Week 11 is full of match-ups that could be the fulcrum on which entire franchises are hinged. So with each pick, we can consider a team’s legitimate or illegitimate playoff hopes and whether they’ll be Norved or allowed to flourish…
Thursday Night Football
After getting hammered at home by the Titans, the Dolphins head north to take on CJ Spiller and the Bills. Would you believe the Dolphins have more wins on the road (2) than the Bills have at home (1)? That evens out this week. Bills win.<p>
I know it’s easy to look past this game and assume the Falcons will fly past the Cardinals, but with Arizona coming off their bye week, the Falcons coming off a loss to New Orleans and the questionable status of Julio Jones, this game could be a reminder of why the Cards were 4-0 in that their front-7 could dominate that of the Falcons. Or its the game the Falcons convince analysts that think they’re soft they can bulldoze a physical defense and dominate an opponent… Perched on a limb here. Cardinals win.
Last year, the Panthers saw vast offensive improvements, but needed more help on defense. This year, they’ve allowed 21 fewer points through 10 weeks, but also scored 27 fewer points and have the exact same 2-7 record. Meanwhile, the Bucs, who failed to exceed 30+ points through 16 games last season, have notched that 5 times through 9 games this season. Tampa’s offense is officially awesome… Bucs win.
I know it’s easy to write off Cleveland here. But the Browns’ defense holds opposing quarterbacks to a worse passer rating than more than half the teams in the NFL, including the Cowboys. Tony Romo is already staring at a career low passer rating thanks to his 13 interceptions and of course, plenty of poor play from a supporting cast. The only team more consistently inconsistent than the Chargers is the Cowboys. Still, I like the Boys’ defense against that young Browns offense. Cowboys win.
Lions really let me down last week by not doing a better job against the Vikings. If you thought Christian Ponder (24/32 224 yds, 2 TD) looked good against the Lions D… Aaron Rodgers >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ponder. Packers win.
If you’ve notice, I’ve cautioned you to not look past the underdog… For this game, I would caution you not look at this underdog at all. Jags are a team in desperate need of another bye week. Houston is the most complete team in the NFL. Texans win.
Bengals with the impressive win over the Giants at home will be going to Arrowhead to play a Chiefs team that makes the Jaguars look stable. I’d like to see the Chiefs with another bye week also. Every week. The Chiefs have a turnover margin 10 TIMES what the Bengals have! (-20 for KC, -2 for Cinci) Bengals win.
Will the Jets right the ship with a win? Welp, for a ship to be righted, it kinda needs to float. There’s nothing about this Jets team, from personnel to scheme to execution that is above water. Rams win.
To think both these teams would be 3-6, starting rookie quarterbacks is to say the East has officially been replaced as the premier division in the NFC. 6 of the last 7 years, this division had 3 teams finish above .500. From 2004 through 2009, the East sent 2 teams to the playoffs each year and 3 teams in back-to-back years of 2006, 2007. Now the Skins and Eagles are going to squabble over which team can swan dive out of the rest of this season more gracefully. Skins off bye week, Reid on sad downward spiral. Skins win.
While the Super Bowl curse and other such franchise leveling circumstances have sent an initial sledgehammer through the face of every Saints fan, crawling back to .500 will go a long way. Raiders’ defense is hard to watch. Saints win.
You’re looking to get Norved aren’t you? This is your shot. The only way Charger fans have hope is to watch their team exact revenge for the embarrassment that was Monday Night Football. Whenever Norv gets heated, the Chargers get hot. Chargers win.
When the season began, I predicted the Colts, who did not have a prime-time matchup outside a Thursday Night divisional game, would be flexed because this team was transformed in the off-season and far more exciting than their 2-14 2011 campaign. What couldn’t be predicted was the incredible coaching job of Bruce Arians in the face of relentless adversity. But this is the same Bruce Arians that led the Cleveland Browns offense out of futility and into its last playoff appearance in 2002. He also watched from the sidelines as, then rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger, amassed a quarterback rating of 126.4 and threw for 2 touchdowns as the Steelers ended the New England Patriots, then record, 21-game winning streak in week 8 of the 2004 season. So Arians knows something of reconstructive surgery on offenses and has been a part of some dramatic franchise turnarounds. Andrew Luck can sling it. And only the Titans and Redskins have given up more passing touchdowns than the Patriots. Foxboro is a tough place to play. But the Colts are a much tougher team than people give them credit for. Riding the rook, Colts win.
Sunday Night Football
The last entry was really long. And this one is going to be short. Roethlisberger goes down, so did the Steelers chances at beating the Ravens. Ravens win.
Monday Night Football
Arian Foster did a nice job showcasing how to run on that Bears defense. But Stephen Jackson did the same to the Niners defense. This is the type of game that old men watch and tell young guys “Back in my day…” because this is old school football and I can’t wait to watch every second. No ties in this one, but no Cutler either. Niners win.
Went 10-4-1 last week. Stinking tie. Enjoy your Sunday!!