Week 11 NFL Picks: Picking Winners of Marquee Matchups

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 13, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 11:   Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks to the sidelines during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will take an insurmountable three-game lead in the AFC West after knocking off the San Diego Chargers for the second time this season in Week 11.

I know what you're thinking: How can I be so sure?

Well, the Bolts have lost five of their last seven and are just 1-3 in their last four road games. On the other hand, the Broncos have won four in a row overall and haven't lost at home since Week 3 to the AFC-best Houston Texans.

As for Week 11's other marquee matchups, here are my winners and losers.


New England Patriots Over Indianapolis Colts

In a matchup between the highest scoring team and the 22nd-highest scoring team in the NFL, I like the former. The New England Patriots are on a roll right now, having won three in a row overall and putting up more than 33 points per game this season.

Though the same can be said about the Indianapolis Colts, who have won four straight to get to 6-3, Andrew Luck and company lack the explosion to contend with the Pats in Foxboro.

New England ranks fifth in rushing and seventh in passing this season. That means the Pats can dominate in a variety of ways. Is Tom Brady capable of struggling and is Indy's defense capable of turning out a solid performance?

Sure. But neither are likely to happen this weekend.


Baltimore Ravens Over Pittsburgh Steelers

It's been nearly 22 months since the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens. 

Joe Flacco and company swept the Steelers in 2011, blowing them out 35-7 in Baltimore and then winning 23-20 at Heinz Field thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Flacco with just eight seconds left to play.

Baltimore clearly has momentum against divisional opponents, having won 11 straight regular season games against the AFC North. And that'll be the difference on Sunday night.

Plus, these aren't your father's Ravens. Baltimore is the fourth-highest scoring team in the NFL this season, posting over 28 points per week. Sure, the Ravens have struggled mightily on the road this season, but until the Steelers prove they are the team to beat in the division, Baltimore will have the edge in this black and blue rivalry.


San Francisco 49ers Over Chicago Bears

If Week 10's tie with the St. Louis Rams doesn't inspire the San Francisco 49ers, then I'm not sure what will. Either way, there's no time for Jim Harbaugh's team to rest, as it has a date with the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football in Week 11.

Chicago is coming off a tough home loss to the Houston Texans in Week 10 and is in danger of beginning a losing streak on Monday night.

The Bears biggest advantage is their ability to turn opponents over. But the Niners are tied for third in the NFL in the least amount of giveaways this season, and boast a top-10 defense of their own. 

Given the fact that both teams' starting quarterbacks were concussed in Week 10, I have to give the edge to the team with the best running game, and that's San Francisco. The 49ers rank tops in the league in rush offense this season and should find just enough success at home in Week 11 to earn their seventh win of the year.


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