NFL GAMES OF THE WEEK – WEEK ELEVEN

18Nov12

Another week, another 3-0 record.  Okay, I know it’s only three games, but I’m taking it!

This week will not be so easy.  I’ll explain when I get to the “Upset” category.

This week’s Lock of the Week (8-2).

This one is about as easy as it gets.  While most of the other games on this week’s schedule are sure to be good matchups, the Houston Texans will blow the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars out of the water.

This is a tale of opposites.  The Texans have a solid, well oiled (no pun intended) machine on offense.  The Jaguars have nothing – no running, no passing, and no blocking.

Houston has a physical and talented defense.  The Jags have a porous, inefficient group that makes too many mistakes.

Jacksonville’s running game will, once again, be non-existent, forcing them into the passing game early.  The results will be predictable.

Houston blows this open early and never looks back.

 

This week’s Upset of the Week (5-5).

This is the head-scratcher this week.  As usual, I made my picks for the week before I ever glanced at the odds-makers choices.  Usually, we have a couple of games that we disagree on.  (Usually I’m right, but I certainly wouldn’t want to rub their noses in it.  You know, because I was right and they were wrong.  And they get paid to make their predictions.  You know, they’re the experts.  But I wouldn’t want to harp on something like that. — he-he!!)

Anyhow, this week I am facing a real predicament.  I actually picked every game the same as the aforementioned (how’s that for a big word?) experts.  So which game do I go with for the upset of the week?

I’ll go with the game that I actually picked as an upset when I made my original picks.  There were actually two games that I picked as upsets, but I’ll go with this one.

The Baltimore Ravens will win at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I know, by now this pick is no longer an upset in anyone’s minds outside of western Pennsylvania.  But let’s look at this a little closer.

These two teams are rivals from the same division.  Regardless of records, health issues, etc., they always play each other hard and physical.  The games are rarely high scoring and usually come down to the last possession (or pretty darn close to it.)

However, this time around, there is a new wrinkle to consider.  The Steelers are missing their field general and may not get him back until the playoffs.  I know, injuries shouldn’t matter when these teams meet.

The Ravens are missing their defensive leader in Ray Lewis.  The Steelers are missing theirs in Troy Polamalu.  The lists of injuries at most positions are as comparable as the Lewis/Polamalu one.

But the loss of a guy like Ben Roethlisberger is on a much higher level than any of the others.  He is the clear leader of this army.  He is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league.  How many times have you seen him in the arms of a defender, thinking he was sacked, only to watch the defender try in vain to bring him down.

I don’t care what anybody says, to have a guy as tough as him get knocked out for 4-6 weeks has to be demoralizing to his troops.  Now they have to face the Ravens, knowing that they will be traveling to Baltimore two weeks from now to face them again.

The Steelers will be facing a physical opponent and the toughest mental challenge of the season this week.  Although I still think the game will be close, I’m going with the Ravens to take the first game in a two-game series sweep.

 

This week’s Game of the Week (8-2).

At first glance, I found five games that could easily be chosen for this category.  One of them was chosen for the Upset of the week.

I considered the Eagle/Redskins, since they are division rivals, but the depleted and demoralized Eagles cannot be counted on to perform.

I thought about the 49ers/Bears game, since it will pit two of the top defenses in the league against each other.  But I’m getting bored with the 10-6 scores.

So I’ve decided to go the opposite direction this week and pick a sure shootout.  I’m going with the Green Bay Packers over the host Detroit Lions.

Both teams have the potential to light up the scoreboard.  Neither team has an exceptional defense.  Okay neither team has a defense, period.

However, they are both in the hunt for playoff spots.  The Packers are not only in the hunt, they will most likely take over first place this week (when the Bears lose in San Francisco).  Their offense has been much more efficient lately and their defense has shown glimpses of competitiveness (wow, another big word!).

Detroit seems to be about two to three weeks behind the Packers.  Their offense is beginning to play more like they were expected to, but their defense isn’t quite there yet.  Although they desperately need to win this week, they have chosen the wrong opponent.

The Packers will win by two touchdowns in a high scoring affair.

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