NFL Picks Week 11: 6 Best Matchups To Know
It's Week 11 in the NFL and bye weeks have come to an end. This week we will see all 32 teams in action between Thursday and Monday night.
As the playoffs begin creeping closer and closer, each game takes on that much more significance as nearly every team in the league could still be considered in the playoff race.
Football becomes very exciting around this time of the year, as all the players are now showing how they will be this season. A very important factor in determining the playoff teams will come down to matchups. How you match up with your opponent can go a long way in determining whether you win or lose.
For fans, the fantasy football playoffs are coming even sooner then the NFL playoffs. It is very important for owners to win their games during the stretch run to get a playoff spot.
Here are the best six Week 11 matchups, whether from a fantasy standpoint or just one that will be exciting for NFL fans to sit back and enjoy watching.
6. Matt Cassel Vs. The Arizona Cardinals Defense
Matt Cassel got off to a slow start this season, but has done better as of late to get the Chiefs out of the cellar in passing offense. In fact, despite being blown out last week by the Denver Broncos, Cassel still threw for 469 yards and four touchdowns.
Unfortunately for the Arizona Cardinals, it is looking more and more likely that their one bright spot this season will be that they defeated the defending champion New Orleans Saints while starting an undrafted rookie quarterback.
Midway through the season it was looking like the Cardinals would be bad on the road, but very frisky at home. However, recently that has turned out to be untrue, as the Cardinals have struggled at home too.
It gets worse for the Cardinals. They are not at home this week. They take a trip to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, one of the most difficult places to play in the NFL.
Arrowhead stadium will be too much for a dome team that struggles on the road. Expect Matt Cassel to have a big day tearing apart the Arizona secondary.
5. Tennessee Titans Offense Vs. Washington Redskins Defense
The picture says it all. Don't let a Redskins fan fool you, and don't be fooled by their 4-5 record. The Redskins are terrible.
Just hours after signing Donovan McNabb to a big contract extension, the Redskins went out and got absolutely demolished by the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. After one play in the second quarter, the score was 35-0 Eagles.
The Redskins' defense was destroyed by the mobility of Michael Vick. Well great news for the Redskins, this week they face... another mobile quarterback!
Vince Young may not be 100 percent healthy, but he sure will be ready to play this Sunday. Titans wide receiver Randy Moss has been with the team for almost three weeks now and is surely ready to take a bigger role in the offense.
Making matters worse, the Redskins have been awful against big play-making receivers this season. The Titans will look to exploit that with Randy Moss.
On the other hand, just the mere threat of Moss will have the Redskins concentrating on him. That will do wonders for the Titans' running game, as the field will be open for running back Chris Johnson.
The Titans offense is poised for a big game offensively, especially as they look to bounce back from last weeks loss to the Dolphins.
4. Mark Sanchez Vs. Houston Texans Defense
Don't look now, but Mark Sanchez has put up very competent numbers for a fantasy quarterback this season. While he may not be able to carry your team every week, when played against the right matchup, Sanchez could be the best quarterback on your roster.
With bye weeks over, no one will have an issue of needing to start their backup quarterback. But there are certain times where playing your backup may be a better move. If you have Sanchez, this very well could be your week.
There has been a small secret to having success at picking breakout quarterbacks each week in the NFL season this year. The secret is simple. Look at who the Houston Texans are playing and take their opponents quarterback.
Houston used to be feared for their pass rush, but that is not the case anymore. The Texans have compiled just 14 sacks this season.
More importantly, the Texans are dead last in the league in passing defense. Last. Worse than the abysmal Washington Redskins. To make it even better, the Texans have just five interceptions this season.
The Texans have been giving up monster fantasy games to opposing quarterbacks all season. Most of which haven't even had great offensive weapons to produce big fantasy numbers.
Mark Sanchez is different in that regard. The Jets offense is loaded with talent. They have game changers all over their offense. Last week we saw how Santonio Holmes can turn an eight-yard pass into a 37-yard touchdown. Despite Holmes making the great play and doing all the work, Mr. Sanchez still receives the fantasy points for that play.
It will be more of the same this week for Sanchez and the Jets.
3. Baltimore Ravens Offense Vs. Carolina Defense
It is more than clear that Carolina Panthers' head coach John Fox will not be back next season. The question is, will he ever be able to find another job in the NFL?
Fox was a great defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, then took over the Panthers when they were at the bottom of the NFL. Fox took the Panthers to the Super Bowl and another NFC Championship game, and whats more impressive is that he did it with Jake Delhomme as his starter.
But still, for every big winning season Fox has had in Carolina, it seems like he also has a big losing season. In fact, that's almost true. The Panthers have been wildly inconsistent during the John Fox era.
This has been one of those down years for the Panthers under Fox. In fact it has been really down.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens are mad for losing in the final minute in Atlanta. Really mad. The Ravens will be looking for a big bounce-back game and they're likely to get it.
Joe Flacco has been inconsistent this season, but he will be looking to lead his team to victory this week. It will be difficult for Flacco as one bright spot for Carolina is that they own the leagues fifth-best passing defense.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, they can't stop the run. That's great news for Ray Rice, who is looking at a potentially really big day. The Ravens should have success running the ball, which will open up play action for Flacco.
The success of the Ravens running game will make life easier for Joe Flacco, which should provide us with an intriguing matchup against the good Panthers pass defense.
2. Michael Vick Vs. New York Giants Defense
More accurately, this is Michael Vick vs. the Giants pass rush. The Giants were the hottest team in the NFL until last week when they ran into the Dallas Cowboys with a new head coach.
Nonetheless, the Giants pass rush has been ferocious and is starting to resemble the great pass rush that led the Giants to the Super Bowl in 2007. The Giants have sacked the opposing quarterback 25 times this season, nine of them coming from Osi Umenyiora alone.
The Giants are not just hitting quarterbacks often, but hitting them hard, as they have knocked about five starting quarterbacks out of games this season.
But on the other side this week is the elusive Michael Vick. Vick torched the Redskins last week with 333 yards passing and four touchdowns. But that wasn't it—Vick also ran for 80 yards and two more touchdowns.
If you over-rush Michael Vick and end up behind him, it could make for a very long day. If Vick sees defensive lineman getting behind him, he is likely to take off running and the defense won't have men to stop him.
The Giants are No. 4 in the league against the pass. But how will they approach Vick? Will they blitz him to try to limit his time to scan for receivers, and hopefully take away the running room? Or will they try to contain Vick, which will lead to them not getting pressure and allowing Vick to scan the field and wait for a receiver to get open?
The worst thing you could do is get behind Michael Vick. Last week, Redskins' rusher Brian Orakpo did not want to get behind Vick and give up up field running room. The result was Orakpo being very timid at the line and allowing Vick to sit back and torch the Redskins defense.
Will the Giants play the same way? More importantly, will the Giants be able to stop Vick? This could be one of the best matchups of the season.
1. Andre Johnson Vs. Darrelle Revis
After a slow start to the season due to a nagging hamstring injury that was the result of a training camp holdout, "Revis Island" seems to be back. Since the Jets' bye week, it is looking like Darrelle Revis is back to his dominant self.
When he switched to exclusively covering Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings at halftime of their game, he shut down Jennings in the second half. He followed that up with holding Detroit Lions playmaker Calvin Johnson to just one 13-yard catch the next week.
Now, Revis gets matched-up against Andre Johnson, who is arguably the league's best wide receiver. While Johnson may have a nagging ankle injury that threatened to keep him out of last weeks game against Jacksonville, it didn't stop Johnson from catching nine passes for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars last week.
While the matchup may be hyped this time, it is not so well known that this is actually a rematch between the two.
Not only has Johnson already made a trip to "Revis Island," but he had the first choice of real estate on the island. That's right, Andre Johnson was the first wide receiver to get stranded on what is now known as "Revis Island."
The Jets and the Texans met in Week 1 of last year's NFL season. The Jets won 24-7, shutting out what would amount to be a high powered Texans offense during the season. In a personal matchup, Revis held Johnson to just four catches for 35 yards.
This was before Revis started getting the hype, before the name "Revis Island" came out. Now the two meet again, after Johnson and Revis' monster seasons last year.
This could be an epic battle, but history shows Revis usually wins these battles. If I had Johnson on my fantasy team, I might consider leaving him out this week.