Thursday, November 19, 2009

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 11

The Panthers and Dolphins kick the football week off Thursday night.

Ah, we’re nearing the home stretch for the NFL season, and mercifully the bye weeks are all behind us now, which is nice as that means that we’ll have a full slate of NFL games each week. The only bad thing is that we now get Thursday football every week, which might be an little bit of overkill...although who am I kidding, I'll watch it. Here are the results of my crystal ball gazing, actual results may vary slightly.

Miami at Carolina – These two teams are mirror images of each other. Both started slowly, both have picked up steam as the season has progressed, and both desperately need to keep winning to have any shot at the postseason. Both of these 4-5 teams are sneaky good, in that I believe they are both better than most people think they are. I think this could be a pretty good game; since the NFL has started doing a weekly Thursday night game, the play has generally been sloppy, but I’m going to pick this game to buck the trend of poor play and provide us with one doozy of a game. I’ll take the Panthers to win an exciting contest. Panthers 31 Dolphins 27

Washington at Dallas – This contest pits two teams that surprised me last week against each other. Washington surprised me, because I couldn’t envision a scenario in which they were going to beat the Broncos, and yet somehow they did. The Cowboys surprised me by almost getting shutout against a Packers team that I had given up on the previous week. The Redskins are not winning two in a row, trust me, them winning last week was more about the Broncos being terrible than about the Skins being good. The Cowboys are not traditionally all that good as the NFL calendar gets later in the year, but they should be good enough to take a home game against a Redskins team that just isn’t all that great. Cowboys 28 Redskins 10

Cleveland at Detroit – A power matchup to be sure! The NFL schedule makers are actually doing us a favor by pitting these two duds against each other so that they only ruin one NFL game this weekend instead of their typical two. Actually, perhaps since both teams are pathetic, this will turn out to be a great game. That’s not how I’m betting it, but hey, anything is possible, right? I don’t even know what the number is for this game, but take the under. In a matchup of the teams that are #31 and #32 in my NFL power rankings, I’m going to take the second worst team in the league to narrowly defeat the worst team in the league in a game that I have zero interest in watching. Lions 7 Browns 6

San Francisco at Green Bay – The Niners put a halt to a four game skid, but were hardly impressive in doing it last Thursday night. The San Francisco offense just doesn’t look right, and I think the Packers feel revitalized after putting down a good Cowboys team last week. I’m still not sure the Packers are any good, but I think they’re good enough to handle the 49ers. Packers 27 49ers 17

Pittsburgh at Kansas City – The Steelers looked every bit like a team that was going to defend their championship in Denver, and then six days later they got worked by the Bengals at the friendly confines of Heinz Field. Now, they have been swept by Cincy and need to finish a game ahead of the Bengals to win the AFC North. They are surely upset at how last week’s game went, and I think they come into Arrowhead and take out their frustrations on a Chiefs team that just isn’t very good. Steelers 33 Chiefs 6

Atlanta at New York Giants – A month ago, this looked like a better game. The Falcons were 4-1 and the Giants were 5-0. Now both teams stumble into Giants stadium Sunday with 5-4 marks and desperately needing to get back on track to get out of the muddled NFC pack. This game is huge for both, and it could be the determining factor between who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t. The Giants are due to get a win, and I think they finally are able to pull things together enough to make it happen on Sunday. Giants 23 Falcons 20

New Orleans at Tampa Bay – Josh Freeman has at least provided a spark of enthusiasm for the Bucs. He is only completing half of his passes, but his numbers aren’t terrible, and he has four touchdowns against only two picks, so the future may be okay with him. If your rookie quarterback’s passer rating is hanging around 80, that’s not terrible. The Bucs almost pulled another huge upset last week, narrowly falling on a last second field goal versus the Dolphins. The Saints are better than Miami, and I don’t think they’ll need a last second field goal. Taking down the undefeated Saints would be a remarkable accomplishment for the rookie, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to get it done. Although it would be interesting if the high-flying Saints first loss were to the dreadful Tampa team. Not seeing it. Saints 38 Buccaneers 17

Buffalo at Jacksonville – I’m trying to figure out why Mike Shanahan would give the Bills the time of day. This team has been amongst the dregs of the league for a decade, the town loves the team, but due to economic decline may not be able to continue to support them, and there isn’t a whole lot of talent in the pantry right now. The Buffalo cupboards are bare; perhaps Mike just doesn’t want to hurt their feelings? I am not sure, what I do know is that regardless of whether or not Dick Jauron were still around, this team is not very good. However, even though the Jaguars have a winning record. I still don’t buy that they are good. The Bills have already come into one town and dealt a gigantic blow to a team that was starting to believe they might have a chance when they took down Carolina on the last Sunday in October. I think they do it again to a Jacksonville team that I’ll probably keep doubting all the way to the playoffs. Bills 20 Jaguars 17

Indianapolis at Baltimore – The Colts are due for a loss, this game reminds me of a few weeks ago when undefeated Denver came into play a 3-3 Ravens team that desperately needed a win. Once again an undefeated team rolls into Baltimore, and once again the Ravens are desperate and the team they are playing with can afford to lose a game. I don’t see the Ravens rolling, but I think they pull out a close win. Ravens 24 Colts 21

Seattle at Minnesota – It’s slipped under the radar for most of this season, but were you aware that Brett Favre is now playing for his old rival in Minnesota? Apparently he’s playing pretty well for the Vikings. Some even say he’s playing the game like a little kid having fun out there! Who knew? The Seahawks MIGHT win one game on the road this season (they travel to Saint Louis to take on the Rams next week), but they are not going in to the Metrodome and beating the Vikes. Vikings 35 Seahawks 14

Arizona at Saint Louis – I’m hesitant to start believing in the Cardinals, but they have won five of their last six games, and they’ve looked pretty good doing it. I think they make it six out of seven, but in a game that is perhaps closer than anticipated. Cardinals 28 Rams 20

New York Jets at New England – Bad timing by the Jets. Bill Belichick is probably ready to unload on a team after getting overly second guessed for the Colts game, add to that the fact that the Patriots would love to get a little revenge for the Week 2 loss against the Jets, and I see a talented and motivated team bowling over New York. It could be so bad that it makes Rex Ryan cry. Patriots 42 Jets 17

Cincinnati at Oakland – The Raiders are starting to realize what the rest of the country knew about two months ago…JaMarcus Russell is a bust. They turn the offense over to Bruce Gradkowski, but I have bad news for Raider Nation…he’s bad too. At least they have the Bengals coming to town who have a history of being terrible and this season…oh wait…yeah, they’re good now. Sorry Oakland, you’re screwed. Bengals 44 Raiders 7

San Diego at Denver – I have predicted Denver wins over the past two games, and have been REALLY wrong. Hopefully this is a reverse jinx…The Chargers are the better team right now. The baton for the AFC West lead gets handed to them in convincing fashion this weekend, and I will try my best not to cry like Rex Ryan about it. Chargers 34 Broncos 10

Philadelphia at Chicago – The Eagles have lost two straight, and need to get back on track. The Bears have completely derailed, and I don’t see good things ahead for Chicago. Philly takes care of the Bears with a workman like win. Eagles 20 Bears 10

Tennessee at Houston – I’ve heard people rip this game, but I think it’s actually pretty solid. It features Vince Young returning to Texas where the people in Houston might love him more than they love the Texans due to his Longhorn ties. The Texans are looking pretty good right now, and the Titans are riding Brett Kern’s leg and karma to a three game win streak. (That’s right, the Titans turnaround is directly a result of positive superstition surrounding the punter.) The Texans are out to prove that they deserve in the playoff picture, and the Titans are out to prove that Bud Adams had a good reason to flip off the Bills. Plus the old Oilers return to the place where the franchise began and the fans that they left behind. Any way you look at it, good and interesting game! Texans 29 Titans 24

My Picks Scorecard:

Last Week: 11-4
Season to Date: 93-51

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