Want to know how to instill confidence in your readers about your picks for Week 11? Simply start off your post with this statement: There’s a good chance that I will go 2-14 this week. On the same hand, there’s an equally good chance I will go 14-2. Apparently, Vegas got sick of being burned by the common-sensical fan (like myself) who realized that a good number of the lines they were putting out lacked, you could say, intelligence (Green Bay -6.5 versus Minnesota? Baltimore -5.5 against Cincinnati?). In response, this week (with the aid of a strangely divided schedule) they decided to try and scare away bettors in an attempt to hedge their losses. In a week where all of the “might be good, might really suck” teams are squaring off, with the exception of the 3 1/2 powerhouses (Indy = 1/2 a powerhouse right now) playing weak opponents, Vegas basically said “Since we obviously don’t know what we’re doing, we’ll make the line a near pick on the tough games and extremely high on the lop-sided games–you go sweat it out!” Thanks Vegas, I feel like Patrick Ewing at the free throw line 39 seconds in to a game.
As usual, my track record is below (so you know what you’re getting into), followed by my Week 11 picks.
My Weekly Results:
Week 1: 13-3
Week 2: 9-6
Week 3: 7-9
Week 4: 6-8
Week 5: 6-8
Week 6: 10-3
Week 7: 7-7
Week 9: 9-5
Week 10: 10-4
Week 11 Picks (Home team in CAPS, lines based on opening week odds found on ESPN.com’s Pigskin Pick’em):
Tampa Bay (-3.5) over ATLANTA:
Admit it, you have no clue who plays for either of these teams. Watching the game would be like seeing the Rockies in the World Series, except instead of beards these guys have helmets. Most likely, you won’t be watching the game though.
Tampa Bay is coming off of a bye week, a cortisone shot for any team after 10 weeks of an NFL season, and an already solid running game should be bolstered by the likely return of Michael Pittman. In addition, I’ll take Jeff Garcia over Joey Harrington any day. Then again, maybe I just don’t know the names of any receivers on the Falcons that Harrington would be inaccurately passing to.
Arizona (+3.5) over CINCINNATI:
Kurt Warner will never leave will he? And Cincinnati won’t ever decide if they’re going to be a real team or not will they? No matter how many questions I ask, there won’t be a clear-cut answer as to which of these teams will win this game will there?
Chris Henry is back, and Chad Johnson most likely will play too, but another Bengals LB, this time Caleb Miller, is out. And they’re still the Bengals, which means they’re still just as likely to start a knife fight with their cheer leaders as they are to hang 45 on the Cardinals. Instead, I’ll go with Fitzgerald and Boldin, who are looking good now that they don’t have a new quarterback throwing to them every other half, and pray that I don’t have to see any clips of Warner’s wife.
INDIANAPOLIS (-14.5) over Kansas City:
Yes, 14.5 is an obnoxiously high line, especially for a team that just lost its best defensive player in Dwight Freeney and may be without Harrison for yet another game. But, after initially selecting KC and trying to write a set of rational reasons why, I realized that was impossible to do, and I should probably go pull a Sylvia Plath for even allowing myself to think that the Colts wouldn’t eviscerate the Chiefs.
Clark will play, the Colts D will make Croyle’s wife cry despite Freeney’s absence, and Addai will bounce back from his quiet game against a surprisingly hungry Chargers defense. On top of that, the Colts are at home and the Chiefs have an old priest as their running back.
San Diego (+2.5) over JACKSONVILLE:
Cromartie? Really? 2 weeks in a row? I mean, who would have thought that the Bolts defense and special teams would be outplaying their offense the last two games? Despite the fact that Garrard will most likely start for the Jags this week, it’s about time for LT to have an LT game. He’ll most likely throw for a TD this game as well, because Rivers is throwing the ball like he had reverse LASIK surgery. I can’t think of a more frustrating team to play for as a WR than the Chargers.
Charger’s Receiver: “So this Rivers guy only throws to our TE, on limited throws to start with, and our number one receiver didn’t play football in college and has a football IQ equivalent to Sloth from the Goonies? I’d rather be wearing a dog collar at Michael Vick’s house.”
Oakland (+5.5) over MINNESOTA:
Am I missing something here? Peterson, the Vikings’ leading rusher and second leading receiver, is out with an LCL tear, they scored 0 points las week, and they’re starting Tavaris Jackson again. HE THREW FOR 72 AND 63 YARDS IN HIS LAST TWO STARTS! In advance, I apologize to my parents if Minnesota somehow covers because I just bet the house, the dog, and Grandma.
Cleveland (-2.5) over BALTIMORE:
Cleveland shoud have no trouble in this game, and–wait, what did you just say, Boller is starting this week? Kyle Boller? THE Kyle Boller? Well that changes everything.
No it doesn’t. Slap yourself for even momentarily thinking it did. Lets face it, the Ravens aren’t the Ravens this year. It happens. In fact, we should have expected it to happen. Every year teams flip-flop from good to bad. The Ravens could very well win the Super Bowl over San Fran next year. As for this year, I am officially a Cleveland band-wagon member because Edwards is a G (did you see that catch?!), Winslow is (finally) legit, and Anderson is fearless/too dumb to care. They’re still inexperienced, as we saw against the Steelers last week, but they’re also an offensive handful. And Baltimore simply can’t handle having their hands full on defense this year.
GREEN BAY (-9.5) over Carolina:
Yup, you read that right. Who would have guessed Green Bay would be demanding spreads that high at the start of the season? Then again, who would have thought that Smith would be on a streak of 5-plus weeks without a Sportscenter highlight? Or that Testaverde would be starting? Regardless, stopping the Packers in the Land of Cheese, especially with a (gasp) newly found running game, is about as unlikely for the Panthers as Testaverde getting carded for an R-rated movie at a theater.
New Orleans (-1.5) over HOUSTON:
Last week, I cited the Saints’ 0-4 start as a reminder that they weren’t as good as their 4-game winning streak led everyone to believe. This week, I will say that they’re not as bad as their performance against the Rams either. The Rams simply had that win coming to them.
Schaub remains questionable for Houston this week, as does the last name of current QB Sage Rosenfels (what the hell is a Rosenfels? Rosenfeld maybe? It sounds like someone speaking German with a mouthful of pancakes or something). As long as Brees decides to throw to Saints receivers instead of Texans defenders, covering should be no problem for New Orleans.
Miami (+10.5) over PHILADELPHIA:
The Eagles are not right this year. They’re like that stressed out Mom at the mall with 5 kids screaming and pulling stuff off the shelves, just not able to convince anyone they’re in control. They’re up and down, Westbrook is made of action movie glass, and McNabb is two interceptions away from having a bomb put in his car by an angry Philadelphia fan (like there’s any other kind).
As for Miami, they just reinstated a pot-head and decided they’re starting a 26 year-old rookie QB from BYU (fresh off of a mission) for the remainder of the season–that’s got to count for something. Really though, the Dolphins didn’t look awful last week, and I won’t be surprised if the game is closer than expected, especially if McNabb has a bad series or two early and the crowd turns on him.
In other Dolphins news, I found this quote in a story from ESPN.com (click here for full story).
Cleo Lemon: “The most important factor was that we didn’t win in any games,” Lemon said, “so from that standpoint, for me it’s kind of disappointing.”
What could Lemon have been asked? Describe your feelings about your recent starts? What did you take away from your 4 starts? Do you agree with Cameron’s move to return you to the bench?
Also, how is losing all of your starts “kind of disappointing?” Kind of disappointing is burning your popcorn in the microwave, or finding out the cute girl at the gym is a lesbian, or realizing the irony in your last name after losing 4 games in row. Blowing a golden opportunity to make a name/reputation for yourself, I would say, sucks completely. Being an important part in what may be the first 0-16 team in NFL history and forever being remembered for it should probably haunt your dreams, not be “kind of disappointing.” But hey, maybe I just don’t understand that Dolphin mentality (something tells me Ricky Williams may know a guy who could help me get there though).
New York Giants (-2.5) over DETROIT:
Of course the week that I finally decide to get off Eli Manning’s back and send a little praise his way, he throws two interceptions in a loss to Dallas. The saving grace for Eli and the Giants is that the Lions are no Cowboys, and Kitna certainly is no Romo. I don’t expect Kitna to be able to avoid the pass rush all game long, and foresee a couple hurried throws turn into interceptions. That, and I’m still waiting for the big “I’m back and unstoppable” game from Brandon Jacobs. This could be the week. Then again, I also could have been saying that for the last 3.
Pittsburgh (-9.5) over NEW YORK JETS:
Mangenius huh? They must have lowered the standards when I wasn’t looking. Next thing you know we’ll find out that this lady joined MENSA.
What this game comes down to is simple: the Steelers are good, and the Jets are bad. Sign me up for the Mangenius Society.
And while we’re on the topic of the Jets coach, I am officially starting a petition to Roger Goodell requesting that Mangini wear a large, scarlet “S” on his Jets coat for the rest of his career. Stop Snitching Mangini.
DALLAS (-10.5) over Washington:
Here’s something you don’t want to hear as a Redskins fan: Sean Taylor is out indefinitely with sprained knee. Here’s another: J0e Gibbs dances around the Redksins practice facility in his skivvies. I made one of those up, you figure out which one.
Romo and the Boys are undefeated vs. the NFC this year and fresh off a convincing win over a tough team in the New York Giants. They had a sub-par running game against New York, yet they still scored 31 points. Add Tank Johnson to the mix, and it’s safe to say Gibbs’ dancing antics will be greatly subdued come Monday.
St. Louis (-2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO:
SEATTLE (-4.5) over Chicago:
Rex ix back. Maybe those three words should be followed by a question mark, or perhaps the sound of a bullet ripping through my head if I was a Bears fan. What exactly did Rex do so well last week? Yeah, he hit Berrian on a bomb. What’s different from what he did earlier this year, and all of last year? He closes his eyes and throws it far: sometimes it works, more often it doesn’t. There’s a limit of one QB per every ten years that doesn’t get any smarter but finds inexplicable success, and Favre (who is on a mission from God–which is different than the Godly mission John Beck was on) has filled that quota. If you’re a Bears fan (if there still are Bears fans out there) how do you forgive Lovie Smith? Especially if Rex comes out playing like Rex.
For the record, the Seahawks are no prize either. Who knows if they are good or bad. Were they really in the Super Bowl two years ago? I just refuse to put any faith in Grossman. Period.
New England (-15.5) over BUFFALO:
If you can find this game at this line this late in the week, speed to Vegas and bet the farm. And make sure you tell the bookie you’re “betting the farm.” Marshawn Lynch won’t play for the Bills this week, and by the end of the game, JP Losman will wish he hadn’t either.
The Pats, fueled by an endless supply of “we havn’t accomplished anything yet” from Belichick, come hungrily off a bye week. Which means Maroney is rested and may finally be at 100%. Which means the Bills are going to get destroyed.
Tennessee (+2.5) over DENVER:
Why do I have to see Denver playing a night game every week? Do they think that Denver’s boring team looks better in the dark or something? Honestly.
Now, I know betting against a team playing in Denver isn’t considered a good idea. On the same hand, betting against Vince Young in the National Spotlight is also not recommended. Once again, whispers about Young’s worth are surfacing, which makes me think this very well may be a statement game (perhaps like that one he had in college, or the entire second half of last year). Even if it turns out not to be a statement game for Young, there’s still a 67% chance the Haynesworth will end Cutler’s life before half time, and that alone must make picking Tennessee a safe choice.