Here are my Week 11 NFL picks
49ers vs. Cardinals: 49ers. This will not be a “trap game” for the Niners. Jim Harbaugh is too good of a coach right now to let his team come out flat on Sunday. His motivational theme of the week is “rivalry game.” My guess is he’ll use this theme for the rest of the divisional games. The Niners are 9.5 point favorites to beat the Cardinals, and these Niners always seem to cover, so I’m picking them to win by two touchdowns. 23-9 Niners feels right to me. Here are some bonus over/unders for fun: Aldon Smith faces “the worst starting left tackle in the NFL,” according to Greg Cosell. Over/under for Aldon Smith sacks: 1.5. Over/under Frank Gore carries: 9.5. Over/Under Kendall Hunter carries: 19.5. Over/under Alex Smith pass attempts: 25.5. And one final bonus tie-breaker question: Who will lead the Niners in receptions this week? Last week it was Delanie Walker. I’m guessing Michael Crabtree will catch the most passes this week.
Panthers @ Lions: Lions. I’m picking Detroit even though I still think Matthew Stafford is overrated. The Panthers just don’t have enough good players around Cam Newton and Steve Smith to beat good teams.
Buccaneers @ Packers: Packers. Green Bay could win this game by three touchdowns just by handing the ball off to RB James Starks 30 times. Tampa Bay has an atrocious defense, ranked 28th against the pass and 29th against the run.
Bills @ Dolphins: Buffalo is arrow down and Miami is arrow up. The Dolphins will load the box to stop RB Fred Jackson, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will lose the game for the Bills with a couple interceptions.
Raiders @ Vikings: Raiders. This will be a high scoring game because the Raiders can’t stop the run, and Adrian Peterson is the best running back in football. But the Raiders will score more points than the Vikings because they have a more balanced and dangerous offense with Carson Palmer, Denarius Moore, and Michael Bush.
Cowboys @ Redskins: Cowboys. The Cowboys look like Super Bowl contenders now that they have a good running back – DeMarco Murray. Dallas might be the team the Niners would least like to play in the divisional round of the playoffs this January.
Bengals @ Ravens: Ravens. The Ravens embarrassed themselves last week in Seattle, losing to the Seahawks 22-17. They most likely won’t have Ray Lewis this week, either – he’s got a toe injury. So the Bengals should win, right? I don’t think so. Their star rookie wide receiver, A.J. Green, is doubtful to play on Sunday because he hyper-extended his knee last week. I don’t think the Bengals can beat a playoff team without Green right now. Andy Dalton’s second favorite target, Andrew Hawkins, is only 5’7”, and he weighs a measly 175 pounds.
Seahawks @ Rams: Seahawks. The only thing the Rams have going for them is their running back – Stephen Jackson. The Seahawks defend against the run well (ranked 10th). They will force the Rams to pass to win and the Rams can’t do that right now. On the other side of the ball, the Rams rank dead last against the run, so they will not be able to stop Marshawn Lynch.
Titans @ Falcons: Falcons. Tennessee’s 22nd ranked run defense will struggle to stop Falcons’ RB Michael Turner, so I’m picking Atlanta, the home team.
Chargers @ Bears: Bears. The Chargers look like a team that has quit on their coach, Norv Turner. The Bears look like a playoff team. I’m picking the playoff team.
Eagles @ Giants: Giants. Neither Michael Vick nor Jeremy Maclin will play in this one. For the Giants, starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw will miss another game, but backup Brandon Jacobs should have his best rushing performance of the season against Philly’s weak run D.
Kansas City @ Patriots: Patriots. The way to beat the Patriots is to pass on them. The Chiefs won’t have their starting quarterback, Matt Cassel – injured hand, so they won’t be able to take advantage of the Pats biggest weakness.