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Nov. 21, 2004

NFL: Week Eleven predictions

by Nick Falgout, Page Editor, Isamu Bae, Page Editor and Pratik Bhandari, Page Editor
  NFL: Week Eleven predictions Back to 16 games per week   The Steelers kept alive their winning streak last week… but so did the Bears.  Of the four teams that were on byes last week, only one is considered a dangerous team.  Another one is inconsistent despite a solid defense… on paper.  After 10 weeks of NFL, much of the schedule has become quite unwatchable, giving argument to something that will never happen: dynamic scheduling.  Ah, the joys of an unpredictable season (due to free agency). 

Nick 89-54-20
Izzy 87-57-0
Pratik 87-57-0
Mike 87-57-0

 Sunday November 21, 2004 Arizona at Carolina - 1 p.m. (Carolina -2.5)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Arizona Arizona - Carolina

Izzy says: The Cardinals are respectable this year and a lot of credit goes to Dennis Green for that.  As Boldin enters his third week since returning, you have to wonder just how powerful this offense could be at its peak.  Now, Boldin will never be 100% healthy this season, but after three weeks, he should be getting comfortable with Green's system.  That can only mean good things for the Cards' passing offense- a passing offense that will pick apart a falling Carolina team.  

Pratik says: Arizona comes off a three point win over the Giants last week and they play an injury ravaged Carolina team this week. Even though the Cats beat out the 49ers last week by ten, they face actual competition in the form of the Cardinals this week, and what with the injury bug having made its home in Carolina, the Cats will lose to the Cardinals. (I can't believe I just wrote that. I mean imagine just how ludicrous this would be a year or two earlier…)

Nick says: I'm actually not sure why I'm picking the Panthers. And there's nothing you can do about it. 

 Dallas at Baltimore - 1 p.m. (Baltimore -8)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Baltimore Baltimore - Baltimore

Izzy says: Julius Jones is ready to play and so is Vinny Testaverde.  But they will do little to help the Cowboys' offense against the gunning Baltimore defense that would have gotten another TD last week.  The underachieving 'Boys' D will not help, either, as Boller has begun handling the air attack with confidence and success that was not apparent before.  The struggling Cowboys will not turn around their failures this week and coach Bill Parcells will be left with yet another Monday to chew out his players.  

Pratik says: Ha ha ha. The other NFC East 3-6 team gets to face the Ravens this week. This game will feature some of the worst offensive football played as both teams will struggle mightily. The Ravens will shut down Keyshawn and Jason Witten, and Dallas will…well the Ravens offense is just bad. Anyway, expect the Ravens to win on a Matt Stover plethora of field goals or something equally unexciting.  

Nick says: The Cowboys are done for the season, except in games where they get to beat up on the hapless Redskins. The Ravens' defense will give the 'Boys weak o-line fits, and Boller and his suddenly apt receiving corps should be more than enough to handle a weak Cowboy's secondary. Oh, and there's that Jamal Lewis guy, too. I hear he's pretty good.  

Denver at New Orleans - 1 p.m.
(Denver -4.5)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Denver Denver - Denver

Izzy says: The Saints were able to beat the Chiefs by out-gunning them, but the Broncos' defense is nothing like swiss cheese.  While Aaron Brooks likely will no longer make his beautiful spiral passes backward 10 yards to an ineligible receiver, don't be surprised if he fires off a beautiful spiral pass to Champ Bailey. 

Pratik says: I know Champ Bailey is overrated, but with the help of John Lynch, I believe he can and should shut down Joe "I have a call to make" Horn. Aaron Brooks will have to look to other options like Donte Stallworth. Stallworth is a ridiculous NFL player. There is literally no one in the NFL that can match him step for step. He's insanely fast and he burns the defensive back on just about every play. If he could only catch, then maybe he would be a great wide receiver. I mean, the guy drops the ball as if its covered in oil or something. He once dropped the ball as he was tucking it in after catching it. Tucking it in. Just putting the ball closer to his chest. And he dropped it. Anyway, Reuben Droughns, the next in a long line of Denver running backs who will probably gain more than a 1000 yards, will rip through the Saints pitiful defense and Jake Plummer will get either 4 touchdowns and no picks or no touchdowns and four picks. Either way, the Broncos roll all over the Saints.  

Nick says: Um, crap. I'd pick the Broncos on the sheer lack of consistency of the Saints this season, but the Broncos up and dropped one to Bengals in a key Monday night match up a few weeks ago. I'll still take Plummer and Griffin over Brooks and McAllister, especially with the Broncos' stellar offensive line, but I wouldn't be surprised if by Sunday's end I'm throwing my hands up in frustration over this one.  
Detroit at Minnesota - 1 p.m.
(Minnesota -7.5)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Minnesota Minnesota - Minnesota

Izzy says: This will be another fun and gunning game.  The Vikings' defense has been absolutely disappointing this season, but as long as Randy Moss is out, the other team has a chance.  The Lions are, therefore, in luck, as this is the last game Moss is to be held out.  Roy Williams will match up against the stellar play of cornerback Antoine Winfield, but how about the rest of the Lions' receiving corps?  Still, it's tough to say nay to the Vikings' powerful offense.
Pratik says: Okay, even without Randy Moss, the Vikings have enough of an offense to blow past the Lions top cover corner. Want to guess who he is? That's right, Dre Bly. He'll either get you a pick or give up a touchdown. If I was a coach, I'd have a heart attack every time I saw Bly going for the ball. The guy is the definition of a ball hawk. He doesn't care whether he can get a big hit on you or whatever, he just goes for the ball. Anyway, expect Daunte to have a big day and avenge the last minute loss to the Packers last week.  

Nick says: The Detriot Lions suddenly have no offense, which I guess would be as ideal a time as any to play a Randy Moss-less Vikings squad. The Lions have no run game, though, and one-dimensional teams don't tend to last very long against potentially explosive QBs like Culpepper, who's due to break the slump any week now. The Lion's secondary matches up well against the likes of Marcus Robinson, but their run defense is lacking. Chalk up a close one to the Vikes.  

Indianapolis at Chicago - 1 p.m.
(Indianapolis -7.5)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Indianapolis Indianapolis - Indianapolis

Izzy says: Hey Bears, I hope you enjoyed your winning streak.  It's disappointing for the Bears, since they finally began gaining momentum after losing Rex Grossman, but the defense will not hold up against the Colts' gatling gun of an offense- especially without Brian Urlacher.  

Pratik says: Ha ha ha ha ha. Blowout of the week. Manning scores five TD's. Or more.  

Nick says: The Bears have fluked three wins in a row, but I think Krenzel's wonder run comes to an abrupt an flaming end when Manning and co. come to town. Especially considering Manning just torched the Texans, a much better team, for five more TDs. And the Texans even have some semblance of an offense to, you know, control the ball, for some period of time. This one won't even be close.  

N.Y. Jets at Cleveland - 1 p.m.
(Even)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
New York Jets New York Jets - Cleveland

Izzy says: What next, Jeff Garcia comes out and punches Jonathan Vilma in the face, then Santana Moss fires a 80 yard bomb that gets picked off?  While neither of these things will happen, hopefully, you can be sure of one thing: coach Herm Edwards of the Jets will never let someone other than Quincy Carter throw the football if they are in the lead.  

Pratik says: So the Jets aren't all bad with Quincy Carter in at QB, but you have to question the Jets clock management in the game. They had an incomplete pass on second and goal, but they called a timeout. An incomplete pass stops the clock already! After that, Carter broke the huddle too late to try a play so they ended up kicking the field goal to tie the Ravens, but then they got beat in overtime. Ugh. At least they get a break here as they play the Browns. The Browns are pretty good at stopping the run, but after seeing Carter throw to the Jets talented corps of receivers, I don't like their chances against the New Yorkers.  

Nick says: It's about time to stop picking the Browns against good teams, eh? Not quite yet. Admittedly, the Browns' only three wins this season have come against the decimated Ravens, the Skins, and the Bungles. But they put up quite a game against the Eagles, behind the charismatic play of Jeff Garcia and the stellar performace of their pair of bruiser running backs. The Jets are reeling from a winnable game gone sour against my Ravens, preceded by a tough loss to a team that looks a lot like the Browns, offensively: the Bills. With Pennington out, I'm going to go ahead and pick the Browns.  

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - 1 p.m.
(Pittsburgh -4.5)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh

Izzy says: So Portis averaged 5 yards a carry against the Bengals but only had 17 carries.  Don't think Cowher would make the same mistake.  Now that the Bus (Jerome Bettis) is definitely good to go, it would not be surprising to see Bettis and Willie Parker get 35 carries against a horrible Bengals' run defense.  Seeing Ben Roethlisberger take over the game?  It won't even have to happen.  

Pratik says: Pittsburgh, with one of the most explosive one-two punches at running back in Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis, take on the league's worst ranked defense. Good luck Cincy, because after this game is through all you're gonna be hearing is Big Ben ringing in your head. 

Nick says: The Steelers are the hottest team in football. The Bengals just barely scraped together a win versus a Redskins team with no offense and a defense about half as good as that of the Steelers. Carson Palmer looks shaky and inconsistent. Ben Roethlisberger does not. This oughta be good (P.S. I'm picking the Steelers. In case y'all were wondering).  

San Francisco at Tampa Bay – 1:00 p.m.
(Tampa Bay -8)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Tampa Bay Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay

Izzy says: So the Bucs have some life after all.  Brian Griese and Michael Pittman have come together to give the Bucs a fighting chance against some very good teams (although they did lose to the Falcons last week).  That means when the Niners roll into town, they'll roll themselves right under the Bucs.  

Pratik says: Tampa Bay got Vick-timized last week, but now they'll look to play exterminator to Tim Rattay. The 49ers lost to the Carolina Medical Ward, I mean Panthers. There is no excuse for that. Expect a rejuvenated and slightly…um…annoyed Tampa Bay defense to tear down the 49ers at home.  
St. Louis at Buffalo – 1:00 p.m.
(St. Louis -1)

Nick says: If the Bucs can beat the Chiefs, and the Niners can't beat the lowly Panthers, then this shouldn't be a very entertaining game. Griese's playing well, the Bucs defense is playing better than it is, and the Niners have… Tim Rattay? Bucs win at home.

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
St. Louis St. Louis - Buffalo

Izzy says: Look at them Rams.  They just beat the Seahawks!  Again!  The Rams pull themselves back into the playoff heat and they don't seem to be losing any momentum at all, which is a stark contrast to the Buffalo Bills… who may be putting out Losman at QB.  Losman is an immensely talented quarterback, but it may be a while for him to get back into gear, as he is just off of a broken fibula.  If they keep Bledsoe at the helm?  Don't even talk about that ugliness.  

Pratik says: Drew Bledsoe is definitely on the downward slope of an amazing career. Unfortunately for people who have had amazing careers, the slope is extremely long and they will always be compared to what they could do before. The Bills are being supported by Willis McGahee, the Miami running back who suffered that vicious hit during the National Championship Game a couple of years ago. Now, however, it seems as if he's back to full health, steamrolling through defensive backs and dancing around the linemen and linebackers. St. Louis head coach Mike Martz seems to have remembered that he has a guy by the name of Marshall Faulk playing for him. Granted, Faulk is not the Jukebox he once was, but with Stephen Jackson coming in and giving him a nice, long breather when he gets tired, Faulk is running likes its 1999. Hopefully, the Mad Scientist will keep using him and not get infatuated with Bulger. Lets hope that Faulk gets his carries, leading to a Rams win.  

Nick says: I'm going to pick the physical, smash mouth team. The Bills have been looking up of late, with McGahee coming into his own and the defense playing stingy. The Rams did embarrass the Seahawks again last week, but I'm not sure I can trust a team that lost to Miami. I think the one that ultimately tips this game for me is the Bills home-field advantage. Bills pull the shocker.

Tennessee at Jacksonville – 1:00 p.m. (Jacksonville -3.5)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Jacksonville Tennessee - Jacksonville

Izzy says: The Titans have so many problems that it is a miracle they are even alive this year.  McNair may come back in play this week, but it is definitely doubtful.  What is more alarming is news that Chris Brown may not play.  Their team has been decimated by injuries that began before the season even began.  The Jaguars, therefore, will take this one from the Titans, even with David Garrard at QB.  

Pratik says: The last time these two teams played each other, Byron Leftwich upstaged Air McNair. Now however, Leftwich may not play. As long as Gerard can keep throwing the ball to Jimmy Smith and get great run support from Fred Taylor, who had 144 yards last week, there's no reason why the Jaguars can't win. That being said, however, I believe that McNair will come back from his injury and make sure the Titans go down fighting. Expect the Titans to win in a close game at AllTel Stadium. 

Nick says: The Jacksonville Jaguars, with or without Byron Leftwich, are this year's Carolina Panthers of last year. Whereas the Tennessee Titans just lost to the Bears. Jimmy Smith leads the AFC in receiving, Fred Taylor's a severely underrated running back, and the Jags defense continues to step it up. Not too tough.

 Miami at Seattle - 4:05 p.m. (Seattle -10)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Seattle Seattle - Seattle

Izzy says: The Seahawks need a break.  Any good break.  Hey, they just got one from the NFL schedulers!  They play the Dolphins this week! 

 Pratik says: Miami is not going to do well, especially since Wannstedt resigned this past week. Seattle is also on a downtick after losing to the Rams, but they'll crush Miami and all will be well.  

Nick says: I briefly considered going with the comedy option, but came to my senses when I realized that the Dolphins have absolutely nothing going for them. Not a single redeeming quality. Seahawks take a much-needed rebound game from the league's doormat.

San Diego at Oakland - 4:05 p.m. (San Diego -4)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
San Diego San Diego - San Diego

Izzy says: The Chargers come off the bye having rest LaDainian Tomlinson for almost all of two weeks.  Tomlinson will, essentially, be giving another week for resting his groin, as the Chargers roll into Oakland facing an old, punchless team.  Watch Drew Brees and Antonio Gates utterly murder the Raiders, leaving LaDainian Tomlinson watching from the sidelines in the second half as backup Jesse Chatman runs out the clock.  

Pratik says: Brees is going to rock Oakland. Wow. The coolest thing about San Diego is that they are doing all of this with a less-than 100% LaDanian Tomlinson. I don't think Oakland can compete with the ridiculous offensive numbers that Brees is putting up, so go Chargers!  

Nick says: The Chargers suddenly look like a team with more than just a high-caliber running back. Not that having Tomlinson hurts their case, or anything. Brees and Antonio Gates should have a field day against a pitiful Raiders defense, and look for the Chargers defense to force turnovers and play physical football. Good times.

Atlanta at N.Y. Giants - 4:15 p.m.(Atlanta -3)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Atlanta Atlanta - Atlanta

Izzy says: The Giants are, for some crazy reason, putting Eli Manning out.  I bet DE Patrick Kerney is already salivating for the chance to hit the hot-shot rookie into the ground.  

Pratik says: Michael Vick is learning the West Coast offense better and better each week. As he continues to get comfortable in the system, he will become even more dangerous than he already is. Since the Giants D-line has been ravaged by injuries, Vick will get even more time in the pocket. Also, Vick will be able to get outside the pocket more easily and wreak havoc with the linebackers who won't be able to decide whether to cover the receivers or cover Vick for the run. Oh yeah, Eli Manning is starting. Good luck with that. Expect Vick to bamboozle the reeling Giants, who lost to the Cardinals last week, and for the Falcons to fly out of the Meadowlands with a win
.  

Nick says: Manning's starting, Strahan's out, and… wait, why focus on the Giants. News flash: Atlanta is 7-2, has one of the most talented playmakers in the league QBing, and probably isn't going to roll over on defense to… Tiki Barber. He's playing well, but he's no Priest Holmes. Atlanta plays the ball control game better than the Giants, especially considering the Giants have no one to play defense. Not a particularly tough call.

Washington at Philadelphia - 4:15 p.m.(Philadelphia -10)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Philadelphia Philadelphia - Philadelphia

Izzy says: All coach Gibbs can do here is hope the 'Skins don't get blown out too badly.  Putting Patrick Ramsey out as QB is a start, but I really think Tim Hasselbeck should be given a chance.  That aside, it's difficult to believe the 'Skins can win this one unless they can lock out the Eagles for a few drives and let Portis work his magic against a horrible run defense.  

Pratik says: At least Ramsey is now the starter. Then everything goes downhill for the 'Skins. They play a 8-1 team that has an offense that can really stretch the Redskins defense. I do believe that the Redskins have the ability to shut down T.O., but I don't think that their offense is up to the task of scoring a decent number of points against even a mediocre defense. I have high hopes for Ramsey though, because it is apparent after nine games that Brunell has either grown old or his heart isn't in it anymore or something. Let's hope the cries for Hasselbeck get delayed a couple of weeks, even though I know the 'Skins are gonna lose.  

Nick says: This might actually be a closer game than people think, seeing as the Skins have things like a defense. Ramsey's the wild card, here, and years of experience tell me to bet against the Skins for that sole reason. Oh, that and the fact that the Eagles are among the best teams in the league. Yeah.

Green Bay at Houston – 8:30 p.m.(Green Bay -3)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Green Bay Green Bay - Green Bay

Izzy says: If they proved anything last week, it's that their defense is still horrible but their offense is clicking on all fronts.  Yes, they are the Green Bay Packers, staring down yet another shootout with the Houston Texans.  The Packers will take this win because of the experience Brett Favre brings to the field. 

Pratik says: Green Bay pulled out a squeaker over the Vikings last week, but they now play a maddened Texans team. The Texans got drubbed by Peyton manning and the Colts last week, so expect them to have a chip on their shoulder until they can drub another team. Unfortunately for them, it won't happen here as the Packers will continue to move up the standings in the NFC North.  

Nick says: This one only really gave me pause because I've adopted the Texans as my pet team of the season. The Texans' defense has been looking less-than-stellar of late, and the Packers are finally going full-tilt. I don't think this one'll be a shoot-out, but I like Favre in adversity over Carr any day.

Monday November 12, 2004 New England at Kansas City - 9 p.m. (New England -3)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
New England New England - New England

Izzy says: The injury to Priest Holmes aside, the Patriots have a knack for stepping up their level of play in the spotlight.  That means the Patriots will keep their new winning streak going, even without half of their secondary.  

Pratik says: This might have been an interesting game if the Priest was playing, but he's not so I have to chalk this one up as another easy New England win.

Nick says: The Chiefs may be explosive, but the Pats are poetry in motion. The Pats just beat a team similar to the Chiefs offensively in the Rams, and the Chiefs lack even a glimmer of that thing we call defense. I'd be sufficiently surprised if the Pats dropped their second of the season here.



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  • huh? on November 22, 2004
    Tim Hasselbeck? Given a chance based on what? Until Ramsey fails after being given a simlar chance that Brunell got, there should be no going to Hasselbeck.
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