NFL Picks and Predictions: Week 11

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, November 20th, 2016

While Kate Upton takes on the Baseball Writers’ Association of
America, I tackle the Week 11 Game Picks.
We have the old starter fully supporting the new starter in
Dallas, as the Cowboys prepare to take on Baltimore. We’ll get to see
a new starter, fresh out of the No. 1 overall pick box, going in Los
Angeles. And hopefully the Browns will stick with who we think is
their starter the whole game this time around. Yep, Dak Prescott,
Jared Goff and Cody Kessler are on the spot this week, at a pivotal
time of the season in which teams are trying to pull away from the
mediocre pack. Well, maybe not Kessler and the Browns — who hopefully
have moved to full Evaluation Mode — but this is a very important
week for their opponent, the 4-5 Steelers. Speaking of Pittsburgh …
Got many, many tweets from my tweeps regarding my thought that
the Cowboys’ offensive line was the top reason for their success. I
suggested that it’s too early to say Ezekiel Elliott is the best RB in
the NFL. It’s arguable. But what line is better than the Great Wall of
Dallas 2.0?
Man, almost winning — if it weren’t for half the team …
Will the Bengals get back on track against the Bills this week?
How will Zeke fare vs. a stout Ravens run defense? On that note, will
Lev Bell erupt against the Browns? All the answers are below…,
let’s get to it!

New Orleans (4-5) at Carolina (3-6)
Thursday, 7:30 PM NFLN
Line: Panthers -3.5 / 51.5
The Saints still have hope in the NFC South — even after the
soul-crushing loss to the Broncos — thanks to the Falcons falling in
Philly. Let’s not forget: New Orleans upended the Seahawks earlier
this season. Of course, Atlanta’s loss applies to all teams in the
NFC South, including the down-but-not-out Panthers. Last time the
Saints and Panthers faced off, they posted 79 points combined, the
second most in a game this season. Cam Newton was awesome in that
loss, and I think he will rebound from last week’s game-shifting
pick-six in this one. That said, look no further than his 65.8 passer
rating on third down (101.9 last year) as to why Carolina has
Pick: Panthers 27 Saints 23

Pittsburgh (4-5) at Cleveland (0-10)
Sunday, Noon CBS
Line: Steelers -7.5 / 49
So often Steelers at Browns has been a knuckleball of a game …
you know, like 10-9. (Come to think of it, these two did play a game
just like that in 1982. I digress.) Pittsburgh must be six shades of
pissed off, as a seventh Lombardi Trophy looks farther and farther
away irrespective of how many people picked them to go to the Super
Bowl at the outset of this season. Any chance the Steelers will have
to accomplish that starts with winning in Cleveland. Given the Browns’
31st-ranked run defense (143.7 rush yards allowed per game), Le’Veon
Bell should eclipse a hundy midway through the third quarter.
Pick: Steelers 34 Browns 10

Baltimore (5-4) at Dallas (8-1)
Sunday, Noon CBS
Line: Cowboys -7 / 45
Strength on strength in this game. Ezekiel Elliott and that
dominant Cowboys offensive line face a Ravens run defense that has
allowed a scant 71.3 rush yards per game (fewest in the NFL), just 11
rushes of 10 or more yards (fewest in the NFL) and four rushing
touchdowns (tied for fewest in the NFL). Meanwhile, Zeke already
boasts 29 scampers of at least 10 yards and has out-rushed 17 NFL
teams. Oh yeah, and nine rushing touchdowns in as many games. Think
Baltimore will fare much better than Cincinnati did in JerryWorld, but
Dallas picks up another win.
Pick: Cowboys 26 Ravens 21

Jacksonville (2-7) at Detroit (5-4)
Sunday, Noon CBS
Line: Lions -6.5 / 47.5
I’m not taking the bait. No way. I’ve been watching Lions
football for more than 30 years. I’ve seen more Eric Hipple-, Gary
Danielson-, Chuck Long-, Rodney Peete-, Scott Mitchell-, Joey
Harrington- and Daunte Culpepper-filled product than I care to
remember. So forgive me for not handing Detroit a 34-14 win. The Lions
have enough firepower on offense — and bodies on defense — to win.
DC Teryl Austin is trying to hang on until he gets a couple players
back. Let’s see if Blake Bortles plays like Blake Shelton for three
quarters again … before turning into the garbage-time Hall of Famer
we’ve all come to know. This is a Lions secondary that is ripe for the
picking, not throwing picks. Jags fans, what’s wrong with T.J. Yeldon,
outside of the O-line?
Pick: Lions 26 Jaguars 20

Tennessee (5-5) at Indianapolis (4-5)
Sunday, Noon CBS
Line: Colts -3 / 53
Andrew Luck does it again. On paper, this is a terrible matchup
for the Colts. They haven’t been able to protect Luck (sacked 33
times), lucking out in Week 9 when Clay Matthews was inactive in Green
Bay. Tennessee has 28 sacks on the year, which is fourth in the NFL.
The Titans also run the football as consistently as any team in the
pro game. Indy allows 4.7 yards per carry. Yet, with all those factors
at play, Andrew Luck delivered a win in Nashville last month. Oh, and
the Colts have beaten Tennessee 10 straight times. Good grief.
Pick: Colts 28 Titans 24

Buffalo (4-5) at Cincinnatti (3-5-1)
Sunday, Noon FOX
Line: Bengals -3 / 47
The Bills’ wait for their fifth win feels even longer than the
Bruce Willis-Ben Affleck manlove scene at the end of “Armageddon.” And
Buffalo has had almost two weeks to get healthy for this game. My one
concern for picking the Bills here: The Bengals’ desperation. But
could Cincy still be in the mix even if it fell to 3-6-1? If the
Steelers win Sunday, they go to 5-5. The Ravens will probably fall to
5-5 in Big D. So, the season wouldn’t be lost for Marvin Lewis’ group.
Unlike Eli Manning, Tyrod Taylor and the Bills’ offense won’t be doing
the Bengals any favors. Buffalo has turned it over all of five times,
fewest in the NFL, while the low-risk run game reaps high rewards at
155 per.
Pick: Bills 30 Bengals 23

Tampa Bay (4-5) at Kansas City (7-2)
Sunday, Noon FOX
Line: Chiefs -7.5 / 44.5
Can the Chiefs shut down Mike Evans? If they don’t, Tampa Bay is
going to make this game darn interesting. If Marcus Peters handles
Evans, or baits Jameis Winston into throwing him a couple of balls,
look out. On the other side, if Alex Smith is ever going to connect
intermediate-to-vertical throws, it should happen this week. Tampa Bay
allows opposing quarterbacks 13.1 yards per completion, the most in
the NFC. Back to Winston: He’s been the most-hit quarterback in the
league this season (7.4 knocks per game). The pass pro this Sunday
will be of prime importance. Or maybe get Doug Martin going — there’s
a novel approach (just 33 yards last week).
Pick: Chiefs 28 Bucs 14

Chicago (2-7) at NY Giants (6-3)
Sunday, Noon Fox
Line: Giants -5.5 / 45.5
This should be another of those fugly football games. Here’s
something neato: Eli Manning and Jay Cutler are Nos. 1 and 2 in
turnovers over the last 10 years! The Bears faltered in every way down
in Tampa last Sunday, while the Giants surely aren’t above playing
down to their competition. Alshon Jeffery won’t be available, which
means Cutler owns no deep threat. (Oh, and my fantasy team is jacked.
The fact I was leaning on Jeffery in the first place? Oy vey.) Will
Rashad Jennings produce again? He was stellar in the endgame scenario
last Monday night, which means he probably will run for 25 yards.
Pick: Giants 24 Bears 14

Arizona (4-4-1) at Minnesota (5-4)
Sunday, Noon FOX
Line: Pick / 40.5
Really thought about picking the Vikings here. This freefall has
to end sometime, right? That said, I have no freaking clue how the
offensive line is going to compete with Arizona’s blitz packages. The
trust for Carson Palmer and that Cardinals offense against Mike
Zimmer’s defense isn’t exactly at an all-time high, either. Not after
those three hours of mediocre ball against the 49ers last Sunday. Did
you know the Cardinals haven’t won at Minnesota since 1977? I own that
sucker on DVD (sadly, not on VHS). The Vikings couldn’t stop Terry
Metcalf, the father of ’90s great Eric Metcalf. Wonder how they will
do versus a much larger Metcalf in David Johnson.
Pick: Cardinals 17 Vikings 14

Miami (5-4) at LA Rams (4-5)
Sunday, 3:05 FOX
Line: Dolphins -1.5 / 40
In case you haven’t heard, Jared Goff — you know, the guy who
was taken first overall, one spot ahead of Carson Wentz and 134 spots
ahead of Dak Prescott — is starting. We’re going live with a Case
Keenum press conference right now … (That joke would have been
funnier Tuesday, after Tony Romo’s presser. I’m just one man.) Think
the Dolphins win their fifth in a row, thanks in part to the fact that
they stayed on the West Coast following their win in San Diego. And
although we talk about the dominance of the Rams’ front four often,
Matt Forte rushed for 98 yards last week with no threat of a passing
game. (Bryce Petty was just as likely to pass out.) Therefore,
sophomore running back Jay Ajayi won’t be bottled up. Speaking of
brilliant second-year players, these franchises had two of the best
ever: Dan Marino and Eric Dickerson.
Pick: Dophins 20 Rams 15

New England (7-2)at San Francisco (1-8)
Sunday, 3:25 CBS
Line: Patriots -13 / 51
What do you want from me here? You don’t like the score. Ok, how about
50-14? If Colin Kaepernick runs wild and Carlos Hyde adds a 100 yards
of his own, perhaps the 49ers can limit Tom Brady’s possessions. Good
news here: Hyde rushed for 14 yards last week. On 13 carries. New
England DC Matt Patricia has done an outstanding job with his unit,
but it’s worth noting that the Patriots allowed three of their six
longest plays from scrimmage this season last Sunday night (36, 38 and
39 yards).
Oh, what a great time for Torrey Smith to be alive. As for the
49ers’ defense, the unit showed signs of life in Arizona, but it’s on
pace to be the second-worst in league history in terms of yards
Pick: Patriots 37 49ers 13

Philadelphia (5-4) at Seattle (6-2-1)
Sunday, 3:25 CBS
Line: Seahawks -6.5 / 54
The front seven jumps off the page in Philly. While the media
elite (and this time, I am not including your hack writer) keep
mentioning Carson Wentz atop the discussion about Philadelphia’s
success, there’s a more crucial factor at play here. If I have to
shout it from the top of Mighty Mick’s Gym, I will: The Eagles are
winning with a DEFENSE that is top five in points allowed per game!
They have a stiff challenge this week, though, traveling all the way
to the Pacific Northwest to face a hot Seahawks team. So hot, that
even the minimum-wage offensive line is balling. C.J. Prosise looked
fantastic this past Sunday night, with 153 yards from scrimmage. (The
dude led Seattle in rushing and receiving.) Meanwhile, Doug Baldwin
stacked up three TDs. Most importantly, as stout as the Eagles’ D has
been, think Seattle’s defensive unit is still better. The ‘Hawks are
allowing less points per game, despite playing three of the past four
at Arizona, at New Orleans and at New England.
Pick: Seahawks 20 Eagles 17

Green Bay (4-5) at Washington (5-3-1)
Sunday, 7:30 NBC
Line: Redskins -2.5 / 50.5
Something tells me Aaron Rodgers is gonna go nuts this week. I
picked Washington to win this game initially, and now … well …
this is the problem with picking against Rodgers and that offense.
Every time the Cheesehead attack seems grated — and Rodgers appears
to be on a different page from his receivers — Green Bay balls out.
Now, that didn’t happen against the Titans, as the Packers suffered
their third straight loss. Which makes prognosticating a fourth
straight loss that much harder. Forget stopping Rodgers. How about
slowing Kirk Cousins and the Redskins’ attack? Washington is
averaging 6.19 yards per play this season, which would be the highest
figure in franchise history.
Pick: Packers 30 Redskins 27

Houston (6-3) at Oakland (7-2)
Monday, 7:30 ESPN
Line: Raiders -6 / 46
This is not as easy a game to pick as you might think. The
Texans’ defense has tightened, despite being put in tough positions by
the offense on more than a few (or 30) occasions. If you think Derek
Carr is going to light up Mexico City, consider that Houston’s pass
defense ranks third overall. Latavius Murray is too up-and-down to
mitigate a shortfall in the air game himself, especially against the
Texans’ front seven. Janikowski, who has not enjoyed a fantastic
campaign, will win this deal down in Mexico. Muy mal that Houston
passed on Carr not once but twice in the 2014 draft. I could pass
along stats, salary info, pie charts, bar graphs and Doppler radar to
explain why I say that about not drafting Carr, but do I really need
Pick: Oakland 26 Texans 23


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