After reinventing myself in week number nine, I took another couple of steps back last week. I still have plenty of time to crawl back to .500, especially now that all of the bye weeks are over. Last week was unusual though. Of the 14 games last week, 10 of the underdogs beat the spread, and of those underdogs, eight of them won the game outright. That is very unusual. Certainly every favorite isn't going to win or cover every week, but to have 10 of them not do so doesn't happen very often. May be I am trying to make excuses for my poor picks, but I did try to pick some underdogs to cover. Some teams played very poorly. Hopefully, I can start to get my act together again and make some correct predictions. On to the picks for week number 11.
As always, home team in CAPS.
JACKSONVILLE 3 San Diego
This should actually be a pretty good game. It looks like the Chargers have a leg up on the AFC West, but this year that isn't saying much. The Jags are right in the thick of it for the playoff chase, but they can't afford any let downs. I think the Chargers are the better team here no matter where they play. They will likely make the playoffs, and I just think Jacksonville can be too inconsistent. I like San Diego here.
INDIANAPOLIS 14 1/2 Kansas City
Peyton Manning had his worst day as a pro last week, but the Colts biggest concern might be the health of Dwight Freeney. He might be out for the year. Lucky for the Colts, they are playing Kansas City, who really isn't very good. The points are high for an undermanned Colts team, but I think they should be able to cover, especially after last week's bad game.
Cleveland 3 BALTIMORE
The Browns are favored in yet another game, but they deserve to be. They have played pretty decent this year. The Ravens have not been, especially the offense. It is tough to imagine the Ravens losing at home to Cleveland, even with their improved team. The Ravens have been one of the league's biggest disappointments, but I think they can pull this game out.
Pittsburgh 9 NEW YORK JETS
The Jets are coming off of a bye week, but come to think of it they are coming off of a bye year. It will make no difference in this game at all. The Steelers are rolling right now, and the Jets are not going to get in their way. The Jets are vying for the number one pick in the April draft, and the way they are going right now. they are in pretty good shape.
Tampa Bay 3 ATLANTA
Seeing the Bucs faovored is unusual, but they are playing the Falcons. They are coming off a bye week too, but they probably didn't need it to prepare for the Falcons, who are still not very good despite winning last week. The Bucs aren't that good either, but are the better team here. I will take them on the road.
CINCINNATI 3 Arizona
The Bengals finally won last week, of course because I didn't pick them. They still have a lot of work to do though, and they aren't very good. Neither are the Cardinals, though they did upset the Lions last week. This is a tough call, and was a candidate for Stinker of the Week. I will go with Cincinnati though, I guess just because they are at home.
PHILADELPHIA 10 1/2 Miami
This is a lot of points for Philadelphia, considering they have not played well this year. Neither have the Dolphins, who have been awful. Ricky Williams was just reinstated, so the Dolphins have a big decision to make regarding his future. Ok, not really. I don't like the big points here, but I have to give them though. I think the Dolphins will win, just not this week.
DALLAS 11 Washington
The Cowboys are playing real well, and I don't see how the trend will not continue this week. The Redskins, as usual, never play consistent ball. The Cowboys are fighting with the Packers for the number one seed in the NFC, and I don't see too many problems here, even though the points are high. I will give them anyway.
New Orleans 1 HOUSTON
Just when everyone thought the Saints were clawing their way back into the playoff chase, they look bad last week against a winless Rams team. The Texans had a bye week, which they needed. This is a tough call, because the Texans play pretty decent at home. I will take the Saints though. They are a pretty good team, and right now the Texans are not.
GREEN BAY 10 Carolina
I don't like the points here, but right now it is very tough to go against the Packers. I think everyone thought they would have lost a couple of games by now, but they keep proving everybody wrong. One thing the Panthers have proven is that they aren't very good. The Packers shouldn't have too many problems here.
St. Louis 3 SAN FRANCISCO
The Rams win won game and all of a sudden they are the favorite. The are playing the 49ers though, who had all sorts of promise at the beginning of the year but right now are playing badly. I don't think the Rams have a right to be favored over anybody, but most will tell you that they aren't as bad as they have been playing. The 49ers might be.
SEATTLE 6 Chicago
The Seahawks are a tough team to figure out. They lose to a mediocre team, but then crush someone else, no matter how bad the team. The Bears are not that tough to figure out. Their offense stinks. I don't really think Seattle is that great, but last week's win against a division rival might propel them to a few more wins. I am not sure about the Bears, but I am pretty confident they will lose this game.
New England 14 1/2 BUFFALO
This game got changed to prime time, but that tells you how the rest of the games look. I think this one will be pretty good though. And I actually like the Bills to cover. The Patriots are the much better team, and are coming off of a bye week, but the Bills lately have been playing very well. I think the points are very high for a home underdog, and I think Buffalo is up for the challenge.
DENVER 2 1/2 Tennessee
The Titans are right in the thick of the playoff chase in the AFC, but the Broncos really are not. They did win last week, but I don't think it is enough to right the ship. The ship is starting to get right in Tennessee. I am not sure about the playoffs this year, but may be next. I like Tennessee here as an underdog.
GAME OF THE WEEK
New York Giants 2 1/2 DETROIT
This would have been a better choice if even one of these teams won last week, but that didn't happen. It might still be the best game on the board though. The Giants losing streak did come to an end last week, but they are still playoff bound. The Lions should be too despite the slip last week. Neither team will make it very far though. This is another game that no matter who I pick, I will be wrong. I'll take the Giants though.
STINKER OF THE WEEK
MINNESOTA 6 Oakland
This might not have been Stinker of the Week had Adrian Peterson not gotten hurt last week. But he did, and now Minnesota might not be able to score any points. Neither will the Raiders, who aren't very good either. They are also fighting for the number one pick, but hopefully they will do a better job of picking than they did last year. I guess I will take Minnesota at home, but I am not too confident of the pick.
Record for Week 10: 4-9-1 ( 6-8 without the spread )
Record Through Week 10: 61-75-8 (87-57 without spread )
Game of the Week Record: 6-4
Stinker of the Week Record: 4-6
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:
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