Time for Eagles to clock out of season
The NFL is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
Some things to consider from Week 10:
• If you put a $100 down on a four-team parlay, picking the four NFC West teams to win outright, last weekend in a Las Vegas sports book, you would have won a cool $8,400, according to R.J. Bell, handicapper at Pregame.com.
• The Broncos beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Their quarterback completed two passes in the win.
• Kevin Kolb, signed to a $54 million deal and given $21 million guaranteed in July, is 1-6 as the starter in Arizona this season. John Skelton is 2-0.
• Rex Ryan cursed at a fan.
Okay, well not everything was a surprise last weekend.
By nailing the Patriots, Saints, Rams and Bears wins on Sunday, I managed a respectable 9-7 record last weekend, bolstering my record to 96-45 on the year. Get on the bus! We're rolling.
Now, let’s dig into this week’s Cheat Sheet.
Week 10 record: 9-7
Overall 2011 record: 96-45
Week 11 Cheat Sheet trivia question of the week
Including six catches Sunday night against the Jets, New England wide receiver Wes Welker leads all NFL players with 504 receptions since he joined New England in 2007. He is the fastest player to record 500 receptions with one team (70 games), surpassing the mark previously held by which active NFL receiver?
Week 11 impress your colleagues water cooler fact of the week
With Tyler Palko, Tim Tebow and Matt Leinart all slated to go, there will be three lefties not named Michael Vick starting NFL games this weekend. If Vick is healthy next weekend, 12.5 percent of the league's starting quarterbacks will be left-handed.
Now, let’s get to the picks:
New York Jets at Denver: Want to get punched in the face by a former NFL quarterback on TV? Of course you do! Go tell any of the ex-QBs-turned-analysts that Tim Tebow has the ability to “will his team to victories." Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, Dan Marino, you name 'em — they all hate that. And as much as I laugh at such a ridiculous statement, I really don’t have a better explanation as to why the Broncos are 3-1 since turning to their lefty H-back at quarterback. Whether it’s because of him or not, they’re a game out of first place with Tebow under center. Broncos fans surely aren’t complaining. The home crowd, pumped up by the under-the-lights element and a national TV audience, will be too much for the Jets to handle on such a short turnaround. Tim Terrific! Maybe Josh McDaniels was on to something, after all.
The pick: Broncos 20, Jets 16
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET games
Carolina at Detroit: The Panthers offense came crashing back to earth Sunday in a 30-3 loss to the Titans. Carolina came into the game against Tennessee ranked fifth in the league in total offense and averaging 415 yards and more than 23 points per game. Of Carolina's 13 possessions Sunday, though, seven ended without a first down. Detroit’s offense is in desperate need of a terrible defense to get its groove back against. The Lions get their gift here.
The pick: Lions 30, Panthers 21
Oakland at Minnesota: Will the real Carson Palmer please stand up? Palmer has played in three games this year, and in those games he has looked a) absolutely lost, b) mildly confused and c) beyond brilliant. I think we’re going to see something in between options B and C in this one. And that’s more than enough to get by the struggling Vikings defense.
The pick: Raiders 27, Vikings 21
Tampa Bay at Green Bay: The Baby Bucs were the youngest team in the league and played well beyond their years in their 10-6 campaign a season ago. This year? They’re the youngest team in the league playing like a bunch of undisciplined kids. Coach Raheem Morris admitted he had "some issues with effort" from several players on his defense while giving up two bad long touchdown passes that resulted in their third straight loss and fourth in five games on Sunday. Quarterback Josh Freeman’s not the same player he was a year ago, the offensive line is losing at the line of scrimmage and the defense is an absolute mess. The Bucs are allowing 6.39 yards per play this season. In the past 20 years, the only NFL defense that gave up more was the 2008 Lions, at 6.41. Detroit was 0-16 that year. Things don’t get any easier this week with a road trip to Green Bay.
The pick: Packers 35, Buccaneers 10
Buffalo at Miami: In the past two games, Buffalo has been outscored 71-18. Three weeks ago, this Dolphins game might have looked like an easy W. Now? Not quite. Center Eric Wood joins Shawne Merriman and Kyle Williams on the injured reserve, and that once-sizzling offense is now a sputtering mess. I think Fitzpatrick and the Bills find a way, but it will come down to the final drive. The Bills aren't done yet. But if they lose this one, they might be.
The pick: Bills 23, Dolphins 20
Cincinnati at Baltimore: Remember that girl in high school who seemed to magically turn into a carbon copy of whatever guy she dated? When she was hooking up with the stoner, hippie guy, she was wearing Grateful Dead shirts and hemp necklaces. When she dated the preppy dude, she was decked in Abercrombie and J. Crew. The skater? She had Vans on. That girl. Those are the 2011 Ravens. They play up to the competition when its good, and play down to the competition when its bad. They’ll bring their A game and beat the Bengals and Niners the next two weeks. But watch out for those two games against the Browns.
The pick: Ravens 31, Bengals 17
Jacksonville at Cleveland: You know that game that’s put on the little crappy 1970s TV in the very back corner of the sports bar? The game that has CBS’ 11th-team broadcasters and has zero fantasy football relevance whatsoever? That’s this one, here. I was one of 12 people outside of Cleveland and St. Louis to watch the Browns-Rams last week, and can confidently tell you that it was far harder to watch than Jags-Colts. The Browns are struggling on offense, and Phil Dawson’s missed 22-yard field-goal attempt Sunday marked a season low. It gets worse here. Take the Jags.
The pick: Jaguars 24, Browns 20
Dallas at Washington: I said it last week, and I’ll say it again — I don’t think the Redskins win another game all year. I was very critical of the Shanahan's when the Redskins opted against drafting a quarterback last April. (Watch that here.) They’re paying for that now. If there was a young quarterback under center, there would be something to watch and build on each Sunday. Grossman and Beck? C’mon, this wasn’t going to end pretty.
The pick: Cowboys 27, Redskins 16
Sunday, 4 pm ET games
Arizona at San Francisco: I’ve been accused of being overly critical of Kevin Kolb this season, but look at what the Cardinals are doing with him on the bench. Can they win in San Francisco? With a hobbling Kolb at quarterback? No. With John Skelton? Well . . . OK, no. No they can’t. San Fran’s the real deal. They'll win this one, avoiding a letdown game before the Harbaugh Bowl on Thanksgiving.
The pick: 49ers 31, Cardinals 13
Seattle at St. Louis: Remember when the NFC West was viewed as an absolute joke of a division and the laughingstock of the league? Well, the mighty NFC West was the NFC’s Best last weekend, going 4-0, and beating four different opponents outside the division. Sam Bradford didn’t look perfect in the gusty winds out in Cleveland but managed to secure the team’s second win in three weeks. The Rams are going to be a tough out at home the rest of the way. Gimme St. Louis.
The pick: Rams 31, Seahawks 20
Tennessee at Atlanta: Hey, whatta ya know — a Titans pass rush actually does exist! Although it took nine weeks to get going, the Titans defense showed it had the ability to get to the quarterback last Sunday vs. Carolina, sacking Cam Newton five times and living in the backfield for much of the game. And guess what? Chris Johnson made an appearance, too! CJ625 broke 100 yards for the second time this season. With Matt Schaub out for Houston, a little momentum after Sunday’s win in Carolina and some newfound hope for a division title — gimme the Titans in an upset special in this one.
The pick: Titans 34, Falcons 27
San Diego at Chicago: Back when the Chargers were 4-1 and atop the AFC West, all the talking heads on TV did that whole “This isn’t the same Norv Turner” schpiel on the studio shows. I told you to slooooow down and take a look at who the Chargers had beaten. (Here’s that one.) Wins over the Vikings, Chiefs, Broncos and the Dolphins didn’t wow me then, and four straight losses didn’t do much to make me feel better. The Bears are legit. The Chargers? They’re just not. As my buddy Ditro says about every team who's not his Giants, Packers or Steelers: "They're paper tig-ahs."
The pick: Bears 31, Chargers 21
Philadelphia at NY Giants: After the DeSean Jackson alarm clock incident on Saturday, I promptly made about 11 too many “Dreaming Team” jokes on Twitter. I apologize for that, folks. As for this one, I’ve seen the Eagles beat the Giants in Giants Stadium too many times to simply assume Big Blue will notch the victory. But, man, Philly looked bad last week. Whether it was because of his cracked ribs, I’m not sure, but Michael Vick was awful, averaging 3.8 yards per attempt and completing less than half of his passes. That Giants' pass rush can eat that Eagles offensive line alive. Gimme the Giants, officially putting the “Dream Team” to sleep for the year.
The pick: Giants 24, Eagles 20
Kansas City at New England: Before the season, this one was supposed to be about Matt Cassel going up against his former teammate Tom Brady and Scott Pioli going head to head with his former colleagues in New England. Now? It’s Tyler Palko, Jackie Battle and a disheveled Todd Haley in a sand-blasted baseball cap on the road against one of the best home teams in the sport. Yeah, so you’ll probably be watching something else by the third quarter.
The pick: Patriots 37, Chiefs 20
Reader email of the week:
I’m not sure if you were still watching, but I took particular joy in watching Matt Flynn do the Lambeau Leap on Monday night. It’s not every day you get to see your backup quarterback score a touchdown in a blowout, let alone jump into the stands. I’m a Packers fan, so I’ll go on record in saying my favorite Lambeau Leapers were Robert Brooks, Desmond Howard and now Flynn. Who’s your pick?
My favorite Lambeau Leap wasn’t a leap, at all. Before Vinny and The Situation made “The Jersey Shore” famous, Anthony Fasano and I dominated the dance floor at Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant, N.J. in the early 2000s. Here’s my fellow Jersey guy Fasano, doing the FAKE Lambeau Leap two seasons ago.
WEEK 9 CHEAT SHEET TRIVIA ANSWER: Welker’s 500 catches in 70 games with the Patriots breaks the old record of 500 catches in 80 games, set by Anquan Boldin during his days with the Arizona Cardinals. If you’re interested, in 25 games with the Ravens, Boldin has only 107 receptions. That’s not going to cut it.