NFL Week 11: Picks & Predictions

The Thursday night game between the Falcons and the Patriots left a lot to be desired but I’m sure New England fans were happy with the 25-0 shutout. I was at least happy to get the pick and the under, even though I missed the spread as Atlanta’s offense was essentially non-existent.

Matt Ryan spent a lot of time on the turf

Matt Ryan was battered all game by the Pats’ constant pressure and without Cordarrelle Patterson on the field, they had nothing to offer against Belichick’s defense. As expected, New England took Kyle Pitts completely out of the game and dominated defensively, but I expected more from their offense.

Mac Jones found Nelson Agholor for the only TD of the game

The praise and adulation over Mac Jones are perplexing. Yes, he played well, going 22/26 for 207-yards with 1-TD and 1-INT which came one of the very few throws over 15-yards. He only led his team on one touchdown drive against the second-worst scoring defense in the league that had just given up 43-points to Dallas the week before. Unfortunately for my fantasy matchup, Nick Folk was the one who did most of the scoring for the Pats. It was far from an elite-level performance from Jones and it didn’t have to be, but the media is already anointing him.

Enough about that game, let’s get to the rest of the Week 11 stuff because there are some good games and key matchups on deck.

(-240) Ravens at (+200) Bears (+5, o/u 44.0)

Had the Ravens not lost that awkward game vs the Dolphins, there wouldn’t be much question in my mind about this one. Baltimore has had nine days to figure out what went wrong. They may get Latavius Murray back in the lineup this week but he’s still been limited in practice and Hollywood Brown’s status was downgraded to OUT. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams, WR Miles Boykin, and LB Pernell McPhee are out for Sunday as well and 9 players are listed as Questionable, including QB Lamar Jackson. It could be John Harbaugh’s way of letting his guys get an extra bye week, but it’s very concerning. Chicago is still without DT Akiem Hicks, LB Khalil Mack is on IR and they’ll probably be without star WR Allen Robinson II and RB Damien Williams, but they did get David Montgomery back at least. The spread came down as a result and if the Ravens are as depleted as it looks, the Bears have a real shot to win this one.

Pick: Ravens| Vs Spread: Bears +5 | O/U: Over 44

(+395) Lions at (-555) Browns (-13, o/u 43)

The Browns need to win after their blowout loss at the hands of the Patriots and Nick Chubb is back to help them do that. Detroit broke their losing streak but still couldn’t get in the win column, tying the Steelers at 16-16 last week. The Lions probably won’t have QB Jared Goff as he hasn’t practiced with an oblique injury and there’s no real need to feed him to the wolves here. They will also be without LB Trey Flowers and some depth players. Cleveland isn’t at 100% either but their main pieces are in place which is why the spread is so robust. Thin at WR, I expect a heavy dose of the run and tight end game with a dominant defensive performance.

Pick: Browns | Vs Spread: Browns -13 | O/U: Under 43

(-125) Packers at (+105) Vikings (+1.5, o/u 47)

Records aside, this is still a good rivalry

It’s more than a bit surprising to see the Packers installed as only 1.5-point favorites heading into Minnesota. I know Aaron Jones is out but AJ Dillon has played very well when given the chance and he’s a monster at running back at 250lbs. He doesn’t have the versatility of Jones out of the backfield, but he’s right there in terms of yards-per-carry so it’s not as big of a loss as it seems on the surface. Plus, the Vikings’ run defense is terrible, ranking in the bottom-5 in yards-per-carry and yards-per-game allowed. Green bay is right there with them in YPC allowed but their defense has been playing very well, allowing 18.0-points-per-game (3rd best) after their shutout of the Seahawks. Minnesota is scoring about a field goal more per game, but the offenses are pretty close in terms of production. Allen Lazard is looking doubtful for GB but Marquez Valdes-Scantling should be back at WR, so it’s just another day at the office. The Vikes got a win at Lambeau last season, so they know they can play with and beat the Packers at a high level. I still favor defense the Pack has the better one.

Pick: Packers | Vs Spread: Packers -1.5 | O/U: Under 47

(+360) Texans at (-500) Titans (-10, o/u 44.5)

Sitting comfortably atop the AFC, you’d think the Titans should have this one in the bag. However, they are decimated by injury this week and 10-points is a huge spread. They were already down Derrick Henry but placed Julio Jones on injured reserve last week and added Bud Dupree to that list now too. Tight end Geoff Swaim is out along with the entire starting linebacker group for Tennessee and, during their 6-game win streak, the defense has been a key component. I know Houston didn’t look great in Tyrod Taylor’s return game, they are terrible against the run, they’re the lowest-scoring offense in the league, and they are 1-8 on the season, but this game has all the ingredients of an upset. The Titans should have enough to eke out a win but, even if they were to lose, they still have the #1 seed in the AFC and the inside track on home-field advantage regardless.

Pick: Titans | Vs Spread: Texans +10 | O/U: Under 44.5

(+265) Colts at (-330) Bills (-7.5, o/u 49.5)

The Colts are in Buffalo to take on the Bills in a rematch of last year’s AFC divisional Wild Card game. Buffalo has the best defense in the league so far, giving up a full TD less per game than Indy. That defense is 3rd vs the run and 2nd vs the pass with a league-best yards-per-play allowed. The Bills are better on offense as well but the gap isn’t as wide. The Colts are the better team on the ground thanks to a good O-line and Jonathan Taylor, but if you account for Josh Allen the Bills aren’t that far behind. Indy is better than their record may suggest, losing two games late that they should have won and if they were 7-3 coming in this could be a very different conversation. However, this game comes down to who can force mistakes and the Bills are very good at that. Additionally, Carson Wentz makes big mistakes. Sure, he’s only thrown the 3-INTs on the season but they’ve all been costly and he’s fumbled 5 times as well. Buffalo has the best defensive pressure % in the NFL and Indy is near the bottom of the league. As a result, the Colts’ pass defense is weak, giving up the most passing TDs in the league. Indy needs this game desperately, but the Bills need it too so the 7.5-point spread seems large.

Pick: Bills | Vs Spread: Colts +7.5 | O/U: Under 49.5

(-180) Dolphins at (+155) Jets (+3.5, o/u 44.5)

This game doesn’t really matter outside of these two organizations that are just fighting to stay out of last place in their divisions. Playoffs are not technically out of the question, but let’s be real. Neither of these teams is going to the playoffs. Miami is playing better right now and the legend of Mike White died last week for the Jets. Joe Flacco will start because he can read the defense better or something like that, but that didn’t help him win any games for the Jets last year, going 0-4. As we saw last week, the NJY O-line is not good and Flacco is going to be under fire. The Dolphins should win but it’s a weird division game.

Pick: Dolphins | Vs Spread: Fins -3.5 | O/U: Under 44.5

(+125) Saints at (-145) Eagles (-3, o/u 42.5)

A month ago, this would have seemed like an easy win for the Saints but times have changed. They already lost Jameis Winston for the year, Taysom Hill is questionable and now Alvin Kamara will miss his second game in a row with a knee injury. Plus, WR/RB Ty Montgomery, and starting O-lineman Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramcyzk are out. Meanwhile, Philly is as healthy as they’ve been, basically all season, and they get Miles Sanders back from IR as well. It’s going to be up to the Saints’ dominant #1 ranked run defense and Sean Payton to keep them in it but it seems like a tall order this week. They hung in there with a beat-up Titans squad last week but the injuries to their O-line will make it difficult to do what they do best.

Pick: Eagles | Vs Spread: Eagles -3 | O/U: Under 42.5

(-280) 49ers at (+230) Jaguars (+6.5, o/u 45.5)

You’d think the Niners are the superior team in this equation, especially after beating up the Rams but the Jaguars showed they can play with anybody when they beat the Bills. It may surprise you to know that the jags aren’t too far off defensively from SF either and are actually better against the run. They’ll need that as it’s the Niners’ bread and butter, but they are thin at the position this week. Jeff Wilson Jr. will get the nod with JaMycal Hasty and Elijah Mitchell out, but Wilson has shown he’s more than capable. In the other backfield, James Robinson is still questionable for the Jags but he played last week and probably will again. If the Niners want to keep their playoff hopes alive, this is a game they need to win and should be able to. Just get Deebo Samuel the ball and let him go to work.

Pick: 49ers | Vs Spread: 49ers -6.5 | O/U: Under 45.5

(+3.5) Washington at (-170) Panthers (-3.5, o/u 43)

I’m sure there will be a lot of emotion for Ron Rivera as he returns to Carolina to coach against his old team and his old QB Cam Newton as (3-6) Washington takes on the (5-5) Panthers. it has been a disappointing season for Washington, to say the least, but they got a huge confidence boost with their win over the Bucs last week. They got that W playing good defense which has been hard to come by this season after a dominant campaign last year. It’s the Panthers who have shown a dominant defense, giving up the second-fewest yard-per-play in the league thus far. That’ll probably be the difference in this game. Carolina gets after the QB (tied for 5th in sacks and 3rd in pressure pct) so, Rivera better have Taylor Heinicke ready. Both offenses are similarly mediocre in scoring, passing, and rushing, so it should be evenly contested. With Cam starting and Christian McCaffrey back in full swing, I’ll favor Carolina in a close, entertaining one.

Pick: Panthers | Vs Spread: Washington +3.5 | O/U: Over 43

(-120) Bengals at (EVEN) Raiders (+1, o/u 50.5)

This is a much more important game than I would have imagined at the beginning of the season. Both teams are 5-4 and currently on the outside looking in on the bubble. So, whoever wins this one has some very important tie-break leverage. Both teams have lost back-to-back games after sitting pretty at 5-2 and neither of them has easy schedules the rest of the way, making this game even more important. These teams are very similar in a lot of statistical areas. The Raiders seem to have the better defense in yardage, but the Bengals are better against the run and give up fewer points. Both teams are near the bottom of the league in rushing, so you’ve gotta imagine this is going to be a shootout. I’ll take the over and the Bengals in a close one as the Raiders try to figure their stuff out.

Pick: Bengals | Vs Spread: Bengals -1 | O/U: Over 50.5

(-130) Cardinals at (+110) Seahawks (+2, o/u 47.5)

Russell Wilson got shut out for the first time in his career as he came back too soon against the Packers last week. They’d have been better off with Geno Smith, honestly. If Wilson’s finger still isn’t ready and they can’t protect him, it’s going to be another bad day. On the other side, Kyler Murray is still questionable along with 5 others, including backup QB Colt McCoy. DeAndre Hopkins is out again along with OL Justin Pugh, LB Tanner Vallejo, and RB Jonathan Ward so they are thin at key positions. Aside from Wilson’s finger and Chris Carson on IR, the Hawks are mostly pretty healthy. If you look at the stats, AZ has most of the advantages, although the Seattle defense has improved drastically over the past month with Wilson injured. It’s the offense that now has to rise to the occasion. This is as close to a must-win as it gets for the Hawks and I’m sure Russ wants to bounce back emphatically. It’s doable and it’s one of those games Arizona can sort of afford to lose.

Pick: Seahawks | Vs Spread: Seahawks +2 | O/U: Under 47.5

(+110) Cowboys at (-130) Chiefs (-2.5, o/u 56.5)

America’s Game of the Week is going to be a good one as the (6-4) Chiefs host the (7-2) Cowboys. Just looking at the records, it would appear that Dallas is a much better team but, when you look at the numbers, the teams are very similar in terms of production. Both on the ground and through the air, but they’ll be without Amari Cooper due to Covid. Their defenses are surprisingly close as well but the Boys are better in most areas, just not by a huge margin at all. I can see why the oddsmakers favor the Chiefs at home here, but Dallas has played really well so far this year. Both teams have had a pretty solid competition the whole way and neither team has been beaten by a sub-.500 team. This is a pick ’em game to me, but I like Dallas’ variety of weapons and their better conversion-against rates. I feel like whoever I pick it’ll be wrong, so I’ll take the Chiefs at home in the hope that they lose.

Pick: Chiefs | Vs Spread: Chiefs -2.5| O/U: Under 56.5

(+225) Steelers at (-275) Chargers (-5.5, o/u 47)

Big Ben Roethlisberger is active, coming off the Covid list, but things aren’t looking good for their defense right now. The (5-3-1) Steelers are without S Minkah Fitzpatrick, LB T.J. Watt, CB Joe Haden, and DE Isaiahh Loudermilk and they struggled mightily with the defense banged up earlier in the season. I would have taken Pittsburgh otherwise, but those are some very important pieces of their defense. The (5-4) Chargers have been less than impressive lately losing three of their last four, but this is a golden opportunity to get a win at home against a wounded Steelers team that is also competing for the same playoff spots. The Bolts’ run defense is worst in the league so expect Najee Harris to have a good game, but the PIT rush defense isn’t far behind, so expect the same from Austin Eckler. The Steelers’ offense has been pretty weak so far this season and without their defense healthy, it’s going to be hard for them to keep pace.

Pick: Chargers | Vs Spread: Chargers -5.5 | O/U: Over 47

(+395) Giants at (-555) Bucs (-11, o/u 49.5)

Week 11 comes to a close with a less than ideal game between the (3-6) Giants and the (6-3) Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. The latest chapter in the ballad of Antonio Brown is being written currently as he’s under investigation for possible vaccine card fraud, so he won’t be playing. It looks like Gronk will be out too but, who knows, he’s been questionable for several weeks. Vita Vea is doubtful as well. However, the G-Men won’t have LB Lorenzo Carter, DB Nate Ebner, WR Sterling Shephard, or DB Logan Ryan. They’ve managed to hang tough this season despite being one of the most injury-ravaged teams but this is a tall order. The organization does have a weird gift for stifling Tom Brady, but it’ll take some real voodoo to make it work on Monday night. The Bucs need to regroup and rebound after their loss to Washington and a banged-up Giants team is just what the doctor ordered.

Pick: Bucs | Vs Spread: Giants +11 | O/U: Under 49.5

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