**NOTE: I AM POSTING THIS UP AT 3:09 PM EST…. I DIDN’T GET THE ARTICLE POSTED IN TIME AS I HAVE BEEN VERY SICK. SORRY.*
Sometimes the stars simply align against you. Desean Jackson sleeps in and gets benched (and this information is made available to the public until just before kickoff). Michael Vick breaks two ribs on the second play of the game, and keeps the information to himself. John Skelton and Larry Fitzgerald become the second incarnation of Manning and Harrison. All told, the Eagles let me and just about everybody else who had them left in their survivor pools down. The good news is that in many cases, entire leagues were washed out, so last week was likely a write off. This gives us new life this week, but the team selection pool continues to dwindle, and there are more byes to contend with. As per the rules of this column, we will eliminate the next pick that won, which was the Jaguars. At least we aren’t sad to see them get used up. The downside to this week is that the Colts are on bye, so we can’t pick on them. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger spreads:
The best options for this week are Green Bay, New England, San Francisco, and Dallas. The problem is we have used all of those teams, so let’s keep digging. The next batch include: Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, New York Giants and Chicago. We can cross off Baltimore (even if you still have them available, there is no way I’m taking them against the Bengals, even if A.J. Green doesn’t play. They have looked far too inconsistent and the Bengals are legit.) That still leaves us with some decent options considering its Week 11. I’m going to cross off the Falcons, as they are prone to their share of clunkers, and the Titans are a decent team. The Bears are probably playing the best football of the remaining three teams, but are also playing against arguably the best opponent. San Diego is in desperate need of a win, and they are capable of beating good teams, just as they are capable of losing to bad ones. I hate picking inconsistent teams to lose as much as I hate picking inconsistent teams to win. Still, you could do worse than Chicago this week. The Giants get the Eagles, and while they should win, nobody is more desperate than Philly this week, and desperation can be frightening to play against. That leaves Detroit. They have lost 3 of their past 4, and need to turn things around if they are serious about making the playoffs. I believe this is just the week to do it, as the Lions have the offensive power to rip apart a weak Carolina team. Matthew Stafford will solider through his latest injury, and you can bet the Lions defense will be looking to make up for a lackluster effort against Chicago last week. I’d hate to be Cam Newton against an angry Lions defensive line. The Lions at home are about as safe a bet as we can find this week given the fact that we’ve used up the real obvious choices. (if you somehow have Green Bay or New England left, you have to play them this week!) Still, I’m confident in the Lions this week, as the Titans made Newton look human last week, and you can bet the Lions will have watched that tape and implement some of what they saw. Calvin Johnson should return to the endzone this week (possibly more than once), and the Lions will come away with a convincing win this week.
Pick: 1) Detroit 2) Chicago 3) New York Giants
Already used: Houston, Pittsburgh, San Diego, New Orleans, New England, Green Bay, Dallas, Baltimore, San Francisco, Jacksonville