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NFL Picks for Week 11
by John Canton (NFL)
Posted on November 17, 2006, 7:24 PM

John: Welcome to week ten of our weekly NFL picks column. I'm going to be doing the opposite thing for a lot of my picks here. I just think these teams are so close to eachother no matter the record that any game really can be won by any team. I've sat here week after week spouting off stat after stat about this team having an advantage over that team, but I'm tired of that. I want to go off the cuff a bit, so that's what I'm doing.

drq: Something of a decent week for me last time around - my 9-7 mark keeps me on pace to top my preseason goal of .500 (making me somewhat more efficient and informative than a coin toss) but doesn't close me any ground on B2 and John. The season's at its peak beginning with this week, as the good teams begin to face off, the bad teams begin to exhale and the playoff hunt begins to captivate the league. There are about half a dozen real quality games this week, so let's just get to them.

Last Week:
John Canton: 9-7
Brett Berliner: 10-6
drqshadow: 9-7

Brett Berliner: 94-50 (.653)
John Canton: 89-55 (.618)
drqshadow: 82-62 (.569)

Brett won last week while John and the Q man both went above .500, which is always nice to see. Not a bad week all things considered.

Atlanta at Baltimore 1:00 p.m.
drq: Two teams with serious playoff hopes, but some very inconsistent play. The Falcons have struggled through some defensive injuries and the hot-and-cold play of Mike Vick this season, while Baltimore has relied on a nasty, scoring defense and a clunky offense. Of the two, I think the Falcons are the more well-rounded team. Their D isn't as deep as Baltimore's, but it's more than serviceable and their players at the offensive skill positions are each just a little bit better than their Raven counterparts. Atlanta: 20 - Baltimore: 17

Brett: Hoo, boy. This is one of the simple games this week - Atlanta is bad, Baltimore good. Right? Not so much. I think the Falcons are a better team than the last two weeks have showed. They ever want to be an elite team, they can't be losing to Detroit and Cleveland in back to back weeks, though. The same can be said about the Rats.. err, Ravens.. too. They did pull it out against the Titans, but it took a field goal miss late to win it. I like the Falcons to rebound and 'shock the world'. Atlanta 24, Baltimore 21

John: Two teams I can't figure out. I don't like the matchup for the Falcons, though. Even though Ray Lewis is out, the Ravens defense is still pretty strong and I don't have much confidence in that Falcons passing game at this point. Steve McNair's played pretty good the last couple games. That offense is slowly coming around. The last reason why I like the Ravens is because if an AFC vs. NFC game features two teams that are close I'm gonna go with the AFC because it's the better conference. Ravens 28-14

Buffalo at Houston 1:00 p.m.
drq: Show of hands, who looked at this game and then immediately checked their local listings to make sure they wouldn't get stuck watching it? Yeah, that looks about right. The Texans have an offense last time I checked, so they'll get the nod from me. All Buffalo managed against the tough, tough Indy defense was two successful field goals, a missed 30 yard attempt and a heap of yardage. Their only taste of the end zone came on a long fumble return on D. Yikes. Houston: 24 - Buffalo: 13

Brett: Boy, this should be an exciting one. ZZZZZ. I think the future is there for both teams, but neither is quite there yet. Got to give some credit to the Texans though - they have really impressed me to date. Houston 20, Buffalo 10

John: When you got NFL Sunday Ticket like I do what you do during pregame is you look over all the games to see what ones you might be flipping to during the games. I won't be flipping to this one. These teams do intrigue me a bit only because I think they're both really bad, yet they play close games for the most part and they've each scored some upsets. I got no idea who is winning. Neither team can run since Buffalo's without McGahee, Houston can probably pass better, but I like the Bills D. I'll go with the Bills because I pick too many home teams normally. That's a good reason. Bills 17-14

Chicago at N.Y. Jets 1:00 p.m.
drq: I don't think the Jets are that good of a team this year, truthfully. They're hanging right around the average mark, lucky to be in a weak division, and able to make a few big plays when they need to. That could be worrisome for Chicago, who's played their worst against the sloths of the NFL, but something tells me the Bears won't be taking anything for granted from this point on. I like Chi-Town to roll over Chad Pennington and company.Chicago: 27 - New York Jets: 13

Brett: How quickly things change. People were surmising that the Bears were done because they lost bad to the Dolphins, but sometimes things change. The Jets are not a good football team - even though they did happen to beat New England - and the Bears are. Simple as that. Chicago 30, N.Y. Jets 13

John: I'm very tempted to pick the Jets here, but the Bears impressed the hell out of me last week when they came back after the Giants had them reeling against the ropes like a boxer ready to get knocked out. I'm still not sure how the Jets win. Well, I guess I do. They don't turn it over, they play the field advantage game and they play smart football. It's not exciting, but it is smart. Still, I like the Bears because I think they're too fast for the Jets. That defense will make things happen. Bears 24-14

Cincinnati at New Orleans 1:00 p.m.
drq: Man, the Bengals have had a rough schedule this year. It seems that every single week, they're playing another scrapper in a game-of-the-week possibility with playoff implications. Despite their record and the outstanding play of their recent acquisitions, I don't think the Saints are a Super Bowl squad this year. They're definitely a playoff team, but I can't see them going beyond the first or second round until they mature a bit. Cincinnati, though... I don't even know if they're still playing by the time week eighteen rolls around. I'm going with the Saints, because I think they balance out with the Bengals offensively, they completely outclass them on defense, and they're playing at home. New Orleans: 21 - Cincinnati: 17

Brett: I don't think anyone would have expected, six months ago, that the division leader in this game would be the Saints and not the Ben-gals. Weird, huh? I keep picking the Bengals, and I keep getting burned, so I'm going to get away from that, and they'll win, for sure. I think something's in their head and they aren't going to rebound as well as they probably should. New Orleans 38, Cincinnati 31

John: I wanted to pick the upset, but the Saints are rolling at home. Should be a shootout, which is all Cincy can do these days because their defense has fallen off so much for whatever reason. Saints 34-30

Minnesota at Miami 1:00 p.m.
drq: No matter how badly the Vikings have looked since the break, no matter how many playoff-eligible teams the Dolphins have knocked off now, you've gotta think the better team gets to win once in a while. Right? The Vikings have the Dolphins outclassed at every position except wide receiver and, depending on what mood the Miami squad is in, maybe defense. If there's anything this season has taught me, it's that no one will ever truly understand why any one team wins any given game, though. I'm taking the Vikings, but another inspired performance and an accompanying victory by the Dolphins wouldn't totally surprise me, either. Minnesota: 14 - Miami: 7

Brett: This one will NOT be pretty. I expect Minnesota to be able to run the ball pretty easily on Miami's D, and I'm not nearly as fond of the Dolphins as a lot of people. Minnesota 17, Miami 13

John: The Miami Dolphins that beat the Bears and Chiefs in the last two weeks are the team that I thought was going to be a playoff team before the year. How many times did I pick them only to watch them suck? Way too many. Now, just like last year, they look ready to end the season on a high note. The Vikings blow. Brad Johnson isn't playing good at all, Chester Taylor is banged up and the receivers drop way too many balls. Defensively they do okay against the run, but they're just average as a pass defense. I like Miami to win because they've got the better defense that has been making plays to help them win games. Dolphins 20-10

New England at Green Bay 1:00 p.m.
drq: The Patriots are suddenly being accused of being "exposed" after a rough loss to Indianapolis and then a rain-soaked defeat by the resurgent Jets. I've been saying they aren't an elite team for most of the season, but I still think they've got enough in the tank to handle Green Bay this Sunday. The Pack won't go quietly, but they'll go nonetheless. New England: 20 - Green Bay: 13

Brett: Two ways to look at this one. One, the Patriots could be folding just a little bit and need a pick me up (the Pack is a good team for this), two, the Patriots are really really slumping. Green Bay is good enough that if you allow them to hang around, they can and will beat you. They aren't a great football team but they're hardly one of the worst in the league. I think the Pats are too good to lose three in a row, and I think their running game is good enough to give the Pack's weak defense fits, taking home an easy victory. New England 28, Green Bay 17

John: Tom Brady has had two bad games in a row. Will he have a third? I highly doubt it. That's why I like the Pats comfortably here. Patriots 30-10

Oakland at Kansas City 1:00 p.m.
drq: The most interesting part of this game will be checking out how Trent Green looks, following an ugly concussion and a lengthy leave of absence from the starting rotation. He's not getting any younger, but then again, the Raiders aren't getting any better. The Chiefs should beat these Raiders up, and this match is a good way for the old pro to ease back into a game setting. Kansas City: 34 - Oakland: 10

Brett: Oakland is starting to come on, some of their young DBs and that D. They probably need another 3 players on the defense before it becomes GOOD, but it's playing hard and that's all you can ask. The offense.. is another story. This one, even with Trent Green, is going to be closer than most would expect. Kansas City 21, Oakland 20

John: Larry Johnson to the left. Larry Johnson up the middle. Larry Johnson to the right. What more analysis do you need? Chiefs 30-13

Pittsburgh at Cleveland 1:00 p.m.
drq: These teams are tied for last in the division right now... about ten weeks ago, that prospect was almost laughable. Pittsburgh seems to have finally climbed onto the same page for the first time all year, following an impressive win over New Orleans, but I'd have to think it's too little too late for their season. Cleveland, on the other hand, seems about to peak and knows how to play in the big games after a win last week in Atlanta and a near-victory over division-leading Baltimore early in the season. Bad as the 2006 Steelers are, I don't think they're bad enough to be a last place team. Pittsburgh: 24 - Cleveland: 14

Brett: Bleh. I'm looking forward to this with a very tentative eye. On one hand, it's a rivalry game, the Browns are playing well of late and the Steelers are beatable, but on the other, it just never seems like Cleveland can catch a break here. I think they'll outplay the Steelers and still lose. Pittsburgh 21, Cleveland 17

John: The Browns are one of those teams I'd be scared of if I were a playoff hopeful team because they play smart football despite not having very talented players all over the place. I think the Steelers pass defense is reeling right now while the Browns pass offense probably has enough weapons to do some damage. I also don't like Ben Roethlisberger on the road this year. He just looks uncomfortable. So I'm picking the upset here that ultimately knocks the Steelers out of the playoff race. Browns 17-16

St. Louis at Carolina 1:00 p.m.
drq: I haven't yet given up on the Rams, nor have I begun to fawn over the Panthers. Bottom line, last week these teams were on opposite ends of the win-loss column, but they played two completely different games. The Rams hung on until the final snap, dropping their second heartbreaker of the season on a last-second kick to the Seahawks. They're two plays away from being 6-3 and dominating their division. The Panthers, on the other hand, turned the ball over routinely and struggled against one of the worst teams in the league, the Tampa Bay Bucs. If they'd made that many mental errors against a team with an offense, they'd have lost that game before the end of the first half. I think the Rams make them pay for their mistakes this week. St. Louis: 24 - Carolina: 14

Brett: I think this is probably game of the week. Both teams are hovering around in the "decent" area and when teams like that tend to get together, you get some pretty awesome results. I'm PICKING THE UNDERDOG! Gosh! I think the Rams will get shredded but shred back just enough. St. Louis 31, Carolina 24

John: Obviously my two brothers from different mothers up above haven't seen my Rams play lately. Newsflash: The defense sucks! I know this is as a devoted Rams fan that has seen 450 yard offensive games by opponents, 30 points a game being routinely scored and the same sort of run defense problems that have plagued this franchise for about five years in a row now. The Panthers run game is weak, it's in the bottom third of the league and I'm not really scared of that. However, they'll be able to throw on this defense, Steve Smith will have a big game and their defense will be able to slow down the Rams offense that is without 3/5ths of its offensive line. The Rams are reeling after four straight losses. It pains me to say it, but this is five in a row. And boy do I hope I'm wrong about this. Rams lose on a last second field goal. Why? Because I think God likes hearing me swear at the top of my lungs. That's why. Panthers 28-27

Tennessee at Philadelphia 1:00 p.m.
drq: Philly looked great in their first game off the bye, crushing Washington at home 27-3, and has a date with another hopeless cause this Sunday afternoon. I can't imagine the turnout being much different this time around. Philadelphia: 35 - Tennessee: 10

Brett: As improved as the Titans are, they aren't improved enough to play in Philly in the cold. Easy pick. Philadelphia 35, Tennessee 17

John: I'm hopeful that the Eagles are back to being a good team because I'm probably betting on them to cover this week. Titans play good at home. Not so good on the road, though. Eagles 34-7

Washington at Tampa Bay 1:00 p.m.
drq: Hard to believe that the last time these teams met was in the wildcard round of the playoffs. Both have gone through a horrific transformation this season: Tampa struggling with underachievement and a terribly difficult schedule, Washington with some bad moves in free-agency and a lack of team chemistry. Of the two, Washington has played the better football in 2006, but I don't like picking a rookie QB in his first start on the road. I'll go with the Bucs. Tampa Bay: 13 - Washington: 9

Brett: I think I picked the Skins once, and it was against Houston, and I was wrong. Boo. Not a huge Tampa fan, but their D has been playing very well and anybody can move the ball on Washington. Tampa Bay 17, Washington 10

John: Remember that these two were playoff teams a year ago? Ugh, the NFC sucks. It sucks this year just as much as it has in recent years too. Neither of these teams deserve to win a game, but since I have to pick a winner I'll go with the Bucs just because I think they can run on the overpaid Skins defense. Bucs 20-17

Detroit at Arizona 4:05 p.m.
drq: These two teams are a combined 3-15. Should I really go all in-depth with my prediction? I'm going with the unlikely Cardinals, because I think their offense will finally start to move and I like their D. Hey, triple their combined win total and you'll have the current number of victories for the Indianapolis Colts. Man, that is S-A-D. Arizona: 20 - Detroit: 10

Brett: Arizona has to win again, don't they? I mean, they have their QB of the future, and they're set at WR, so it's not like they're losing to draft Quinn or Johnson. It's at home, and Detroit's pass D is JUST THAT BAD. I think they'll have a slight bounce back here. Arizona 23, Detroit 11

John: I refuse to pick the Cards ever. I hope Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz gets a good look at the Cards because he might be their head coach next year. There's no D on these teams and there will be no D in this game. Lions 37-34

Seattle at San Francisco 4:05 p.m.
drq: I mentioned it as a possibility last week - now it's a reality. Alex Smith, Frank Gore and the Forty-Niners are in second place in the NFC West. Matching up against division-leading Seattle for the first time in 2006 at home, the Niners have a huge opportunity. Matt Hasselbeck is still out, as is Shaun Alexander. Frank Gore is healthy, and he's already over 800 yards on the season. Neither team has done anything to distance itself from the pack. This isn't going to be a blowout, no matter how you slice it, and I really do like the 9ers' chances. What Seattle has proven over the last four weeks, however, is that no matter how hurt they may be, you can never count them out of a game. Especially when it matters as much as this one. Seattle: 17 - San Francisco: 14

Brett: Wow, are the 49ers really 4-5? Good lord. They could use some defensive help (specifically on the line and in the secondary), and maybe one more WR, but they look alright, actually. I think they should be able to hang in this one, mostly because Seneca Wallace is not that good, mostly because it's in SF. But I don't think they can win, just yet. Seattle 24, San Francisco 21

John: I hate Seattle. Ugh. I just can't even talk about it. Two times they beat my Rams on last second field goals after they were outplayed both games. I hate it. But that's why they're a good team. Good teams find ways to win. They have intangibles. That's why I like Seattle here...on a last second field goal. Seahawks 20-19

Indianapolis at Dallas 4:15 p.m.
drq: The Colts aren't going undefeated this season. After this game, they've got Philly, Jacksonville and Cincinnati left to face, (two of the three at home) along with a schedule-closing home game on New Year's Eve against Miami that I'm sure more than a few network promo men are already salivating at the prospect of. Imagine that - Indy goes to 15-0, and the only team standing between them and history is Miami. But I digress... I think the streak continues, at least for one more week. Tony Romo is mobile, but he's not Michael Vick, and I think Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney can pin him down. Julius Jones should have a huge day, but everybody knows about Indy's run defense and nobody's been able to beat them with a run-focused attack yet. The Colts are about to hit 10-0. Again. Indianapolis: 24 - Dallas: 13

Brett: Oooh, this one could be fun. Sure, Tony Romo is a good player and has looked good since he came in for the 'Boys, but he's not Peyton Manning. I think this one comes down to the experience difference at QB. I won't bet against Indy until the playoffs come. Indianapolis 31, Dallas 28

John: I like Indy too much to pick against them at this point. Peyton Manning is simply playing at too high of a level. He's as good as any QB as I've ever seen, no question. The way he orchestrates that offense is a thing of beauty. Dallas has the kind of defense that could give him problems because they're young, fast and aggressive with a tendency to get after the QB. I just think Manning will find a way to exploit them, just as he does every team. And that's really it. If Dallas wants to win they better run the ball 50 times, keep the ball for 40 minutes and pray that it works because otherwise they lose. Colts 34-20

San Diego at Denver 8:15 p.m.
drq: This should be a crazy one. The Chargers have shown no intention of slowing down on offense this season, and the Broncos don't like to give on defense. On the other side of the ball, it's a completely different story. Aside from the re-emergence of Javon Walker, Denver has been mediocre at best on offense, and the current Charger defense isn't exactly what I'd call imposing. If the Chargers can succeed when they have the ball, like Indianapolis did in Week 8, they'll win. If Denver's defense can dictate the tone and pace of the game, the Chargers may be completely shut out. My money's on the former. San Diego: 38 - Denver: 21

Brett: I think LT will have less than five touchdowns this week. Yes. That is my prediction. But only two less as the Chargers roll. San Diego 35, Denver 17

John: I learned a while back to not pick against the Broncos during home primetime games. Yes, I think San Diego is probably the better team, but it's in Denver and that team is just too damn good at home during night games. Sometimes you can't look at the stats or justify your picks. You just have to go with a gut feeling and in this case my gut, or keg as its known to some, says stick with the home team here. Broncos 23-17

N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
drq: Keep your eyes peeled, because I have a feeling you're about to see exactly why the Jaguars won't be in the playoffs this year. I can't see them stopping New York either on the ground or through the air on Monday Night, and I'm not feeling good about their own chances on offense, either. The Giants hung tight for three quarters with the Chicago Bears last week, a feat that I can't imagine the Jags being able to match. There's only so many ways I can say it - the Giants are the superior team in this equation. New York Giants: 24 - Jacksonville: 10

Brett: Both teams are coming off of tough losses, but the Giants are simply better, Leftwich or Garrard. No contest. N.Y. Giants 32, Jacksonville 21

John: I hate picking against home teams in primetime games, but I'm gonna continue to pick the Giants because they're my Super Bowl pick. Plus I don't like the Jags offense enough to pick them. They're just way too inconsistent for me. Giants 27-20

JC vs. The Spread
I'll use the line that TheGreek.com provides and I'll pick four games that I think you should bet on for the week.

Last week: 2-2 - Well, that's better than the 1-3 weeks that plagued me the last couple weeks.
Season: 19-18-3

Baltimore (-4) over Atlanta
It's hard to like Atlanta on the road after last week's bad game. At least it's hard for me after I lost when I bet on them in that game.

Kansas City (-9.5) over Oakland
The Raiders in Arrowhead? Chiefs all the way.

Miami (-3.5) over Minnesota
Dolphins are rolling. Vikes are reeling.

Philadelphia (-13) over Tennessee
Lot of points, but I like the Iggles at home.

Until next week (when we post the column before the Thursday games), for Drqshadow and Brett Berliner this is John Canton saying enjoy the games. You know we will.

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