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

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 13, 2019

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) scrambles as San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ronald Blair (98) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

The largest underdog of Week 11 is one of the top candidates to cover on the road. 

The Arizona Cardinals have been involved in a handful of one-possession games, including Week 9's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. 

San Francisco is five games ahead of Arizona in the NFC West, but it has not blown out many opponents in its last few victories. 

The Atlanta Falcons could join Arizona on the list of underdogs to cover Sunday. The Falcons delivered a stunning blow to the New Orleans Saints in Week 10 and might be able to surprise another NFC South foe on the road. 

                   

NFL Week 11 Schedule

All Times ET. 

Odds via Caesars; predictions against the spread in bold. 

Thursday, November 14

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-3) (Over/Under: 40) (8:20 p.m., Fox/NFL Network) 

           

Sunday, November 17

Houston at Baltimore (-4) (O/U: 49) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-2.5) (O/U: 44) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Buffalo (-5.5) at Miami (O/U: 40) (1 p.m., CBS)

Denver at Minnesota (-10.5) (O/U: 40) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Atlanta at Carolina (-5.5) (O/U: 49.5) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Dallas (-3) at Detroit (O/U: 48) (1 p.m., Fox) 

New Orleans (-5.5) at Tampa Bay (O/U: 50.5) (1 p.m., Fox) 

New York Jets at Washington (-1.5) (O/U: 38) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Arizona at San Francisco (-11.5) (O/U: 45.5) (4:05 p.m., Fox) 

Cincinnati at Oakland (-10.5) (O/U: 48.5) (4:25 p.m., CBS) 

New England (-3.5) at Philadelphia (O/U: 44) (4:25 p.m., CBS) 

Chicago at Los Angeles Rams (-7) (O/U: 41.5) (8:20 p.m., NBC) 

            

Monday, November 18

Kansas City (-3.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (O/U: 53) (8:15 p.m., ESPN; Game in Mexico City) 

               

Top Underdogs

Arizona (+11.5) at San Francisco

Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Two weeks ago, the Cardinals used 11 fourth-quarter points to pull within three of the 49ers and cover at home. 

Kliff Kingsbury's team followed that up with another road cover at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10, as it lost by three points in a back-and-forth affair. 

Since the start of October, Arizona has played in five one-possession games, with the lone blowout coming to New Orleans in Week 8. 

Even in the loss to the Saints, the Cardinals were competitive for three quarters before the home side pulled away with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. 

Kyler Murray's improved play is one of the reasons why the Cardinals have been a tough foe to put away. 

The No. 1 overall draft pick recorded his fourth 300-yard performance Sunday, and he has thrown a single interception since October 6. 

In two of the last three games, Murray has played well despite receiving little support from the ground game. Arizona had 75 rushing yards versus Tampa Bay and 40 against the Saints. 

That is significant because the 49ers have allowed 970 rushing yards, four touchdowns and 4.6 yards per attempt. 

Even if the ground attack struggles, Murray should be able to work down the field by connecting with Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and others. 

Outside of the 51-13 win over Carolina, the 49ers have not blown away opponents in their last four games. 

They were slowed down by poor weather in Washington, dealt with Arizona's late surge and fell to Seattle in overtime. 

Those three contests were decided by a total of 15 points, with the last two being three-point games. 

Based off those results and the fight Arizona displayed in the last month, there is enough evidence to suggest the Cardinals will keep Sunday's NFC West clash within single digits. 

                   

Atlanta (+5.5) at Carolina

Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

Atlanta flipped from miserable squad potentially playing for the No. 1 pick entering its bye to beating New Orleans in Week 10. 

Due to their road win over the Saints, the Falcons will intrigue a few bettors for their Week 11 trip to Carolina. 

The Panthers' recent defensive performances should strike concerns, as they allowed over 380 yards in their last five games. 

In its last three contests, Ron Rivera's team has turned the ball over on six occasions, including an interception and fumble from Kyle Allen in the loss to the Green Bay Packers. 

Dan Quinn's side has forced a league-worst four turnovers, but its defense could still make an impact Sunday. 

The Falcons held New Orleans to 52 rushing yards and limited the Los Angeles Rams to 90 yards on the ground in Week 7. 

If Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett and Co. frustrate Christian McCaffrey on a few drives, the Falcons may be able to limit the running back's threat, and in turn, give the offense more time on the field. 

Jarrett and Beasley have combined for 8.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hits. 

If they disturb McCaffrey's rhythm and force Allen into a handful of bad throws, the Falcons' defense could have one of its most successful performances. 

Matt Ryan could benefit from that defensive pressure, or Carolina's shaky run against the pass. The Panthers have allowed over 300 passing yards in three of the last five games. 

Ryan started the campaign with six straight 300-yard games, and he threw for 239 yards and three scores in his last visit to Bank of America Stadium. 

If Atlanta thrives against Carolina's secondary, it could open up a path to cover, and possibly an outright victory.

                 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference

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