Here's guessing your Survivor Pool competition has concluded as I've never seen anything like Week 10 of the NFL season. Look, I'm happy to admit when I'm wrong, but I was flat-out terrible last week. The only thing that gives me comfort is so was everyone else. In my Confidence Pool, for example, the winning score was the lowest in the five-year history of the league.
How on earth does desperate Green Bay lose at home to Detroit for the first time since 1991? How can unbeaten Cincinnati fall at home to a Houston team that had to use backup QB T.J. Yates when starter Brian Hoyer went down during the game (typical Bengals, actually)? Kansas City crushing Denver in the Mile High City and making Peyton Manning look a JV quarterback? BTW, as a quick aside on that one: Manning had a zero rating before being mercifully pulled, joining brother Eli and father Archie as having at least one game with such a rating in their NFL careers. The Grieses never did that!
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Chicago going to St. Louis and pushing around that very good defense? Arizona scoring 39 points in a win at Seattle? Jacksonville winning in Baltimore on an untimed down (thanks to a blown officials' call)? The only result that would have made the week any zanier was the Patriots losing to the Giants, and they probably would have if New York knew how to milk the clock late in the fourth quarter of games. That was one of eight games decided by seven or fewer points in the week. A total of 76 games have been decided by seven points or fewer this season, the most such games through Week 10 in NFL history. New England was one of six clubs to win after trailing in the fourth in Week 10.
I'm at a loss for words for what happened last week, so let's just get to Week 11, which is probably one big reset. On the bye are the Browns, Saints, Giants and Steelers. As usual, the first team listed is the pick.
Top Choice Of Week
Seattle vs. San Francisco: Every time I think the Seahawks are back, they go and lay an egg. But they have owned the 49ers of late, albeit when Colin Kaepernick was the Niners' quarterback. Hard to imagine new 49ers starter Blaine Gabbert can do anything against this defense, especially on the road. It's a must-win for Seattle, and it will play accordingly.
Atlanta vs. Indianapolis: Both teams off a bye week, so a wash there. I don't have much faith in new Colts starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck even though he is 2-0 as a starter this year. But that was against Houston and Jacksonville. Step up in competition here.
Carolina vs. Washington: I still say the Panthers are overrated, but they continue to cruise along. Just don't get caught looking ahead to a trip to Dallas on Thanksgiving.
New England vs. Buffalo (Monday): Things seem to be falling into place for the Pats to finish 16-0 again. They got their one close call out of the way and now likely don't have to face Peyton Manning in Week 12 in Denver. Bills aren't a bad team but are also 3-27 in past 30 vs. Pats.
Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay: This is moderately dangerous for the Eagles as they are expected to start backup Mark Sanchez in place of the injured Sam Bradford. Considering how shaky Bradford has been at times, that might be a good thing -- he might not get his job back if "Mr. Buttfumble" plays well. The Bucs are playing much better of late but tough road challenge for Jameis Winston.
Could Go Either Way
Detroit vs. Oakland: Maybe the Lions have some confidence off that Packers upset -- they always had too much talent to be as bad as they were. This is one of those 10 a.m. Pacific time games for the Raiders, plus a rare dome game for the team.
NY Jets at Houston: Flip-flop this if the Texans' Hoyer plays. He's going through the NFL's concussion protocol. If it's Yates, stick with the Jets.
Chicago vs. Denver: I can't believe the Bears are 4-5 and they really should be 6-3 as they blew late leads against Detroit and Minnesota. Now they catch a huge break in avoiding Manning and facing Brock Osweiler in his first NFL start. Bears players will want this one for coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who came over from Denver this offseason.
Baltimore vs. St. Louis: Not sure I've ever seen a team have worse luck in a season than the Ravens. They catch some good fortune here, however, in that the Rams are turning to Case Keenum over Nick Foles as the starting QB.
Miami vs. Dallas: Tony Romo will return from his broken collarbone, but how healthy is he? Why do I think that Miami's Ndaumkong Suh does something dirty to try and re-injure that collarbone?
Arizona vs. Cincinnati: The Cardinals' Carson Palmer against his former team and a third straight prime-time game for Cincinnati. Andy Dalton was exposed in Monday's loss to Houston. Plus, it's a short week for the Bengals.
Kansas City at San Diego: The Chargers are totally injury-ravaged and appear to have mailed it in. The Chiefs suddenly look like a playoff contender with three straight wins and the defense dominating since Week 5. Could be final Chiefs-Chargers game in San Diego, which would be a shame.
Upset Of Week
Green Bay at Minnesota: No way Packers, who are slight betting underdogs, can lose four straight. Right? Vikings likely win the NFC North if they take this game. Green Bay has won four of the last five at Minnesota.
Jacksonville vs. Tennessee (Thursday): Think I'll be watching the NBA this Thursday night. Wait until you see the garish uniforms these teams will be wearing as part of the league's "Color Rush." The NFL is calling Jacksonville's "Bold Gold." Last week in Bills-Jets, those with a red/green color blindness had trouble distinguishing between the teams. A less common form of color blindness involves blue and yellow, and there will be a lot of that on your TV screen here.
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