NFL Pick ‘Em: Week 11
Picking the winners and losers of NFL Week 11
Another week is in the books as we inch closer to the conclusion of the 2012 NFL regular season and the beginning of the postseason.
While several teams are still battling for a spot in the race for the playoffs, every week means more crucial games and more critical wins. Especially at this point in the season, nothing is a gimme. On any given Sunday, a 3-5 team can knock off an undefeated (although there are none of those left this season). At the same time, another 3-5 team can take a 6-2 team into overtime, leading to one of those rare things they call ties.
You never know what you can expect from the NFL, and that’s what makes the sport so special. That’s also what makes picking the right teams week in and week out so hard. It’s all in good fun, though; right? Unless of course you’re one of those people that bets a whole lot of money on NFL games every weekend. Then you might be in trouble.
Enough banter, though. Let’s take a look at this week’s game and see what kind of madness it’s bound to deliver. Take with a grain of salt and enjoy.
My Week 10 picks were strong, as I ended Monday night with a 10-4 record. Since my rough 7-7 outing in Week 8, I’ve gone 20-8 over the past two weeks and am looking to get even stronger as the NFL regular season nears its end. Here’s to another outstanding full of hard-hitting football and accurate picks.
Buffalo Bills (3-6) vs. Miami Dolphins (4-5)
At this point in the season, both of these teams are hanging on by a thread. Neither has shown the consistent ability to land in the win column that earns a playoff spot, with a big part of their problems stemming from poor defense. Buffalo could strike early and often with the ground game, but I’d look for Ryan Tannehill to make a statement here.
My pick: Dolphins win in close, low-scoring affair
Detroit Lions (4-5) vs. Green Bay Packers (6-3)
If the Lions have any hopes of staying alive in the race for the NFC North crown, they’ll have to win this one against a Packers team that is leaving a trail of smoldering opponents in their wake each and every week. Detroit has the offense to get it done, but it needs to show up before the fourth quarter. I doubt that happens, especially since Green Bay is fresh coming off of a bye week.
My pick: Packers win in a tight, hard-fought battle
Atlanta Falcons (8-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-5)
Currently on a five-game skid, the Cardinals are grasping at anything in hopes of finding answers. The Falcons on the other hand are looking for a big win to help them bounce back from their tough loss to the Saints last weekend. Although they're no longer undefeated, don’t expect the Falcons to find themselves on the losing end again against a sputtering Arizona team.
My pick: Falcons win with one hand tied behind their backs
Carolina Panthers (2-7) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4)
While the offense continues to fire on all cylinders, the Buccaneers’ defense is looking like a mess right now. Still, the Panthers don’t offer much in the way of an offensive threat while the dreaded sophomore slump maintains its chokehold on Cam Newton. Expect Doug Martin and the Tampa Bay offense to exploit the middle of the Carolina defense all day long.
My pick: Buccaneers win by a comfortable margin
Dallas Cowboys (4-5) vs. Cleveland Browns (2-7)
The Cowboys made a statement last week with a decisive victory over the Eagles, and aren’t yet ready to surrender that momentum, especially to a subpar team like the Browns. Even though Tony Romo shouldn’t have too much trouble putting up points, expect the DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas defense to run circles around Cleveland’s inept offensive attack.
My pick: Cowboys win it like it’s a gimme
Washington Redskins (3-6) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)
You can stick a fork in both of these teams as pride is the only thing left on the line at this point. Still, it should be an interesting battle of wills as neither will be looking to give away a victory. The fact remains, though, that Nick Foles will be starting for the Eagles. In his first NFL start, the rookie will make more mistakes than his team can shoulder.
My pick: Redskins win by a nose
St. Louis Rams (3-5-1) vs. New York Jets (3-6)
These teams are extremely similar: no pass blocking, an underwhelming running back who shows up on occasion, and a defense still looking to find its identity. The difference-maker for the Jets, however, is Tim Tebow. Just kidding. Seriously, though; this should be a tough, low-scoring game that could come down to overtime to decide the victor.
My pick: A tie? I guess they’re possible in football, too…
Kansas City Chiefs (1-8) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (4-5)
It’s become obvious this season that the Chiefs are a terrible team. They’ve lost eight of their nine games and embarrassed themselves in the process. Kansas City did, however, almost find their second victory against the Steelers this past Monday, so they can’t be completely written off. The Bengals, meanwhile, pulled off an upset last week and should find a way to keep the ball rolling.
My pick: Bengals win in a game that’s closer than it should be
Houston Texans (8-1) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
This game should symbolize the downfall of Blaine Gabbert and his short tenure as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback. The second-year man has been awful all season long, and will get the stuffing kicked out of him as the Texans prepare for Thanksgiving. The Bulls on Parade will leave nothing but carnage in their wake.
My pick: Texans win while everyone mocks the Jaguars drafting a new QB
Oakland Raiders (3-6) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-5)
Following their Week 10 pummeling courtesy of the Ravens, the Raiders are like a puppy with its tails stuck between its legs. The offense is hurting and the defense is in shambles, while the Saints have finally found some semblance of their former selves. It’s time for Oakland to start thinking 2013 NFL Draft as New Orleans notches its third win in a row.
My pick: Saints win like it’s 2009
Denver Broncos (6-3) vs. San Diego Chargers (4-5)
The story here will be how Peyton Manning has suddenly turned the Broncos into contenders following a four-game win streak. The real headlines, however, should read about how a few certain Chargers are playing/coaching for their jobs. Denver will cruise into this one thinking that they’ve got it in the bag until the trap drops over their unsuspecting heads.
My pick: Chargers win in a mind-boggling upset
New England Patriots (6-3) vs. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)
For so many years, the Manning-Brady showdown was the prototypical QB matchup throughout the NFL. This year, a new tradition begins as Andrew Luck leads his Colts into battle against the Patriots. Like he has done all season long, Luck should find a way to come up big when it matters most and move Indianapolis one step closer to accomplishing one of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history.
My pick: Colts win and put Luck on the map as an elite QB
Baltimore Ravens (7-2) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
Whenever these two teams meet up, sparks are bound to fly. These divisional rivals love to hate each other, and it shows out on the field. However, while the Ravens demolished the Raiders last week, the Steelers are looking a little vulnerable following their close call against Kansas City. Baltimore can smell the blood and will pounce while Pittsburgh is still licking its wounds.
My pick: Ravens win following a second-half blowout
San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) vs. Chicago Bears (7-2)
Both of these teams are likely without their starting quarterbacks, who went down with concussions last weekend. That means that the battle of the backups will come down to who can make plays at opportune times and get the most support from their teammates. Colin Kaepernick will be the X-factor here, using his athleticism and sneaky passing to score a much-needed win.
My pick: 49ers win as a new hero is born in San Fran