Banged up quarterbacks stole headlines following last week’s NFL games, and three backup QBs could be featured in the two 2012 Week 11 prime time contests. In other news around the league, the Jets and Eagles are trying to outdo each other in their attempts to be the biggest train wreck in the NFL, the once 0-4 Saints are a win away from being at .500, and the Chargers have probably committed a turnover while you’ve been reading this paragraph. Perhaps my worst pick of the season is featured below, when I allow myself to be burned by the Lions one final time. I just never learn.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
A team that was manhandled by the Tennessee Titans at home last week now has to travel to face division rivals who may have the worst defense in the NFL, and both of those squads played just four days ago. These weekly Thursday night games may be the worst idea the NFL has ever come up with. While Buffalo will be without Fred Jackson for tonight’s game, the Miami defense has been nothing short of awful against the run over the past month. C.J. Spiller’s shoulder is fine and thus I expect him to have a big night, but I still wouldn’t go out of my way to follow this game unless you’re a fan of one of these two teams. There’s plenty of college basketball on TV this evening.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
I actually feel a little sorry for Arizona. They lost five straight after winning their first four, and they now come off the Bye week having to play at Atlanta where the Falcons almost never lose. To make matters worse, Atlanta will be looking to rally back from their first defeat of the season. The wheels have completely fallen off the Arizona bus, and Matty Ice and company are sure to be fired up. The Cards are 10 point underdogs as of the typing of this sentence. Atlanta covers that and then some.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys
They’ve got a division title well within their reach and they’re hosting a bad team, so this is the exact type of game Dallas would go and lose. The problem with that way of thinking is that I have no faith in the Browns, nor should anybody. Cleveland has done well to hang with good teams throughout the season, which is why I think the nine point spread is a bit much. The Browns are going to win multiple games over the next two months. This just isn’t one of them.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Detroit has let me down throughout 2012, so what’s more one time? Aaron Rodgers has a history of disproving his doubters after losing several teammates to injury, but Bryan Bulaga going down for the season (hip) could prove to be a big blow. Besides, Matt Stafford and the Detroit pass rush have to have at least one great game in them between now and January, right? Right?
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
“We lost to freakin’ Cleveland,” was what Cincy WR A.J. Green had to say about he and the Bengals possibly looking past the “will somebody just pull the plug already?” Chiefs. I’ll be blunt here. You’re either a major homer or you’re just looking to pick an upset if you go with KC. That team is going to look very different in a lot of ways come next August.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: New York Jets at St. Louis Rams
The 2012 Jets continue to be the gift that keeps on giving; unless, of course, you root for them. Some analysts are actually saying that Tim Tebow should get a start, if for no other reason that the Jets cannot possibly play any worse than they have as of late. St. Louis is far from a great team, but I want no part of Gang Green right now. They’re just a special kind of mess at this point. It’s unfathomable to me that the Jets were a game away from the Super Bowl just a few years back. How the mighty have fallen.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
As a Giants fan, I’m actually a bit scared of the ‘Skins right now. They have back-to-back-to-back divisional games following the Bye, and I could absolutely see them being 6-6 after their December 3 contest against New York. Philly has been Jets-esque in this latest meltdown, one that’s likely going to end with Andy Reid and Michael Vick searching for new jobs.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
I know they’ve won three straight and four of their last five, but I still can’t yet buy into the Bucs. One thing I have less faith in than TB, however, is the ability of the Carolina offensive line to adequately protect Cam Newton. The Panthers have largely looked like a lost and sometimes even miserable bunch outside of the win at Washington, and Newton’s inconsistent play leaves me too scared to go with the home team.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Perhaps never before has a 15-point spread looked so tiny. I can’t imagine anybody on earth believes what may be the worst Jacksonville team in franchise history is going into Houston and earning a win.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders
The 2012 Saints are alive and well, and they could, all things considered, be the most dangerous team in the league heading into this weekend. Oakland’s defense is actually managing to get worse as the weeks go on, which is impressive since it wasn’t all that good of a unit at the start of the season. Drew Brees currently leads the league in total passing yards, and the Raiders are giving up over 255 yards in the air per game. I love the Saints minus five in Oakland.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
The recent San Diego backslide began with that epic collapse against the Broncos one month ago. This game might not be as entertaining as was that Monday night encounter. Philip Rivers seemingly can’t help but give the ball away at least once per half, while Peyton Manning could earn himself MVP honors by the time everything is said and done. Denver’s defense causes three turnovers, and the Broncos win in a rout.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Those predicting a blowout could be in for quite the surprise. Andrew Luck is undeniably the real deal, and the Patriots have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Every great quarterback has that one moment or one game where he announces to the football world that his time is now. For Luck, that game could be played at Foxboro on Sunday. The Colts are one of the best stories in all of North American pro sports, and Luck is capable of winning a shootout, even when facing a future Hall of Famer. I’m going with my gut and I’m going with the upset.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
I probably would have picked the Steelers to win this contest a week ago from the posting of this piece. Pittsburgh may be undefeated at home this season, but they’re a very different team without Big Ben out on the field. The Steelers have gone 0-4 against the Ravens without Roethlisberger since they drafted the QB in 2004, and Byron Leftwich may have to be more than a game-manager if Pittsburgh is going to beat one of the best teams in the AFC. If Joe Flacco can avoid entering the gunslinger mode that often gets him into trouble, the Ravens should leave Pittsburgh with a solid road win.
2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
This is the hardest game to pick during this midweek because we don’t yet know if Alex Smith and/or Jay Cutler will be able to play. Concussions could make one or both QBs spectators on Monday night, meaning those of us at home may be treated to a showdown between Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell. Since we don’t yet know who all is playing and I trust the Niners with Kaepernick more than I do the Bears with Campbell, I’m going with the hosts.