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NFL Pro Football 2010 Week 11 Picks

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 11 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | November 18-21

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, November 18

Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins (-1, 39 1/2) 8:20 pm - Here we have two teams which pulled off a couple of the more surprising wins of the past week. The Bears buried Minnesota and probably ended the fantasy that the Vikings were a "good" football team, but the Dolphins survived injuries to two QBs and still spanked the Titans pretty well, knocking them around to the tune of a 29-17 beating.

Both teams sport quality defenses, but the Miami win seems to be the greater of the two, since Minnesota has become its own worst enemy (4 turnovers). The Dolphins also get to remain home for the second straight week, a pretty important detail when it comes to a short work week. Plus, the cold weather Bears may not be as acclimated to the heat of the deep South, so sure, Tyler Thigpen and his gang of merry running backs should manage a win here.

Prediction: Dolphins 20 Bears 17

Sunday, November 21

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-5 1/2, 44) 1:00 pm - Buffalo finally gutted out a win after close calls the previous four weeks, but the question is whether they're capable of turning that trick on the road, against what's supposed to be a pretty good offense in Cincinnati, but hasn't really lived up to the hype.

The reality of the situation is that this is a pretty even match. While the Bills are 1-8, the Bengals are similarly mediocre, at 2-7, and their offense has produced only 2.2 more points per game than Buffalo, and their defense is only marginally better.

Buffalo at least has players who don't like to be embarrassed, which is probably more than one can say for some of the Bengals troops. Hard to believe that if Cincy loses here they might be in line for the top draft pick. Might they dump Carson Palmer, who hasn't produced in crunch time, in favor of Ryan Mallet or Andrew Luck?

Prediction: Bills 26 Bengals 23

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-6 1/2, 46) 1:00 pm - What the Cowboys did to the Giants last week was emblematic of this season in the NFL. Teams which are given up for dead suddenly rise up and smite the next opponent (see Denver, also). However, teams like this revert to form after a week or so, making fools of believers and geniuses out of dunces who just pick dogs (the dunces are winning big this season).

Dallas woke up against one of their divisional opponents in a game they had to win. It was also the first game for new head coach Jason Garrett, but the newness will wear off the minute the players take time to review the standings and see that they are still a 2-8 team and just playing out a string.

Detroit has other issues, paramount among them getting the ball into the end zone, which they were only able to do once against the Bills last weekend (and that with just 14 seconds left in the game). Shaun Hill hit on 29 of 50 passes, but the Lions were only 5-of-19 on third downs and will need to do better if they intend to win. The line here will likely go to seven, since the Cowboys are at home, but the Lions should keep it close or even win late.

Prediction: Cowboys 23 Lions 19

Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7, 41 1/2) 1:00 pm - The Steelers were picked apart by Tom Brady Sunday night, so what do they do? Fire the place kicker, Jeff Reed, and replace him with Shaun Suisham. Sure, Reed missed a 26-yard field goal, but the Steelers need to score TDs not FGs, and Reed's argument that Heinz Field is torn up and shoddy is plausible.

What doesn't fly are any excuses the Steelers may have for their loss to the Patriots. New england just tore them up, plain and simple. It happens when you get a ht QB against a worn-down defense, and most of the blame should be directed at Roethlisberger, who threw the pick-6 to James Sanders which turned a manageable 23-10 score into a 29-10 blowout midway through the third quarter.

The line here is a joke. The Raiders have been playing at a high level for three weeks, have won three straight, are coming off a bye and are tied for first in the AFC West. Sure, they're 5-4, but the Steelers are only 6-3. This will be a very physical game and the Raiders will probably win it of only because they have younger players in better shape.

Prediction: Raiders 21 Steelers 17

Houston Texans at NY Jets (-7, 46) 1:00 pm - The Jets have to be the luckiest team on the planet. Their last two games should have resulted in losses, but mistakes by their opponents allowed them to sneak off with wins. It's unlikely they'll need a lot of luck to beat the Texans, who have to have a deflated feeling after their end-of-game meltdown last week against the Jaguars.

Houston's offense will be hard-pressed to score on the Jets, who defend the pass better than just about any other team in the league and are third in points allowed, at 16.7 per game. That's a far cry from the Houston defense, which is 31st, at 28.6. Not a lot of analysis needed beyond that. Houston needs a win badly, but this is a very tough place to get one.

Prediction: Jets 34 Texans 17

Baltimore Ravens (-10, 37 1/2) at Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm - The fattest line on the board probably will result in the biggest blowout of the weekend. While it's tough to give up more than a touchdown to any team in the league, the Panthers are simply awful, scoring just 11.6 per game on average, worst in the league.

Despite losing a close one to the Falcons last week, the Ravens still find themselves tied with the Steelers atop the AFC North and wins, at this juncture, don't come any easier than this one should.

Prediction: Ravens 27 Panthers 10

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Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1, 44) 1:00 pm - Both of these teams are playing better than many people expected, and the Jags, in particular, could claim first place with a win and losses by the Titans and Colts in the AFC South.

Jacksonville lucked out last week in Houston and may be feeling pretty good about themselves, but the Browns haven't taken any prisoners lately and will be tough to defeat, even though they are just 3-6. Last week's loss to the Jets could easily have gone the other way. Colt McCoy still has much to learn in the NFL, but he's shown considerable talent and determination the past few weeks.

Additionally, Cleveland's defense has been improving all season, while Jacksonville's has gone straight downhill, now ranking 28th overall, allowing 27.8 points per game. Like Cleveland's other recent wins, this one may not be close at all.

Prediction: Browns 31 Jaguars 17

Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans (-7, 44) 1:00 pm - Washington was lit up by Michael Vick and the Philadelphia offense on Monday night, to the point that many fans tuned out after just the first quarter. While Vick was spectacular, the Redskins missed many tackles and didn't finish plays, exacerbating the situation into a complete meltdown.

Tennessee had no excuses in their loss to Miami except that they ran into a determined team at home. Three turnovers surely didn't help, but the Titans have proven resilient all season and still look like they're playoff-bound.

The simple math says that Washington doesn't have the personnel to keep up with the better teams in the league, despite Donovan McNabb heroics. Eventually, the Redskin defense will wear down and Vince Young, Kenny Britt and Chrsi Johnson will take care of the rest.

Prediction: Titans 31 Redskins 14


Arizona Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs (-8, 44) 1:00 pm - Every team has bad days or runs into an opponent that just has a level of intensity that cannot be matched on a given day, and that's likely what happened to KC when they ran into a buzz-saw in Denver last week, resulting in a 49-29 loss, their worst defeat of the season.

The Cardinals are another case altogether. After being pounded, 36-18, by Seattle, the 3-6 Cardinals have lost four straight and some of the players may be thnking about their future or the off-season instead of focusing on winning a football game. At least that's the perception. Arizona wasn't expected to do much after losing Kurt Warner to retirement and Anqwan Boldin via trade, and that prediction seems to be coming home as the season progresses. That line is kind of fat and tempting, but many favorites are going to win and cover this week. If you have any understanding of the line-setting function in Vegas, there's no way to take the points here.

Prediction: Chiefs 28 Cardinals 10

Green Bay Packers (-3, 44) at Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm - OK, have we had enough of Brett Favre, coach "Chilly" and the soap opera that is the Minnesota Vikings? If Green Bay can't find a way to beat these chumps by more than a field goal, then how did they compile their 6-3 record, with their only losses all coming by exactly three points?

The Packers are one of the elite teams in the league, and though the Vikings may come to the game looking like they want to play hard and win, under the surface lies so much tension, derision and disunity that they cannot possibly have the right focus. There are those who believe the 3-6 Vikings can still produce miracles and make the playoffs, but after this game there will be fewer believers as the season unravels.

Prediction: Packers 27 Vikings 17

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2010, 2011, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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