NFL Office Pool Picks Week 11
Do you know what I have to say about last week's NFL office pool picks? Absolutely nothing. I just don't want to talk about it. It went so very badly in every way that all we can do is move on. Pretend it never happened. That's what it will take to avoid ongoing trauma. I mean - the freaking Saints got crushed by the Falcons. At home. That's the kind of insanity that people just don't bounce back from. But we are going to bounce back. In a big way. And it starts now, with our NFL straight up picks for the week:
Pittsburgh at Cleveland: The Steelers are a playoff team if the season ended right now, and after a 1-4 start and the loss of their franchise QB that makes no sense at all. Cleveland is playing much better, too, but they are going to have real problems with this Pittsburgh defense. Pittsburgh can do the math, look at the rest of the schedule, and know they can stay in the playoffs if they keep winning. And they will be fired up. Take the Steelers.
Atlanta at Carolina: I have no idea how to process that Atlanta win over the Saints. It melted my mainframe. But there is too much wrong with this team for me to believe that they can do it again. Carolina is lacking consistency, but they have some dangerous weapons and are at home. Take the Panthers.
Houston at Baltimore: Lamar Jackson is not human. He proved that last time out with a stunningly good effort. Sure, he was up against a team that would lose to some JV squads. But it was still incredible, and it was no fluke. Houston is dialed in and dangerous, too, but Jackson is the difference. Take the Ravens.
Denver at Minnesota: Minnesota was all but written off early on, but they are only a game out of the division lead and seem to be smelling blood. They look like we expected them to. Finally. Denver can play defense. We can't take that away from them. But they really can't score. And Minnesota can - even against this defense. It's not a good formula for the Broncos. Take the Vikings.
Buffalo at Miami: I am deeply disappointed in Miami. They had an all-time historic season in their grasp. The best tank job there has ever been. Yet they are sitting here trying. Caring. Listening to competent coaching. It's sad. They are still second best here, and we have to take the Bills, but anything can happen at this point. What a horrid waste of potential.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis: We have to take the Colts at home, but we don't have to feel good about it. They have thrown away a great start, and they can't be trusted to kick anything right now. It's a real problem, and it makes them tough to trust.
N.Y. Jets at Washington: Every week this year there is a game that feels like about as bad as a game in this league can be. If you can name one thing that either of these teams do really well, then you are a far more optimistic person than I am. I guess the Jets are probably better and should be the pick, but that sentence is the saddest thing I have ever written.
Dallas at Detroit: I do not at all believe in Dallas. They are going to fire their coach. Maybe. And they just aren't any good. But as much as I really want to like this Detroit team, they just make it so hard. Too hard. Take the Cowboys.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay: The Bucs have all sorts of flaws. But they have scored the second most points per game in the NFC. If they played even a touch of defense, they would be dangerous. They need to be respected here. But I suspect we are going to see a very angry New Orleans team after their humiliation on Sunday. They will be playing fueled by fire. Take the Saints.
Arizona at San Francisco: The Cardinals are doing a lot of things right, and they got a good one in Kyler Murray. But it's still a work in progress. And despite a sloppy, often frustrating Monday night loss, the Niners are dialed in and very dangerous. Take the 49ers.
New England at Philadelphia: Philadelphia has won two in a row and is playing their best football. But they still seem like they are missing that certain something that would turn them into a legitimate contender. New England is rested and dangerous and has that 'it'. Take the Patriots.
Cincinnati at Oakland: Cincinnati is not an NFL team. Not even a reasonable facsimile of one. They look like a bunch of kids in Halloween costumes - and don't even play that well. I have some real concerns about Oakland, but none that matter here. Take the Raiders.
Chicago at L.A. Rams: Two teams that came into the season riding massive waves of expectation have crashed into the beach and are picking pieces of coral out of their hair, trying to figure out what has gone wrong. The Bears showed signs of life last week, though, and their defense will challenge a Rams offense that isn't up to challenges. Let's take a risk and take the visitors here.
Kansas City vs. L.A. Chargers: This one is in Mexico City. And it isn't nearly the game it seemed like it would be before the season started. I could run for 100 yards against the Chiefs right now - and I'd be back on my couch to watch the second half. Their defense is a massive problem, and even a superhuman effort by Patrick Mahomes couldn't overcome it. But the Chargers aren't putting on a football clinic, either. Take the Chiefs. I guess.