NFL Week 11: Picks
Every Sunday I will be making picks for each game of every week. The game that occurs before that Sunday will be picked in the previous article of updated power rankings each week. This past Thursday, I correctly picked the Bills to beat the Dolphins. Here are the rest of my picks for Week 11:
PHI @ WSH
The Eagles (3-6) have been a disaster since early in the season. They have had many people wanting Andy Reid fired, wanting Vick replaced, and wanting McCoy to get the ball a lot more. Well things are going to change this week without Vick (out with a concussion). Backup rookie quarterback, Nick Foles (22/32 219 passing yards), will replace Vick and look to jumpstart this offense against a Redskins defense that has allowed 301.7 passing yards per game. The key for the Redskins (3-6) will be to hold the Eagles on third downs. The Redskins have allowed 43.8% of third down conversions, and that has kept their defense on the field, instead of giving the ball to their offense. The Redskins, who are coming off the bye, will look to run the ball against an Eagles defense allowing 112.7 rushing yards per games. The Eagles will have to contain the rushing attack of both Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris.
Prediction: Redskins 30 Eagles 20
The Redskins will successfully run the ball on the Eagles front seven, and the Redskins defense will give Nick Foles a lot of trouble.
GB @ DET
The Packers (6-3) have had an up-and-down season so far. After many questions about the lack of production from Rodgers, Rodgers has shown that he is just fine. Although the yards may not be there, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns and just one interception in his last four games (all wins). The Packers will be without Clay Matthews with a hamstring injury. This should help the rushing attack of the Lions (4-5) led by Mikel Leshoure who has averaged just 55.5 rushing yards per game. The Lions will also look to attack through the air with Charles Woodson out this week. The Lions who are 0-3 in the division will look to take their first win in the division against the Packers at Ford Field.
Prediction: Packers 38 Lions 24
The Packers are coming in hot riding a four game winning streak and will be able to put up more points when it’s all said and done. This game should be a high scoring affair, but the Packers defense should be able to stop the Lions offense enough, to give the Packers the win.
ARZ @ ATL
The NFC-leading Atlanta Falcons (8-1) finally took their first loss of the season last week when they lost to the New Orleans Saints. They will look to rebound this week when facing the Arizona Cardinals (4-5). This game will be about a top offense vs. a top defense, when these two square off. The Falcons average 292.6 yards per game through the air, and the Cardinals hold their opponent to just 194.6 passing yards per game. Another key for both teams will be on 3rd downs. The Falcons have been able to 47.5% of their 3rd downs this year, whereas the Cardinals have held their opponent to just a 33.6% conversion rate. On the flip side, the Cardinals have just been able to average 295.4 total yards per game, whereas the Falcons have given up 365.6 total yards per game. Something has got to give in this matchup.
Prediction: Falcons 24 Cardinals 10
The Cardinals have been reeling since winning four in a row to start the season, and it looks like they will continue their loosing streak. The Falcons offense should be able to beat the Cardinals defense in this matchup of a top offense vs. a top defense.
TB @ CAR
The Panthers (2-7) have been a huge disappointment to its fans. Early injuries to its best players, as well as Cam Newton’s struggles have put this team back on the bottom of the NFL. Newton has just an 8-10 touchdown-interception ratio, and has already fumbled the ball nine times this year (three lost). The Buccaneers (5-4) are not known for their stifling defense, though they give up just 80.1 rushing yards per game. Their offense has been red hot with the team scoring 102 points in their last three games. The Buccaneers should have no problems on the offensive ball. Doug Martin has had a spectacular year rushing, and Josh Freeman already has more throwing touchdowns this year (18) than last year (16).
Prediction: Buccaneers 35 Panthers 20
The Buccaneers offense will be able to take advantage of the Panthers’ banged up defense, and continue their winning streak.
CLE @ DAL
The Browns (2-7) are well rested coming off their bye week. Rookie quarterback, Brandon Weeden, has had a shaky year for the Browns. Trent Richardson who leads the team with 575 rushing yards on the year leads the Browns offense. The Cowboys (4-5) will have their hands full stopping Richardson. On offense, the Cowboys will be without DeMarco Murray who will be out another week with a foot injury. Tony Romo will look for Felix Jones to pick up the slack in the running game. In the air, Romo will be facing off against a Joe Haden’less secondary for the Browns.
Prediction: Cowboys 27 Browns 10
The Cowboys will be in control most of the game as they pass all over the Browns. The Browns will struggle to score on offense, as the Weeden will be picked off a few times by one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
NYJ @ STL
The Jets (3-6) have now lost three in a row, and don’t look like the playoff contenders they look like just a month ago. Their passing game has been subpar this year to the tune of just 195.8 yards per game. There will be opportunities for them so score against the Rams (3-5-1). The Rams have allowed 342.8 total yards per game, and will try to apply pressure to Mark Sanchez, to try and ease the workload on the secondary. The Rams will look to pound the ball on the ground as the Jets have given up 145 rushing yards per game to their opponents. The Rams are led by Steven Jackson in the backfield, and will have Daryl Richardson rotate in the lineup every few series.
Prediction: Rams 24 Jets 17
The Rams will be able to get to Sanchez with their good defensive lineman and Sanchez will not be able to do enough in the air to lead the Jets to a victory.
JAX @ HOU
The Jaguars (1-8) will continue to be without their All-Pro running back, Maurice Jones-Drew, who will be out for this week 11 tilt. Without Jones-Drew, the Jaguars don’t stand much of a chance against the Texans (8-1) in Houston. The Jaguars average a measly 263.6 total yards per game (32nd in NFL), whereas the Texans are giving up just 281.6 total yards per game (2nd in the NFL). The Texans on offense are also as dominant as any team in the NFL. The Texans have rushed for 136.8 yards per game whereas the Jaguars allow 137.4 rushing yards per game. The Texans won the battle earlier in the season, defeating the Jaguars 27-7 in Jacksonville.
Prediction: Texans 38 Jaguars 7
The Texans will continue to show their domination in the AFC as they destroy the Jaguars at home. The defense will force several turnovers, and Gabbert will find himself on the turf plenty of times on Sunday in Houston.
CIN @ KC
The Bengals (4-5) will look to ride the momentum after their big win against the Giants in week 10. The Bengals will look to take advantage of the Chiefs (1-8) mishaps this week. The Bengals will look to defeat the Chiefs through the air, as Dalton will look for A.J. Green (who leads the league with nine receiving touchdowns) throughout the game. On the other hand, the Chiefs will look to give the ball to their playmakers. Jamaal Charles has looked good when given the opportunity. The Chiefs are 4th in the NFL in rushing averaging 149 yards a game.
Prediction: Bengals 24 Chiefs 13
The Bengals will continue their quest for the playoffs and defeat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
NO @ OAK
The Saints (4-5) come into this game with the playoffs in mind. They have won two in a row after struggling through the first 7 games. The Saints are led on offense by Drew Brees who has thrown for 2,847 yards through nine games. The Saints will likely have Darren Sproles back in the lineup, who is one of their big weapons on the offensive end. The Raiders (3-6) give up only 255.9 passing yards per game and will hope their secondary holds up against Brees. On offense, the Raiders will likely be without both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson. The Raiders, who average 288.9 passing yards per game, will look to defeat the Saints in the air. The Saints defense has been terrible giving up 469.3 total yards per game.
Prediction: Saints 31 Raiders 24
The Saints defense will do just enough to stop Palmer from defeating the Saints.
IND @ NE
The surprising Colts (6-3) enter the game as a possible playoff team this year. Rookie-of-the-year candidate, Andrew Luck, who has thrown for 2,631 yards, in his first nine games, leads them on the offensive side of the ball. The Patriots (6-3) will hope their leaky defense can stop the Colts. Though the Patriots defense doesn’t stop teams from gaining yards (382.1 total yards per game), they have been the most opportunistic defense when the ball is loose. The Patriots lead the NFL in turnover differential at +16. Another reason for that is their high-powered offense, which has only turned the ball over seven times in nine games.
Prediction: Patriots 34 Colts 24
The Patriots will have no problem putting points up on the board, and will be able to keep Andrew Luck in check.
SD @ DEN
The Chargers (4-5) enter this matchup with hopes of gaining a game in the race with the Broncos (6-3), for the AFC West division title. The Chargers will hope they can muster up enough offense against the Broncos defense that allows just 316.8 total yards per game. The Broncos will look at Peyton Manning as well as Willis McGahee for a balanced attack against the Chargers. Manning has done a great job thus far, looking like himself from a few years ago. Both teams allow just around 21 points per game, but both defenses will have their hands full with the opposing offenses.
Prediction: Broncos 27 Chargers 17
The Broncos defense will be able to capitalize on Phillip Rivers’ mistakes, and the Chargers will still not run the ball enough with Ryan Mathews.
BAL @ PIT
The Ravens (7-2) enter the battle against their rivals a bit banged up. They have lost two of their defensive studs to season ending injuries (Webb and Lewis), and their three other studs have been banged up for most of the year (Suggs, Reed, Ngata). The defense has lots much of its edge from last year, giving up 390.2 total yards per game. The offense has done a good job making up for it by putting up 28.2 points per game. The Steelers (6-3) defense has also been banged up with both Harrison and Polamalu injured throughout the year .The Ravens will hope that Ray Rice is able to gash a Steelers run defense which has allowed just 94.6 rushing yards per game. The Steelers will likely be without their leader Ben Roethlisberger, though they will have Rashard Mendenhall. They will hope Byron Leftwich (7/14 73 passing yards against Chiefs) can pick up the slack.
Prediction: Ravens 24 Steelers 13
Had Roethlisberger been healthy I may have picked the Steelers to win at home, but with him likely out, the Ravens should win this one pretty easily. However, winning division games on the road might be the toughest task in football.
CHI @ SF
The Bears (7-2) come into the game likely without their signal-caller, Jay Cutler. Cutler who was hit by Texans linebacker, Tim Dobbins, will have to sit this game out due to a concussion. The Bears will hope Jason Campbell (12/20 94 passing yards against the Texans) can have a good enough game to leave the game in the hands of the defense. The Bears defense, which has been revived this season, will hope to force turnovers (led by Tim Jennings’ 8 interceptions). The 49’ers (6-2-1) may also be without their starting quarterback, as Alex Smith was also knocked out of the game with a concussion. Colin Kaepernick proved to be capable of leading the team with 117 passing yards and 66 rushing yards. They will hope their run game, as well as their defense, will be enough to win this game against this tough NFC foe. This game has huge playoff implications and it’s a shame both starting quarterbacks may miss the game.
Prediction: 49’ers 20 Bears 13
Both defenses will be continuously stopping the opposing offenses, but the 49’ers should still be able to score enough points to make the race in the NFC a lot closer.
That wraps up the picks for week 11. I will update my (hopefully) above .500 record every Tuesday or Wednesday. Looking forward to having a great Sunday. Good luck to your hometown team, and as always, Go Texans!
Comments, suggestions, and questions can be left in comments, or tweet me @YoniPollak.