NFL Picks Week 11: Breaking Down Prime-Time Clashes

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 15, 2012

Nov 11, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell (2) throws a pass during the second half against the Houston Texans at Soldier Field. The Texans won 13-6. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Week 10's prime-time matchups included two defensive battles that saw two quarterbacks get knocked out of their games in a brutal week for NFL signal-callers.

Week 11 features the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears, three teams with backups ready to take over for injured/concussed quarterbacks.

Here's a look at the prime-time matchups of Week 11 in the 2012-13 NFL season.


Thursday: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills 

This game comes down to offense, and the Miami Dolphins don't have much of it.

The Dolphins are averaging 19.2 points per game this season, 25th in the NFL. On top of that, they are coming off their most lopsided defeat since 1968, a 37-3 spanking at the hands of the Tennessee Titans (yes, those Titans).

Buffalo has played better in its past four games. While the Bills are 1-3 in that span, they lost by a combined seven points against the Titans and the New England Patriots.

I think the Bills score enough points in this game to make up for their ailing defense.

Prediction: Buffalo 24, Miami 20


Sunday: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

I have two words for you.

Byron Leftwich.

Yes, Byron Leftwich is expected to start against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night after Ben Roethlisberger sustained a partially dislocated rib against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10, per the Washington Observer-Reporter.

This is the same Byron Leftwich who averaged 5.2 yards per pass attempt against the Chiefs last week in relief of Roethlisberger.

Baltimore isn't the same stalwart against the pass as it has been in the past, but it is certainly better than Kansas City in that regard.

There's not a great chance the running game bails Leftwich out, either, given the Steelers are averaging 3.8 yards per carry this season, 24th in the NFL.

A Ravens squad that just dropped 55 points on the Oakland Raiders should score enough to win this AFC North clash.

Prediction: Baltimore 24, Pittsburgh 13


Monday: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers

After sustaining a concussion last week against the Houston Texans, it doesn't look likely that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will start in San Francisco this week, per

Even if Alex Smith doesn't start (he's making progress after last week's concussion, per Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group), I like the 49ers over the Bears without Cutler in the game.

The Bears do have Matt Forte, but the 49ers have allowed 3.7 yards per carry this season (fourth in the NFL) and Forte struggled against the tough Texans defense last week.

Prediction: San Francisco 20, Chicago 14


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