There's no avoiding teams that give you fits

TREVOR BUNKE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

The landscape is about to change, my NFL pool-playing brethren.

Starting this weekend, getting 11 picks right (straight up or against the spread) is no longer going to win you your local bar pool.

That's right, bye weeks are over. From here until season's end, it's Sweet 16 every week.

Good luck, because I know I'm sure going to need it.

On to the Week 11 picks:

Carolina (-2.5) at Chicago: It doesn't take an FBI investigation to reveal that the 6-3 Bears have beaten teams with a combined 14-31 record during their five-game winning streak. The 7-2 Panthers are riding a six-game winning streak of their own, and in the last three of those wins have outscored their opponent by an average of 34-10. Someone's streak has to end ... and it's Chicago's. PANTHERS

Jacksonville (-4) at Tennessee: The Jaguars are in a dogfight for an AFC wild-card spot. The Titans are just dogs. JAGUARS

Indianapolis (-5.5) at Cincinnati: Bengals WR Chad Johnson isn't being as vociferous this time around when it comes to taking down a 9-0 team. You may recall that two seasons ago Johnson guaranteed a victory over the 9-0 Chiefs. Final score: Cincinnati 24, Kansas City 19. The 2005 Colts are a much better team than the 2003 Chiefs. But the 2005 Bengals are much better than their 2003 predecessors, especially at QB, where Carson Palmer matches up well against Indy's Peyton Manning. So can Cincy end the fun run? Maybe. Can they stay within five-plus points? I almost guarantee it. BENGALS

New Orleans (+9.5) at New England: Although it's the Patriots' week to lose, I just can't see it vs. the sad-sack Saints, who may very well be the worst team in the NFC. Saints QB Aaron Brooks just isn't the guy to take advantage of the Pats' depleted secondary. PATRIOTS

Arizona (+9.5) at St. Louis: Although I'm wary of Cardinals QB Kurt Warner returning to St. Louis with a chip on his shoulder, he doesn't have the tools to work with to make up for Arizona's incompetence on defence. RAMS

Tampa Bay (+6) at Atlanta: If the Falcons don't wake up after the spanking they got last week from the Packers, they risk falling out of the playoff race ... let alone staying in contention for the NFC South crown. I'm still no fan of Bucs QB Chris Simms. FALCONS

Oakland (+6) at Washington: If the offensively challenged Buccaneers can put up 36 points on the Redskins' defence, the Raiders -- with the explosive potential of QB Kerry Collins to WRs Randy Moss and Jerry Porter -- should be able to stay within six points. RAIDERS

Detroit (+8) at Dallas: The Cowboys pulled one out of the fire on Monday in Philly. The only heat the Lions will generate will come from QB Joey Harrington or Jeff Garcia's rug-burned rear end. COWBOYS

Philadelphia (+7) at NY Giants: There's too much pride on the Eagles' side of the field for them to roll over and die now that they face the prospect of finishing the season without QB Donovan McNabb. The NFC East is undergoing a changing of the guard, but Philly is good enough to stay close. EAGLES

Miami (+2) at Cleveland: I was leaning toward the Dolphins, but now that it looks like starting QB Gus Frerotte (finger) will sit out in favour of backup Sage Rosenfels (one start in five seasons), the Browns it is. If you find out for sure Frerotte is starting Sunday, take Miami. BROWNS

Seattle (-12.5) at San Francisco: The 49ers will hang tough, maybe for a half, then Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander will run all over them. SEAHAWKS

Buffalo (+10.5) at San Diego: The Bills got creamed in Oakland a few weeks ago. The Chargers have already creamed the Raiders in Oakland, if you catch my drift. CHARGERS

NY Jets (+13) at Denver: The Jets can't score on the road and can't stop anyone from scoring on them. What else is there to say? BRONCOS

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Baltimore: This quarterback carousel has got to catch up to the Steelers sooner or later, but fortunately for them, it's the rotten Ravens they face this week. STEELERS

Kansas City (-7) at Houston: After watching the Chiefs on the road last week in Buffalo, I wouldn't trust them to win away from Arrowhead by a touchdown against anyone, not even the Texans. TEXANS

Minnesota (+4.5) at Green Bay: Hey, want to play a drinking game? Invite your buddies over, and every time ABC's Al Michaels or John Madden says how great Packers QB Brett Favre is, slam back a shot. I promise, you'll be loaded by the end of the first quarter. The Vikings, with Brad Johnson at QB, just might have a little (playoff?) run in them.

VIKINGS

Last Week: 6-8.

Season: 69-71-4.

Best Bet: Dallas.

Best Bets: 4-6 after 3-point favourite Denver beat Oakland 31-17.

Suicide Pick: Denver.

Suicide Picks: 10-0 after Carolina beat the New York Jets 30-3.


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