NFL Picks Week 11: Highlighting Best Vegas Odds and Expert Predictions

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 15, 2018

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs past Drew Brees (9) against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

Back in 2014, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson locked horns in the NFC Championship Game. On Thursday night, they'll meet to open Week 11 of the 2018 NFL season in another potential elimination game of sorts.

Neither the Green Bay Packers (4-4-1), nor the Seattle Seahawks (4-5) are the forces they once were, and they've done enough losing that even one more defeat could deflate their playoff hopes. But if they can hang around the playoff picture, they'll always be a threat thanks to their respective signal-callers.

If the Seahawks and Packers can get this week off on the right foot, the fun could continue all the way through Monday's highly anticipated matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams. There's plenty to get excited about.

Let's look ahead at the latest odds, courtesy of OddsShark, and spotlight three of our favorite picks.


Week 11 Odds

Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (-2.5)

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (no line)

Carolina Panthers (-4) at Detroit Lions

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-2)

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-3)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants (-2)

Houston Texans (-3) at Washington Redskins

Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)

Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals (-5)

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-9)

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-2.5)

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)


Best Bets

Carolina Panthers (-4) at Detroit Lions

Don Wright/Associated Press

This line feels light, and maybe a bit too reactionary to Carolina's humbling 52-21 loss to Pittsburgh last Thursday.

While the Panthers clearly struggled in that tilt, it was as bad as they've looked all season. Throw that game out, and you're talking about a 6-2 team with a plus-40 point differential.

There's a wide talent gap between these teams, and it's probably exaggerated in this matchup since Carolina will have had a full 10 days to prepare—and stew in their anger.

Nothing about this matchup looks good for the Lions.

Carolina averages the third-most rushing yards per game; Detroit allows the fifth-most. The Panthers defense is most vulnerable in the secondary; the Lions have lacked consistency in the passing game since trading away Golden Tate. Cam Newton is an elite dual-threat quarterback; Detroit has been gashed by two of them in recent weeks (Mitchell Trubisky and Russell Wilson, who totaled seven combined touchdowns).

Prediction: Panthers 31, Lions 20


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2) at New York Giants

Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

While the Bucs have enough flaws to lose six of their first nine tilts, this offense is potent. In four of their last five outings, they've scored at least 26 points. In the other—Sunday's 16-3 loss to the Redskins—they tallied 501 yards from scrimmage and punted only once.

Those are worrisome numbers for a Giants team that's topped 20 points just once in its last four outings.

Tampa leads the NFL in yards per game (452.8) and passing yards per game (361.2). In other words, there's more than enough firepower to exploit a New York defense ranked 25th against the pass, per FootballOutsiders.com.

There's also reason to believe the Bucs can wreak havoc on a Giants offensive line that's tied for the third-most sacks allowed at 31. While Tampa doesn't have the most ferocious pass rush overall (21 sacks, tied for 23rd), it has gotten a lot of mileage out of former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul (team-best eight sacks), who admits he's been anxiously awaiting his return to the Big Apple.

"Honestly, I had this game checked off since I left there," Pierre-Paul told reporters. "Emotions running big. I'm coming, man. I'm bringing the house down."

If Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is having one of his good days, they could race past a Giants offense that's been sputtering all season.

Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Giants 13


New Orleans Saints (-9) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 11:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Saints defeated the Bengals 51-14.  (Photo by John
John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Saints are overloaded on offense. Between Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Mark Ingram, they're built to dismantle defenses of all types.

Just ask the five different opponents who have failed to hold this attack under 40 points.

New Orleans sits seventh in passing yards per game (287.1) and eighth in rushing yards per game (126.8). Only one other offense—that belonging to the one-loss Rams—occupies a spot in both top-10 rankings.

It's hard to imagine the Eagles keeping pace with an offense averaging 14.7 more points per game than their own.

"The Eagles' stop-start, post-Super Bowl season has seen them cobble together a 4-5 record without anything close to their 2018 playoff offense, or confidence level," SI.com's Ed McGrogan wrote. "Aside from their 34-13 win over the hapless Giants, the Eagles haven't scored more than 24 points all season."

The Saints, meanwhile, have only finished with fewer than 24 points once and have reached the 30-point mark in seven of their nine games. Oddsmakers have had difficulty finding a spread high enough to account for New Orleans' weaponry, leading to the second-best record against the spread in the NFL (7-2).

Prediction: Saints 42, Eagles 23


Unless otherwise noted, statistics used courtesy of NFL.com and ESPN.com.