Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sportszilla's NFL Picks: Week 11
By Zach

Those of you paying close attention to the season standings may note that I'm drawing very close to Ben overall. Of course, don't note that we're both well below .500. As always, home teams are bolded.

This Week:

Ben: 9-7
Zach: 11-5

Bears +3 vs. Panthers

Ben: Panthers. The hottest team in the NFC against the NFC North leaders. The Bears D is for real, but their record isn’t. They’ve beaten no one this season and even lost to the Browns. Carolina’s defense will make life miserable for Kyle Orton, who is weeks away from losing his job to Rex Grossman. Thankfully for Orton, he’s weeks and two quarters away from it getting back when Grossman gets hurt again. The Bears will keep it close early, but they won’t be able to contain the Panthers for four quarters. Wrong.
Zach: Panthers. Hottest team in the NFC? I guess they’ve won six straight, but look who they beat? Green Bay, Arizona, Detroit, Minnesota, Tampa Bay (with Chris Simms at QB), and the Jets. Impressed much? Neither am I. That’s part of the reason I don’t buy fully into the Panther hype. Still, the Bears are in the same boat, just not as good. They’ll win the NFC North, but what does that prove? Wrong.

Titans +4.5 vs. Jaguars

Ben: Jaguars. I jump off the Jags bandwagon and they explode against the Ravens. I should have known Kyle Boller is the cure for all ills. I still don’t love the Jags’ offense, but 4.5 isn’t enough for me to take a bad Titans team, even at home. Wrong.
Zach: Jaguars. Something tells me that Byron Leftwich is ready for a big game. The Jags have played a brutal schedule so far, but they’ve got cupcakes the rest of the way. Wrong.

Bengals +5.5 vs. Colts

Ben: Colts. The Bengals will make the playoffs. They might even win the AFC North. But they haven’t beaten anyone worthy of mention. In fact, they’ve pretty much laid eggs against good teams this season (Jaguars and Steelers). I’m figuring the trend continues against Indy this weekend. The Colts’ D is questionable against the run, but the Bengals haven’t shown a commitment to Rudi Johnson this season. Meanwhile expect Peyton Manning to have a good day against a mediocre Bengals’ secondary. Right.
Zach: Colts. The Bengals will be very, very good, and soon. But for now, they have to prove they can beat a contender before I pick them over an undefeated Colts team. While we’re here, there’s no way the Colts go undefeated. They’re not that good, and their schedule is too tough. Right.

Patriots -9 vs. Saints

Ben: Saints.- Two rules of mine collide here: Never take the Saints on the road against never take the Pats with a big spread. The Pats are beat up, losing Randall Gay and Dan Koppen for the season. The Saints aren’t very good. But I think they’re good enough to keep it under 10 points. Like I said, the Pats always play games close anyway. Right.
Zach: Saints. I agree with everything Ben said. Right.

Rams -9.5 vs. Cardinals

Ben: Rams. - The Rams at home are always a confident pick of mine. This week they go against the Cardinals, who are an injury riddled mess with Kurt Warner STILL at QB. Why? He puts up 300 yards in garbage time. Useful for fantasy owners, but useless for Cardinal fans. Bertrand Berry is done for the year; that means no pass rush on Marc Bulger. At home, the Rams should put up at least 35 points. Do you see the Cardinals scoring 26 or 27 points? Didn’t think so. Wrong.
Zach: I refuse to pick this game. I hate both teams too much. Oh, well, if you insist...Cardinals. Right

Falcons -6 vs. Buccaneers

Ben: Buccaneers. A question was once posed on a Futurama episode: What if life were more like a video game? Well, in Michael Vick’s case, he would be the NFL’s greatest player of all time. He could outrun defenses, throw the ball 50 yards on a line and be the most ridiculously cheap QB in the history of mankind. Every week he’d put up 250+ yards passing with 100+ yards rushing and score 4 or 5 TDs. Sadly, life is not like a video game. Thus Vick throws picks, gets sacked and in the end, while being a dynamic talent, is no more than your average NFL QB most weeks… at best. The Bucs always scheme him well and the Falcons are overrated anyway. And yes I realize I just used a Futurama reference not having to do with Charlie Frye. Right.
Zach: Falcons. Chris Simms just played the best game of his career. This week, he reverts back to form. While the Bucs have traditionally frustrated Vick, something tells me he’s due to break out. Every time I think I have him figured out, he surprises me. Wrong.

Redskins -6 vs. Raiders

Ben: Redskins. The Redskins are the toughest team for me to figure out this season. They play well at home, but don’t always score enough to warrant a big spread. They go on the road and then put up a ton of points in Tampa, only to give it up to Chris Simms of all people. I’ll pick them here, only because I think the Raiders are done. If they couldn’t get up for the Broncos at home, then how can I expect them to flying cross country against for a game like this, with their season now basically over? Wrong.
Zach: Redskins. Will the Raiders get the ball to Lamont Jordan enough to win? Probably not. Plus, I don’t see them being able to stop the Washington offense. Wrong.

Cowboys -7.5 vs. Lions

Ben: Cowboys. An NFC North team is useless outside of the NFC North, especially one with Joey Harrington at QB. The Cardinals can make anyone look good. Irony will rear its ugly head this week; Lions fans will see Mike McMahon play well for the Eagles and wish they had kept him instead of the soon to be busted Joey “Heisman”. The Cowboys aren’t the greatest of teams, but they’ll be able to exploit Harrington’s mistakes. I don’t see Detroit putting up more than 10 points in this one; I think Dallas can get at least 20. Right.
Zach: Cowboys. Boy, either Ben and I are gonna be really right, or really wrong. Because we’ve disagreed on exactly one pick so far. What can I say, the guy makes good points. Right.

Giants -7 vs. Eagles

Ben: Eagles. Mike McMahon, affectionately referred to around these circles as “The Commish”, steps in to replace Donovan McNabb, much to horror of Eagles fans and Koy Detmer. Many expect this one to be a cakewalk for the Giants. Don’t be so sure. Cody Pickett looked decent against the Giants defense and then went 1-13 last week against the Bears. The Commish has loads more talent; he can run and has a good arm. I think he’ll surprise a lot of people in New York and Philly by not only keeping this one close, but also pulling out a victory for the Eagles. Wrong.
Zach: Giants. I saw Ben’s pick coming from last year. As blinded as he is by Rutgers product Mike McMahon, he forgets that this Eagles team would lose this game with McNabb at QB. Their best offensive player isn’t an every down back, and their defense gives points up at an alarming rate. The Giants may not be good, but boy have they had some good luck with scheduling and timing this year. Right.

Browns -2 vs. Dolphins

Ben: Browns. Two bad teams. The Dolphins are a little better, but they’re not only on the road, but in the cold as well. Never pick Miami in a cold weather place in November or December. They’re doomed to disappoint. Meanwhile is this the week we finally see Charlie Frye for the Browns? I’ve got a million Futurama jokes lined up for when it finally happens. Right.
Zach: Browns. I was gonna take Miami just to be different, but I can’t back Gus Frerotte. I mean never.Right.

49ers +12.5 vs. Seahawks

Ben: Seahawks. Two of my favorite NFL QBs in the Commish and Kenny Dorsey get starts this week. Considering all the faith I’ve had in Brooks Bollinger, you can imagine this is a pretty big week for me. Guess what? I’m only picking the Commish. Dorsey might be a serviceable NFL backup, but we’ll never know on that Niners team, who haven’t put up a touchdown in… well I don’t remember the last time they did. Somehow they covered last week anyway. That won’t fly against these sea birds. After easily dropping the Rams last week, I have full faith in this Seahawk team. At least until the postseason anyway. Wrong.
Zach: Seahawks. The game against the Rams last week is the last time I’m picking against the Hawks all year. You can write that one in stone. Wrong.

Chargers -10 vs. Bills

Ben: Chargers. Big spreads scare me, but I’ve taken quite a few this week. The Bills terrible run defense goes up against the NFL best back this week. JP Losman is starting at QB. The Bills are in San Diego. That spells trouble for Buffalo. The Chargers have been playing well and don’t look to stop here. Plus, they’re coming off a bye. Right.
Zach: Chargers. God, what’s wrong with me? Shouldn’t I be picking against Ben out of spite. Also, he went 2-11-1 last week. Why should I trust him? Still, no way I pick Losman on the road. Or at home. Right.

Broncos -13.5 vs. Jets

Ben: Broncos. Denver at home against a Jet team that is falling apart, literally. Jason Fabini is done for the year. Center Pete Kendall is questionable. There is no truth to the rumor the Jets are planning to sign Mo Vaughn to join the O-line. But unfortunately for Brooks Bollinger, he figures to see little time to throw. That means no offense, turnovers and the Jets D being on the field most of the game. Translation: Broncos run, Broncos throw, Broncos’ rout. Right.
Zach: Broncos. Boy was I tempted to take the Jets...mainly to spite Ben, but also because this might be a bit of a letdown game, and I think Herm’s gonna play this one very close to the vest. The Jets might keep it nearly, almost, slightly respectable...but in the end, probably not. Right.

Ravens +3.5 vs. Steelers

Ben: Steelers. If there’s something Tommy Maddox is good for, it’s for keeping spreads down. The Ravens blow. Somehow they covered against the Steelers earlier this year, but this time they’re getting just 3.5. Not enough to overcome Kyle Boller in my opinion, even if they are facing the human T.O. machine in Maddox. What are the odds Antoine Randle El plays some QB this week? What are the odds he turns out to be the best QB on either team? Wrong.
Zach: Ravens. Here, I disagree with Ben. For the first time since they played the Jets, the Ravens don’t have the worst QB in the game. That, plus the fact that they always get up to play Pittsburgh makes me think they’ll cover…and maybe win outright. Right.

Texans +7 vs. Chiefs

Ben: Chiefs. The Chiefs are a mediocre football team. Normally I shy away from teams like that on the road, but the Texans are a joke. The Chiefs can get away with blitzing to their heart’s content against that line and Houston won’t be able to do anything about it. Just wondering; what would David Carr be like if he actually had an offensive line to protect him? Think he could do what Trent Green does? I sure do.
Zach: Chiefs. I’ll admit, last week’s loss to the Bills surprised me. I thought the Chiefs were better than that. But I do know that they’re better than the Texans. Of course, Houston has been feisty of late, so who knows? Oh yeah, me.

Packers -4.5 vs. Vikings

Ben: Packers. You can’t fool me Minnesota. Just because you managed to get the flukiest of fluky wins against the Giants on the road doesn’t make you a good road team. The Packers are beat up, but come on, it’s the Vikings here. Brett Farve in Lambeau, rearing to avenge that heartbreaking loss in Minnesota earlier this year… you got to like the Pack. Oh and the Vikings still haven’t scored a meaningful offensive TD on the road in ages. Figure Green Bay muddles up this mess of the NFC North even further.
Zach: Packers. Brett Favre on Monday Night Football. Uh, yeah, I’ll take that.

Last Week:

Ben: 2-11-1
Zach: 6-7-1


Ben: 42-52-4
Zach: 40-54-4


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