Week 11 NFL Picks: Predicting Every Game on the Schedule
Picking games in Week 11 of the NFL schedules means navigating around the myriad injuries at the quarterback position.
Three of the biggest games this weekend will feel the immediate effects of missing signal callers.
Eagles-Redskins has turned into a rookie quarterback battle, the Steelers have to beat the visiting (and AFC North-leading) Ravens without Ben Roethlisberger, and Bears-49ers has two quarterbacks feeling the effects of concussions suffered in Week 10.
In the following slides, we predict each game on the Week 11 schedule, including those with noticeable quarterback omissions.
Arizona Cardinals (4-5) at Atlanta Falcons (8-1)
The Cardinals have a losing streak to break (currently at five games) and are coming off a much-needed bye week, but the Falcons are a veteran group looking to bounce back after their first loss of the season in Week 10.
Arizona's defense will keep this closer and lower-scoring than anticipated, but Atlanta has too much firepower, especially offensively.
Prediction: Falcons 24, Cardinals 14
Cleveland Browns (2-7) at Dallas Cowboys (4-5)
The Cowboys are head-and-shoulders above than the Browns, who have steadily improved each week this season. But Dallas is coming off a high-emotion, high-stakes divisional game, while Cleveland spent the entire bye getting ready for the trip to Texas.
This is still the Cowboys' game to lose, but don't be surprised if the Browns hang around and make Dallas earn it in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Cowboys 20, Browns 16
Green Bay Packers (6-3) at Detroit Lions (4-5)
Not having Clay Matthews available due to a hamstring injury is a big loss for the Packers defense, who are facing the NFL's No. 1 passing offense in Detroit.
Is another shootout inevitable? Aaron Rodgers won't mind, especially inside cozy Ford Field. In his last eight games indoors, Rodgers has thrown 25 touchdowns and just one interception.
Prediction: Packers 38, Lion 34
Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)
The Chiefs played their best game of the 2012 season Monday night in Pittsburgh, but mental mistakes were once again the difference between an impressive win and deflating loss.
The Bengals are coming off a game in which they forced the New York Giants into four game-changing turnovers, so Kansas City—still the NFL's worst turnover team—could have difficulty holding onto the football.
Prediction: Bengals 27, Chiefs 17
New York Jets (3-6) at St. Louis Rams (3-5-1)
Winners of just one road game this season, New York needs a strong effort from the pass rush to make it two in St. Louis. Forcing Sam Bradford into mistakes and giving the offense short fields in which to maneuver may be the Jets' only hope of getting Mark Sanchez on the scoreboard.
Few units in the NFL are struggling as bad as New York's offense.
Prediction: Rams 23, Jets 13
Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) at Washington Redskins (3-6)
The Redskins are coming off a bye, playing at home and facing a rookie quarterback making his first start. All signs should point directly to Washington, but Eagles running back LeSean McCoy is my wildcard. He ran wild on this defense last season on the road, and the Eagles are certain to have a more conservative game plan Sunday. If McCoy goes off, Philly can give Foles his first career win.
Prediction: Eagles 23, Redskins 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) at Carolina Panthers (2-7)
The Buccaneers have two very important qualities favoring them Sunday. For starters, no offense in the NFL is averaging more points than Tampa Bay over the last month. But maybe more importantly, the Bucs are the NFL's No. 1 run defense this season. When Carolina can't run the football, this team can't win games, even at home.
Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Panthers 17
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) at Houston Texans (8-1)
Everything about this game—from the statistics to records to location—screams big-time blowout for the Texans. Maybe that will be the case.
But this is a division game, and rarely have we witnessed big blowouts in these matchups of familiar foes. Last season, Houston's margin of victory over two games was just 17 points.
The Texans will win, but not as convincingly as most think.
Prediction: Texans 27, Jaguars 16
New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-6)
The one factor that certainly sways this game in New Orleans' favor: Oakland's missing pieces in the running game. The Raiders need to be able to run the football to help out the defense, and that could be a struggle Sunday without Darren McFadden.
Prediction: Saints 34, Raiders 24
San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Denver Broncos (6-3)
Sunday may be a turning-point game for the Chargers franchise. Sure, Norv Turner could still lose his job after this season if he beats the Broncos in Denver. However, falling to 4-6 would come close to ending the Chargers' 2012 season, which should mean sweeping changes from the top down.
Peyton Manning won't make winning in Denver easy, considering he has thrown for 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions at home this season.
Prediction: Broncos 30, Chargers 21
Indianapolis Colts (6-3) at New England Patriots (6-3)
This reincarnation of one of the AFC's more fascinating recent rivalries features two teams that are likely headed to the playoffs, a reality no one saw coming when this season began.
Andrew Luck should be able to find holes in a still-struggling Patriots defense, but he can't possibly beat Tom Brady in his own backyard, can he?
Prediction: Patriots 34, Colts 24
Baltimore Ravens (7-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
Losing Ben Roethlisberger really couldn't have come at a worse time for the Steelers. Over the next three weeks, Pittsburgh plays Baltimore twice and Cleveland once. The AFC North likely hangs in the balance over that stretch. Backup Byron Leftwich hasn't started a game since 2009, and his streak without a starting win is likely to extend Sunday night.
Prediction: Ravens 21, Steelers 17
Chicago Bears (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1)
The difference between these two teams Monday night will likely be the health of their respective starting quarterbacks. Jay Cutler (concussion) has already been ruled out, while Alex Smith (concussion) is expected to make the start.
Unless Jason Campbell handles a pressure defense better Monday night than he did last Sunday against the Texans at home, the Bears are likely headed for a second-straight loss to an elite team.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Bears 13