by Robert Ferringo - 11/18/2005
Wow. Rather large numbers being tossed around this week. For the first time since Week 2 there is a full slate of 16 games, with five contests featuring double-digit favorites and half of the lines at a touchdown or more. Here's a look at some of the more intriguing match ups of Week 11.
Carolina (-3) at Chicago, 1 p.m. on Sunday
I'm surprised at the stability of this line over the week. Carolina is 12-3-1 ATS for its last 16 road games, and are the more talented club. The Panthers are looking for their seventh consecutive victory, and the Bears are looking to make it six straight.
For Chicago, there's been the distraction of an investigation over the fight between Olin Kreutz and Fred Miller. Kreutz broke the jaw of the Bears starting left tackle (can't be good) and it's been the focus of the media in the Windy City all week. This little scandal is the most pressure and stress that Lovie Smith has endured in his brief coaching career.
John Fox and the Panthers have looked strong over the last six weeks. Their secondary should lock down the Bears thin receiving corps, but the true test will be how that dominating front four holds up under the Chicago rushing attack. The Bears defense should neutralize the Panthers offense, but I think Carolina's D can completely overwhelm the Bears offense.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-6), 1 p.m. on Sunday
Six points seems like a lot for the Falcons to be giving a team that's beaten them four of the last five times they've met in the Georgia Dome.
The key to the game should be the match-up of the Falcons' top-ranked rush offense against the Buccaneers fifth-ranked run defense. Also, the Bucs speed has been able to keep up with Vick. In five games against Tampa, he's averaging just 110 passing yards and 40 rushing yards.
Atlanta has won 10 of their past 15 games decided by eight points or less, and Vick is 21-6 SU as a starter indoors. Tampa didn't cover in Atlanta in 2004 when they lost 24-14.
Indianapolis (-6) at Cincinnati, 4:15 p.m. on Sunday
To forget the past is to be condemned to relive it. By now, I'm sure you've been amply reminded of 2003. That was the year when a Kansas City team - with a similar modus operandi to the 2005 Colts - waltzed into Cincinnati and was handed its first loss.
The Colts and the Bengals are nearly mirror images of one another. The exception is that Indy has the better defensive front four, while Cincy owns a stronger secondary. Each of these clubs can put serious points on the board - and I see them each notching at least 24 - but the winner will be the one that runs the ball more consistently, taking advantage of the others weakness.
The Colts are 5-0 against the spread on the road in 2005, and an amazing 78-5-2 ATS when they win straight up on the road. Cincinnati is just 1-3 ATS at home this season.
I think I'm reaching some sort of equilibrium with my Power Rankings. If you notice, there has been less and less movement within them over the last three weeks:
1) Indianapolis (9-0) - After this week, the Week 16 game in Seattle could be the only game in "weather" that the Colts play for the rest of the season.
2) Denver (7-2) - The Broncos should coast to their eighth consecutive home win. In seven meetings, Denver has never surrendered more than 100 yards to Curtis Martin.
3) Pittsburgh (7-2) - The Steelers will again be without Roethlisberger, and are seeking their 12th straight road win. The last team to successfully defend their turf - Baltimore.
4) Carolina (7-2) - Jake Delhomme has been lethal in the clutch. He has a 99.0 passer rating on third down and a 103.9 rating in the fourth quarter.
5) Seattle (7-2) - Last year the Seahawks finished 1-7 ATS to end the season. This could be a letdown game at San Fran a week before they host the Giants.
6) Cincinnati (7-2) - This could be a large stepping stone game for Carson Palmer.
7) Atlanta (6-3) - Wideout Roddy White was in a car accident this week. He's okay, but I expect him to be a little off this Sunday.
8) Dallas (6-3) - Both Julius Jones and Marion Barber need a lot of carries to get off, so I think Parcells needs to pick one horse and ride it.
9) Jacksonville (6-3) - The Jaguars have the NFL's second best turnover differential at +10.
10) Chicago (6-3) - Sunday's forecast is partly cloudy with a high of 44 and the winds settling at eight miles per hour. Thomas Jones will play.
11) San Diego (5-4) - The Chargers are 7-0 ATS recently at home against an opponent with a sub-.500 record. They've won 9 of their past 11 at home.
12) New York Giants (6-3) - Plexico Burress has had 103 passes thrown his way this season. That's by far the most in the league. The Vikings double teamed him, and Eli looked lost.
13) Tampa Bay (6-3) - Defense can't let Warrick Dunn run through them the way that Clinton Portis did last week.
14) New England (5-4) - The Pats are 3-1 ATS at home, and have won 17 of 21 SU versus the NFC. They're not forcing turnovers (8), but the Saints have been sloppy with the ball all season (27).
15) Washington (5-4) - The Redskins are converting on 43 percent of their third downs. That's fifth best in the league.
16) Kansas City (5-4) - Father Time. He hits hard.
17) Philadelphia (4-5) - My buddy Rich left me a voicemail that was a recorded conversation between Jesse Jackson and Terrell Owens. All I can say is - that's a sitcom waiting to happen.
18) St. Louis (4-5) - The Rams were out of sync last week. But they've won six of their last seven meetings with Arizona, and 42 of their past 52 at home.
19) Buffalo (4-5) - The Bills are outscoring opponents 40-10 in the first quarter this season. They'll need a fast start to have a chance in San Diego.
20) Minnesota (4-5) - This is a huge game in Green Bay on Monday Night. The Vikings, even after the win in N.Y., are now 3-23 in their last 26 games on the road.
21) Miami (3-6) - The Dolphins have beaten Cleveland the past six times they've played and are 8-1 ATS in their tenth game of the year.
22) Detroit (4-6) - I really feel as if the Lions will contain the Cowboys offense, and that this will be a low scoring game. Detroit is 6-3 ATS.
23) Oakland (3-6) - The Raiders are just 1-3 SU on the road this season.
24) Baltimore (2-7) - The rumors are getting a lot louder about this being Brian Billick's swan song with the Ravens.
25) Cleveland (3-6) - I really like the way that Rueben Droughns runs. That guy is tough.
26) New Orleans (2-7) - I think the Saints could be dangerous now that they've had a week to catch their breath. Also, I think Horn and Stallworth should shred the Pats secondary.
27) Green Bay (2-7) - The Packers are 9-4 on Monday Nights under Mike Sherman. Favre knows he has a chance to be a spoiler this week.
28) New York Jets (2-7) - The Jets are averaging a paltry 242 yards per game.
29) Arizona (2-7) - They possess the league's third best passing attack (272 per), and I expect them to put plenty of points up against a below average Rams secondary.
30) Tennessee (2-7) - The Titans have beaten the Jags in 11 of the past 14 meetings.
31) San Francisco (2-7) - On a horrible team, Bryant Young is having a monster season. He has eight sacks, and has given everything he can for the 49ers.
32) Houston (1-8) - Man, if you're not watching "Lost" you're missing out on the best show on television. What? The Texans? Yeah, they still suck.
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The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Doc's football picks service.