NFL Week 11 Picks: Last Minute Expert Predictions from Around the Web
You may not have heard, but there's a pretty big game coming up on Sunday night.
Week 11's spotlight game takes place in Denver, where a one-loss Broncos team hosts the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs with the top spot in the AFC on the line.
That may be the biggest game of the week, but it's far from the only one, as there are also big showdowns for playoff contenders like the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.
Here's a look around cyberspace at how leading NFL pundits expect Week 11 to unfold.
Experts Roll Call
Before we move on to Week 11's games, let's take a look at our panel of experts.
ESPN: ESPN's picks are a combination of the selections of 13 experts. Those experts include writers like Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, as well as former players such as Mike Ditka and Keyshawn Johnson.
CBS Sports: The CBS Sports picks feature eight writers, including senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco and NFL insider Jason La Canfora.
USA Today: As with the other sites on our panel, USA Today uses a committee approach, with seven writers offering their picks for this week's games.
Bleacher Report: I would be remiss not to include the prognostications of my esteemed colleagues here at Bleacher Report. This year's starting lineup for Bleacher Report's picks team features each of the national lead writers as well as the lead writers covering the NFL's divisions.
There you have it: over 40 NFL experts (plus one computer) all making their takes for this week's games.
Week 10 went very well for the experts, who climbed above 63 percent correct on the season.
Last Week: 9-4
New York Jets (5-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-7)
Final Verdict: Well you see, what had happened was...
The Jekyll and Hyde New York Jets were in full Hyde-mode against the Buffalo Bills. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith completed only eight of 23 passes, threw three interceptions and posted a passer rating of 10.1.
That performance was reflected on the scoreboard, which was all Buffalo in a 37-14 Bills win.
ESPN: Jets (11-2)
CBS Sports: Jets (8-0)
Fox Sports: Jets (4-1)
USA Today: Jets (5-2)
Bleacher Report: Jets (11-1)
Overall: Jets (39-6)
There may not be a more surprising team in the AFC than the 5-4 New York Jets, who notched their biggest win of 2013 two weeks ago with a victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Now, coming out of their bye week with a shiny new (old) safety in the fold in Ed Reed, the Jets travel upstate to face the Buffalo Bills in an AFC East brouhaha that the panel feels will be won by Gang Green.
That division is the purview of Bleacher Report AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz, so the floor is his:
The book is almost out on how to defend the Bills and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, and the Jets will look to relive their Week 3 meeting with the Bills when they held Manuel to a 45 percent completion rate. The Jets have been leaning on the run a lot more recently, which should take the burden off Geno Smith.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) at Atlanta Falcons (2-7)
Final Verdict: The nightmare that is the 2013 season continues for the Atlanta Falcons.
It's bad enough that the Falcons lost their eighth game in 10 tries this year, falling 41-28 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, this was a game that wasn't as close as the score. At one point the Buccaneers led 38-6.
Mind you, this is the same Tampa Bay team who had one win entering Week 11.
ESPN: Buccaneers (9-4)
CBS Sports: Tied (4-4)
Fox Sports: Falcons (5-0)
USA Today: Buccaneers (4-3)
Bleacher Report: Buccaneers (8-4)
Overall: Buccaneers (25-20)
How far have the Atlanta Falcons fallen in 2013?
Well, entering the season, the Falcons were the pick of more than a few experts to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Now, they are picked by our panel to lose to a one-win Tampa Bay Buccaneers team whose biggest claim to fame this year has been a MRSA infection in the locker room.
Bleacher Report AFC West Lead Writer Christopher Hansen offers this ringing endorsement: "The Falcons aren't playing good football right now, and it's tough to trust them on the road. The Buccaneers are also a disaster, but I'm going with the home team coming off its first win."
Cleveland Browns (4-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
Final Verdict: Given that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for only 93 yards, and that star wide receiver A.J. Green managed only two catches for seven yards, one might assume that the Bengals struggled to down the Cleveland Browns at home in Week 11.
One would be wrong, as despite only 224 yards of total offense the Bengals hung 41 points on Cleveland in a 21-point win.
It's not the quantity of offense. It's the quality. Or something to that effect.
ESPN: Bengals (11-2)
CBS Sports: Bengals (5-3)
Fox Sports: Bengals (4-1)
USA Today: Bengals (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Bengals (8-4)
Overall: Bengals (35-10)
Just two weeks ago, the 6-2 Cincinnati Bengals looked to have the AFC North in a chokehold. Now, after two straight overtime losses, they suddenly find themselves hosting the Battle of Ohio 2.0, a game with real implications in the division.
The Cleveland Browns won the first meeting between these two teams this season, but it's the Bengals who are the overwhelming choice of our experts.
With that said though, Bleacher Report AFC North Lead Writer Andrea Hangst is among those who expect the Browns to make things even more interesting in the division:
Last year, when the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Miami Dolphins, it sent their Andy Dalton into a tailspin and the Bengals on a four-game losing streak. Rattled to the core for two weeks in a row, the Browns have a chance to make progress toward the division lead with a win in Cincinnati. Their defense is well-equipped to give Dalton another rough time, and their offense, led by Jason Campbell, can pull out the upset.
Washington Redskins (3-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
Final Verdict: Don't look now, but the Philadelphia Eagles are in first place in the NFC East.
Running back LeSean McCoy scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, quarterback Nick Foles once again avoided making mistakes, and the Eagles moved to 6-5 with a 24-16 win over Washington.
There isn't going to be any miracle finish in the nation's capital in 2013.
ESPN: Eagles (9-4)
CBS Sports: Eagles (8-0)
Fox Sports: Eagles (5-0)
USA Today: Eagles (5-2)
Bleacher Report: Eagles (9-3)
Overall: Eagles (36-9)
The Eagles are a weird team this year. On the road, they are nearly unbeatable, winning five of six. At home? Winless in four tries.
Still, Nick Foles has been on a surreal run under center, throwing 16 touchdown passes without an interception while leading the Eagles to a 3-1 record in his four starts.
The Eagles would move a half-game ahead of the idle Dallas Cowboys with their first home victory this season.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller is among the 80 percent of this week's experts who are picking Philly to get that win this week.
"Nick Foles still hasn't thrown an interception this season," Miller wrote. "The Washington secondary isn't going to be a threat in that department either."
Detroit Lions (6-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
Final Verdict: You can't say we didn't warn you that the Steelers were a desperate team.
Sure enough, the Steelers raced out to a 14-0 lead over the Detroit Lions, thanks to two touchdown catches from wide receiver Antonio Brown, only to see the Lions retake the lead just before halftime.
However, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who topped 350 passing yards on the day, threw two more touchdown passes in the second half, propelling the Steelers to a 37-27 win.
ESPN: Lions (9-4)
CBS Sports: Lions (5-3)
Fox Sports: Lions (3-2)
USA Today: Lions (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Lions (11-1)
Overall: Lions (34-11)
With their two-point victory over the Chicago Bears last week, the Detroit Lions claimed sole possession of NFC North. The team appears to have the inside track to the division title, especially given the injuries that have beset its rivals in Green Bay and Chicago.
However, the Lions have a dangerous game ahead of them in Week 11, as they travel to meet a desperate Pittsburgh Steelers team coming off its best game of the season.
The Steelers are a better team than their record, but the Lions are still the easy pick for the experts this week.
There was one dissenter at Bleacher Report, and NFL National Lead Writer Mike Freeman had a very simple reason for picking Pittsburgh: "I don't trust the Lions," Freeman said.
Arizona Cardinals (5-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
Final Verdict: The Arizona Cardinals are becoming virtuosos at winning ugly.
Despite managing only 14 yards against the NFL's worst run defense, the Cardinals pulled out a 27-14 win thanks to 419 passing yards and two scoring strikes from quarterback Carson Palmer.
The win elevates the Redbirds to 6-4, and pending the outcome of San Francisco's matchup in the Big Easy things may have gotten a lot more interesting in the NFC West.
ESPN: Cardinals (13-0)
CBS Sports: Cardinals (8-0)
Fox Sports: Cardinals (5-0)
USA Today: Cardinals (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Cardinals (12-0)
Overall: Cardinals (45-0)
The Arizona Cardinals are one of the uglier 5-4 teams in recent memory, at least on offense. The Redbirds rank 27th in total offense and 23rd in scoring offense. Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer has turned the ball over 17 times in nine starts.
Still, the Cardinals defense is one of the league's best, and the experts are unanimous in their belief that Arizona will stay in the playoff hunt with a win against the Jaguars.
In the words of Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter, "Bask in the glow this week, Jaguars fans, because the Cardinals defense will put a stop to your team's winning "streak.""
Oakland Raiders (3-6) at Houston Texans (2-7)
Final Verdict: Much like the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins, the 2013 season has been an absolute disaster for the Houston Texans.
The Texans faced an Oakland Raiders squad Sunday starting an undrafted free agent rookie under center, which led most of the panel to pick this as the week that Houston's long losing streak mercifully ended.
Matt McGloin threw three touchdown passes for Oakland, and the Raiders handed Houston their eighth straight loss, 28-23.
ESPN: Texans (12-1)
CBS Sports: Texans (7-1)
Fox Sports: Texans (5-0)
USA Today: Texans (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Texans (12-0)
Overall: Texans (43-2)
Things haven't gone at all according to plan for the Houston Texans in 2013. The two-time defending AFC South champions have lost seven straight games. Players such as running back Arian Foster and linebacker Brian Cushing, who were expected to be big contributors during a Super Bowl run, have been lost for the season to injury.
However, against a backsliding Oakland Raiders team that will be without quarterback Terrelle Pryor, all but two of this week's experts look for Houston's slide to win in Week 11.
That includes every writer at Bleacher Report, among them Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter:
Here are two teams with the talent to win that are consistently underachieving. I'm taking the Texans partially due to home-field advantage, and partially because I'm sick of picking the Raiders and watching them earn "moral" victories.
Baltimore Ravens (4-5) at Chicago Bears (5-4)
Final Verdict: Sunday's matchup between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens was one of the more bizarre games of 2013.
It was also the longest.
The game was delayed for two hours in the first half due to severe weather, and then the two teams decided they were having so much fun that overtime was in order.
A 38-yard Robbie Gould field goal got the Bears a 23-20 win, and once again Chicago is nipping at the heels of the NFC North-leading Lions.
For the 4-6 Ravens, it was a backbreaking loss that leaves the defending Super Bowl champions 2.5 games back of the AFC North-leading Bengals.
ESPN: Bears (10-3)
CBS Sports: Ravens (5-3)
Fox Sports: Bears (3-2)
USA Today: Ravens (4-3)
Bleacher Report: Ravens (9-3)
Overall: Ravens (23-22)
The Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens are two teams with no more margin for error.
For the Bears, 2013 is Groundhog Day. Just like last year, a hot start has been left teetering by mounting injuries on both sides of the ball.
The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, have lurched their way to a 4-5 record one year after winning the Super Bowl. But a win over the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals has the Ravens back in the AFC North race.
By the narrowest of margins, the experts think the Ravens will get the win on the road this week.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Michael Schottey is among those backing Baltimore:
However, AFC North Lead Writer Andrea Hangst is among a large minority who thinks the Bears will bounce back at home after falling to Detroit a week ago:
The Bears won't have Jay Cutler or Charles Tillman this week, but it hardly matters. Josh McCown has been more than serviceable as a fill-in quarterback this season, and Tillman or not, the Ravens barely have a semblance of a consistent offense. Unable to run, the one-dimensional Baltimore offense won't be able to score enough points to win on the road this week.
Minnesota Vikings (2-7) at Seattle Seahawks (9-1)
Final Verdict: If there was one game in Week 11 that most went according to script, it was Sunday afternoon's visit to the Emerald City by the Minnesota Vikings.
The Seahawks forced four Minnesota turnovers, running back Marshawn Lynch scored three total touchdowns, and Seattle moved to 10-1 for the first time in franchise history with a 41-20 victory.
ESPN: Seahawks (13-0)
CBS Sports: Seahawks (8-0)
Fox Sports: Seahawks (5-0)
USA Today: Seahawks (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Seahawks (12-0)
Overall: Seahawks (45-0)
Given the sad state of the Minnesota Vikings and the fact that the Seattle Seahawks haven't lost a home game since 2011, it's not exactly a stunner that the Seahawks are a unanimous pick in Week 11.
However, it's worth mentioning that the Seahawks came out flat two weeks ago against a winless Tampa Bay team, spotting the Buccaneers 21 points before coming back to win in overtime.
Still, Bleacher Report AFC North Lead Writer Andrea Hangst doesn't think the Seahawks will have much trouble winning a game that could give Seattle a stranglehold on the NFC West:
Suddenly, the Seahawks appear to be running away not only with the NFC West but also the NFC as a whole. This is a premier team, which likely means the Vikings will be more than ready for such an imposing opponent. However, readiness doesn't mean anything without the talent to back it up. In all phases of the game, the Seahawks are the better team.
Green Bay Packers (5-4) at New York Giants (3-6)
Final Verdict: It's hard to believe given how their season started, but the New York Giants are still clinging to faint hopes of making the playoffs.
That's because for the fourth straight week (following six losses to begin the year) the Giants were victorious in Week 11, downing the Scott Tolzien-led Green Bay Packers 27-13.
The Packers have dropped three straight, and at this rate there may not be any point in Aaron Rodgers trying to hurry back from his broken collarbone.
ESPN: Giants (11-2)
CBS Sports: Giants (7-1)
Fox Sports: Giants (5-0)
USA Today: Giants (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Giants (9-3)
Overall: Giants (39-6)
What a difference a few weeks makes.
It wasn't that long ago that the Green Bay Packers were humming right along, a 5-2 team that appeared headed for another deep playoff run.
Then Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. Now, the Packers have lost two straight, are on their third-string quarterback and are a runaway pick to lose this week to a New York Giants squad that lost its first six games.
In fact, Bleacher Report NFC East Lead Brad Gagnon thinks the Giants will blow Green Bay out. In predicting a 30-10 victory for New York, Gagnon said, "The Giants defense is really coming around. They might be hot enough to hold a depleted, Rodgers-less Packers offense to single digits."
San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-5)
Final Verdict: It's been a rough few weeks for the Miami Dolphins, as the ever-growing and supremely distracting Jonathan Martin saga swirls around the team.
For one Sunday afternoon at least, the Dolphins circled the wagons. gutting out a 20-16 win over the San Diego Chargers that lifts Miami back to .500 for the season.
ESPN: Chargers (10-3)
CBS Sports: Chargers (7-1)
Fox Sports: Chargers (3-2)
USA Today: Chargers (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Chargers (10-2)
Overall: Chargers (36-9)
It's hard to believe now, but the Miami Dolphins were once 3-0.
Since that hot start, the Dolphins have lost five of six, with rock bottom coming last week in the form of a loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now, with an offensive line left in shambles by the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin affair, 80 percent of the experts believe that skid will continue when the Dolphins host the San Diego Chargers Sunday.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller didn't mince words. "The Dolphins are officially a dumpster fire," Miller wrote. "They may not win again all season."
San Francisco 49ers (6-3) at New Orleans Saints (7-2)
Final Verdict: Well, if the San Francisco 49ers are going to make it back to the Super Bowl, it's all but certainly going to be as a wild card.
Sunday's game between the 49ers and New Orleans Saints was one of the more exciting games of Week 11, a back-and-forth affair that came down to the final play.
That play was a Garrett Hartley field goal that gave the Saints a 23-20 win, dropping the 49ers into a tie with the Arizona Cardinals three games back of Seattle.
ESPN: Saints (13-0)
CBS Sports: Saints (7-1)
Fox Sports: Saints (5-0)
USA Today: Saints (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Saints (11-1)
Overall: Saints (42-3)
The New Orleans Saints meet the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in a big NFC matchup between two offenses trending in opposite directions.
The Saints bounced back in a big way from their loss to the New York Jets two weeks ago, ripping off an NFL-record 40 first downs in a blowout win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10.
The 49ers, on the other hand, struggled mightily to move the ball a week ago, managing only 151 yards of total offense in a home loss to the Carolina Panthers.
That disparity on offense is one of the reasons why Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter is among the majority predicting a New Orleans win:
In fact, NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller was the only writer at Bleacher Report who picked the visiting 49ers:
Rarely does Jim Harbaugh lose two straight games. While the Saints are a tough matchup, losing Kenny Vaccaro (concussion) will open up the zone read for San Francisco.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) at Denver Broncos (8-1)
Final Verdict: The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated no more.
Behind 323 passing yards and a touchdown from quarterback Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos hung 27 points on a Chiefs team that hadn't allowed more than 17 points in a game this season.
That was good enough for a 10-point win and a share of first place in the AFC West.
ESPN: Broncos (12-1)
CBS Sports: Broncos (6-2)
Fox Sports: Broncos (5-0)
USA Today: Broncos (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Broncos (9-3)
Overall: Broncos (39-6)
Week 11's main event between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos is a classic offense vs. defense matchup—the ninth-ranked defense of the Chiefs, who lead the NFL in sacks vs. the league-leading offense of the Broncos, which is chewing up yards and scoring points at a historic clip.
Much has been made of the Chiefs' weak strength of schedule this year, and the majority of the panel feels that Kansas City's winning streak will end Sunday night. That includes Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Mike Freeman, who quipped, "The Chiefs finally play a real QB."
However, NFL National Lead Writer Michael Schottey believes that Peyton Manning's injured ankle opens the door for the Chiefs to make a huge statement on the road:
Look, I know that Peyton Manning isn't Michael Vick, and that a bum ankle isn't going to completely negate everything he does. Still, any loss of pocket mobility against the Chiefs defense is going to end up equalling some hits. They'll be coming. I'll be surprised if he finishes this one.
New England Patriots (7-2) at Carolina Panthers (6-3)
Final Verdict: It's time to stop doubting the Carolina Panthers.
For the second straight week, the Panthers notched a "statement" win, this time when Cam Newton hit Ted Ginn with the winning touchdown pass with about a minute left.
A last-second Tom Brady pass was intercepted in the end zone on a controversial non-call, and the end result was a 24-20 Panthers win that left both teams at 7-3.
ESPN: Patriots (7-6)
CBS Sports: Panthers (5-3)
Fox Sports: Patriots (3-2)
USA Today: Patriots (5-2)
Bleacher Report: Panthers (7-5)
Overall: Patriots (23-22)
With their one-point win at San Francisco last week, the Carolina Panthers made a statement that they are a legitimate contender in the NFC.
Now, riding a five-game winning streak, it doesn't get any easier this week. On Monday night, the Panthers play host to the New England Patriots, who are finally getting healthy on offense only to see the middle of the defense ravaged by injuries.
By the narrowest of margins, the Patriots are the pick this week. And with the vote this close, it's only fair to give each side a chance to present its case.
For Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Michael Schottey, it's a matter of that healthy New England offense: "I've been a big proponent of the Panthers defense," Schottey wrote, "but this Patriots team has new life with Rob Gronkowski back. Oh, and they still have Tom Brady."
However, NFC South Lead Writer Knox Bardeen points out that Carolina's offense hasn't exactly been struggling: "Over its last seven games, the Carolina offense has put up 30 points or more five times. The Panthers should do so again against this Patriots defense."