Week 11 NFL Picks: Predictions for Sunday's Games, Odds Guide, Over/Under Tips

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2018

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) plays in an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

As expected, a tough-looking Week 11 NFL slate started in difficult fashion.

Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers visited the Seattle Seahawks in a game where the hosts were favored by three—and the Seahawks won by three points. 

Such a degree of accuracy hasn't been commonplace for oddsmakers this year, but it does serve as a hint they properly have a finger on the pulse of league happenings this far into the season. Would-be bettors have to adapt by weighing many individual factors together as a whole. 

That, or lean on comprehensive predictions like the picks below. 


Week 11 NFL Odds

Carolina (-4.5) 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 (-2.5) | O/U 52.5

Tennessee at Indianapolis (-1) | O/U 48

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

Oakland at Arizona (-6) | 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 (-3.5) | O/U 63.5


Carolina (-4.5) at Detroit

Don Wright/Associated Press

One or two lines always have a weakness, with this one sticking out. 

The Carolina Panthers are favorites on the road against the Detroit Lions, but it feels like the line isn't big enough in large part because Cam Newton and Co. got blown away by Pittsburgh in Week 10, 52-21. 

But it's hard to find too much fault in an anomaly of a performance in a road Thursday night game against a contender. The Panthers are still 6-3 and Cam Newton is still playing like an MVP, sitting on a 68.5 completion percentage with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions, not to mention the 352 yards and four scores on the ground. 

Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions are...still the Detroit Lions. Now 3-6, Detroit has dropped three in a row against quality competition (Seattle, Minnesota, Chicago), and the end doesn't appear in sight. Those three losses were all by double-digit margins, by the way. 

Detroit's offense hasn't scored more than 22 points during the skid and enters the game against the Panthers without their best receiver following the Golden Tate trade: 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Lions have ruled out WR Marvin Jones (knee) for Sunday’s game against the #Panthers. … Meanwhile, Carolina ruled out WR Torrey Smith (knee), as well.

Gimped offensively and unable to stop someone like Newton, the only thing stopping this line from being bigger is Carolina's Thursday performance. 

But extra time off and not having to worry about a short turnaround to a Thanksgiving game, unlike Detroit, will keep things in Carolina's favor as Newton puts up a big performance. 

Prediction: Panthers 30, Lions 1


Pittsburgh (-6) at Jacksonville

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Two teams headed in opposite directions aren't going to change much in Week 11. 

Those Pittsburgh Steelers enter as road favorites by a rather wide margin here for good reason. Ben Roethlisberger and the rest have rattled off five consecutive wins, cobbling together three AFC North triumphs plus the Carolina win after only starting the year 2-2-1. 

The outlook is the complete opposite for the fourth-place Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that gave the Steelers fits a year ago while playing a similar style. But they are back to bottom-feeding the AFC South after five consecutive losses, showcasing a win over New England in Week 2 was a fluke. 

One look at key numbers says it all about this one: 

Aditi Kinkhabwala @AKinkhabwala

When we talk about two teams that are trending very differently, THIS is what that looks like: #Steelers #Jaguars https://t.co/VHiYKylR7x

One of the NFL's worst defenses has morphed into a unit that has only allowed as many as 21 points over its five-win streak. Part of that is an easy schedule and catching a team like Carolina on a short week for a Thursday game, but part of it is solid adjustments. 

Either way, the Steelers shouldn't have a problem stopping a Blake Bortles-led attack considering he's sitting on just 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions this year. The Jaguars have scored more than 20 points during the five-game skid just once against shaky Indianapolis, twice being held to seven points. 

Maybe the Steelers don't hold the Jaguars to another single-digit performance, but the writing seems to be on the proverbial wall either way. Big Ben's offense is too hot, and the defense has started picking up the slack at the same time the Jaguars have started to tank back to pretender status—the disparity will show early and often in Jacksonville over the weekend. 

PredictionSteelers 28, Jaguars 10


Denver at L.A. Chargers (-7)

Ben Margot/Associated Press

The nice thing about this part of the season is it is quite apparent which teams have the draft on the mind and which are really kicking it into playoff gear. 

It isn't hard to tell which team falls into what category in a meeting between the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers. 

The Broncos have lost six of their last seven, the exception a victory over two-win Arizona. Case Keenum's 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions has the team looking like obvious drafters of the quarterback spot next spring, and Denver even threw up a white flag of sorts at the deadline by shipping away Demaryius Thomas. 

Doing right by Thomas and thinking about the future is only going to hurt the Broncos on the road against a Chargers defense that has allowed more than 19 points once over a six-game winning streak. 

Strong defense or not, Philip Rivers isn't getting the MVP attention he deserves despite completing 67.3 percent of his passes with 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions, once again priming one of the league's best one-two combos with Keenan Allen: 


The Philip Rivers + @Keenan13Allen duo is just toooo good. 📺: FOX #FightForEachOther https://t.co/IvczrmLHKf

Behind Rivers, Melvin Gordon has sledgehammered his way to a 5.4 per-carry average with 672 yards and seven scores. That defense has only come up shy twice against elite offenses belonging to Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams. 

This isn't one of those games where a scrappy underdog plays the spoiler late in the season, not when the gap between the two is too wide, the underdog is on the road and the differential between quarterbacks is light years. 

Prediction: Chargers 33, Broncos 14


Odds via OddsShark