Three cheers to the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders! While both carry 3-7 records that deserve anything but celebration, what they did to earn their third win cannot be overlooked. As cellar dwellers of the AFC, Kansas City and Oakland went into week 11 facing insurmountable odds. The Chiefs welcomed the Pittsburgh Steelers to Arrowhead Stadium and later, the Raiders hosted the Cincinnati Bengals. Given that Cincinnati is surprisingly atop the AFC North and Pittsburgh is only a game behind, it would be impossible for the underdogs to pull off an upset, wouldn’t it? Well color the impossible possible because that’s exactly what the Chiefs and Raiders did. The last minute kickoff return fumble by Andre Caldwell or the loss of both Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch are not the only reasons why Cincinnati and Pittsburgh lost those games. The better teams on that fateful day, are a combined 6-14. How will these teams respond? I’ll tell you:
Lions over Packers- Did I just do that? I mean Aaron Rodgers is the most sacked quarterback in the league, Detroit’s offense has shown they can operate in a shootout and Green Bay lost two of its best defenders, Aaron Kampman and Al Harris to season ending, ACL injuries. Not to mention I consider the Thanksgiving Day game the Lions’ Super Bowl. I’m feeling frisky, so yeah, I just did.
Cowboys over Raiders- Oakland pulled of the unthinkable and Dallas is still releasing a sigh of relief. I think the ‘Boys will serve a bigger helping of points than what they did a week ago.
Giants over Broncos- With losing comes friction! During the eventual loss to San Diego, Brandon Marshall got in Knowshon Moreno’s face after a fumble. Fighting each other won’t help them against Big Blue, who is trying to get themselves right for a postseason push.
Falcons over Buccaneers- Atlanta should be able to take advantage of what appears to be an easy win and increase its chances of making the playoffs, but stranger things have happened.
Dolphins over Bills- If you thought Miami’s offense lived and died by the Wildcat, and Ricky Williams’ best days were behind him, think again. This isn’t to say that the Dolphins’ offense can be likened to that of the Saints or Colts, but it’s enough to keep Miami moving in the right direction.
Eagles over Redskins- The rubber match is in Philly, but the outcome will likely be the same. Washington’s defense will do its best to keep the team in the game, but the offense won’t be able to compliment its better half well enough to get a win.
Rams over Seahawks- Seattle has been decimated with injuries all season. Even if they were healthy, would the Seahawks be able to contain Stephen Jackson? Too bad playing in St. Louis overshadows him being one of the league’s best running backs.
Panthers over Jets- The most intriguing matchup in this game will be Steve Smith against Darrelle Revis. Unfortunately for Gang Green, the game of football revolves around more than one position. Don’t look for New York to rekindle the magic from its 3-0 start.
Bengals over Browns- Every team will have to deal with an unexpected loss. If Cincinnati suffers another in consecutive weeks, then maybe that’s when concern should settle in.
Colts over Texans- If not for Steve Slaton’s fumbling issues, I’d go with the upset. I have a feeling his inability to hold onto the ball will once again prove to be costly for the Texans.
Chargers over Chiefs- San Diego has claimed the number one spot in the AFC West. I can’t see the Chargers looking back, considering the hole they climbed out of to snatch what once belonged to the Broncos.
Jaguars over 49ers- While I am still a believer in Mike Singletary, I can’t say the same for his offense. Between injuries to Frank Gore and an inefficient quarterback play, this side of the ball is not yet built to win games.
Vikings over Bears- The Jay Cutler experiment has gone sour in Chicago. It won’t get any better as Minnesota’s pass rushing attack looks to make his season even more unpleasant.
Titans over Cardinals- Vince Young may not be Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, but he has given life to a Tennessee team that was left for dead just a few weeks ago. Where would the Titans be if owner Bud Adams didn’t ask Jeff Fischer to switch quarterbacks?
Steelers over Ravens- If I had to choose a team that is most likely to recover from a skid, I’d go with Pittsburgh. Neither team is what they used to be, but the Steelers, as of late, have shown more resolve than their division foes.
Patriots over Saints- New England blew one shot of giving an undefeated team its first loss. I doubt if history repeats itself with New Orleans.
As promised, I returned to familiar territory in week 11 with an 11-5 outing. The goal is to finish out the season with double digit wins. To everyone that follows my picks, I’d like to wish you and your families a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Eat well, enjoy the games, give thanks and remember those that are less fortunate. We’ll do it again next week.
By Antoine Hoffman