NFL SCHEDULE – WEEK 11
Ive long gone on record as saying that I despise these Thursday Night games, if the NFL network wants a game to play why not an extra Monday Night game. A doubleheader of 7 and 10:15 would be good and West Coast teams would be getting plenty of primetime exposure with out having to start at 5 and 6pm their time. I loved the late Chargers-Raiders 11:35p EDT start and the first Monday doubleheader is just cool. Why not do that for the whole season. You avoid the short turnaround weeks that seem to be nothing but injuries waiting to happen. The only Thursday games should be Thanksgiving and that’s a tripleheader now, whats wrong with keeping that Thursday sacred in football mentality. OK I’m off the soapbox. Odds provided today by ESPN since I didn’t feel like looking it up on bodog.net and since its for entertainment and comparison purposes only, it shouldn’t be something you take to your bookie and bet with. We’re coming to the end of the bye weeks and its getting easier to tell who has had theirs already, this week only Dallas (5-5) and St. Louis (4-6) are off this week.
Sunday, November 17
Cardinals (5-4) @ Jaguars (1-8)
Everbank Field, Jacksonville 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Cardinals by 9
Last Week Cardinals defeated Texans 27-24, Jaguars defeated Titans 29-27
Fast Fact Jaguars have not scored a touchdown at Everbank Field since the first quarter of their 2012 home finale
Break up the Jags! Parrying every charge the Titans had they lead all the way to their first win of the 2013 campaign. But the Jags haven’t shown anything close to being competent offensively. The Cards are moving quietly along and have been playing decently over the past month, but Im concerned about a Western team heading east to play an early game. Could the Cards get zapped? I don’t trust Carson Palmer and his recent comments about Jacksonville’s lack of crowd support may awaken a dormant team. I want to call the upset here, and I should have called it last week in Tennessee but I cant bank on the Jags continuing their offensive profiecncy and the Cards defense is a lot better than the Titans are.
Falcons (2-7) @ Buccaneers (1-8)
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Falcons by 1½
Last Week Falcons lost to Seahawks 33-10. Buccaneers defeated Dolphins 22-19
Fast Fact Falcons have won nine of the last eleven meetings
These two bottom feeders are not impressing anyone with their play, the former got hammered at home while the latter just got their first win and struggled mightly to do that, I keep waiting for Matt Ryan to have a breakout performance and I think that he does it this week despite the lurking Darrelle Revis in the Bucs Secondary.
Ravens (4-5) @ Bears (5-4)
Soldier Field, Chicago 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Bears by 3
Last Week Ravens defeated Bengals 20-17 in OT, Bears lost to Lions 21-19
Fast Fact The Ravens have never won in Chicago and have yet to score a touchdown in two previous visits
Both these teams are teetering dangerously on the playoff fringes though the Ravens still think that they are a legit playoff contender but with the sorry running game that they sport they’ll be headed home after new years if they continue in their present fashion. The Bears are a tough team to figure, the enigmatic Jay Cutler does just enough to hold his job yet just enough bad to think that putting in Josh McCown would be a better fit. In any case, I think the Bears are better on both sides of the ball and should win no matter who is under center.
Browns (4-5) @ Bengals (6-4)
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Bengals by 6
Last Week Browns were on a bye, Bengals lost to Ravens 20-17 in OT
Fast Fact Bengals are only the 16th team in NFL history to lose back to back OT games, this comes after they went 68 games without even playing an OT game.
The Bengals are a team that could drive a person to drink. After steaming through their first eight games happy that they were 6-2 and had survived a tough first half of their schedule, they drop a pair of winnable games in OT that could really haunt them come seasons end. They face a Browns squad that you are never sure in what you will get. I liked an analogy I read about them recently. They have an 11-5 defense and a 5-11 offense. The 11-5 defense frustrated the Bengals in September but I think the 5-11 offense will be their downfall this time around. The Bengals will make it tough on themselves since they always do, but should eke out a badly needed win ahead of their bye.
Detroit (6-3) @ Steelers (3-6)
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Lions by 2½
Last Week Lions defeated Bears 21-19, Steelers defeated Bills 23-10
Fast Fact The Lions have not won in Pittsburgh since 1955 and have only won 2 of the last 13 meetings overall.
This is an intriguing matchup the Lions are a legit team to be certain but there are places that you have to go an earn wins to be viewed as legit. The Steelers are scaring no one and in spite of their rout of an equally bad Bills team are not that good. Im looking for Matthew Stafford to repeatedly strafe the weak Steeler secondary and for Megatron to have his way. The Lions rarely come to Pittsburgh but its mind boggling that they might break two epically long road losing streaks in the same season (They beat the Redskins in Washington for the very first time earlier this year)
NY Jets (5-4) @ Bills (3-7)
Ralph Wilson Stadium; Orchard Park, NY 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Bills by 1
Fast Fact The Jets have won seven of last eight meetings
The grinning and jeering by Rex Ryan has more been frequent with the Jets better than expected play, they have alternated wins and losses through their first nine games and Ryan clownishly stated that he was sure that they were going to lose to the bye week and pick up where they left off with another win this week. The buffoon may actually get his wish as the Bills are simply a hot mess. Their QB carousel spins faster and faster, and with no real punch on offense their talented yet beleaguered defense just gets worn out that much faster. I want to say that Ryan and his team will fall flat on the road but I just cant do it. The Jets are more cohesive and should grind out a win.
Pick-New York Jets
Raiders (3-6) @ Texans (2-7)
Reliant Stadium, Houston 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Texans by 7
Last Week Raiders were on a bye, Texans lost to Cardinals 27-24
Fast Fact The Texans have won five of seven meetings all-time
Both of these teams are not playing well but the Texans are the real shockingly bad team. With Arian Foster on the shelf with a bad back and capable backup Ben Tate nursing bad ribs the Texans have become one dimensional, but facing a Raiders team that needed a week off after getting bombed by Nick Foles and the Eagles might be the best tonic to stop a slide.
Redskins (3-6) @ Eagles (5-5)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Eagles by 4½
Last Week Redskins lost to Vikings 34-27, Eagles defeated Packers 27-13
Fast Fact Eagles QB Nick Foles is winless at home in his career as an Eagle, yet has a 113.8 QB rating and is 4-1 on the road. If I was an Eagle fan (perish the thought) I’d be very angry at this team. They play outstanding outside of their own crib and like Beagles inside. Had they at least split their home games, folks would be talking about how this team is a prime contender for a bye in the playoffs. Instead the team sits square at .500 but they are tied for first and amazingly with a win here would be in first place. As mentioned in the fast fact, Nick Foles is a stud outside the Commonnwealth, but has played like a commoner at home. The Redskins are just as an infuriating team wasting the supreme efforts of RGIII in supbar defensive efforts, they allowed the Vikings back into their Thursday night contest as they went to sleep in the 2nd half on both sides of the ball. The Eagles cant lose all their home games can they? Im gonna regret this, but Im thinking that they break out of their home slump and take control of the uber weak NFC East
Chargers (4-5) @ Dolphins (4-5)
SunLife Stadium, Miami Gardens 4:05 (CBS)
Favorite Chargers by 1
Last Week Chargers lost to Broncos 28-20, Dolphins lost to Buccaneers 22-19
Fast Fact The Chargers have not won in Miami since the legendary 41-38 1981 AFC divisional playoff game. (0-6)
The Chargers put up good efforts but keep coming out on the wrong end. They parried the high powered Broncos to their lowest point total of the season, but lost. The Dolphins look like a team set to implode on itself in the wake of the Martin-Incognito mess as they played listlessly in a humiliating loss in Tampa Bay, the weak offensive line made weaker by the loss of Martin and Incognito is prime bait for a hard charging (forgive the pun) Chargers defense. More often than not Im ready to write off a West Coast team going east, but this is for a 4:00 game the Dolphins are not equipped even at home to play equal to the Chargers. The Chargers are way overdue to win here.
Packers (5-4) @ NY Giants (3-6)
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 4:25 (FOX)
Favorite Giants by 5
Last Week Packers lost to Eagles 27-13, Giants defeated Raiders 24-20
Fast Fact Game originally was slated for the Sunday Night slot but was flexed in favor of the Chiefs-Broncos
Can you blame NBC for ummm flexing their muscle and eschewing the the Rodgers less pack and the punchless Giants, but the G-Men have actually been playing better since their 0-6 start. Im not sold on the Packers running game being able to carry the load, and while the Packers defense is decent they may be on the field way too long and even Eli Manning should be able to pick them apart.
Pick-New York Giants
Vikings (2-7) @ Seahawks (9-1)
CenturyLink Field, Seattle 4:25 (FOX)
Favorite Seahawks by 12
Last Week Vikings defeated Redskins 34-27, Seahawks defeated Falcons 33-10
Fast Fact Seahawks have won 12 straight at home
The Vikings have had ten days to feel good about a rousing rally to beat the Redskins, they’ll need the feel good memories as they are making the condemned walk into the nightmare that is CenturyLink Field and the executioner attitude of the Seahawks. Point blank the Seahawks are not the type of team a fragile squad like the Vikings need to be facing. Hungry and loaded for bear this game smacks of a rout just waiting to happen. Matt Cassel will likely start with Christian Ponder out with a bum shoulder but he will have his hands full with the roughhouse big play Seahawk defense playing in front of their typical rowdy home crowd. As much as I wish I would be wrong, the Vikings are no match here and this could get ugly real fast. The Seahawks have no quarter for a speed bump trying to get to ten wins ahead of their bye and getting even closer to locking down their division
Pick-Seattle (Lock of the Week)
49ers (6-3) @ Saints (7-2)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans 4:25 (FOX)
Favorite Saints by 3
Last Week 49ers lost to Panthers 10-9, Saints defeated Cowboys 49-17
Fast Fact The Saints scored the most points in week 10, the Niners second fewest
This is one of the better games of the week. The Niners are teetering on the brink of being pushed into that morass of mediocre teams in the playoff hunt. Their defense is solid but their offense has been quite underwhelming. That is never good when playing the high speed Saints in their fast track crib. The Niners had best hope that they can hit the Saints in the mouth and make this a grimy grinder game. They can not try to win a shootout, Drew Brees is playing like he means business and if they score 30 or more forget it. The Niners don’t have the horses.
Chiefs (9-0) @ Broncos (8-1)
Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver 8:30 NBC
Favorite Broncos by 7½
Last Week Chiefs had a bye, Broncos defeated Chargers 28-20
Fast Fact Manning’s 33 touchdown passes are more touchdowns than any other team has scored so far this year
The primetime games are top notch this week, now this game was originally a 4:05 game but was premimently “flexed” to the primetime slot. I doubt that NBC wanted to have the Packers/Giants dud. This is a battle royale between two of the big dogs of the AFC who have been stalkling and circling one another like so much a ppair of old school outlaw gangs. Peyton Manning may be hobbled but do you really think he will miss such an important game. He will have his hands full with a tough Chiefs defense that looks for the big play and will test his resolve. The Chiefs offense is not as flashy as the Broncos, yet they are efficient, rugged and can grind out yards and points. I don’t know why but Im seeing another Colts game here, the Chiefs will get to Manning enough to force early mistakes and build a decent lead but Manning will pass them back into the game. But fall short again… How is an unbeaten team winning an upset? Going to Denver and win is an upset.
Pick-Kansas City (Upset of the Week)
Monday, November 18
Patriots (7-2) @ Panthers (6-3)
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Panthers by 2½
Last Week Patriots were on a bye, Panthers defeated 49ers 10-9
Fast Fact These teams have only faced each other four times in the regular season splitting the meetings on each others field.
The finale of the week is a good one in itself. The well rested Pats face a surging Panthers squad fresh off a huge statement in San Francisco. The Panthers defense is full of no-names but they play rock solid and they make offenses earn every yard. The Pats are…well the Pats they don’t beat themselves and are rounding into their usual tough playoff tested self. I like the Panthers but have a hard time betting against the Pats who are no stranger to the big time games. I just think that the big time stage of prime time will cow the Panthers a bit and the Patriots will win easily in a hostile environment.
Last Week: 8-6 (Lock and Upset correct)