NFL Picks Week 11: Can the New York Giants Stop Michael Vick?
Michael Vick will play his most important NFL game as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Sunday night in a Week 11 NFC East meeting with the New York Giants.
Philadelphia is 4-0 when Vick has started and finished the game, as defenses have not discovered a way to stop the rejuvenated star.
Sunday night's game is one of the five biggest games in Week 11. It is also just one of only three divisional games this weekend.
Several teams face must-win situations this weekend if they plan on making a run to the playoffs.
Other teams, like the Giants, need to bounce back from disappointing losses and prove that they belong in the Super Bowl conversation.
Here are my picks for the five most significant and entertaining Week 11 NFL games.
Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins, Thursday 8:20 PM
The Bears have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the NFL. In order to stay atop of the NFC North and keep pace with the Green Bay Packers, Chicago must go on the road and defeat the Dolphins in a very winnable game.
At 5-4, Miami must win in order to stay in the playoff hunt, but its quarterback situation is a mess.
Pick: Chicago Bears
Arizona Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs, SUN 1:00 PM
Arizona has fallen to 3-6, but the team still has a chance to win the weak NFC West. This is a must-win game for the Cardinals.
After starting out the season strong, Kansas City has lost two games in a row. The Chiefs must bounce back after an embarrassing loss against the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs need to stay ahead of the San Diego Chargers.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers, SUN 4:05 PM
Tampa Bay must travel to the West Coast and win a tough road game against San Francisco in order to be taken seriously. The Bucs are currently third in the NFC South, so they must keep pace with the New Orleans Saints and other NFC playoff teams.
Similarly to the Arizona Cardinals, this is a must-win game for the 3-6 49ers. It will be interesting to see if Troy Smith can secure the starting quarterback job.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers
5. Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints SUN 4:05 PM
The Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints are both strong playoff contenders in the NFC.
Seattle is currently holds first place in the NFC West with a record of 5-4. However, the Seahawks have only defeated one team this season that currently is above .500 (Chicago Bears).
The Oakland Raiders and New York crushed Seattle in back-to-back games. Both losses were by more than 30 points.
This could be a big statement game for Pete Carroll and Matt Hasselbeck, who will play despite injuring his wrist. It will be very tough test for the Seahawks to attempt to beat the defending champions in the Superdome.
After stumbling in the beginning of the season, the Saints have won two games in a row and look to continue their momentum this weekend.
The NFC South is very tight right now. The 7-2 Atlanta Falcons are leading the division, while Tampa Bay and New Orleans both have a record of 6-3.
The next four games are very winnable for the Saints. Besides Seattle, none of those teams have a record above .500.
New Orleans should win all four and cannot lose more than of those games, since they finish the season at Baltimore, at Atlanta, and then home against Tampa Bay.
The Saints playoff hopes will be in serious jeopardy if they lose this weekend against the Seahawks.
Pick: New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees will throw for over 300 yards against the 28th ranked passing defense)
4. Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings SUN 1:00 PM
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress' job is very much on the line this weekend. This will also most likely be, but who really knows, Brett Favre's last game against the Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings have fallen to 3-6 on the season and have a near impossible task of making the playoffs this year.
Both the Packers and Bears have a three-game lead on the Vikings in the NFC North.
This game could be sad, entertaining and joyous, depending on whom you are rooting for. Imagine if Childress benched Favre midway through the game against his former team?
Childress would probably be fired or beat up by his team before being able to pull off such a move.
On a better note, things are looking up for the Packers. Despite being decimated by injuries this season, Green Bay has managed to win three games in a row and is fully rested after their bye week.
Currently, it is a two-team battle for the NFC North crown, as the Packers will attempt to beat out the Bears in the final seven games of the season.
Looking at Green Bay's schedule, this may be one of the easiest upcoming games. The Packers must continue their momentum this weekend in Minnesota before a crucial Week 12 game in Atlanta.
Pick: Green Bay Packers (It will be a close, high-scoring game though. Expect Adrian Peterson to have a big game, but Aaron Rodgers will lead Green Bay to a win in the end.)
3. Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers SUN 1:00 PM
For the first time in a long time, there will be a very meaningful game between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Raiders are currently in first place in the AFC West with a record of 5-4. Oakland's last game came against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, where they recorded a crucial, 23-20 overtime win.
Sunday's meeting with the Steelers is the Raiders' most difficult test of the season, as well as one of their most significant games.
Oakland is coming off a bye week and has had two weeks to prepare for this very tough road game. Darren McFadden has been excellent this season and should be fresh after getting some time to rest his hamstring.
If the Raiders can win in Pittsburgh, their chances of making the playoffs increase greatly. However, they still have road games in San Diego and Kansas City remaining on the schedule.
Last Sunday night,Tom Brady and the New England Patriots lighted up the Steelers’ defense. Since the return of Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh really has not played up to their potential.
Their only easy win came at home against the Cleveland Browns. They barely won (23-22) in Miami and were on the right end of an official's bad call. Pittsburgh also had trouble finishing out the Cincinnati Bengals and won by less than a touchdown.
Have the Steelers been overrated all season?
Oakland is the second best rushing team in the NFL, while Pittsburgh has the best rushing defense.
Pick: Oakland Raiders (Pittsburgh will be able to run the ball against Oakland, but Big Ben will struggle.)
2. Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots SUN 4:15 PM
Once again, we are lucky enough to watch a game featuring two hall-of-fame quarterbacks. Peyton Manning hopes to lead the Indianapolis Colts to an impressive road win against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The Colts are coming off a close win against the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Patriots may have proved that they are the best team in the NFL after scoring 39 points against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Both teams are in first place (or tied for first place) in their respective divisions. Indianapolis and New England are once again Super Bowl contenders. Manning and Brady are once again both in the MVP discussion.
But which quarterback has the better team this season?
The Patriots certainly do not stand out in any offensive statistical category, but they have managed to win seven games this season.
Although the Colts have dealt with many injuries on their offense, Manning can still destroy any defense.
New England is ranked 30th in the NFL in passing defense, allowing over 277 passing yards per game. Indianapolis has the third best passing attack in the NFL and also has the 10th ranked passing defense in the league.
It will be interesting to see how the Patriots young defense will do against Manning and the Colts.
Pick: Indianapolis Colts
1. New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles SUN 8:20 PM
The Week 11 meeting between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles is a battle for first place in the NFC East.
On Sunday Night Football, Michael Vick will once again attempt to show off his talents to the nation.
The Giants and Eagles games last week were polar opposites. New York suffered an embarrassing loss at home against the Dallas Cowboys, while Philadelphia set several records in an explosive performance on Monday Night Football against Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins.
However, New York has a more experienced and an overall better defense. The question is whether or not their defense can stop Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson.
Philadelphia's defense has done well against the running game, as their defense ranks 12th in the NFL in stopping the run. However, this week they will be going against the fifth best running team in the league.
The key to the game will be whether or not the Eagles can get out to an early lead and force Eli Manning to consistently face obvious passing situations.
This is the first meeting between the two NFC East teams. Last season, the Eagles swept the season-series with the Giants.
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles (Both teams will score more than 20 points, but Eli Manning will throw a costly interception.)