The 2010 NFL Picks
Week Eleven


Last week I tossed out the idea that Gus had entered the race again. It was a bit farfetched… after all, he was 10 games down. But, he had meandered into consideration.

What a difference a week makes… because now he is definitely a factor in the race.

A 7-7 record for the week actually chopped three games off of the deficit for Gus… and the boy finds himself trailing the lead by 7 now.

Terry turned in a top mark of 8-6. Several hit 7-7. Should be an exciting run of just over 100 games to the end of the regular season.

Transition and surprises everywhere in the league… and too much happening to even rationally discuss right now. The big news? We’re back at a full slate. 16 to pick.

Let’s get to it. I haven’t been able to spend the time to find some movies to quote that I would like, so how about looking at another classic? The original Star Wars.

Chicago at Miami (1½)“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Ok… I admit it… I’m not sure I understand this spread. Miami has no quarterback. There is a chance, quite literally, that they would be better served by letting Ronnie Brown take all the snaps. (Unfortunately, this equates to the annual Ronnie Brown season ending injury possibility, and we don’t want that.) The point is… Miami was limping on offense already. Chad came back and now is out, possibly with a career ender. And the other Chad is out. We’ve moved beyond options one and two at quarterback, and… for some reason… the Dolphins who have yet to do anything at home this season, are favored. Wow… take that Jay Cutler and friends. Hey… look… if the season ended before this week, the Bears are the playoff team from the NFC North. Not Green Bay. Not a special invitation to Minnesota or Detroit. Chicago would be in the playoffs. As much as I like using the Dolphins as a routinely sound group that gets underrated in games… making them a perfect team to play when truly unappreciated… I can’t do it here.
Bob: Chicago
Terry: Miami
Mike: Miami
Mike Jr: Miami
Molly: Chicago
Gus: Chicago
Sam: Miami

Oakland at Pittsburgh (7½)“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” “I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.” “You’re who?” Very interesting game. The Steelers got schooled last week by the Patriots. And while I may not believe the love for the Raiders is deserved, there might be a lesson or two in last week’s game that the Raiders can learn from. They can definitely run the ball… averaging some very solid figure on the year. However, just like New England getting pasted by Cleveland, the question of whether or not Pittsburgh can rebound should be asked. Let’s not forget… the Patriots brought something special on offense. Not the threat of a running game. Pittsburgh shuts threats right down. (Cross reference Tennessee for that evidence.) New England has a quarterback. Anyone expecting Oakland to put a signal caller in there at the same level as Brady? Pittsburgh has lost three games this season. Baltimore (6-3, solid, always believed to be a playoff threat). New Orleans (6-3, Super Bowl champion). New England (7-2, Brady, resume not needed here). Is Oakland doing better than expected? Sure they are. But let’s not go crazy.
Bob: Pittsburgh
Terry: Oakland
Mike: Oakland
Mike Jr: Pittsburgh
Molly: Oakland
Gus: Oakland
Sam: Oakland

Houston at New York (Jets) (7)“Into the garbage chute, fly boy.” It started so promising for Houston. A win over Indy and dreams of the playoffs. Well… that didn’t take long to be destroyed. They hit this game at 4-5. And… as if that weren’t enough… no team has scored fewer than 24 against them all year. So… yeah… I’m bracing for all of the “fear the Jets on offense” stories that should appear next week. What I’m wondering though is about whether or not Houston will be close in this game, and if they can even win it. The past 3 weeks would say no… they don’t have a shot. Indianapolis, San Diego and Jacksonville weren’t even challenged by Houston. But not so fast. Would you believe the Texans play better on the road? Yup… sort of. Average score this season at home is a 29-23 loss. Average score on the road… a 28-26 loss. I know… I know… but I think this is going to be an interesting game. I don’t believe the Jets are playing that well. Yes… 7-2. But we’re talking overtime wins and a club that is 2-2 in their new home stadium. If only I could believe the Houston defense would show up for the game.
Bob: Houston
Terry: New York
Mike: Houston
Mike Jr: New York
Molly: New York
Gus: New York
Sam: New York

Baltimore (10) at Carolina“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” Look, there is nothing I can find worth investigating here. Carolina is barely putting a touchdown plus a field goal up every week, as they scrape along at around 11 a game. Sure… I don’t love the big spreads. And I feel like the Ravens haven’t been the same since losing to the Patriots… despite the solid home win over the Dolphins. And we are talking about a large road favorite. But this strikes me as a pride game. One where Baltimore knows they have the better team… knows the defense should be able to control the contest… and knows they can’t give up weeks like this on their schedule when five AFC teams have 5 wins, 3 AFC teams other than them have 6 or more wins, and only 6 clubs will make the playoffs. You have to beat the Panthers. Have to. And I think the timing all adds up to a pounding.
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Baltimore
Mike: Baltimore
Mike Jr: Baltimore
Molly: Carolina
Gus: Baltimore
Sam: Carolina

Washington at Tennessee (7)“Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you’re lookin’ for passage to the Alderaan system?” “Yes indeed, if it’s a fast ship.” “Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?” “Should I have?” “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers mind you, I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you old man.” Washington got spanked by St. Louis this season. Came back to win the next week. So they have that going for them. Unfortunately… the 28 they put up last Monday was their highest total on the scoreboard this year, and they lost by 31. In the past two weeks they have been destroyed by Detroit and Philadelphia. On the road, it’s a pretty safe bet they are only going to score about 17 points. For the Titans… well… it’s been hard to gauge. They leveled the Raiders, Giants, Jaguars and Eagles. Made them look silly. And yet the Steelers, Broncos and Dolphins managed to hold the Titans down. At home they are only 2-2. Ahh… but the record against the NFC? Well… they are 3-0 so far, with each win by at least 7. There. We’ll hang our pick on that.
Bob: Tennessee
Terry: Tennessee
Mike: Washington
Mike Jr: Tennessee
Molly: Washington
Gus: Washington
Sam: Tennessee

Detroit at Dallas (6½)“Listen to them, they’re dying R2! Curse my metal body. I wasn’t fast enough. It’s all my fault!” There are a few side stories here that no one will mention. Both of these clubs will play on Thanksgiving, and yet here are the Lions facing a road date with a contest coming up on Thursday. And then there are the stories everyone will mention… like Dallas finally showing up last week… and Detroit being held in place by Buffalo. Has the flying and scoring blitz of the Lions been grounded? Well… you tell me. They have 20 and 12 in the last two games. And on the road? Why this club has scored 14… 10… 26… 20… 12. Not exactly marks of consistency. What we do know is the simple math… Detroit plus road game equals loss.
Bob: Dallas
Terry: Dallas
Mike: Dallas
Mike Jr: Detroit
Molly: Detroit
Gus: Dallas
Sam: Detroit

Green Bay (3) at Minnesota“Wonderful girl. Either I’m going to kill her or I’m beginning to like her.” Here’s a prediction… this will be Favre’s last professional game. They’ve been virtually begging for a reason to replace him. And if that isn’t true, it sure seems like it has been. But the timing never seemed right, did it? We’ve been told that a run of two or three victories and the Vikings could be back in it. Or, we’ve been told he’s so tough that a sore shoulder won’t keep him out. But I honestly have this feeling that everything is too perfect here. A loss to Green Bay will really be the final nail in the season for Minnesota. A game against Green Bay is kind of the fitting bookend to his career. And come on… let’s be honest… after Randy Moss and the comments after Minnesota played New England, wouldn’t it be great to watch Favre suck up to Green Bay after this one? Sure it would. (So get ready for it.)
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: Minnesota
Mike: Green Bay
Mike Jr: Green Bay
Molly: Green Bay
Gus: Green Bay
Sam: Green Bay

Buffalo at Cincinnati (5½)“Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?” Buffalo hasn’t really been as bad as their record this season. Don’t get me wrong… they have been bad. But they’ve also been close several times. They’ve been a headache for several good teams. And they have been better than the 1-8 would suggest. Cincinnati? Man… one excuse after another. They’ve been bad at home and bad on the road. They’ve been bad in close games and bad losing big. Their wins are the ever-popular division game that is hard to judge by and then Carolina.
Bob: Buffalo
Terry: Buffalo
Mike: Buffalo
Mike Jr: Buffalo
Molly: Buffalo
Gus: Buffalo
Sam: Cincinnati

Cleveland at Jacksonville (1½)“He made a fair move. Screaming about it can’t help you.” “Let him have it. It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.” “But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.” “That’s ‘cause droids don’t pull peoples arms out of their sockets when they lose.” How you can be outscored on the year by 54 points and have a winning record is beyond me. What I do know is that Cleveland has looked very much improved in recent weeks, and I think they’ll be an unexpected problem for the Jaguars in this one.
Bob: Cleveland
Terry: Jacksonville
Mike: Cleveland
Mike Jr: Cleveland
Molly: Cleveland
Gus: Cleveland
Sam: Jacksonville

Arizona at Kansas City (7½)“Uh, everything’s under control. Situation normal.” “What happened?” “Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?” Wow this one is tearing me apart. Why? Because if we can accept that the Chiefs were playing way… way… way better than expected so far this year, then one possible answer is that the leveling out is approaching fast. And look at that… squeaked by Buffalo, loss to Oakland, and big loss to Denver. Arizona though seems to love getting beaten on the road (1-4 this year), and has been pummeled on the scoreboard (averaging a 19-29 loss for the year). I think we are looking at a big challenge for the Chiefs in this game. If they are going to make a run at the division and the playoffs, this is a game they must win. Lose here… and the spiral not only continues for them, it speeds up. But a win would be huge. I’ll take a chance on them here.
Bob: Kansas City
Terry: Arizona
Mike: Arizona
Mike Jr: Arizona
Molly: Arizona
Gus: Kansas City
Sam: Arizona

Seattle at New Orleans (11½)“I have a very bad feeling about this.” I do expect this game to end badly for the Seahawks. Yes… the Saints lost to the Browns recently. Got it. They also leveled the Bucs and Panthers, and set aside the Steelers. In short, the past 4 weeks have… even with that loss… been a significantly stronger showing from New Orleans than we saw at any stretch in September or early October. Seattle? On the road? Against a quality club? Thank you… no.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: Seattle
Mike: New Orleans
Mike Jr: New Orleans
Molly: New Orleans
Gus: Seattle
Sam: Seattle

Atlanta (3) at St. Louis“Now don’t you forget this! Why I should stick my neck out for you is far beyond my capacity!” Because you folks are so smart and educated on football, I expect that you already know St. Louis is not only playing well this season, but has been outstanding at home. They basically have an even record… one extra loss. And they score about as much as they get scored upon… half-point difference per game. So far for the home underdog, things look promising. Ah… yeah… let’s keep digging though. The schedule has been filled with… for lack of a better term… potential cupcakes. That 4-1 home record? The loss was against Arizona. The wins involved Washington, Seattle, San Diego and Carolina. Not exactly visits from say Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England. (Regardless of how you feel about San Diego right now.) Guess how many times in five home games they’ve scored more than 20? That’s right… once. That’s one time, against Washington. Here’s the kicker for me. I consider Atlanta to be a fairly well-coached team. They normally do ok after extra rest and with time to prepare. 2010 bye week… they returned from it to win a divisional game over Tampa. Opening week, on the road... they played Pittsburgh to a tough 15-9 loss in a place that is normally brutal on visitors. Last year… opening week win… huge win after the bye week. I just like the way things set up here for Atlanta. They should clear 20-points, which will be enough for the win.
Bob: Atlanta
Terry: St. Louis
Mike: Atlanta
Mike Jr: Atlanta
Molly: St. Louis
Gus: Atlanta
Sam: Atlanta

Tampa Bay at San Francisco (3)“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” I can’t explain the results for either of these clubs this season. But… I can tell you one funny thing. Tampa Bay is 6-3 heading in to this game and they are thinking playoffs. Get to 7-3... they deserve to think it. Leave here at 6-4... the world crashes around them. See, they’ve played pretty well on the road. So there really is a reason to look at this game and think they can win it. After this? They’ve got Baltimore… Atlanta… New Orleans still to go and 10 wins is tough to see happening after a loss. Win this game and they have Washington… Detroit… Seattle and suddenly 10 wins is very possible. The thing is… all of the stats I see say Tampa Bay is an average team… at best… and that they probably should have a losing record. They’re on the road here against an average team that had big expectations and does have a losing record. The 49ers have had been winning at home for about a month now, and they seem to have the team working well with the new quarterback play… even though that really doesn’t seem to be adding anything to the scoreboard results. Whatever. Flip a coin here. I get picking the Bucs. They’re going to score 21 or so in this game. I get picking the 49ers. I’ll go with the favored home team because that’s the pick that makes the least sense in this year of silly results.
Bob: San Francisco
Terry: Tampa Bay
Mike: Tampa Bay
Mike Jr: Tampa Bay
Molly: San Francisco
Gus: San Francisco
Sam: San Francisco

Indianapolis at New England (3)“I sense something. A presence I’ve not felt since...” Nothing to add for this game.
Bob: New England
Terry: New England
Mike: New England
Mike Jr: New England
Molly: Indianapolis
Gus: Indianapolis
Sam: New England

New York (Giants) at Philadelphia (3)“No, I don’t think he likes you at all.” ( R2 beeps) “No, I don’t like you either.” Geez this one is tough. Giants looked horrendous last week. Eagles could do no wrong. A step back is in order. Can we temper things a bit? Ok… a bit of thinking. New England looked simply terrible against Cleveland and then came back strong. As noted earlier, New Orleans got clocked by Cleveland, but has actually looked pretty reasonable otherwise recently. So… after a stretch where they looked like the best the NFC had to offer… maybe, just maybe there’s hope for New York after a tough loss. Playing well after playingh poorly is certainly possible. It has happened several times this year. On the other side… the Eagles are 2-2 at home. Lost to Green Bay and Washington. Beat Atlanta and Indianapolis. Solid enough considering the opposition, and that’s without trying to sort out what quarterback played when in which game. Philly was incredible last week, and swept the two games between these teams last year. 3 of the last 4 meetings have been fairly high scoring. In the end though... as we consider other league results... Oakland cleared 50 points on the road this year, then went home the next week and won easily. I also see the Giants as a streaky team, which their history under Coughlin confirms. I think the Dallas loss is going to linger a bit. Make no mistake. I don’t believe the Eagles are awesome. I believe that’s perception and media hype based on a small sample of results. But that is going to be enough this week.
Bob: Philadelphia
Terry: New York
Mike: Philadelphia
Mike Jr: Philadelphia
Molly: New York
Gus: Philadelphia
Sam: Philadelphia

Denver at San Diego (10)“Well, you can forget your troubles with those Imperial slugs. I told you I’d outrun ‘em. Don’t everyone thank me at once.” The Chargers are 3-1 at home. Take away the Patriot game… let’s look at those wins… by 25 points, 31, and 8. Denver is 1-3 on the road, with each loss by 7 or more. Plus, only once have they managed to get past 17 scored on the road. If I’m honest at this point, a 10-point spread and picking San Diego is looking pretty good. Heck… only New England, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Philadelphia have scored more points than San Diego. The thing is… well… I’ll admit it… it’s Norv. How many years can San Diego rise from the dead with Norv directing the ship? I’m taking the upset here… Denver to win.
Bob: Denver
Terry: Denver
Mike: Denver
Mike Jr: San Diego
Molly: Denver
Gus: Denver
Sam: Denver

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bob: Last week 7-7, currently 71-66-7
Mike: Last week 3-11, currently 70-67-7
Molly: Last week 5-9, currently 68-69-7
Terry: Last week 8-6, currently 65-72-7
Gus: Last week 7-7, currently 64-73-7
Mike Jr: Last week 5-9, currently 54-69-7
Sam: Last week 7-7, currently 53-84-7

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at