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Week Eleven Picks

November 17th, 2013

And now, finally, the rest of what not to expect in week eleven.

Atlanta (-1.5) at Tampa Bay
The Falcons aren’t good at very much, except for maybe finding new ways to get thinner. They’ve also yet to win on the road this season. But it’s still difficult to pick against them here, by which I mean it’s difficult to embrace the notion that the Buccaneers, after losing eight in a row, have it in them to win two games in a span of six days. Still, I’ve got to pick one of these teams, so I’m going with the one that’s hosting, mostly because the fact that the Bucs are at playing at home is the only thing related to this game that feels in any way certain to me. Tampa Bay by a field goal.

NY Jets (+1) at Buffalo
It’s just really hard to succeed in football without wide receivers, you know? Jets by a touchdown.

Detroit (-2.5) at Pittsburgh
The thing that’s killing the Steelers this season (well, a few things are killing the Steelers this season, but this is the big one) is that they can’t stop turning the ball over. That continues here as Ben Roethlisberger throws a pair of picks and the Lions come out on top by six.

Washington (+3.5) at Philadelphia
Oh, boy. Bet the over. Eagles finally win a home game, but only by a field goal.

San Diego (-1.5) at Miami
These two teams may come into this game with the same record, 4-5, but their situations couldn’t be more different. The Chargers have a legit shot at the AFC six seed (though they may need some help from the Chiefs come week 17 to get it). The Dolphins are headed toward a last-place finish in the AFC East and a tumultuous off season. That difference will show on the field as San Diego picks Miami apart. Chargers by two touchdowns.

Baltimore (+3) at Chicago
The forecast in Chicago today calls for heavy rain and winds of up to 70 mph. In other words, a miserable day for everyone. Probably just slightly more miserable for the Ravens. Chicago wins 10-7.

Cleveland (+6) at Cincinnati
A Browns win (which would mean a sweep in the season series) would make the AFC North race a good bit more interesting. But it’s not going to happen. Though they win the turnover battle (+1), the Browns still manage to lose the game. Bengals by three.

Oakland (+7) at Houston
There is no winner in this matchup. But the Texans will be the team that puts up the most points. Houston by a touchdown.

Arizona (-7) at Jacksonville
The Jaguars got their win for the season last week. Now it’s time to revert to form. Cardinals by 20.

Minnesota (+12.5) at Seattle
I don’t know if Seahawks are the best team in the NFC, but they’re certainly one of the top two or three. I do know that the Vikings are among the worst teams in the NFL. Not sure what else needs saying at this point. Seahawks by 21.

San Francisco (+3) at New Orleans
The 49ers offense just doesn’t have the stuff to run with the Saints offense right now. It really is that simple. Saints by six.

Green Bay (+4) at NY Giants
Look at the Giants catching the Packers at exactly the right time. New Jersey keeps it’s ridiculous hopes in the ridiculous NFC East race alive for another week by beating up on a visiting squad without a quarterback. Giants by 10.

Kansas City (+8) at Denver
The regular season schedule has these two teams meeting twice in the course of three weeks. The anticipated playoff schedule has them meeting three times between now and the divisional round. Because one of these teams is going to land at the AFC one seed and the other is going to be the five. Assuming whichever ends up in the wild card slot beats the four seed (and that the six seed falls to the three, which seems a fairly safe bet right now), that means the Broncos and Chiefs play again in the second week of the post season. This game could determine where that playoff matchup takes place, but only if this round goes to the Chiefs. And if Kansas City wants to take a commanding lead in the race for the AFC West crown and the one seed, they’re going to have to do it by getting to gimpy Peyton Manning throughout the game. Contrary to popular opinion, that’s the way you beat the Broncos. You don’t try to match their offensive output; you take the only approach to limiting it, which is to disrupt Manning. I think the Kansas City pass rush has a pretty good chance to do that tonight. And I think the Chiefs will come very close to getting a win as a result. But in the end, I think they’ll come up just short. Broncos by a point.

New England (+2.5) at Carolina
I still don’t think the Panthers have proven a damned thing. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they really are that good. But I’ll take a rested, healing New England squad to beat a Carolina team that I suspect has been getting it done with smoke and mirrors. New England leads by a precarious seven late and ends up winning by 10.

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