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Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 11 NFL Predictions: Teasers of the Week

Chiefs -1 & Jets -.5
Many people are torn when it comes to the 2010 version of the NYJ.  They are not dominating teams like people expected them to, yet they continue to pull out late victories.  This is the sign of a great team.  Could they have lost to DET and CLE?  Yes.  Should they have lost to both of them? Probably.  Yet they still sit atop the division and now play a demoralized HOU team at home.  They are favored by a touchdown and according to my analysis they should be.  HOU's defense is god awful bad.  NY will be able to drive the ball and score points in the air or on the ground.   NY haven't been great in the red zone this year, but that could change on Sunday going up against one of the worst red zone defenses in the NFL.   NY will also control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.   HOU can put up points, but NY have the ability to slow them down and cause some turnovers.  If the game was only 30 minutes long I'd give HOU a chance to cover, but over the course of the game I don't see how they can win this one outright.  Tease NY down and put away any doubt.  

Chiefs -1 & Steelers -1.5
I had PIT winning last week against a wounded NE team.  That turned out to be a bad pick and after watching how it unfolded I can't say I'm really surprised.  I knew Brady would attack that defense with the short passing game to compensate for the run, but I didn't anticipate it completely dismantling them.  Thankfully for us, OAK are not built like NE.  They rely heavily on running the ball and throwing bombs in the air.  This is not how you beat the PIT defense.  This is a horrible matchup for OAK and traveling across the country isn't going to help them.  PIT haven't looked great on offense since Ben has returned and if they don't fix it soon it could be time to start questioning their ability to go deep in the playoffs.  For our purposed, we don't need to look that far ahead right now.  They should be able to generate enough points this week to build a safe cushion.  We still don't know how healthy Asomugha will be, but his presence alone won't be enough to stop PIT from winning this game. 

Chiefs -1 & Titans -1
I've already broken down both teams already in my regular picks, but this is my favorite teaser of the week.  I expect both to cover the standard line and love them to win straight up.  You won't find me saying things like "lock of the week" because I don't believe they exist in sports, but if I did this teaser would be the closest I would get.  If WSH or ARI win on Sunday I'll be absolutely shocked.

Ravens PK & Saints -1.5 & Chargers PK
The bad news about heavy home favorites?  Double-digit favorites don't cover as often as you would think.  It's very easy for lesser teams to score garbage points late in the game.  Good teams could take the foot off the gas instead of adding an extra field goal or touchdown.  They also don't get as fired up against teams they are expected to dominate.  The NFL is a league of parity and underdogs can easily cover double-digits spreads on any given Sunday.   For these reasons I love to tease them down under 3 points.  

CAR's defense is actually not all that bad.  They are on the field a lot and can't afford to have breakdowns or they lose.  Despite the stats and the circumstances they have played ok this year.  Having said that, BAL come into this game with huge advantages all over the field.  CAR is averaging a league low 4.5 points a game from long drives.   This is reflected in their red zone and third down stats.  They simply can't score enough to stay in a game.  I could go on about this matchup, but this is enough reason to take BAL in a pick em.

NO is coming off a bye to host the up and down Seahawks.  Hasselbeck says he'll play even with a screwed up wrist on his non-throwing hand, but will it really matter?   NO is going to dominate the game in the air on both sides.  SEA don't have the kind of power running game needed to keep Brees off the field and they can't sustain drives.  Even if SEA gets in the red zone they aren't going to score touchdowns.   NO is slowly starting to get healthy and they are looking more like the defending champs than they did early in the season.  They should have little trouble winning by at least a field goal.

Lastly, I love SD to win straight up at home against DEN.  You might be hesitant about this based on how SD has looked this season and how DEN looked last week, but you can ignore all that.  SD is favored by 10 points with good reason.   They are going to dominate this game on the ground and Rivers was the first half MVP.  He might lose that award if Vick keeps playing the way he is, but Rivers has been on fire game in and game out.  Try to name his receivers over the last few weeks.  Even with no-names he puts up over 300 yards without much trouble.  They haven't been great on the road, but they are not easy to play at home.  SD might not be as healthy this week as they hoped to be coming off a bye, but they hold advantages over DEN across the entire board.  There isn't a single category where DEN matches up better.   Yes, that even includes special teams.  
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