The second week of Thursday night games are here and teams we thought were good (Broncos and Ravens) are turning sour while teams we thought were awful (Panthers and Titans) may not be that bad. On to Week 11. Home teams in CAPS.
PANTHERS (-3.5) over Dolphins
The NFL Network has a commercial for this game: The Wildcat comes to Carolina (shows Ronnie Brown handing the ball off to Ricky Williams)…here kitty, kitty. Well the problem is that Brown will miss the game with an injured ankle. So will we see just the Pistol with Pat White, or Williams in the Wildcat? Also, the Panthers could and should be 7-2 with victories over New Orleans, Buffalo, and Dallas. Look back at those games.
LIONS (-3.5) over Browns
The Lions have been favored to win twice this year, and they should be very proud of that. But they were playing the Rams and now the Browns, so that’s not really saying much.
49ers (+6.5) over PACKERS
Green Bay’s record since November 2, 2008 is 7-11. Who did they beat? Chicago twice, Detroit twice, St. Louis, Cleveland, and now Dallas. Not too impressive, now is it?
Steelers (-9.5) over CHIEFS
The Steelers lost Troy Polamalu for the second time this year (he is getting Larry Fitzgerald’s half of the Madden Curse, too) when he re-injured his knee. But the Chiefs will also be missing a key player: Dwayne Bowe. Bowe was suspended four games for using PEDs, so Kansas City will be depending on Chris Chambers, Bobby Engram, and Sean Ryan. I’ll give you the 9.5 points here.
Redskins (+11.5) over COWBOYS
Okay, so maybe Miles Austin isn’t that good after all. Since his Week 5 explosion for 250 yards, he has amassed 171, 61, 49, and now 20 yards receiving. Flash in the pan? Perhaps, perhaps not. The Redskins, unlike Austin, have showed up as of late. They beat Denver by ten without Clinton Portis. Portis’ replacement Ladell Betts has been great with at least 90 total yards and a touchdown in each of his past two games. Gimme the points.
Falcons (+6.5) over GIANTS
Since when have the Giants been good? They lost their past four games, so did they get better over the bye? No. But Atlanta, and especially Matt Ryan, have been exposed and star runningback Michael Turner is likely going to miss the game. Still, the Giants aren’t as a touchdown better than the talented Falcons.
Saints (-11.5) over BUCCANEERS
The Bucs seem to be turning it around with Josh Freeman at the helm. He is poised, strong, and has a rocket arm. But you know the team is bad since they are depending on Kellen Winslow, Sammie Stroughter, and Antonio Bryant. Their defense is still awful, and there is no way they can stop the Saints’ offense, even if New Orleans hasn’t been able to cover their spreads recently.
JAGUARS (-8.5) over Bills
They Jags may be bad, but they are 5-4. The Bills are bad and 3-6. They just fired their head coach (Dick Jauron) and are switching back to Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. Maurice Jones-Drew will go off today, and likely won’t have to take a knee on the one yard line, like he did last week.
Colts (+.5) over RAVENS
After what each team did last week, how can the Ravens be favored, even by less than a point. The Colts beat New England, considered by many to win it all, and the Ravens couldn’t score against the atrocious Browns’ defense in the first half. I hate to say it, but the Ravens are overrated on defense, they are rapidly aging.
VIKINGS (-11.5) over Seahawks
I picked Seattle as a sleeper pick at the beginning of the year, and reasserted that last week, as I picked them to cover the spread in Arizona. They couldn’t even keep it within single digits. This team is bad. The Vikings are the opposite…very good. Brett Favre has shockingly only thrown three picks this year and Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Bernard Berrian have formed a very solid receiver trio. I’ll take the Vikes here, especially since Seattle won’t have Julius.
CARDINALS (-8.5) over Rams
The Cards finally showed up at home this season, and the Rams kinda put up a fight. Steven Jackson is an animal, but after him, you’re looking at Donnie Avery, Randy McMichael, and Brandon Gibson. Not good. As for the Cardinals, Beanie Wells had his best game of the year with 127 total yards and two touchdowns. Look for a blowout of Texans-Raiders proportions.
Chargers (-2.5) over BRONCOS
The Broncos can’t seem to support their bandwagon with so many people on it. Since most of Sports Nation accepted Denver as a legit contender, they have lost three straight. Kyle Orton is the Kyle Orton we actually knew, and the same goes for their not so solid defense. Would I be surprised if they pulled out this huge division game at home? No, but I can’t go with them for now.
Bengals (-9.5) over RAIDERS
What does this team have to do for you to like them? They beat the Ravens and Steelers twice, Bears, Browns, and Packers. One of their two losses came on a freak touchdown to Brandon Stokley. They are second in points allowed and ninth in yards allowed. They are legit, whether you believe it on not.
PATRIOTS (-10.5) over Jets
The Pats are angry from their Week 2 loss to the Jets and last week to the Colts. Unlike in Week 2, the Jets aren’t any good. Kris Jenkins is done for the year, Mark Sanchez is actually a rookie, and Braylon Edwards may be in a new uniform, but he’s still dropping passes. New England is 11-0 coming off a loss, so that’s not going to change this week.
Eagles (-3.5) over Bears
At this point in the season, this has to be a must win for both teams. They are both in the hunt for a Wild Card spot, and Philly could even challenge for a division crown. They both are depending on young skill position players, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin for the Eagles and Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Devin Hester, and Johnny Knox for the Bears. But at the of the day, the Eagles need this one more since they are actually a good team. This is the Lock of the Week.
TEXANS (-4.5) over Titans
Are the Titans all of a sudden great and we’re going to ignore their first six game? I think not. They are not in the same class as the high-powered Texans, even without Owen Daniels. Tennessee beat Jacksonville, San Fran, and Buffalo, not exactly world beaters. The Texans will take care of business at home.
Last Week: 9-6
Lock of the Week: 4-5