Picks For All NFL Week 11 Games
Week 11 NFL Picks
As NFL week 11 comes upon us, it is beginning to look like some teams may be fighting an uphill battle with injuries leaving them in precarious situations. The hardest hit teams, namely the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers, will find out just how important their starting QBs are to their success. But the 49ers may be the only team to come through for a week or two as they wait for Alex Smith to recover from a concussion.
With seven division games this week, starting with the Miami Dolphins at the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, the playoff picture should begin to unravel and a handful of teams should be lying in their coffins come Monday. It will be interesting to see just how far Andrew Luck has come as he faces his Indianapolis Colts' old nemesis Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The St. Louis Rams are actually favored over the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys can begin a run to catch the New York Giants with a win over the Cleveland Browns. With many intriguing story lines, this week will prove to be just what the fans want: action-packed, hard-hitting and insanely crazy football.
Here are my picks for all of the games this week culminating with the battle of the backups in San Francisco on Monday Night Football when the prime time action includes Jason Campbell and Colin Kaepernick for the Bears and 49ers, respectively. Just the match-up we have been waiting for, America! Enjoy the picks, and if you would like to leave a prediction yourself, feel free to comment below.
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Miami Dolphins(4-5) at Buffalo Bills(3-6)
The Miami Dolphins meet the Buffalo Bills in a division game that can basically decide their fate in 2012. Both teams are trying to elude fourth straight losses, and the Dolphins are coming off a 37-3 trouncing at the hands of the Tennessee Titans.
The Bills will be without RB Fred Jackson, who suffered a concussion in last week's game, but CJ Spiller is more than able to carry the load himself against a Dolphins team that has allowed 135 yds/game the past four games. I don't know if the Dolphins will be able to handle the Bills explosive possibilities if Ryan Fitzpatrick is on his game and Spiller can find the holes. The Fins may find that the beating they took against the Titans may be just the beginning of the end of their playoff hopes.
Buffalo 41 Miami 24
Cincinnati Bengals(4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs(1-8)
The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off an impressive win against the New York Giants in which they dominated in all aspects. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, come off a loss on Monday Night to the Pittsburgh Steelers in which they embarassed themselves celebrating and penalized after a non-touchdown. Can anyone tell me why, if you are a Chief, you are celebrating anything this year?
Common logic would dictate that the Bengals should dismantle the Chiefs and their dysfunctional ways, but I see this another way. This will be a typical Bengals game where they get ahead of themselves and allow their opponent to create turnovers. The one thing that the Chiefs did on Monday was play good defense in the first half against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
Then Big Ben went down with a shoulder injury and the Chiefs did not have to worry much about Byron Leftwich. But KC will finally win one at home and the Bengals will once again be left scratching their heads at how they can beat the defending champs, then lose to the reigning chumps.
Kansas City 23 Cincinnati 17
Philadelphia Eagles(3-6) at Washington Redskins(3-6)
Not the match-up that will electrify most fans, but a hard-hitting divisional game nonetheless between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. Although Andy Reid and anyone else you might talk to in the Eagles organization might tell you differently, this may begin the end of the Michael Vick era in the city of brotherly love.
Vick suffered a "significant" concussion this past weekend, and Nick Foles has been given the starting job for as long as necessary, or until the Eagles draft another QB. I know it is tough for any player to lose their job to injury, but Vick should have lost it anyway with his putrid play all year.
Enter the Redskins, who are looking to get back on track with Robert Griffin III, who at times has been electrifying, and other times, very rookie-ish, whether that is a word or not. The Redskins are coming off their bye and should be able to do enough with their number two rushing attack to help the Eagles into their coffin come four o'clock Sunday.
Washington 31 Philadelphia 17
Jacksonville Jaguars(1-8) at Houston Texans(8-1)
This is not the game you want to be involved in if you are the Jacksonville Jaguars. They travel to meet the Houston Texans, who many list as number one in their power rankings, and rightfully so. Matt Schaub is having a solid year, Arian Foster is one of the top three RBs in the NFL, and their defense is downright scary. If you are Blaine Gabbert, you are putting a GPS on JJ Watt, because if he loses sight of him, he might end up on the sideline with Vick, Roethlisberger, Smith and Cutler.
The Jaguars have no Maurice Jones-Drew, Gabbert has been very inconsistent and they are 29th in the NFL against the run. Foster should have a field day to the tune of at least 150 yards and two scores. The Texans will just hum along on this one on their way to a number one seed for the playoffs.
Houston 38 Jacksonville 9
NY Jets(3-6) at St. Louis Rams(3-5-1)
Anytime that the St. Louis Rams are favored in an NFL game recently, you know that their opponent must be terrible. That is where the New York Jets are in their 2012 season: just terrible. The debate about Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow is heating up in New York, but without viable weapons for either to run their anemic offense, it doesn't matter who the starter is going forward.
Both teams are trying to win their first game in a month, but the Rams are coming off an impressive tie against the San Francisco 49ers, while the Jets got trounced by the Seattle Seahawks and couldn't score an offensive touchdown. This promises to be a low scoring game that will be decided by which QB will step up more, Sam Bradford or Sanchez. I believe the Rams will win at home, which will leave the Jets and their boisterous head coach Rex Ryan all but done for the year.
St. Louis 17 NY Jets 9
Cleveland Browns(2-7) at Dallas Cowboys(4-5)
This has all the makings of a letdown game for the Dallas Cowboys as they host the Cleveland Browns. But for some reason, I believe the NFC East race is just starting to heat up and I look for the Cowboys to take advantage of their soft schedule to catch the New York Giants.
The Cowboys defense is horrible against the pass, but lucky for them that Brandon Weeden is just as horrible throwing the ball. Weeden ranks dead last among all starters and will not be able to help himself in Dallas. Tony Romo should have a field day against this Browns defense if Jason Witten and Dez Bryant can hold onto the ball.
Dallas 31 Cleveland 12
Tampa Bay Buccaneers(5-4) at Carolina Panthers(2-7)
One thing a team can not do on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is run the ball. That eliminates most of the Carolina Panthers offensive scheme. The Bucs have been putting up scores in bunches, recording 34 or more points in four out of their last five games, all wins.
Josh Freeman has adjusted well to being the leader of his team posting 18TDs and a 98.2 rating. He should be able to exploit the Panthers mediocre pass defense and continue that scoring trend on Sunday. Cam Newton is not a pure pocket passer, and taking away his mobility to extend plays and run the ball will be the key for the Bucs improving to 6-4 and pushing for a playoff spot.
Tampa Bay 41 Carolina 20
Green Bay Packers(6-3) at Detroit Lions(4-5)
The Green Bay Packers come into Sunday winners of four straight and looking to distinguish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC. It may not be that far-fetched being that the 49ers are now without Alex Smith due to concussion, the Bears are without Jay Cutler for same, and the Falcons play one of the softest schedules in the league.
This should be an up-tempo divisional game that pits two teams that gain a ton of yards, while also allowing a ton of yards. Matthew Stafford has been mistake-prone while Aaron Rodgers has been incredible consistent throwing 25TDs against 5INTs. Neither team runs the ball very well, so it will be up to the secondaries to prevent the big gains that Calvin Johnson and Jordy Nelson will provide. Green Bay has more weapons, and never go against Rodgers, who is the best QB in the NFL.
Green Bay 35 Detroit 24
Arizona Cardinals(4-5) at Atlanta Falcons(8-1)
This is the game that gets the Arizona Cardinals back on track to make a push for a playoff spot. Okay, I figured I would start with a joke. But realistically, the Cardinals have the ability to shut down the Atlanta Falcons passing attack, and that just might be the key for a win.
The Falcons are 8-1 with the help of one of, if not the, softest schedules in the league. The dirty birds average 92.7 yards per game on the ground which is 26th in the league, and not very formidable considering they have Michael Turner running the ball. If Matt Ryan gets harassed and can not get the ball down field to Roddy White, then suddenly the Falcons do not look like such a formidable team. This is my upset of the week, although for some reason, "upset" may be too strong a word.
Arizona 24 Atlanta 20
New Orleans Saints(4-5) at Oakland Raiders(3-6)
The New Orleans Saints said a couple weeks back that they have as good a shot as any to reach the playoffs. After starting off losing four straight, they have now won four of their last five and will basically be playing the role of spoiler as the season comes to a close.
There is nothing to spoil in Oakland, however, as the Raiders are one of the most inept teams in the league giving up 55 points to the Ravens last week and 42 the week before against the Bucs. Drew Brees and the Saints should feast on the silver and black to pull even at 5-5. the only thing that can keep this game interesting is if Carson Palmer is on his game and limits his mistakes as he has 9INTs and 5 fumbles on the year. Neither team brings a defense to the stadium, so if you want the offensive showcase of the week, get your NFL Ticket ready and enjoy the show.
New Orleans 48 Oakland 35
Indianapolis Colts(6-3) at New England Patriots(6-3)
For myself, this is the most intriguing game of the week. The Indianapolis Colts come into Gilette Stadium as one of the best surprises of 2012. With Andrew Luck quickly making everyone forget about some other QB that played in Indy for years(what was his name?), now it is time to see if he has the luck to defeat the Colts' nemesis, the New England Patriots.
A good showing by Luck, even in a loss, will be a big step for an organization that was thought to be in rebuilding mode for two or three years. But at 6-3, and winnable games on the horizon, a playoff push may not be that unrealistic. Tom Brady will have something to say about that though this Sunday. The Patriots are 7th in passing and 5th in rushing in the NFL, but will have to go without undrafted rookie RB Brandon Bolden due to suspension for violating the NFL's performance enhancement policy. But this is the Belichek/Brady show and they might have a little too much luck on their side.
New England 31 Indianapolis 24
San Diego Chargers(4-5) at Denver Broncos(6-3)
It is simply amazing how people's perceptions can change in just a few short weeks. The Denver Broncos are now considered by most "expert" analysts on major stations as the most complete team in the AFC, and a favorite for the two seed going into the playoffs. And it all began when these two teams met last on Oct. 15th. That is the day when Peyton Manning and the Broncos reeled off 35 unanswered points when trailing the Chargers by 24, and kicking off a four game win streak.
Now, after finishing a stretch of one of the toughest schedules in the league, the Broncos should be able to coast to the playoffs with one of the easiest schedules. But there is one piece of business they must tend to first. A win over the Chargers will all but assure them of the AFC West title and maybe even put the nail in the Chargers coffin for any playoff hopes. Phillip Rivers has looked unimpressive lately, and Norv Turner has basically lost control of this talented, yet underachieving squad. The Broncos will not need a comeback in this one.
Denver 38 San Diego 17
Baltimore Ravens(7-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers(6-3)
This might have been the game that the Pittsburgh Steelers used to propel themselves ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. That will not happen, though, as Ben Roethlisberger is lost at least for this week with a shoulder injury, and he might miss significant time. Without Big Ben, the Steelers will not keep pace with the Ravens, and most likely will miss the playoffs this year if it is left to Byron Leftwich.
The Ravens will not only beat the Steelers, but will limp into the rest of their games with notable injuries on their defense, but without any type of challenge from the rest of the division. I see Joe Flacco leading the charge on Sunday with Ray Rice doing his share of damage, while the Steelers do not even find the end zone.
Baltimore 27 Pittsburgh 9
Chicago Bears(7-2) at San Francisco 49ers(6-2-1)
The penultimate game of the week showcases two teams with Super Bowl aspirations. Both teams feature top defenses, a powerful running attack, quality recievers and backup QBs. Did I say backup QBs? Oh, I guess i did. Couldn't sneak that by you, huh?
Yes, Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell will start for the 49ers and Bears, respectively, due to concussions to Alex Smith and Jay Cutler. But don't worry Bears fans, your team has also re-signed Josh McCown for insurance purposes. The QB edge has got to go to Kaepernick being that he has actually taken snaps this year in the wildcat, and was 11-17 for 117 yards in relief of Smith this past week. But this is the Bears defense and they will make sure Kaepernick gets his share of looks at the carpet.
The Bears got a little success out of Campbell in relief of Cutler to the tune of 11-19 for 94 yards against the Texans. Campbell will not be much better against the 49ers, however, and I look for the Bears to fall back into the pack of the NFC.
San Francisco 13 Chicago 10