I really hope that I’m not the only person out there right now who thinks that having Thursday Night games before Thanksgiving is as morally wrong as Christmas commercials on TV before Thanksgiving. It’s just too much and it means I have to make my picks in the next 90 minutes before the Miami-Carolina game starts. So here we go with my Week 11 picks. By the way, last week we survived an 0-5 start and managed an 8-7 record to inch the record up to 73-68-1 (.518).
Dolphins at Panthers (-3): Considering the way both of these teams like to play on offense, this game might not last for its 3-hour time slot. The big difference in this one? Ronnie Brown is on the IR for the Fish now, which makes that Wildcat a lot more predictable. Look for Julius Peppers to make the night a long one for Ricky Williams, who makes his first start in about a year.
Redskins (+11) at Cowboys: I know what you’re thinking right now and, trust me, I agree with you that Washington is not a good football team. However, this is and NFC East rivalry game, and its one that the ‘Skins will get up for. They won’t win the game, but they’ll make Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys earn the W.
Browns (+4) at Lions: This might be the Pillow Fight of the Year between two teams that just can’t seem to do anything right. I’m taking the Browns solely because both of these teams are so inept offensively that I can’t see either team winning by more than a field goal. Either way, whoever put this game on the 2009 NFL schedule deserves to be looking for a new job.
49ers (+7) at Packers: I’m not ready to give up on the San Francisco 49ers this season yet. There is a lot of young talent on that team and I personally think that the Packers are a team moving in the wrong direction. Frank Gore should be able to have a very productive day, and if the San Fran pass rush can disrupt Aaron Rodgers the way they threw off Jay Cutler last week, the Niners should win.
Steelers (-10) at Chiefs: At first I saw this game and was intrigued by the Chiefs. Then Dwayne Bowe was suspended for PEDs and I woke up. KC remains one of the most lost franchises in the NFL, it’s just that their hidden by the Oakland Raiders, who ironically play in the same division. If the Steelers can’t beat the Chiefs by 2 touchdowns, then they really don’t deserve to make the playoffs.
Seahawks at Vikings (-11): Minnesota has yet to lose at home this year and bring in a Seahawks team that is reeling from its loss to the Cardinals last week after looking pretty good early in that one. As always, Adrian Peterson will do what he does and the Vikes’ D should be able to win the battle up front to put pressure on a fragile Matt Hasselbeck.
Falcons (+7) at Giants: Atlanta is only 1-4 on the road this year, but the Giants have looked just awful in their last four games. It’s a big concern that the Falcons don’t have Michael Turner, but I think the combination of backup RBs will do okay against a Giants’ D that has been very suspect as of late. Keep an eye on how sharp Eli Manning looks, too. I suspect he’s more injured than he and the G-Men have led us to believe.
Saints (-11) at Buccaneers: Drew Brees hasn’t had a huge game since Week 2 and has turned the ball over a little too much lately. Still, the Saints are 9-0. Going up against lowly Tampa Bay shouldn’t be too difficult. This is also another chance for the New Orleans D to prove itself by shutting down a weak offense as it should.
Bills at Jaguars (-9): The Bills have no run defense against one of the league’s best rushers in Maurice Jones-Drew, no offense to counter with, and just fired Dick Jauron (probably a good thing, actually). There’s no way they will compete with Jacksonville, who now sits only one game behind Houston in the AFC South.
Colts (+2) at Ravens: So how exactly are the 9-0, Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts the underdog against the Ravens this week? Sometimes, I wonder who makes these lines.
Cardinals (+9) at Rams: St. Louis showed a lot of fight last week against the Saints…but still lost. Arizona has an opportunity to extend its NFC West lead to three games this week if San Fran loses in Lambeau. Kurt Warner and Co will not let that opportunity go to waste.
Chargers (pick ’em) at Broncos: Two words should tell you why San Diego will handle Denver and take over the AFC West on Sunday: Chris Simms. If you watched any of him during the second half of the Broncos’ loss in DC, you saw a guy who looked completely lost out there. Finally, justice has arrived for Denver, and it comes in the form of a fourth straight loss.
Bengals (-10) at Raiders: Cincy is the talk of the league after its big win over the Steelers last week. Now they basically get a bye week against the Raiders, who have decided to bench JaMarcus Russell for former Bucs QB Bruce Gradkowski…and that might be an improvement, which is really scary.
Jets at Patriots (-11): The Pats have yet to lose at home, almost never lose back-to-back games, and are still mad about what happened in Indy last week. Plus, they’re facing a team that Bill Belichick, if given the opportunity, will beat by as much as possible. The Jets are basically floating around like a dead fish after losing at home to the Jaguars, and would need nothing short of a miracle to beat New England in Gillette on Sunday. Before you say anything, yes I’m serious, and yes, I am a Jets fan.
Eagles (-3) at Bears: The Eagles are coming off of tough back-to-back losses to Dallas and San Diego. Although Chicago isn’t exactly a gimme for the Iggles, I still think they have a lot more to play for than the Bears. That and Jay Cutler is guaranteed to throw at least a pick or two.
Titans (+5) at Texans: Houston couldn’t beat the bad version of the Titans by 5 points in Week 2, as they held on for a 34-31 win. Now the Texans have to beat the new and improved version of Tennessee, led by, of all people, Vince Young, who has looked sharp in his first three starts. This is a golden opportunity for the Titans to ruin Houston’s season, and I think there’s a decent chance they’ll do just that.