NFL Week 11 Picks: Forecasting Most Intriguing Games on This Weekend's Schedule

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2013

Nov 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls a play at the line of scrimmage during the closing minute in the Broncos win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

You better make sure you've got your entire Sunday open. Otherwise, you'll miss what look to be some of the best games of the season.

From start to finish, Week 11 features great matchups, ones that could have a big say on each conference's playoff picture.

With so many teams bunched up at the top, it's important to win games like these and create some distance between yourself and the competition. This may be the only time you're facing off head-to-head, so you want to make the most of it.

Here's a look at the schedule for Week 11.

NFL Picks Week 11
Time (ET)Home TeamAway TeamPick
Thur. Nov. 14
8:25 p.m.Tennessee TitansIndianapolis ColtsIND
Sun., Nov. 17
1 p.m.Buffalo BillsNew York JetsNYJ
1 p.m.Tampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta FalconsATL
1 p.m.Pittsburgh SteelersDetroit LionsDET
1 p.m.Philadelphia EaglesWashington RedskinsPHI
1 p.m.Jacksonville JaguarsArizona CardinalsARI
1 p.m.Houston TexansOakland RaidersHOU
1 p.m.Chicago BearsBaltimore RavensCHI
1 p.m.Cincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsCIN
4:05 p.m.Miami DolphinsSan Diego ChargersSD
4:25 p.m.New York GiantsGreen Bay PackersNYG
4:25 p.m.Seattle SeahawksMinnesota VikingsSEA
4:25 p.m.New Orleans SaintsSan Francisco 49ersNO
8:30 p.m.Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsDEN
Mon., Nov. 18
8:40 p.m.Carolina PanthersNew England PatriotsCAR
Schedule via

These four games are among the biggest of the weekend.

Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The immovable force meets the irresistible object. Can the Kansas City Chiefs defense shut down the Denver Broncos offense?

Don't bet on it.

In the NFL, it's becoming increasingly easy for a good offense to beat a good defense. The defensive backs can't be as physical in the secondary, and defenders are penalized more for big hits.

Yes, the Broncos lost to the Colts, but sometimes it's good to get that first loss out of the way. The pressure of going perfect is out of the way, and you realize one defeat isn't the end of the world.

This game is when the Chiefs' problems are laid bare. They won't have an answer for Denver's aerial attack, while their reliance on Jamaal Charles will be a hindrance.

Alex Smith is a good game manager. Going up against somebody like Peyton Manning presents a problem.

Prediction: Denver 38, Kansas 28

Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots

Nov 10, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers free safety Mike Mitchell (21) and defensive end Charles Johnson (95) sack San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the second quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I know what I just said about defenses, but this is a bit of a different case. According to Football Outsiders, the Carolina Panthers have the best defense in the league, while the New England Patriots have the 14th-best offense.

This isn't the case of a great defense going against a great offense. It's more like a great defense facing off with a good, maybe above-average offense. With a matchup like that, you have to favor the defense.

The Panthers and Patriots won't be winning in the style-points category. This game will likely be low-scoring with a couple of big plays providing the difference.

The lower the score, the more you have to favor Carolina. As long as it follows the blueprint it used against the 49ers last week, it will be in business.

Rely on that stellar defense, and don't turn the ball over too much.

Prediction: Carolina 13, New England 7

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, it would've seemed crazy that the Cleveland Browns would still be in the hunt for the AFC North. Their refusal to wilt, coupled with the Cincinnati Bengals' recent struggles, has meant that the division remains up for grabs.

And with a win here, Cleveland would move to just a half-game out of the lead.

The Cincinnati Bengals have lost two games in a row, so you have to expect a swift response. They're too good to continue allowing the rest of division keep pace.

Andy Dalton has had problems with interceptions recently, throwing three in each of the last two games. However, the Browns have just six interceptions as a team, 24th in the league. As long as Dalton can avoid giving the ball back to Cleveland, Cincinnati should be just fine.

In addition, the Bengals continue to have one of the best defenses in the league. Even without Geno Atkins up front, they'll be able to manhandle the Browns offense.

Prediction: Cincinnati 24, Cleveland 10

New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers

If this turns into a battle between Colin Kaepernick and Drew Brees, the 49ers are in trouble. San Francisco's star quarterback has just nine touchdowns to six interceptions and has only eclipsed 200 yards once since that Week 1 outburst against the Green Bay Packers.

He's been able to manage the game well, but will he be able to match Brees blow for blow if it comes to that?

The running game may be successful, but that won't be enough over the course of the game. San Francisco will need Kaepernick to step up and perform at a level he rarely has this year.

New Orleans has a much better defense than Green Bay. It's unrealistic to expect Kaepernick to break 400 yards again.

With that in mind, it should be a big win for the Saints.

Prediction: New Orleans 28, San Francisco 21


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