Thursday, November 17, 2016

NFL Picks 2016, Week 11 - from Archer Avenue

Check out more from me, including movie reviews & movie trailers, at Archer Avenue (archeravenue.net).  Also, follow me on Twitter @OlieCoen for sports & movie talk.




Here are my NFL Week 11 Picks
(7-7 last week, 84-61-2 for the season)
Bye teams: Falcons, Broncos, Jets, Chargers



nosaintsNO @ Car – I really thought that both of these teams would beat their AFC West opponents last week, Denver and Kansas City.  Both NFC South teams were playing at home, were scoring points, ultimately had leads, but blew them and gave the games away.  So who wants to win this week, with the division wide open?  The Falcons have yet to close the door, so the Saints can legitimately take the lead, if only they can string together a couple wins. Brees can score like no one’s business, just put up 3 TDs/300 yds on a great defense, and should have success against a terrible one in Carolina.  The Panthers are playing the same type of ball currently; put up a ton of points, don’t stop anybody.  They are a far cry from last year’s Super Bowl team, but can still go on a late run to make something happen, at least mathematically.  I have a feeling that this game is going to turn into a shootout sooner rather than later.  The statistic that jumps out at me is that Carolina is winless within its division; not good, especially with Brees strolling into town.  Thursday Night games having been great lately, but this one might actually be pure fun.

cinbengalsBuf @ Cin – I can’t seem to pick any games right this year when usually I get around 2/3 correct.  I, of course, can’t blame myself, so I’ll blame teams like the Bills and the Bengals.  Teams like these are frustrating because you just never know what they’re going to do.  Buffalo is 4-5, at times they look as if they can do anything they want on offense, at times they lay an egg.  I think it comes down to poor coaching, which the Bills are surely a victim of.  Rex doesn’t have what it takes to be a great NFL coach, he just doesn’t, and the sooner teams realize this the sooner they’ll be able to move on, hopefully toward victory.  The same problem applies to Cincinnati, who will never get over the hump until they get over their head coach.  I understand that the owner hates spending money, hates change, doesn’t mind being mediocre.  But I think Bengals fans are becoming completely fed up with their struggling franchise.  Lewis & Dalton are only OK, that’s it, they’ll never be wonderful, and unless you have the defense of the century, that will never be enough.  Cinci is keeping a slight hope alive for this season though, if barely.

clebrownsPit @ Cle – Ladies and gentlemen, could it happen this week?  Could the Browns get their first win?  Can the curse be broken?  I doubt there’s a high likelihood, but I’m gonna say yes, it’s possible.  The Steelers are reeling right now after a Big Ben injury and a 4-game losing streak.  I thought that they’d step up and take care of the Cowboys at home last week, that Ben could outduel Dak, but it didn’t happen.  And if you’re a Steelers player or coach, you have to be just sick as your wonderful record slowly slips away.  They’re only one game behind the division lead, so there’s still hope, but this is a terrible road team, one that’s moving in the wrong direction, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they lost another one this week.  I mean, the Brownies have to win some time, right?  You look at their opponents and it’s not a given that they’ll pick up a game along the line, but maybe this is the moment.  At home, vs a struggling team, with absolutely nothing to lose, with no expectations whatsoever?  Cleveland might be the worst team we’ve ever seen, but even they can scrape together one win, though I would bet zero dollars on it.

dalcowboysBal @ Dal – If the Bengals can win vs Buffalo, if the Steelers do lose in Cleveland, and if the Ravens drop this game against a superior opponent, then Cinci is right back in the hunt for the division, which at a potential 4-5-1 seems ridiculous, but Baltimore would be 5-5, so it’s something you have to consider.  And I do think the Ravens will lose this game, I don’t even think it’ll be close.  What Baltimore can do is beat bad teams at home, especially within their division.  What they can’t do is beat good NFC teams.  Tough news and a tougher matchup.  The Ravens don’t score enough, though their defense has actually stepped up, but don’t look for them to be able to beat the red-hot Cowboys.  8 wins in a row now for Dallas, and don’t look for them to slow down soon.  They win on the road, at home, score points, play solid D, run the ball, Romo even stepped up to support his team; if there’s a weak link here I don’t know what it is.  Now, we all just said the same thing about New England last week and they got beat by a scrappy Seattle road team, but the Ravens aren’t the Seahawks and I don’t think this game will ever be in question.

detlionsJax @ Det – I keep waiting for the Jaguars to turn it around, to show some sign of life, to give us all a peak into how bright the future could be with this young team.  And every time I think it’s about to happen they lose again, so it really shouldn’t be a shock any more.  Talk about a disappointing season.  Jacksonville had everyone’s hopes up, but they really were pretenders, not contenders, and there was actually no reason for excitement.  They’ll have yet another high Draft pick, but when will these college kids turn into NFL talents?  If I were a fan, I would be very frustrated, especially when rumors swirl about this team moving away.  The Lions are the exact opposite, a club that no one gave any hope to for the season but one that is outperforming expectations across the board.  Don’t look now, but they’re actually winning the NFC North, as the Vikings tumble and the Packers struggle.  Stafford looks great, like he’s more comfortable than ever, the Lions win at home, but they could do with a few more points, since their defense is nothing spectacular.  Regardless, I think this game will be an easy win.

indcoltsTen @ Ind – This could be the best game of the day, between two very equally-matched teams and division rivals.  The Titans have not gone quietly into the offseason the way they were supposed to, not in the least.  Mariota has looked really strong, the running game is crazy good, and only the defense has been a bit of a disappointment.  Tennessee is 5-5, 2-2 on the road, score as much as they allow, and probably won’t be this magical playoff team, but at the very least they are building off of some success and seem to be pointing in the right direction.  And now, after a rough start, the Colts seem to be trending positive as well, though not based on early expectation coming into 2016.  Indy is another team that’s right in the middle, good by not great, can score but can’t play defense, is 2-2 at home, and probably won’t be in the Super Bowl.  But future aspirations don’t really have anything to do with this game, and I think it might be the most closely-matched contest of the week.  It’s a tossup as to which one comes out on top, but I guess I’ll go with the home team and with Andrew Luck.

kcchiefsTB @ KC – This is an odd matchup, seems like these two teams never play each other, but here we go.  For the Bucs, it’s been an odd season.  They are 1-4 at home, 3-1 on the road, which of course is completely backward.  And they’re just another team that scores in the low 200s and allows in the low 200s; seems like barely any team is good enough to break out of that mold.  Then again, that’s why the Bucs are 4-5 overall, they’re just in the middle of the road like so many others.  They just don’t have any “it” factor, and I don’t think Famous Jameis qualifies, even though he is having a strong year.  This is just a weird team, one that’s hard to predict, and one that wins games when they’re not supposed to, so I guess anything is possible this week.  I just can’t pick against KC at home, as much as I would like to.  The Chiefs are undefeated there, and are currently at the top of the AFC West, with Oakland & Denver right behind.  Can they hold on long?  Perhaps not, since they have to travel to play the Broncos next week, but I think one more home win is in the cards for a good club that may not exactly be great.

minvikingsAri @ Min – That the Cardinals have taken a step back this year shouldn’t be a big surprise.  After all, Carson Palmer is no kid, and his arm is only getting more tired.  Even LarryFitz can’t play forever, and even the youth of David Johnson can’t hide all this team’s flaws.  They’re still solid, are hoping to still make the playoffs, but a .500 record isn’t great when the season is more than halfway over.  This defense has been fine, but this offense just hasn’t help up their end of the bargain.  Arizona is OK at home, where they’ve already played 6 games, but not good on the road, where they still have 5 left, including this one.  That’s a bad sign for a struggling team, to have so many road tests ahead, and I think a loss here is imminent.  The Vikings have their own problems; at one point they were leading their division at 5-0.  Well, they’ve lost 4 in a row since and look pathetic on offense.  Not shocking coming from Sam Bradford, but this club still has time to turn it around.  Minnesota is 3-1 at home and will stop the slide right here.  I think Palmer turns the ball over one too many times, handing his team a loss.

nygiantsChi @ NYG – The blows keep coming for the Bears, with the latest being Alshon Jeffrey’s suspension.  I have him on my fantasy team, so that sucks, though he’s only scored 1 TD this season, so there’s that.  But Chicago can’t seem to catch a break, with injuries and problems all across the board, and with no hope on the horizon.  With Jay Cutler as your QB and John Fox as your HC, what hope did you really have in the first place I guess, and things aren’t going to get better any time soon.  The Bears are winless on the road this season and won’t win here, not against a Giants team that is finally pumping on all cylinders.  The G-Men have now won 4 in a row, are starting to find Odell & Shephard in the passing game, and are beginning to look like the tough team I predicted they would be.  The Cowboys might be too far ahead in the division to catch, but the Giants are at least focused on a playoff spot, and should get one, as long as they keep playing the way they’ve been playing.  They do that at home with ease, going 4-1 this season, so look for that to continue and look for New York to put up a ton of points.

miadolphinsMia @ LA – After staring 1-4, the Dolphins have won 4 straight.  They’re quietly playing well, winning inside their division, and might even be imagining that they could claim a coveted Wild Card spot.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but Miami is at least making things interesting.  The problem is, they’re terrible on the road, going 1-3 on the season, while going 4-1 at home.  That’s a concerning split, and so you can’t trust this team any further than you can throw them, regardless of how well they’re currently playing.  Not that the Rams are much better; they have the opposite problem.  LA is 1-3 in LA, which is weird, 3-2 on the road.  In their last five games, they’ve gone 1-4, so this is a team that’s trending in the wrong direction.  They make the switch at quarterback this week, going with rookie Goff, but it wasn’t the QB that was the problem.  No, the Rams aren’t scoring points, but they need to address their coaching situation before anything is going to get better.  Jeff Fisher is not a good head coach, why can’t everyone see what’s so plain?  The guy needs fired ASAP so that this team can move on and improve.

seaseahawksPhi @ Sea – The Eagles beating the Falcons last week was quite impressive, especially considering how hot Atlanta has been lately.  But Philly hasn’t lost at home yet, their defense is incredible, and people have only lost faith in them because their offense isn’t producing the way it was at the beginning of the season.  This is still a good team, one with young talent, and one that I hope squeaks into the playoffs, because that would just be fun.  However, they’re dreadful on the road and I don’t in any way expect them to be able to beat the Seahawks.  With a huge win in New England last week, Seattle showed that they are back among the elite teams, after a bit of a slow start.  Wilson & Graham had been injured, the running game was plodding along, but that all seems to be behind them now with a nice road deep into the playoffs in front of them.  The Seahawks are 4-0 at home, and don’t forget their defense, which only allows 18 points per game.  I’ll give the Eagles 20, but I still think the Seahawks can put up more than that, even perhaps getting a defensive score along the way.

nepatriotsNE @ SF – Oh god you made it mad.  You thought that the Patriots were tough before, watch them now that they were beaten.  They’ll be playing angry in only the way New England can play angry, and I imagine that this will become one of those games in which people cry “sportsmanship” after the Pats go for 2 with one minute left in the 4th quarter up by thirty points.  That’s just what they do, especially after they’ve been slighted, and they’ll take last week’s loss as a slight to their collective pride.  Mark my words, the final score of the game is going to be 50-20, with most of SF’s points coming in garbage time when the game has already been decided.  I wouldn’t want to be a 49er this week, or any other week for that matter.  This San Francisco team is pathetic, and Chip Kelly needs to go far far away.  He’s so horrible he has no idea just how horrible he is.  Really, he thinks he’s a genius, and no amount of losing will convince him otherwise.  The owner will have to let him know the truth, that’s he’s running this franchise into the ground.  I’d like to watch this beatdown, not that I like the Pats, but sometimes blowouts are fun.

wasredskinsGB @ Was – At some point I just have to stop picking the Packers to win, stop believing that they’ll turn it all around, because at some point they aren’t.  And I’m going to take this opportunity to jump up on a soap box real quick.  The Packers never do anything in the Draft or in Free Agency.  Never.  Anything.  They rely on Rodgers every year, hope that undrafted FAs will make plays, pay maybe 5 guys big money and ignore the rest of the team.  Eventually, that strategy was going to bite them in the butt, and that time may have come this season.  Green Bay is ready for a shakeup, and it should start with their HC and their GM.  Bye bye, see ya later, we need to win a Super Bowl while we have Rodgers.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  As far as the Redskins are concerned, I’d rather talk about their nickname controversy than their season; they kinda bore me.  They’re 5-3-1, do well at home, are having an OK season, but I just feel nothing special about this club, nothing at all.  I think they can win this game, but mostly because the Pack are currently in the process of checking out.

oakraidersHou @ Oak – Hola from Mexico, where this Monday Night matchup will take place.  Smart I think, on the NFL’s part; there’s no reason why the league can’t expand to other countries, maybe Canada & Mexico, someday Britain.  Might as well at least test the waters, the money has already maxed out here in the States, and also it makes sense to send teams that may have Latino fans based on their locations to these games south of the border.  The Texans vs the Raiders makes sense to me, and I really do hope we get a crappy Florida team or someone to move to a different country, shake things up a bit.  Anyway, back to football, because this game is meant for entertainment & news, but both these teams have something serious to play for, this isn’t the Jags vs the Bears on a Thursday Night.  No, the Texans are trying to hold on to their division lead, despite not playing great yet this year.  The offense just isn’t clicking, but they’ll need to score points in this one, because the Raiders sure will.  If you look at this as a road game for both teams, Houston is 1-3 away from home, Oakland is 5-0, so there you go.

Check out more from me, including movie reviews & movie trailers, at Archer Avenue (archeravenue.net).  Also, follow me on Twitter @OlieCoen for sports & movie talk.

 




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