No Punt Intended: Week 11 NFL Picks
By Brody Burns
Last Week: 8-6 Season Record: 83-46
This week’s picks are guided by the titles and lessons learned from 90’s teen movies, the golden era of Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
San Diego at Miami (-1.5) – “Jawbreaker” – Whoever losses this game is firmly out of the AFC Wildcard race, but the loser isn’t bad enough to get a top ten pick in next year’s draft. It’s that entirely undesirable state of limbo – like a 90’s teen comedy that no one remembers because it wasn’t horrible, and wasn’t good either. My Pick: Chargers 26, Dolphins 24.
Indianapolis (-3) at Tennessee – “Scream” – The two biggest horrors of last weekend were unquestionably the Titans and the Colts. The Titans became the first causality of the Jaguars this season, and the Colts lost by 30 at home. It was a frightening weekend for fans of both teams, but look for the Colts to slash their way back on Sunday in a real thriller. My Pick: Colts 24, Titans 17.
NY Jets at Buffalo (-1.5) – “Drive me Crazy” – Rookie quarterbacks have a tendency to drive fans crazy. Jets Geno Smith’s Touchdown-Interception ratio; in wins – 7-4, in losses – 1-9. Bills’ record in games EJ Manuel starts; 2-4, and in games Thad Lewis starts, 1-1. My Pick: Bills 17, Jets 16.
Baltimore at Chicago (-2.5) – “10 Things I Hate About You” – Ten Things I hate about this game: (1) Jay Cutler’s petulant attitude; (2) Joe Flacco’s post mega-contract QB play; (3) having Ray Rice on my fantasy team; (4) Terrell Suggs sack dance; (5) any claims the Ravens defense is still dominant; (6) any claims the Bears defense is still dominant; (7) the new kickoff rule – meaning less Devin Hester action; (8) the overall lack of Kristin Cavallari (Mrs. Jay Cutler) coverage; (9) Torrey Smith’s newly shorn haircut; (10) having to rely on QB Josh McCown for my pick. My Pick: Bears 17, Ravens 14.
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-5.5) – “Never Been Kissed” – Cleveland has never been kissed by Lady Luck. That is all I have got. (You try and work a Never Been Kissed reference in; it’s not easy.) My Pick: Bengals 30, Browns 24.
Washington at Philadelphia (-3.5) – “Wild Things” – Is there a more erratic team than the Eagles this year? 5-5 record, worst loss was by 32 points, biggest win was by 29, and each week brings a wildly different team. On the other side, saying Washington’s season has been a disappointment is an understatement. The Eagles are 0-4 at home, while Washington is 1-4 on the road, something has to give. My Pick: Eagles 30, Redskins 24.
Detroit (-2.5) at Pittsburgh – “Detroit Rock City” – The Lions have won two in a row and five of their last seven, and with both the Packers and Bears hampered by injuries to their starting quarterbacks, the time is now for the Lions. Pittsburgh will make it a close game, but the Lions prevail. My Pick: Lions 31, Steelers 28.
Atlanta (-6.5) at Tampa Bay – “Dazed and Confused” – The Falcons (Dazed) are 2-7 after making the NFC title game last season, while the Buccaneers (confused) are winless this season at 0-8. The Dazed and Confused label will also apply to those who watch this game beyond fantasy/home town interests. My Pick: Falcons 32, Buccaneers 25.
Arizona (-6.5) at Jacksonville – “Pleasantville” – Playing in Jacksonville has been rather pleasant for road teams as of late. The Jaguars are 1-11 at home over the last two seasons, making it a very winnable road game for most (0-4 in 2013, 1-7 in 2012). Don’t look now, but Arizona is quietly 5-4, and thick in the wildcard race. The NFC West is going to be fun to watch down the stretch. My Pick: Cardinals 27, Jaguars 17.
Oakland at Houston (-6.5) – “Clueless” – The Raiders and Texans are a collective 5-13 this season, with all hopes pinned on the future. The Texans should beat the hapless Raiders, who’ve lost five of their past seven, but the Texans seven game losing streak certainly doesn’t stoke much confidence. My Pick: Texans 23, Raiders 17.
San Francisco at New Orleans (-2) – “She’s All That” – Like Freddie Prinze Jr. in the heart warming tale of the popular jock lifting the cute artistic girl into the world of popularity, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has made-over the Saints defense into a top ten unit. The Saint’s keep rolling on Sunday, with a big win over the Niners. My Pick: Saints 28, Niners 24.
Green Bay at NY Giants (-4) – “Whatever It Takes” – The Giants have won three in a row, using any means necessary to scrape this streak together. The Packers will have to use every weapon at their disposal to avoid a three-game losing skid without Aaron Rodgers. My Pick: Giants 28, Packers 21.
Minnesota at Seattle (-13.5) – “That Thing You Do!” – That thing in this case is Seattle winning at home, which the Seahawks have done 12 times in a row. The Seahawks keep it going on Sunday. My Pick: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20.
Kansas City at Denver (-8.5) – “Can’t Hardly Wait” – The standard for the 90’s teen-romantic-comedies runs parallel to the game of the week. The AFC West is hanging in the balance – look for the Broncos to reassert their dominance in the division. My Pick: Broncos 34, Chiefs 24.
New England at Carolina (-2.5) – “Bring It On” – The Panthers are legit. Coming off a big victory over the Niners last weekend, they welcome the perennially phenomenal Patriots on Monday Night. The Patriots better “Bring It On,” because these Panthers are for real. My Pick: Panthers 24, Patriots 21.