NFL Picks: Week 11

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst INovember 14, 2008

In my first ever two weeks of doing picks—last week and Week Nine—I went 17-10 (8-6 the first week, 9-4 last week).  I hope to build on last week's success with this week's picks. Without further ado...

New York Jets (7-3) at New England Patriots (6-4)

The Jets won this game last night 34-31, and I'm proud to say that I predicted New York to win yesterday afternoon when I started on this article—before the game. I promise you, I'm not just trying to put a cheap feather in my cap. I really did predict the Jets to beat the Pats. My friend called me crazy for it. But look who won, my friend!

Denver Broncos (5-4) at Atlanta Falcons (6-3)

This game has the makings of being a mirror image of Atlanta's home win over the Saints last week. The Broncos and the Saints have the same make-up—a high-powered offense but a horrid defense. Plus the Falcons are 4-0 at the Georgia Dome this season, and the Broncos have lost two of three. 

Pick: Falcons

Detroit Lions (0-9) at Carolina Panthers (7-2)

The Panthers turned out a stinker in Oakland last week, but they survived against an inspired Raiders team. Carolina has shown an excellent ability to rebound this season (they responded to both losses with a big win the next week).  The Lions are, well, the Lions. Their 0-9 record speaks for itself. 

Pick: Panthers      

Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-8)

Right after their first win of the year, the Bengals got a well-timed bye that allowed them to get relatively healthy. But that won't be enough to defeat the versatile Eagles, who have one the league's best defenses as well as the most well-rounded back in the game. 

Pick: Eagles

New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)

This game could be close. Tyler Thigpen lit the Chargers' league-worst pass defense up for 266 yards and three touchdowns last week. The Saints also have a terrible pass defense. 

If Thigpen and Gonzalez can give performances similar to last week's efforts, and the KC's defense (which held San Diego's top-10 offense to 20 points) holds up okay, the Saints could be in for than they bargained for.  Could be.

Pick: Saints

Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at New York Giants (8-1)

This will be a physical, intense, defensive battle, pitting the Ravens' second-ranked defense against the Giants' third-ranked defense. The Giants easily have the offensive advantage; though, with Eli Manning and Co.

Joe Flacco is improving, but he doesn't have much of a supporting cast, and he's nowhere near Manning's level. Look for the Giants to chalk up their fifth straight win.

Pick: Giants

Minnesota Vikings (5-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)

The Bucs are coming off a bye, during which they had a superb chance to work out the kinks that easily could have—and probably should have—cost them in Kansas City two weeks ago.

Plus they're playing at home, where they are 4-0. These teams are built the same way—run the ball and play great defense on the whole. That said, the Bucs have the edge in quarterback play, with Jeff Garcia over Gus Frerotte.

Pick: Bucs  

Oakland Raiders (2-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-4)

The Raiders are coming off their best, most inspired performance of the year in a home loss to the Panthers. If these guys play their best game while the opposing offense turns in arguably its worst game of the year, and they still can't come out on top, they simply don't have the talent to win, despite what the coaches and front office will tell you. 

If the Raiders are going to win again, Darren McFadden will have to play. And it doesn't appear likely he'll go this week.

Pick: Dolphins

Chicago Bears (5-4) at Green Bay Packers (4-5)

This could be a preview of the Week 16 game at Soldier Field, a game that could decide who wins the NFC North. Chicago QB Kyle Orton will likely sit this one out, so Matt Forte will have to do everything for the Bears' offense.

But he should have a big day against the Packers' 28th-ranked run defense. Even so, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers should tear the Bears' 30th-ranked pass defense apart. 

The Bears will be more one-dimensional, and they're playing on the road at Lambeau, one of the most hostile environments for visiting teams in the league. Give me the Packers in an offensive battle.

Pick: Packers 

Houston Texans (3-6) at Indianapolis Colts (5-4)

The Texans and Colts win by passing—their air attacks are ranked fourth and eighth in the NFL, respectively. But most of the Texans' pass offense is Andre Johnson, and he'll be matched up with Bob Sanders. In addition, Sage Rosenfels is far more mistake-prone than Peyton Manning

And the Texans won't have a home crowd trying to will them to their first win this week, as they did in Houston in their first game against the Colts earlier this year.  Indy should win a shootout.

Pick: Colts

St. Louis Rams (2-7) at San Francisco 49ers (2-7)

Both teams just suck. But I'll give the nod to the Rams because they have Donnie Avery and Marc Bulger. 

Pick: Rams

Arizona Cardinals (6-3) at Seattle Seahawks (2-7)

Resurgent Cardinals QB Kurt Warner leads a well-oiled machine that will walk all over Seattle's fifth-worst defense. The Seahawks can't score without 33-year-old QB Matt Hasselbeck under center.

Arizona's top-10 rush defense should slow Seattle RB Julius Jones, who is quietly having a great season despite getting limited carries because the offense can't stay on the field.

Pick: Cardinals   

Tennessee Titans (9-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)

The Jags have lost two of three against less-than-impressive teams, and the Titans' eighth-ranked run defense shouldn't have much of a problem shutting down Jacksonville's running tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor—their only way of winning.

Pick: Titans

San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)

With the Ravens looking at a likely loss to the Giants this week, this home game against the Chargers is an excellent chance to take sole possession of the division lead for the Steelers.

The Steelers' league-best defense should hold San Diego's potent offense to few points, and Big Ben and the offense ought to score enough points to win this one.

Pick: Steelers

Dallas Cowboys (5-4) at Washington Redskins (6-3)

It looks like Tony Romo is coming back this week (he is participating fully in practice).  He'll finally get a chance to play with his new receiving duo.

Clinton Portis looks as though he won't play (he hasn't participated in practice this week), which places the well-being of the offense squarely on QB Jason Campbell's shoulders. Due to the fact that Romo has superior receivers, I'm going with the Cowboys.

Pick: Cowboys

Cleveland Browns (3-6) at Buffalo Bills (5-4)

The Browns don't have any playmakers. Their defense is poor. The Bills have enough offensive firepower to win the game, and it shouldn't be much of a problem keeping the Browns' pedestrian offense at bay.

Pick: Bills


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