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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

NFL Week 11 Picks and Previews

Week 10 Thoughts
1) Bonehead play-calling leaves me scratching my head: Now I have never coached in the NFL and I have a full-time job outside of watching sports so I don't have the time to break down tapes of the previous week games as much as a full-time coach would have, yet if I can see something on tape, I find it incredibly shocking that these people being paid a hell of a lot of money fail to see it. There were 2 occasions this week:
(1a) Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Plan: I wrote in my preview of the Eagles-Cardinals game how easy Steven Jackson had trampled all over Arizona before this game, and that should give LeSean McCoy a chance to have a big game, yet I have no idea how he only got 14 carries in a tight game.

McCoy was averaging 5.79 yards per carry, had already scored a TD on the ground, and the Eagles were missing their two top receivers, yet the play-calling did not utilise their advantage. Fine, McCoy did rip off 29 yards from 1 carry, but the Eagles were never in a hole that they had to throw their way out of, and it does make you scratch your head as to what they were thinking.

And all of this is while confirming Michael Vick had broken ribs on the SECOND play of the game...

(1b) Haven't we been through this before with the Baltimore Ravens?: After the loss to Jacksonville, the Ravens Defensive leaders expressed their surprise that Ray Rice had been used so little in the Offensive plays, yet Baltimore's Cam Cameron surpassed that feat this week by having Rice carry just 5 times.

That put immense pressure on Joe Flacco, who continues to fluctuate between the ultimate highs and valley lows, as the Ravens once again lost their iron-grip on the AFC North.

Rice is the best Offensive player on the Ravens team, so to use him so little is another head-scratching moment that has me wondering what the Offensive Co-Ordinators do all week.

2) Talking of the Baltimore Ravens: What is up with this team that has beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers twice, the Houston Texans and the New York Jets, but have lost to Tennessee, Jacksonville and now Seattle?

I did put a warning out that this team seems to play up and down to their opposition, although I was a little surprised to see another preview picking the Ravens because they 'destroy the weaker teams'- maybe last season they did, but they have been poor against the weaker teams on their schedule so far.

It was a tough spot for the Ravens as the game came between the Steelers and the Bengals, but that is no excuse to losing to a team like Seattle. Baltimore fumbled TWO kick-offs in their own half that kind of killed any momentum they picked up when reducing a 13-0 deficit by 7 points, but again there is no excuse.

The defeat also means they have a fight on their hands in the AFC North, while also losing their edge in the race for the Number 1 seed in the AFC, and I wonder if a team that has so many ups and downs can really win in the Play Offs and get to the SuperBowl, surely the aim for this veteran group this season.

In saying all that, I fully expect the Ravens to knock off Cincinnati at home this weekend- it is a 'big' game after all.

3) Congratulations Indianapolis, your QB situation is clear for the next 15 years: The Indianapolis Colts opened up a 2 game lead in the race for the Number 1 Draft Pick next April as they continued to shoot themselves in the foot in a loss to Jacksonville last weekend.

It is clear they have Andrew Luck in mind when Bill Polian says he has spoken to Peyton Manning about drafting a QB high next April.

There are some rumours that that could also mean trading Manning, but I doubt that happens. It is much more likely that the Colts look to get every last drop out of Manning in the next 3 years, allowing Luck to learn the Offense and seamlessly fit into the system in around 2015.

4) Houston looked like being a real contender in the AFC... Until this weekend: Wade Phillips has worked wonders as the Defensive Co-Ordinator in Houston and it looked like the team were heading for big things in the AFC, but they may have suffered the one injury they cannot overcome.

Houston have missed Andre Johnson for a few weeks, while Mario Williams is out, but both of those super-star players' absence has been covered as they team kept winning, but the loss of Matt Schaub this weekend could be the final straw.

That means Matt Leinart will come in as QB and I have little to no faith in him on previous performances. He is lucky enough to come into a system with Arian Foster and Ben Tate running the ball so effectively, and I do think the Texans make the Play Offs in the poor AFC South, but can I see Leinart leading the team to wins against New England? Pittsburgh? Baltimore?

I really like what the Texans have done this season, but I just think the Schaub loss will be too much to overcome, especially in January.

5) The Jets are in a tough position after being swept by the Patriots: The Jets only hope, in my opinion, is to sneak one of the Wild Card spots this season as they are now effectively 2 games behind New England in the race for the AFC East, and the Patriots have one of the weakest schedules left on paper.

That means the Jets can't falter any more down the stretch with teams like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Diego and Buffalo also involved in the mix, while the game on Thursday at Denver is huge as a defeat would see the Broncos tie with the Jets record AND hold the head to head.

Oh, and anyone who hasn't seen what Rex Ryan feels about fans' perceptions of his team and the Patriots, check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57-PDpVwjmg

Power Rankings Top 10
1) Green Bay Packers (9-0): Enough said
2) San Francisco 49ers (8-1): Proving themselves every week
3) Houston Texans (7-3): No we get to see how good the Texans are with Matt Leinart at QB
4) New Orleans Saints (7-3): In control of the NFC South and capable of out-scoring anybody on their day
5) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
6) Chicago Bears (6-3): A real dark horse in the NFC
7) Baltimore Ravens (6-3): Cannot keep losing to bad teams and expect to be taken seriously
8) New York Giants (6-3): Big game against the Eagles this week
9) Cincinnati Bengals (6-3): Lost to the Steelers, now face the Ravens... All questions of this young team will be answered.
10) Dallas Cowboys (5-4): This team looked amazing against Buffalo last time out, and are back in contention in the NFC East.

My Top 5 and Bottom 5
1) Green Bay Packers                          32) Indianapolis Colts
2) Pittsburgh Steelers                           31) Cleveland Browns
3) San Francisco 49ers                         30) Washington Redskins
4) Baltimore Ravens                             29) Seattle Seahawks
5) New Orleans Saints                          28) Minnesota Vikings

Week 11 Pick and Previews
I will be posting up picks for Week 11 over the coming days. As always, you can follow me on Twitter where I will update any time new picks are locked in place.

New York Jets @ Denver Broncos Pick and Preview ( http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12416-New-York-Jets-at-Denver-Broncos.htm)

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12459-Dallas-Cowboys-at-Washington-Redskins.htm)

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12460-Cincinnati-Bengals-at-Baltimore-Ravens.htm)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12461-Tampa-Bay-Buccaneers-at-Green-Bay-Packers.htm)

Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12462-Oakland-Raiders-at-Minnesota-Vikings.htm)

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12463-Buffalo-Bills-at-Miami-Dolphins.htm)

Due to time constraints, I have not been able to write full previews for the remaining picks I have made, but you can find them below.

MY PICKS: New York Jets - 6 Points @ 1.92 BetFred (2 Units)
Dallas Cowboys - 7 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Baltimore Ravens - 6.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 14 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Oakland Raiders + 1 Point @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Miami Dolphins - 1.5 Points @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Carolina Panthers + 7 Points @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Arizona Cardinals + 10 Points @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
St Louis Rams - 2.5 Points @ 2.00 Stan James (2 Units)
San Diego Chargers + 5 Points @ 1.90 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

WEEK 10: 4-6, - 3.74 Units
WEEK 96-2, + 7.04 Units
WEEK 83-5, - 6.44 Units
WEEK 75-4, - 2.61 Units
WEEK 64-4-1, - 2.24 Units
WEEK 55-3, + 3.15 Units
WEEK 4: 4-7, - 6.66 Units
WEEK 3: 4-3-1, + 2.77 Units
WEEK 2: 3-5, - 5.03 Units
WEEK 1: 4-2, + 2.53 Units

SEASON UPDATE42-41-2, - 11.23 Units

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