The football madness continues
We saw a lot of ups and downs in week ten. After the Cowboys lost (again) - they've now only got one win this season - the management fired head coach Wade Phillips and hired the team's offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as an interim coach. The New Orleans Saints gained 408 yards in a game where they demolished the Carolina Panthers. And the Chicago Bears just barely moved past the winless Buffalo Bills. Our experts are anticipating even more upsets this week and they'll be ready for the surprises week ten has in store. Right now, Eli sits at top with 84 correct picks, but with huge improvement last week, both Blake and Melissa are right on his tail.
Thursday, Nov. 11
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Atlanta Falcons (6-2)
Although the Ravens are a tough team that has been playing very well, they'll struggle against a good team like Atlanta, who needs a win to keep the number one spot in the NFC South.
Atlanta grabbed a 27-21 win over a solid Bucs team last week. Michael Turner rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. The Ravens run defense used to be the team's strongpoint, but it now ranks just 13th in the league. Turner should have another good game for the Falcons as they move to 7-2.
Both Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan have proven to be reliable and strong in clutch situations. I think this game is going to come down to the wire, but if Baltimore's defense can get to Flacco and receiver Roddy White and shut down both the passing and run game, Baltimore wins this game in a hard match-up.
Sunday, Nov. 14
Detroit Lions (2-6) at Buffalo Bills (0-8)
Buffalo has been playing well the past four games—they've lost by less than three points each time. The Bills are due for their first win and they'll beat a strong Detroit team at home.
I picked the Bills last week to beat the Bears. I won't pick them again. Buffalo nearly got their first win against Chicago but couldn't find a way to finish, a problem that's plagued the team all season long. Detroit also lost a close one in week nine, but fell to a much better opponent in the Jets. Detroit will handle the Bills come Sunday.
The Bills are 0-8. Detroit could have won last week if they had more fourth quarter/overtime experience. The Lions are looking good and they're playing the Bills...it can't get any easier than that.
Minnesota Vikings (3-5) at Chicago Bears (5-3)
Although the Bears are 5-3, they're a paper lion. Minnesota is coming off of a big win last week against the Cardinals and they need to win again this week at home to keep playoff dreams alive.
In a Wednesday story by Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times, it was revealed that six anonymous Vikings said they want head coach Brad Childress to be fired. One of the players said that even though he hates the coach he will continue playing. Despite all the turmoil in Minnesota, I'll pick the Vikings in week ten. Brett Favre threw for 446 yards and two touchdowns in a week nine win over the Cardinals. Receiver Sidney Rice, Favre's favorite target in 09-10, is expected to be back for the Vikes this week against the Bears. Minnesota should take care of Chicago at Soldier Field.
Vikes coach Brad Childress has had a rough week. After making some stupid comments about how the media basically overrated quarterback Brett Favre's performance last week after Favre led a comeback which allowed the Vikes to beat Arizona, he was left looking like a fool. Not to mention that his players have been talking about him all week—and it's been mostly negative comments. But the Viking players have also maintained that as upset as they are with Childress, their job is to play football. Look for Minnesota to take their anger out on a Bears team that just barely beat the Bills last week.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) at Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
Coming off of a disappointing loss to the Eagles last week, Indianapolis should bounce back well against the 2-6 Bengals. The Colts need a win this week to keep pace with the Tennessee Titans to stay at the top of the AFC South. But if the Colts lose this week, their playoff hopes are crushed.
The Colts lost last week to a strong Philly squad, but Peyton Manning and co. should bounce back against the 2-6 Bengals. Even in the loss, Manning still threw for nearly 300 yards and found Dallas Clark's replacement, Jacob Tamme, for 108 yards and a score. Indy will beat the T.Ocho and move to 6-3.
The Colts lost by two to the Eagles last week, due to a poor defensive effort that let both quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver DeSean Jackson run all over them. The Colts also had two turnovers and looked a little sloppy throughout the game. But Peyton Manning is unstoppable and if he can pull his team together, they can definitely beat the Bengals.
Tennessee Titans (5-3) at Miami Dolphins (4-4)
This is a must-win game for both teams. The Dolphins are making drastic quarterback changes by starting Chad Pennington for the first time in two years, while Randy Moss will have his debut in a Titans uniform. The addition of Moss should help Tennessee's receiving core and the Titans should be able to beat the 4-4 Dolphins on the road.
Tennessee claimed Randy Moss off waivers, a pick-up that will have an immediate impact on the Titan offense. With defenses focusing on Moss, it should provide more opportunities for other receivers as well as running back Chris Johnson. Kerry Collins is likely to start for the Titans, and he can throw the deep ball. I like Tennessee's chances when they go into Miami in week ten.
Tennessee picked up Randy Moss during their bye week. I don't see how his addition is a major catch, but I guess it wasn't a bad decision either. The Titans, led by quarterback Vince Young, who has the second highest passer rating in the AFC, can definitely win this game. They've got running back Chris Johnson and now Moss, who can help open up the field a little. The Dolphins are average and sitting at .500, I doubt they'll be able to handle the Titans.
Carolina Panthers (1-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3)
Tampa Bay gets to prove that they are the real deal this year by going 6-3 in this game against a poor Carolina team. I'm predicting a blow out.
The Panthers were blown out by New Orleans 34-3 last week. They face a tough 5-3 Tampa that nearly beat the Falcons in week nine. Running back LaGarrette Blount runs wild on a poor Carolina D. Bucs roll.
Carolina's quarterback situation is dismal. The Bucs are the total opposite; their quarterback, Josh Freeman, has really proven himself this year even though Tampa Bay has lost some pretty close games. Tampa Bay wins big.
Houston Texans (4-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
With both teams at 4-4, the loser of this game will really struggle to make the playoffs in a well balanced AFC south. Look for a slight upset as the Jaguars will have trouble stopping Houston's high powered offense.
The Jags are coming off a huge win over Dallas in week eight and a bye last week. The Texans lost to the Chargers in week nine, a game in which Arian Foster rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Expect Matt Schaub to have a big game this week against a vulnerable Jacksonville pass defense. Texans edge the Jaguars.
Houston, I think we have a problem. Honestly? They should have beaten the Chargers last week, after they were up by about 20 points up until the third quarter. But they allowed San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers to lead a late rally in the fourth quarter, Rivers threw for four touchdowns and 295 yards. Adding to that, Houston's rushing and receiving leader was none other than Arian Foster. The Texans have the weapons they need to win—they just need to use them. Even with a bye week, I don't see the Jags coming out and beating the Texans.
Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) at Denver Broncos (2-6)
A struggling Denver team should be no problem for the Chiefs on the road. Kansas City needs to win this game to stay at the top of the AFC west and prove they are strong playoff contenders.
KC has looked good all year while Denver has struggled mightily as of late. But I think Kyle Orton will put up big numbers on the Chiefs and the Broncos will pull out the win at home.
After losing by three in overtime to the Raiders, I'm looking for the Chiefs to come out and prove their worth. Both of Kansas City's running backs, Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, should be able to run over and past the Broncos' surprisingly bad run defense. And did I mention that Denver has no run game? They can't depend on Kyle Orton either. The Chiefs are definitely strong enough, and if they play a full game, they can beat the Broncos easily.
Dallas Cowboys (1-7) at New York Giants (6-2)
The Giants are handling their opponents well but they must not overlook the struggling Cowboys who just fired their head coach Wade Phillips and hired Jason Garrett, the team's offensive coordinator, as an interim coach.
The Giants are at the top of their division and fresh off a 41-7 thrashing of the Seahawks last week. They face the Cowboys (who are 1-7!) who've been an embarrassment this season. Dallas head coach Wade Phillips was fired this week and former offensive coordinator Jason Garrett takes over as interim head coach. It's a plain mess in Dallas. G-Men top the 'Boys in East Rutherford.
Dallas got embarrassed by the Pack last week, 45-7. The Giants' defense looks amazing this year and has been looking for blood each week. There's no way the Cowboys can beat the Giants. No way at all.
Seattle Seahawks (4-4) at Arizona Cardinals (3-5)
In the weak NFC west, this should be an interesting game because the winner can keep their playoff hopes alive. I'm going with the home team, especially since Seattle has struggled on the road this season.
Arizona played well in a 27-24 loss to the Vikings last week. The Seahawks were dominated by the Giants, 41-7. Cardinals win.
Both of these teams love turning over the ball, it's become second nature for them. But the Cards actually played a good game last week and lost by three in overtime to the Vikings. Seattle, on the other hand, got demolished by the Giants, 41-7. The Seahawks are just way too inconsistent, and even though I actually believe this game is a toss up, I'll take Arizona.
St. Louis Rams (4-4) at San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
The underachieving 49ers were the front runners to win the NFC west this year, and although they have played poorly this season, I'm picking them to win at home against a 4-4 Rams team.
Sam Bradford is having a stellar rookie season while the 49ers are starting...Troy Smith? Yeah, I think I'll take St. Louis.
This game's a toss up. The 49ers have the talent but haven't been able to showcase it. St. Louis' quarterback Sam Bradford has actually stepped up to the plate in his rookie year and shown that he was never overrated and will eventually become a great quarterback. I think this game is going to be won by a field goal, and I'm predicting it'll be the Rams who come up with the win.
New England Patriots (6-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)
The Patriots rarely lose in back-to-back weeks but the Steelers are tenacious at home. Despite almost losing a close game last week after they were crushing, Pittsburgh will win in a close one.
The Pats were upset by Browns in a 34-14 shocker in week nine. The Steelers held on to beat the Bengals 27-21 in Cincinnati. This one's a toss-up, but I'll go with Tom Brady and his amazing flow.
Both of these teams are 6-2 and looking to take control of their divisions. The Pats are coming off a brutal 20 point loss to the Browns last week, in which they let running back Peyton Hillis run all over them. Hillis scored two touchdowns and ran for 184. The Steelers defense is arguably one of the best in the league and the Patriots must find some way to get the ball downfield. Under the lead of quarterback Tom Brady, they should be able to do so with help from their offensive line. Brady, who practiced on Thursday for the first time all week, has a sprained foot and needs to be protected if the Pats want to win. This should be an intense game, but I think the Pats will pull out the win.
Monday, Nov. 15
Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) at Washington Redskins (4-4)
As much as I hate to do it, I feel that the Redskins are going to have a tough time beating their division rivals at home this week. Washington needs this game to keep pace in the always-strong NFC East but I just don't see it happening with all of the turmoil over Donovan McNabb sitting on the bench.
The 'Skins won the first game between these NFC East rivals. If they were to win this week at home, Washington would be in good shape at 3-0 in the division. But Philly's hot. They're coming off a 26-24 victory over the Colts and Vick is playing out of his mind. Still, I think my 'Skins have it in them even with all of the McNabb drama that's occurred throughout the bye week.
Philly definitely has the advantage in this game with Michael Vick at quarterback and tons of offensive weapons. But Washington's coming off a bye week and a week of rest and practice means that the ‘Skins have had time to get some cohesion going. Before their bye week, Washington was actually playing good football and the ‘Skins won some really close games; the whole situation with Washington quarterback Donovan McNabb getting benched for Rex Grossman seemed to set the town on fire and people's reactions were all over the place. I really hate to pick against the ‘Skins, but I think the Eagles' defense will be too much for McNabb and the Redskins' offense to handle this time around.
Melissa Haniff. Melissa loves music, One Tree Hill, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She is also a diehard Patriots, Red Wings, Pistons and University of Michigan fan...Go Blue! More »
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside ... More »