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Pigskin Pick'Em: NFL week 11

Posted: November 13, 2013 - 8:55pm

What do the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars have in common? They all suck at football. That’s not just me spouting off at the mouth folks. These teams have proven through a series of poor performances that they do indeed stink. Prior to last weekend the teams had combined for one victory! A single win in 24 opportunities. Amazingly, the trio had yet to win a game on American soil. Minnesota’s penultimate performance came against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Wembley Stadium. Wembley is in London, England. You can’t make this stuff up and yet last week all three emerged victorious.

My job at the Clarion is to tell you which NFL teams are going to win and by how many points. Albert Einstein had an easier time developing the Theory of Relativity. Picking 80% winners against the spread for an entire season would be the physics equivalent of making intergalactic travel possible, in a single lifetime. Chew on that apple if you’re bored.

That’s why I had the Sultan of Sides Secretary (my girlfriend, hopefully she doesn’t read this...) create the Magic NFL Dart Board. The dart board removes intelligence from the picking process and it’s had admirable success. Following a 7-6-1 record ATS a week ago the column stands at a satisfactory 76-62-9 on the season. Gambling is a win or lose proposition, there is no grey area, and I’m not above doing whatever it takes to win. So continue reading with confidence knowing that I’ve written the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me Roger Goodell.

Indianapolis Colts @
TENNESSEE TITANS +3

The Indianapolis Colts travel to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans in a critical AFC South contest. With a win the Colts would improve to 7-3 while seizing a three game lead in the division. A victory won’t come easy for Indy. Just a few short days ago the Colts never got out of the barn against the lowly St. Louis Rams en route to a 38-8 lambasting. Last week Tennessee became the only team this season to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars. A short week favors a desperate home team. Titans win 24-17

New York Jets @
BUFFALO BILLS -1

I’m certain I’ve been on the wrong side of every contest the New York Jets have been in this season. The mercurial franchise has proven impossible to predict. Remarkably after ten weeks of football Rex Ryan’s group heads to Buffalo contending for a playoff berth in the AFC. Like the rest of the Jets, rookie quarterback Geno Smith has been inconsistent. Smith’s poor play away from home has led to a 1-3 road record. No team circles the wagon’s better than the Buffalo Bills. Bills win 20-17

Baltimore Ravens @
CHICAGO BEARS -3

The defending champion Baltimore Ravens kept their season alive with a dramatic overtime victory last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 4-5 Ravens now look to reach .500 with in a win in Chicago. Baltimore brings a 1-4 record as the visitor into this contest. The Bears will likely be without starting QB Jay Cutler, but Josh McCown has filled in admirably under center in recent weeks. Coin flips favor the home side. Bears win 28-23

Cleveland Browns @
CINCINNATI BENGALS -6

The Red Rocket has fizzled. After three weeks of sterling play Bengals QB Andy Dalton has come crashing back down to Earth. Cincinnati now has to defeat their rivals, the Cleveland Browns, to regain control of the AFC North Division. Cleveland is improved but the Brows carry an unsightly 1-3 record as the road side. The Bengals have yet to lose a home game this season in four contests. Football is a lot like Real Estate. Location, location, location… Bengals win 30-17

Washington Redskins @
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -3

I keep believing the Native Americans, led by Chief Griffin III, will regain their winning ways from a season ago, but each week I’m left disappointed. The Eagles wings were clipped early in the year but Chip Kelly’s offense is starting to resemble his best Oregon Duck teams. Eagles QB Nick Foles has thrown ten touchdown passes against zero interceptions the last two weeks. That’s good. Foles will put up video game numbers at home against an awful Redskins secondary. Eagles win 35-20

DETROIT LIONS @
Pittsburgh Steelers +1

Two weeks ago the vaunted Steel Doilies defense gave up a double nickel against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. FYI, for those of you over 35 years old, giving up a double nickel means the other team put 55 points on the scoreboard. That’s bad. Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, and the faced paced Lions offense must be salivating. Getting Detroit for less than a field goal is a steal. Lions win 31-17

Atlanta Falcons @
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS +1

The 2-7 Atlanta Falcons fly south to challenge the 1-8 Tampa Bay Bucs in a contest which guarantees that one team must emerge victorious. Tampa has been oddly competitive in recent weeks. Their strong play of late finally culminated in their first win of the season last Monday against the Miami Dolphins. Atlanta has all but given up. The Falcons were buried at home last week against the Seattle Seahawks. Somehow the Bucs seem like the smart play. I should get my Clarion NFL writing privileges revoked for that last sentence. Bucs win 23-20

ARIZONA CARDINALS @
Jacksonville Jaguars +7

Jacksonville finally took a lap in victory lane last week against the Tennessee Titans. Can the often helpless Jaguars spoil another playoff hopeful’s season? Arizona enters the contest with a tidy 5-4 mark but a loss would doom the Desert Bats in the hotly contested NFC. It won’t be easy for Arizona, which has a tendency to play to its opponents level, but the Cardinals won’t overlook the one win Jags. Cardinals win 27-17

OAKLAND RAIDERS @
Houston Texans -7

Siding with the Raiders has served me well this year. Oakland is not a good football team but quarterback Terrelle Pryor does just enough with his arm and legs to keep the Raiders competitive. If this isn’t the week Houston returns to the win column, when will they? The Texans have lost a franchise record seven consecutive games. A puzzling run considering the talent on the roster. Case Keenum and company finally get the job done this weekend but fail to cover. Texans win 20-14

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @
Miami Dolphins +1

The fish are fried. Miami’s franchise continues to flounder as allegations of severe bullying/hazing looms over the team. You can imagine what the ensuing media circus has done to the teams focus but perhaps more damaging to the Dolphins on the football field is that they are without two of their starting offensive lineman. Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin were solid contributors, their backups have fallen short of that standard. Ultimately, you can’t win football game with two yards rushing, and that’s what Miami mustered on Monday night behind their patchwork line. How can you possibly side with the Dolphins right now? Chargers win 30-17

San Francisco 49ers @
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -3

New Orleans’ home field advantage ranks right up there with Seattle and Kansas City as the most hostile environment in the NFL. Rest assured the Superdome won’t be friendly to the 49ers this weekend. The Saints offense converted an astounding 40 first downs last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Forty! San Francisco’s defense will prove to be much stiffer competition but New Orleans will find a way to put enough points on the board to cover. Saints win 28-20

Green Bay Packers @
NEW YORK GIANTS -6

The New York Giants began the season with six consecutive losses. Eli Manning couldn’t complete a pass to his own team and Tom Coughlin was the worst coach ever to blow a whistle! Three weeks and three victories later the Giants are only one game behind the NFC East division leaders in the loss column. Only in the NFL. Green Bay is scrambling to find a competent quarterback in wake of Aaron Rodgers injury. Scott Tolzien will be this week’s contestant. Can you name the University Scott Tolzien attended without Google’s assistance? Didn’t think so. Tolzien is unknown for a reason. Giants win 30-20

Minnesota Vikings @
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -13

Thirteen points is probably too many to lay against a surging 2-7 Vikings club but I’m biased. Adrian Peterson torched Seattle last season to the tune of over 200 yards rushing. A prideful Seahawks defense will make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. Seattle expects the return of three injured starters along the offensive line as well as the highly anticipated season debut of Percy Harvin. The 9-1 Seahawks are finally getting healthy. That’s not good for the rest of the NFL. Seahawks win 38-13

Kansas City Chiefs @
DENVER BRONCOS -8

This week’s Sunday Night contest is a fantastic matchup pitting the Kansas City Chiefs, the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFL, against their division rival and AFC favorite Denver Broncos. Kansas City is one of the few teams in the NFL with the defensive talent to potentially frustrate Broncos QB/coach Peyton Manning, but can the Chiefs often sluggish offense be productive enough to win a game in the Mile High City? Key stat, Kansas City has not played an opponent this season with a record currently above .500. That indicates the Kansas City’s record is a bit inflated. The game will be close into the second half but ultimately Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense will run away from the visiting Chiefs. Broncos win 28-17

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ Carolina Panthers -3

Monday Night Football redeems itself after last week’s dud of a matchup. The 7-2 New England Brady’s visit Carolina to take on the surging Panthers. One of the hardest things for young up-and-coming teams to do is win the week following a huge victory. How will the Panthers respond on the heels of defeating the San Francisco 49ers a week ago? Patriots win 24-16

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