The Lineman’s NFL picks — week 11
Big pat on the back for the ‘Wichita’ Lineman, who came in off the bench last week and produced a solid 4-2 that got our overall record back to .500.
So, as the ‘Wichita’ Lineman says, let’s look into the crystal pigskin and see where Week 11 leads us.
Record: 30-30. Last week: 4-2. Pick of the Week: 4-6
PICK OF THE WEEK:
Washington Redskins (4-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-4) (Line Titans minus-6.5): If you are still having trouble forgetting about that Monday Night massacre think how the Redskins are feeling after the record whooping they took from the Eagles.
The Titans did not do all that much better losing to the Dolphins last week leaving us with two teams looking to make amends.
Tennessee has dropped two straight road games and now return home needing a win to keep pace in a very tough AFC South race that includes the Indy Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans.
After being shredded by Eagles QB Michael Vick, Redskins now must contend with Vick Light — Titans QB Vince Young, who has recovered enough from an ankle injury to take over from backup Kerry Collins.
Wide out Randy Moss was a dud in his Titans debut last week, catching one pass, and promised better this Sunday as the good folks in Nashville get their first look at the talented but surly receiver.
Titans Chris Young is one of the NFL’s premiere running backs and should get plenty of work against a Washington defence that is the worst in the league yielding 415.3 yards per game (ypg).
Redskins’ pouty defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth returns to Nashville where he starred for seven seasons but if a $100 million contract is not enough to motivate the big guy it is unlikely a return to Tennessee will inspire.
A short week means the Redskins have had little time to lick their wounds and prepare for a Tennessee team that is feeling a bit desperate.
That means more capital punishment this week.
Take the Titans and give up the 6.5.
Detroit Lions (2-7) at Dallas Cowboys (2-7) (Line Cowboys minus-6.5): Dallas has not won at home this season and the Lions have not won on the road since dinosaurs roamed the earth, going a record 25 games without returning to the Motor City with a victory.
Jason Garrett makes his home debut as the Cowboys interim head coach and can expect a hero’s welcome after his team pulled off a colossal upset of the New York Giants last weekend.
Because of injuries to number one QB’s both teams will rely on veteran backups, the Lions’ Shaun Hill getting the start for Detroit while Jon Kitna, who led the Lions to their last road win way back in 2007, will be calling plays for the Cowboys.
Kitna, who looked shell-shocked taking over for Tony Romo, was more composed and in command against the G-Men and must now prove it was no fluke.
If Kitna is to find some success the Cowboys’ leaky offensive line must neutralize Lions rookie defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who is capable of creating havoc racking up a rookie best 6.5 sacks already this season.
The Dallas defence will have to contain Lions’ flashy running back Jahvid Best and big play wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who is tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns with nine.
Dallas sports fans had big championship expectations when the season began but it could be Dallas FC bringing home the trophy when they take on the Colorado Rapids in the MLS Cup final north of the border in Toronto on Sunday night.
It could be a double celebration in the Big D.
Take the Cowboys and give up the 6.5.
Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at Carolina Panthers (1-8) (Line Ravens minus 9.5): OK, raise your hand if you have heard of Brian St. Pierre or Tony Pike? Thought so, neither have I, but one of these unknowns will get the start this Sunday against a very agitated bunch of Ravens, who lost in the Falcons last week on a last second touchdown.
With Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen out with injuries the Panthers are expected to give the starting assignment to St. Pierre, who has only been with the team for a few days.
You really have to feel for St. Pierre who has little to work with, with running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams also out with injuries.
The Panthers offense ranks dead last in scoring (11.6 ppg), total offense (250.6 ypg) and passing (156.8 ypg) and now take on a ferocious Ravens defence led by Ray Lewis and friends.
The Ravens have not played since last Thursday so have had plenty of time to prepare for this one – not that they needed it.
Ravens do not usually run up big scores but they could put up a huge number here.
Panthers need more that a Saint at quarterback. They need a miracle worker.
Take the Ravens and give up the 9.5.
Atlanta Falcons (7-2) at St. Louis Rams (4-5) (Line Falcons minus-3.5): The Falcons have looked like Super Bowl champions at home but have laid eggs on the road. With four of their next five games away contests it is time for the Falcons to step up and prove they are indeed worthy of the Super Bowl buzz.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan has thrown 16 touchdown passes and just five interceptions to ignite Atlanta’s high-octane attack that ranks near the top of the league in every offensive category.
Ryan’s favourite target is wide receiver Roddy White who leads NFL with 70 receptions.
The Rams are also a different team at home, all four of their victories coming in St. Louis.
Rookie QB Sam Bradford, the number one overall selection in this year’s draft, has thrown 12 touchdown passes and eight interceptions but has been improving with every start and has not been picked off in his last 138 pass attempts. Running back Steven Jackson remains the Rams workhorse.
While the Rams have made huge strides this season there is still work ahead. They have scored more than 20 points only once this season and the Falcons are the class of the NFC this week sporting the best record of 7-2.
A visit to St. Louis may not be as much fun as it once was but the Falcons hit the road with a win.
Take the Falcons and give up the 3.5.
Houston Texans (4-5) at New York Jets (7-2) (Line Jets minus-6.5): After two gut-check overtime wins on the road the Jets return home to take on the teetering Texans, who have lost three straight and slipped to the bottom of the AFC South.
With Arian Foster the NFL’s leading rusher and wide receiver Andre Johnson, third in the league with 97.6 ypg, the Texans match up with the Jets offensively.
But QB Matt Schaub has spent part of the week in the hospital with a knee injury and may not be fit to play on Sunday.
The Jets have one of the league’s stingiest defenses allowing just 16.7 points per game while the Texans sit second from the bottom surrendering 28.6.
Houston has allowed a league worst 301.3 ypg through the air and 409.7 ypg in total offence. Only the Washington Redskins have surrendered more ground (415.3 ypg).
Jets cleared for takeoff.
Take the Jets and give up the 6.5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) at San Francisco 49ers (3-6) (Line Niners minus-3.5): After starting the season 0-5 the Niners are quietly writing the comeback story of the year and with a win over the Bucs on Sunday would be right back in the playoff picture in the weak and wacky NFC West.
The Niners have found confidence and a bit of mojo with former-Heisman trophy winning quarterback Troy Smith taking over from Alex Smith.
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree has established himself as deep threat and Frank Gore remains one of the NFL’s elite running backs averaging over 86 ypg, good enough for sixth best in the league.
Gore can expect plenty of work on Sunday against a Tampa defence that is giving up 143.8 ypg, second worst in the league.
The young Bucs and QB Josh Freeman have been two of the NFL’s biggest surprises this season as Tampa Bay keeps finding ways to win.
The Niners have had a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot something they cannot do against the opportunistic Bucs.
But the Bucs stop here.
Take the Niners and give up the 3.5.
PHOTO: Washington Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan reacts on the sidelines during his NFL team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Landover, Maryland November 15, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed