My Heroic Week 11 NFL Picks

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When looking up the definition of the word hero, you see phrases like “someone who is admired for courage” and “a person of superhuman qualities.”

So am I a hero for still pumping out a world class NFL blog and podcast (listen on iTunes!) in the same week that I started a grueling new job while also being more ill than I’ve been in the past five years?

That’s for you to decide. But in a word: Yes. When historians look back on week 11 of the 2016 NFL season, they’ll talk at length about my heroic efforts to perform in the face of incredible adversity.

If I had to give an unexaggerated estimate, I’d say that a normal week this season saw me researching my picks for roughly 10 hours, and this week I’d put it closer to one hour.

Maybe that’s what I needed. A “don’t overthink it” sort of week after suffering through my worst set of picks of the year last week.

Let’s cut to the chase and dive into the week 11 picks.

Teams on Bye: Atlanta, Denver, NY Jets, San Diego

New Orleans at Carolina (-3.5) | over/under 53.5

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: Carolina 25, New Orleans 24

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Considering how the NFC South has been tightening up a bit over the last few weeks, the ending of the Saints/Broncos from week 10 looms LARGE. Make the extra point, and the Saints are looking at only a half game deficit for the division lead going into week 11. Get the extra point blocked, returned for two points by Denver (adding in the fact that the Broncos player who ran the ball back may have stepped out of bounds), and now the Saints are 1.5 games behind the Falcons.

The Thursday night factor is definitely keeping me away from betting this, but I’ll bite on the extra half point and assume this is a very close win for the Panthers (who are unofficially eliminated from playoff contention, but officially fighting to help Ron Rivera keep his job).

(Note: I wrote all of that before Carolina won 23-20 on Thursday night. Just didn’t get a chance to publish this until Friday. Looks like I’m spot on in my 1st prediction of the week.)

Pittsburgh (-9) at Cleveland | over/under 46

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 24

The Bets: Cleveland (+19) in a 3-way tease / Over (36) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Pittsburgh on the road. Pittsburgh on the road. Pittsburgh on the road. Just keep repeating that if you get tempted by any sort of bet or teaser on the Steelers this week.

The perfect Pittsburgh script was supposed to be a big win at home against Dallas followed up by the most incredible letdown game against the 0-10 Browns. But now the Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives so you’d think that would short circuit any chance of them overlooking Cleveland. But don’t put anything past a Mike Tomlin team.

And I think all Browns fans would call Hue Jackson’s first season as head coach a success if they go 1-15 but the one win cripples their division rival’s chances of playing in January.

I think the Browns will come up just short.

Baltimore at Dallas (-7) | over/under 45

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 26, Baltimore 17

The Bets: Dallas (-1 or +3) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Dallas (-7)

Remember when the Cowboys went into Green Bay and smart people like me thought the vaunted Packers run defense would slow down Zeke & Pals? The Packers had the best run D in the league at the time, and Elliott went ahead and ran for more than 150 yards.

I bring this up because the Ravens currently have the best run D in football according to FootballOutsiders.com. I’m no longer convinced the Cowboys offense can be slowed down by anyone.

Baltimore will have to play perfect defense and try to make this game go by particularly quick, because as the 32nd ranked offense in football, they are particularly ill-equipped to get into a shootout or come back from a two-score deficit. I don’t think they’ll be able to do it.

Jacksonville at Detroit (-7) | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Detroit 31, Jacksonville 25

The Bets: Detroit (+3) in a 3-way tease / Over (47.5) / Over (37.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Detroit has played four home games. They’re 3-1 and have outscored those four opponents by a combined six points. A Lions home game hasn’t been decided by more than three points yet.

Considering the Lions have the worst defense in the league, I think the Jaguars will get their points one way or another. So the teased over feels like the lock of all locks.

I don’t feel good about picking either team against the spread straight up because the Lions don’t win big, but the Jaguars lose big. But the teased Detroit line? I’ll take it.

Tennessee at Indianapolis (-3) | over/under 53

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 33, Indianapolis 27

The Bets: Over (53) / Over (43) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

If standings were determined by point differential, the Titans would be lapping the rest of the AFC South. They have a +13 point differential and the next best team in their division, the Colts, come into the week at -17.

But somehow the Texans are 6-3 and have two less losses than the two teams playing in this game. If Houston is going to crash & burn like they’re supposed to, this game between Indy and Tennessee could play a determining factor for which putrid AFC South team goes to the playoffs.

In Tennessee’s last three road games, they’re averaging more than 28 points per game. Those games were played against the 13th, 7th and 11th ranked defenses. Indy checks in with the 31st ranked D. So via the transitive property, the Titans should put up 35+ in this game.

Needless to say, I think the Titans come out of this with their 5th win in their last seven games. And the over really shouldn’t be a problem.

Tennessee’s game totals have exceeded 43 points (the teased over number) in seven straight games while the Colts’ game totals have gone over that mark in all nine of their games this year.

Buffalo at Cincinnati (-3) | over/under 47

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Buffalo 29, Cincinnati 26 (in OT)

The Bets: Over (37) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+3)

I hate to correctly predict once again that a Cincy game is going to overtime and that I have no confidence either team will ultimately win, but that’s where this one is heading.

They’re two very evenly matched teams across all key stats. Both teams have soft defenses, and even though both like to run, I still like the teased over.

With both teams coming into this game with five losses, whoever comes up short in this one can probably kiss any playoff dreams goodbye.

Tampa Bay at Kansas City (-7.5) | over/under 45

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Kansas City 21, Tampa Bay 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I know the Chiefs are quietly stringing together a great-looking season and a game at Arrowhead should allow them to beat up on the overmatched Bucs, but the stats simply don’t show Kansas City to be a dominating force.

I’m really not sure if this Tampa team puts up a fight in this game or just rolls over, so I’m staying away completely (ok, I’ll probably put a small bet on the Bucs +7.5 simply because the Chiefs don’t really blow teams away with their scoring that often).

Chicago at NY Giants (-7.5) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: NY Giants 23, Chicago 16

The Bets: Under (44.5) / Under (54.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Bears are averaging 15.7 points per game (31st in the NFL), and the Giants are averaging 20.2 points per game (24th). How about we don’t try to figure out who will win and by how much (a hopeless effort for any Giants game), but instead we drop a bunch of cash on the under? Who’s with me?

Arizona at Minnesota (-1.5) | over/under 40

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Minnesota 20, Arizona 17 (in OT)

The Bets: Under (50.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

This game opened as a pick, and It really seemed odd that Minnesota wouldn’t be favored by a couple points, but sure enough after diving into my research, I get it. Rather than each team putting up about 20 points as the line and total suggests, I think we’ll see yet another overtime game with a 17-17 score at the end of the fourth. Will anyone score in overtime? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m giving the nod to the home team.

And even though you shouldn’t have to ask at this point…yes, I love the under teased between these two inept offenses.

Miami (-2) at Los Angeles | over/under 39.5

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 25, Los Angeles 13

The Bets: Miami (-2) / Miami (+8) in a 3-way tease / Under (49.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Miami (-2)

Jared Goff’s making his long-awaited debut and gets to face the 7th ranked Dolphins defense.

The Rams are already averaging a paltry 15.4 points per game. I don’t think that’s going to improve in this game.

New England (-14) at San Francisco | over/under 51

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: New England 29, San Francisco 20

The Bets: New England (-4) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

This is a really bad matchup for the 49ers. They’re actually decent running the ball on offense, but the Patriots rush D has been awesome. Meanwhile, the Niners are below average on pass defense and horrible against the run. The Patriots will gladly run the ball over & over & over in this game. (And is Dion Lewis making his season debut? If so, the Pats will have an even easier time on offense.)

Having said that, Gronk is probably missing this game, and New England is unable to play anything resembling decent defense. This tells me the Niners will get enough points to cover.

Philadelphia at Seattle (-7) | over/under 43

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 23, Philadelphia 16

The Bets: Seattle (-1 or +3) in a 2-way or 3-way tease / Under (53) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Seattle (-7)

I will be shocked if the Eagles exceed 16 points in this game. But I’ll also be shocked if Seahawks are able to dictate the game on offense.

I’m liking the under teased and LOVING the Seahawks teased.

Green Bay at Washington (-3) | over/under 50.5

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 29, Green Bay 24

The Bets: Washington (-3)

SuperContest: Yes with Washington (-3)

Washington’s won its last three home games, each by six or more points. They faced the best team according to DVOA (Philly), the worst team (Cleveland) and an almost exactly average team (Minnesota) in those three games.

The Skins’ lone weakness is run defense, and the Packers haven’t had more than 65 rushing yards in five straight games.

I really like Washington to get their mini-revenge for last year’s wildcard game that they could have won against Green Bay.

Houston vs Oakland (-6) | over/under 46 (in Mexico City)

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Houston 23, Oakland 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Call it a hunch, but I think this is the surprise loss that the Raiders are due for. What I’m most excited for regarding this game is all the jokes that’ll be floating around on Twitter about building a wall to keep Brock Osweiler in Mexico.

And even though I’ve put in this heroic effort to make my week 11 picks, I’m running out of steam so you don’t get anymore analysis on this game.

Here are the season-long stats I’m tracking:

  • Favorites are 58-82-7 against the spread through 10 weeks (including 3-11 in week 10)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 78 times, Under 66 times, and Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 74-69-4 against the spread.

Enjoy week 11.

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NFL Week 11 Picks: You’ll Want To Be Watching These Games

NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings

Some weeks need no fancy introduction. The promise of what’s to come is so good that a writer simply has to go through the games and then get out of the way. No need for a lengthy monologue about the state of quarterbacks or which conference is more dominant.

If week 9 was the equivalent of striking out at a bar, and week 10 was nothing more than foreplay, then week 11 has a strong possibility of being an incredible love-making session, complete with moves you never even knew existed.

Some are even calling week 11 the NFCpocalypse.

We have six very meaningful games:

  • Buffalo (5-4) at Miami (5-4) – Thursday Night 8:25pm ET
  • Seattle (6-3) at Kansas City (6-3) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Cincinnati (5-3-1) at New Orleans (4-5) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Philadelphia (7-2) at Green Bay (6-3) – Sunday 4:25pm ET
  • Detroit (7-2) at Arizona (8-1) – Sunday 4:25pm ET
  • New England (7-2) at Indianapolis (6-3) – Sunday Night 8:30pm ET

And two sort of meaningful games:

  • Houston (4-5) at Cleveland (6-3) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Atlanta (3-6) at Carolina (3-6-1) – Sunday 1pm ET

It’s nice of the NFL to have all those games spread out pretty evenly in every timeslot throughout week 11. You might say I’m reaching with the two games I tagged as sort of meaningful, but at this point every game’s important for Cleveland while the Texans could still technically be a playoff contender with a win, and in the NFC South, the winner of Atlanta/Carolina would be tied with the Saints for 1st place if the Saints can’t handle Cincinnati.

Other than the fact that no outcome in week 10 was too important to the playoff picture, the other thing that kept it from being a truly entertaining week was that the favorites went 10-3 against the spread. That flies in the face of everything we’ve seen so far this year. Up until week 10, the favorites and underdogs had basically played to a draw. Since that 10-3 outcome seems to be the exception, not the rule, I’d look for the underdogs to cover six or seven of the 14 games this weekend.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

First, an update on the bye teams. After week 12 we’ll be done with byes for the year. Hooray for getting rid of this part of my column and for an easier time comparing teams’ records!

  • Baltimore (6-4): Other than their week 1 loss at home to Cincinnati, which can partly be attributed to the Ray Rice noise, the Ravens have followed a path that was pretty much expected of them. They’ve won all their home games since the opener. They’ve beaten up on bad teams when given the chance (Carolina, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Tennessee all suffered double-digit losses to the Ravens). But they’ve struggled on the road against above average teams (losses at Indy, Cincy, and Pittsburgh). The good news is they only have two more tough road games this year. The bad news is they play in a division where 10-6 might not be good enough.
  • Dallas (7-3): Those of us who love to hate the Cowboys may not get our 8-8 dream scenario, but 9-7 is definitely in play. And that would be just as disastrous after a 6-1 start. The Cowboys only play two of their final six at home, but interestingly enough, they’re only 3-3 at home this year. They’re actually undefeated on the road. You know what’s especially nauseating about Dallas? Their next four games are all nationally-televised. They have a Sunday nighter at the Giants, then home for Philly on Thanksgiving, then at Chicago the following Thursday and finally at Philly the Sunday night after that. This doesn’t seem fair that I’m forced to watch the Cowboys four weeks in a row.
  • Jacksonville (1-9): It’s not even worth going through their remaining games to see how many more wins they can get. At best they’re a 4-12 team. More interesting is whether or not Blake Bortles can hold off Jay Cutler in the chase for leading the league in turnovers. It would be an extra special accomplishment for Bortles considering he wasn’t playing early in the year.
  • NY Jets (2-8): The Jets bookended eight straight losses from week 2 through week 9 with home wins. Holding the mighty Steelers offense to 13 points was probably their Super Bowl. The rest of their schedule would be pretty easy for a halfway decent team, but they’re looking at 5-11 when it’s all said and done. The only thing they can look forward to is a December 21st game in Foxboro where they could possibly play spoiler to the Patriots’ hopes of a #1 or #2 seed.

And now for the week 11 picks.

Buffalo @ Miami (-4.5)

  • The Pick: Buffalo
  • The Score: Buffalo 26, Miami 23

Wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if these two teams gave us the most exciting Thursday night game of the year? Both the Bills and the Dolphins have been surprising us all season with perfectly competent play. The wildcards in the AFC may still boil down to the North and West runners-up, but at least two teams from the East added some intrigue up to this point.

This is also the most important Thursday night game we’ve seen so far this year, as the loser will likely be a full two games out of a wildcard spot. Wow. Bills and Dolphins in week 11 and it actually has meaning!

I’m all in on a three-point game in this one, possibly an overtime nailbiter to get what should be one of the best weekends on the NFL calendar kicked off.

UPDATE: On Wednesday night, the line was six. When I looked Thursday morning, it was down to 4.5. I can’t find any breaking injury news or extenuating circumstances that would account for this change. All I can think is a TON of money must be coming into the sportsbooks on the Bills. You’ve been warned.

Minnesota @ Chicago (-3.5)

  • The Pick: Minnesota
  • The Score: Minnesota 27, Chicago 20

In what scenario, short of being held at gunpoint, could someone place money on the Bears right now? Marc Trestman probably made a lot more peoples’ Coach of the Year predictions in the preseason than Coaches to be Fired predictions, but if this disaster continues, someone’s gotta take the fall.

I love getting more than a field goal on the team that’s playing relatively well on no expectations with a bunch of young players learning to win. I’d rather that than backing the team that was overly hyped in the preseason and is currently playing for nothing at this point. That team probably can’t help but wonder who’s losing his job over the next two months. Give me the Vikings to win outright in this one.

Houston @ Cleveland (-3)

  • The Pick: Cleveland
  • The Score: Cleveland 23, Houston 14

The “Brady Backup” Bowl!!

What’s nice for Ryan Malett (and every other shaky quarterback) is that Andy Dalton just lowered the bar significantly for the entire position one week ago. No matter how bad Mallett is in his debut, he can’t possibly be worse than the soon-to-be “maligned” Cincinnati QB.

Tempting as it is to be that guy who predicts a huge Cleveland let down, I’m not taking the bait. This line seems exactly right, the Browns should win by a field goal or slightly more.

Atlanta @ Carolina (PICK)

  • The Pick: Carolina
  • The Score: Carolina 30, Atlanta 26

So it turns out Atlanta could be tied for 1st place in the NFC South after this weekend. Words cannot describe how insane that is. I don’t believe either of these teams in this game deserves much of our attention so instead I’d like to discuss, once again, the historic atrociousness that is this division.

  1. The NFC South’s cumulative record is 11-25 (.306 win percentage).
  2. Take away games they’ve played against one another, and the cumulative record drops to 5-19 (.208 win percentage).
  3. Since week 4, this entire division has won five games. Three of those wins have been in games where NFC South teams were facing each other. So in the past six weeks, these teams have combined to win two games against non-division opponents.
  4. According to FooballOutsiders.com, the four teams in this division are all in the bottom seven of overall defensive efficiency in the league.

Anyway, this line is wrong considering these teams might be equal to one another. The Panthers should at least get the respect of being a three-point favorite considering they’re at home.

Cincinnati @ New Orleans (-7.5)

  • The Pick: Cincinnati
  • The Score: New Orleans 31, Cincinnati 27

Whoaaaaaaa! Is this the biggest overreaction line of all time? Or is Cincinnati truly awful and I’m just the last to know it?

My initial instinct was that Vegas set this line knowing Dalton’s infamous showing last Thursday night will be fresh on everyone’s minds going into week 11.

Fair enough. That strategy just may get a lot of people to take the Saints with an unnecessarily high point spread.

Not me though. When the Bengals are off, it’s hard to find a team that looks worse than them. But I still think they have too many good players on both sides of the ball to turn into a weekly punching bag. And yes, Dalton’s performance was historic last Thursday, but he’s not in that Mark Sanchez/Geno Smith territory where every game is a train wreck. If that were the case, even the Bengals wouldn’t have ponied up with the large contract for him over the offseason.

Let’s all just calm down a little and watch the Bengals implode in December or January.

Tampa Bay @ Washington (-7)

  • The Pick: Washington
  • The Score: Washington 34, Tampa Bay 11

If you’re keeping score at home, this is the second consecutive game where a sub-.500 team is giving a touchdown. This one makes a lot more sense than that Bengals/Saints game because at least the team Washington’s facing is in the running for the 1st overall pick in 2015.

I’m not even bothering with much research on this matchup. The PotatoSkins should win by at least 10. Yes, I know they just lost on the road to the Vikings and barely won a home game against Tennessee last month. It doesn’t matter because the Bucs are just that bad. Maybe the worst team in football.

Denver (-10) @ St. Louis

  • The Pick: St. Louis
  • The Score: Denver 32, St. Louis 24

For the most part I’ve been staying away from these huge point spreads. But last week when the favorites were busy going 10-3 against the spread, it would have been a good time to take some of those teams favored by 10 or more.

Denver hasn’t won a game by less than 14 points since week 2. When they’re winning, they’re winning BIG.

And it turns out the Rams are going with Shaun Hill at quarterback this week, a 34-year-old who has thrown 13 passes this season and last played on September 7th.

But we’ve reached that time in the NFL season where no matter how hard I try, I can’t be fully objective to Denver. They’re battling my Patriots for a top seed in the AFC, and every loss counts. Most likely the Patriots need at least one more Denver loss to secure the #1 seed. I will try to be objective, but I can’t promise.

So I’m going with the Rams to make it a game.

San Francisco (-4.5) @ NY Giants

  • The Pick: NY Giants
  • The Score: NY Giants 30, San Francisco 23

Too high. This line feels like what an Arizona, Seattle or Detroit would be giving if they were traveling to the Meadowlands. The 49ers are not of that same ilk. I’m weary of the back-to-back flights to the Eastern Time Zone (they were in New Orleans last week).

The Giants are bad, no doubt about it, but they can absolutely stay with San Francisco at home. I know the 38-17 loss at Seattle last week looks bad, but there was a time in the 4th quarter when it was 17-17. It was a deceivingly decent game out of the Giants in tough road conditions.

Eyeing this as my favorite pick of the week.

Seattle @ Kansas City (-1.5)

  • The Pick: Kansas City
  • The Score: Kansas City 20, Seattle 16

There’s a real chance the Chiefs demolish the Seahawks on Sunday. I can’t make it my favorite pick or say that I’m going to bet everything I’ve got on it because Seattle has earned the right for me to always be weary of picking against them. But they’ve been real bad on the road this year, like really bad. And the Chiefs appear to have one of the true home field advantages in football, backed by a great crowd that’s loving this 6-3 team.

I fully expect the Chiefs to win and fans around the country to continue ignoring what’s going on in Kansas City.

Oakland @ San Diego (-10.5)

  • The Pick: San Diego
  • The Score: San Diego 40, Oakland 13

The last time the Chargers won a game was more than a month ago. It just so happens Oakland was the last team they beat before all the injuries piled up and they lost three in a row before last week’s bye.

They’re not all the way back to good health yet, but they’re getting there. And the Raiders are still bad. Not much has changed with them in the past month so I expect this game will get the Chargers back to winning and putting up lots of points.

Detroit @ Arizona (-1)

  • The Pick: Arizona
  • The Score: Arizona 23, Detroit 16

Here’s the key question for every parent out there: If your wife had a baby on a Monday night, would you be mentally & physically prepared to perform your job at an extremely high level just six days later?

If your answer is no, you might want to pick against Arizona this week because Drew Stanton’s wife gave birth on Monday night.

So Stanton gets thrust into the starting QB role as of Monday morning, has one week to prepare for the best defense in the NFL, and has a new baby daughter during that same week.

The first version I wrote of this pick had me taking Detroit and saying this is a coin flip game where the craziness surrounding Stanton this week is having me lean in Detroit’s direction, but then I realized one matchup that is absolutely not a coin flip: COACHING.

No matter what’s going on with the Cardinals, we know we’re getting a prepared team that’ll do all the little things and take appropriate chances to win the game when it gets them. With Detroit, well, they have this:

caldwell

This game may very well give us another proof point that coaching does indeed make a big difference in the NFL.

Philadelphia @ Green Bay (-6)

  • The Pick: Green Bay
  • The Score: Green Bay 33, Philadelphia 23

A little more thought needs to go into this game than simply penciling in the Packers because they’ve been unstoppable at home. It’s true that their last three home games have seen them win by 32, 21 and 41. But it’s also true that their three opponents in those games were Minnesota, Carolina and Chicago.

It’s very tough to draw conclusions on how Green Bay will perform at home against a fellow playoff contender because they haven’t played any of those kinds of games this year.

As for the Eagles, they’ve won two road games (Indianapolis and Houston) and lost two road games (San Francisco and Arizona).

I guess my pick boils down to the fact that I’m not going against Aaron Rodgers when he’s favored by less than a touchdown at home until further notice.

New England @ Indianapolis (-3)

  • The Pick: New England
  • The Score: Indianapolis 31, New England 29

What a way to end our Sunday! A key battle between two of the AFC’s best, and unlike the Broncos in their week 9 game in New England, the Colts will probably show up for this one.

This feels like an even matchup if the Patriots are merely “one of the better AFC teams.” But if they’ve morphed into that 2003/2004 Patriots mode, they just may dominate the Colts on Sunday night.

I’d like to think that’s what we’re witnessing, but I’m not going to put money on it. One thing that’s easy to forget because of the blowout over Denver two weeks ago is that Chandler Jones is still missing and he was a HUGE part of New England’s success early in the year. I wonder if this is the game when we remember how valuable he is.

I’m thinking the Patriots fall just short as Andrew Luck gets the ball last and Adam Vinatieri hits yet another key field goal over his old team to win the game.

Pittsburgh (-6) @ Tennessee

  • The Pick: Pittsburgh
  • The Score: Pittsburgh 36, Tennessee 13

Normally I wouldn’t hesitate to grab the favorite in a game like this. After all, the Steelers are 6-4 while the Titans are 2-7. The Steelers have an offense that put up 94 points in two weeks against much better teams than Tennessee. This shouldn’t be a problem.

But there’s also Pittsburgh’s 27-24 loss to Tampa Bay in week 4, their 31-10 loss at Cleveland in week 6, and the Steelers’ 20-13 no-show at the Jets just last week. Playing down to their competition seems to be a Pittsburgh staple.

But you know what? I can pick this game without even considering how either of these teams might perform on the field. If you’re like me and you think Thursday’s game is going to be close and entertaining, and you think the same about Sunday night’s game, that means you gotta pick a blowout on Monday night because there’s no way the football gods are giving us three awesome games in the three primetime slots in week 11. Just won’t happen. Steelers roll.

If you needed any more motivation to spend all of your Sunday and part of your Thursday & Monday watching football this weekend, just know that in week 12, we’re looking at only three games at most that warrant our attention. The intrigue of week 11 doesn’t come around that often. Don’t mess this up.

Enjoy the games.