Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NFL 2016-17 Week 11 Preview & Week 10 MNF Review

Monday Night Football - NY Giants 21, Cincinnati 20 - The Giants and Bengals played another back and forth game on Monday evening, on a pleasantly cool evening in northern New Jersey. It seems like this past weekend was chock full of such game! Indeed, the Giants had to overcome a 20-14 deficit to earn a 21-20, come from behind victory - the second one-point win for them on the season, as they move up to 6-3 and remain in second place in the NFC East. For Cincinnati, this was a missed opportunity to get right back into the AFC North, where it appears that every team is struggling.

Week 11 Preview:

Thursday Night Football - New Orleans at Carolina - Well, this is an interesting game! The Panthers appeared to be storming back, well on their way to a third straight win by building up a 17-0 lead over Kansas City, only to lose it in the end. However, they still have been playing much better overall in their last three games. But the Saints have been playing better than the way that they started, too. Plus, New Orleans won the first meeting between these two teams, and with time running out on the season, if the Saints do manage to win this and earn the sweep over the Panthers, you can probably stick a fork in the Panthers for this season no matter what they would do the rest of the way. Neither team can really afford to lose this game, so that makes this game quite intriguing! My pick: Carolina

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - The Steelers have uncharacteristically dropped four straight games, although the Browns have, rather typically, lost 10 straight to start this season as the league's sole remaining winless team. But Cleveland has to win sometimes, don't they? And what better time could there be but this coming week, against their tormentors, the Steelers, while Pittsburgh is reeling themselves, having lost four straight? I suspect that the Browns are really going to try, too! They will put together something strong, and this will be a tight contest. But in the end, it is hard to go against Pittsburgh. My pick: Pittsburgh

Baltimore  at Dallas - I've got to tell you that the Cowboys have looked mighty impressive thus far this season. They pulled off eight straight wins, the most since 1977, and own the best record in the NFL right now. The Ravens have been improving lately, to their own credit. Maybe they can give Big-D a run for their money. However, it would seem highly unlikely that Baltimore can go into Dallas and pull such a major upset off. Smart money is with the 'Boys. The offensive line is too big, and with fresh new faces at running back and quarterback, the Ravens will have a hard time containing the Cowboys on offense. My pick: Dallas

Jacksonville at Detroit - The Jaguars have been playing a bit better these past few weeks, although the Lions have proven to be the comeback team of the season, the "Cardiac" team for sure so far! They are at home, and they certainly seem to be the better team. They are on the rise, while all of the rest of the NFC North are teetering on the brink, so this is a golden opportunity that the Lions simply cannot afford to miss! My pick: Detroit

Tampa Bay at Kansas City - Both teams are coming off impressive wins, with Tampa Bay having picked apart the Bears, while the Chiefs had an incredible, come from behind victory against a tough team, and on the road, at that! Let's just say it clearly: Kansas City is easily the better team, and they have home field advantage, to boot. Barring some kind of a miracle, the Chiefs should win this one, and probably fairly convincingly, at that. My pick: Kansas City

Buffalo at Cincinnati - The Bengals desperately, desperately need a win to get back into the AFC North race. They cannot keep losing while the Ravens and Steelers are also still losing. At some point, Cincinnati needs to show a glimmer of the team that they have been these last few seasons, which is not a playoff powerhouse, but is at least a consistent winner during the regular season. They are at home against a team that has lost three in a row, and Cincy simply has to win this game. Then again, so does Buffalo. A must win for both teams, and one of these teams will likely have their realistic playoff hopes dashed with a loss here. I will go with the home team. My pick: Cincy

Tennessee  at Indianapolis - This is a big divisional showdown for the AFC South! The Titans have been playing some lights out football, while the Colts? Well, not so much, although they did just pull off an impressive road win at Lambeau Field. Still, the Titans are the better team, and despite their usual struggles on the road, I imagine they defeat the Colts in this big game. My pick: Tennessee

Chicago at New York Giants - The Giants are at home again, where they are 4-1 on the season thus far. The Bears are struggling, although they have been playing better in recent weeks. It seems like it should be a no-brainer, although the Giants usually seem to make things overly complicated. This is exactly the kind of game that they have lost in recent seasons, and that is why, if they are serious about qualifying for the playoffs, they absolutely need to avoid a letdown here. Chicago is a desperate team, and that is what makes them dangerous. As a Giants fan, I just want New York to get through this one. My pick: NY Giants

Arizona at Minnesota - It was not all that long ago that the Cardinals were a popular preseason favorite to reach the Super Bowl for the NFC. Even more recently, the Vikings looked dominant, like they were ready to win their division and contend for home field advantage. But times have changed, and both teams desperately need this win. The Cardinals are trying to reach a winning record for the first time all season, while Minnesota is just trying to stay with a winning record, and hoping to avoid a fifth straight loss. This one is a toss-up, but somebody's got to win. My pick: Minnesota

Miami at Los Angeles - The Dolphins are hot, although the Rams, to their credit, finally ended that dreadful losing streak. But the Rams do not have a very solid offense, and the Dolphins punishing ground game, mixed with just how hot a hand they seem to have at the moment, gives them a decisive advantage heading into this one. It is hard to see how the Rams even manage to win this game, frankly. My pick: Miami

New England at San Francisco - The Patriots are coming off a disappointing loss to the Seahawks, but remain as one of the elites of the league, as well as one of the legitimate threats to win it all. The 49ers, in the meantime, have lost eight straight and are among the worst teams in the league. San Francisco did play well last week at Arizona, although that was still a loss. This one, against a New England team that wants to bounce back from the loss last week, will be, too. My pick: New England

Philadelphia at Seattle - The Eagles are consistently inconsistent, so this season is par for the course with them. Sometimes, they manage to win games that are surprising, and they almost always lose games that they should not. Winning at Seattle is a tall order, though. Too tall to realistically expect Philly to do it. Seattle is looking like they are returning back to elite form. My pick: Seattle

Sunday Night Football - Green Bay at Washington - Had this been a few weeks ago, I would have thought that this rematch of last year's playoff contest would be a great match between two evenly divided teams. But the Packers look surprisingly vulnerable thus far, and Washington should be tough at home. Too tough for a reeling Green Bay squad that needs to end the bleeding, before it takes them out of the playoff picture altogether. But I do not believe that they will stop the bleeding quite this week, yet. My pick: Washington

Monday, November 21  - Houston at Oakland - The Raiders used to own Monday Night Football. But since they have not been particularly good these past few seasons, they hardly ever play there anymore. However, Oakland has been very impressive this season, and they are playing another division leader (and a relatively weak one, at that) before their home fans. Look for them to be extremely motivated, as they should win this one very convincingly! My pick: Raiders

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