By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s NFL Picks: Week Eleven
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — “It’s a thin line between love and hate……”
In many ways, that line from the old Persuaders song and the Martin Lawrence movie (Ummmm, Lynn Whitfield…..) can be a metaphor to the NFL’s final six weeks of action.
The line should probably read, “It’s a thin line between the playoffs and playing golf in January” or something like that. In fact, except for the large division leads by the Titans and the Cardinals (both four games), it’s a true free for all.
Entering Week 11, there are two-way ties at the tops of the AFC East, AFC North and NFC North. And there are one-game separations between the top two teams in the AFC West and between the top three in the NFC South.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
The four NFC South teams have a combined home record of 17-1 (.944) in 2008. If Carolina (5-0), Tampa Bay (4-0), Atlanta (4-0), and New Orleans (4-1) maintain this pace, the 2008 NFC South will surpass the 2003 NFC West (.813) for the highest combined home winning percentage of any division since 1970.
With 14 NFC South home games remaining, the division must combine for 10 wins in those contests to set the record at .844 (27-5). One of the Saints’ home games was at London ‘s Wembley Stadium, a 37-32 victory over San Diego on October 26.
Three NFC South clubs will seek to continue their success at home in Week 11, with Atlanta hosting Denver, Carolina facing Detroit, and Tampa Bay taking on Minnesota.
Only six tight ends in NFL history have scored 50 career touchdowns. Which one did it the fastest?
A. Jerry Smith B. Tony Gonzalez C. Dave Casper D. Ben Coates
(The answer comes at the end of the column).
LAST WEEK: 7-7 (88-56 overall)
Just when exactly did I turn into the New Orleans Saints? After a 10-win week, we needed a goal line stand from the Cardinals just to finish .500. I knew I was taking a chance with “Sexy Rexy” and the Bears, but the Steelers, Packers, and Bills really let me down. Then again, I probably needed my head examined for taking the Boys from Motown. Jeez, what was I thinking, or drinking???
JETS at PATRIOTS
Yes, I know this is a huge battle for first in the AFC East. But realistically, I’m not very impressed by either of these teams. Team Tivo has kept themselves in the race despite the fact that Matt Cassel either can’t or won’t go deep with Randy Moss. On the other side, Gang Green can score nearly half a hundred against the likes of Arizona and St. Louis, but they lose to Oakland?? The constant mind games between Eric and Bill began earlier this week when New York took former Patriot Ty Law off his big, comfy couch and signed him for the rest of the season. I guess Vinny Testaverde’s cell phone was off. Anyway, if you forced me to come up with a winner, I’d likely lean towards the most desperate team. That sounds like the Fighting Manginis to me.
RAVENS at GIANTS
Don’t look now but they’re at it again in Baltimore. With a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach no less. The AFC’s version of the Atlanta Falcons come into the Meadowlands tied with the Steelers for the top spot in the AFC North and riding a four-game winning streak. The NFL’s top-ranked rushing offense of the Giants will square off against the league’s top run defense of the Ravens that has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 28 games, the longest such active streak in the NFL. Call it “Earth, Wind, and Fire” meets “The Blackbyrds”. Only you old school music folks can appreciate that reference!! As for the game, I’m gonna go with another road dog, or road bird in this case.
BRONCOS at FALCONS
Speaking of the aforementioned “Dirty Birds”, Atlanta made quick work of the Saints last week at the Dome. They now face a Denver team who played possum for the three quarters in Cleveland last week before opening up a can of lightning-filled whupass against the Brownies. The Falcons, who have won four of their past five, also have won all four of their home games this year. With each passing week, their confidence is rising. They’re also going up against a defense that despite the win got torched by the “Mighty Quinn”. I get the feeling that the new M&M boys (Matt and Michael) will have a good time against the Orange Mush.
COWBOYS at REDSKINS
Both teams spent last week licking their wounds while coming off of bruising and embarrassing losses. Dallas got pimpslapped by Big Blue while the Redskins were left Black and Blue by the Black and Gold. When they last met, D.C. pretty much had their way with Wade’s Boys in Big D. This week, it appears the Calvary is returning for Dallas as Tony Romo, Felix Jones, and Terence Newman are expected back in the lineup. However, the biggest acquisition may be the signing of DeAngelo Hall who left Hell (Oops, sorry Oakland) for Washington. I get the feeling that Mr. Campbell won’t have another stinker like he had against the Steelers.
BROWNS at BILLS
For the second straight week, the “Mighty Quinn” (the player, not the movie) will be forced upon a semi-national cable audience. All kidding aside, the Golden Domer didn’t look too bad last Thursday. Then again, Denver’s porous defense can make anyone look like Sammy Baugh at times. The early season excitement generated by the Bills is slowly seeping away as they were schooled by Team Tivo at Foxboro last week. As much as I’d like to think that Romeo’s bunch will try and rally for him, I still see last week’s collapse in my mind. Plus, when you add the fact that Buffalo is still in the playoff hunt, I gotta go with the team that needs it more.
Titans over Jaguars: I’m tempted to pick the upset, but I don’t think Jax has it in them.
Colts over Texans: I won’t get suckered into picking Houston to win for a third straight week. Now watch ‘em pull the upset…..
Bears over Packers: Kyle Orton returns and he brings the offense with him.
Dolphins over Raiders: Who would have thought the words Miami and playoffs could be mentioned in the same sentence this season?
Vikings over Bucs: Just a feeling that “All Day” Adrian will have his way with the Tampa D.
Eagles over Bengals: Sorry, I always favor angry birds over soft cats.
Steelers over Chargers: The Bolts were lucky to get by Reverend Herm’s bunch.
Cardinals over Seahawks: The Warner for MVP movement is getting louder and louder every week.
Saints over Chiefs: Somewhere in Jersey, Lil’ Eli is giggling over the Brees-Shockey spat.
Panthers over Lions: Yo, Jake! Try to throw to the guys that match your uniform, please??
A. Former Washington tight end Jerry Smith is one of only six tight ends with 50 career touchdowns, and he reached the milestone in an NFL-record 100 games.
NOTE: Currently, San Diego’s Antonio Gates has 49 touchdown receptions in 86 career games. A touchdown catch Sunday by Gates would break Smith’s mark. The other two tight ends with at least 50 career TD catches are Shannon Sharpe and Wesley Walls.