It’s hard to believe that we are days away from Thanksgiving week, and the NFL regular season has already reached its eleventh week. As the season rolls on, playoff chases – as well as the “Suck for Luck” races – are all heating up.
Among the key matchups this week include the Eagles traveling to New York to take on the Giants, the Chargers taking on the Bears, and the Redskins hosting the Cowboys.
In the “Pick Your Knows” department, I managed to hit the double-diigit mark last week, although it still wasn’t enough to win my weekly pool.
Last Week: 10-6
This Season: 77-69
Last Season: 144-112
It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 11’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appear through CBSSports Fantasy).
Pick Your Knows: 2011 NFL Week 11 Picks Against the Spread
New York Jets at Denver Broncos (+4.5)
The Jets will be playing on extra short rest, after getting trounced by the Patriots on Sunday night. Denver got a win while Tim Tebow completed just two passes. Denver’s pass defense has struggled, giving up 18 passing TD’s. Rex Ryan will be aggressive trying to force mistakes by Tebow and the Denver offensive line. Jets cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: New York Jets
Update: Broncos win 17-13 – Clearly, I should stop doubting Tim Tebow.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5)
A.J. Green is questionable with a knee injury, and his absence could mean a major hit to the Cincinnati offense. The Ravens, aside from their successes with Pittsburgh, have had struggles in recent weeks, including to teams such as the Cardinals and Seahawks. At home, they have been a better team, but if Green can find a way onto the field, the Bengals should be able to keep this a one-score game.
KP’s Pick: Cincinnati
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-0.5)
This key matchup in this game will be Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew against the Cleveland run defense, which ranks 30th in the NFL heading into this week. The Browns have been decimated by injuries in the run game, but still managed a solid performance from Chris Ogbonnoya last week. In a tossup game, I’m banking on the Browns shutting down MJD just enough to reel in a key home victory.
KP’s Pick: Cleveland
Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-6.5)
It was revealed that Matthew Stafford has a broken finger, and with all the turnovers he committed last week, it appears to be bothering him. Meanwhile, Cam Newton looks to rebound after a rough outing last week. Because of Jahvid Best’s concussion, the Lions continue to lack the balance on offense. Cam Newton’s talent alone could keep this game close throughout.
KP’s Pick: Carolina
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (-13.5)
The Bucs have just 13 sacks on the year, which is not a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Traveling to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers and the undefeated doesn’t bode well for a Tampa Bay defense that can’t force enough pressure. In addition, Green Bay’s defense may finally be clicking, too. The potent Packers appear to be a solid bet to cover at home.
KP’s Pick: Green Bay
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
This game features two teams headed in opposite directions, as the Bills have struggled in recent weeks, while the Dolphins have showed signs of improvement. The key matchup will be Miami’s run defense, which is ranked 10th in the NFL, versus Fred Jackson who has been one of the most efficient backs this season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled in recent weeks, and will be looking to recover against Miami’s 25th ranked pass defense, that has managed just 4 INT’s on the year. Bank on him doing so, and the Bills covering on the road.
KP’s Pick: Buffalo
Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings (-1.5)
The Minnesota defense has managed 27 sacks on the season and could give Carson Palmer headaches if they can manage to get to him. If not, Palmer has been quite efficient over the last two weeks, while consistently making key plays with the deep ball. The Vikings pass defense has strugglged with injuries, and could be susceptible to the deep pass. With that in mind, take the Raiders to outlast the Vikings on the road.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (+7.5)
The Redskins continue to struggle offensively, deal with injuries and get no consistent run game from any of its backs in recent weeks. Santana Moss will be out again, and Miles Austin likely will be out for Dallas. But Romo and the Cowboys have DeMarco Murray as its weapon in recent weeks, and the way the Dallas offense clicked last week, it’s hard to imagine that not happening again, especially against a struggling Redskins team.
KP’s Pick: Dallas
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)
The Niners continue to impress and win big games. But Arizona has surprised in recent weeks, pushing the Ravens to the brink and upsetting the Eagles last week – both on the road. The 49ers have the top rush defense in the NFL, and should be able to shut down Beanie Wells in the run game. But with Larry Fitzgerald on the field, there’s always a chance for a few big offensive plays, and with that in mind, I see the Cardinals keeping this game under ten points.
KP’s Pick: Arizona
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams (-2.5)
These two teams have combined to give up 62 sacks, leaving a game that should come down to quarterback protection. The Seahawks have struggled on the road, while the Rams have steadily improved in recent weeks. With an offensive attack that features Jackson in the run game and Lloyd in the pass game, the Rams prevail at home, and win by at least a field goal.
KP’s Pick: St. Louis
Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons (-5.5)
The Titans are currently 22nd against the run, and will likely see a steady dose of Michael Turner come Sunday. Matt Ryan has a solid career record at home, and the Falcons are still smarting after a tough overtime loss to the Saints last week. Chris Johnson showed signs of life last week, but faces an Atlanta defense that ranks 3rd against the run. Expect Ryan, Turner, White and the Atlanta offense to put up enough points to cover against the Titans.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta
San Diego Chargers at Chicago Bears (-3.5)
The Chargers have just one win on the road this season, and have lost four straight. San Diego is 24th in rushing yards allowed, and this week faces Matt Forte, one of the more effective runners this season. San Diego has battled injuries all season, and Phil Rivers has struggled at times. Meanwhile, the Bears have won four straight and scored 30-plus games in three of their last four. This should be a tight game, but in my opinion, the home team covers, but barely.
KP’s Pick: Chicago
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-3.5)
Mike Vick is a major question mark with broken ribs and if he doesn’t start, the Eagles would turn to either Vince Young or Mike Kafka. The Vick factor is the key, along with the Giants having the most sacks (30) in the NFL this season. That could mean that the Philly QB may take enough hits that he ends up out anyway. With a backup in the game, the Giants could stack the box against LeSean McCoy. Must win or not, with the Vick questions present, take the Giants.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-15.5)
Tyler Palko will start for the Chiefs, due to Matt Cassel getting injured. The Kansas City defense has just 9 sacks on the year, which is four less than any other NFL team. That means Tom Brady should have plenty of time to carve up the Chiefs defense. Those two facts alone show why this spread line is so high. Playing at home on Monday night, New England still covers easily.
KP’s Pick: New England