NFL Game Picks: Week 11
Host Eric Fenstermaker and analysts Sam Kirk, Jon Draeger and Matt Rudisill make their picks for each game in Week 11 of the NFL season.
COVID-19 has dominated the NFL season, between the players going to and from the reserve list for the disease, and the frequent closings of team practice facilities. Now, the NFL has mandated that all teams enter intensive COVID-19 protocols starting this weekend.
We’ll see where that leaves us as we enter the 11th week of NFL action.
Arizona Cardinals (6-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (6-3)
The Cards enter this pivotal game in the NFC West feeling good after their Hail Mary touchdown won the day for them against the Bills last Sunday. Kyler Murray and the offense are taking off, and there are few teams that are more fun to watch right now than Arizona.
Meanwhile, Seattle is a total mess. Russell Wilson hasn’t “cooked” in several weeks, as the offense has become too reliant on deep passing and the defense cannot stop anybody.
The positive momentum belongs to the Cardinals and they’ll get the win on Thursday night.
Prediction: Cardinals 34, Seahawks 31
Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (6-3)
This is a game the Eagles need in a bad way. Their loss to the Giants last week has only further complicated a bumpy season so far. Despite getting healthier, Philadelphia continues to struggle on offense.
The Browns just got a huge boost from the return of Nick Chubb, and it’s helping them get the right winning formula; suffocate the opposing offense and drain the clock with a relentless rush attack.
Cleveland will physically dominate this game and shut down the Eagles on offense, who are going nowhere fast.
Prediction: Browns 24, Eagles 10
Atlanta Falcons (3-6) vs. New Orleans Saints (7-2)
After a putrid start to their season, the Falcons have played better football since Raheem Morris took over as interim head coach.
The Saints will be without Drew Brees for this game and at least a couple more games after that, as he nurses five broken ribs and a punctured lung. Jameis Winston will likely step in as the main signal caller, and cutting down on turnovers will be key for their success.
If Taysom Hill can get involved in some unique formations and play calls, New Orleans can keep the weak Falcons defense on its toes enough to win.
Prediction: Saints 26, Falcons 23
Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1) vs. Washington Football Team (2-7)
Two struggling teams face off. Joe Burrow has struggled of late as he has faced some strong defenses, and Washington is stout against the pass thanks to a talented defensive line.
That said, it’s high time he continues his solid rookie campaign, so he tallies a 300-yard game, and outscored a Washington offense that is a total mess.
As nice a story Alex Smith has been, it won’t be enough to beat Cincy.
Prediction: Bengals 21, Washington 18
Detroit Lions(4-5) vs. Carolina Panthers (3-7)
Both of these teams have struggled this season, but there’s a lot to like. The Panthers have put together a respectable offense with the quarterback play of Teddy Bridgewater, and he has a solid core of weapons around him.
The Panthers are well coached and have a bright future, but they’re very talent deficient at too many key positions right now. Detroit is starting to play better and they will pick up another victory this week.
Prediction: Lions 27, Panthers 25
Pitssburgh Steelers (9-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
Mike Tomlin made sure to sing praise for the Jags, who have surprisingly put together a couple of solid offensive performances behind quarterback Jake Luton in the last two weeks.
Don’t overthink this game though, the Steelers are challenging for the first-round bye in the playoffs, while Jackasonville is the only team that can give the winless New York Jets competition for the first overall pick in the draft.
The Steelers defense will give Luton fits as he plays poorly for the first time this season.
Prediction: Steelers 31, Jaguars 13
Tennesee Titans (6-3) vs. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
These AFC teams have a lot in common. They share the same record, they’re both physical and love running the football, and they are both coming off some very tough losses.
The Ravens have become a very one-note team. They have become overly reliant on the run to the point that the offense is now predictable, as Lamar Jackson has alluded to in recent media appearances.
The Titans will do a better job of getting Derrick Henry involved this week and the defense will perform better against a Baltimore team that is much more of a mess than most media or sportsbooks seem to realize.
Prediction: Titans 24, Ravens 16
New England Patriots (4-5) vs. Houston Texans (2-7)
A short time ago there was real talk of New England competing for a top-five draft pick, and possibly a top quarterback prospect. That has quieted down with two straight victories, but still a whole host of issues remain for this Patriots franchise.
For every problem the Patriots have, the Texans have three. Despite the only strength of the team being its passing attack, Houston failed to do much of anything offensively against the Browns last Sunday. There’s just not enough on this roster thanks to the lack of foresight of ex-Coach/General Manager Bill O’ Brien.
Coaching gives the edge to New England here, and they’ll win an ugly one.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Texans 14
Miami Dolphins(6-3) vs. Denver Broncos(3-6)
All aboard the Miami Dolphins hype train! The Dolphins are one of the most fun teams to watch in the NFL right now, with rookie QB Tua Tagavailoa growing his game with each start, and a defense that turns the opponent over and scores tons of points.
Denver has been very up and down as Drew Lock missed time this season, and won them a game in his return to the field, but it’s uncertain whether he will play this week.
No matter who is under center for the Broncos, the one thing that matters is that head coach Brian Flores is always on the sideline for Miami. This upstart team continues to roll on Sunday.
Prediction: Dolphins 27, Broncos 24
New York Jets(0-9) vs. Los Angeles Chargers(2-7)
Let’s get one thing straight here: This Jets team might be the worst team in NFL history. They’re definitely already worse than the 1-15 Jets team from 1996 that was coached by Rich Kotite. However, they might finally get a win this week.
The Chargers have historically always excelled at blowing games in every fashion possible, but even the way they’ve lost close games this year has been mind boggling. Joe Flacco played fairly well two weeks ago on Monday Night Football, so don’t be surprised if the Jets stumble into a victory thanks to the late-game defensive woes of Los Angeles.
This one is essentially competition for “worst fourth quarter performance.” Chargers finally win a close game.
Prediction: Chargers 30, Jets 26
Green Bay Packers(7-2) vs. Indianapolis Colts(6-3)
This should shape up to be one of the more interesting games of the week. Green Bay barely squeaked out a win against the Jags, while the Colts ran away with their game against the Titans.
Don’t expect two good offensive performances in a row from Philip Rivers and the Colts, but buy into the Packers. This team has not even gotten close to its best football yet.
Prediction: Packers 30, Colts 20
Dallas Cowboys (2-7) vs. Minnesota Vikings (4-5)
It sounds like Andy Dalton might be ready to start at quarterback this week, as he returned to practice on Monday. Even if he plays, the team is still such a mess that it’s hard to have any confidence in them.
The Vikes seem to have found the right formula for winning: Feed Dalvin Cook and rely on the play-action pass for Kirk Cousins. Limiting mistakes and controlling the clock has helped a Vikings team that had a rough start to the year. They can set the tone in this game and put Dallas away early.
Prediction: Vikings 26, Cowboys 9
Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (6-3)
Patrick Mahomes and company have been stellar this season except for their one loss to their rivals the Raiders, and it seems they have extra motivation to avenge that defeat on Sunday Night Football.
The Raiders have put together a solid season using a balanced offense, but the Chiefs will make the proper adjustments this week.
This game is important for Kansas City, as they need to try to catch Pittsburgh for the top seed in the AFC. They’ll want it more and they’ll take it.
Prediction: Chiefs 33, Raiders 24
Los Angeles Rams (6-3) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)
The Rams were able to shut down an explosive offense last week in the Seahawks. They’ll have another challenge as they come up against Tom Brady and his cast of weapons.
Tampa Bay has been excellent in most wins, but putrid in the games they’ve lost. As the season moves into its later stages, anticipate a more focused and driven Buccaneers team. The Rams will stifle Brady for a time before he finally gets the best of them.
Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Rams 20
Jeremy Ganes is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Sam Kirk is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is featured weekly in the fantasy football podcast as well as with the live show Hail Mary. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles and contributing to their YouTube channel.