Last week’s Record: Tom 7-7, Jesse 6-8
Overall Record: Jesse 86-61, Tom 89-58
NFL PICKS WEEK ELEVEN: HEAVEN CAN WAIT…FOR ANOTHER 0-16 TEAM
Indianapolis at Tennessee
Tom: Whoa, nellie. What a crappy week for both us, possibly capped off by the most unexpected L on the board–the Colts getting completely dominated by the Rams, and then possibly not so unexpected, the Titans losing to the (at the time) winless Jags. Now the Colts travel to Nashville in a matchup of embarrassed teams. I think the Colts will rally behind Pagano and Luck, while the Titans may be stuck with Ryan Fitzpat-pick again.
Jesse: Aside from Tom and I, the Colts and Titans laid the two biggest stinkbombs of last week, although it’s a tribute to Mike Munchak that several people (including our sage commenters) picked the Jaguars to win. As long as Munchak is in charge, the Titans are doomed to mediocrity, playing like world beaters one week before their inevitable flop the next. Since the Titans aren’t expected to win, I expect them to win handily. However, that outcome would require Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead his team to victory, and I just don’t see that happening, seeing as how that’s never happened.
She’s currently getting her Phd at Vanderbilt. Seriously.
NY Jets at Buffalo
Jesse: The Jets seem to be competing with the Titans and Chargers to see who can back into a #6 seed in the AFC playoffs. After taking a week off to eat a goddamn snack, the Jets head out on the road to face a divisional rival, one that I predict will upset them this Sunday.
Tom: So, now the conundrum begins for the Jets, who have done a perfect W-L routine through this whole season. They ended with a win, then had a bye…so does that count in the stats? Was that the “L” for the week, and now this is a guaranteed “W”? I’m going to ride with that logic and see what happens. One thing is for sure–if they lose this week, then next week is definitely a win. Maybe.
Baltimore at Chicago
Tom: I was in Argentina last week, and I didn’t know Cutler was back (the only ESPN was International, and it played non-stop poker, soccer, and MNF in Spanish), so I started McCown. I was then kicking myself that whole game…and then Cutler hurt his ankle. And with the yards + TD that McCown had, I actually won my game. And for that, you deserve a pick from me this week, buddy.
Jesse: Jay Cutler likely isn’t starting, but Josh McCown has played well so far this season. I think he’ll lead the Bears to victory at home, one more nail in the coffin for a Ravens team that will miss the playoffs this year.
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Jesse: Cincy’s defense is hurting, and Cleveland won’t be starting Brandon Weeden. I think The Fighting Chudzinkis (GO CHUD!) will beat the Bengals on the road, getting fans excited before their inevitable implosion the final month of the season.
Tom: What did I say about losing 3-4 games in a row, Bengals? Well, here you are.
Washington at Philadelphia
Tom: Who the hell knows which team for both sides will show up this week. Will the team to be renamed later play like they did last week, or will they actually give some effort? And will Nick Foles continue to throw nothing but touchdowns (hoo boy if he had Cris Carter on his team, ‘cause all he catches are touchdowns). I’ll be contrary to Jesse, just because I enjoy conflict (in the written form, not face-to-face).
Jesse: In Week 1, the Eagles de-pantsed Washington so thoroughly in the first half that it sent hack sports columnists across the country into an orgasmic frenzy. Weeks later, the frenzy has died down, but the Eagles’ offense continues to rack up points. In order for the Redskins to win, it will require Jim Haslett to make bold defensive adjustments to give his D the best chance to win. In other words, Eagles in a blowout.
Detroit at Pittsburgh
Jesse: I don’t think Megatron will have a day like he did against Dallas, if only because Dick LeBeau has the ability to make defensive adjustments. (Monte Kiffin, you’re terrible.) However, he should still put up numbers against the Steelers secondary, and I don’t think the Steelers’ offense will be able to respond.
Tom: The 2008 Detroit Lions popped the cork on some MD 20/20 after the Bucs and Jags both notched victories last week. Now the 2013 Lions are on track to win the NFC North, simply by keeping their team healthy, mainly their QB. In the business world, that’s known as promotion by attrition. The rumors and denials of said rumors about Roethlisberger wanting/being traded by the Steelers ran rampant this week, as you’d expect from a team dying a slow death during the season. The team is getting better, and has been helped by LeBeau’s continued domination of rookie QBs. Stafford is no rookie, and even though this is in Pittsburgh, and the Steelers still have a Top 5 pass defense, their run defense is almost at the bottom of the league. I think if the Lions can’t win this one, you may see a .500 team (or worse) win the NFC North. As for the Steelers, ponder this–after Detroit, they go on a 6-game run where only 2 of the 5 teams (they play the Browns twice) have winning records, and 4 of the 6 games are within the AFC North. Should they somehow pull that out of their asses, they might just stumble into a winning season and maybe even a playoff spot. But it is an uphill battle.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Tom: Welcome to the “He Hate Me” game of the week. The Bucs are riding high after holding on to beat a neutered Miami team. The Bucs are one of the Falcons few wins this season. So let’s swing this cannon back to the Bucs’ side of the field. Because Mike Glennon’s the future, baby!
Jesse: A tale of two fiascoes. Injuries doomed the Falcons, while Tampa Bay’s only win was against the only team in the league with a worse locker room environment than the Bucs (and the Bucs have MRSA!). This is going to be a sad game to watch. My condolences to fans in the Atlanta and Tampa Bay viewing areas.
Arizona at Jacksonville
Jesse: Another installment in the classic Cardinals vs. Jaguars rivalry! Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are 5-4. Stuck in the stacked NFC West, they won’t make the playoffs, but they shouldn’t have any problem with the Jags, in part because they aren’t coached by a corpse. (Fire Mike Munchak.)
Tom: The Jags are on a roll! No London for this team! What? That’s not the end of the season yet? Oh. Sorry, Jags fans.
Oakland at Houston
Tom: This could well be the 2nd “He Hate Me” game of the week, but Oakland has Terrelle Pryor and he’s interesting, at least. And if he can’t play…well, I just can’t pick against a guy with the last name “McGloin”. I just can’t. And dammit, if his first name were only “Holden”, he would be my favorite player of all time.
Jesse: I spent more time trying to come up with something interesting about this game than all the other games combined. Still . . . nothing.
San Diego at Miami
Jesse: WIth San Diego now at 4-5, what better way to get out of a rut than to play the Dolphins, who’ve officially gone over the cliff. Who would have thought, even a month ago, that Jacksonville would emerge as Florida’s model NFL franchise?
Tom: Miami has more problems than bullies in the locker room. Even with that, I still find myself struggling to trust the Chargers cross-country. But I will. And I’ll hate myself for it.
San Francisco at New Orleans
Tom: Wow, what the hell happened to the 49ers last week? Now they get to face another NFC South team. And guess what? They won’t beat this one either.
Jesse: Incorrect! The Niners were flat last week, but before that they had a five-game winning streak. I think the Niners’ offense will get back on track this week, winning handily at the Superdome.
Green Bay at NY Giants
Jesse: Former Colts and Packers center Jeff Saturday called Aaron Rodgers a product of Mike McCarthy’s system, which is bullshit. Granted, Matt Flynn turned one game into a couple of contracts, but Aaron’s incredible deep accuracy is Cthulhu-given. I think this week will show us once again how important Aaron Rodgers is to this team. Giants all the way.
Tom: A few scant weeks ago, one team was on their way up, and another team was mired in garbage. Oh, how things have changed. The Packers are possibly starting their 3rd QB in as many weeks, and the Giants have actually won 3 in a row. Andre Brown’s return has rejuvenated the Giants offense (and hey, he doesn’t fumble!) and made it a bit easier on Eli (who is still throwing picks, but not 5-6 a game). The Packers are flailing, but Tolzien didn’t look awful last week, they just couldn’t stop the Eagles when they needed to. Being in New York, I’ll roll with the home team as usual, and then look like an idiot when the Pack wins by 20.
Minnesota at Seattle
Tom: This Minnesota team has moxy, and the Seahawks…wait, it’s in Seattle? Never mind.
Jesse: Percy Harvin may be tempted to come back earlier than expected against his old team, but why would the Seahawks bother? Seattle has more than enough weapons to crush the Vikings, especially at home.
Kansas City at Denver
Jesse: The spread on this is completely idiotic. An injured Broncos line against the best D-line in the league? Peyton Manning with two bum ankles? Von Miller in between steroid cycles? I don’t think this will be a cakewalk at all. The Broncos will squeak by in an epic game.
Tom: Is a gimpy Peyton better than no Peyton at all? The Broncos are a ridiculous almost 10 point favorite. The Broncos haven’t seen a defense like this yet this year, but the Chiefs offense is nothing to be frightened of. The O/U on the game is 49.5 points, but I don’t know if that many will be scored. Everyone thinks there will be no unbeatens after this week…and I have to agree. But it would not shock me if the Chiefs found a way, and they’ll definitely beat the spread.
New England at Carolina
Tom: Another replay of a Super Bowl gone by–this was the beginning of the Patriots roll almost a decade ago. Remember when Jake Delhomme was good and led the Panthers to the big game after a 1-15 season? Now the Panthers are the surprise team and the Patriots, while sitting with only 2 losses, are doubted by everyone. Tom Brady is 10-4 on the big stage of MNF, but their defense has been a bit suspect lately with the loss of Talib. It seems when I rest my faith in the Patriots, they let me down, and when I bet against them, Brady pulls off a miracle. My wife is from Carolina, so I’ll roll with them…I guess.
Jesse: Must you remind this Cleveland fan of Jake Delhomme?
I bet Gruden and Tirico are ecstatic this matchup after a year of horrible games. Between Cam Newton and Tom Brady, I predict Chucky will belt out at least 400 “This Guy”s during the broadcast. In the end, it boils down to the Patriots being a little bit better, but not by much.