NFL Week 11 Picks: Score Predictions for Every Game on the Schedule
Another week in the NFL means another round of picks, and with an exciting slate of games with playoff implications, it means another round of difficult decisions and in-depth analysis.
This is the last bye week of the season, with four teams getting much-needed rest before the postseason push begins in earnest, meaning 14 games are scheduled for Week 11.
Without further ado, here are my picks and score predictions for every contest, with winners in all caps for your convenience.
NEW YORK JETS at Denver Broncos
The Broncos' lucky streak will be snapped this Thursday when the New York Jets, searching for redemption, come to town and expose Denver's offensive experiment for what it is—a borderline-insulting dumbing-down of the professional game for a quarterback unprepared to start.
Tim Tebow's had success in recent weeks against poor teams. Though the Jets are hardly the Green Bay Packers, they'll prove as tough to take on as the Detroit Lions were in Week 8.
Final score: Jets 30, Broncos 7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at GREEN BAY PACKERS
Perhaps some opponent may stop the Packers before the regular season ends, but it's not likely to be the slumping Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday.
Weak against the pass, the Tampa defense doesn't have what it takes to slow down quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his merry band of receivers, while the inconsistent Bucs offense will be easy pickings for Green Bay's defenders.
Final score: Packers 35, Buccaneers 17
Carolina Panthers at DETROIT LIONS
At times, it looks like the Panthers entire 53-man roster has been pared down to just two men—quarterback Cam Newton and wide receiver Steve Smith. At 2-7, the team has all the promise in the world but lacks the winning record that proves they've become a legitimate threat in the NFC.
Yes, the Lions had an embarrassing and disappointing loss against the Chicago Bears last week, but they should bounce back well against Carolina this Sunday, just as long as they aren't looking past them to their Thanksgiving contest against Green Bay.
Final score: Lions 31, Panthers 21
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS at Cleveland Browns
Neither the Jaguars nor the Browns are all that inspiring, but the Jaguars have two advantages over Cleveland that has me picking them to win—a run game behind a true star (Maurice Jones-Drew) and a legitimately strong defense.
This won't be an entertaining, high-scoring contest, but there will be a winner. It won't be the home team.
Final score: Jaguars 13, Browns 6
OAKLAND RAIDERS at Minnesota Vikings
The Raiders are leading the AFC West after their Week 10 win over the San Diego Chargers, proving that the switch to quarterback Carson Palmer has proven smoother than was first indicated.
Though the Vikings boast a stout defense and Oakland's star running back, Darren McFadden, may not be healthy enough to return to the field, the Vikings' inability to produce on offense will be their undoing this Sunday.
Final score: Raiders 24, Vikings 13
BUFFALO BILLS at Miami Dolphins
The Bills are on a two-game losing streak, while the Dolphins, who started the season at 0-7, have won their last two.
Both streaks will grind to a halt this week as Miami regresses to the team we saw in the first half of the year, while the Bills recapture some of that magic that saw them at the top of the AFC East earlier in the season.
Buffalo is still in the hunt for a playoff spot; a divisional win this Sunday will only advance their cause, and I don't see them squandering this opportunity.
Final score: Bills 31, Dolphins 13
DALLAS COWBOYS at Washington Redskins
Those of you holding your breath for the time the Redskins finally snap their five-game losing streak will have to keep on depriving your brains of oxygen for yet another week, as the 5-4 Dallas Cowboys come to town.
While the Cowboys have been characteristically up and down throughout the season, they've managed to build themselves a two-game win streak on the backs of impressive performances by running back DeMarco Murray and a revitalized passing game with Laurent Robinson filling in for the injured Miles Austin.
With Washington falling flat in so many aspects of the game, it will be nearly impossible for them to overcome these issues and defeat the rival Cowboys on Sunday.
Final score: Cowboys 35, Redskins 9
Cincinnati Bengals at BALTIMORE RAVENS
The Ravens generally don't follow up embarrassing road losses with yet another loss at home (in fact, Baltimore is 4-0 in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium, while they're 2-3 on the road).
A perfect storm for a Cincinnati loss is brewing, with the Bengals hitting the most difficult stretch of their season and the Ravens out for blood and a playoff spot.
"Playoff implications" is the theme for the remainder of the AFC North's season, with the Ravens and Steelers facing the Bengals and Browns each twice in the final seven weeks of the year.
The Bengals are just too young and too inexperienced against legitimately good teams to pull out a win this week.
Final score: Ravens 21, Bengals 17
Arizona Cardinals at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
The Cardinals have been surprisingly competent with John Skelton at quarterback in place of the injured Kevin Kolb, and the team notched an impressive win over the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday.
However, the 49ers are a wholly different team than the Eagles, from head coach on down, and the Cardinals won't have such an uplifting road trip in Week 11.
Final score: 49ers 27, Cardinals 14
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at St. Louis Rams
The Seahawks have had flashes of talent this season but it's still left them with a 3-6 record and no chance to see the postseason as they managed to do last year despite ending the year under .500. But that doesn't mean they can't beat the St. Louis Rams this Sunday.
The Rams have struggled through injury and inconsistency this season, achieving just two wins in an NFC West division they entered the season as favorites to win. They'll drop yet another divisional contest this week when the not-as-bad Seahawks come to town.
Final score: Seahawks 20, Rams 10
Tennessee Titans at ATLANTA FALCONS
This game comes down to a mismatch of offensive weaponry. On defense, both teams have looked strong at times and weak at others, but on offense, the advantage clearly goes to the Falcons.
Both Tennessee and Atlanta are fighting for playoff spots, especially now that the AFC South-leading Houston Texans are in serious trouble with quarterback Matt Schaub lost for the season with a Lisfranc injury and Matt Leinart replacing him.
But the Titans just don't have what it takes to ultimately stop the Falcons' multi-faceted offensive attack, though I see this being a very close contest.
Final score: Falcons 21, Titans 20
San Diego Chargers at CHICAGO BEARS
It appears the Bears have found an offensive formula that works for them, with quarterback Jay Cutler managing to get the ball out faster and running back Matt Forte not slowing down. On defense, they've returned to the dominant form we've seen from them in recent seasons.
At the same time, perennial playoff favorites, the San Diego Chargers, have fallen flat as mistakes and missteps have combined with uninspired play, dropping the team to No. 2 in the AFC West. They'll drop yet another this week as they travel to Chicago to take on the surging Bears.
Final score: Bears 27, Chargers 21
Philadelphia Eagles at NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants lead the NFC East by a single game over the Dallas Cowboys, but they have a three-game advantage over the Philadelphia Eagles, the team pegged to lead the division and reach not only the playoffs, but also the Super Bowl after their myriad of flashy offseason player acquisitions.
Instead, the Eagles have won just three games and have dropped their last two in a row, while New York is coming off of a loss to the NFL's No. 2 team, the San Francisco 49ers, in Week 10.
The Giants are far superior in every facet of the game, though on paper one would assume the Eagles the more dominant squad. But on paper is just that—a theory, and for the Eagles, a reminder of what might have been but never was.
Final score: Giants 34, Eagles 14
Kansas City Chiefs at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots have their flaws to be sure, and the Chiefs have had a few good showings this season, but that doesn't mean an upset is in order on Monday night.
Kansas City will be without quarterback Matt Cassel, who suffered a hand injury and has undergone surgery. Tyler Palko will be starting in his place, meaning that whether the Patriots defense is of the new-look variety we saw in Week 10 against the Jets or the soft squad they fielded against the Giants and Steelers, the Chiefs offense won't pose much of a threat.
And threats are all the Patriots have on offense. They'll smother Kansas City this week.
Final score: Patriots 42, Chiefs 6
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