Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 for Sunday

After somehow pulling a winning week out of my you-know-where in Week 10, I'm back to .500 on the nose with seven weeks to go in the regular season. Not the prettiest slate of games scheduled for Week 11, but hey, play the hand you're dealt. Home teams in CAPS.

Carolina (+7) over DETROIT
Both of these teams threw up absolute turds last week, but I'm willing to give Carolina a pass for their loss to the Titans because Chris Johnson morphed back into Chris Johnson all of a sudden. After all, the Panthers aren't supposed to be very good. The Lions appear to be in free fall, and cannot keep Matthew Stafford or any of their running backs healthy for any extended period of time. It would make sense for Detroit to try to be very aggressive in getting after Cam Newton, but I think Newton's raw play-making ability may show itself if the Lions get too greedy on defense.

Dallas (-7.5) over WASHINGTON
So many things about this game are screaming at me to stay away, but there just aren't enough decent games this week to avoid my usual homer pick here. I really think this is too many points to give, especially when you see that the Cowboys have beaten the Redskins by 8 or more just once in their past ten meetings. But Dallas has been so tough to stop on offense in the past month (not counting the blowout at the hands of the Eagles in Week 8, where the Cowboys fell behind so quickly that their normal offense was moot) that an objective observer would figure them to have little problem taking care of business at FedEx Field. The Redskins seem to get worse every week and have now switched back to Rex Grossman at quarterback. That fact plus Washington's sore lack of receiving threats outside of TE Fred Davis makes you forget that Dallas is still missing its top cornerback in Mike Jenkins. If things go as they should, it will be another banner day for the rookie DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys improve to 6-4 without giving me a heart attack.

Cincinnati (+7) over BALTIMORE
Yankees radio play-by-play man John Sterling must love the Baltimore Ravens, because ya just can't predict them, Suzyn. How can a team that just got trounced by Seattle be 2-0 against Pittsburgh? When you look at the Ravens' last four games as a whole, huge red flags pop up about their offense. The Bengals are right in the thick of the AFC North race and played the Steelers very tough last week. One interesting note: that 24-17 loss to Pittsburgh was the Bengals' largest margin of defeat all year. Cincy is without AJ Green, but Baltimore will likely be playing sans Ray Lewis for the first time in four years. A full touchdown is just too many to lay with the Ravens right now, and the Bengals do tend to play close games so I'll take my chances plus the points.

GREEN BAY (-14) over Tampa Bay
Not that it really really matters because you can pencil Aaron Rodgers in for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns basically every week, but should Green Bay find any lack of smoothness at all in their passing game, they have the Bucs' miserable, 6.1-yards-per-carry run defense to feast upon. And Josh Freeman, who has hit bit of a wall this year for Tampa, won't be the one to expose the Packers defense enough to beat them. It's becoming a bit of a cop-out to simply take the Packers every week, but at this point how can you not? They're simply that good.

CHICAGO (-3.5) over San Diego
This line seems about 2 points too low - and God bless you if you were able to get it when it opened at 2.5. What could possibly possess someone to put money on the Chargers right now? Philip Rivers has been an interception machine this year, the team has lost 4 in a row, and now they must come east (again) to play in what may be less-than-ideal conditions in a late afternoon game at Soldier Field. The Bears have come on very strong in the past month and are still flying under the radar a bit thanks to the unstoppable Packers. Consider this game another nail in the coffin of Norv Turner's job.

Last Week : 3-2-0
Season: 23-23-4

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