NFL Predictions Week 11: Picks and Projections for Top Underdogs' Upset Bids

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2018

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 26-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The NFL's Week 11 schedule doesn't seem to offer much wiggle room for upsets. 

Coming off a week of huge spreads where most of the games unfolded in expected fashion—with perhaps Tennessee over New England being the (somewhat) biggest surprise—Week 11 offers a handful of surprises but mostly has smallish lines for even-looking matchups. 

The Thursday appetizer sets the stage well, as either Green Bay or Seattle walking away with a win wouldn't register as a shock. 

Those thirsty for upsets each week will seek them out no matter what, so let's provide some zoom on a few of the most likely after a look at the full schedule.  


Week 11 NFL Odds

Green Bay at Seattle (-3) | O/U 49

Carolina (-4) at Detroit | O/U 51

Cincinnati at Baltimore (-3.5) | O/U n/a

Dallas at Atlanta (-3) | O/U 48

Houston (-3) at Washington | O/U 42.5

Pittsburgh (-6) at Jacksonville | O/U 47.5

Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants (E) | O/U n/a

Tennessee at Indianapolis (-2) | O/U 48

Denver at L.A. Chargers (-7) | O/U 46.5

Oakland at Arizona (-4) | O/U 40.5

Philadelphia at New Orleans (-9) | O/U 54.5

Minnesota at Chicago (-3) | O/U 45.5

Kansas City at L.A. Rams (-2.5) | O/U 63.5


Cincinnati at Baltimore (-3.5)

Gary Landers/Associated Press

The Cincinnati Bengals are a bad football team right now only in the headlines because they just brought back Hue Jackson, a fired head coach from an even worse team in Ohio. 

But this shouldn't distract bettors, because the Baltimore Ravens might not be much better.  

The Ravens have lost three in a row and now quarterback Joe Flacco is hurt, meaning the team could turn to Robert Griffin III or rookie Lamar Jackson: 

Jeff Zrebiec @jeffzrebiec

Harbaugh on Flacco: "He's getting treatment. WE'll see. We'll know more as the week goes on. I'm hopefully all of our guys play, including Joe."

But that's typical talk for a team that wants to make an opponent work overtime to prepare for multiple scenarios. And Flacco hasn't exactly been good this year, completing just 61.2 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. 

The Ravens still aren't running the ball well (3.6 yards per carry) and the defense hasn't been able to compensate against good teams, allowing 23 or more points in three consecutive games, the high 36. 

These two met once already this year, where the Bengals cruised to a 34-23 decision. Flacco mustered a pair of touchdowns and interceptions against the bad Bengals defense while taking four sacks. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton tossed four scores. 

While the AFC North is always advertised as a slugfest, the Bengals typically own this series, having won seven of the last nine. They're built to beat the Ravens but not the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it shows.

Dalton shouldn't have a hard time shredding Baltimore again while the Ravens struggle to get production from whoever lines up under center. 

Prediction: Bengals 28, Ravens 20


Dallas at Atlanta (-3)

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys are getting the Atlanta Falcons at the perfect time. 

After firing an offensive line coach and trading for Amari Cooper, it is starting to look like the Cowboys' offensive playbook is opening up in a way that could have them thinking about the playoffs. 

Now they get to test out where things are at against a miserable Atlanta Falcons defense. 

Those Falcons cough up 294.4 passing yards per game (30th), 119.9 rushing yards (21st) and 28.2 points (29th). This isn't all the fault of the coaching staff or scheme, as several notable starters sit on injured reserve. 

But still, going out in Week 10 and getting smacked around by the Browns in 28-16 fashion while a rookie like Baker Mayfield casually tosses three touchdowns and the ground game runs for 211 yards and 7.3 yards per carry isn't ideal, to say the least. 

Ezekiel Elliott should feast, making Matt Ryan inefficient via game flow. He's still a monster on the ground with 831 yards and four scores on a 4.9 per-carry average, and he's only going to keep benefiting alongside everyone else from Cooper opening up the passing game:

NFL Research @NFLResearch

Through 2 games with the @dallascowboys, Amari Cooper has had a positive impact on both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott according to @NextGenStats https://t.co/aJ9UVCesIY

This new-look Dallas attack just went to Philadelphia and stole one on the road, 27-20. This shouldn't be any different given the play of the Dallas offense right now combined with a cupcake defense missing key starters. 

Oddsmakers like Atlanta for the simple fact they're at home, but they have already lost twice there against teams that can put up points. Those Cowboys now classify after a pair of smart moves and playbook expansion. 

Prediction: Cowboys 30, Falcons 24


Kansas City at L.A. Rams (-2.5)

Ed Zurga/Associated Press

First, a formality—the NFL moved this game to Los Angeles due to poor field conditions in Mexico City, as the "home" team in international games is required to keep their stadium available in case of emergency. 

But the Los Angeles Rams playing at home shouldn't skew the perception of this one too much. 

The Kansas City Chiefs are that good. 

Those Chiefs have won four in a row and lost just once—a three-point defeat at the hands of New England in Foxborough. Otherwise, nobody can slow Patrick Mahomes and his 31 touchdowns against seven interceptions, nor can they reliably wrap up Kareem Hunt and his 754 yards and seven scores on a 4.5 average. 

Keep in mind, too, the Chiefs have compensated for a defense that struggles at times by boasting three players with six or more receiving touchdowns—and one of those isn't Sammy Watkins, who is a massive threat in his own right. 

It all loops back to Andy Reid: 


The Chiefs offense blends everything from college Air Raid concepts to veer schemes Andy Reid knows from his days at John Marshall High in L.A. in the ’70s. “The plays in our playbook could be from any year, anywhere,” says receiver Chris Conley. https://t.co/jhVInDRR65 https://t.co/MQ74TDnChZ

The Rams have been superb in their own right, with Jared Goff playing better than most would have dared predict and Todd Gurley sitting on 13 touchdowns. But the concern is the defensive collapse in Week 9 against New Orleans, a 45-35 whipping Goff's offense couldn't compensate for down the stretch. 

While explosive, the Rams haven't been able to pull away against good teams lately, which at least partially explains why four of their last five wins have come by five or fewer points. That simply won't cut it against Reid, Mahomes and the Chiefs, regardless of venue, even if the offense does put up a high point tally. 

Mahomes is already 3-1 when his defense allows north of 25 points anyway, so it's not like he can't balance the scales if his defense struggles. 

Prediction: Chiefs 45, Rams 40


Odds via OddsShark