Oddsmaker Greatness of the Gridiron Challenge: NFL Week 11 Picks

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There is no greater time to try to get into this competition than right now, as every week you beat me gives you another opportunity at that big cash prize at the end of the year. Let's get started right now with my Week 11 picks…

Oakland Raiders (+7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Plenty of interesting NFL lines this week, and I'm one who is a believer in the dogs having their day. Oakland is a team that is good enough to come into Pittsburgh and win this game. The Steelers could be in for a long decent again this year as they were in '09, and if they even have the slightest trip up, they are going to be in a lot of trouble in the AFC South race. The Raiders have control of first place in the AFC West right now for a reason. QB Jason Campbell should at least be able to keep this game tight. I'm going with Oakland +7.

Houston Texans (+7) @ New York Jets – Though I know that the moneyline price really justifies itself, I'm not so sure that the spread really does. Assuming that Houston's QB Matt Schaub does actually suit up, the Texans have the gunslinger that can pick apart this New York defense. The Jets aren't really built to blow you out, and they are in a position where they are going to have to throw the ball all over the field to do the most damage on Houston's porous secondary. This is the one truly contending team in the AFC that the Texans really could have their way with, even on the road, and I'm taking the points. Houston +7

Baltimore Ravens (-10) @ Carolina Panthers – The Ravens are in the spotlight here, as they are in a position where they really should be posting an impressive victory. I was burned by QB Colt McCoy in his first career start for the Cleveland Browns against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I have no problems going back to the well again going against QB Tony Pike. Carolina barely has 100 points scored this season. It probably isn't putting much distance between itself and that 100 point mark on Sunday. If Baltimore can get to 21, not only does it have blackjack, but it has a cover as well. Quoth the Ravens -10.

Washington Redskins @ Tennessee Titans (-7) – The Skins are a train wreck right now, as they have no confidence in their offense and their defense was just absolutely destroyed by QB Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles in front of a national TV audience. Perception on this team isn't good, and I don't like betting against teams like that, but I know that this is a situation where the team was overhyped beforehand anyway. Don't be surprised to see Tennessee walk away with this in a romp as long as one of its QBs proves to be healthy. Tennessee -7.

Detroit Lions (+6.5) @ Dallas Cowboys – So Dallas beats the snot out of the New York Giants, and all of a sudden, it can be a world beater again? Remember what happened after the Cowboys beat the Houston Texans on the road? That's right. Nothing did. The Lions know that they need to win a road game one of these days, as 25 straight road losses is an NFL record. This might not be the game in which that streak stops, but let's be real about something: Dallas keeps finding ways to lose. The Lions keep finding ways to lose… but they also keep finding ways to cover spreads. Detroit +6.5

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings – Bye-bye Love Boat! You had better believe that the Packers would love nothing more than to pick off QB Brett Favre six times and get him yanked from what could be his final game as well. At some point, HC Brad Childress really has to bench Favre, and if that happens, it would be awfully poetic justice, considering the fact that his last pass as a Packer was picked off. You know what they say about karma, Brett. It'll bite you in the seat of your Wrangler jeans. I'm not letting this one bite me where the sun don't shine either. Green Bay -3

Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5) – The Bills are going to be trendy underdog selections in this game due to the fact that they have finally notched their first win, but I'm not buying it. The Bengals have a team that hasn't looked to have given up this year in spite of their 2-7 record, and as long as they keep up that mentality, this game should prove to be a victory. QB Carson Palmer could go absolutely bananas against this secondary, and if he does, Cincinnati -5.5 is the right NFL pick to make.

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5) – Something just doesn't seem right here. The Browns are implied to be the better team in this matchup, as they would theoretically be -1.5 on a neutral field against Jacksonville. Am I missing something here? The Jags might not be that good, but they are a 5-3 team with QB David Garrard in the sling, and they just appear to be a blessed team after finding a way to put down the Houston Texans with that ridiculous Hail Mary last weekend. I'm not one to buck the trends of karma. HC Jack Del Rio knows that he's going to need some luck and that this won't be the easiest game in the world, but you've got to figure that Jacksonville wins this sucker at least 60% of the time, right? Jacksonville -1.5

Arizona Cardinals @ Kansas City Chiefs (-8) – Someone please come and gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork. It might be less painful than trying to make a pick in this game. Toss a coin in the air… that's good enough. The Cards have no offense, but the Chiefs have no confidence, especially after getting totally blasted by the Denver Broncos last weekend. The hosts have a better all around resume and it isn't even close, so I guess I'll go with Kansas City -8 for the heck of it.

Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints (-12) – This is a heck of a lot of points to be laying in a game, especially with a team that already has an outright defeat at home to the Cleveland Browns on its resume this year. This is a legitimate playoff team that is coming to town, but I know that the Seahawks wouldn't finish in better than third place in any other division in football outside of the AFC West (and that's not a guarantee either). New Orleans is finally getting a running game back, as RB Reggie Bush expects to play after the team's bye week. That's a huge key that cannot be forgotten about, as QB Drew Brees has been turning around and handing the ball to a bunch of guys that were on the streets the week before of late. I just have a gut feeling that the Saints are going to start this second half of their season with fury and absolutely manhandle the Seahawks. Thus, the play is New Orleans -12 for yours truly.

Atlanta Falcons @ St. Louis Rams (+3) – The Falcons look like a tremendously better team than do the Rams on paper, but a closer inspection doesn't tell me that. Atlanta has made it because of the way that it has played at home this year. After all, QB Matt Ryan has only lost once at the Georgia Dome in his career, and that defeat didn't come this season. However, this is a 2-2 team on the road that really hasn't proven it can go much of anywhere to win games outside of the Peach State. The Rams are below .500, but they have a win against the San Diego Chargers at home and know that they are 4-1 while playing at the Edward Jones Dome. This would be one of those statement wins for a franchise that is turning around, and QB Sam Bradford might be in for a great day against a secondary that really hasn't been all that great. Don't be shocked to see the upset here, so I'm going with St. Louis +3.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Francisco 49ers (-3) – The ghosts of trips to San Francisco are going to haunt the Bucs in this one. You know that they haven't won a game here since 1980?!?!?! Tampa Bay has beaten everyone that it was supposed to, but it hasn't done a darn thing against the teams it was supposed to lose to. This game is one of those that is sort of in the middle, and it is definitely a swing game for a team that is probably going to get the you know what beat out of it next week at the Baltimore Ravens. I just like the way that QB Troy Smith looks right now for the Niners, and I have confidence that he can win this game against a defense that really isn't all that great. I'm going with San Fran -3.

Indianapolis Colts (+3.5) @ New England Patriots – Again, this is going to be one of these games that more of you are on the Pats than are only the Colts, and that doesn't surprise me. After all, Indy looks like a mortal team right now and can't beat the pants off of anybody, while New England has beaten some of the best teams in the NFL and is about to come home after its destruction of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. However, there's something about "The Sheriff," QB Peyton Manning in a game like this. New England's defense just isn't that good, and everyone has seen it. Can the Colts take advantage? Many of you are going to bet against Manning. No way in the world will I do the same. Indy +3.5

New York Giants (+3) @ Philadelphia EaglesRemember to make your tiebreaker picks in this game!!! Philly is hot. There's no doubt about that. However, we just love the matchup of putting this speedy defense against QB Michael Vick. New York's offense won't flounder like it did for most of last week against the Dallas Cowboys, and you can bet that the deep ball that worked so well for the Boys won't work again this week. Last week was simply a look ahead spot for the G-Men, and they aren't going to be caught napping again. All will be forgotten when they pull off the mild upset in the City of Brotherly Love and work towards the NFC East title once again. I'm closing out my Sunday with a big play on the Giants +3.

Official Week 11 NFL Lines Courtesy of Oddsmaker Sportsbook
Oakland Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Houston Texans @ New York Jets (-7)
Baltimore Ravens (-10) @ Carolina Panthers
Washington Redskins @ Tennessee Titans (-7)
Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5)
Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5)
Arizona Cardinals @ Kansas City Chiefs (-8)
Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints (-12)
Atlanta Falcons (-3) @ St. Louis Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Francisco 49ers (-3)
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots (-3.5)
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

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