Week 11 NFL picks: Gut instincts — Bears and Packers will win

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

I’m going to try something completely different when making my picks for week 11 of the NFL season. During the first 10 weeks of the year, I believe I’ve been guilty of over-analyzing the games. I look at win/loss records, home and away records, quarterback matchups, winning or losing streaks, etc. This week, I’m going strictly on my gut instincts and we’ll see what strategy works better.

Tomorrow night’s (Nov. 13) game on the NFL Network features the Buffalo Bills at the Miami Dolphins. I’m taking Miami.

Sunday’s games get started with the Atlanta Falcons dropping in for a visit with the Carolina Panthers. I think these two teams match up pretty good against one another. Listening to my inner voice … and it says the Falcons will win.

For the second week in a row, the Bears play a division rival. This week, they’re at home against the Minnesota Vikings. This will be the first win of the year for the Bears in Soldier Field.

The Cleveland Browns host the Houston Texans. Last week, I took the Bengals over the Browns in the Ohio State Championship. That proved to be a big mistake. The Browns are real. I’m taking them over the Texans.

The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks will be away from the comforts of their home field when they roll into Kansas City to face the Chiefs. This game will feature two of the best running backs in the game today — Jamaal Charles for KC and Marshawn Lynch for the Seahawks. I love watching the punishing way in which both of these guys run the ball. This is another game capable of going either way. I’m taking the Chiefs.

There is no way the New Orleans Saints will lose to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Dome this week. The Saints lost last week in front of their home fans, and it won’t happen two weeks in a row. This is one of my lock games of the week.

The San Francisco 49ers will travel all the way across the country to take on the New York Giants. Ignoring the jet lag factor, I’m sticking with my original strategy and taking the 49ers.

Another road team I’m confident will win is the Denver Broncos. They will be in St. Louis. This is game No. 2 you can put down as a lock.

The Washington Redskins get more publicity because of their team nickname than they do for their play on the field. This week, they should get some credit for knocking off the

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For the politically correct who find themselves offended by team nicknames, I’ll call them the Tampa Bay Ocean Going Robbers and Pillagers.

Lock No. 3 this week is the San Diego Chargers over the winless Oakland Raiders. The Chargers won’t even need their home-field advantage to get this win.

The Detroit Lions continue to surprise me with their ability to win games during the final 2 minutes of the game. This week, they’ll have to use that magic out in the Arizona desert against the Cardinals. I think the rabbit is out of the hat. I’m taking the Cardinals.

I expect the Philadelphia Eagles to give the Packers more of a challenge than the Bears did last Sunday night at Lambeau Field. It won’t be back-to-back blowouts for the Packers, but it will be back-to-back wins.

The best game of the week will be the Sunday night match-up between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts in Indy. Fans will get treated to watching two of the best quarterbacks currently playing the game. Tom Brady will try to guide his Patriots to a road win over Andrew Luck’s Colts. It won’t be an easy task, but one I think Brady can accomplish. I’m taking the Patriots.

The final game of week 11 is the Monday night contest featuring the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers at the Tennessee Titans. I’m not calling this a lock, but I do think Pittsburgh will prevail.

After all of my in-depth analysis last week, I was 9-3 heading into the Monday night game. I took the Eagles over the Panthers in that one.

I hope my gut instincts will be equally as good or better this week.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

Posted Nov. 12, 2014

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