2009 NFL Football Week Eleven Preview and Picks

2009 NFL Football Week Eleven Preview and Picks
2009 NFL Football Week Eleven Preview and Picks

Who Will Win Each Game, and More Importantly, Who Will Cover the Spread

Week ten was pretty good for those watching at home, but it was kinda brutal for people picking games. I survived, but a lot of unpredictable stuff went down last week. Who figured Denver was going to drop the ball the way they did against Washington? Or that the Packers were going to put it to the Cowboys the way they did. And of course, topic number one on every channel and every front page is the Indy/Pats game and the big fourth down gamble. I even gave it it's own special section this week, because it's just that big of a topic. I'm also making my upset pick of the year this week.

Not counting the Thursday night snorefest between San Francisco and Chicago, I ended up with an 8-6 record straight up (winners) and a 7-7 record against the spread. Which leaves me with an overall record of 89-53 straight up and 72-69-1 against the spread for the season. Which means I am still on the winning side against the casinos, which is what really matters.

Tennessee Titans Owner Bud Adams Giving Buffalo Fans the Bird

Bill Belichick before and after the controversial fourth down call
Bill Belichick before and after the controversial fourth down call

Have Your Say

What is your opinion of the call on the crucial fourth down play?

  • It was the biggest blunder ever
  • It was an acceptable risk that didn't pan out
See results without voting

Extra Bonus Coverage of the Big Fourth Down Gamble

With all the talk it has generated, this game stands on its own. So I decided to give it it's own separate section to discuss it and the big call that everybody in the world is talking about. Seems like their are two distinct camps in all this. One that sees this as the biggest blunder ever by a great coach and another that sees this as something that makes Bill Belichick the great coach that he is and either was the right call even though it failed or is excusable because Bellichick is that great otherwise. Beyond all that, this was a classic game that started out looking like a very easy victory for the Patriots, morphed into a game New England would probably hold onto to just barely win, further morphed into a game that was up in the air, and finally settled on a stunning loss/victory, depending on your perspective.

As far as the play in question goes, I'm a little split. I like aggressive play calling. It was one of the things I admired about Jimmy Johnson when he was the coach of the Cowboys. I've heard some convincing arguments for why they had a better chance going for it rather than punting. I've even seen this video about a team that never punts or kicks a field goal and has done pretty well as a result. I really don't think it was as bad a call as everyone is making it out to be. However, when you get right down to it I think punting would have been the right choice.

First of all, not punting removed one of the key variables that would have worked to their favor. That being the clock. Granted the Colts can score fast, but when you make a team go the length of the field in the final two minutes with just one time out, it creates a lot of other concerns for that team. First, it limits their play calling. They can't run the ball and they have to avoid throwing to the middle of the field. If they do have to throw into the middle or if the defense gets a sack or prevents a player from getting out of bounds, then they have to spike the ball to stop the clock, so they lose one of their plays. Plus, the simple fact that they have to be aware of the clock creates a tension that can lead to mistakes by the offense. Furthermore, having to run more plays to get all the way down the field creates additional opportunities for mistakes the defense can take advantage of. Any way you slice it, driving eighty yards with two minutes to go is much harder than driving thirty yards.

Finally, I think that Belichick should be getting criticized more for the play calling that set up that play in the first place. First of all, they blew their last two time outs on the series for no good reasons. Then if they had run on third down not only could they likely have gotten closer to the first down, but it also would have allowed them to run the clock to the two minute warning. That would have made the fourth down try easier and eliminated one of the wasted time outs that they used to set up the fourth down play by allowing them to use the two minute warning instead. What's more on the fourth down play, you can't run a play right to the spot you need for the first down. Personally, I think they got a bad spot,(which they couldn't challenge because they wasted all their time outs) but they shouldn't have put themselves in a position where a referee's spot would decide whether they got the first down.

Lambeau Field: great stadium, bad choice of headwear
Lambeau Field: great stadium, bad choice of headwear

Have Your Say

What did you like most about week ten?

  • Lambeau Field biting Roy Williams Jr. and the Cowboys
  • Jon Gruden announcing he is staying in the MNF booth
  • Maurice Jones-Drew doing the smart thing and not scoring
  • Bruce Gradkowski replacing JaMarcuss Russell
  • Something else (put it in the comments)
See results without voting

What I Liked in Week Ten

  1. Lambeau Field Showing Roy Williams Jr. Who's Boss - Every football player should know not to tempt the football gods by insulting one of the most hallowed landmarks in the NFL. You should especially not do that if you are a underachieving wide receiver prone to dropping passes and fumbling the ball on a team that has a habit of underachieving at the worst possible time. So when Roy Williams Jr. proclaimed last week that Lambeau field was "just another stadium," the outcome should have been expected. The Cowboys lost to a team they should have blown out easily and Williams played a big part in that loss by dropping several passes and fumbling the ball at key points in the game.
  2. Jon Gruden Deciding to Stay in the Booth - This might be a little selfish on my part, but I was very glad to hear that Jon Gruden signed a new contract with ESPN. For the first time in as long as I can remember, the Monday Night Football crew is finally a top notch group who seems to understand that people are tuning in to watch the game and not them. It didn't hurt that every game up until last week had been good games, but many times in the past it was like the game was some sort of afterthought. Hopefully, this group will stay together for a long time.
  3. Maurice Jones-Drew Stopping at the One Yard Line - Even though it's not quite as unheard of as it's being portrayed as (Brian Westbrook did the same thing just a few years back), it certainly is something that doesn't happen every week in the NFL. The funny thing is that the Jets were purposely not tackling him, so they would have time to come back and try to score themselves. Unfortunately, the Jaguars' coaches had already told Maurice Jones-Drew, who also gained 123 yards rushing with a TD, to stop at the one instead of scoring.
  4. Bruce Gradkowski Starting or the Raiders - Not that Bruce Gradkowski is going to make that much of a difference, but few people (if any) have earned a seat on the bench more than JaMarcuss Russell has this season. Gradkowski didn't do half bad during the Chiefs game, but the bar is set pretty low anyway.

The Eagles Defense spent most of the game tripping over themselves against San Diego
The Eagles Defense spent most of the game tripping over themselves against San Diego

Have Your Say

What did you like the least about week ten?

  • The Eagles coming up small on the big stage
  • Jay Cutler is who I thought he was
  • Week ten was rough on running backs
  • The Browns running out the clock when they should go for it and delaying the end when they have no chance to win
  • Something else (put it in the comments)
See results without voting

What I Didn't Like in Week Ten

  1. The Eagles Coming Up Small in Another Big Game - As I mentioned last week, I was expecting the Eagles to have some mismatches on defense. What I wasn't expecting was for them to run into each other on several plays, just fall down (Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown), and not even bother to cover San Diego receivers (Asante Samuel on a 20-yard TD catch by Legedu Naanee). It didn't help much that Philadelphia continued their inability to convert in the red zone. At some point, Andy Reid is going to have to respect the running game. The Eagles moved up and down the field all day long, right up until they got into scoring position. Then they couldn't punch the ball in and ended up settling for a field goal three times in a game they ended up losing by eight points.
  2. Jay Cutler Throwing Another Five Interceptions - Jay Cutler isn't the only problem in Chicago, in fact there is plenty of blame to go around. The Bears' defense hasn't played particularly well and at times even horribly. The running game hasn't been anything to write home about and the receivers have been pretty mediocre. Nor has the offensive line helped much in either the running or passing game. However when you get right down to it, no team is going to win with a quarter back throwing five interceptions in a game. And two of those interceptions were terrible passes in the red zone that should have never happened.When you boil it all down, if Cutler throws the ball away or even takes a sack on those two plays instead of forcing the ball, Chicago wins that game against the 49ers.
  3. Week Ten Was a Bad Week for Several Top Running Backs - Ronnie Brown is gone for the season with a broken ankle, Brian Westbrook might be gone forever (more on that later), Cedric Benson missed time with a hip injury, and Michael Turner cut short yet another 100+ yard game with a sprained ankle. Things were tough allover the top running backs in the NFL last week. Miami has enough runners in their backfield that they might not miss Brown too much, but the other teams might be in trouble if their guys miss much time.
  4. The Browns Play Calling at the End of the Halves - First, when they had plenty of time to try and score in a scoreless tie the Browns decide to just run out the clock. Playing it safe is fine when the game might mean something at the end of the season, but when you are 1-7 coming into the game you should probably just go ahead and be aggressive. Then at the end of the game when they are down 16-0 and it's just a formality to run out the clock, they burn time outs instead and end up getting one of their best players injured on a play that had little chance of doing anything except delay the inevitable. Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Somebody get Rex Ryan a hankie
Somebody get Rex Ryan a hankie

Have Your Say

What is the most significant thing you learned in week ten?

  • Rex Ryan is crying and begging for help
  • Terrell Owens is still alive and fighting with coaches
  • The Ravens kicker should have been kicked off the team plane
  • Vince Young should have been starting much sooner
  • Something else (put it in the comments)
See results without voting

What I Learned in Week Ten

  1. Rex Ryan is a Cry Baby and the Jets are Officially Frauds - Before the season I picked the Jets to make the AFC championship based largely on the idea that Rex Ryan would bring a great defense and a tough attitude to the Jets. For three weeks that looked like a great pick. The defense was playing huge and New York had the most swagger of any team in the league.   But those days of not kissing anyone's rings have thoroughly evaporated at this point. That 3-0 start has been followed by a 1-5 stretch with the only win coming against the Raiders. That attitude is long gone too. Rex Ryan is crying during speeches to the team and begging other coaches to tell him what to do. It's just sad at this point and they are headed to New England for what is pretty much a must win game. Between the revenge motivation and the loss to Indy last week the Patriots are going to come in looking to crush the Jets. Expect more tears to fall on Sunday.
  2. Terrell Owens is Still in the NFL - There was an actual sighting of TO this season. Not surprisingly, he was arguing with an assistant coach on the sidelines at the time. Prior to his sideline rant, I had almost forgot he existed. Not that I'm complaining or anything. The sad thing is that Bud Adams stole his thunder with his own little display.
  3. The Ravens Need a New Kicker -Baltimore literally needs a new kicker now since they cut Steven Hauschka on Tuesday. That shouldn't really be a surprise after he missed badly on three kicks this season that should be automatic kicks for an NFL kicker. That includes what should have been a game winner against the Vikings (44 yards), a 38 yarder against Cincinnati (they lost by three points), and a 36 yarder last week against the Browns. That's two out of their four losses that can be placed squarely in his lap. I'm surorised it took them until Tuesday to fire him.
  4. Jeff Fischer Probably Shouldn't Have Waited Until the Owner ordered Him to Start Vince Young - I still don't believe Kerry Collins was the problem in Tennessee and it doesn't hurt that they played the Jaguars, Niners, and Bills in their last three games, but they are undoubtedly playing a hundred times better since Vince Young returned to the lineup. His 68 percent completion rate in those three games is nothing to sneeze at, nor is the fact he has only been sacked once. Plus, one of the best ways to help a struggling defense is to score over thirty points a game. It's too bad they didn't put him in there before the season was already all but lost.

Brian Westbrook being helped off the field after sustaining a major concussion against the Redskins
Brian Westbrook being helped off the field after sustaining a major concussion against the Redskins

Have Your Say

What is the thing you were least surprised by in week ten?

  • Brian Westbrook shouldn't have rushed back after a major concussion
  • The Panthers are less turnover prone when the focus of their offense isn't their turnover prone QB
  • San Diego is rising as Denver fades again
  • Larry Johnson benefitted from being an ass
  • something else (put it in the comments)
See results without voting

What I Already Knew

  1. Brian Westbrook Shouldn't Have Played Against the Chargers - Brian Westbrook suffered a major concussion and lost consciousness in the week seven game against the Redskins. Then just two weeks later, he was back playing against the Chargers. Not surprisingly, he ended up suffering yet another concussion and he is now considering maybe retiring as a result. For the sake of one or to games, one of the best, most exciting players in the game might be lost forever. More importantly, for the sake of a couple games Westbrook is potentially risking his long term health once he does finally retire. The dangers of concussion are pretty well known at this point (in spite of what the NFL is willing to admit) and anybody who suffers a major concussion should sit out at least a month, regardless of how important next week's game is.
  2. Run Panthers Run - Early in the season the Panthers were getting killed and the fact that Jake Delhomme was turning the ball over like crazy played no small part in that. In spite of that and the fact that they had a strong running game for some reason they kept employing a pass based offense. Three weeks ago they finally figured out that throwing 50 times a game with a QB averaging three turnovers a game is probably a bad idea. Since then, the Panthers have won two of three games, Delhomme has gone three straight games without an interception, and DeAngelo Williams has averaged 133 yards a game.
  3. San Diego is the AFC West Champ Again - Between San Diego's four game win streak and Denver's three game losing streak it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that the annual tradition will continue in the AFC West. Every year without fail, the Broncos start fast and the Chargers start slow only to have the Broncos fade in the second half anf the Chargers end up the division champs. I don't know what the deal is with San Diego, but I read an interesting theory that Denver's erratic play might actually be due to the advantage training in high altitude gives them early and then the fading of that advantage as the season progresses. Regardless of the actual cause, week ten's game against Washington, where they lost 8 yards passing and gained 35 yards total while allowing Washington to score the most points they have scored since week two of last season, officially makes them a fading team.
  4. Larry Johnson Signing with the Bengals -Not that I necessarily blame him for wanting out of Kansas City, but I think it kinda sucks the way teams are put in a position where essentially they have reward a player for causing trouble. Larry Johnson was already arrested three times for assaulting women and then goes on a tirade against the Chiefs coaching staff and continuously uses gay slurs. His punishment is that he gets the opportunity to sign with a team that looks like it could go far in the playoffs this season. I'm sure that inspired a lot of regret for him.

Have Your Say

Which Prediction Do You Think is Most Likely to Happen?

  • Peyton Manning is the frontrunner for MVP
  • The NFC North is Cincinnati's to lose
  • Dick Jauron was just the first head to roll among NFL coaches
  • New Orleans is going to be upset by Tampa Bay
  • Something else (put it in the comments)
See results without voting

Predictions for Week Ten

  1. Peyton Manning Won the MVP in the Closing Seconds of Sunday's Game - Peyton manning was already a pretty good candidate for the MVP prior to week ten's game against the arch-rival Patriots, but barring an undefeated season by New Orleans and/or a major collapse by the Colts he closed the door on anyone else in that final drive. That game is going to be the first one anyone thinks of this season and between the fourth quarter comeback and that winning drive Peyton Manning's performance will be what everyone thinks of when it comes time to vote.
  2. Cincinnati Has All but Won the AFC North - Sunday's victory against the Steeler all but wrapped up the division title for the Bengals. With them sweeping both Pittsburgh and Baltimore, they now have big leads over both of them and their schedule works to their advantage. Over the rest of the season, Cincinnati plays Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit - Minnesota, San Diego, Kansas City, and New Jersey. Meanwhile the Steelers, who need to make up two game because Cincinnati has the tie breaker, still has two games against Baltimore and another against Miami. Conceivably, the Bengals could lose to the Vikings and Chargers, but even then Pittsburgh would need to win out with three tough games on their own schedule.
  3. Dick Jauron was the First Domino - The Dead Coach Walking list is one guy short this week, now that Dick Jauron is no longer walking. Since nobody likes to be the first one to do stuff, I think things are going to get ugly for bad coaches in the coming weeks. My bet for the next guy to go is Jim Zorn, but Eric Manjini is also a strong candidate. I'm not sure exactly why, but I do have a feeling that Tom Cable will survive at least to the end of the season and Fisher probably saved himself with the three game win streak. Lovie Smith is a new entrant, although I think he stays around because the Bears are too cheap to pay him the two seasons he has left on his contract for nothing. I think it is unlikely he will get fired this season, but Rex Ryan is inching toward the list with all the recent losing and crying.
  4. New Orleans is Really, Really Due for a Loss - Obviously, I'm venturing out onto a very thin and wobbly branch with this pick, but I think the Saints are going to get upset by the Buccaneers this week. In terms of talent, there's no real logical reason to pick Tampa Bay over New Orleans, but the Saints have been playing like they are primed for an upset for the past month now. Every week since the Dolphins game they've come out lackluster early and then came roaring back to win in the second half. Between that and the fact that they have the big game against New England next week, I think this is the week they wait too long and come up short.

My Picks for the 2009 Week Eleven NFL Games

Thurs, Nov. 19
5:20 PM (PST)
6:20 PM (MST)
7:20PM (CST)
8:20PM (EST)
Favorite
Underdog
Point Spread
Straight Up
Against the Spread
@Carolina
Miami
3.0
Carolina
Miami
Sun, Nov. 22
10:00 AM (MST)
11:00 AM (MST)
12:00PM (CST)
1:00PM (EST)
@Dallas
Washington
11.0
Dallas
Dallas
@Detroit
Cleveland
3.5
Detroit
Detroit
@Green Bay
San Francisco
6.5
San Francisco
San Francisco
Pittsburgh
@Kansas City
10.0
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
@Minnesota
Seattle
10.5
Minnesota
Minnesota
@New York Giants
Atlanta
6.5
New York Giants
New York Giants
New Orleans
@Tampa Bay
11.5
Tampa Bay!
Tampa Bay
@Jacksonville
Buffalo
9.0
Jacksonville
Jacksonville
Indianapolis
Baltimore
1.0
Indianapolis
Indianapolis
Sun, Nov. 22
1:00PM (PST)
2:00PM (MST)
3:00PM (CST)
4:00PM (EST)
Arizona
@St. Louis
9.0
Arizona
St. Louis
@Denver
San Diego
3.0
San Diego
San Diego
Cincinnati
@Oakland
9.5
Cincinnati
Oakland
@New England
New York Jets
10.5
New England
New England
Sun, Nov. 22
5:20 PM (PST)
6:20 PM (MST)
7:20 PM (CST)
8:20 PM (EST)
Philadelphia
Chicago
3.0
Philadelphia
Philadelphia
Mon, Nov. 23
5:30 PM (PST)
6:30 PM (CST)
7:30 PM (CST)
8:30 PM (EST)
@Houston
Tennessee
4.5
Houston
Tennessee

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2 comments

wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

Eye-you really out did yourself with this Hub . .and you raise so many good points I think I can write a whole Hub just making comments on what you and your polls say and ask!

But I will be brief here and let Week 11 speak for itself come Sunday....

The Benglas are for real and seeing LJ get picked up well hard to make sense of it in my head but from what I read I guess it makes some sense despite all of the obvious character concerns especially with Cedric possibly out this weekend (and maybe more) all the running backs will all get a good run . .better they keep the workload light on Palmers arm in Nov . . and save it for good throws in Jan. And under Marvin Lewis one needs to prove himself and show a good work ethic...LJ could be one unhappy camper or highly motivated team player after a weeks workout under him.

As for the tears we saw from Rex Ryan . .hell I think that the whole GangGreen team are going to rally round him. Better they put him on a diet.

But probably what I hated this last week most (other than all the injuries .. man oh man there just seemed like to many stretchers on the fields) was seeing Bud Adams. Football is a great game and so many kids look up to the all the people involved, so to see an owner of a team show such disrespect it just makes me sick.

But to you, Eye . . my hat goes off to you . . as I enjoyed this read immensely and probably will be back for many a re read on it!


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV. Author

Thanks Wavegirl,

I appreciate it and you can feel very free to make a hub(or hubs) with your own take on anything I mentioned here.

The Bengals are very real. I have a lot of doubts though about LJ. He's one of those guys who is always in trouble and just never seems to "get it." As for Bud Adams, I can't get too worked up over an old man being exited after one their few wins this season. I'm not really sure though exactly why he is angry at people who traveled all the way from Buffalo to Tenn. and paid money for a ticket that goes toward his profit margin.

I was just giving Ryan a hard time about the tears, but I don't know if football players want to see their coach crying. What a difference two months makes, huh?

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