Week 11 NFL Picks: Bengals vs. Cardinals a Super Bowl Preview?
Things could get real interesting real fast in the NFL in week 11. Actually, they literally are already interesting right now and depending on what takes place from Thursday to Monday, we could have even more to talk about.
But how’s this for a teaser: Peyton Manning is out, Tony Romo is in, Rex Ryan gets another crack at Tom Brady, the Texans could take first place in the AFC South and the Packers could lose a fourth straight game.
Yeah, and that’s just on the surface. We didn’t even get to the Bengals vs. Cardinals showdown featuring some Carson Palmer revenge and the formerly undefeated Bengals now suddenly trying to avoid a two-game slide.
Only New England and Carolina are perfect now, too, so both will be on watch to see if either slip up. It’s a jam-packed week and in a constantly evolving 2015 NFL season, we have very little idea as to what will happen.
All we have is our logic and the odds. Let’s mix the two as we make our week 11 NFL picks:
Titans @ Jaguars (-3)
Jacksonville has the mild spread advantage here because they’re at home, but these teams are very evenly matched. Both have defenses that are capable of creating problems for the opposition, neither can really run the ball and both have two young, inconsistent quarterbacks. Jacksonville admittedly has the more potent offense, though, and so far this year looks like the more balanced team. TNF is incredibly unpredictable, but we’ll side with the Jags to pull one step closer to the top of the AFC South.
Pick: jags 24, Titans 20
(-2) Raiders @ Lions
The Lions somehow beat the Packers last week. Two missed extra points and a botched onside kicker, and they still won in Lambeau for the first time in 24 years. It was meant to be. I don’t think a total turn around is in the cards, though, and Oakland needs to find a way to end their current two-game skid. Oh, they’re going to Detroit to take on the Lions? Sounds like the perfect time to get a win. I’m sure Detroit is glad they beat the Packers, but there’s a good chance they haven’t come down off that high yet. It might take 24 years for that to happen.
Pick: Raiders 27, Lions 24
Colts @ Falcons (-6)
Matt Hasselbeck leads a very average Colts team into the fire in Atlanta, where another average team in the Falcons awaits. Normally I’d give Indy a shot because Atlanta has been so spare, but the Falcons are at home and typically take care of business there. They’ve also lost two straight and they’re probably better than Indy.
Pick: Falcons 30, Colts 23
(-2) Rams @ Ravens
I’m not sure anyone has lost more close games than the Ravens, and in more heart-breaking fashion. John Harbaugh is a really good coach and he has to be totally beside himself. I’m sure the Ravens ae toast, but they’re still playing like they’re not. Luckily they’re at home against a Rams team that can’t throw the ball. With Todd Gurley being the Rams’ only form of offense and stopping the run kind of being Baltimore’s bag, I’ll take the Ravens. Also, the fact that this is me calling an upset is beyond disturbing.
Pick: Ravens 20, Rams 10
Buccaneers @ Eagles (-5.5)
The Buccaneers are quietly a pretty decent (or at least competitive) team right now, and they’ll head into Philly with a shot at hitting .500. They have a chance and because of the way they play I like them to beat this spread, but the Eagles are at home and still have a shot in their awful division. Even with walking turnover machine Mark Sanchez under center, I like Philly to squeak this one out.
Pick: Eagles 26, Bucs 23
Broncos @ Bears (-1)
Jay Cutler and the Bears are favored just barely this week for three reasons: they’re at home, they’ve actually been solid and Brock Osweiler is now a thing. There is also a ton of revenge on the line, as John Fox, Adam Gase and Cutler himself all face their former team. Osweiler could be good, but this is his first ever NFL start and it’s on the road against a 4-5 Bears team that 4-2 in their last six games. With Denver’s defense also sagging lately, I’m confident in the Bears. I just shuddered.
Pick: Bears 23, Broncos 20
(-2.5) Jets @ Texans
This is a tough game to pick. Ryan Fitzpatrick (hand) is good to go against his former team and the Jets are a really bad matchup for what looks to be a T.J. Yates-led Houston offense. However, Houston’s defense smothered the Bengals last week and has now produced 10 straight quarters without a touchdown. Very impressive, indeed. The issue for me is that with both teams boasting solid defenses, which offense can do just enough to win? I find it very hard to believe it will be the Texans.
Pick: Jets 16, Texans 13
Redskins @ Panthers (-7)
Kirk Cousins has been really good this year, except when he hasn’t been. That sounds weird, but the guy is maddeningly inconsistent. When he stinks, the Redskins lose – it’s that simple. On the road against the undefeated Panthers, my guess is he’s closer to the stinky side when it comes to his play.
Pick: Panthers 34, Redskins 17
Cowboys @ Dolphins – Pick’em
I want Tony Romo to come back and lead the Cowboys to seven straight wins. Not because I’m a Dallas fan (I’m not), but because it’d be funny. But that’s not logical. Romo returns after a month off with a broken collarbone and he’s suddenly going to come into South Beach and destroy the Dolphins? He could, but Miami isn’t exactly awful and Ryan Tannehill not surprisingly tends to be at his best at home. I think a lot of people expect Romo to come in and be flawless in a win, but there are other reasons the Cowboys are on a 7-game losing streak.
Pick: Dolphins 20, Cowboys 17
(-3) Chiefs @ Chargers
San Diego is possibly the best bad team in the league this year. They seem to have a very good passing game and are in almost every game, but they just can’t get wins. I’m sure everyone will be on the Chiefs because they’re won three straight, but KC has their own issues. The Bolts are at home and it’s time to end their ugly five-game losing streak.
Pick: Chargers 27, Chiefs 20
Packers @ Vikings (-1)
This may be the toughest game of the week to pick. Losing to Detroit at home was an epic face plant, but can the Packers drop a fourth straight and all but give up the division to the Vikes this week? They most certainly can, but the key thing working in their favor is that Teddy Bridgewater isn’t very scary and Aaron Rodgers can still figure this thing out. The two sides haven’t faced yet in 2015, either, so if Green Bay switches things up they might be able to squeeze out a close win. They kind of have to.
Pick: Packers 30, Vikings 27
49ers @ Seahawks (-12.5)
Blaine Gabbert starts again and while he wasn’t bad in a close home win against the Falcons two weeks ago, I still can’t see him going into Seattle and beating the Seahawks. This clearly is not the same Seattle team we’re used to, but chances are Gabbert isn’t suddenly Carson Palmer, either.
Pick: Seahawks 24, 49ers 10
Bengals @ Cardinals (-5)
Arguably the biggest game of the week, the 7-2 Cardinals welcome the 8-1 Bengals into the desert. Carson Palmer interestingly admitted this is not just another game, and he’ll be looking to destroy the team that drafted him over a decade ago. That very well could happen, especially since Cincy got exposed a bit in their first loss of the year last week. Arizona feels like the more impressive team at this point and being at home, I can see why they’re favored. I don’t love that spread, though, as I expect a tight game and oddly a bit of a shootout.
Pick: Cardinals 34, Bengals 31
Bills @ Patriots (-7)
Okay, I lied, this is probably the game of the week. It shouldn’t be, but the Bills are a decent 5-4 and Rex Ryan vs. Tom Brady tends to own all. It was Brady that was owning all the last time these two sides faced, though, and that was in Buffalo. Julian Edelman is out for the regular season and that’s a big loss, but I think the Pats will be fine without him. I expect another shootout of sorts and a Pats win – just not by seven.
Pick: Patriots 33, Bills 30
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