This week, I can be absolutely sure of my Pittsburgh Steelers pick — because they have their bye week today. They beat the Bengals on the road last week, and that combined with an unexpected loss by the Baltimore Ravens has them leading the AFC North once again. Thanks to their two losses to the Ravens this season, they will have to keep their momentum rolling to keep Baltimore at bay. In their next six games, though, they only face two teams with winning records (Cincinnati again at home in two weeks and San Francisco in the Monday night game on December 19th), so they have a good chance of holding onto that lead.
Last week I went 4-2, and my record for the season is now 39-21. Here’s my Pick Six for Week 11:
- Bengals at Ravens — Whoever wins this game gets to chase the Steelers the rest of the season, and whoever loses it will find themselves in a deep hole. For obvious reasons, I’m hoping the Bengals beat the Ravens here, since (so far) the Steelers would own the tiebreaker over Cincinnati. Baltimore hasn’t lost a game at home, but Ray Lewis is questionable for this game with an injured toe, and Baltimore has started looking very inconsistent. I’ll pick the Bengals in an upset, 24-17.
- Raiders at Vikings — Look, I pick the Vikings every week because they’re the local team, but it’s also a fairly safe bet to pick them for the loss. I’m no Raider fan, but they’re playing fairly well, if inconsistently, and they do better on the road than at home. However, I’m betting that the Vikes rebound from last week’s pounding by Green Bay and go after Oakland’s suspect rushing defense with a huge dose of Adrian Peterson, and that their generally good rushing defense keeps the Raider offense off the field. Vikings in a big upset, 28-20.
- Buccaneers at Packers — Every week becomes Perfect Watch in Green Bay. That’s a lot of pressure, but so far Aaron Rodgers and the Pack seem to be handling it. Tampa Bay is 1-2 on the road and won’t be the team that causes Don Shula and his ’72 Dolphins teammates pop the annual bubbly. The Pack blows out the Bucs, 33-14.
- Cowboys at Redskins — This is one of the NFL’s great rivalries, so expect Washington to play tough in this game at home. Tony Romo will probably display some of his inconsistencies, too, but that’s not going to be enough to lose this game, even on the road. Cowboys 27-21 over the ‘Skins.
- Eagles at Giants — I like to pick the Sunday night game, but otherwise I wouldn’t bother. Michael Vick won’t play, thanks to injured ribs, so Vince Young gets a chance to start tonight against Manning and the Giants. The G-Men have been inconsistent this year but are always tough at home, so I’d expect New York to win easily tonight, 31-23.
- Chiefs at Patriots — The Pats simply haven’t been dominating this season, and the Chiefs overcame a horrendous start to get back to respectability. However, they have lost two in a row again, and they’re not going to get back on track in New England. Expect another Monday night blowout, 37-20.