Week 11 NFL Picks

The Week 11 slate is underwhelming. Let’s hope Eagles-Chiefs lives up to the hype because Bengals-Ravens flopped.

Last Week:  8 – 6 – 0
Season:       72 – 70 – 8

Thursday (8:20PM ET)

Bengals 20 at Ravens 34
I took the Bengals last night. That didn’t work out so well. Before the season started I offered that the Bengals and Bills would struggle this season. Yet I continue to pick both of them more often than not. So even when I’m right, I end up being wrong because I don’t listen to myself.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Steelers at Browns
Don’t be fooled by the Deshaun Watson injury. Yes, it’s a blow to Cleveland, but the drop from the way Watson has played to Dorian Thompson-Robinson or PJ Walker isn’t a death sentence. I don’t mean that as a compliment to DTR or Walker. It’s more a nod to how good Cleveland’s defense has been. The Browns won’t need a ton of points to knock off a Steelers offense that crawls through mud. Cleveland’s offense must simply run the football, limit turnovers and wait for the defense to provide them scoring opportunities. Of course, none of that is the Kevin Stefanski way as demonstrated in Seattle last month, so good luck with that. BROWNS -1.5

Bears at Lions
I’m still not on the Lions bandwagon. The offense is certainly legit, I will give them that, but how will that offense play on grass in late January against elite pass rushes? Furthermore, how will a defense that’s given up 37 or more points in three of the four games its played against playoff caliber teams get stops in the postseason? I know what you’re thinking… The Eagles schedule is brutal and Detroit could very easily grab home field. Yes, very true, but would you want the Eagles offense inside, on turf? Or how about the 49ers? Or Ceedee Lamb and the Cowboys? The Lions are good, but they are not on the same level as the three aforementioned legitimate contenders. LIONS -7.5

Chargers at Packers
Brandon Staley was hired as a defensive guru. His Chargers defenses have never ranked inside the top 20 despite top tier talent, high draft picks and big name acquisitions. Justin Herbert’s rookie deal is almost up. His cap hit doubles next year and then nearly doubles again in 2025. It’s not looking good in Charger land. CHARGERS -3

Raiders at Dolphins
Las Vegas has won two in a row and you can get excited about Aiden O’Connell if you’d like, but I’m going to politely pass. I keep reading about how the team loves O’Connell and all the confidence his teammates have in him. Uhh, okay? Sure, the Jets are a very good defense, but he was running in circles last week. Las Vegas plays a team this week that actually scores touchdowns, something the Giants and Jets failed to do in five games this season. While I like Antonio Pierce and do believe he’s been great for the Raiders, he can’t play quarterback in the NFL. And sadly, neither can O’Connell. DOLPHINS -13.5

Giants at Commanders
Sam Howell leads the NFL in passing yards. Even better, Howell leads the NFL in air yards. If your favorite NFL team is going to be mediocre, you at least want them to be exciting. The Commanders are reasonably exciting. The Giants are not. New York says they want nothing to do with tanking, and yet there he is, Tommy DeVito is starting again. Actions speak louder than words. COMMANDERS -8.5

Cowboys at Panthers
The Cowboys are going to do that thing again where they drub an awful opponent in front of a road crowd that is likely 52 percent Dallas fans and we’ll all start asking questions about whether the Cowboys are the NFC’s best. Well let me tell you something… the line is only 10.5 and that smells very, very fishy. I was expecting to take Dallas at -17 or something along those lines. The Cowboys live to demolish lousy teams. Now I don’t know what to do. Vegas knows something. I hope I don’t regret this. PANTHERS +10.5

Titans at Jaguars
Jacksonville looked awful last week. Did they practice during their bye? Why does Trevor Lawrence look lost again? I know they tried to play up his knee injury after downplaying the same injury before the bye. Why are we getting worse at assessing quarterbacks? Or are quarterbacks just getting worse? The NFL needs quarterbacks. How many teams are absolutely, 100% in love with their quarterback situation? I counted seven, and that included the crashing Josh Allen. JAGUARS -7

Cardinals at Texans
Kyler Murray is a good quarterback. I think we forget he’s played for a bad organization and a rookie head coach for his entire career. I’m not ready to give up on Murray as a franchise cornerstone yet, especially if the talk about him finally putting in the work is true. On the other hand, I don’t get people falling out of love with Caleb Williams. How do you watch that guy play and think there’s a better NFL prospect? Could his bad habits persist and he never develops into an elite NFL quarterback? Of course, but don’t you also have to factor in his situation? He’s carried USC for the last two seasons. He had to be perfect at all times for them to just have a chance. He’s had two really bad guys his entire collegiate career. He may be a diva, which isn’t great, but I don’t see how you pass on him if you need a quarterback. CARDINALS +5.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Buccaneers at 49ers
The Buccaneers are feisty but this could be a blood bath if Tampa can’t protect Baker Mayfield. The Buccaneers are dead last in rushing offense despite a reasonably committed effort to run the ball (18th in run play percentage), so it’ll be up to the Bucs passing attack to win. 49ERS -12.5

Jets at Bills
I’m going to zig on the Josh Allen pile on party. Maybe… maybe trying to make him throw fewer interceptions is what is actually making him worse and is resulting in MORE interceptions. Not every quarterback is the same, and not every quarterback is designed to play the same style. Protecting the football is no doubt important and crucial to success. But at what cost? Is protecting the football worth 70% of Josh Allen or is better to have full go Josh Allen and living with a couple of turnovers? Obviously, I don’t know Allen. I do not talk to him. To me, he is playing like a quarterback that is thinking too much and not trusting his instincts. If I’m the new OC in Buffalo, I go to Allen and I say, Listen, our playoff lives are essentially on the line every week until January. I need to you to just let it rip. Stop thinking and go play. It absolutely will not eliminate the turnovers, but I think it will put the defense on its heels and propel the Bills offense back to explosive status. BILLS -7

Seahawks at Rams
How do we get four of the most boring teams on a bye this week and still manage to go an entire Sunday without a premier matchup? I have absolutely nothing against Matt Stafford but I think I’d be more excited for this one if Carson Wentz got the nod. I still hope 2017 Wentz is buried in there somewhere just waiting to come out like 2008 Kurt Warner. Anyway, is this the end of Cooper Kupp as we’ve known him? He stormed out of the gates after injury back in October, but his last three games combined (8/98) do not equal the output of either of his first two games back (8/118 and 7/148/TD). RAMS +1

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Vikings at Broncos
Joshua Dobbs and the Vikings have a very 2006 Jeff Garcia Philadelphia Eagles vibe to them. Hopefully Justin Jefferson will return next week and Minnesota can challenge Detroit in the NFC North. As for the Broncos, I don’t get the Russell Wilson love. Sure, he’s been significantly better than his 2022 showing, but he still can’t get the ball downfield. His air yards are below Mac Jones and Zach Wilson and he’s in the bottom third in passing yards. Wilson also looks to run too much, in my opinion. When he escapes pressure his eyes drop like a young quarterback would under duress. On the other hand, his touchdowns are way up and his interceptions are way down and Denver has won three straight. BRONCOS -2.5

Monday Night (8:15PM ET)

Eagles at Chiefs
If the Eagles can’t get to Patrick Mahomes Monday night it’s going to be the 2nd half of Super Bowl LVII all over again. I’m trying to talk myself into the bye week fixing a lot of the secondary issues, but the truth is the talent and time just isn’t there. I know many are excited for Bradley Roby’s return, but he was signed off the street before being injured, so I’m not convinced he’s just not another band aid on a knife wound. Simply put: The pass rush has to save the Eagles Monday and in every big game until mid February. Andy Reid out of the bye is terrifying, too. The return of Cam Jurgens is a big deal to a run game and pass protection that has fallen off since his departure. The Eagles getting back to a pounding ground attack would be a welcomed sight. CHIEFS -2.5

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