the Packers offense. Sure the Lions offense can probably pass at will against the Packers, but the offense needs to diversify itself. After a rough start to the season, the Packers seem to finally be finding their way on offense. The Packers have won four in a row since losing at Indianapolis. The offense looked like the normal Packers offense we are used to seeing. Aaron Rodgers is using all of his weapons effectively. Randall Cobb is turning into a quality WR. They should also get Jordy Nelson back this week fully healthy. But similar to Detroit, Green Bay also has to get their run game going. I'm tempted to pick the Lions, but the Packers are rested and a more complete team. Green Bay wins.

Green Bay 41  Detroit 34

Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs
At this point, I almost feel bad for the Chiefs. They play some of these games so close and just can't catch a break in the end. They weren't getting a lot of breaks from the officials either. But the Chiefs can also be their own worst enemy. Cassel threw an interception the first possession of over time and went on to lose the game against the Steelers. Brady Quinn is ready to return, and now it is up to Romeo Crennel to decide what to do. At this point it really doesn't matter. I don't think either guy will be the QB next year. Cincinnati surprised the Giants last week and not only beat them, but beat them soundly. Could this finally be the turn around for the Bengals season? Beating a Playoff team? It might be, but I would like to see the Bengals do it on a consistent basis. They can't have a let down this week against the Chiefs. Like always I expect the Chiefs to keep it close, but the Bengals pull away in the end.

Cincinnati 23  Kansas City 14

Philadelphia Eagles vs Washington Redskins
What else can you say about the Eagles right now? The team is a giant mess. Andy Reid is pretty much just coaching out his days as Eagles head coach. I really don't see any way he is back next year. He's had so much talent the last couple years and has failed to deliver a winning season. Mike Vick looks to be done for the year to with a concussion. At this point, there is no reason to go back to Vick. Give rookie Nick Foles a chance to show what he has the rest of the season and determine if he can be the team's QB of the future. Washington also looks like a team that appears to be done with the season. Well, that is if you listen to Mike Shanahan talk. Shanny said that players are playing for their jobs next season, a sign that he may know nothing will come of this year. Washington has a lot of talent but they can never seem to put it all together. Robert Griffin has a bright future. As long as his play doesn't get him into trouble injury wise, he should have a long and bright career. Washington is less of a mess than the Eagles right now, and I think Philly has quite on the season. Redskins win.

Washington 30  Philadelphia 26

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers
Similar to the Eagles, Carolina looks like a team ready to be imploded. The Panthers looked lost all over the place in their effort against the Broncos last week. Cam Newton seems to have forgotten how to run an offense. The team failed to get the running game going again. Oh and then they are dealing with the rumors of people from Los Angeles trying to woo owner Jerry Richardson to sell the team to LA. Not a good week to be a Panthers fan. Ron Rivera has failed to show any improvement at all this year, so I doubt he keeps his job. Greg Schiano, however, has shown a tremendous amount of improvement with the Buccaneers this year. The Bucs are playing hard in every game and came up with a big win last week against San Diego that put them over .500. Doug Martin was shut down last week, but every other part of the team picked up the slack. Josh Freeman, the defense and special teams all came up big. Now the Bucs are knocking on the door of a Wild Card spot. I like how this team is playing under Schiano, and I think they win here.

Tampa Bay 31  Carolina 20

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans
This one is pretty easy to figure out. The Jaguars look TERRIBLE. Blaine Gabbert was benched last week and Chad Henne didn't look any better. The defense is okay but can only do so much if the offense is not scoring. I think they are the worst team in the NFL. Houston beat Chicago last week to stake their claim as the top team in the AFC, and maybe also in the NFL. The offense is well balanced and the defense is playing great. If the Jaguars win this game, then I will write a 10,000 word column talking about their win next week. Houston wins easily.

Houston 38  Jacksonville 10

New York Jets vs St. Louis Rams
Could the Jets start imploding any worse than they are already? They looked terrible against Seattle. And then came the news this week that Jets defensive players were anonymously trashing Tim Tebow and saying that he is a terrible player. Always have to love when a player rips another player but doesn't want his name to be known. At this point, I don't even know if the Jets will win another game this season. I think they are in that bad of shape. They've lost all faith in Mark Sanchez, and Rex Ryan looks to be losing the attention of his team. The Rams are coming off a TIE, A TIE against the 49ers. But the Rams had a couple of chances to win that game and shot themselves in the foot. They had a big play called back on the first play of overtime due to an illegal formation. And then they had a game winning field goal called back due to a delay of game penalty. And the next kick was missed. St. Louis showed a lot of courage going into San Francisco and playing as well as they did. Steven Jackson had his best game of the year, which helped take pressure off of Sam Bradford. I see the Rams doing the same thing this week and that will give them the win over the hapless Jets.

St. Louis 26  NY Jets 21

New Orleans Saints vs Oakland Raiders
So are the Saints finally back to being the Saints of old? They handed the Falcons their first loss of the season last week and their defense has played well in the last two weeks. They came up with a big goal line stand against the Falcons in the fourth. As I said in my Week 10 Review, if the Saints can keep teams in the twenties every week then they have a good chance of winning games with the offense being lead by Drew Brees. New Orleans should continue to role this week with the Raiders as their opponent. Oakland was destroyed by the Ravens last week. They were never in the game and the offense couldn't do anything. They may score some more points this week, but can they really hang with the Saints? I don't think so. Saints win a high scoring affair.

New Orleans 45  Oakland 27

San Diego Chargers vs Denver Broncos
You know the Chargers are thinking about the last time they played the Broncos. They blew a 24 point second half lead against the Broncos at home on Monday night football. Including that game the Chargers have lost three of their last four, with their only win coming against the Chiefs. Despite putting up some points last week against Tampa Bay, the Chargers did not look like the Chargers of old. Philip Rivers made some terrible throws, one of which was a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown. Norv Turner looks like a man who knows his job is on the line. Since their win against San Diego, Denver has been on a four game winning streak. The defense is much improved compared to where it was at earlier in the season. Denver has the chance to claim total control over the AFC West with a win here. Denver's most difficult game left is a road trip to Baltimore. I think Denver wins this one here. They are playing the better football.

Denver 34  San Diego 23

Indianapolis Colts vs New England Patriots
The Colts have the chance to silence any more of their doubters if they can pick up a win on the road against the Patriots. Indianapolis jumped out to a 6-3 record and have been playing some inspired football. Andrew Luck is not playing like a rookie QB. He leads this Colts team with a lot of poise has won over the trust of the veteran players on the Colts team. But now the Colts get into the difficult part of their schedule, and it doesn't get much more difficult than playing Tom Brady on the road. Buffalo gave New England everything they could handle last week. The Patriots defense showed that they can still be scored upon rather easily. Buffalo was able to move the ball rather well against the Pats secondary. But the Patriots, similar to the Saints, have a lot of weapons on offense and if the defense can even hold teams in the twenties then they should be able to win most football games. Tom Brady knows his defense will not help him out most of the time, so you can expect him to come out firing in this one. I would also expect New England to try and establish their running game against a suspect Colts front seven. Indy can keep this close, but I don't think they have enough offensive fire power to hang with the Patriots. New England pulls away late.

New England 34  Indianapolis 28

Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers
This game is always a nasty slugfest. But you can't help but think this game has lost a little bit of its luster with key injuries on both teams. Baltimore is still without Ray Lewis. But the defense has rebounded nicely after their poor performances against the Texans a couple of weeks ago. And the offense has done well too. Joe Flacco came up with a big game last week. Now he needs to come up with another clutch performance in Pittsburgh. Baltimore could also use another big game from its special teams unit. On the Pittsburgh side of the ball, they will be without QB Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben suffered a sprained shoulder as well as a serious dislocated rib that could have caused some serious damage. They are also still without Troy Polamalu on defense. Pittsburgh will turn to Byron Leftwich at QB. But how much of a drop off is it from Ben to Leftwich? I would say a pretty big one. Leftwich can't make the plays with his feet that Big Ben can. I think that will be a problem for the Steelers in this one. Pittsburgh has too many injuries for my liking. I think Baltimore squeaks out a win in this one.

Baltimore 20  Pittsburgh 16

Chicago Bears vs San Francisco 49ers
This is a possible Playoff Preview. San Francisco was lucky to escape with a tie last week against the Rams. They did not play up to the standard of football that you expect under a Jim Harbaugh team. They struggled to put away a less talented Rams team. But they also lost Alex Smith for the second half of the game due to a concussion. He passed all concussion test this week and should be back this week for the 49ers. Even though the 49ers offense opens up more with Colin Kapernick under center, Smith is just a better game manager. The Bears will more than likely be without their starting QB this week, as Jay Cutler also suffered a concussion last week against the Texans. Jason Campbell didn't look too good in the second half. Part of that could be blamed on the weather, but he also just wasn't making the plays Cutler can make. Maybe with a week to prepare Campbell will play better, but he gets a tough first test against the 49ers. Chicago will rely on their defense to make some plays for them, and that is possible with Smith at QB. Smith is a good game manager, but he can be turnover prone at times. I expect a low scoring game here. But I just didn't like what I saw from Jason Campbell last week. I'm taking the 49ers here.

San Francisco 17  Chicago 13

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 3-1
Year to Date: 22-18

Buffalo -2.5 vs Miami: Call it a homer pick. Just a hunch I have. Buffalo makes a statement here.
Indianapolis +9 at New England: Surprised the spread is so big. Colts should get more respect.
New Orleans -5 at Oakland: Saints offense a touchdown better than Raiders offense.
Atlanta -10 vs Arizona: Don't like Arizona's chances against a mad Falcons team.

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

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