Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Week 11 Picks & Power Rankings

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: November 17, 2013 - 10:45 AM

What would you rather do on a Sunday morning than wake up early (hey, it's early out here in Seattle) and read weekly picks and power rankings involving 32 teams that basically are of equal strength and ability to beat, lose to or tie anyone on any given Sunday, Monday, Saturday, Thursday (and some day, when the revenue ceiling needs to be extended to a gazillion bazillion dollars, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday as well)?

CRAIG'S NFL POWER RANKINGS
BEST OF THE BUNCH
1. Broncos (8-1)
Why:
Last week’s No. 1 (Colts) got beat by 30 points. At home. By what was a three-win team from St. Louis. So, to recap, the Colts beat the Broncos and Seahawks – combined 17-2 – but the Rams beat the Colts by 30 on the road. So that would make the Rams best team in … ah, just give me Peyton Manning. At least heading into the Chiefs game.

THE REST
2. Seahawks (9-1);  3. Chiefs (9-0);  4. Patriots (7-2); 5. Panthers (6-3); 6. Lions (6-3); 7. Saints (7-2); 8. 49ers (6-3); 9. Jets (5-4); 10. Cardinals (5-4); 11. Rams (4-6); 12. Colts (7-3); 13. Giants (3-6); 14. Eagles (5-5); 15. Ravens (4-5); 16. Bengals (6-4); 17. Bears (5-4); 18. Chargers (4-5); 19. Packers (5-4); 20. Browns (4-5); 21. Cowboys (5-5).

THE VIKINGS
22. Vikings 2-7 (Last week: 25):
Christian Ponder and the defense blazed back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Redskins on Nov. 7. That earns them a bump in the rankings because it would have been really easy to give up when they were down 27-14 to Washington.

THE REST OF THE REST
23. Raiders (3-6); 24. Steelers (3-6); 25. Bills (3-7); 26. Redskins (3-6); 27. Jaguars (1-8); 28. Buccaneers (1-8); 29. Texans (2-7); 30. Falcons (2-7); 31. Dolphins (4-5)

WORST OF THE BUNCH
32: Titans (4-6):
If you lose to the Jaguars at home, you must spend at least one week sleeping in the basement.

THE PICKS

VIKINGS
Vikings plus-12 ½ at Seahawks. The pick: Seahawks 35, Vikings 21.

It’s tempting to take the 12 ½ points. Before shutting Atlanta’s woeful running game down last week, Seattle had allowed the Rams and Bucs to rush for over 200 yards apiece. However, even when Adrian Peterson ran for 182 yards at Seattle a year ago, the Vikings still lost in one of the league’s toughest venues. Seattle’s pass defense is too good. Its quarterback (Russell Wilson) also is superior, and he’ll be even more dangerous because Seattle’s running game is rolling as well.


Last week: Redskins minus-2 ½ at Vikings: Vikings 24, Redskins 14. The final: Vikings 34, Redskins 27. Record: 5-4, 3-6 vs. the spread.

UPSET SPECIAL
Lions minus-2 ½ at Steelers: Steelers 28, Lions 21.

Why?: Just not ready to completely bury Pittsburgh and Big Ben or completely crown Detroit. Look for the Lions to struggle as they try to win a road game for the second straight week.

Last week: Dolphins minus-2 ½ at Buccaneers. The pick: Bucs 28, Dolphins 27. The final: Buccaneers 22, Dolphins 19. Record: 3-7.

THE REST

Falcons plus-1 at Bucs: Bucs by 3.
Jets minus-1 ½ at Bills: Jets by 3.
Redskins plus-4 ½ at Eagles: Eagles by 7.
Chargers minus-2 at Dolphins: Dolphins by 3.
Ravens plus-3 at Bears: Ravens by 3.
Browns plus-5 ½ at Bengals: Bengals by 7.
Raiders plus-9 ½ at Texans: Texans by 7.
Cardinals minus-8 at Jaguars: Cardinals by 10.
Chiefs plus-7 ½ at Broncos: Broncos by 3.
49ers plus-3 at Saints: Saints by 7.
Packers plus-3 ½ at Giants: Giants by 7.
Patriots plus-3 at Panthers: Patriots by 7.

Record: Last week: 7-6; 6-7 vs. the spread. Overall: 78-60; 57-78-2 vs. the spread.

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Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland 7 Bottom 9th Inning
Minnesota 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco 1 Top 9th Inning
San Diego 3
Texas 1 Top 8th Inning
LA Angels 8
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 9 3rd Qtr
Toledo 20
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
(4) Oklahoma 45 4th Qtr 1:24
West Virginia 33
UNLV 14 4th Qtr 8:20
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 24 4th Qtr 1:40
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 4th Qtr 0:27
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 4th Qtr 8:55
(1) Florida State 10
California 21 2nd Qtr 5:28
Arizona 6
San Diego St 7 2nd Qtr 14:52
Oregon State 7
(2) Oregon 7 2nd Qtr 14:14
Washington St 14
Louisiana 0 1st Qtr 2:46
Boise State 14
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 0 1st Half 15:00
Los Angeles 0
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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Poll: How will the Vikings do on Sunday in New Orleans?

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