Week 11 NFL Picks
This season, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. Last year, I was Gridiron’s top NFL Pick’em guru on Tallysight, going 167-99-1 (63%). We’re hoping to have even more success this year! Each week, I’ll give you my picks for the game, and a short write-up centered around the key reason why I’m making the pick that I am. You can also click over to see all our Free NFL picks for the week with more than a dozen Gridiron Experts picking each game.
And we’re off!
New England (-2) @ Houston
Bill Belichick and the Patriots showed some life with their victory over the Ravens on a rainy Sunday night last week. Now, they’ll head down to Houston to face off with the 2-7 Texans. Last week, Houston was seemingly sleepwalking to a 10-7 loss in Cleveland. With David Johnson out of the lineup and Deshaun Watson’s only viable target being Will Fuller, I think Belichick will find a way to take Watson out of the game and exploit Houston’s lack of playmakers. New England’s defense gives them a huge advantage here, as their 211 points against rank 8th in the NFL, and their 11 interceptions are 2nd best in the league. Look for Damien Harris to chug along on the ground against the horrid Houston run defense, and for Cam Newton to make the plays necessary leading New England to a win on the road. Patriots 28-24.
Tennessee @ Baltimore (-5.5)
Many are writing off the Titans after they kicked away their chance to control the AFC South on Thursday Night Football last week. The Titans’ Special Teams unit was terrible and you can bet they spent all week working on it in practice. Baltimore also looked like they’d taken a step back, falling to New England on Sunday night. Lamar Jackson hasn’t quite looked like his MVP self from last season and will need to play better for Baltimore to remain competitive in the AFC playoff race. Look for him to key in on Mark Andrews on Sunday, as Tennessee isn’t the best at covering opposing tight ends. The Titans are in desperate need of help in their secondary and hope that Adoree’ Jackson will return to play for this contest. With all of that considered, Mike Vrabel has a fantastic record when he has extra time to prepare for a game, and I think that trend will continue on Sunday. Let’s not forget, Tennessee went into Baltimore and pulled an upset once before in last year’s Divisional Round. Give me the Titans to pull the upset again this week. Titans 28-27.
Detroit (-2.5) @ Carolina
Carolina has lost 5 games in a row after starting the season with a 3-2 record. Detroit, on the other hand, sits at 4-5 and has won 3 of their last 5 contests. The biggest storyline here is the injury report, as both teams will be affected in one way or the other. Teddy Bridgewater seemingly escaped a bad knee injury last week but is highly questionable to play on Sunday. He’ll also be without his superstar RB Christian McCaffrey, who will miss yet another week with a shoulder injury. Mike Davis will step in for McCaffrey and attempt to exploit this Lions defensive front. For Detroit, Matthew Stafford (thumb), D’Andre Swift (concussion, unlikely to play), and Kenny Golladay (hip) are all questionable at this time. There are so many questions on both sides, but I think Stafford is far likelier to play than Bridgewater. I’ll take Detroit to get the job done on the road… even without Swift. Lions 27-22.
Philadelphia @ Cleveland (-3.5)
The Browns are back at full strength with the return of Nick Chubb. On the other hand, the Eagles looked their absolute worst last week, losing to the Giants 27-17. At this point, I just can’t possibly put my faith in the Eagles offense, which ranks 24th in the league. Look for Cleveland to control the game with their duo of RBs, Chubb, and Hunt. As long as the Browns’ offensive line can protect Baker Mayfield enough for him to make some timely throws, I like Cleveland to take this one at home. Browns 30-24.
Atlanta @ New Orleans (-4)
Drew Brees will miss this contest with rib injuries and the Saints will turn to… Taysom Hill (not Jameis Winston). Hill will certainly transform this offense, and Sean Payton will need to be creative in his approach to keep up with the Falcons’ scoring. With that said, I do believe that Hill’s presence under center will take some eyes off of superstar RB Alvin Kamara in the backfield. Even though it’s a small sample size, Hill doesn’t seem to be a dead-accurate pocket passer… so I think the Saints will have to rely more on Kamara in this game. And frankly, that’s not a bad thing. New Orleans’ defense will need to be at its best as well to contain the savvy veteran, Matt Ryan. The Falcons offense ranks 2nd with 305 pass yards per game, and Julio Jones is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. Atlanta’s biggest issue is their defense, and I think that the New Orleans offense, even without Brees, has too many weapons for the Falcons to contain. I don’t expect Hill’s takeover to be seamless, but I do think he’ll do enough to squeak out a win. Give me New Orleans by a field goal. Saints 30-27.
Cincinnati @ Washington (-1.5)
The Washington Football Team has lost 7 of their last 8 games. While Cincinnati isn’t exactly the cream of the crop, they have won 2 of their last 6 games. Washington is struggling offensively, averaging only 20 points per game. They’re also struggling to post yardage on the ground. Alex Smith is taking the reins of this offense in what’s become an amazing comeback story. Smith played well last week, but Washington fell just short in Detroit. The Football Team’s defense ranks top 10 in points against. However, thus far, they’ve played the Eagles, the Giants twice, and the lowly Cowboys just before their bye. Given that, I think that with their upcoming schedule, their defensive performance will regress to the mean. In the end, Cincinnati’s offensive attack will be too much for Washington to keep up with. I’ll take the Bengals by a field goal. Bengals 28-25.
Pittsburgh (-10) @ Jacksonville
The Steelers are undefeated and have the best defense in the league. Jake Luton hasn’t seen anything like this in his life. TJ Watt might haunt his dreams for years to come. Steelers 30-16.
Miami (-3) @ Denver
The Dolphins are quietly sitting at 6-3 and have won 6 of their last 7. Tua Tagovailoa is undefeated as a starter and has this Miami team confident and poised to continue their run. With that said, it’s never easy to go a Mile High and play the Broncos in Denver. Coming off of two consecutive losses, Drew Lock will lead Denver’s 28th ranked offense, even though he’s quite banged up (ribs). Miami’s strength is their 5th ranked scoring defense. I’d have concerns about Lock playing this defense even if he was fully healthy. Now that he’s banged up, my concern jumps even higher. Miami’s offense ranks 9th in scoring, yet 29th in yardage. If Denver wants to stand a chance, they’ll need to contain the likes of Tua, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and whoever Miami employs in the backfield (Matt Breida and Salvon Ahmed should both be active. Even if they’re able to do so, I just don’t think Denver can keep up offensively. Dolphins 27-23.
New York Jets @ Los Angeles Chargers (-9.5)
I don’t think the Jets stand a chance here and think that Justin Herbert could have the best game of his young career. The Jets rank dead last in scoring offense, 28th in scoring defense, last in yards per game, last in passing yards per game, and 27th in rushing yards per game. I think Herbert leads LA to over 30 points here, and don’t think the Jets will break 20 against this middle-of-the-road Los Angeles defense. Look for Herbert and Keenan Allen to show out on Sunday, and for Hunter Henry to add a score as LA rolls over the Jets. Chargers 33-22.
Green Bay @ Indianapolis (-1.5)
The Colts impressed with a strong second half, knocking off the Titans last Thursday, while Green Bay posted a controlled win over the Jaguars at Lambeau. With that said, the Colts have been up-and-down this season, sporting multi-score losses to the Ravens, Browns, and a loss to Jacksonville. Indy better hope that their “good side” comes out at home on Sunday, because if they’re not at the top of their game, this could get ugly. Aaron Rodgers leads one of the game’s best offenses, along with RB Aaron Jones. We need to keep an eye on GB’s elite WR, Davante Adams, who didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday. If Adams is out, that gives Indianapolis a huge boost. With that said, the Colts’ defense has been fantastic this year, regardless of their opponent. They rank 4th in points allowed and 2nd with 11 interceptions. Certainly, Green Bay is flush with offensive options, and the Colts certainly haven’t faced such a potent unit yet. While I think the Colts will frustrate the Packers early on, I trust the elite Rodgers to pull this one out on the road. Packers 27-24.
Dallas @ Minnesota (-7)
After stumbling out of the gate, Minnesota has won 3 consecutive games against their divisional rivals. Two of those wins came on the road, making the run even more impressive. On the other hand, the Cowboys haven’t won a game since they lost Dak Prescott, and Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t looked like himself either. Dallas has given up the most points in the league, ranks 30th in interceptions (3), and has only 17 sacks through 9 games. With the league’s best running back in Dalvin Cook, and a tremendous WR duo in Adam Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson, I expect Minnesota to light up the scoreboard in this one. Give me Kirk Cousins & Co. to roll at home. Vikings 30-20.
Kansas City (-7) @ Las Vegas
Sitting at 8-1, you can bet that the Chiefs haven’t forgotten who dealt them their only loss. Since then, Kansas City has rolled to 4 straight wins, while the Raiders have won 4 of their last 5. With a win in this game, Las Vegas would put themselves within a win of Kansas City for the AFC West lead. Both of these teams rank top 10 in scoring (KC 1st/LV 8th), but KC has the edge defensively with the league’s 6th ranked scoring defense. Patrick Mahomes is the consensus best quarterback in the game and Derek Carr, while he’s played admirably, is prone to make mistakes. I believe KC’s defense will hold Las Vegas to a lower point total than last time, and that Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire will all play their roles with Mahomes pulling the strings. In the end, I trust that Andy Reid will make the necessary adjustments to lead the Super Bowl champs to a win on the road. Chiefs 33-30.
Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay (-4)
The last time we saw Tom Brady play at night, it wasn’t pretty as Tampa Bay got blown out against the Saints. On Monday, he’ll face his toughest test of the season as the Los Angeles Rams will come to town. This should be a defensive showdown, as both teams are in the Top 12 of points against (TB 12th/LA 2nd). They’ve both been fantastic at rushing the QB (Sacks: TB 2nd, LA 3rd) and forcing interceptions (TB 1st, LA 8th.) Jared Goff plays his best football when his pocket is clean. With the loss of tackle Andrew Whitworth and one of the league’s best fronts across the way, I expect Goff to struggle a bit here. If Tampa Bay can disrupt Goff’s rhythm, I foresee him turning the ball over, or for Sean McVay to pivot to the run game. If he does so, he’ll deploy a three-headed attack of Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and Malcolm Brown. Despite the lack of a bell cow, they’ve undoubtedly been effective, ranking 8th in the league in team rushing yards per game. Brady will lean on his four stud pass-catching options in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski. Much like the Rams’ running attack, none of these players have stood out, however, collectively, they’ve been very effective. With that said, I think this is the week that Antonio Brown returns to the end zone. I see this game as a close one but feel that Tom Brady will pull it out late like he has so many times in his career. Buccaneers 29-27.
Enjoy the games! Until next week…