Just remember this much about the NFL: it’s the ultimate “Kaleidescope League.” The image changes with every rotation of the schedule. You think you know the answers? Good. They just changed the questions!
In Week 11 we have as headlines…
– Jared Goff’s Long Awaited Debut for Rams
– Mariotta vs. Luck: The New Hot QB Rivalry?
– Tom Brady’s Homecoming
– Packers v. Redskins Playoff Rematch
– Eagles at Seahawks as the 4 P.M. Feature Game
– A Trip to Mexico! Hooray!
Game Lineup: 1-8-1-2-1-1
BYES: Chargers, Falcons, Jets, Broncos
Buffalo Bills (4-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-5-1)
LINE: Bills -2.5/47.5
FOX: Thom Brenneman, Charles Davis, Chris Spielman, Holly Sonders
REF: Terry McAulay
YALL: Dying gasps of the Bills hopes to end their NFL worst 16 year post-season drought. Bengals have had a tie and a 1 point loss the last two weeks, but finish with 4 of final 6 games in division.
Pick: Bills. Black QBs beat redheaded QBs at a 2-1 rate overall, and they are especially strong on the road in that spot following a bye: 127-12-1 ATS.
Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
LINE: Vikings -2.5/40
FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews
REF: Clete Blakeman
YALL: Dennis Green Memorial Game. The Vikes finally cut scud-launcher Blair Walsh and I love playing on teams with a new kicker at home. Plus, something just ain’t right with the Cardinals who would be in deep shit if not for a cushy schedule. The Cards have played just one good team since Week 1 at home vs. the Patriots, and they tied the Seahawks 6-6.
Pick: Vikings, despite losing yet another tackle Jake Long, on the 2nd to last play of the game last week in Washington.
Chicago Bears (2-7) at New York Giants (6-3)
LINE: Giants -7.5/44.5
FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver
REF: Craig Wrolstad
YALL: The NFC East’s stealth contender, the Giants, who already have a win against the Cowboys and trail by just 2 games. Yet, their 4 game win streak is all single digit margins. The Giants have an NFC best +11 mark in turnvovers. The Bears lost both Kyle Long to injury and Alshon Jeffrey to suspension. And the team seems to be ready to push QB Jay Cutler in front of a bus.
Pick: Bears. Makes no sense. It’s why the casinos in Vegas are big and shiny.
Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
LINE: Colts -3/52.5
CBS: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
REF: Walt Anderson
YALL: This year’s Cinderella: the Titans. Marcus Mariota has genuinely made the jump, not just with great numbers, but he’s actually showing he can play the position comfortably from the pocket. Given how fraudulent the AFC South leading Texans are, the winner here has inside track on the Division. Colts have won 10 in a row vs. Titans. It continues…
Tampa Bay Bucs (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
LINE: Chiefs -7.5/44.5
FOX: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin
REF: Ed Hochuli
YALL: Quietest 7-2 team in the league, the Chiefs. KC is 17-2 in their last 19 games thanks to last year’s 10 game finishing kick. Here’s a stupid stat: the Chiefs haven’t beat the Bucs in 24 years. They’ve only played 4 times since then. Big whoop. Mike Evans is the #1 targeted WR in the league, getting a whopping 31% of Jameis Winston’s throws. Chiefs are +14 best in NFL.
Pick: Chiefs. Andy Reid can practically smell the thanksgiving turkey already.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5) at Cleveland Browns (0-10)
LINE: Steelers -8/46
CBS: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
REF: Brad Allen
YALL: The dark and empty pit of despair, known as Cleveland Browns fandom. And just when you thought it couldn’t worse, it looks like RG3 is about a week or two away from being able to come back. Fun fact: Jimmy Haslam has FIRED three coaches since he bought the team in 2012. The Steelers have only HAD three coaches since 1969.
Pick: Steelers. Why the hell isn’t this line 12.5 or more?
Baltimore Ravens (5-4) at Dallas Cowboys (8-1)
LINE: Cowboys -7/45
CBS: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn
REF: John Parry
YALL: Fully suited up Antonio Romiro Romo. I can’t figure out if this is a “trap” game for the Cowboys (looking ahead to Thanksgiving against the Redskins) or a “letdown” game after the stunning escape in Pittsburgh. Or if it’s a “QB distraction” game after Tony Romo’s classy concession speech to Dak Prescott this week. Oh, wait a minute. it’s the Ravens. They suck.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7) at Detroit Lions (5-4)
LINE: Detroit -6.5
CBS: Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Buerline
REF: Bill Vinovich
YALL: Improbable favorites in the NFC North, the Lions? Yes, they really are! With the Vikings sinking with injuries and the worst rushing attack in modern history, it’s the Lions to lose. Which they probably will. Watch. Last division title for the Lions was the 1993 Erik Kramer, Barry Sanders, Herman Moore team. Jags are -14 in turnovers, dead last. And Blake Bortles is the kind of garbage time stats.
Pick: Jags. Why? The Lions! Weren’t you listening!?
Miami Dolphins (5-4) at Los Angeles Rams (4-5)
LINE: Dolphins -1.5/39.5
FOX: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale
REF: Gene Steratore
YALL: Debut of the #1 overall pick in last spring’s NFL Draft, QB Jared Goff. Funny, because on Sunday night, Jeff Fisher insisted Goff wasn’t ready. By Tuesday, he was starting. Further proof that owners league wide control more shit in locker-rooms than we’ll ever know. Rams are dead last in scoring at 15.4 PPG. The Dolphins stayed in California after beating the Chargers last Sunday with a flurry of 4th Q picks.
Pick: Rams, because this line stinks. Why isn’t Goff a solid 6 or 7 point dog?
New England Patriots (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (1-8)
LINE: Patriots -13/51.0
CBS: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl
REF: Jeff Triplette
YALL: The league’s pretty boy QB (Tom Brady) against the league’s ultimate heel QB (Colin Kaepernick). Fun Fact: despite being a NorCal fanboy who grew up rooting for the Niners, Tom Brady has never played a game in SF vs. the Niners. Last time they were there 2008, he was hurt and Matt Cassell played. Something tells me not to mess with Belichick following a beating like that, but man… 13 is meaty. Are the Niners playing hard, or are the Cardinals just a mess? Gronk probably won’t play, and who knows what really happened to that lung?
Pick: Niners in a backdoor cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Seattle Seahawks (6-2-1)
LINE: Seahawks -6.5/43
CBS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
REF: Carl Cheffers
YALL: The impossible task of a rookie QB winning at the NFL’s toughest road venue. Good luck, Carson Wentz! Maybe Seattle is in “cross-country-letdown” mode after beating the Pats. Maybe not. Third round rookie CJ Prosise has been so good, the Seahawks cut Christine Michael. Thomas Rawls is expected back, and suddenly Russell Wilson looks healthy.
Pick: Seattle. Don’t think, don’t blink. LOCK OF THE WEEK!
Sunday Night Football
Green Bay Packers (4-5) at Washington Redskins (5-3-1)
LINE: Redskins -3/50
NBC: Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
REF: John Hussey
YALL: Dying days of Mike McCarthy’s Packer career. No matter how much he and Rodgers try to pretend all is well, it ain’t. We’re not that stupid. The Packers have ZERO rushing TDs from anybody not named “Rodgers.” That’s pathetic. And nearly impossible after 9 full weeks. Of course, the Skins looked prime to beat the Pack last January, and POOF! suddenly the Pack “got right” against my boys. I’m alot less worried this time, despite the Skins completely unsavory 3-13 record the last 16 games at home in Prime Time.
Monday Night Football
Houston Texans (6-3) at Oakland Raiders (7-2)
LINE: Raiders -6/46
ESPN: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
REF: Tony Corrente
YALL: Mexico City, Mexico… where both teams have been warned in no uncertain terms to NEVER leave their hotel, and do not order room service. Or use ATMs. Or bring jewelry. But hey, HAVE FUN KIDS! I can’t wait for Gruden to try to convince us how great the city is, and how warmly they’ve been welcomed, and how he could definitely see the NFL having a franchise there someday!
Pick: Texans. System Play: Always play on teams from “border states” in international games, especially catching 5 or more, and on Monday Nights.