Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 11

The Steelers are rolling 

After a rather brutal week of going 5-9 I sit with the picks at 65-71-2.  It’s another week and no time to lament the past, so here are my picks for week 11 around the league.

Carolina at Green Bay (-10)

Really love the Packers in the this spot.  They pitched a shutout last week vs the Vikings at home, and the Panthers offense is about as bad right now.  Look for another solid day from rising RB Ryan Grant, a big day from Brett Favre, and the Packers D to dominate once again.  Green Bay 27 Carolina 0

New York Giants (-1) at Detroit

The best game of the early slate, a huge game in the NFC at Ford Field.  Both these teams had setbacks last week, and the Lions were dominated to the tune of -18 yards rushing.  The Giants were no match for the solid WR core of the Cowboys, and I like the matchup here in the Lions favor in that regard.  One thing the Lions have to do, protect Jon Kitna.  If they do that, they are 3 points better at home.  Detroit 23 NY Giants 20

Kansas City at Indianapolis (-14.5)

Are the Colts really in trouble?  This game will go a long way in letting us know.  They should get a least a few guys back from the injured list, but will miss Dwight Freeney on that D-line.  I expect the Colts though to have more than enough to beat the depleated Chiefs, who will once again have to rely on Priest Holmes and Brodie Croyle, which will be far from enough at the dome.  Indianapolis 31 Kansas City 14

San Diego at Jacksonville (-3)

Despite the win at home over Indy, the Chargers are still not showing nearly enough firepower on offense to get the job done.  They have a QB that is not playing well, and LaDainain Tomlinson is frustrated.  Things might not get all that much better here, and the Jags are looking like a playoff team, and will get better this week with their QB back in David Garrard.  The Chargers season of ups and downs continue in Florida.  Jacksonville 20 San Diego 14

Miami at Philadelphia (-10)

Well, the Fins had an interesting week, they will start BYU rookie John Beck under center, and Ricky Williams is back with the team, but won’t play this week.  Philly at 4-5 is another up and down team, but they played well last week and Brian Westbrook is a player having a huge year no one is talking about.  The Eagles at home should force Beck into mistakes and make more then enough plays to win easily.  Philadelphia 27 Miami 10

Oakland at Minnesota (-5.5)

Ugh.  Will anyone check this game out?  The only storyline here is Daunte Culpepper starting for the Raiders against his old team.  The last time he started against a former team, he helped the Raiders run over Miami 35-17 in week four to improve to 2-2.  That was the last win for the Raiders by the way.  The Vikings need to make a few plays on defense, somehow find a passing game, and Chester Taylor has to make a few runs.  This won’t be pretty.  Minnesota 13 Oakland 7

Cleveland (-2.5) at Baltimore

Man how bad are the Ravens?  They have looked awful in their last two games vs the AFC North in losing the Steelers and Bengals, and now they have the Browns, a team they lost to earlier in the year 27-13.  Moving to Kyle Boller at QB is the right move for this team, as they need a spark somewhere.  They also need to run a lot more with Willis McGahee, as the last time he played Cleveland he found some cracks.  As far as the Browns go, they blew it last week in Pittsburgh, and have to have a much better second half than a week ago.  Derek Anderson should be able to go downfield more, and Jamal Lewis will want to prove something to his old team.  Cleveland 24 Baltimore 20

Tampa Bay (-3) at Atlanta

The Falcons are on a mini-streak, winners of two straight, yet they are going from Joey Harrington at QB to Byron Leftwich.  Who knows why, but the big thing for the Falcons is they have to run the ball, and that is not going to be easy on the Bucs, who have done an OK job in that area all season.  Tampa Bay will do it’s best to attack Atlanta’s D with their west coast offense, and with Jeff Garcia playing well they will break the Falcons streak here.  Tampa Bay 27 Atlanta 21

Arizona at Cincinnati (-3.5)

The birds of Arizona make a trip east, taking on a Bengals team who are looking for their first two game win streak of 2007.  Cincy showed their defense can play last week, in stopping the Ravens on the road.  While the Cards have more weapons than the Ravens, in Cincy the weather may be a factor and they have not run the ball well at all the last few weeks.  Look for Edgerrin James to run a lot vs a Bengals D that has allowed 135 per game on the ground.  As for Cincy, they have to put together some drives against a team that beat up the Lions a week ago.  Cincy’s hopes of two in a row are dashed.  Arizona 29 Cincinnati 24

New Orleans (-2) at Houston

Another tough one to call, the Saints laid an egg at home last week to the Rams, while the Texans have lost 3 of 4 since starting 2-0.  Andre Johnson returns for Houston, and while he should add a spark, he’s not 100 percent.  The Saints are 4-5 and know that after this they have three huge South games coming up.  Drew Brees will have enough here along with a peeved Reggie Bush for being slighted as the #1 pick two years ago.  New Orleans 20 Houston 14

Pittsburgh (-9) at New York Jets

The Steelers pulled out a gutsy win last week vs the Browns, and want to continue that roll this week vs the bad 1-8 Jets.  One weapon for New York that concerns the Steelers is Leon Washington taking back kicks.  Last week the Steelers allowed Josh Cribbs a TD return and another of 90 yards, and Washington is every bit as good as Cribbs.  Nevertheless, Pittsburgh is making life tough for offenses, and their offense is playing well enough to easily win this one and move to 8-2.  Pittsburgh 30 New York Jets 13

St.Louis at San Francisco (-1)

Last week the Rams showed they have some spunk in beating the Saints on the road for win number one this year.  Now they should make that two in a row vs a bad 49’ers team that has not won since they beat the Rams in week two.  Trent Dilfer goes for the 9’ers, but the story here will be the Rams doing as they please throwing and running with Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson.  The Rams can still make life tough and play spoiler over the last month and a half of 2007.  St.Louis 28 San Francisco 14

Chicago at Seattle (-3.5)

I like what I saw from the Hawks Monday night vs a bad 49’ers team.  Their offense seemed more in sync with just throwing the ball a lot, mostly early, in building a lead and then using Maurice Morris a lot in the second half.  I think they can move the ball on the Bears, and that Matt Hasslebeck should be able to throw, and they should be able to run as well against a team that’s allowing 129 yards a game on the ground.  As for the Bears, we’ll see if Rex Grossman’s 2nd time around this season is any better.  My guess is it won’t and as they fall to 4-6 it’ll be time to start thinking about 2008.  Seattle 23 Chicago 17

Washington at Dallas (-11)

Always a game with high emotion, the Skins and Dallas love to mix it up, and here should be no different.  Emotion will be on the side of the Cowboys, who will go right after the Skins D with Romo, Owens and Crayton looking to make big plays.  The Skins have to try and control the tempo, and Clinton Portis has to have a solid day on the ground for them to have a shot.  Jason Campbell has to be able to get the ball downfield a bit, but no matter what the story will be if Washington can stop the Boys offense, something I don’t think they can do.  Dallas 34 Washington 20

New England (-15.5) at Buffalo

Why people in Pats country are worried about this game is beyond me.  The Bills are a nice story, and have had a nice season since starting 1-4, but they are still a far cry from a New England team that is simply playing way over everyone else.  The biggest factor here is that the Bills are still a beaten up team in terms of injuries, and Marshawn Lynch is out which will destroy the running game of Buffalo.  By about 9:45 Sunday night, this one won’t be in doubt anymore.  New England 37 Buffalo 17

Tennessee at Denver (-3)

The Titans offense worries me big time right now, as they have not played well the past few weeks, and I think they will struggle here again.  They do tend to play better on the road oddly enough (31 and 38 points in two road games this year), but I think with the funk Vince Young is in, this is going to be a  low scoring, grind it out game.  Denver climbed back in the playoff race with a win in KC last week, and I think here at home the emotion will be enough along with Young struggling to get it done.  Denver 17 Tennessee 10          

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