Week 10 had some rough endings to throw off our Sporting News picks and predictions against the spread, led by the Cardinals beating the Bills on a Hail Mary pass. That means we just need to get back to being better in Week 11.
There are 14 games on the slate, with only one double-digit spread and a lot of razor-thin lines. That makes the upcoming schedule even more challenging. That won’t stop us from our fearless forecasts or our latest pigskin prognosticatons.
Stats of the Week
Week 10 straight up: 9-5
Week 10 against the spread: 7-5
Season straight up: 96-50
Season against the spread: 87-57
Here’s breaking down all the Week 11 matchups as we look for a lot of winners and good success against the numbers:
Sunday, 8:20p.m. ET, NBC
Andy Reid’s teams are 18-3 after a bye during the regular season. Patrick Mahomes’ worst loss of his career came in Week 5, when he threw his only interception of the season as the Raiders won at Arrowhead Stadium. Bet on hisfirst trip to Las Vegas being successful, knowing that he needs his best to hold off a red-hot team shooting for Kansas City’s divisional throne. Kansas City will run the ball better and play improved defense to split the season series.
Pick:Chiefs win 31-27 but fail to cover the spread.
Thursday, 8:20p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video
The Cardinals took over first place with their improbable last-second win against the Bills. They also survived the Seahawks in overtime in Week 7. Kyler Murray will stay sizzling,but look for Russell Wilson to rebound from his worst game of the season, likely with help from Chris Carson and a more viable running game that will take pressure off their overwhelmed defense. Ball control plus a hyper-efficient, lower-volume Wilson gets Seattle back on track.
Pick:Seahawks win 38-34 and cover the spread.
Monday, 8:15p.m. ET, ESPN
The Rams’ defense is playing at high level. The Bucs’ defense has beeninconsistent but is capable of dominating against the run and by rushing the passer. Tampa Bay has strong memories of itsprime-time home meltdown against New Orleans, and so it won’t let that happen again vs. long-traveling Los Angeles. It will be easier for Tom Brady to manufacture offense with the versatile playmakers around him than it will be for Jared Goff on the road.
Pick:Buccaneers win 24-17and cover the spread.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Ravens realize their chances of winning the AFC North again are fading, so they’ll focus on making sure they at least lock up the wild card with Lamar Jackson. Their memories of being upset by the Titans at home in last season’s playoffs should prompt them to play better in the rematch. The Titans’ defense is wilting while the Ravens can still count on theirs as a backbone, despite key injuries. Jackson is more comfortable at home than Ryan Tannehill is on the road.
Pick:Ravens win 27-17 and cover the spread.
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have a challenge against a defense that is very good against the pass and pretty good against the run. But they should also appreciate not needing to deal with the elements of Lambeau Field. The Colts will have success with their deep backfield as they try to shorten the game with ball control and limit Rodgers’ chances. But Rodgers will get help from his running game and defense, too,to set up big, game-changing pass plays.
Pick:Packers win 24-20.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
The Browns’ running game is at full strength,so Cleveland cantake games out of Baker Mayfield’s hands. They’re also gettingbetter play on defense behind Myles Garrett. The Eagles have a more ambigious identity and Carson Wentz is suddenly struggling despite some reinforcements in thepassing game. Their defense will play better and keep them in this tough game in the Cleveland weather, but Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will make the difference again for the Browns in a low-scoring game.
Pick:Browns win 20-17but fail to cover the spread.
Sunday,1 p.m. ET, Fox
The Falcons are coming off a bye, so theiroffense likely will be at full effectiveness around Matt Ryan. The Saints will not have Drew Brees (ribs)to duel their NFC South archrivals. Jameis Winston will need to channel some of his best Buccaneers passing games to get the better of Ryan. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas will lift Winston late in a high-scoring game, answering what Ryan does with Todd Gurley, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
Pick:Saints win 30-27.
Sunday,1 p.m. ET, Fox
The Lions should have Matthew Stafford rolling into Charlotte after finally fining the right dose of dynamic rookie running back D’Andre Swift. The Panthers will not have Christian McCaffrey and there’s a chance Teddy Bridgewater also will miss the game. The Panthers’ defense has fallen apart at every level in recent weeks and the Lions have struck a good balance between ball control and explosiveness.
Sunday,1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Texans are terrible against the run. The Patriots will remain a run-heavy offense with Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, Cam Newton and whoever else. Deshaun Watson can give a strong response after his weather-related clunker in Cleveland, thanks to Will Fuller and former Patriot Brandin Cooks. But look for Bill Belichick to get the better of his former defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel.
Pick:Patriots win 27-24 and cover the spread.
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Steelers have been good at piling it on againstovermatched teams this season. The Jaguars fit that category. With the running game struggling, Pittsburgh has been relentless with Ben Roethlisberger and his strong trio of wide receivers. Jacksonville can’t cover any of them. Pittsburgh will contain James Robinson and the Jacksonville running game and tee off on Jake Luton, the second consecutive rookie QB they’ll be facing.
Pick:Steelerswin 34-17 and cover the spread.
Sunday, 1p.m. ET, CBS
Speaking of rookie QBs, Joe Burrow will bounce back from his brutal outing against the Steelers by working the middle the field and spreading the ball around against a Washington defense that is developing more holes. Alex Smith will keep moving the ball for Washington with plenty of help from running backs Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. but Burrow will hang in there to deliver the game-winning field-goal drive.
Pick:Bengals win 23-20
Sunday, 4:05p.m. ET, CBS
The Jets have to take a long flight after their bye. Joe Flacco and La’Mical Perine are now in the primary offensive roles with Sam Darnold (shoulder) out again and Frank Gore becoming more of a backup. The Chargers should feel confident about Justin Herbert making big plays all over the field and having more success with its rushing committee. They simply don’t win close games, however, so thishas to be a blowout result or a loss. Go for the former with LA at home.
Pick:Chargers win 31-21 and cover the spread.
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS
The Broncos are seeing Drew Lock fade as the turnovers pile up while Tua Tagovailoa (3-0) is continuing his rise as the Dolphins’ franchise quarterback. Miami will have success moving the ball with a balanced attack and Tagovailoa getting the ball out quickly. The Dolphins’ defense will force Lock into more mistakes after shutting down the run.
Pick:Dolphins win 24-17 and cover the spread.
Sunday, 4:25p.m. ET, Fox
The Cowboys showed life on offense and defense in their close loss to the Steelers before the bye. They should be healthier and more effective in both the run and pass games with Ezekiel Elliott and Andy Dalton in the backfield. The Vikings will be coming off a short week, and while Dalvin Cook should have another big game, their secondary is made to be exploited by the Cowboys’ big playmaking wide receivers.
Pick:Vikings win 34-27 but fail to cover the spread.
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