NFL Game Picks: Week 11
The 2017 NFL season is flying by. We’re already almost three quarters of the way through. Soon, some lucky teams will be clinching playoff spots. Other not so fortunate teams will be eliminated from playoff contention. That’s right, ladies and gentleman. The home stretch has begun, and it’s going to be a fun ride.
Let’s look at what Week 11 has to offer:
Tennessee Titans (6-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)
This might be the best matchup of the week that no one is talking about. Both of these teams are in the heat of the playoff race. Of course, the Titans are feeling the heat a little more with Jacksonville breathing down their necks, but it’s still a big game for both teams. Overall, Pittsburgh looks more trustworthy than Tennessee, but this one could honestly go either way.
The pick: Pittsburgh, 25-22.
Detroit Lions (5-4) @ Chicago Bears (3-6)
All the signs were right: a game at home against the Packers without Aaron Rodgers. Even then, the Bears couldn’t capitalize, as a disappointing season rolls on. On the plus side, Mitchell Trubisky is getting the experience he needs to start in the NFL. But, considering their season is pretty much over and the Lions are making a playoff push, the decision here is easy.
The pick: Detroit, 32-14.
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) @ Cleveland Browns (0-9)
Everything’s turning up Jaguars right now. Blake Bortles threw two interceptions in the final two minutes of regulation against Los Angeles while the team was down, and they still won the game. Of course, the defense has continued to be dominant. With Tennessee playing a tough game in Pittsburgh, the Jags can take over the division with a win in Cleveland.
The pick: Jacksonville, 34-10.
Baltimore Ravens (4-5) @ Green Bay Packers (5-4)
Brett Hundley got that much desired first win in Chicago, but it’s not likely to get much better. With teams like the Steelers, Panthers, Vikings and Lions still on the schedule, the season is probably going to come to an early end for Green Bay. The Ravens are still afloat in the playoff race, but they’re in desperate need of a win. They could get that win here.
The pick: Baltimore, 20-13.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) @ Miami Dolphins (4-5)
Finally, after a 10-week hiatus, Miami and Tampa Bay will be playing each other. Both of them would have loved to have had that bye this week. Even with the win over the Jets, the Buccaneers are pretty much guaranteed to miss the playoffs. The Dolphins are hanging on by a thread right now, but they can gain some ground with a victory over the Bucs.
The pick: Miami, 27-19.
Los Angeles Rams (7-2) @ Minnesota Vikings (7-2)
A battle of NFC heavyweights takes place on Sunday afternoon between these two. Both teams have been inexplicably good this season, and both are trying to cling to their division leads. Can the Vikings defense stop Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the red-hot Rams offense? Can Case Keenum continue his surprising season? We’ll find out on Sunday.
The pick: Minnesota, 31-28.
Washington Redskins (4-5) @ New Orleans Saints (7-2)
Dominant: the perfect word to describe how New Orleans has played in the last seven games. Any remaining critics were surely silenced with last week’s embarrassment of Buffalo. With the increased talent on the roster, the Saints no longer have to rely on Drew Brees to do everything. The Redskins are in need of a win, but that’s going to be hard to do in New Orleans.
The pick: New Orleans, 34-20.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) @ New York Giants (1-8)
After a much-needed bye, the Chiefs will be back in business on Sunday in New York. Kansas City’s improbable 5-0 start has faded away as Pittsburgh, New England, Jacksonville and Tennessee have all caught up, but with a rested roster set to play one of the worst teams in the NFL, there’s no reason the Chiefs shouldn’t come away from the weekend with a win.
The pick: Kansas City, 37-10.
Arizona Cardinals (4-5) @ Houston Texans (3-6)
Playoff aspirations are likely behind both of these teams. Houston is just too beat up. In what looked like a playoff season, the Texans are dearly missing having J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson on the field. It’s more of the same for the Cardinals, who have been feeling the absence of David Johnson all year long. There’s really not much to play for here.
The pick: Arizona, 19-12.
Buffalo Bills (5-4) @ Los Angeles Chargers (3-6)
“Same Old Bills” has been muttered many times in the past, and Bills fans are sick of it, but the way this season is going, it may be true. Interesting move by Sean McDermott to start Nathan Peterman over Tyrod Taylor in the midst of the playoff race. We’ll see if he and the Bills can stand up to the test of an upset-ready Chargers team.
The pick: Buffalo, 27-24.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) @ Denver Broncos (3-6)
Despite Denver’s free-falling season, Brock Osweiler was actually not terrible against New England last week. It’s a positive sign, but with the division so far out of reach, the Broncos are a long shot to reach the postseason. What they need is a big win to keep their name in the conversation. Depending on which Bengals team shows up, they might get that win.
The pick: Denver, 22-18.
New England Patriots (7-2) vs. Oakland Raiders (4-5)
An interesting game to have in Mexico City, for sure. Tom Brady is playing as well as ever, and the defense is beginning to shape up, blowing away those early season blues. Don’t count out Derek Carr and the Raiders, though. At 4-5, Oakland is looking for a defining win to get back into the playoff race. Don’t be surprised if they keep this one competitive.
The pick: New England, 30-26.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
Talk about winning the bye week. While the Eagles rested, Dallas, New York, and Washington all lost, all but clinching the division for Philadelphia. Games between these two teams are typically close, but it’s beginning to look lopsided. Ezekiel Elliott is dearly missed. How will the Cowboys’ offensive line stop Fletcher Cox if they couldn’t stop Adrian Clayborn?
The pick: Philadelphia, 35-16.
Atlanta Falcons (5-4) @ Seattle Seahawks (6-3)
It’s crunch time for both of these squads. Atlanta needs to win to stay alive in the NFC playoff race, especially with New Orleans and Carolina taking flight. Seattle can still take the division, but they’ll need to win a lot and get some help from the Rams’ tough schedule. Monday night should be a thriller, but Russell Wilson and the Seahawks should be favored.
The pick: Seattle, 29-27.
Byes: Indianapolis Colts (3-7), New York Jets (4-6), San Francisco 49ers (1-9), Carolina Panthers (7-3).
DJ Bauer is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.