NFL Week 11 Picks

I have said several times throughout this picks season that my picks success (or lack of success) has mirrored the success (or lack of success) of the New York Football Giants and as the Giants’ season goes, my picks season goes. Let’s look at the Giants’ score each week and how I did with my picks in each of those weeks.

Week 1: Cowboys 36, Giants 31 (3-12-1)
Week 2: Broncos 41, Giants 23 (7-8-1)
Week 3: Panthers 38, Giants 0 (7-8-1)
Week 4: Chiefs 31, Giants 7 (7-7-1)
Week 5: Eagles 36, Giants 21 (5-9-0)
Week 6: Bears 27, Giants 21 (5-9-0)
Week 7: Giants 23, Vikings 7 (9-6-0)
Week 8: Giants 15, Eagles 7 (7-6-0)
Week 9: BYE (6-6-1)
Week 10: Giants 24, Raiders 20 (9-5-0)

As you can see, the Giants’ season started off with the “Disaster in Dallas” and I had my worst week of the season at 3-12-1, which put me in a hole that I’m still trying to climb out of (just like the Giants). I continued to produce losing weeks during Weeks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 just like the Giants and then in Week 7, I turned the season around when the Giants beat the Vikings and started their current winning streak to get back in the NFC East playoff picture.

This coincidence reminded me of a Matt Christopher (yes, THE Matt Christopher) book: Ice Magic. Here is the Amazon summary of Ice Magic:

A strange power is at work in the rink … Pie Pennelli loves to play ice hockey, but he’s got some problems: his hand-me-down skates are too big for him, and one of his teammates is always giving him a hard time. But Pie’s troubles really begin when his next-door neighbors find an antique hockey game. They swear the game is magic and can predict every play Pie’s team will make!

So according to Ice Magic and Pie Pennelli, it doesn’t really matter which teams I pick to cover. All that matters is if the Giants win or lose. And since they’re playing Scott Tolzien’s Packers, you would think this would be another successful week.

Week 11! Let’s go!

(Home team in caps)

Indianapolis -3 over TENNESSEE
Whenever you start to feel confident about a team being a contender, the Football Gods will make you think twice about it. How many teasers did the Colts destroy last week when they were -9.5 at home against the Rams? I know of at least one. After hearing about how the Colts could make a deep playoff run and could possibly be the AFC’s representation in East Rutherford on Feb. 2, they were brought back down to Earth at the hands of Kellen Clemens and the Rams. I don’ feel confident in the Colts, but then again I have to go with my gut thanks to my 8-2 record on Thursday Night Football.

Atlanta -2 over TAMPA BAY
Yup, it’s that Game of the Week …

Somewhere someone who isn’t a Falcons fan or a Buccaneers fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.

Once again I’m still bitter over the Falcons blowing a 17-0 lead in the NFC Championship Game last year that cost me a 10-to-1 parlay with the Ravens over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, so I don’t feel sorry for the Falcons or Matt Ryan or Tony Gonzalez or Falcons fans. I’m happy their season has been a disaster.

New York Jets 0 over BUFFALO
This is a dangerous, dangerous decision and probably a stupid one. I’m not talking about trusting the Jets in a divisional game or one that has been deemed a pick ’em by Vegas. I’m talking about trusting the Jets on the road following their biggest win of the season in a game that now has expectations for them since they control the No. 6 seed in the AFC. The Jets don’t usually respond well to being in a favorable position.

The Jets have alternated wins and losses this season and if you’re a believer in patterns then they will lose in Buffalo. Three of their four losses have come on the road and in their last road game in Cincinnati in Week 8 they were embarrassed even more than the Giants were in their Week 3 loss in Carolina. Everything about this game says I should probably pick the Bills, but eff it.

Detroit -2.5 over PITTSBURGH
The Lions are 6-3 with a one-game lead in the NFC North and right now both Aaron Rodgers Jay Cutler are out. It’s the best possibly scenario for the Lions with seven games left to play for a chance to get back to the playoffs after what happened to their season last year and even host a playoff game. Meanwhile, the Steelers might think there is still hope to their season at just 2.5 games back of the Bengals, but there isn’t.

Washington +3.5 over PHILADELPHIA
For the Giants, it would be better if the Redskins won this game, so that if the Giants win their game, the Giants, Redskins and Eagles would all have six losses and the Cowboys would have five. But if the Eagles win, then they improve to 6-5 and would temporarily take over first place in the division and if the Giants were to beat the Packers this week and the Cowboys next week, they still wouldn’t be in first. Let’s go Redskins!

CHICAGO -3 over Baltimore
The Ravens are 1-4 on the road and have lost at Denver, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Cleveland and going to Soldier Field even if it’s against Josh McCown is a recipe for disaster for this Ravens team.

CINCINNATI -5.5 over Cleveland
A very good home team against a very bad road team. There’s not much else there.

Oakland +7.5 over HOUSTON
Yup, it’s another one of those …

Somewhere someone who isn’t a Raiders fan or a Texans fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.

For the second week in a row the Texans have made this Game of the Week and thanks to their loss in Arizona to extend their losing streak to seven games, they are here again. The Texans have now lost their last three games by a combined seven points and when you factor in their Week 4 overtime loss to Seattle (the game that Matt Schaub gave away), their season has actually been completely decimated by just a few plays.

JACKSONVILLE +7.5 over Arizona
Well, so much for picking against the Jaguars at all costs with any spread. The Jaguars’ win over the Titans last week gets them out of me always picking against them and coming off a road win, this line seems a little high against the Jaguars even if it’s the Jaguars.

MIAMI +2.5 over San Diego
I would think that the Dolphins’ loss to the Buccaneers coupled with their bullying situation is why the Chargers are favored here, but the Chargers don’t play well in the Eastern Time Zone and as always, I hate picking for Philip Rivers.

SEATTLE -12.5 over Minnesota
For some reason I don’t like picking for Christian Ponder to cover in Seattle.

NEW ORLEANS -3.5 over San Francisco
Whenever I see a Saints’ home line less than a touchdown I just laugh. Why would Vegas want to make things easy? In case you forgot, here is what I wrote about the Saints in the Week 8 Picks:

The Saints’ last home loss with Sean Payton as head coach came in Week 17 in 2010 when they had nothing to play for. Including the playoffs, the Saints have won their last 12 home games since that loss and here are their margins of victory going back from Week 4 in 2013 to Week 2 in 2011 with Payton as head coach: 21, 24, 6, 17, 28, 29, 14, 25, 11, 55, 7 and 17.

Since I wrote that the Saints have played two home games and won both, beating Buffalo 35-17 and Dallas 49-17. So add 18 and 32 to that margins of victory list.

The Saints’ two losses this season have come on that road (New England and New York Jets) and it’s going to be tough for them to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC and clinch home-field throughout the playoffs with the Seahawks at 9-1 and the Saints going to Seattle in Week 13. But if the Saints were to get the 1-seed, you could pencil them in all the way to MetLife Stadium because the Saints don’t lose in the Superdome. They just don’t.

NEW YORK GIANTS -5.5 over Green Bay
Everything has aligned for the Giants to come back from 0-6, win the NFC East and host a playoff game this season. Everything. The only problem is the Giants aren’t exactly cooperating. Last week they were unable to put away a bad Raiders team at home, winning 24-20, and did everything they could to lose, including fumbling the opening kickoff and another Eli Manning pick-six. This week they get the Packers and third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien, who has attempted 39 passes in the NFL. If the Giants win, they are one game back of Dallas heading into their Week 12 matchup with the Cowboys at MetLife. Just get to Week 12. That’s all I ask.

Kansas City +7.5 over DENVER
The supposed real Game of the Week in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Broncos are undefeated at home and have won by 22, 16, 32, 16 and 24 points at Mile High, but the Chiefs are undefeated everywhere and their defense against a banged-up and not-practicing Peyton Manning is enough for me to think 7.5 is too high for a divisional matchup with so much at stake.

New England +1.5 over CAROLINA
After the Football Gods reminded everyone not to get too high on the Colts in Week 10, it seems like it’s the Panthers’ turn to experience a setback with their five-game winning streak.

Last week: 9-5-0
Season: 66-76-5