The NFL has been fun to watch all season, and we’re getting into the stretch run where playoff implications are more and more significant. There are a handful of matchups on the slate this week with high stakes for the playoff picture and it’s shaping up to be another exciting week of action. Let’s dive into the odds for Week 11.
Teams on bye: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams
My Week 10 record: 6-7-1 SU, 7-7 ATS, 8-6 O/U
My record overall: 88-60-1 SU, 79-71 ATS, 72-77-1 O/U
New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons
Full disclosure – I picked the Browns to beat the Patriots on the road last week. New England showed up in a big way at home with a 45-7 shellacking of Cleveland. The Patriots’ defense held the Browns to no points after their early first-quarter touchdown as the pass rush was dominant with ten QB hits. The secondary play was impressive in keeping Baker Mayfield to a 52.3% completion rate, just 3.5 yards per attempt. Matt Ryan struggled in Week 10 with just a 42.8% completion rate, two interceptions, and a 21.4 passer rating in his worst performance of the year. The Cowboys completely shut down a limited skill position group, with Calvin Ridley’s continued absence hampering the Atlanta offense. It’s hard to imagine the offense doing much better this week against the Patriots, albeit at home this time.
I expected Mac Jones to struggle against a stout Cleveland defense, and he completed over 82% of his passes and threw three touchdowns to no interceptions in an incredibly efficient performance. Rhamondre Stevenson racked up 114 yards from scrimmage and two rushing touchdowns despite a difficult matchup against Cleveland’s elite run defense. The Patriots proved me wrong in saying they don’t have anyone to take the top off the defense as Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and N’Keal Harry had completions of 25+ yards downfield. Jakobi Myers finally secured his first career touchdown. However, the most impressive aspect of the performance was Mac Jones’s continued great play as he’s establishing himself as a consistent presence at QB despite being a rookie.
Thursday Night Football games have been wacky all season, but the one consistency has been lower-scoring defensive slugfests. I’m expecting the same thing in Week 11 as the short week limits the offensive output, and I like the under as my best bet. I’d also take the Patriots to cover the spread depending on how the line moves throughout the week.
New England Patriots: RB Damien Harris (concussion) Q, TE Jonnu Smith (shoulder) Q, WR Gunner Olszewski (concussion) Q, CB Jonathan Jones (shoulder) IR
Atlanta Falcons: TE Hayden Hurst (ankle) Q, WR Calvin Ridley (personal) NFI-R
Matchup To Watch: Jake Matthews (ATL OT) vs. Matthew Judon (NE DE)
My Pick: Patriots win 20-13, Patriots cover, under 46 points
NFL Week 11 Betting Picks Video
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
This week, the Bills and Colts face off in a rematch of their matchup in the AFC Wild Card round last year. Indianapolis is arguably better this season, though, as I believe Carson Wentz is a significant upgrade over Philip Rivers. Perception is a fickle thing, and it often happens that players get discussed as being overrated so much that they end up being underrated. That’s what has happened with Wentz, as he’s put together an excellent season despite what the public would lead you to believe. Wentz’s final stats against the Jaguars were unspectacular as the Colts had a very conservative game plan. Still, he ranks top ten in more than a few significant efficiency metrics. He only has three interceptions in ten games – that’s a substantial improvement over last year and all the more impressive when you consider how poor the offensive line has been at times.
After a couple of underwhelming performances, Buffalo used last week’s game against the Jets to get their offense back on track, and Josh Allen had his best game in a while with 366 yards passing on a 75% completion rate. Stefon Diggs broke through with eight catches for 162 yards and a touchdown, while Matt Breida surprisingly scored twice. The Bills have a litany of impressive skill-position talent, and even if you find a way to slow down Diggs or Emmanuel Sanders, they can beat you with Cole Beasley or Dawson Knox, or even Gabriel Davis. Indianapolis’s secondary has often struggled this year, and Allen completed 74.2% of his passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns against them in their last meeting.
I’m picking the Bills to cover the one-touchdown spread at home. Still, it has more to do with my confidence in Buffalo’s offense than in any real concerns about Carson Wentz, particularly with how great Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor have been. Josh Allen should accomplish whatever he wants against a weak secondary, and the Bills win on the back of a stellar offensive performance.
Indianapolis Colts: CB Xavier Rhodes (calf) Q, K Rodrigo Blankenship (hip) IR, DE Tyquan Lewis (knee) IR
Buffalo Bills: LB Tremaine Edmunds (hamstring) Q, DT Star Lotulelei (undisclosed) IR/COVID-19
Matchup To Watch: Michael Pittman Jr. (IND WR) vs. Tre’Davious White (BUF CB)
My Pick: Bills win 31-24, Bills cover, over 50 points
Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears
Both of these teams will have had plenty of time to prepare for this critical game, and both need a win here. The Ravens’ loss to the Dolphins has to be described as shocking and devastating, although the Browns lost and the Steelers tied, leaving Baltimore in first place in the AFC North. The Bears, meanwhile, are hanging on by a threat to playoff hopes in the NFC with the seventh Wild Card team in the conference likely finishing with a record of 9-8 or 8-9. Justin Fields is coming off the best performance of his rookie season in a game where the Bears scored 21 fourth-quarter points and nearly came up with an impressive comeback win. Fields is getting better by the week, and that’s all the more impressive when you factor in the Bears’ putrid offensive line.
The Ravens averaged 4.3 yards per play and scored ten points in a Thursday night loss to the Dolphins. If you’re a Madden video game fan, you’ll remember the “Engage Eight” play where you blitz your safeties every time – that’s what Miami did on virtually every play on Thursday to stop Baltimore. Their refusal to change their offensive approach, even at halftime, was shocking, but there are some positive takeaways. Rashod Bateman is coming up huge here in his rookie season, and he had six catches for 80 yards on Thursday, providing another dynamic complement to Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. With an inconsistent rushing attack, that extra pass-catcher is essential.
This interconference matchup has one of the lowest over-under totals of the week, and it should be an intriguing game to watch. With Justin Fields improving and Baltimore’s defense not as good as in recent years, the Bears should be able to move the ball somewhat. Chicago has a handful of defensive players on the injury report, but I like the Bears’ defense to do well f they can get healthy in time for this game. I’m taking the Bears against the spread and wouldn’t be shocked if they grab an upset at home.
Baltimore Ravens: OT Patrick Mekari (ankle) Q, DT Brandon Williams (shoulder) Q, RB Latavius Murray (ankle) Q, DE Derek Wolfe (back) IR
Chicago Bears: OLB Khalil Mack (foot) Q, S Eddie Jackson (hamstring) Q, RB Damien Williams (knee) Q, LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) Q, OT Teven Jenkins (back) IR, S Deon Bush (quadriceps) IR
Matchup To Watch: Tyre Phillips (BAL OT) vs. Khalil Mack (CHI OLB)
My Pick: Ravens win 23-20, Bears cover, under 45 points
Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns
The Lions didn’t lose! Sure, they didn’t win either, but it’s still progress! The real concern about their last game is the fact that Jared Goff continues to be atrocious. Sure, the Lions don’t have a particularly effective skill position group right now. However, on rewatch, there were several instances of Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown getting open downfield and Goff being completely unable to get the ball to them. T.J. Hockenson finished with no catches, and D’Andre Swift, one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL, caught only 50% of his passes. The Browns may have allowed the Patriots to score 45 points last week, but their defense is much better than what they showed, and it’s hard to imagine the Lions doing much offensively this week.
At a certain point, we have to start to realize that Baker Mayfield isn’t the long-term answer for Cleveland, right? He was awful on Sunday, and the inter-cutting of him missing throw after throw between his several Progressive commercials provided a laughable dichotomy during the game. Case Keenum got in the game late and ended up with more passing yards than Mayfield, albeit against weak coverage with New England nursing a massive lead. However, I trust Mayfield in this game against a terrible Lions’ defense, particularly as Nick Chubb should be back to run all over the Detroit front seven.
This game will be borderline unwatchable, but it’s hard not to view this as a bounce-back spot for Cleveland. They should perform a lot better than they did last week as they head back home, and their defense forces a couple of turnovers to make the game script work in their favor considerably more this week.
Detroit Lions: QB Jared Goff (oblique) Q, RB Jamaal Williams (thigh) Q, OLB Trey Flowers (knee) Q, CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (thigh) IR
Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield (knee) Q, CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) Q, CB Troy Hill (neck) Q, RB Nick Chubb (illness) IR/COVID-19, RB Demetric Felton (illness) IR/COVID-19, RB Kareem Hunt (calf) IR
Matchup To Watch: Taylor Decker (DET OT) vs. Myles Garrett (CLE DE)
My Pick: Browns win 26-10, Browns cover, under 46.5 points
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
The Titans may have won another game on Sunday, but they showed they are not as capable of salting away leads now that Derrick Henry is not on the team. You can say that they ran away with the game against the Rams, but that was on the back of two massive defensive plays more so than anything their offense did. The Saints have a strong run defense, but the Titans ran for just 2.3 YPC as they could not get any traction on the ground. Without much in the way of consistent pass-catching outside of A.J. Brown, this offense is very limited at the moment. Houston’s defense isn’t particularly capable of taking advantage of that, but it does set up an intriguing opportunity for a backdoor cover in this game.
After an uneven performance in his first game back off Injured Reserve, Tyrod Taylor will have benefited greatly from the team’s bye week. The Titans allowed Trevor Siemian to have a decent game on Sunday, particularly in garbage time, and Taylor should have similarly solid production. The trade deadline came and went, and while Mark Ingram was sent to the Saints, Brandin Cooks stayed pat to be the team’s only reliable pass-catcher. Still, he should have a solid game against a beatable Tennessee secondary. The more significant concern would be the continued absences of Laremy Tunsil and Marcus Cannon, which is especially problematic against a Tennessee front seven with 27 sacks in ten games.
Tennessee is due for a letdown game after they’ve exhausted themselves on their way through a brutal stretch of games, and this is a potential look-ahead spot as they face the upstart Patriots in Week 12. I’m not going crazy and picking the Texans to win, but they do enough to keep this game within ten points.
Lookahead line: Titans -10.5, O/U 46.5
Houston Texans: TE Pharoah Brown (thigh) Q, LB Christian Kirksey (thumb) IR, OT Marcus Cannon (back) IR, OT Laremy Tunsil (thumb) IR
Tennessee Titans: OLB Bud Dupree (abdomen) Q, LB David Long (hamstring) Q, WR Julio Jones (hamstring) IR
Matchup To Watch: Brandin Cooks (HOU WR) vs. Jackrabbit Jenkins (TEN CB)
My Pick: Titans win 24-17, Texans cover, under 46.5 points
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Aaron Rodgers showed some rust in the Packers’ 17-0 win over the Seahawks, but in a game where Seattle desperately needed a win, Green Bay shut them out for the first time in the Russell Wilson era. Kevin King continues to impress in the absence of Jaire Alexander, and his clutch end-zone interception of Wilson made a massive impact in Green Bay’s win. I did not believe I would be saying this before the season, but you can trust King and standout rookie Eric Stokes to help keep Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen at bay. Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and Kenny Clark should also make life tough on Kirk Cousins as a strong pass-rush trio. De’Vondre Campbell is PFF’s top-graded linebacker, and he’ll be relied upon to mitigate Dalvin Cook. The Packers’ defense looks the best it has in years, making this team a strong Super Bowl contender.
Aaron Jones is expected to miss at least a couple of games, and that’s a significant loss for the Packers’ offense. However, A.J. Dillon was dominant on Sunday with 128 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, and he should be excellent as a fill-in until Jones can return. The Vikings had an impressive defensive performance on Sunday, though, in holding the Chargers to 20 points, and they have the seventh-best defensive third-down conversion rate in the NFL. Cameron Dantzler will likely be overmatched against Davante Adams, but Rodgers showed some rust on Sunday, and his upside could be capped in this cold-weather, divisional matchup. However, last week’s potential return of All-Pro offensive tackle David Bakhtiari would be massive for the team moving forward.
The Packers’ defense is arguably the best unit in this game right now, and I believe the Vikings can somewhat hold Green Bay in check, at least enough to cash the under in this game. The Packers have been dominant all season with a 9-1 record ATS and that isn’t changing this week, not against a conservative Vikings’ team that has been hard to trust week-to-week.
Green Bay Packers: OT David Bakhtiari (knee – ACL) Q, DE Kingsley Keke (concussion) Q, DE Whitney Mercilus (biceps) Q, OLB Rashan Gary (elbow) Q, RB Aaron Jones (knee – MCL) D
Minnesota Vikings: LB Anthony Barr (knee) Q, C Garrett Bradbury (undisclosed) IR/COVID-19, S Harrison Smith (illness) IR/COVID-19, DT Michael Pierce (elbow) IR
Matchup To Watch: Justin Jefferson (MIN WR) vs. Kevin King (GB CB)
My Pick: Packers win 26-20, Packers cover, under 50.5 points
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
The Dolphins’ big win over the Ravens shouldn’t be written off as a fluky NFL result, and Miami has a chance to reinsert itself into the playoff conversation in the AFC. Losses to the Jaguars and Falcons could come back to haunt them, but their next four games are all winnable against the Jets twice, Panthers, and Giants. Tua Tagovailoa looked very good in relief on Thursday after Jacoby Brissett left the game. While both quarterbacks are capable of leading an efficient offense, Tagovailoa gives the team more upside. As Mike Gesicki was surprisingly held without a catch, Albert Wilson and Isaiah Ford surprisingly stepped up as both had four catches for over 80 yards. Jaylen Waddle is having a solid rookie season, which has been incredibly important with Will Fuller and DeVante Parker on Injured Reserve.
It’s unclear who the quarterback will be for New York this week as Zach Wilson may not even get the starting nod if he is ready to play, but the Mike White experiment imploded on Sunday as he threw four interceptions against the Bills. The job should be Wilson’s as soon as he’s ready. Elijah Moore scored another touchdown on Sunday, his third in the last two games, and his emergence along with a healthy Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder gives the Jets a solid wide receiver corps. However, the Dolphins’ defense finally looked the way we expected it to on Thursday, and it will be interesting to see how much of that carries over this week. The personnel and coaching are certainly there, which is why it was surprising to see Miami play so poorly on defense for the first half of the year.
The Dolphins should be more than 3-point favorites against the hapless Jets, and I like what I’ve seen out of Tua Tagovailoa lately. These teams rank inside the top ten for the pace of play this season, and I like the over here. The Dolphins get another win in their record to bring their record to 4-7 and reignite the team’s playoff hopes.
Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa (finger) Q, QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) Q, WR Will Fuller (finger) IR, S Jason McCourty (foot) IR, RB Malcolm Brown (quadriceps) IR
New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson (knee – PCL), OT Mekhi Becton (knee – MLC) IR, WR Denzel Mims (illness) IR/COVID-19
Matchup To Watch:
My Pick: Dolphins win 27-20, Dolphins cover, over 45.5 points
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
The NFC Wild Card race is wide open. The Saints have not locked up a spot at 5-4, and the Eagles are not out of the mix at 4-6 after a critical, decisive win over the Broncos. Jalen Hurts has started to play better lately as he has completed 64+% of his passes in three straight games. He only has 200+ passing yards in one of his last five games, but his downfield accuracy and velocity are improving. It helps that the Eagles are running the ball effectively – they have averaged 190.3 rushing yards per game over their past four outings. DeVonta Smith is also coming off one of his best games of the season with two touchdowns on four receptions.
It’s hard to know what to make of Trevor Siemian this season as he’s completed just 55.9% of his passes, but he’s thrown for five touchdowns to no interceptions. The Eagles’ pass defense stepped up last week in shutting down Teddy Bridgewater and a talented group of receivers. However, the Broncos were down for virtually the entire game, and Philadelphia didn’t have to worry about the run game as much. If Alvin Kamara can return this week, that won’t be the case, and he can expose a weak run defense. However, the Eagles have a talented secondary capable of slowing down Siemian and a minimal wide receiver presence.
Things change quickly in the NFL, and I believe the Eagles are the better of these two teams right now. Hurts is playing some of his best ball of the season, and the Saints’ pass defense is quietly very vulnerable. With the Eagles running the ball effectively and playing strong defense, they get the home win.
New Orleans Saints: OT Terron Armstead (knee) Q, RB Alvin Kamara (knee) Q, CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (foot) IR
Philadelphia Eagles: TE Dallas Goedert (head) Q, OG Brandon Brooks (pectoral) IR, RB Miles Sanders (ankle) IR
Matchup To Watch:
My Pick: Eagles win 26-20, Eagles cover, over 43.5 points
Washington Football Team at Carolina Panthers
I’ve had this game circled on my calendar for a while because of the ties between these two teams. Ron Rivera, the Washington head coach, formerly held the same role with the Panthers. Scott Turner, Washington’s offensive coordinator, is Carolina’s former quarterbacks coach. These teams are coming off impressive upset wins as the Panthers took down the 8-1 Cardinals and Washington took down the 6-2 Buccaneers. Washington’s defense showed up in a way they hadn’t all season, although the loss of Chase Young to a season-ending ACL tear is a huge deal, especially since Montez Sweat is already on Injured Reserve. Carolina’s offense is also suddenly harder to stop than it was a few weeks ago, as Christian McCaffrey looked like himself again last week with 191 yards from scrimmage on 23 touches. Cam Newton also gives the team an interesting new wrinkle in the red zone, and he should be more involved this week, although P.J. Walker played pretty well last week.
The Washington offense seemed healthier in Week 10 as Antonio Gibson ran for two touchdowns and Taylor Heinecke picked apart a weakened Buccaneers’ secondary. However, my big concern for Washington this week would be the offensive line as Heinecke was sacked five times on Sunday and now has to face another elite pass-rush in Carolina. The Panthers racked up four sacks last week, and Haason Reddick was dominant with three QB hits. The young Carolina defense is getting back on track, and it helps when Sam Darnold isn’t putting them in short fields with bad turnovers on every drive.
Both teams’ defenses are coming off solid performances in Week 10, and the under is my favorite bet in this game. However, we have to pick a team to win here, and I’ll go with Carolina on the back of a healthy Christian McCaffrey and defense that looks to be getting back on track, particularly with the addition of Stephon Gilmore.
Washington Football Team: CB Benjamin St-Juste (concussion) Q, WR Curtis Samuel (groin) Q, OT Samuel Cosmi (ankle) Q, TE Ricky Seals-Jones (hip) Q, DE Chase Young (knee – ACL) O
Carolina Panthers: CB Stephon Gilmore (finger) Q, QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) IR, OT Cameron Erving (calf) IR, C Matt Paradis (knee – ACL) IR
Matchup To Watch: Terry McLaurin (WAS WR) vs. Stephon Gilmore (CAR CB)
My Pick: Panthers win 20-17, Washington covers, under 43 points
San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars
The 49ers earned an incredibly impressive win over the Rams on Monday night, dismantling their divisional rival 31-10 at home. With George Kittle finally healthy, the 49ers were able to run the offense they’ve wanted to all year and dominated the time of possession with 39 minutes. Deebo Samuel was involved on the ground and through the air, finishing with 133 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. The Jaguars’ run defense has actually been very solid this year, allowing the fifth-fewest rushing yards per attempt, but San Francisco’s ability to use motion and misdirection to create space for its players will overwhelm Jacksonville. With a full complement of skill position players, Jimmy Garoppolo is able to limit his volume and be very efficient – he completed 15 of 19 passes on Monday.
Jacksonville made its way back into the game against the Colts as Indy raced out to a 17-0 lead and then took their foot off the gas with just 3 points the rest of the way until a late field goal iced the game. Trevor Lawrence failed to take advantage of a juicy matchup and it was his second straight game without a touchdown. Lawrence also got hit ten times on Sunday, and that’s a problem as the team’s once-solid offensive line has suffered from A.J. Cann and Brandon Linder landing on Injured Reserve. The 49ers’ pass rush is going to make life miserable for Lawrence in this matchup and I don’t trust him to be efficient passing downfield against this smart defense.
San Francisco is right back in the playoff hunt and a manageable schedule down the stretch could see them earn one of the Wild Card spots in the NFC. The Niners can’t overlook this game, but they should be able to coast to victory on the back of an improving team on both sides of the ball.
San Francisco 49ers: DT Maurice Hurst (calf) Q, OT Mike McGlinchey (quadriceps) IR, WR Mohamed Sanu (knee) IR
Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Dakota Allen (shoulder) Q, C Brandon Linder (knee – MCL) IR
Matchup To Watch: Trent Williams (SF OT) vs. Josh Allen (JAX DE)
My Pick: 49ers win 33-17, 49ers cover, over 47 points
Cincinnati Bengals at Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders got spanked on Sunday night by the Chiefs after losing to the Giants the week prior, and it’s hard to know where we go from here. Las Vegas’s supposedly improved defense allowed Kansas City to score 41 points, more than they had in the three weeks prior combined, as Patrick Mahomes had a vintage performance. The pass-rush was non-existent – Mahomes wasn’t sacked even once – and the secondary did not hold up at all. The Raiders have put together much better performances than that this season, but their pass-rush has to be better this week to keep Joe Burrow at bay with the impressive amount of skill position talent at his disposal. For the Bengals’ offense, this figures to be a nice bounce-back spot as their bye week followed a 42-16 shellacking by the Browns.
Las Vegas’s offense missed Henry Ruggs III on Sunday, and it showed how valuable he was despite not always having the best stats. Ruggs was a threat to take the top off the defense at all times, and it changed the way defenses played against the Raiders. DeSean Jackson can’t replicate that at 34 years old. The Bengals’ defense has also been very solid this season, and the trio of Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, and D.J. Reader are going to overwhelm a Raiders’ offensive line that fell apart on Sunday night. Josh Jacobs has averaged 42.3 rushing yards per game this year and has not significantly impacted the team. Darren Waller has over 60 receiving yards just once since September. It’s hard to trust this offense right now.
This is a loser leaves home match, and the Bengals should be fired up coming off their bye week. The Raiders looked terrible on Sunday, and the vibes around this team are just not good right now. I like the Bengals to get a big win that puts them back in the playoff conversation in the AFC.
Lookahead line: Bengals -1, O/U 48.5
Cincinatti Bengals: DE Cameron Sample (knee) Q, WR Auden Tate (thigh) Q, LB Akeem Davis-Gaither (foot) IR, OG Xavier Su’a-Filo (knee) IR
Las Vegas Raiders: LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle) Q, CB Trayvon Mullen (toe) IR, LB Nicholas Morrow (ankle) IR, OG Richie Incognito (calf) IR
Matchup To Watch: Ja’Marr Chase (CIN WR) vs. Casey Hayward Jr. (LV CB)
My Pick: Bengals win 27-24, Bengals cover, over 48.5 points
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
These teams earned blowout wins in Week 10 despite facing opponents who some believed would give them a real run for their money. Dallas got it done early against Atlanta, riding a 29-point second quarter to a 43-3 win. CeeDee Lamb was the star of the show with six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns, but ten different players caught passes on the day. After showing some rust in a surprising loss to the Broncos in Week 9, Dak Prescott looked much healthier and played one of his more efficient games of the season. While the Chiefs didn’t allow the Raiders to do much on the ground, their run defense is still vulnerable, and Dallas should be able to run the ball with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in this game. The Cowboys also has a much better offensive line than the Raiders, and Prescott should have a clean pocket to work with.
Patrick Mahomes looked like Patrick Mahomes again on Sunday as he completed 70% of his passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns in a mostly error-free, impressive performance. Travis Kelce went over 100 yards receiving for the first time since September, and Darrel Williams had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill chipped in with two touchdowns, as well. The Raiders’ defense fell apart on Sunday night, and we have to take the Chiefs’ performance with somewhat of a grain of salt with how much they struggled the previous few weeks. However, the Cowboys will be without both of their starting defensive ends in DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory as both are on Injured Reserve. That will limit their ability to put pressure on Mahomes, and when Mahomes has had a clean pocket, he’s been very successful.
This is a challenging game to call, and it’s going to be incredibly close and likely decided on whoever has the ball last. I can see a case for either team here, and I’m very excited to see this game played out. The Chiefs got back on track last week, and the Cowboys are dealing with some critical defensive injuries, so I’ll give them the slight edge for now, but I don’t see great value in betting this game.
Lookahead line: Chiefs -2.5, O/U 52.5
Dallas Cowboys: OT Tyron Smith (ankle) Q, WR CeeDee Lamb (arm) Q, DE DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) IR, DE Randy Gregory (calf) IR
Kansas City Chiefs: OT Lucas Niang (ribs) Q, LB Willie Gay Jr. (illness) Q, CB Charvarius Ward (illness) Q, OT Mike Remmers (knee) IR, OG Kyle Long (knee) PUP, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee – MCL) IR
Matchup To Watch: Tyreek Hill (KC WR) vs. Trevon Diggs (DAL CB)
My Pick: Chiefs win 38-35, Chiefs cover, over 52.5 points
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
We don’t yet have a clear picture of whether or not Kyler Murray or DeAndre Hopkins will be available for this game, and the status of the MVP-level quarterback and his top wideout will be massively important to predicting the score here. Colt McCoy struggled last week as he completed just over half his passes and averaged just 5.4 yards per attempt in the game. At a certain point, it would catch up with Arizona as they were without their top quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. James Conner scored another touchdown, and he’s been awesome without Chase Edmonds in the lineup, but the passing game desperately needs Murray back in the lineup. Seattle’s defense played reasonably well against a rusty Aaron Rodgers last week but could be challenged depending on the health of Arizona’s top players.
The Seahawks were shut out last week for the first time in the Russell Wilson era. The convergence of a road game in a snowy Lambeau Field and a rusty Wilson coming back from his finger injury proved to be too much to overcome. Wilson completed just 50% of his passes, threw two interceptions, and averaged 4 yards per attempt. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for just five catches for 49 yards. It’s hard to imagine this offense plays that poorly again. Chris Carson is expected to be back this week to shore up the run game, while Russell Wilson should be more efficient after shaking off the rust last week.
As of now, I’m expecting the Cardinals to bench Kyler Murray as they have to feel good about their playoff chances, and they are on bye in Week 12. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are in desperate need of a win with their playoff chances dwindling, and I like them to bounce back against a banged-up Arizona team this week.
Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray (ankle) Q, WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) Q, RB Chase Edmonds (ankle) IR, DE J.J. Watt (shoulder) IR
Seattle Seahawks: OT Duane Brown (hip) Q, RB Chris Carson (neck) IR
Matchup To Watch: Seahawks win 26-23, Seahawks cover, under 50.5 points
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers
The Steelers had every opportunity to win on Sunday against the Lions and they couldn’t capitalize. Even when they got the ball into field goal range in overtime, a fumble basically sealed the tie. Mason Rudolph struggled as the starter despite facing a bad Lions’ defense, but the real concern was the defense that allowed Detroit to run for 229 yards on 39 carries (5.9 YPC) and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh’s injuries are piling up at this point and losing T.J. Watt and Joe Haden will be significant as the team’s best pass-rusher and best cornerback. Minkah Fitzpatrick, the two-time All-Pro safety, is likely to miss this week with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, as well. The Chargers’ offense likely would have had a tough time against a potent Pittsburgh defense, but those injuries should help Justin Herbert be more productive.
Los Angeles suffered a disappointing home defeat at the hands of the Vikings, and Justin Herbert completed under 60% of his passes and averaged just 5.7 yards per attempt. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler have all dealt with injuries this season, limiting the offense’s overall productivity. Over the first five weeks of the season, the Chargers averaged 28.4 points per game, and over their past five, they have averaged just 18.5 points per game. If Allen and Williams can get healthy for this game, they can beat up on a mediocre Steelers’ secondary, particularly without Fitzpatrick in the lineup. Najee Harris can take advantage of the Chargers’ league-worst run defense on the Pittsburgh side, but I don’t have a ton of faith in their passing offense this week.
The Steelers are dealing with many injuries, and the Chargers should be in a nice bounce-back spot as a result. This game in Los Angeles will be full of Steelers’ fans as they travel well, but Herbert will be poised behind a top offensive line and against a limited pass-rush with likely no T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt. I’ll take the Chargers to win in a surprisingly high-scoring game.
Lookahead line: Chargers -4.5, O/U 47
Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB T.J. Watt (hip) Q, WR Chase Claypool (toe) Q, CB Joe Haden (foot) Q, OG Trai Turner (ankle) Q, OG Kevin Dotson (ankle) Q, FS Minkah Fitzpatrick (illness) IR/COVID-19, QB Ben Roethlisberger (illness) IR/COVID-19, DE Stephon Tuitt (undisclosed) IR
Los Angeles Chargers: CB Michael Davis (hamstring) Q, S Nasir Adderley (ankle) Q, OT Bryan Bulaga (back) IR
Matchup To Watch: Rashawn Slater (LAC OT) vs. Cameron Heyward (LAC DE)
My Pick: Chargers win 28-23, Chargers cover, over 47 points
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers’ surprising loss to Washington underscored what is suddenly a very injured, aging team that is hard to have confidence in moving forward. Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are still out, Chris Godwin is banged up, and Tom Brady suddenly looks like a 44-year old trying to play quarterback in the NFL. This feels like the type of game where everyone starts to doubt Brady and he bounces back with a five-touchdown effort, but his performance last week against what had been one of the worst defenses in the NFL in Washington was awful. The Giants, meanwhile, are coming off a much-needed bye week and have had plenty of time to prepare for this game. Their defense completely shut down Derek Carr in their last game, and while Brady is obviously better than Carr, I would have told you the Giants’ defense was better than Washington’s prior to last week.
New York will be hopeful that the bye week gave some key offensive pieces an opportunity to get healthy as Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Kadarius Toney have all been dealing with injuries lately. Andrew Thomas is expected to return this week as the Giants’ best offensive tackle, which would be huge against a strong pass rush in Tampa. Daniel Jones has had some great moments this season and if the Giants’ pass-catchers can get healthy, their offense should be able to move the ball through the air like Taylor Heinecke and Washington did last week. Barkley would have a tough time against one of the best run defenses in the NFL, but he’s also one of the more talented runners in football. All that is to say, I expect the Giants to move the ball in this game.
The Giants are a better football team than they have looked at times this season, and I expect them to compete with a struggling Buccaneers team. Daniel Jones should be able to move the ball through the air if he can get his pass-catchers back and healthy, and the Buccaneers are working through too many injuries to cover this huge spread.
New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle) Q, OLB Lorenzo Carter (ankle) Q, WR Sterling Shepard (quadriceps) Q, RB Devontae Booker (hip) Q
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Antonio Brown (ankle) Q, TE Rob Gronkowski (back) Q, CB Richard Sherman (calf) Q, DT Vita Vea (knee) Q, CB Carlton Davis (quadriceps) IR, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (elbow) IR
Matchup To Watch: Andrew Thomas (NYG OT) vs. Shaquill Barrett (TB DE)
My Pick: Buccaneers win 30-24, Giants cover, over 50 points