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Week 11 NFL Picks

The Kansas City defense has been the NFL’s best, holding each opponent to less than 17 points. Can they contain Peyton Manning and the Broncos? (AP Photo/ Bill Wippert)

Last Week:  9 – 5 – 0
Season:      94 – 53 – 0

Welcoming back the McRib (Bye Week)

Cowboys
Bye weeks are for brainstorming. I’m excited to see what new ways the Cowboys find to throw away yet another promising season.

Rams
The Rams are pretty much out of the NFC Wildcard race. However, if the 49ers fall in New Orleans and then lose to the Redskins while the Rams take care of business against Chicago, the Rams will have a real shot at that final playoff berth with a win over the 49ers in Week 13. I know, I know, it’s a lot to ask, but grasping at straws is all the Rams have at this point.

Thursday Recap

Colts 30 at Titans 27
It sounds weird but I gave up on the Titans in the 2nd quarter when they were up 14-3. Here’s why: The Titans drove for touchdowns on their first two drives. The Colts had no answer for Tennessee’s offense and especially, Chris Johnson. After the Colts finally got on the board with a field goal, Tennessee’s poor play calling resulted in a three and out on the ensuing drive. It was 3rd and 1. The Titans rushed for 5 and 4 yards on 1st and 2nd down, respectively. On 3rd down they dropped Fitzpatrick in shotgun in an empty backfield. Obviously, the Titans failed to convert. Though Indianapolis didn’t score on the following drive and the Titans managed to stretch their lead to 17-3 with a field goal (which was aided by over 40 penalty yards courtesy of the Colts), you could tell the Titans were in trouble. Tennessee surrendered a great deal of momentum on that 3rd and 1 and the offense never recovered. It wasn’t until the final drive of the game that Tennessee accumulated more than 40 yards on a single drive.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Jets at Bills
If Rex Ryan didn’t say something outrageous every two weeks we’d concentrate more on how good of a football coach he is. There’s really no reason for the Jets to be in the driver’s seat for the final AFC playoff spot. And yet, there they are, rookie quarterback and all, boasting a better record than the Ravens, Texans, and Steelers. I still think the Bills win this game. Remember what Rob Ryan did to the Cowboys Sunday night? Mike Pettine will aim to do the same for the Bills. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley; Bills -1

Ravens at Bears
Perhaps the two most overrated “tough” teams in the NFL. We always hear about how tough the Ravens are or how hard it is to win in Soldier Field against the Bears defense. Well, the Ravens are pushovers this year and that vaunted Bear defense ranks in the bottom third in nearly every statistic. RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens +3

Browns at Bengals
The Bengals are reeling. It takes a special team to lose in overtime on a safety and then waste the once-a-decade luck of a game-tying Hail Mary the next week. I don’t blame the Bengals for their recent downfall. They lost two of the three best players on the team in Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. It’ll be tough to recover from those injuries and make a deep run in the postseason… if they hang on to get there. I want to pick the Browns but I think the Bengals have one last stand in them. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +5.5

Redskins at Eagles
The Eagles are at home (0 for their last 10) and the Redskins haven’t been as awful recently as everyone thinks. Then again, the Redskins are coached by Mike Shanahan, who has cost his team at least two wins simply by refusing to use Alfred Morris as his closer in the 2nd half. Both offenses rank in the top five in yards per game. Both defenses rank in the bottom six in yards allowed per game. So there’s that. This just feels like a game the Eagles blow. If they’re a legitimate contender for the division title they win this game. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins +4.5

Lions at Steelers
I think it’s time to start over in Pittsburgh. Trade Ben Roethlisberger. Show Mike Tomlin the door. This team hasn’t been good since being Tebowed in the playoffs two years ago. And yes, I’m taking the Steelers because the Lions are still coached by Jim Schwartz. Don’t forget, the Lions are a Cowboys collapse and a dumb coaching move by Marc Trestman away from 4-5. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Steelers +2.5

Falcons at Buccaneers
Thanks, but no thanks. BUCCANEERS If I were Charles Barkley; Buccaneers +1

Cardinals at Jaguars
If I’m a Cardinals fan I fear a Carson Palmer four turnover performance that results in a 24-27 loss to perhaps the worst team in the league. I’m not sure what pictures Rashard Mendenhall has of Bruce Arians, but they must be incredible for Arians to stick with the slow-footed Mendenhall over the explosive rookie Andre Ellington. CARDINALS If I were Charles Barkley; Cardinals -7.5

Raiders at Texans
I thought Houston would win at least 11 games this season. Instead, they’re on a seven game losing streak. They can’t run the football. Their defense is underachieving. They’ve blown so many fourth quarter leads I’ve lost count. I wonder, if Matt Schaub doesn’t throw that pick six in the final minutes against Seattle and the Texans win to move to 3-1, does their season fall apart as it has? I say no. Houston had Seattle beat, went toe-to-toe with the Chiefs and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Colts and Cardinals. 5-4 puts them right in the hunt for the AFC South. Shoulda-coulda-woulda. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans -7

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Chargers at Dolphins
I hated watching the Dolphins play before. Now I avoid them at all cost. The bullying/N-word debate is painfully stupid. 1. “Grown men” and “bullying” shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. I can’t help but laugh when I see those two together. 2. Charles Barkley and Mike Wilbon both admitted this week they use the N-word all the time with friends and they’d appreciate it if white people stopped telling them what they can and can’t say. Fair enough. But don’t be so ignorant to believe you then have the right to turn around and tell someone else what he can or cannot say. Racism isn’t a one-way street. CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers -1.5

49ers at Saints
San Francisco’s playoff lives get hairy if they lose Sunday. The Cardinals, Packers, Bears, and gulp… two NFC East members are within striking distance. San Francisco has one win over a quality team – the Packers in Week 1. I see no reason why they’ll get their second in New Orleans. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -3.5

Packers at Giants
I’ve already mentally prepared myself to go to bed on December 1st with the Giants at 6-6. The Packer defense just isn’t good enough to make up for the loss of Aaron Rodgers. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants -5

Vikings at Seahawks
Seattle’s home field advantage needs a decisive win to retake their thrown as the NFL’s best. In their last two outings at home, Seattle struggled to put away the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Titans, winning by only seven. Two weeks ago, the Seahawks trailed the winless Buccaneers by 21 before rallying to win in overtime. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -12.5

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Chiefs at Broncos
This is a classic Andy Reid game. Back in the days when Reid had a stellar defense in Philadelphia, his team almost always came out on top in these games. And if they didn’t, they hung close enough to shock the doubters. Reid is also a master out of the bye week. Sadly, I don’t think the Chiefs can win simply because their offense won’t do enough to outscore Peyton Manning. Though I fully expect the Bronco offense to experience it’s toughest outing of the season. BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs +9

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Patriots at Panthers
What’s this? A Monday night game worth watching live? Congrats, ESPN, you finally did it.
Ok, Panthers, here’s your shot to prove last week was no fluke. One of the NFL’s best teams with the NFL’s best coach is coming out of a bye looking to take you down. They’ve spent the last two weeks game-planning to neuter Cam Newton and expose the slightest weakness in your stellar defense. For the last week you’ve heard almost everyone sing your praises and declaring you NFC contenders. Can you ignore the praise? Can you stay hungry after such a vindicating win last week? If you win this game, I’m bumping you from NFC contenders to title contenders. (I’m dubious.) PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots +2.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley…
Last Week: 8 – 6 – 0
Season:    70 – 71 – 5


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