NFL Week 11 Predictions: Picks for Each Game on the Slate

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 12, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos walks with the football on the sideline during the football game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium November 10, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Week 11 in the NFL will be pivotal. 

The week starts off with some lackluster matchups, but things get really good as we hit the marquee time slots, with three late games featuring six teams that are very likely to make the playoffs. 

Let's take a closer look at those scintillating matchups as well as picks for the rest of the slate. 

Week 11 NFL Picks
Road TeamHome TeamDateTime (ET)Pick
IndianapolisTennesseeThur, Nov. 148:25 p.m.Titans
ClevelandCincinnatiSun, Nov. 171 p.m.Bengals
OaklandHoustonSun, Nov. 171 p.m.Texans
BaltimoreChicagoSun, Nov. 171 p.m.Bears
ArizonaJacksonvilleSun, Nov. 171 p.m.Cardinals
N.Y. JetsBuffaloSun, Nov. 171 p.m.Jets
AtlantaTampa BaySun, Nov. 171 p.m.Buccaneers
WashingtonPhiladelphiaSun, Nov. 171 p.m.Eagles
DetroitPittsburghSun, Nov. 171 p.m.Lions
San DiegoMiamiSun, Nov. 174:05 p.m.Chargers
Green BayN.Y. GiantsSun, Nov. 174:25 p.mGiants
MinnesotaSeattleSun, Nov. 174:25 p.mSeahawks
San FranciscoNew OrleansSun, Nov. 174:25 p.mSaints
Kansas CityDenverSun, Nov. 178:30 p.m.Broncos
New EnglandCarolinaMon, Nov. 188:40 p.mPanthers

 

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 10:  Drew Brees #9 and Kenny Stills #84 of the New Orleans Saints celebrate a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 10, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Rev

With the exception of the Seattle Seahawks, no team has a better home-field advantage than the New Orleans Saints. 

On the road, Sean Payton's squad has been the epitome of average, going 2-2 with a plus-one point differential. At the Superdome, however, the Saints have been downright unstoppable, going 5-0 with a plus-101 point differential. 

That is an absurd contrast. 

Unfortunately for the Niners, they've already gotten a nasty taste of Seattle's home-field advantage and now have to experience the hostile environment in the Bayou State as well. 

Last week in New Orleans, the Saints' offense clicked on all cylinders en route to 49 points, 625 yards and an NFL-record 40 first downs against the Dallas Cowboys. Piling up that kind of production against San Francisco's stingy defense is highly unlikely, but the Saints certainly have the weapons to outpace the Niners' inconsistent offense. 

Colin Kaepernick has been a roller-coaster ride this season, and if Vernon Davis' concussion keeps him out, it's going to spell major trouble. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes the tight end's value:

Even if Davis returns, the Saints' aggressive defense under Rob Ryan can make enough plays to let Drew Brees and Co. do the rest. 

Prediction: Saints 27, 49ers 17

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER, 10:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos complains to the game officials for not penalizing Corey Liuget #94 of the San Diego Chargers for a tackle during the football game at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2013 in San Die

This one obviously comes down to the health of Peyton Manning, who is on pace to have the best statistical season of all time. According to the Denver Post, he will be under center on Sunday:

That being said, he has to stay upright. The Broncos have allowed eight sacks in the last three games and the Chiefs lead the NFL with 36 sacks on the season.

People like to call Kansas City "the worst 9-0 team ever," but that's ludicrous. The Chiefs have one of the most intimidating defenses in the NFL and a low-risk offense tailored to keep Manning off the field. 

This is going to be closer than Vegas Insider's current eight-point spread in favor of Denver suggests. 

Nevertheless, betting against Peyton and the vast array of offensive skill players around him is a fool's game at this pointespecially at home, where the Broncos are undefeated and have averaged a silly 43.6 points per game. 

Prediction: Broncos 28, Chiefs 24

 

New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Mike Mitchell #21 of the Carolina Panthers jumps over Drayton Florence #29 of the Carolina Panthers after Florence intercepted the ball late in the fourth quarter of their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlesti

The Panthers have quietly won five in a row. While the first four of those were against a who's who of mediocrityMinnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Atlanta—Carolina proved to be far from a fluke last week with a huge road win against the 49ers.

Carolina prides itself on defense, as Luke Kuechly has put together a Defensive Player of the Year-type campaign in the middle of the field. He has helped the Panthers to rankings of eighth in the NFL in yards per pass allowed and ninth in yards per rush allowed. 

The Patriots clearly have the weapons to beat that defense, but they have been shaky away from home this season, losing their last two and only boasting wins against the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons. 

A healthy New England squad would probably be the better bet in this one, and if Aqib Talib makes his return, I'd have to think strongly about changing my tune.

For now, though, I'll take the red-hot Panthers, who play the type of style to frustrate New England in what should be a close, gritty contest.

Prediction: Panthers 20, Patriots 17