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Week 11 picks


NFL Week 11
 
Last Week: 9-4-1 (.679); This Season: 89-56-1 (.613)
 
Sunday, Nov. 18
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) at Houston Texans (8-1)
I hate to be a spoil sport, because Gary Kubiak would not want his players looking ahead, but face it: This is the worst game of the day competition-wise. Many prognosticators have already handed Houston home-field in the AFC playoffs. The Texans follow this game with a tale of two seasons down the stretch. The road season in the next three (at Detroit, at Tennessee, at New England) and the more-difficult-than-it-looked-in-September final three (Indy, Minnesota, at Indy). I like the Texans a lot, but it's not inconceivable they could lose three of those six.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)
Talked to Carlos Dunlap, the underrated Bengal pass rusher, the other day. Proud of how the Bengals beat the Giants -- with pressure. "All that talk about how good the Giants' rush is," he said. "We wanted to show we could play with them." To me, the Bengals' defensive front -- Dunlap and Michael Johnson at end (with Robert Geathers playing a lot) and Domata Peko and Geno Atkins at tackle -- is the most underrated position group in football. Not close.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX)Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) at Washington Redskins (3-6)
Get a haircut, Nick Foles. Oh, some football analysis? I don't like the retooled Eagles D's ability to frustrate Robert Griffin III, mainly because I haven't seen the Todd Bowles Eagles scare the quarterback consistently yet. BigDay, BobGriff.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Cleveland Browns (2-7) at Dallas Cowboys (4-5)
Has anyone stopped to figure out that if Dallas wins this game and then the Thanksgiving tilt with the traveling-on-a-short-week Redskins, the Cowboys will be a half-game behind the New York Giants (on bye this week) for the division lead by the time the Giants play next -- against the Packers, at home, on Thanksgiving weekend?
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX)Green Bay Packers (6-3) at Detroit Lions (4-5)
I am convinced Aaron Rodgers could take Mark Sanchez's receivers, or the ones the Jets cut this summer, and win with them. That's no knock at James Jones -- who I highly, highly respect -- or Randall Cobb. Just making the point that very good quarterbacks can survive when their best receivers are out.
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX)Arizona Cardinals (4-5) at Atlanta Falcons (8-1)
Poor Arizona. How odd is it that we're in mid-November, the Cards are a game shy of .500, and their only road win came against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? I don't see No. 2 coming at the Falcons, who will be pumped to win after their first loss at the Saints. I'd be giving the ball to Jacquizz more and Turner less, however, if I were Dirk Koetter.
 
1 p.m. ET (CBS)New York Jets (3-6) at St. Louis Rams (3-5-1)
Before the game, Mark Sanchez goes missing. Coaches, trainers, everyone looks for Sanchez. "Found him!" says the bus driver. Sanchez chain-smoking behind the bus in the Ed Jones tunnel, hands shaking uncontrollably. "I give up," he says, misery in his voice. "Play Tebow. Please, just play Tebow!"
 
1 p.m. ET (FOX)Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) at Carolina Panthers (2-7)
Interesting chat this week with Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik about the Bucs' offense, which is Chargers-of-the-'80s right now. He said when Greg Schiano interviewed Giants aide Mike Sullivan to be offensive coordinator, he stressed that he didn't want the Tom Coughlin offense or the Kevin Gilbride offense or the Eli Manning offense -- he wanted the Mike Sullivan offense. And here it is, in all its splendor. Sullivan, I believe, will do Sunday what he's done in the last five weeks (since Oct. 1, the Bucs average 35.6 points a game, mighty New England 33.0), which is bang at the Carolina front with Doug Martin, troll the middle with Mike Williams and Dallas Clark, and threaten deep with Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood.
 
4:05 p.m. ET (FOX)New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-6)
In the old days of the AFL, this would be Namath-Lamonica, the air filled with footballs. Drew Brees and Carson Palmer will throw for 800 yards between them. Saints turn it over less, win.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Denver Broncos (6-3)
A Broncos win, and this division's over; San Diego would have to make up four games on Denver in the last six weeks, and the Broncos' schedule the rest of the way was invented by Mister Softee (Chiefs twice, Browns and Raiders once). A Broncos win, and Dean Spanos can start figuring out if he's replacing the coach and the GM, or just the coach. Somehow, I think he's thought quite a lot about that already. My gut feeling is it'll be both if the Chargers stay on the current path.
 
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)Indianapolis Colts (6-3) at New England Patriots (6-3)
Tenth straight season these teams have met, first without Peyton Manning in the Colts' employ. That's okay. Andrew Luck's a mini-Manning, on pace for a 4,677-yard season as one of the most precocious rookies ever to take the field in the NFL. Luck will find some plays to be made against the Patriots' generous secondary, even one welcoming Aqib Talib (if activated) to the field for the first time. Tom Brady will find a few more.
 
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)Baltimore Ravens (7-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
It's Byron Leftwich for the Steelers Sunday night. Byron Sandwich, if Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger get their way. NBC in mourning over the Big Ben boo-boo. Song heard on Sunday Night Football poohbahs' iPods: While Fred Gaudelli's Guitar Gently Weeps.
 
Monday, Nov. 19
 
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)Chicago Bears (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers">49ers (6-2-1)
I like Colin Kaepernick more than Jason Campbell at this stage of their careers, mainly because Kaepernick has had much more experience piloting the Niners' offense over the past two years than Campbell has had in Chicago this year -- his only one behind Jay Cutler. Starter alert, however: If Alex Smith plays and Cutler doesn't (both suffered Week 10 concussions), or vice versa, I like the team with the starter.
 
Week 11 Fantasy Projections               Start 'em, Sit 'em
 

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