by Ryan Meehan (Davenport, IA – US) and Brian Chapman (Huntington Beach, CA – US)
This week I am joined by Brian Chapman from doin-work.com to do some work on picking the games in week eleven. The guys at DW just celebrated their thousandth post, and they run an awesome website that comes highly recommended with the much coveted FOH Seal of Approval. The big news this week of course would be the fact that the Texans have lost starting quarterback Matt Schaub for the rest of the season to what he calls a “significant” foot injury. So just when everything was set up for the Texans to win the division with the Colts having Peyton Manning out for the year, this happens and now Matt Leinart will attempt to guide the Texans into the 2011-12 NFL Playoffs. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Let’s take a look at what’s going down in week eleven.
NY Jets (5-4) at Denver (4-5)
FOH: Denver must be good if they can win a game by 7 points having their quarterback only completing two passes. And the Jets must be slightly out of focus if they just lost a home game by three touchdowns. Given it was against New England, but there is something really wrong with the Jets. Regardless, they are still better than the Broncos and it’s a must win for them, so I’m taking them to win. Plus a loss would sink them to .500 and although it wouldn’t mean they were out of the playoff race just yet, it definitely would mean they’re standing on the slide ready to fall into the pool.
Doin’ Work: I’m not sure why, but I’m actually starting to buy into the whole Tebow is a winner thing. One thing I really like about Tebow is you know he’s not afraid to make a mistake or two, and brush it off one second later. He doesn’t let anything phase him. Having said that, I think the Broncos will lose Thursday night, and I picked a close score hoping for an entertaining game at least. Can Rex Ryan figure out John Fox’s foot fetish of a ground game? I have to believe he can get his guys to stay disciplined enough to pull out a win, at least more disciplined than the last two defenses.
Meehan’s Pick: Jets 24, Broncos 18
Chappy’s Pick: Jets 21, Broncos 20
Tennessee (5-4) at Atlanta (5-4)
Since I can’t stand the Hasselbeck era Titans, you can almost bet the farm that they’ll win here. The Falcons have had to deal with questions all week about Mike Smith’s decision to go for it on fourth down at their own 29 yard line. And it’s a shame they have, because it’s distracting the fans from the real issue at hand here: That no matter how many times I write it I still can’t believe that Matt Hasselbeck has a job as a starter in the NFL. And since the Texans just lost their starting quarterback it’s possible the Titans may end up winning the AFC South now. Unreal. So I’m hoping the Falcons win because I want to see the Texans make the playoffs, but I’m picking the Titans to win because not only am I a fan of reverse psychology, I also love being right.
Titans 27, Falcons 23
Jacksonville (3-6) at Cleveland (3-6)
When I first contacted Chappy about doing these picks, he mentioned that he doesn’t pick all of the games every week. I would assume that this was the type of game he was talking about. Browns would be the most disappointing team in the league if anybody had actually expected anything out of them, which they didn’t so it’s not really an issue.
Jags 19, Browns 6
Carolina (2-7) at Detroit (6-3)
FOH: I think we can all agree that the Lions looked horrible against Chicago last week. Not nearly as bad as Carolina, who appears to have given up after seeing “highlights” from that Titans game this past Sunday. Much like the Jets have to have the Thursday night game, the Lions need this one big time because writers (like me) and fans are starting to think the beginning of this season was a fluke for them. And it’s really hard to mention Detroit without bringing up how dirty of a team they are, so there’s your weekly standard comment on that.
Doin’ Work: Is it just me or did everyone completely discount the loss of Jahvid Best to this Detroit offense? Since he went down on his umpteenth concussion, they haven’t been the same team we saw in the beginning of the season. I think they had Stafford throw something like 60 passes last week, the polar opposite of what any team wants to do on offense. Either way they have zero running game without Best, and it’s hard to win throwing as much as they have lately, unless you have an elite QB, not sure Stafford is that quite yet.
Meehan’s Pick: Lions 27, Carolina 11
Chappy’s Pick: Carolina 30, Lions 24
Tampa Bay (4-5) at Green Bay (9-0)
FOH: I like the Bucs to rebound from another shitty defensive performance but not enough to beat the death steamroller that is Green Bay. It’s insane to think that both of these teams finished 10-6 last year and met such different fates. I’m more worried at this point that Josh Freeman is going snap and shoot up a bank in the near future than I am the Buccaneers are going to go on a roll and win the NFC South.
Doin’ Work: I simply don’t see anyone stopping Aaron Rodgers and the Pack especially a younger Bucs squad on the road in Lambeau. The Packers defense looked much better against the Vikings on Monday, not sure if that’s really showing improvement or if the Vikings suck that bad. Maybe they’ve figured out that part of their team again. If so, that’s scary for the rest of the league…
Meehan’s Pick: Packers 35, Bucs 24
Chappy’s Pick: Packers 42, Bucs 26
Buffalo (5-4) at Miami (2-7)
Upset special. Not only is Buffalo total bullshit, they don’t match up well against the style of football Miami’s been playing as of late. In a twisted sort of way I’m not even sure this is really an upset at all. Bills are only 23rd against the run and 27th against the pass…it should be considered a miracle that they’re even 5-4 to begin with. The game is in Miami and that fact always fills some extra space.
Dolphins 24, Bills 23
Oakland (5-4) at Minnesota (2-7)
FOH: Since Chappy is our guest this week, I feel like I’d be a complete dick if I picked against the Raiders. Luckily for me, I watched the Vikings get eaten by vultures Monday night so I don’t feel like I’m being a visiting homer by picking Oakland. To be honest, right now if the Vikings played the Colts it would be a hard game for me to pick: It’s that bad.
Doin’ Work: Ha, well you can pick against the Raiders if you truly think that the Vikings are a force to be reckoned with! Palmer is looking better and better each week, while the Vikings seem to be looking worse. If the Raiders lose this game, they don’t deserve to win the west. Is it strange that this line is only at 1 when the Raiders seem to play just as good on the road and have had 10 days to prepare?
Meehan’s Pick: Raiders 29, Vikings 5
Chappy’s Pick: Raiders 35, Vikings 21
Dallas (5-4) at Washington (3-6)
FOH: Washington is now on a six game losing streak, and here they run into the Cowboys who are one of the five hottest teams in all of football right now. If you’re a fantasy guy and you own you some Dallas players, start every single one of them. And I’m not sure how fantasy football even works but if there’s some bizarre way that you can start them twice at the same time go ahead and do that too. This will be the game where Romo goes 31 for 35 and throws for 380, could even be a career game for him.
Doin’ Work: Last time these two teams met it was a field goal fest. One thing I remember about their first match up is Romo hit the ground a lot. Not sure if that will happen with the emerging Demarco Murray now in the lineup, but the Skins didn’t have a bad game plan against the Cowboys. These division match ups usually a little closer, so I feel like the Skins keep it to a double digit blowout even if they do completely suck.
Meehan’s Pick: Cowboys 40, Redskins 19
Chappy’s Pick: Cowboys 22, Redskins 12
Cincinnati (6-3) at Baltimore (6-3)
FOH: Since it’s the Ravens’ week to show up and play, Andy Dalton pays for it by laying on his back two weeks in a row. It’s a struggle, but the kid’s going to have to beat both of those teams at some point, it just sucks or him that it has to be in a year where the Bengals finally have it together the way they did before this last week. The Ravens are bipolar and/or schizophrenic and even after all these years, no one still gets mad like Ray Lewis, and with their only losses this year coming against the Titans, the Jaguars, and the Seahawks I can imagine he’s pretty upset by now. If the Baltimore does lose the damage for this season may be mentally irreversible.
Doin’ Work: The cardiac cats are back. They seem to have a close game every week. The Ravens have been a huge anomaly this year, and seem tough to figure out from week to week, and I seem to always pick wrong when betting on their games. The Bengals get no love even though Andy Dalton is the ROY to this point, and AJ Green might be third on that list behind Cam. I’m taking the +7 on my bet this weekend with the Bengals!
Meehan’s Pick: Ravens 30, Bengals 16
Chappy’s Pick: Bengals 31, Ravens 28
Arizona (3-6) at San Francisco (8-1)
FOH: San Francisco is the real deal and given that they still have Green Bay and Chicago on the schedule they need to take advantage of as many games against teams like the Cardinals as possible. Plus, John Skelton is not nearly as good as Philly made him look last week. (There was really no reason for that sentence as everyone in America probably had that figured out by now) What was really impressive about the Niners last week is they got zero rushing yards from Frank Gore and still beat a very good Giants team.
Doin’ Work: SF has proved themselves over and over, and now everyone is starting to believe in them the way Harbaugh did all along. I think if they win this game, they might officially have won the division, well unless Seattle wins too, then they’d have to lose every game the rest of the way, and Seattle would have to win out to tie. They still have plenty of motivation to win this game convincingly since I’m sure they want home field and a bye week.
Meehan’s Pick: 49ers 33, Cardinals 7
Chappy’s Pick: 49ers 27, Cardinals 3
Seattle (3-6) at St. Louis (2-7)
I talk a lot of shit about the Seahawks but you have to give them credit. There’s almost absolutely no way for them to sneak into the playoffs and they came out and laid the Ravens out after the largest moral victory that team has had since Super Bowl XXXV. Of all the players that didn’t get moved before the trade deadline, Marshawn Lynch has to be more pissed than any of them.
Seahawks 18, Rams 14
San Diego (4-5) at Chicago (6-3)
FOH: The Bears are on a roll and the Chargers are literally on the beach. I’m convinced Philip Rivers has taken the entire year off, which is incredibly unfortunate because that division is up for grabs for pretty much everyone but them. Or the Chiefs since Cassel is now hurt. Or the Broncos because they got off to such a bad start, or Oakland because Carson Palmer…OK, how about we just talk about the Bears? I look for Matt Forte to exploit a weak San Diego defense and can’t help but think how much of a field day Greg Olsen could have if he was still on Chicago’s roster. The Bears defense looked extremely threatening and violent against Detroit so get ready for the hit parade, because it’s coming…
Doin’ Work: Talk about two teams heading in opposite directions. Even the quarterbacks are on opposite ends of the spectrum from what were used to. Rivers now looks like Cutler did at the beginning of the season, and Cutler looks like what Rivers looked like last season. One thing that stands out is the o-line. Cutler’s o-line is healthy, Rivers o-line is not. No healthy o-line all adds up to turnovers, which the Chargers won’t be able to overcome. I see VJ getting loose for a couple scores after apologizing to his team this week, but that won’t help when they’re down by two TD’s and Forte is running wild on a D that isn’t great against the run.
Meehan’s Pick: Bears 32, Chargers 15
Chappy’s Pick: Bears 38, Chargers 30
Philadelphia (3-6) at NY Giants (6-3)
…And then the Eagles died. Just Kidding. Although it really wouldn’t shock me at this point. This game is in New Jersey so the Giants will have that working for them, and it’s at night so all eyes will be on a Philadelphia team whose coach’s future may very well ride on the future of this game. I still can’t believe that stat that the Eagles have blown five fourth quarter leads this year and if they hadn’t they’d be tied with San Francisco for the two seed. Sad but true. Of course I’m kidding…there’s nothing sad about it, it’s hilarious. Vick has bruised ribs and that’s also funny.
Giants 28, Eagles 21
Kansas City (4-5) at New England (6-3)
New England showed a lot of poise rebounding from the Giants loss the week before by cleaning the Jets’ clock Sunday night, on the road nonetheless. Don’t have a whole lot to say about this one but the Patriots play very well against average or below average teams at home.
Patriots 38, Chiefs 22
Bye Weeks: Texans, Colts, Steelers, and Saints
I heard one of those radio shows do the bye week joke today and I totally fell for it: They said that not only will Matt Schaub be out this week, but that Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger will both be inactive as well. Ha ha. the Schaub injury could be death though: It’s weird because if you don’t watch a lot of football you just figure if you have to switch to a left handed quarterback midway through the season, you just flip the playbook around and you’re all good. I can assure that this is not the case. Matt Leinart faces a huge challenge ahead and I can only hope he is up to the task. As for the other teams: The Steelers and Saints are fine, and as you well know the Colts are not.
This article is going to have to be cut short here because I was just given a free ticket to go see Paul Simon about five minutes ago and since he probably won’t be around a whole lot longer, I’m going to take advantage of that while I can. Thanks to Chappy for joining me this week and until next time, drive safely.
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