1. Seattle Seahawks (11-1) – The Seahawks primetime matchup against the New Orleans Saints is a scary sign of things to come for other NFC playoff teams that may have to make the trip to Seattle.
2. Denver Broncos (10-2) – Peyton Manning found a soft-spot in the Kansas City Chiefs secondary, hitting Eric Decker for multiple scores through the air. The team is the sole leader in the AFC West.
3. Carolina Panthers (9-3) – Cam Newton continues to help his team put points on the board, and the defense makes sure no one else can.
4. New England Patriots (9-3) – It seemed like an upset was imminent. Then, Tom Brady went to being Tom Brady, and led his team back into the win column.
5. San Francisco 49ers (8-4) – The 49ers passing attack was in full force in the last win. I also believe its defense is the most formidable for upcoming NFC playoff opposition.
6. New Orleans Saints (9-3) – The Saints road woes showed-up again in Seattle. Then again, that’s a hard place for any team to play.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) – The team blew a cushy lead against the Denver Broncos, and have now lost three-straight.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-5) – Nick Foles came out of the BYE week and picked up right where he left off. His touchdown and no interception streak continues, as the Eagles are starting to look primed for a playoff run.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) – The Bengals won all three phases of the game in a tough road challenge against the San Diego Chargers.
10. Detroit Lions (7-5) – The onslaught of offensive talent is starting to present itself as the season goes on.
Detroit snapped a nine-game Thanksgiving Day losing streak with a 40-10 romp over Green Bay behind Matthew Stafford’s three TD passes, Reggie Bush’s 182 yards of offense and an anemic Packer offense (126 total yards). The Lions sacked Matt Flynn seven times in improving to 7-5 while dropping Green Bay to 5-6-1.
Trailing 21-14 at halftime, Dallas dominated the second half to up their record to 7-5 with a 31-24 Thanksgiving Day victory over the 4-8 Oakland Raiders. DeMarco Murray’s three TDs led the Cowboys, while their defense held the Raiders to 50 yards rushing.
The Steelers and Ravens resumed their fierce rivalry on Thanksgiving night, with Baltimore pulling out a 22-20 win to improve to 6-6 while dropping Pittsburgh to 5-7. The Steelers failed on a potential game-tying two-point conversion with a minute remaining to clinch the win for the host Ravens, who got five FGs from Justin Tucker.
Blair Walsh’s 34-yard FG in OT clinched a 23-20 NFC North win over Chicago, improving Minnesota to 3-8-1 and making the Bears 6-6. Adrian Peterson rushed for 211 yards and helped to offset big games from Chicago’s Josh McCown (355 yards, two TD passes) and WR Alshon Jeffrey (12 catches, 249 yards, two TDs).
Behind Tom Brady’s 371 yards and two TD passes, New England improved to 9-3 with a tougher-than-expected 34-31 win over Houston. Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski combined for 15 catches and 228 yards against the Texans, who lost their tenth straight game after opening at 2-0.
Despite an overall sluggish performance, the Indianapolis Colts withstood AFC South foe Tennessee on Sunday by a 22-14 score, improving them to 8-4 and increasing their division lead to three games. Adam Vinatieri booted five FGs to provide all the offense needed in dropping the Titans to 5-7.
Jacksonville won for the third time in four games when Chad Henne and Cecil Shorts hooked up on a 20-yard scoring play with 40 seconds remaining to give the Jags a 32-28 victory over host Cleveland, despite big performances from Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon. Jacksonville was helped by four Browns turnovers.
The red-hot Carolina Panthers won their franchise-record eighth straight with a 27-6 victory over Tampa Bay, improving to 9-3, setting up a Week 14 showdown with New Orleans. The Panthers defense held the Bucs to 206 total yards and sacked QB Mike Glennon five times. Cam Newton passed for two scores and rushed for another for Carolina, which hasn’t lost since October 6th.
Nick Foles threw three TD passes, giving him 19 on the season (with zero INTs) to help the Eagles to a 24-21 win over Arizona, which had won four straight. The victory kept the Eagles tied with Dallas atop the NFC East. Carson Palmer threw for 302 yards for the Cardinals, who fell to 7-5.
Ryan Tannehill and Brian Hartline teamed up for two TDs and a stifling Dolphin defense limited the Jets to 177 total yards as Miami improved to 6-6 and still alive for an AFC Wild Card berth. The Dolphins employed a ball-control attack against New York, who dropped to 5-7.
The 49ers used a strong aerial performance from Kaepernick, Boldin, Davis and Crabtree to zip past fellow NFC West rival St. Louis by a 23-13 score on Sunday, improving to 8-4 while dropping the Rams to 5-7. San Francisco sacked Kellen Clemens four times and solidified their NFC wild card hopes.
Atlanta needed overtime to squeeze past Buffalo in Toronto by a 34-31 score to capture their third win in what’s been a disastrous 2013 season. Matt Bryant’s 36-yard FG provided the winning margin as Matt Ryan teamed up with Roddy White for 10 catches and Steven Jackson rushed for two TDs against the 4-8 Bills.
AFC North-leading Cincinnati improved to 8-4 with a hard-fought 17-10 road victory over San Diego behind Andy Dalton’s steady guidance. The Bengals forced three Charger turnovers and shut down the San Diego passing game in the second half in dealing the ‘Bolts (5-7) a serious blow to their postseason hopes.
Peyton Manning (403 yards, five TDs), Montee Ball (117 yards rushing) and Eric Decker (eight catches, 174 yards, four TDs) were the big performers for Denver as they held on for a 35-28 road win over Kansas City, dealing the Chiefs (9-3) a third consecutive defeat after opening at 9-0. The 10-2 Broncos gashed KC’s defense for 535 yards in the win.
The visiting New York Giants won for the fifth time in six games, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive with a 24-17 road win over Washington behind Eli Manning’s solid performance. The Giants were also helped by Justin Tuck’s four sacks and several critical penalties committed by the Redskins (3-9).
1. Seattle Seahawks (10-1) – The Seahawks are the only team with double-digit wins so far. However, some off-field issues may cost one of the league’s most dominate secondary a player.
2. New England Patriots (8-3) – The team was shut-out in the first half, but the team told another tale in the second. This team will only be getting stronger, as Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski re-build their chemistry.
3. New Orleans Saints (9-2) – The Saints won in a big divisional game. The offense continues to get better too. Especially when Jimmy Graham gets his mits on the ball.
4. Denver Broncos (9-2) – The Broncos blew a 24-point lead in it match-up against the New England Patriots. Peyton Manning also had a pedestrian day throwing, something he is known for when the weather turns cold.
5. Carolina Panthers (8-3) – One of the biggest surprises of 2013 recorded its seventh-straight win. Cam Newton also continues to play mature football, using all his talents to move his offense along.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) – The Chiefs have now lost two-in-a-row, and was dealt some big injuries on their prolific defense. The team’s merit will be tested this week, when they host the division rival Denver Broncos.
7. San Francisco 49ers (7-4) – The 49ers kept its playoff hopes alive with a dominating win over the Washington Redskins. Colin Kaepernick also found production through the air, especially with receiver Anquan Boldin.
8. Arizona Cardinals (7-4) – With key returns on defense, the Cardinals have begun to stack wins, and find themselves in the thick of the playoff hunt.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) – During the team’s BYE, they watched the Dallas Cowboys move up the ranks on the NFC East. The two are now tied for first-place. Let’s see if Nick Foles hot streak helps them pull ahead.
10. The Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) – The battered Bengals probably made the most of its BYE to get healthy. The team still has a cushy lead in the AFC North.
Normally, the Saints win games by putting up video game-like offensive numbers, but it was their defense that stood out in their 17-13 NFC South win over Atlanta. Falcon QB Matt Ryan was sacked five times and Atlanta could rush for just 91 yards as New Orleans swept the season series, improving to 9-2 while dropping the Falcons to 2-9. TE Jimmy Graham latched onto five passes for 100 yards and a TD, while DE Cameron Jordan recorded 2 1/2 sacks.
The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens kept their playoff hopes alive with a 19-3 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. Jacoby Jones hauled in a 66-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco for the game’s only touchdown while the defense forced three turnovers, including two INTs by Corey Graham to improve to 5-6. The loss also left the up-and-down Jets at 5-6.
After an 0-4 start in 2013, the Pittsburgh captured their fifth win in seven games with a 27-11 victory over fellow AFC North foe Cleveland to keep their postseason aspirations alive. Ben Roethlisberger’s two TD passes led the Steelers (5-6) to a season sweep of the 4-7 Browns.
The streaking Buccaneers won their third straight game after opening the season 0-8 with a 24-21 road win at Detroit. Mike Glennon’s 85-yard bomb to Tiquan Underwood was the highlight for the Bucs although forcing the Lions into five turnovers also played a big role. Despite the loss, Detroit remained tied atop the NFC North with Chicago at 6-5.
This NFC North battle needed an extra fifteen minutes and still didn’t produce a winner as Minnesota and Green Bay slugged their way to a 26-26 tie. The Vikings (2-8-1) blew a 23-7 fourth-quarter lead when the Packers (5-5-1) came through with two fourth-quarter TDs and Mason Crosby’s FG with 46 seconds remaining to force OT. Both teams could only muster FGs in the extra period.
The nightmare continued for the Houston Texans on Sunday as they dropped their franchise-worst ninth straight contest, this time falling to the lowly Jaguars at home, 13-6. Picked by most to rule the AFC South, Houston opened the season at 2-0 but hasn’t won since. Jacksonville’s second win in three games improved them to 2-9 and deadlocked with the Texans in the division basement.
The Kansas City Chiefs dropped their second consecutive contest, this time to San Diego to drop to 9-2. Philip Rivers had a big day, with his 26-yard scoring pass to Seyi Ajirotutu with 24 seconds remaining providing the winning margin in a 41-38 road win, snapping a three-game losing streak. Rivers threw for three TDs and 392 yards for the Chargers (5-6).
After a sluggish first half, QB Cam Newton recovered after intermission to lead Carolina to their seventh consecutive win and a solid grasp on a NFC Wild Card playoff berth with a 20-16 road win at Miami. Newton’s 1-yard TD toss to Greg Olsen with 43 seconds remaining improved the Panthers to 8-3 while dropping Miami to 5-6.
The resurgent St. Louis Rams used a 21-point first quarter explosion, highlighted by Tavon Austin’s 65-yard TD scamper, to run roughshod over Chicago 42-21 on Sunday, improving them to 5-6 and remaining in the postseason conversation. The defeat dropped the Bears to 6-5 but still tied for the NFC North lead with Detroit.
The suddenly potent Arizona Cardinals put an old-fashioned butt-kicking on the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, blowing out to a 34-3 lead on their way to a convincing 40-11 rout and improving to 7-4. Carson Palmer threw for 314 yards and two scores as the Cardinals dominated the Colts in all phases of the contest. The loss dropped Indy to 7-4 but with still a two-game lead in the AFC South.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 10-yard TD pass to Kendall Wright in the final seconds gave Tennessee a 23-19 road victory over Oakland to improve to 5-6. Winning for just the second time in their last seven games keeps the Titans in the playoff race while the Raiders fell to 4-7.
Dan Bailey’s 35-yard FG as time expired gave Dallas a 24-21 road win over the New York Giants, snapping New York’s four-game winning streak. The victory enabled the Cowboys (6-5) to tie Philadelphia atop the NFC East, while the loss by the 4-7 Giants makes their postseason hopes even dimmer.
An unlucky bounce on a punt proved to be Denver’s downfall, leading to Stephen Gostkowski’s game-winning 31-yard FG in OT to give New England a 34-31 win in bitterly cold Foxboro. Denver’s Tony Carter inadvertently stepped into the path of a punt, leading to the Pats recovering the ball at Denver’s 13-yard line and putting the capper on a remarkable comeback win.
1. Denver Broncos (9-1) – The Broncos took down the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Peyton Manning looks primed for a post season run, as his high-ankle sprain seems to be a nonfactor.
2. Seattle Seahawks (10-1) – Home-field advantage looks like it is imminent for this team. Given the way this team plays with the 12th man at home, opposing NFC team will have its work cut out for them.
3. New Orleans Saints (8-2) – If there was ever any questions about the importance of a head coach to his team, Sean Payton answered them. The team has been the polar opposite from the previous season, and look to only get stronger, especially at home.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) – The Chiefs were handed its first loss against the Denver Broncos. Andy Reid may have to start considering allowing his quarterback to take more shots. Good news for KC, the team gets a shot at redemption against the Broncos, as they play them again in two-weeks.
5. Carolina Panthers (7-3) – Barring the controversial picked up flag at the end of regulation, the Panthers proved they were a legitimate contender in the NFC. On offense, Cam Newton showed maturity and patience, using his legs and arm to take down New England.
6. Indianapolis Colts (7-3) – The Colts got the bad taste of the previous week’s loss out against the Tennessee Titans. On defense, Robert Mathis continues to help the unit through its growing pains in the secondary.
7. New England Patriots (7-3) – The loss was a debated one, as a ghost flag ended regulation. However, the Patriots still sit comfortable in the playoff hunt.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) – The Bengals once trailed in this game, but thanks to the defensive efforts they eked out a divisional win against the Cleveland Browns, and are in the driver seat in the AFC North.
9. San Francisco 49ers (6-4) – The 49ers have now lost two-straight. Colin Kaepernick’s play is suspect at best. If they want to win more games, I’d suggest feeding the beast, Frank Gore.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) – The Eagles got its first win at home, as the Nick Foles show continues to roll on. The unit is currently first place in the NFC East.
The Indianapolis Colts stormed back against Tennessee to take a 30-27 AFC South road victory, improving their record to 7-3 and a division lead of three games over the 4-6 Titans. Donald Brown scored two TDs to go with his 80 yards rushing and QB Andrew Luck passed for 232 yards.
Behind EJ Manuel’s 245 yards and two TD passes, as well as the Buffalo defense forcing four turnovers, the Bills improved to 4-7 with a 37-14 home rout of the New York Jets (5-5). Field position played a key role, with the Bills beginning three drives inside of New York’s 35-yard line. Jets QB Geno Smith threw three INTs and was sacked four times.
In a game delayed for nearly two hours due to torrential rain and wind, Chicago’s Robbie Gould booted the game-winning FG in overtime to lead the Bears to a 23-20 win over Baltimore. Paired with Detroit’s loss to Pittsburgh, the win deadlocked both the Lions and Bears atop the NFC North standings with identical 6-4 records. The defending Super Bowl champions fell to 4-6.
The Philadelphia Eagles moved into first place in the up-for-grabs NFC East with a 24-16 victory over Washington on Sunday, improving to 6-5 and capturing their first home win of the season. LeSean McCoy’s two TDs and steady play from QB Nick Foles easily handled the Redskins, who managed a late comeback but fell to 3-7 and last place in the division.
Behind Ben Roethlisberger’s sharp passing and big games from WRs Antoine Brown and Jerricho Cotchery, the Steelers withstood a 27-point second-quarter explosion by Detroit to move to 4-6 with a 37-27 home win over the 6-4 Lions. The win helped Pittsburgh remain in a three-way tie for second in the AFC North and dropped Detroit into a first-place tie with Chicago in the NFC North.
Seattle demonstrated why they’re considered to have the best home-field advantage in the NFL with a resounding 41-20 rout over Minnesota, improving them to 10-1 and a three-game edge in the NFC West. The Seahawks have now won 13 consecutive home games, by far the best current streak in the league.
The resurgent New York Giants continued their remarkable turnaround on Sunday, winning their fourth straight after opening at 0-6 with a 27-13 victory over the injury-riddled Packers. Eli Manning’s sharp passing and a swarming defense led the Giants. Green Bay meanwhile, falls to 5-5.
The Miami Dolphins, despite all the turmoil surrounding their locker room, evened their record at 5-5 with a 20-16 win over slumping San Diego on Sunday behind a balanced attack. Ryan Tannehill directed Miami’s conservative, ball-control offense in dropping the Chargers to 4-6.
Houston’s 2013 season continued to freefall, losing their eighth straight to fall to 2-8 following a 28-23 home loss to Oakland. Picked by many to rule the AFC, the injury-plagued Texans were victimized by Raider rookie free agent QB Matt McGloin’s three TD passes and RB Rashad Jennings’ 150+ yards rushing as Oakland improved to 4-6.
The Atlanta Falcons fell to 2-8 and into a last-place tie with the suddenly hot Tampa Bay Bucs after Tampa’s 41-28 home win on Sunday. Rookie QB Mike Glennon’s two TD tosses on 20-23 passing and fellow rookie Bobby Rainey’s three TDs to go along with 163 rushing yards guided the victory, Tampa’s second straight following an 0-8 start.
Arizona recovered from an early deficit to overcome stubborn Jacksonville 27-14 on Sunday. The win moved the Cardinals into a second-place NFC West tie with the ‘Niners at 6-4. QB Carson Palmer had his most productive afternoon yet with the Cards, passing for 419 yards and two TDs.
The Denver Broncos dealt Kansas City their first defeat of the season with a 27-17 home win. The Denver win deadlocked the two atop the division at 9-1 and sets up a rematch in Week 13 between the two in Kansas City. Peyton Manning avoided KC’s fierce pass rush to throw for 323 yards and a TD.
The Cincinnati Bengals snapped a two-game losing streak behind a 31-point second-quarter explosion and improved to a two-and-a-half game AFC North lead with a 41-20 whipping of in-state rival Cleveland on Sunday. The Bengals scored on a blocked punt and a fumble return in the span of just over two minutes to take control over the 4-6 Browns.
Garrett Hartley’s 31-yard FG as time expired gave the New Orleans Saints a 23-20 home win over San Francisco, improving them to 8-2 while dropping the 49ers to 6-4 following back-to-back losses to NFC South teams. Drew Brees’ 305 passing yards and Hartley’s three fourth-quarter FGs led the Saints.
It’s hard to believe we’re at Week 11 already but we are. The one positive being that thankfully, the byes are almost over.
The early slate this week isn’t great, but it makes up for it with a great late afternoon game (Saints-49ers), a fantastic Sunday night game (Broncos-Chiefs), and a very intriguing Monday night game for once (Patriots-Panthers). With that said let’s take a look at who I like this week against the spread.
Home teams are in CAPS. Feel free to mock my picks the comments or challenge me by posting your own picks. The lines are courtesy of williamhill.com online bookies.
Note: This website does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) over the TENNESSEE TITANS
The Colts will be looking to rebound after being embarrassed by the Rams and I only have to lay 3 points against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sign me up!
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+1.5) over the Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are a bad football team. They’ve been blown out 3 weeks in a row. Now they’re favorites on the road against the team that almost beat them in their own building. I’ll take the points.
New York Jets (+1.5) over the BUFFALO BILLS
In case you didn’t hear, the Bills complained to the NFL about their schedule because they’ve played 6 games against teams coming off extended rest, like the Jets are this week. Cry me a river Buffalo.
Detroit Lions (-1.5) over the PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Somehow, the Lions have a realistic shot at a first-round bye. Their remaining schedule after the Steelers is cake (Bucs, Packers, @Eagles, Ravens, Giants, Vikings). I wouldn’t be surprised if they go 12-4.
Washington Redskins (+3.5) over the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
The Redskins (yes it’s ok to say their actual name) have burned me all season long. Not going to bet against them now. I’m going down with the ship.
CHICAGO BEARS (-3) over the Baltimore Ravens
What has gotten into Josh McCown? This is a guy who sitting on his couch last season and now there is talk that he’s making Jay Cutler expendable.
Cleveland Browns (+5) over the CINCINNATI BENGALS
Brian Hoyer who? Jason Campbell has thrown 5 TDs and 0 INTs in his two starts. A Browns win on Sunday and they’re only .5 games out of the AFC North lead. Remember when everyone said they’re season was over after they traded Trent “I haven’t averaged more than 4 yards per carry once this season” Richardson. That was funny.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-7) over the Oakland Raiders
I’m firmly on the Case Keenum bandwagon. Call me crazy but I see a little bit of Tony Romo in Keenum.
Arizona Cardinals (-7) over the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The Cardinals are the sneakiest 5-4 team in the league. Their next four games (excluding the Jags) are manageable (Colts, @Eagles, Rams, @Titans). Then they play the Seahawkws (could be resting their starters in Week 16) and finish with the 49ers at home in what could be a win-and-you’re-in game. What I’m saying is yes it’s possible we can all bet against Carson Palmer in the playoffs one more time.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (+1.5) over the San Diego Chargers
Two teams that looked good early on but are starting to fade. I really wish I could pick against both teams, but since I can’t I’ll take the home team (and the points).
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-13) over the Minnesota Vikings
Christian Ponder has looked somewhat serviceable the past few weeks which means he’s due for a classic 3 interception Christian Ponder performance.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3) over the San Francisco 49ers
Does this line feel way too low to anyone else? Are we sure the 49ers are good? Their best win is probably the Packers, but that was all the way back in Week 1. Other than that the’ve beaten up on crapy teams (Jags, Titans, Rams, Texans). I’ll take the Saints here every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers (+6) over the NEW YORK GIANTS
We’re starting to hear people talk up the Giants and that they’re going to make their patented late season run and steal the NFC East. They’re a couple problems with that. One is that Eli Manning still hasn’t had one good game this year. Please, look at his game log. Second, they’re going to have to go at least 8-8, realistically 9-7 to do so. That means they can only lose one more game this season. They still have the Seahawks, Cowboys, have to travel to Detroit and San Diego, plus the Redskins (a team they’ve had trouble with the past few years) twice. Stop it. The 2013 Giants are done.
DENVER BRONCOS (-8) over the Kansas City Chiefs
This is it for the Chiefs. Their chance to shut up everyone who says their 9-0 start is fluky on national television and essentially clinch the AFC West. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chiefs pull out all the stops to try and win this game.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-2) over the New England Patriots
The Tom Brady has lost it arguments have vanished in the two weeks since Brady eviscerated the Steelers for 5 touchdowns. However, they’ll creep right back up in Brady struggles in primtime against a suddenly dominant Panthers defense.
1) Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) - Logic has them at the number-one spot. I mean, they are the only undefeated team in the NFL. Let’s see how the revived unit does against the division rival Denver Broncos.
2) Denver Broncos (8-1) - The quick scoring of the Denver Broncos should be the cause of nightmares for any defenses the team faces. It will be interesting to see if the injury Peyton Manning sustained on Sunday will hinder him going forward.
3) Seattle Seahawks (9-1) - One of the NFC’s best teams will surely get better as Percy Harvin has been activated to the active roster. Let’s see if he can get involved right away.
4) New Orleans Saints (7-2) - The team bounced back in a big way after the prior week’s loss. Drew Brees and company won in a convincing fashion against the Dallas Cowboys.
5) New England Patriots (7-2) - The team enjoyed a BYE week. Hopefully they are well rested, because some true tests await them in the weeks to come.
6) Carolina Panthers (6-3) - After watching some of this team’s games earlier in the season, the fact they have cracked the top-ten at all is a shocker. Let’s see if they can keep pace.
7) Detroit Lions (6-3) - Detroit continues to get wins, as they too prove to be true contenders in the NFC.
8) San Francisco 49ers (6-3) - The 49ers couldn’t even muster up to 50-yards in the second half.
9) Indianapolis Colts (6-3) - The Colts lost big in a surprising upset at home. I still believe they are one of the top AFC teams, despite this colossal shocker against the St. Louis Rams.
10) Chicago Bears (5-4) - The Bears won, even without its starting quarterback (again). Let’s see if the second-stringer can keep the momentum going next week against the Baltimore Ravens.