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Playoff Push. Week 11 NFL Picks

Playoff implications abound in week 11. The Broncos put their AFC West title on the line while the Giants look to erase a four game skid. Keep your eyes open for: the Browns vs. Lions in a 3-3 tie, the Redskins scaring Dallas, and Bill Belichick punting on 3rd and 7. UPDATED: Swine Flu Style.

I apologize for not adding content over the past few days. I’ve found myself fighting at the Bay of Pigs. I have Swine Flu (if you say “flu” like they pronounce “YAHOO!” in the commercials, it’s a lot of fun. Go ahead, give it try. Who cares if they’re watching? You’ll enjoy it. Don’t be scared.) My brain still isn’t functioning properly so I apologize if the week 11 effort is lacking. Nonetheless, here I go, fline swu and all. (HaHa, that mistake was intentional. Fine, it wasn’t but it made me laugh, so I left it.)

Last Week:  11 – 4 – 0
Season:       88 – 56 – 0

Thursday Night (8:20PM ET)

Dolphins at Panthers
Without Ronnie Brown, Miami’s only hope is for Jake Delhomme to find his turnover rhythm. That is unlikely as long as Panthers’ Head Coach, John Fox, continues to follow my ingredients for Carolina victory; 200 yards rushing, stout defensively play, and minimal pass attempts. The loss of tackle Jordan Gross could have a major affect on Carolina’s offensive success, so the Panthers may be forced to get creative. If Carolina does indeed win on Thursday, they’ll wake up kicking themselves on Friday for blowing games against Buffalo and especially, New Orleans. Regardless, there’s still plenty of time for the Panthers. The NFC pack is slumping back toward the middle and both wildcard berths are completely up for grabs. The Dolphins aren’t as fortunate as the AFC is once again the superior conference. They’re done. PANTHERS.

**In honor of my bought with the Swine Flu, I’ve drawn a correlation between each game and my experience with the virus. Some require a little imagination. If they don’t work, remember, I’m infested with a flu from a pig.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Redskins at Cowboys
Blue Gatorade is always reliable. It’s good for you, tastes good, and even looks cool. It’s my go to drink when I’m under the weather. Similarly, this rivalry rarely disappoints. The cliché “throw the records out” analysis is always applicable here. If Albert Haynesworth wasn’t out for Sunday’s game, I would pick the Skins. Without him, the Washington pass rush will suffer. If you aren’t pressuring Tony Romo, you’re asking for trouble. COWBOYS

Browns at Lions
I resorted to Vicks NyQuil to sleep the first night I came down with the flu. If this game was on, the NyQuil would have been unnecessary. BROWNS

49ers at Packers
I tend to drink out of the same glass for days at a time. This is never a good thing when I’m sick. Aaron Rodgers needs to apply this lesson to his quarterbacking philosophy. Too much time with the football will only result in bad things. This is the first of three do-or-die NFC matchups (ATL/NYG, CHI/PHI). While the playoffs won’t be here until January, playoff intensity will be in full force on Sunday. Green Bay crawled back into the playoff picture with last week’s upset of the Cowboys. To throw it away at home against the 49ers would be devastating. San Francisco is still alive but only because Cutler kept throwing the football to their defense. PACKERS

Steelers at Chiefs
When I’m sick and on the couch, I like everyone else, watch television. After watching Sportscenter four times, I look for something else. There’s nothing on, ever. This game is the equivalent to daytime television. STEELERS

Falcons at Giants
The Falcons have an opportunity to deliver a knockout blow to Eli Manning and the Giants and vice versa. I will be rooting for the Falcons, but it won’t be easy. Earlier this decade, former Falcons linebacker, Keith Brooking, declared in an Atlanta playoff pep rally that the Falcons were going to go into Philly and kick the Eagles’ rear ends. I haven’t liked the Falcons since. This is like the food you ate prior to vomiting all night long. You never get over it. Because of this phenomenon, I haven’t had relish since 6th grade, and now, I may never drink orange juice again. It’s a shame that one event can cause such an aversion to something. Relish, the Atlanta Falcons, and orange juice are at the top of my list. Atlanta going into New York and handing the Giants their 5th straight loss is not likely. GIANTS

Saints at Buccaneers
As bland and boring as the Saltine crackers I’ve been shoving down my throat. SAINTS

Bills at Jaguars
The Jaguars could easily be 6-4 come Sunday evening. The most fascinating thing about this Jaguar team is that they’ve battled all season long despite a struggling defense, having only 1 and 1/2 offensive playmakers, and being totally ignored by their city. How bad is their defense? Well, they’re as effective at rushing the passer as throat lozenges are at easing a sore throat. Seriously, there’s no way those things have medicinal properties. They never do a thing for me. I think they’re just candy that is made to taste bad so we think it’s doing something to heal us. I’m not fooled. JAGUARS

Colts at Ravens
When I woke up exactly six hours after taking NyQuil, I resorted to Tylenol PM. It worked like a dream. I slept so well that I wasn’t really sure who or where I was when I woke up. The Raven defense is equally confused. Last week they pranced around the field and yucked it up on the sideline like they regained their 2008 form. Uh fellas, that was the Cleveland Browns you embarrassed. Nice try though. This week, Baltimore will need to contain a slightly better offense. A lot of individuals in the media believe the Colts will fall this week. With the Raven offense struggling and their secondary as poor as it is, I don’t see it happening. COLTS

Seahawks at Vikings
In addition to losing 12 lbs., I’ve experienced a lot of aches and pains due to Swine Fluuuuuuuuuuuhoooooo! Sorry. Got carried away there. It’s amazing that after lying on the couch for 13 hours and then sleeping for the remaining 11, I still wake up feeling like I stood between Adrian Peterson and the goal line. Needless to say, Peterson scored… every time. I had high hopes for the Seattle Seahawks this season. With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck, I expected them to take back the NFC West. I was wrong, again. VIKINGS

Game I’ll Watch: Falcons at Giants
Game I’ll DVR: Colts at Ravens

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Cardinals at Rams
J E L L-O, It’s alive! When I’m feeling ill, I usually turn to Bill Cosby’s favorite snack. It doesn’t really do anything to make me feel better, but I know it won’t hurt to swallow and it won’t make me feel any worse. The Rams are like JELL-O. While they’re not all that good, they won’t disappoint you with their effort, and they certainly won’t make your afternoon worse. This team has no shot at the playoffs, they simply play for pride. And boy do they play hard. Considering Jim Johnson disciple Steve Spagnoulo is the head coach, this is not a surprise. Look for the Rams to ruin some playoff parties as the season continues. For some teams like the Rams, their 2010 season begins now. With that said, I can’t pick the Rams unless I’m drugged. Actually, I am drugged, but not THAT drugged. CARDINALS.

Jets at Patriots
I’m the most arrogant sick person you’ll ever meet. I think I know what will cure all my symptoms. In the end, I’m wrong and succumb to whatever illness I’m fighting. You could say I’m Bill Belichick. Jets/Patriots is a great coaching matchup, one cries, and the other needs to. If it’s 3rd and whatever and the Patriots need a first down to close out the game, I hope Bill Belichick punts. If he’s a true anarchist like he wants us all to believe, he’ll do it. The “he only makes crazy decisions to win a game,” excuse isn’t valid any longer. That call last week was ludicrous. It helped his team lose the game, not win it. I think he wants to see how far he can go until someone tries to hold him accountable. He’s like a three-year old in that sense. Seriously Bill, if you want us to believe you’re a true rebel without a cause, then punt on 3rd down. Until then, you’re a rebel without a clue. PATRIOTS

Bengals at Raiders
If you and I go to work and completely suck at what we do, we’d get fired. If we were JaMarcus Russell, we’d get $37 million guaranteed. Funny how life works. Russell is like chicken noodle soup; looks bad, performs worse, and ultimately doesn’t make anything better. By the way, the Bengals lost some points with me this week by signing the abysmal, selfish, and washed-up Larry Johnson. Why bring that cancer into the locker room? BENGALS

Chargers at Broncos
Extra strength Tylenol has made my bout with Swine Flu bearable. When on it, I feel great. My fever goes down, the aches subside, I think I’m on my way to recovery. Six hours later, I feel like trash. For more than 1/3 of the 2009 season, Kyle Orton made Denver believe he could lead them deep into the AFC playoffs. Like my Tylenol high, that run came to an end. Orton has been a major reason the Denver offense has struggled and the team has lost three in a row. Tylenol Orton just isn’t enough to get the Broncos through an entire season. (If Orton was completely healthy, I would take the Broncos for the upset here because I think San Diego is too flawed to beat three solid teams in a row.) CHARGERS

Game I’ll Watch: Chargers at Broncos
Game I’ll DVR:
Jets at Patriots

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Eagles at Bears
You know when you’re sick and so congested that you can’t smell, and therefore taste, anything? You lie around all day with your mouth wide open like a Venus Flytrap, totally oblivious to the fact that the smell protruding from your oral cavities is downright rancid. You know what I’m talking about, right? Well, that’s Jay Cutler. Dude walks around like he’s God’s gift to football. Cutler was supposed to lead Chicago back to prominence. Instead, he somehow managed to top Jake Delhomme for the league lead in interceptions, and continues to play like he has no clue how bad he is. Take a look at Jay-pooh’s numbers in primetime this year (3 games): 73/141, 884 yards, 3 TDs, 11 INT. Now that my friends, is some nasty breath. One could assume I feel pretty comfortable with my Eagles getting a win here. I’m not. As bad as Cutler has been, the Eagles have managed to inexplicably lose to Brian Griese (97 yard, game winning TD drive w/ less than 2 minutes and no timeouts) and Kyle Orton in 2007 and 2008 respectively. For whatever reason, Bears’ quarterbacks make the Eagle defense wet the bed. I don’t know who I think is going to fail worse on Sunday night. Flipping a coin……………….Cutler it is. EAGLES

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Titans at Texans
My fever is resilient. It’s battled back from defeat so many times, I named it “Rocky Balboa.” I woke up one morning feeling remarkable with no fever. Two hours later, it was 101.6. The Tennessee Titans are like my fever. They refuse to go away. Even though it’s inevitable they’ll miss the playoffs, Tennessee continues to terrorize opponents. This will be a real test for the Houston Texans. They need this win in order to contend in the crowded AFC wildcard race. Sooner or later, the Texans will have to return running back Steve Slaton to the starting lineup. His explosiveness is too valuable to keep on the bench. Are the Texans a playoff contender? I’m not sure yet, but I can’t get behind Vince Young in primetime, even if Chris Johnson is his running back. TEXANS

If I were Charles Barkley…

Weekly Reminder: I pick every game so I don’t look like a pansy and only pick the easy ones. This season has been an overwhelming embarrassment. I’ve been picking lines since my sophomore year in college and have never performed this poorly. I know there’s still time to right the ship, but I might as well scuttle this vessel and sink with my 2009 performance. There’s always next year. My goal is to be around 60% at season’s end (unlikely). As is the weekly custom, there is one over/under as well (because they’re too much fun not to have at least one).

Picks
Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers (-3) (Line as of 11/19, 5:01PM ET)
Cleveland Browns (+3.5)
at Detroit Lions
Buffalo Bills (+9) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Indianapolis Colts (-2) at Baltimore Ravens
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-7)
San Francisco 49ers (+7) at Green Bay Packers
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings (-11)
New Orleans Saints (-11) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Washington Redskins (+11) at Dallas Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals (-9) at St. Louis Rams
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-11)
Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders (+10)
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (+6.5) (According to ESPN.com)

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Chicago Bears

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-4.5)

Last Week: 7 – 7 – 1
Season: 63 – 64 – 2

Over/Under
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens Over 44

Last Week: 1 – 0 – 0
Season: 6 – 4 – 0

(Lines as of 11/21, 11:44AM ET, from bodog)

One Comment

  1. Rick

    impressive how you kept the theme the whole way. perfect timing for playoff fever.

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