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Fade Material: Week 11 NFL Predictions

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton warms up at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver. The Broncos try to avoid their first 0-2 start in 12 years. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

Why do you smite me NFL prediction Gods? WHY! WHY I ASK!

For those that continue to fade me, I say nice work. I’m now 17-23 on the year after another 2-2 week (the Steelers and Patriots covered while the over in the Saints/Falcons and under in the Giants/49ers games did not) and chances are I’ll either go 0-4, 1-3 or 2-2 again this Sunday. Winning would be too much to ask apparently.

WHY!

Bengals @ Ravens, 1:00PM ET
When Baltimore jumps out to a 42-point lead in the second quarter I’ll say to myself, “Yep, that makes sense.” But for now, I think Cincinnati is being undervalued while Baltimore is being overvalued. Seven points is a lot in a divisional game, especially considering how the Bengals have played all season. Yes, I know that Leon Hall and A.J. Green are out with injuries but Andy Dalton has made plays all year. Plus, and this is a biggie, Baltimore has been so inconsistent on offense that the Bengals could feasibly win this game outright. I don’t think that’ll happen, but I do like Cincy to keep it close.
THE PICK: BENGALS +7

Raiders @ Vikings, 1:00PM ET
Oakland really needs this game after Denver beat New York on Thursday night making the AFC West race even tighter. The Raiders are banged up but they were banged up last week in San Diego and beat the Chargers by a touchdown. Carson Palmer needs to play mistake-free football, especially considering Minnesota’s run defense isn’t going to allow Michael Bush to run all over them like he did versus San Diego. With the spread sitting so low I like Palmer’s chances of beating the rook Christian Ponder, even through this game is at the Metrodome.
THE PICK: RAIDERS –1

Titans @ Falcons, 4:15PM ET
Six points is way too much to lay with an Atlanta team that likes to keep things conservative by staying on the ground and eking out victories instead of stomping on their opponents’ chests. The Titans should be extra motivated to win now that Matt Schaub is out for the season and they have a realistic shot of winning the AFC South. With Chris Johnson coming alive the past two weeks, I think Tennessee will stick with Atlanta throughout and maybe even win outright.
THE PICK: TITANS +6

Eagles @ Giants, 8:20PM ET
The Eagles are 4-0 against the spread in their last four trips to East Rutherford but I don’t trust Philly as far as I can throw Andy Reid. And I cannot throw him very far. He’s a very large man and I just can’t seem to get the leverage. Vince Young is likely starting tonight for the injured Michael Vick, which means a quarterback with zero experience running Reid’s offense during the regular season will be counted on to win the most important game of Philadelphia’s season. I don’t like the Eagles’ chances. Eli Manning is playing the best fourth-quarter football of any quarterback in the league and I like the Giants to rise up against a Philadelphia team that looked as if it quite last Sunday versus the Cardinals. Let’s up that same Eagle team shows up again tonight.
THE PICK: GIANTS –4.5

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2011 NFL Week 7 Point Spreads

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (#33) runs past Carolina Panthers linebacker James Anderson (#50) in the second half of an NFL football game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on October 16, 2011. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 31-17. UPI Photo/Erik S. Lesser

Four spreads of note:

Falcons +3.5 @ Lions, 1:00PM ET Sunday
Apparently the Falcons showed enough last week in their win over the Panthers to make people believe they’re starting to turn things around. Either that or folks are slowly starting to climb off the Lions bandwagon. The spread for this game opened at Detroit –4.5 and within a day it was down to 3.5. Considering Atlanta was viewed as a potential Super Bowl team this season, the Falcons look like a value getting over a field goal. With Julio Jones iffy to return from a hamstring injury, we could see a lot of Michael Turner again this Sunday, especially considering Detroit has had its issues with stopping the run. The Falcons relied heavily on Turner last week against Carolina, as he rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Personally, I think the total is the most attractive play in this game. Forty-seven points seems way to high for two teams that have struggled at times offensively.

Bears -1 @ Bucs, 1:00PM ET Sunday
The Bucs beat the Saints last week at home and they’re now a 1-point underdog against a Chicago team that hasn’t won back-to-back games all season? I guess that’s not too surprising seeing as how ugly the Bucs have looked at times, but it’s not like the Bears have performed any better away from Solider Field (0-2 with two non-covers at New Orleans and Detroit). There’s value here somewhere but it’s hard to figure out which teams will show up this Sunday, especially seeing as how the game is being played in London. Both of these squads have had rather uneven performances from week-to-week this season.

Steelers –3.5 @ Cardinals, 4:05PM ET
The spread in this game seems awfully low to me, even when you account for home field advantage. That’s probably because the Steelers have looked great one week (see Titans), only to come out the next week and barely beat an inferior opponent (see Jaguars). If the Cardinals have any chance of getting back into the NFC West race, they need to win on Sunday. The problem is that Kevin Kolb hasn’t been the quarterback Arizona thought it was getting when it traded for him this offseason. The Cards have been in every game this year except their disastrous Week 5 showing in Minnesota, but Kolb just hasn’t gotten it done in the fourth quarter.

Chiefs +4 @ Raiders, 4:05PM ET, Sunday
It’s funny, the Raiders opened as a 3-point favorite with Kyle Boller under center and as soon as they announced that Carson Palmer would start, the spread climbed to 4 points. So Palmer, who hasn’t taken a snap in a live game since January, is worth a full point in a divisional game? I know he’s familiar with the offense thanks to the time he spent with Hue Jackson in Cincinnati but so much for easing the guy in. That speaks volumes towards Oakland’s confidence in Boller. It’ll be interesting to see how this game plays out come Sunday.

2011 NFL Week 8 Point Spreads & Totals:

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2011 NFL Week 6 Point Spreads & Odds

Philadelphia Phillies head coach Andy Reid calls a play during the second half of their NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, Georgia, September 18, 2011. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Four spreads of note:

Eagles +1 @ Redskins, 1:00PM ET
Oddsmakers have finally adjusted the spread to reflect what the Eagles are and not what everyone expected them to be. Last Sunday Philadelphia was a 3-point road favorite against the Bills, who were flat out better and had home field advantage. But this week, the Eagles are 1-point dogs against a Washington team that may not be more talented on paper, but is certainly playing better football at the moment. That said, I’m sure the public still believes that Andy Reid and Co. will eventually figure things out and I wouldn’t be surprised if this line eventually drops to a pick’em. And if it does, it’ll be interesting to see if the public once again gets burned by a Philadelphia team that is a complete mess at the moment.

Panthers +4 @ Falcons, 1:00PM ET
People are risking breaking their necks to jump off the Falcons bandwagon. Their offense is a complete mess and their offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey seems unwilling or unable to change his approach. Atlanta opened as a 5.5-point favorite for this NFC South battle, but the spread has already dropped a full point and a half. With Julio Jones’ status in doubt, the public may push the line even closer to the key number of three. Thanks in large part to Cam Newton’s passing abilities, Carolina has covered the spread in four of its first five games including four straight, which is one of the many reasons people are jumping on the Panthers this Sunday.

49ers +4.5 @ Lions, 1:00PM ET
The line opened as high as 7 for this intriguing NFC showdown between two of the bigger surprises in the NFL. But the spread has dropped like a rock with more action coming in on the 4-1 Niners. I would assume that people aren’t betting against the Lions but for San Francisco. The 49ers’ defense has been outstanding this year and the Lions are coming off a short week against a division rival, so the spread was never going to stay at a touchdown. Personally, I think the line is still too high and should be around a field goal.

Vikings +3 @ Bears, 8:20PM ET
The spread is probably set right but it’s still a little surprising that the Bears are only 3-point favorites despite having a losing record themselves. I would imagine the public will be all over Chicago, which plays significantly better at home than on the road and is taking on a Minnesota team that has struggled mightily this year. That said, if the public is all over the Bears and yet the line doesn’t move, I would be suspicious that sharp bettors are forcing bookmakers to keep the spread at 3. This will be one line that will be worth following all week.

All Week 6 point spreads:

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2011 NFL Week 4 Point Spreads & Odds

Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (R) is back to pass against the New England Patriots, in the second quarter of their NFL football game in Orchard Park, New York September 25, 2011. REUTERS/Doug Benz (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Keep Your Eye On: Bills –3 at. Bengals
Who would have thought that the Bills would be sitting at 3-0 and installed as a road favorite at this point in the season? This is an interesting game because while the Bengals are sitting at 1-2 on the season following back-to-back losses, they’re a lot better than people think they are. They’re at least competitive and rookie Andy Dalton isn’t a complete disaster (at least not yet anyway). The Bills are coming off an emotional win against a huge divisional rival and now have to travel this week. Believe it or not, this will be a nice test for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Co.

Primetime: Ravens –3.5 vs. Jets; Bucs –10 vs. Colts
Rex Ryan’s new team heads to his former home when the Jets take on the Ravens this Sunday night. This game figures to be a physical, hard-fought battle and it very likely features two teams that will be competing for a playoff berth in the AFC. Mark Sanchez broke his nose last week but says he’s fine. That’s more than what Ryan’s defense can say after it was steamrolled by Darren McFadden and the Raiders last Sunday. The Jets will have another tough matchup against Ray Rice this weekend…The schedule makers didn’t do the fans any favors by putting the Colts on national television in back-to-back weeks. Of course, they didn’t count on Peyton Manning not playing either. Curtis Painter actually held his own against the Steelers last Sunday night so maybe the Colts will put another competitive effort together. That said, the Bucs are coming off a huge win over the Falcons and will be playing with a ton of confidence.

Highest Point Spread: Packers –13 vs. Broncos
Although they looked rather pedestrian two weeks ago in Carolina, the Packers came out last Sunday and put together a solid effort from start to finish against their division rivals, the Bears. Now they return home where they’re 13-point favorites against a Broncos team that is searching for an identity under new head coach John Fox. Last week the Chargers failed to cover as 14.5-point home favorites against a 0-2 Chiefs team that had been outscored 89-6 in their two previous games. Thus, be careful about laying so much wood in an NFL game, although at least this spread is below one of the magic numbers in football (i.e. 14).

Lowest Point Spread: See below.
There are several 1-point spreads this week, none bigger then Lions-Cowboys at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The unbeaten Lions have won in a variety of ways already this year: on the road close, at home blowout, on the road come-from-behind. As they proved on Monday night against the Redskins, the Cowboys are a bit of a mess right now. They have several players banged up and Tony Romo is working with a smattering of receivers that aren’t familiar with Jason Garrett’s offense. This is a great opportunity for the Lions to get to 4-0…Other 1-point spreads include: Browns –1 vs. Titans, Vikings –1 at Chiefs, Rams –1 vs. Redskins, Giants –1 at. Cardinals.

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