NFL Week 11 Picks: Breaking Down Key Clashes on Schedule

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

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

There are many excellent matchups this week.

Thursday night gets us started with the Tennessee Titans facing the Indianapolis Colts. A game between Washington and Philadelphia should be an exciting shootout. The Baltimore Ravens will try to win a second key game in a row against the Chicago Bears. San Diego meets Miami in a game between teams in the wild-card hunt.

And those aren't even the most exciting contests on the schedule, folks. Let's pick each game this week and take a closer look at three truly elite matchups on tap.


Week 11 NFL Predictions
Tennessee TitansIndianapolis ColtsColts
Philadelphia EaglesWashingtonEagles
Buffalo BillsNew York JetsBills
Chicago BearsBaltimore RavensRavens
Cincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsBengals
Pittsburgh SteelersDetroit LionsLions
Tampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta FalconsFalcons
Jacksonville JaguarsArizona CardinalsCardinals
Houston TexansOakland RaidersTexans
Miami DolphinsSan Diego ChargersChargers
New Orleans SaintsSan Francisco 49ersSaints
New York GiantsGreen Bay PackersGiants
Seattle SeahawksMinnesota VikingsSeahawks
Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsBroncos
Carolina PanthersNew England PatriotsPatriots

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

Another week, another tough test for the Niners. And this time, they have to travel to face a Saints team that is 18-4 in its last 22 games in the Superdome.

This game will be a clash of styles. The Saints win by passing the ball at will on opponents (second in pass offense) and limiting their opponents through the air (third in pass defense). The Niners win by controlling the line of scrimmage on offense (fourth in rush offense) and by playing excellent overall defense.

All eyes will be on Colin Kaepernick in this game. Last year's breakthrough star has struggled this season, and if he can't keep the Niners moving on offense, this game could get out of hand for San Francisco.

The Saints will have success through air, but the other key in this game will be their rushing attack. If they can remain balanced offensively and keep the time of possession relatively even in this game, it's hard to see the Niners pulling out the road win. 

Prediction: Saints win, 24-20

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

The league's best offense—the Broncos lead the NFL in yards (458.7) and points per game (41.2)—will face its most opportunistic defense, as the Chiefs lead all of football with 23 takeaways. Oh, and they're also giving up a league-best 12.3 points per game.

So who wins—the unstoppable force or the immovable object?

Everything points to Denver in this game. The Broncos are at home—where they've won 12 of their last 14 games—have more weapons than the Chiefs have been forced to deal with yet this season and are eager to prove that Kansas City is overrated, seeing as the Chiefs haven't played a single team that currently has a winning record. 

But the Chiefs are coming off a bye, and their ability to run the ball and, in turn, run down the clock will be important. Of course, that will all be moot if they don't get points out of those long drives—it doesn't take long for Peyton Manning and Co. to put up points. 

Expect Denver to even things up in the AFC West.

Prediction: Broncos win, 28-20

New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers

There isn't a better way to cap off an excellent week of NFL action than with a Monday Night Football clash between two of the league's best teams. 

Tom Brady and the passing offense appeared to finally get back on track against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as Brady threw for 432 yards and four touchdowns, while the Panthers and their vaunted defense are fresh off a statement win over San Francisco, out-muscling them in a 10-9 triumph. 

The first half of New England's season was about the defense. Key offensive players like Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola were missing due to injury, and Brady struggled to find chemistry with his younger receivers.

Those guys are healthy now, however, leaving the Patriots with one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL. Behind Stevan Ridley, the Patriots are eighth in rush offense, and Brady has his favorite target back in Gronk.

Add the fact that the Patriots have had an extra week to prepare for this Panthers team—and that Carolina has really struggled to throw the ball this year—and the balanced Patriots team should squeak out a narrow victory over Carolina.

The Panthers play excellent defense and should run the ball on New England's 30th-ranked run defense, but Brady will find a way to win this game for the Pats in the end.

Prediction: Patriots win, 24-21

Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and wonder how the New Orleans Saints could earn almost as many first downs (40) on Sunday night as the Dallas Cowboys ran plays (43).

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