By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Finally, 11 weeks into the NFL schedule and after a miserable start to the season, yours truly has climbed to a .500 record. Sad, I know. This really bothers me because in ESPN Honolulu’s season-long “Pigskin Picks” I’m actually batting .627 (94 correct out of 150 games played). That puts me in the top 15 percentile among Hawaii players and in the top 12 percentile nationwide. So why am I sucking so badly here?
By the way, if you haven’t yet played “Pigskin Picks,” give it a try. Every week, you can qualify for local and national prizes. This week, for instance, you could win a $100 gift certificate from Island Sportwear.
On to this week’s picks:
♦ INDIANAPOLIS @ BUFFALO: The Bills are sitting atop the AFC East (albeit barely) and rank second in the lead in scoring offense (31.1 ppg) and first in scoring defense (15.0). Buffalo is at home and are currently seven-point favorites. The Colts won’t be an easy out, however. They’ve won two straight, and QB Carson Wentz hasn’t been as bad as his critics are saying. I just think the Bills need this more. They hear the New England Patriots’ footsteps right behind them. Pick: BILLS
♦ BALTIMORE @ CHICAGO: The big question for this game is the availability of Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson, who has missed practices this week with a non-COVID illness. If he’s a no-go, Baltimore will go with second-year player Tyler Huntley, whose thrown only 11 passes all season. I hope Jackson plays (he’s on my Fantasy team), but I have a feeling he won’t. I think Baltimore will still win, but it will be close. Pick: RAVENS
♦ GREEN BAY @ MINNESOTA: As good as the Packers have been in the Aaron Rodgers era, they have never been able to handle their division rival Vikings with much success. Since 2015, Green Bay is only 5-6-1 against the Vikes. Rodgers has had statistical success against Minnesota (throwing 24 TDs and only three picks against the Vikings since 2014), but clearly he can’t say he “owns” the Vikings like he does the Bears. Still, at this point I’m not going to bet against the Pack. Pick: PACKERS
♦ MIAMI @ N.Y. JETS: This is clearly the time for Tua Tagovailoa to step up his game and prove to the Dolphins organization that he can be its franchise QB. If he can’t, that will just add fuel to the notion that, as one longtime Dolphin scribe put it, Tua is “Sam Bradford 2.0.” Meanwhile, the lowly Jets continue to struggle, and they will start Joe Flacco at QB tomorrow. Let me repeat that: The Jets will start Joe Flacco at QB tomorrow. Expect Miami’s D to control this game. Pick: DOLPHINS
♦ CINCINNATI @ LAS VEGAS: This is a tough one. Both teams are coming off consecutive losses, and both teams have stumbled after a promising start to the season. Cincinnati is fresh off a bye week, however, and Joe Burrow-to-JaMarr Chase is one of the more exciting combinations in the league. Derek Carr-to-Henry Ruggs was also a dangerous hookup, but that’s all gone now. The Raiders have been dealt hard shots to the gut in recent weeks. They’re still gasping for air. Pick: BENGALS
♦ DALLAS @ KANSAS CITY: Here is Week 11’s marquee matchup: Patrick Mahomes and the 6-4 Chiefs vs Dak Prescott and the 7-2 Cowboys. At the very least, this game should be highly entertaining. After struggling early in the season, Kansas City has won three straight, and they just activated starting RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who had been out since Week 5 with a sprained MCL. The Cowboys will be without top receiver Amari Cooper, who will be out for two games after testing positive for COVID. The Chiefs have the momentum on their side. Pick: CHIEFS
Last Week: 4-2 | 2021 Record: 30-30 (.500)