Rich Levine's Week 11 NFL Picks

573244.jpg

Rich Levine's Week 11 NFL Picks

After a second straight 1-4 week, Im not sure where to turn.

Im down to 24-26 on the season. My girlfriend stopped talking to me. My clergyman wont take my calls. This morning I asked my dog if she wanted to take a walk, and she played dead. (At least I hope she was playing. Hold on Yup. Pretending!)

Im getting desperate, in need of something; in need of a miracle.

Honest to him, I need Tim Tebow.

And we pray

The Game: Kansas City @ New England (-14.5)

So, the Jets host the Patriots in Week 10, and play Denver in Week 11.

The Chiefs host Denver in Week 10, and visit the Patriots in Week 11.

Crazy, right? No, not really. But either way, for either team, it spells two straight losses.

I wont be surprised if the Chiefs hang around for a little while on Monday night. Im sure Romeo Crennel has something fancy up his sleeve; a little twist that will take a few series for New England to adjust. But as creative as RACs plan may be, you cant keep pace with Tyler Palko as your QB.

Granted, I say this without ever having watched Tyler Palko play. I could be sitting next Tyler Palko at Starbucks as I type this and would have no idea it was him. I know next to nothing about the guy.

But I know you cant keep pace on the road against the Patriots when Tyler Palkos your QB.

The Pick: Patriots (-14.5)The Game: San Diego @ Chicago (-3.5)

Four straight losses now for Norv Turner (Peoples Sexiest Man Alive, 2004) and the Chargers, including last weeks pathetic effort against Oakland.

Four straight wins now for Lovie Smith (NFLs Most Popular Lovie since 1996) and the Bears, including last weeks inspirational deconstruction of Lions.

Rivers is a mess. Cutlers on fire. The Chargers backfield is one collective question mark. Matt Fortes having a career year. San Diegos defense is in shambles. Chicagos has never been better (at least this year). Throw in the fact that this game is at Soldiers Field, and I have only one question:

How is this spread only 3.5 points?

This one smells. You hear that, Vegas? I smell you. And it smells like upset.

The Pick: Chargers (3.5)The Game: Carolina @ Detroit (-7)

Its funny how quickly things can change. Well, unless youre a Lions fan.

After five weeks, Detroit was undefeated. The toast of the NFL. The sudden star of Chris Bermans naughty dreams.

Now, theyve lost three of four. And after the Panthers, still have the Packers twice, and games at New Orleans, at Oakland and at home against the Chargers. Yeeikes. (Except for the Chargers)

But, if they dont win on Sunday, none of that matters. With a loss to Carolina, the free fall begins. The playoffs start to slip away. Berman will have to find another target on which to unleash his insatiable pigskin lust.

And I dont think the Lions want that. Especially the last part.

Also, its about time for Cam Newton to hit the rookie wall, no? If this were college, hed already be fast approaching the two month break between the regular season and bowl games.

The Pick: Lions (-6)The Game: Tennessee @ Atlanta (-6)

No matter what the statistics say, I dont agree with Mike Smiths decision to go for it in last weeks overtime loss to the Saints.

Why? Because it didnt work, and I bet on the Falcons. Damn you, Smith!

But Ive tried to put that behind me this week, and look at this game objectively.

On one hand, we have the Titans. Coming off a huge win in Carolina, where Chris Johnson woke up, their defense showed its worth (against a dangerous Carolina attack), their QB stayed solid and their rookie receiver (Damian Williams) continued his emergence as a viable go-to target.

On the other hand, we have the Falcons. WITH A COACH WHO WENT FOR IT FROM HIS OWN 30 YARD LINE IN OVERTIME!

Damn you, Smith.

The pick: Titans (6)The Game: Philadelphia @ NY Giants (-5)

Give me a division game with a spread higher than three, and Ill typically take the underdog especially with a rivalry as intense as EaglesGiants.

Crazy things happen within the division. Those games are always ripe for an upset. In which case, what the hell? Take the points. Its win-win. No, wait still win-lose. But still worth a shot.

However, theres one amendment to this rule: If said underdog is on the road with a quarterback who cant walk, a wide receiver who doesnt know how to work an alarm clock and a coach who believes that the two minute drill is best run in five Im taking the home team. Every time.

The pick: Giants.

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

browns-collins-jamie-collins-012017x.jpg

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.