Thursday, November 15, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 11 -- The Big Bad Brawl and....

First, we're sorry for missing the last two weeks due to faulty equipment. That will get your head knocked off in the NFL. Speaking of which, big injuries including concussions are a part of this week's story line while the nastiest rivalry in the business is set to do battle Sunday night.

The concussions keep piling up with last week's casualties including Jay Cutler and Michael Vick.  Finally, the NFL is getting serious about protecting its players considering how many former players have suffered dreadful consequences later in life from the pounding they took -- never let the name of former Baltimore Colts' hall-of-famer, John Mackey go unnoticed for the decades long suffering he endured before his untimely death.l

The two hottest rivals, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, two of the roughest most old school teams in the business play in Pittsburgh Sunday night. The injury epidemic finds each team missing its leader with Ray Lewis out for the season after shoulder surgery and Ben Rothlesberger suffering a shoulder and rib injury. We predict the Steelers will go right at the Ravens with their running game challenging the Ravens who've not been very effective so far this year stopping the run.  The Ravens will pin their hopes on their beefed up offense with Joe Flacco in command but also needing a good run from Ray Rice to setup the air game.

The other big game of the week is also a nationally televised game, Monday night's battle with Chicago visiting San Francisco in what appears to be the battle for the second team with home field advantage and a first round bye in the playoffs as the NFC East seems to have three teams in self-destruct mode and the 4th, the Redskins, not ready for prime time yet. Suddenly, the 49ers appear well-positioned to make up for early season unexpected losses and take advantage of a Jay Cutler's status.

Here's the breakdown, game-by-game:

Miami @ Buffalo (-2.5)
Order the fish not the steak on the menu tonight.

Arizona @ Atlanta (-10)
Atlanta will be hot to shake off their first loss last week.

Green Bay (-3.5) @ Detroit
The Lions are headed back into mediocrity faster than their brief flirtation with success.

Cleveland @ Dallas (-7.5)
Nothing like a cupcake game that Dallas should win easily to get the chatter going about how "America's Team," a most undeserving distinction, is on a roll with their "great" QB leader, the matinee idol, soap opera star, Tony Romo at the helm. Dallas wins. Who cares?

Cincinnati (-3.5) @ Kansas City
Cincinnati sure looked hot against the defending champs and should beat a team that fought into overtime and lost Monday night.

New York Jets @ St. Louis (-3)
Speaking of soap operas, the Tebow haters are making noise in the New York Jets lockeroom as Mark Sanchez continues to struggle. The Jets are going nowhere and a loss to the so-so St. Louis Rams will just make it worse.

Indianapolis @ New England (-9)
Could Andrew Luck be ready for one of his first career milestones, contending with New England? Probably not, but a Colts win could certainly hasten in much power for the developing "Lick Era" but the Colts will need more than Luck to win against the ever nasty Patriots.

Philadelphia @ Washington (-3.5)
The end of the Andy Reid era appears more certain with each loss for the Eagles in 2012. He'll surely catch on somewhere else if he chooses. It's clear the Michael Vick reign can't rival Donovan McNabb's often criticized for never bringing home the post season rewards expected of them.

Tampa Bay (-1.5) @ Carolina
Cam Newton has failed miserably to live up to his first year expectations and Tampa is one team that many consider over-achievers so far this year. Without Newton returning to form, Tampa wins this game.

Jacksonville @ Houston (-15.5)
This is probably the ho-hum game of the week unless seeing one team roll over the other is what excites the fans.

New Orleans (-5) @ Oakland
Well, at least Oakland probably won't give up 55 points this week at home, but there's not much to like about the Raiders in 2012.

San Diego @ Denver (-8)
Peyton Manning continues to sharpen his grasp of the Broncos as San Diego once again proves to be competing with Dallas for the game's worst under-achievers. Does anyone think Norv Turner will survive to coach another year?  However, he's been as good as gone many times before.

Baltimore (-3.5) @ Pittsburgh
Which team is more beat up?  That's the test.  It appears the Ravens have the edge especially after a tough late win for the Steelers Monday night while the Ravens glided to score 55 points and rest some regulars late in Sunday's thumping of Oakland.

Chicago @ San Francisco (-5.5)
The 49er's should emerge as the 2nd best team in the NFC after Monday night's game. The beat up Bears will have to dominate on defense and be fortunate on offense to overcome the favorites.

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