NFL Picks Week 11: Eagles over Giants and Four Other Possible Upsets
What a slate of games the NFL enjoyed last Sunday.
It may be cliche, but hey, that's why they play the games.
Week 11 has already started to follow suit. Denver again pulled off an upset on Thursday Night Football, this time beating the Jets in unlikely come-from-behind fashion.
Here are five more Week 11 contests that could very well see the underdog pull off the unlikely win.
Upset Alert: Eagles (3-6) at Giants (6-3)
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Line: Giants (-5.5)
The Eagles are "dead" once again, and they get another divisional rival on Sunday night.
In the first meeting between the two rivals, the Eagles were able to run around, over, under and through the Giants defense as back LeSean McCoy accumulated 128 yards on the ground. Expect a similar performance with McCoy getting the brunt of the Eagles touches as either an injured Michael Vick or inexperienced Vince Young will take snaps Sunday.
Defensively, the Eagles have sured up the gaps that plagued them during these team's first matchup. The Philly secondary allows less than 220 yards passing a game, good for 11th-best in the NFL.
If not for a couple of fourth-quarter meltdowns, that number would be much higher.
Stats aside, the Eagles-Giants rivalry has been one of the more interesting matchups in football history.
Brian Westbrook caught the ball on one hop and dashed for the end zone punt return with under two minutes in "Miracle at the Meadowlands Two." They will also remember DeSean Jackson's near-identical walk-off punt return in last season's "Meltdown at the Meadowlands."
It may take a similar effort for the banged up and emotionally scarred Eagles to pull off the upset Sunday, but as the history between these two teams has shown, crazier things have happened.
Upset Alert: Panthers (2-7) at Lions (6-3)
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Line: Detroit (-7.5)
A week earlier, Minnesota backs combined for nearly 130 yards in the Vikings win over Carolina.
Luckily for Carolina, Detroit has one of the worst running games in the NFL.
In fact, in recent weeks, Detroit has again looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL.
This matchup is less what the Panthers do well and more what the Lions have not done coming into Sunday. After a 5-0 start, Detroit has dropped three of its last four contests, thanks largely in part to an offense that has given the ball away seven times in those three losses.
While the Panthers defense has struggled to cause turnovers this season, some of the throws Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford telegraphed last week against Chicago could have been picked and housed by a pee-wee team. Stafford must be more protective Sunday against a scrappy Panthers squad.
Offensively, rookie Cam Newton has already turned himself into one of the biggest offensive threats in the game, using both his legs and arm to create mismatches and confusion among opposing defenses.
The Lions struggled to contain Tim Tebow in the team's only other matchup against a true dual-threat quarterback. While the Lions did roll all over Denver, Tebow was still able to pick up 63 yards on the ground. Newton possesses better athleticism and ability to scramble when compared to Tebow, and the Lions better be prepared to contain the former Heisman winner.
Upset Alert: Seahawks (3-6) at Rams (2-7)
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Line: Rams (-3)
Can the Underdog Win?: Believe it or not, this matchup would have decided the fate of the NFC West just five years ago.
And now here we are today.
Seattle is one of the stranger teams in the NFL, with two of the team's three wins coming against Baltimore and the Giants.
Seattle's defense has quietly done a decent job keeping the Seahawks in games. The team's 350 yards allowed/ game and 22.4 points allowed/ game rank right in the middle of the league, a pretty decent accomplishment for a cellar dweller like Seattle.
Seattle's rush defense has been the team's bread and butter, with defensive playmaker Earl Thomas and linebacker David Hawthorne both in the Top 30 in the league in tackles.
In giving up 102 yards per game on the ground, the Seahawks rank 12th in the league.
That spells bad news for St. Louis. Running back Steven Jackson has been close to the only resemblance of a playmaker for the Rams. In both of the Rams wins, St. Louis needed Jackson to rush for more than 125 yards, while the passing attack was held to 175 yards and 155 yards.
The Rams will need to get a pass game going against a Seattle squad that will limit Jackson's effectiveness Sunday. If they can't, expect the Seahawks to pull off the road win.
Upset Alert: Bengals (6-3) at Ravens (6-3)
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Line: Ravens (-7.5)
Can the Underdog Win?: It seems a bit strange the Ravens,with losses to the Seahawks and Jaguars, could be a touchdown favorite against any team.
But here they are, touchdown favorites against the up-and-coming Cincinnati Bengals.
The matchup here is simple: If the Ravens offense preforms the way it has in it's three losses, Baltimore will lose.
In those three losses, the Ravens accounted for just 37 total points, three touchdowns and eight turnovers.
The Bengals defense, meanwhile, has arguably and surprisingly been even better than the always-taunt Ravens'. Cincinnati gives up just more than 300 yards per game, fifth best in the NFL.
The Ravens are a team that needs an offensive explosion to prove to themselves and the rest of the league that they are better than last week's lost showed.
The Bengals are a tough team to do so against.
Upset Alert: Titans (5-4) at Atlanta (5-4)
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Line: Atlanta (-5.5)
Can the Underdog Win?: NFL Films caught a nice little sound bite from Titans coach Mike Munchak during the team's Week 7 41-7 butt whippin' at the hands of the Texans.
"We can't be this bad, can we?"
No, Coach Munchak. In fact, your team is much better than that.
Tennessee's defense, save the Texans' game, has been solid this season. In no contest except Week 7 have they given up more than 24 points. The Titans 19.1 points allowed per game is seventh best in the NFL.
The Titans also seem to have their best weapon back in working order.
Running back Chris Johnson had his best game of the season in a win last week against the Panthers— he accumulated 130 total yards. Resurgent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck thrives on making defensive backs bite on play action to open up the passing game. With Johnson back in tip top shape, the play action just got that much more effective.
Finally, Tennessee is a team that rarely kills itself in contests. The Titans 10 giveaways are third least in the NFL this season.
Atlanta came within one boneheaded coaching decision from toppling the Saints last week to prove they are the class of the NFC South. The Falcons may have caught the Titans at the wrong time. With Texans quarterback Matt Schaub out for the year, the Titans have to believe they can catch the AFC South division leader.
Their quest for a playoff spot starts Sunday.