Sunday, November 22, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 11

Indianapolis at Baltimore (pick)
Who needs it more:
Colts basically have home-field locked up, and don't know how much they really care about going undefeated. The Ravens are in the middle of a large pack of teams angling for a wild card.
Kinda feels like: Signs would point to a Colts letdown, but it's also the type of game that Peyton Manning takes over and wins by himself. Plus, sometimes he's even more dangerous on the road.

Atlanta at NY Giants (-6.5)
Who needs it more:
Giants, but only because it's a home game and they've dropped four straight. The winner gets put on a track towards the playoffs, and the loser is scrambling.
Random stat/observation: The road team has won 12 straight between the two teams. Back in 2005, Eli Manning made his first career start in a loss to Atlanta.
Kinda feels like: Not having Michael Turner isn't as big a deal as a less-than-good Matty Ice. The G-Men get the benefit of the doubt for one more week - coming off a bye, in front of an amped up crowd, and relatively healthy, should help them get by.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City (+10)
Who needs it more:
The champs have to be humbled a bit after Cincy swept 'em. A loss to the woeful Chiefs seems out of the question.
Kinda feels like: If KC hadn't won last week in Oakland, it would be entirely conceivable to see more Steelers fans in the crowd than Chiefs fans. Still might be the case.

San Francisco at Green Bay (-6.5)
Who needs it more:
Both teams are trying to build on big wins, but a loss could knock the Niners out of it for good (barring an Arizona meltdown in St. Louis).
Kinda feels like: San Fran just seems to play close games (for the most part). Hopefully that's the case so we can feel a little nostalgic about those late-90's games, including the one where T.O. dropped like 8 passes but held onto the game-winner because he got sandwiched and there was no direction for the ball to fly out.

Arizona at St. Louis (+9)
Who needs it more:
At the very least, the Cards should get through this week with the 2-game lead intact, and most likely see that bumped up to 3.
Kinda feels like: Ya know, it's been awhile (like 3 weeks) since Marc Bulger got knocked out with an injury.

Washington at Dallas (-11)
Who needs it more:
Cowboys had their freebee last week. Now they have this one and a layup on Thanksgiving (Oakland) before a big trip to NY.
Fantasy hunch: Could see Ladell Betts having another good game, but it's also about time we heard from Marion Barber.
Kinda feels like: Tight game at the half, but the Cowboys pull away. A big deficit won't stop Santana Moss from spinning the ball after every 8-yard catch, though.

Buffalo at Jacksonville (-8.5)
Who needs it more:
Jags are now officially in the playoff chase, while Buffalo now has T.O. playing with a backup QB from Harvard and an interim head coach. Heh.
Fantasy hunch: Mo-Jo, you owe a lot of people (including me) some love after what happened Sunday (even though you still had a kick-ass day).
Kinda feels like: The fact that this game is in Jacksonville really doesn't mean anything, since maybe 40k will show up, and the Jags actually seem to be tougher on the road. Maybe Buffalo will rally behind but its doubtful.

Cleveland at Detroit (-3.5)
Who needs it more:
The loser will be thinking, "Jesus, we're so bad, we lost to the f-ing ____," and I'm not sure which team to fill in the blank is worse.
Random stat/observation: If this game was billed as a battle of the two QB's with the most Deadspin appearances, would Matt Leinart object?
Fantasy hunch: If it doesn't happen this week for Kevin Smith and Calvin Johnson, it aint happening this year.
Kinda feels like: Almost ridiculous to say this, but the Lions, handily.

Seattle at Minnesota (-11)
Who needs it more:
With Seattle out of it, Minny wants to stay within a game of the Saints for home-field.
Fantasy hunch: Great point by the guys at Football Outsiders, noting that had the Vikings kept pursuing TJ Houshmandzadeh, Sidney Rice probably doesn't get a chance to put up freaky numbers, or turn out to be the best 13th round steal ever.
Kinda feels like: The Vikes got the sloppy kinks out last week, while Seattle has to be a bit bummed after watching their 2nd half lead in Arizona disappear. And if the 'Hawks can't tackle Beanie Wells, how are they gonna fair with Adrian Peterson coming at them?

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (+11)
Who needs it more:
Guessing that an undefeated team doesn't want it's first loss to come in Week 11 to a one-win team.
Random stat/observation: The Saints have scored the 4th-most points (331) through 9 games in NFL history.
Fantasy hunch: For a team that is so dynamic offensively, it must be frustrating that the only reliable fantasy starters are Drew Brees and sometimes Marques Colston. Everyone else alternates having a big game.
Kinda feels like: Similar to the past few weeks, the Saints win, but not convincingly.

Cincinnati at Oakland (+9.5)
Who needs it more: Is Cincy good enough where they can just show up and win?
Fantasy hunch: All Cedric Benson owners who handcuffed you are counting on you, Bernard Scott.
Kinda feels like: Depends if the Raiders are good for more than just one home game a year where they actually show up and play. Letdown game potential for the Bengals, but also breakout possibilities for Scott.

San Diego at Denver (-3)
Who needs it more: The game is for the first place, and even though a Chargers loss means getting swept by the Broncos, this one is more vital for Denver. Another loss, and they're officially in a total free-fall.
Fantasy hunch: After getting a 46-spot put up on me from Ricky Williams and Steve Smith on Thursday night, hearing that Chris Simms could be starting was a bit of a relief (my opponent has Brandon Marshall). Although that sentence probably just jinxed it.
Kinda feels like: Loss for Denver, in heartbreaking fashion. At least they still have games left with the Raiders and Chiefs.

NY Jets at New England (-10.5)
Who needs it more: Both need it for different reasons. Jets can get back in the race with a win, and wipe out a lot of negative energy surrounding the club. A loss, and they're playing for 2010. The Pats need to keep the 2-game lead in the division more than they do to bounce back after a tough loss to the Colts. And some revenge would be nice, too.
Fantasy hunch: Not having Wes Welker for that Week 2 game might've been the biggest difference. Look for him to go for 12-100+ and at least a touchdown.
Kinda feels like: Jets have been a tough out in Foxboro and this one should be the same. Look for Belichick to run up the score if he gets a chance, and the final score could look more lopsided than the game really is.

Philadelphia at Chicago (+3)
Who needs it more: Donovan McNabb said this was a must-win for the Eagles. Perhaps a bit extreme. It is a must-win for Jay Cutler if he hopes to have Bears fans cheer for him at all the rest of the year.
Random stat/observation: Doesn't it sound like McNabb always needs to blow his nose?
Kinda feels like: Chicago either comes out with an inspired performance in front of a pumped up crowd, or they get smoked and it's an empty stadium midway through the 4th. Really, it all depends on if Cutler throws a pick at all.

Tennessee at Houston (-4.5)
Who needs it more: The Titans have a nice run going, but the Texans are the ones who have realistic playoff chances.
Kinda feels like: Fun game, Texans eke it out, and many ESPN declarations how the Texans have officially arrived and are ready to make the playoffs. Also, if you weren't aware that Vince Young grew up in Houston, ESPN will be sure to remind you.

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