CLOSE

Woody's Winners, NFL Week 11

NFL WEEK ELEVEN

We say goodbye to bye weeks in Week 11, returning to a full schedule of 16 games per week for the remainder of the 2010 NFL season. I returned to Earth with a 7-7 record last week, but a win in Thursday night’s Bears-Dolphins game brings my overall record this year to a respectable 82-63. Will the wackiness continue this week? Thursday's game was already picked (and played), so here are Woody's Winners for the Sunday and Monday games in Week 11. Enjoy!

+++

Green Bay (6-3) @ Minnesota (3-6)

In his 299th career regular-season game, Brett Favre faces the team he led for 16 seasons – the Green Bay Packers. Earlier this year, he lost to his former team for the first time, but the 41-year-old QB hopes to fare better at home. Meanwhile, the Cheesehead Nation needs a win to keep pace with the Bears. There’s plenty of dairyland in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, but there’s a secret most folks don’t know about the Vikings: They’re lactose intolerant.

Woody’s Winner: Green Bay

FACT: The Packers have beaten the Vikings 50 times, more often than any other NFL team. (Minnesota’s overall record against Green Bay is 47-50-1).

Please click "more" to see Woody's Winners for the remaining Week 11 NFL games.

+++

Washington (4-5) @ Tennessee (5-4)

The one-two punch of a loss to Detroit and a blowout (at home!) against Philly has rattled the Hog Nation. Washington will also be without the services of RB Ryan Torain, but Clinton Portis is back in action to take his place. The Titans have fizzled as well, but the LP Field crowd should help QB Vince Young and RB Chris Johnson move the ball against the Redskins’ weak defense. It wouldn't surprise me if both of these teams ended Week 11 with an even record, but Tennessee should find a way to make the 'Skins cry, even without tossing some garbage by the side of the road.

Woody’s Winner: Tennessee

FACT: The road team has won the last 3 matchups between these teams.

+++

Arizona (3-6) @ Kansas City (5-4)

In Week 5, the Cardinals shocked the Saints to improve their record to 3-2, and headed into their bye week with confidence. Since then, they’ve lost four straight. The Chiefs have similarly fallen, following a 3-0 start with 4 losses in their last 6 games. QB Matt Cassel threw for 469 yards last week against Denver, proving that KC can do more than run the ball, but his effort still left his team 20 points short at game’s end. The crowd at Arrowhead Stadium should help the team’s defense recover against a Cactus League squad that ranks next-to-last in yards on offense. It looks like Phoenix isn’t done flaming out quite yet.

Woody’s Winner: Kansas City

FACT: Since the Cardinals moved from Missouri to Arizona, they’ve only won 1 of 5 games against the Chiefs, their former in-state rival.

+++

Baltimore (6-3) @ Carolina (1-8)

Either in the regular season or the playoffs, the Ravens have defeated 31 NFL franchises, but they’re 0-3 all-time against the Panthers. Of course, Baltimore is stark Raven mad after Week 10’s last-minute loss to the Falcons, and Carolina will be the unfortunates on the hurting end of all that anger. The purple-and-black will complete their collection this week, and may even enjoy some tennis after the game. Somebody will have to find a way to recycle the Cat gut that’ll litter the field at Bank of America Stadium. 40-Love!

Woody’s Winner: Baltimore

FACT: New Carolina starting QB Brian St. Pierre has thrown only five passes in his 8-year career as a backup with the Steelers, Ravens, Cardinals, and Panthers.

+++

Buffalo (1-8) @ Cincinnati (2-7)

No one expected the Bengals to fall behind the Browns in the AFC North, particularly the team’s fans. Empty seats at Paul Brown Stadium mean the first Cincy blackout since 2003. Of course, it’s tough to sell tickets when your team’s biggest star refers to the upcoming home game as the “battle of the worst.” The team from Queen City has lost six in a row, but none of those by more than 8 points. But an intimidating second-half schedule (including road games vs. the Jets, Steelers, and Ravens) means that Terrell Owens has officially thrown in the towel. The Stripes will pull this one out, but at game’s end, no Buffalo will have been harmed in the making of this production.

Woody’s Winner: Cincinnati

FACT: The Bills have won 9 in a row against the Bengals, with their last loss way back in 1988.

+++

Detroit (2-7) @ Dallas (2-7)

The last time these two silver-and-blue teams faced one another was in Dallas in 2006. Uncharacteristically, the Lions won that game on the road, 39-31. But last week’s loss at previously-winless Buffalo has given Motown 25 consecutive losses away from home. Woody made the unforgiveable mistake of picking Detroit last week (even though they were on the road). Truth be told, it was wishful thinking from a Michigan resident who won’t make that mistake twice. Despite their surprising victory last week, the Cowboys are still in trouble, but back-to-back wins will help Jerry Jones cut back on his aspirin intake for a few days.

Woody’s Winner: Dallas

FACT: For the 2010 season, the Lions are #1 and the Cowboys #3 in the NFC in pass attempts.

+++

Houston (4-5) @ N.Y. Jets (7-2)

After back-to-back wins to open the season, the Texans seemed destined to turn the corner. Now, losers of 3 in a row, they want to right the ship before somebody slaps an “S.S. Poseidon” sticker on its bow. Unfortunately, that’s a lot to ask when your opponent is considered one of the AFC’s best. Let’s face it, though, the Jets have struggled since their Week 7 bye; they were shut-out at home by Green Bay, and it took overtime for them to KO the Lions and Browns. Pass defense is the Achilles ’ heel for both teams, but will that mean more to Schaub or Sanchez? The answer, my friend, is an airliner in the wind.

Woody’s Winner: New York

FACT: The Texans are 0-4 all-time vs. the Jets, and have never scored more than 14 points against New York’s defense.

+++

Oakland (5-4) @ Pittsburgh (6-3)

In what promises to be a must-see game, the Raiders – surprise winners of 3 straight – ramble east to face the Steelers. Pittsburgh started the season 3-0 but have lost half their games since, despite the return of QB Ben Roethlisberger. It will be interesting to see if Oakland’s power-run game can make a dent in Steeltown’s top-ranked rush defense. Last season, the Silver and Black came into Heinz Field and put a hurting on the Black and Gold. Both teams will be Black and Blue when this one’s over, but that's the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) they like it. Uh-huh.

Woody’s Winner: Pittsburgh

FACT: The Steelers (4 wins) and Steelers (2 wins) combined to capture 6 of the 7 Super Bowl crowns from 1975-1981.

+++

Cleveland (3-6) @ Jacksonville (5-4)

The Browns don’t need to impress me any more this season. With a tough schedule, they’ve won 3 games and have been within one score of winning 4 others. Last week’s OT loss against the Jets proved that Cleveland has something special in the works. Will they be able to pull out a win this week? The Dawgs have won their last three games in Jacksonville, so it’s possible. The Jags have earned back-to-back wins, and the fans paid them back by selling out this game and preventing another local blackout. Too bad they won’t be able to do much about a Brownout.

Woody’s Winner: Cleveland

FACT: In the previous two games (both victories), Jaguars QB David Garrard has completed 41 of 52 passes for 602 yards and 6 TDs, without throwing an interception.

+++

Seattle (5-4) @ New Orleans (6-3)

Beyond a Week 6 win at Chicago, the Seahawks have performed very poorly against the league’s better teams, so they’re not looking forward to facing the defending Super Bowl champions in the Superdome. The Saints will be missing some important pieces, notably S Darren Sharper and TE Jeremy Shockey, but the team should benefit from the expected return of RB Reggie Bush. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck is playing despite a broken bone in his non-throwing hand. The Bayou Boys will blitz the ‘Hawks early and often, and if they’re successful – or even if they’re not – QB Drew Brees will make it crystal clear why Nawlins is called “the Big Easy.”

Woody’s Winner: New Orleans

FACT: RB Chris Ivory leads the Saints with 78 rushes, but has yet to score a TD on the ground.

+++

Atlanta (7-2) @ St. Louis (4-5)

As the only NFC team with 7 victories, the Falcons feel like they’re the team to beat. But truth be told, the Rams are just the type of team that could upset Atlanta. With a solid defense and an opportunistic offense, St. Louis has held its own this season, and they’ve won four in a row at home heading into this game. If the Dirty Birds get caught looking ahead to next week’s game against Green Bay, those broken wings will make the trip back to the ATL that much harder. Still, Hotlanta has taken on all comers with beaks out, and there’ll be bleating and bleeding when all’s said and done.

Woody’s Winner: Atlanta

FACT: Four of the Rams’ last six games will be played on the road, where they’re 0-4 this season.

+++

Tampa Bay (6-3) @ San Francisco (3-6)

After hitting rock-bottom with a Week 7 lost at then-winless Carolina, the 49ers have recovered under new QB Troy Smith with back-to-back victories, both at home. This week, they’ll appear at Candlestick Park yet again, as the Buccaneers sail their pirate ship into San Francisco Bay. ‘Niners RB Frank Gore should have a field day against Tampa’s 31st-ranked run defense, but his solo effort won’t be enough to keep the sea-robbers from plundering all the gold in California.

Woody’s Winner: Tampa Bay

FACT: The 49ers hold a 15-3 all-time record against the Buccaneers.

+++

Indianapolis (6-3) @ New England (7-2)

The Patriots have been razor-sharp at Gillette Stadium this season, winning all four of their home games. While the Colts haven’t been as spectacular as in years past, they’ve quietly compiled a 6-3 record and now sit atop the AFC South. Indianapolis expects to be without RB Joseph Addai, but the game will hinge on QB Peyton Manning’s success against a shellshocked New England pass defense. If he’s recovered from his concussion, WR Austin Collie may leave the Pats wondering who Timmy is and why he fell down a well. While they’re trying to figure it out, the points will pile up against them.

Woody’s Winner (in an upset): Indianapolis

FACT: The 3 most recent games between these teams have each been decided by fewer than 5 points.

+++

N.Y. Giants (6-3) @ Philadelphia (6-3)

The G-Men have lost four in a row to the Eagles, and won’t have many supporters this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Last week’s loss to the Cowboys looked like a fluke, but it may have shaken their confidence. Meanwhile, Philadelphia continues to prove that they’re a better team with Michael Vick than Kevin Kolb, avenging their Week 4 loss to the Redskins by.  hanging 59 points on them last week. They won’t find that level of success against the tough New York D, of course. But what Philly’s baseball team couldn’t do to the baseball Giants will be corrected late Sunday night, and the streets of Philadelphia will rock once again.

Woody’s Winner: Philadelphia

FACT: In 2010, Eagles QB Michael Vick has thrown 11 TDs and run for 4 more. Most surprising, he’s done so without losing a fumble or throwing an interception.

+++

Denver (3-6) @ San Diego (4-5)

Last week, the Broncos surprised everyone by dropping a Rocky Mountain high 49 points against the Chiefs, the most they’ve scored since the AFL-NFL merger. They won the game despite allowing KC QB Matt Cassell 469 yards through the air. San Diego QB Philip Rivers could put up similar numbers, but may be without his top WR and TE as well as rookie RB Ryan Mathews. Despite back-to-back wins and statistics that are the envy of many teams, the Lightning Bolts have a losing record. But they’re only one game behind in the AFC West, and a win against a divisional opponent would improve their playoff chances. Expect a power surge at Qualcomm Stadium on Monday night.

Woody’s Winner: San Diego

FACT: This will be the 101st regular-season game between these two teams; they’ve played twice a year annually since the AFL’s premiere season in 1960.

+++

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, but please be cordial to others; this is all in good fun. Thanks!

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Cameron Spencer, Getty Images
arrow
Big Questions
How Do Aerial Skiers Perfect Their Jumps?
Cameron Spencer, Getty Images
Cameron Spencer, Getty Images

If you've ever watched an aerial skier in action, you know that some of the maneuvers these athletes pull off are downright jaw-dropping—and you've probably seen more than a few of these skiers land on their rear ends at some point. The jumps are incredible, but they're also so technical that one seemingly insignificant motion can drop a skier on his or her tail.

Given that the skiers can fly up to 60 feet in the air and come down on a 37-degree grade, it seems like just going out and trying a new trick would be a good way to break your neck. That's why you'll need one unexpected piece of equipment if you want to start training for aerials: a towel.

Instead of perfecting their flips and twists over the snow, aerial skiers try out their new maneuvers on ramps that launch them over huge swimming pools. The U.S. national team has facilities in Park City, Utah and Lake Placid, New York that include specially designed pools to help competitors perfect their next big moves. The pools have highly aerated patches of bubbles in their centers that decrease the surface tension to make the water a bit softer for the skiers' landings.

If you're an aspiring aerial skier, expect to get fairly wet. New skiers have to make a minimum of 200 successful jumps into water before they even get their first crack at the snow, and these jumps have to get a thumbs up from coaches in order for the skier to move on.

This sort of meticulous preparation doesn't end once you hit the big-time, either. American Ashley Caldwell, one of the most decorated athletes in the sport, is competing in her third Olympics in Pyeongchang, but failed to advance past the qualifiers on February 15, as she wasn't able to land either one of the two triple-flipping jumps she attempted. Still, it's this very sort of risk-taking that has brought her to the top of her game, and caused friction with more than one of her past coaches.

"Why win with less when you can win with more?" Caldwell said of her competition mentality. “I don’t want to go out there and show the world my easiest trick. I want to show the world my best trick, me putting everything on the line to be the best.”

You can check out some of Team USA's moves in the video below:

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
ERIC FEFERBERG, AFP/Getty Images
arrow
olympics
9 Scandals that Rocked the Figure Skating World
ERIC FEFERBERG, AFP/Getty Images
ERIC FEFERBERG, AFP/Getty Images

Don't let the ornate costumes and beautiful choreography fool you, figure skaters are no strangers to scandal. Here are nine notable ones.

1. TONYA AND NANCY.

Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding
Pascal Rondeau, ALLSPORT/Getty Images

In 1994, a little club-and-run thrust the sport of figure skating into the spotlight. The assault on reigning national champion Nancy Kerrigan (and her subsequent anguished cries) at the 1994 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in Detroit was heard round the world, as were the allegations that her main rival, Tonya Harding, may have been behind it all.

The story goes a little something like this: As America's sweetheart (Kerrigan) is preparing to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team bound for Lillehammer, Norway, she gets clubbed in the knee outside the locker room after practice. Kerrigan is forced to withdraw from competition and Harding gets the gold. Details soon emerge that Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, was behind the attack (he hired a hitman). Harding denies any knowledge or involvement, but tanks at the Olympics the following month. She then pleads guilty to hindering prosecution of Gillooly and his co-conspirators, bodyguard Shawn Eckhart and hitman Shane Stant. And then she's banned from figure skating for life.

Questions about Harding's guilt remain two decades later, and the event is still a topic of conversation today. Recently, both an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary and the Oscar-nominated film I, Tonya revisited the saga, proving we can't get enough of a little figure skating scandal.

2. HAND-PICKED FOR GOLD.

Mirai Nagasu and Ashley Wagner at the podium
Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

Usually it's the top three medalists at the U.S. Nationals that compete for America at the Winter Olympics every four years. But in 2014, gold medalist Gracie Gold (no pun intended), silver medalist Polina Edmunds, and ... "pewter" medalist Ashley Wagner were destined for Sochi.

What about the bronze medalist, you ask? Mirai Nagasu, despite out-skating Wagner by a landslide in Boston and despite being the only skater with prior Olympic experience (she placed fourth at Vancouver in 2010) had to watch it all on television. The decision by the country's governing body of figure skating (United States Figure Skating Association, or USFS) deeply divided the skating community as to whether it was the right choice to pass over Nagasu in favor of Wagner, who hadn't skated so great, and it put a global spotlight on the selection process.

In reality, the athletes that we send to the Olympics are not chosen solely on their performance at Nationals—it's one of many criteria taken into consideration, including performance in international competition over the previous year, difficulty of each skater's technical elements, and, to some degree, their marketability to a world audience. This has happened before to other skaters—most notably Michelle Kwan was relegated to being an alternate in 1994 after Nancy Kerrigan was granted a medical bye after the leg-clubbing heard round the world. Nagasu had the right to appeal the decision, and was encouraged to do so by mobs of angry skating fans, but she elected not to.

3. SALT LAKE CITY, 2002.

Pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada and Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia perform in the figure skating exhibition during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games at the Salt Lake Ice Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Brian Bahr, Getty Images

Objectively, this scandal rocked the skating world the hardest, because the end result was a shattering of the competitive sport's very structure. When Canadian pairs team Jamie Sale and David Pelletier found themselves in second place after a flawless freeskate at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake, something wasn't right. The Russian team of Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze placed first, despite a technically flawed performance.

An investigation into the result revealed that judges had conspired to fix the results of the pairs and dance events—a French judge admitted to being pressured to vote for the Russian pair in exchange for a boost for the French dance team (who won that event). In the end, both pairs teams were awarded a gold medal, and the entire system of judging figure skating competition was thrown out and rebuilt.

4. AGENT OF STYLE.

Jackson Haines was an American figure skater in the mid-1800s who had some crazy ideas about the sport. He had this absolutely ludicrous notion of skating to music (music!), waltzing on ice, as well as incorporating balletic movements, athletic jumps, and spins into competition. His brand new style of skating was in complete contrast to the rigid, traditional, and formal (read: awkward) standard of tracing figure-eights into the ice. Needless to say, it was not well received by the skating world in America, so he was forced to take his talents to the Old World.

His new “international style” did eventually catch on around the globe, and Haines is now hailed as the father of modern figure skating. He also invented the sit spin, a technical element now required in almost every level and discipline of the sport.

5. LADIES LAST.

In 1902, competitive figure skating was a gentlemen's pursuit. Ladies simply didn't compete by themselves on the world stage (though they did compete in pairs events). But a British skater named Madge Syers flouted that standard, entering the World Figure Skating Championships in 1902. She ruffled a lot of feathers, but was ultimately allowed to compete and beat the pants off every man save one, earning the silver medal.

Her actions sparked a controversy that spurred the International Skating Union to create a separate competitive world event for women in 1906. Madge went on to win that twice, and became Olympic champion at the 1908 summer games [PDF] in London—the first “winter” Olympics weren't held until 1924 in France, several years after Madge died in 1917.

6. AGENT OF STYLE, PART 2.

A picture of Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie
Keystone/Getty Images

Norwegian skater Sonja Henie was the darling of the figure skating world in the first half of the 20th century. The flirtatious blonde was a three-time Olympic champion, a movie star, and the role model of countless aspiring skaters. She brought sexy back to skating—or rather, introduced it. She was the first skater to wear scandalously short skirts and white skates. Prior to her bold fashion choices, ladies wore black skates and long, conservative skirts. During WWII, a fabric shortage hiked up the skirts even further than Henie's typical length, and the ladies of figure skating have never looked back.

7. TOO SEXY FOR HER SKATES.

Katarina Witt displaying her gold medal
DANIEL JANIN, AFP/Getty Images

A buxom young beauty from the former Democratic German Republic dominated ladies figure skating in the mid- to late 1980s. A two-time Olympic champion, and one of the most decorated female skaters in history, Katarina Witt was just too sexy for her shirt—she tended to wear scandalously revealing costumes (one of which resulted in a wardrobe malfunction during a show), and was criticized for attempting to flirt with the judges to earn higher scores.

The ISU put the kibosh on the controversial outfits soon afterward, inserting a rule that all competitive female skaters “must not give the effect of excessive nudity inappropriate for an athletic sport.” The outrage forced Witt to add some fabric to her competitive outfits in the late '80s. But 10 years later she took it all off, posing naked for a 1998 issue of Playboy.

8. MORE COSTUME CONTROVERSY.

For the 2010 competitive year, the ISU's annual theme for the original dance segment (since defunct and replaced by the “short dance”) was “country/folk.” That meant competitors had to create a routine that explored some aspect of it, in both music and costume as well as in maneuvers. The top Russian pair chose to emulate Aboriginal tribal dancing in their program, decked in full bodysuits adorned with their interpretation of Aboriginal body paint (and a loincloth).

Their debut performance at the European Championships drew heavy criticism from Aboriginal groups in both Australia and Canada, who were greatly offended by the inaccuracy of the costumes and the routine. The Russian pair, Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, were quick to dial down the costumes and dial up the accuracy in time for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but the judges were not impressed. They ended up with the bronze, ending decades of Russian dominance in the discipline. (With the glaring exception of 2002, of course.)

9. IN MEMORIAM.

While not a scandal, this event bears mentioning because it has rocked the figure skating world arguably more than anything else. In February of 1961, the American figure skating team boarded a flight to Belgium from New York, en route to the World Championships in Prague. The plane went down mysteriously (cause still questioned today) as it tried to land in Brussels, killing all 72 passengers. America's top skaters and coaches had been aboard, including nine-time U.S. Champion and Olympic bronze medalist-turned-coach Maribel Vinson-Owen and her daughter Laurence Owen, a 16-year-old who had been heavily favored to win the ladies event that year.

The ISU canceled the competition upon the news of the crash and the United States lost its long-held dominance in the sport for almost a decade. The United States Figure Skating Association (USFS) soon after established a memorial fund that helped support the skating careers of competitors in need of financial assistance, including future Olympic champions like Scott Hamilton and Peggy Fleming.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios