By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
The NFL season has reached the point where we’re seeing rematches of divisional games that were played in September and October. For example, today’s Thursday Night Football matchup is a key NFC West showdown between Arizona and Seattle. The two teams met just a few weeks ago in a thriller, on Oct. 25, with the Cardinals pulling out an overtime win. This should be another classic, and ESPN Honolulu (92.7 FM/1420 AM) will bring you the action starting at 3:00 p.m.
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On to this week’s picks:
♦ ARIZONA @ SEATTLE: The Cardinals are flying high after this past Sunday’s amazing Hail Mary win over the Buffalo Bills. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have hit a bump in the road after losing back-to-back games for the first time this season. After going 5-0 to start the season, Seattle has lost three out of their last four contests. The Cards, Seahawks and L.A. Rams are all 6-3 in the NFC West, so this is a big rematch (Arizona beat Seattle on Oct. 25 in OT). After having a dominant secondary for so many years, the Legion of Boom has turned into the Legion of Don’t Pass or We’re Doomed. And now they’re facing Kyler Murray again. Expect a different result this time around. Pick: SEAHAWKS
♦ PITTSBURGH @ JACKSONVILLE: They’ve had convincing wins and narrow escapes, but the bottom line is that the Steelers are still undefeated (9-0). Their success is due to a stingy defense (only Baltimore has surrendered fewer points this season) and an opportunistic offense led by a resurgent Ben Roethlisberger. Last week, “Big Ben” passed for 333 yards, 4 TDs and 0 picks. Impressive. The Jaguars won’t put up much of a fight on Sunday. They’ve lost eight straight. This is a gimme. Pick: STEELERS
♦ TENNESSEE @ BALTIMORE: Both teams are 6-3 and coming off a disappointing loss. For the Ravens, there is talk that Lamar Jackson has regressed from his MVP season in 2019, but come on, he’s still one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the league. And speaking of weapons, Titans RB Derrick Henry is averaging more than 105 rushing yards per game. This could come down to which team can best contain the opposing team’s best offensive player. That would give the edge to the home team here. Pick: RAVENS
♦ MIAMI @ DENVER: Talk about teams going in opposite directions. The Dolphins have won five straight games and are the talk of the league, while Denver is coming off a crushing loss to Las Vegas. Worse for the Broncos, QB Drew Lock has bruising near his ribs and may not play this Sunday. Miami’s hot streak has been the result of a suffocating defense, great special teams and a sprinkling of Tua magic. Denver is usually tough at home, but not this year (1-3). Pick: DOLPHINS
♦ KANSAS CITY @ LAS VEGAS: As a Raiders fan, I’m both excited and apprehensive about this game. KC is 8-1 on the season, with their only loss coming at the hands of the Silver and Black. You just know the Chiefs are looking for revenge. The Raiders are 6-3 and are 3-0 in their division. Jon Gruden knows another win over the defending Super Bowl champs would be a big-time statement to the league. The problem is, last week’s performance aside, the Raiders have one of the NFL’s worst defenses. And as of yesterday, nearly their entire starting defense has been placed on the COVID watch list. Patrick Mahomes is licking his chops. Pick: CHIEFS
♦ L.A. RAMS @ TAMPA BAY: Week 11 is full of great matchups, but this MNF Clash might be the best. You have stars on both sides of the ball (Brady, Gronk, AB, Donald, Ramsay, etc.), plus both teams need to win to keep pace in their respective divisions. The Bucs bounced back nicely this past week after getting embarrassed by the Saints the previous week. Can the Rams pressure Brady and get him off his game? Not this time. Pick: BUCCANEERS
Last Week: 3-3
Season to Date: 37-20 (.617)
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