Three NFL experts from the Prime Time Sports Talk staff came together to share their picks for Week 11.
These three writers will make their picks for the entire season, earning two points for any correct win-loss outcome and an additional three points for correctly predicting the exact score. (Failure to accurately predict a tie will be treated as a loss.) A cumulative points total and record will be listed at the bottom of every article. An archive of all 18 regular-season and four playoff editions can be found here.
New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sam: Falcons 28, Patriots 20
Thursday night games are made for mayhem. I expect Cordarrelle Patterson to suit up and give it a go for Atlanta, and he’s the type of player to give the vaunted Patriots defense fits. Here are the quarterbacks New England has beaten this season: Zach Wilson (twice), Davis Mills, Sam Darnold, Justin Herbert, and a Baker Mayfield/Case Keenum combo. Aside from Herbert, that does not instill a ton of confidence. Atlanta’s offense may not be clicking, but Matt Ryan is a heck of a lot better than most of those names.
Joe: Patriots 27, Falcons 17
Mac Jones will once again be efficient with the football and play a mistake-free game for the Patriots. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan and the Falcons struggle against the Pats’ defense, which gets better each week.
Andersen: Patriots 28, Falcons 3
Let’s have a little fun with the score here. Sure, the joke may be painfully old by now, but it’s still okay to revisit the infamous scoreboard meme whenever New England opposes Atlanta. Regardless of how many points each team scores, it’s easy to see that the Patriots are one of the hottest teams in football while nothing seems to be going right for the Falcons.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears
Sam: Ravens 26, Bears 13
The Ravens have shown some chinks in their armor multiple times this season, but I cannot be convinced that Justin Fields (4 TD, 8 INT passing) is going to turn around and look competitive against Baltimore. Chicago will get a garbage-time touchdown to make it look respectable, but this is all Ravens, all day. Matt Nagy needs more than one week to prepare for a playoff team, and he’s trying to get his severance anyway.
Joe: Ravens 24, Bears 20
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens had a few extra days to stew over their loss to the Dolphins. Although the Bears are coming off of the bye and had extra time to game plan, they won’t get the win.
Andersen: Ravens 27, Bears 20
A one-score finish is likely in store for this early-window matchup. Lamar Jackson will have a modest performance in the passing game but find himself leading the Ravens in rushing once again. On the other side, Justin Fields looks fine but the Chicago offense stalls a few too many times. Baltimore is the more polished team and they should win.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sam: Packers 34, Vikings 16
I don’t know how many times I have to say it: Las Vegas bookmakers cannot get their lines right on Green Bay. Their latest transgression is installing them as just two-point favorites over their division rival. Gimme a break. They just shut out Russell Wilson and nearly beat Kansas City, while sans Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay defense needs to get some respect, and AJ Dillion is beating his chest on offense in this one.
Joe: Packers 31, Vikings 27
After a lackluster performance against the Saints in which the Packers were able to get the win, Aaron Rodgers and company will come out victorious in a shootout. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings will lose yet another close game.
Andersen: Vikings 27, Packers 24
Both of these teams looked strong this past week. However, Green Bay’s win came against a shaky Seattle team and it cost them Aaron Jones. Minnesota, on the other hand, succeeded in a much more challenging clash with the Chargers. This should be a close game, but the Vikings will win since their offense can deliver blows from so many directions.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
Sam: Bills 41, Colts 13
Buffalo quietly has one of the best defenses in the league, and their offense ranks fifth in total yards per game. This is a tremendous mismatch. One of Indianapolis’ strengths was supposed to be on the defensive side of the ball. Whoops.
Joe: Bills 31, Colts 17
The Bills’ offense and defense showed up in full force against the Jets and that will carry over to this game. The latter will limit Carson Wentz while aiding Josh Allen and the offense by forcing a turnover or two.
Andersen: Bills 31, Colts 17
The Bills have been far from perfect this year, but they’ve shown that they can frequently put up big games on offense. As long as Josh Allen has a good game, the Buffalo defense can sit back and let Carson Wentz make a handful of miscues to cement Indianapolis’ loss.
Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Browns
Sam: Lions 20, Browns 17
Give someone a sniff of victory, they’ll thirst for more. For the second week in a row, Detroit gets another AFC North opponent after tying the Pittsburgh Steelers a week prior. This time, they get it done, while playing with confidence against a reeling Browns team and a quarterback that is one big hit away from ending 2021 on the injured reserve.
Joe: Lions 24, Browns 20
The Lions, fresh off of their tie with the Steelers, will get their first win against the ailing, injury-ridden Browns. The Browns stay in this game to the end.
Andersen: Browns 21, Lions 10
It remains to be seen if Nick Chubb (COVID-19) returns for this game, but his presence might not even play a role in the final outcome. The bottom line here is that things can go awry very fast for Jared Goff and the Browns’ defensive line will try to contribute to that this week. If Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney can make their talents known early on, Goff won’t be able to rebound.
Washington Football Team vs. Carolina Panthers
Sam: Panthers 30, Football Team 20
What Washington did against an ill-prepared Tampa Bay team was an aberration. These are two of the worst teams in football, but the chasm between the two is pretty big. Forget Cam Newton… Christian McCaffery is back and Chase Young is not.
Joe: Panthers 27, Football Team 17
Cam Newton will likely see more snaps against his former coach, Ron Rivera. A chip as big as the one Newton has on his shoulder is a dangerous one and is just what the Panthers need to invigorate their team. Washington will struggle up front without Chase Young.
Andersen: Football Team 23, Panthers 17
It’s really interesting how many folks are picking the Panthers after they defeated a Cardinals team that had no Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, or Chase Edmonds on offense. (Perhaps the Cam Newton effect is making those people’s brains murky.) Regardless, it’s absurd that Carolina’s victory carries more value than Washington’s win over the Buccaneers. If the Football Team can stifle Tom Brady, they should have similar success against Newton.
Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
Sam: Titans 31, Texans 9
Tennessee doesn’t have a world-beating defense, but it may look like it on Sunday. In a division game where the Titans can not afford a misstep in their quest for a No. 1 seed, the running back committee carries the day and makes life easy on Ryan Tannehill and the passing game. David Johnson has a great game for Houston in an ugly loss.
Joe: Titans 31, Texans 13
The Titans will win their seventh straight game. Running back Adrian Peterson will flirt with the 100-yard mark on the ground and account for a pair of touchdowns. Defensively, the Titans all but dominate this game throughout.
Andersen: Titans 31, Texans 9
The Titans are the hottest team in the NFL right now, despite losing Derrick Henry and Julio Jones. The Tennessee offense has found its stride, but the defense has been this team’s biggest area of talent. They should force several turnovers against Houston on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Sam: 49ers 27, Jaguars 17
This isn’t as close as it looks, as it is time to squash the narrative that Jacksonville is finally getting it together. They’re not. Trevor Lawrence (8 TD, 9 INT, 34.9 rating) continues to be a disaster under Urban Meyer and San Francisco desperately stay in the hunt in the tough NFC West. Jeff Wilson is likely to be guy toting the rock for the 49ers, which is appropriate, as he is far and away the most talented running back on the squad.
Joe: Jaguars 27, 49ers 20
The Jaguars edge out a victory. The 49ers will come out a little flat after their impressive win against the Rams, falling behind early. The Jaguars’ defense won’t let the lead ever be relinquished.
Andersen: 49ers 27, Jaguars 14
The 49ers just silenced the Rams on Monday Night Football. Heading into Week 11, look for San Francisco to emerge strong out of the gates and never look back. Trevor Lawrence will throw for two touchdowns, but it won’t be nearly enough.
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
Sam: Jets 24, Dolphins 20
The Jets’ defense has been absolutely atrocious so far in 2021, but I don’t have much good to say about the Dolphins’ offense, either. Miami comes in on the strength of two-straight wins, but in this divisional matchup, Joe Flacco takes the reigns and leads New York to a big victory at home.
Joe: Dolphins 34, Jets 30
The Dolphins will ride their impressive win against the Ravens against a division rival in the Jets. New York, led by Joe Flacco, will keep it close but won’t be able to get the win.
Andersen: Dolphins 21, Jets 10
Joe Flacco is starting for the Jets and we have absolutely no clue what to expect. On the other side, the Dolphins’ quarterback situation is also up in the air but at least offers a more steady floor. Miami stunned the Ravens last week and will secure a two-score win against New York this time around.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sam: Saints 30, Eagles 13
The Saints’ opportunistic defense has not disappeared, despite losses in back-to-back games against Atlanta and AFC juggernaut Tennessee. Philadelphia has beaten Atlanta, Carolina, Detroit, and Denver. Quite a resume right? No. Trevor Siemian starts, but Taysom Hill has a day, and Alvin Kamara runs roughshod over the Eagles’ defense. It’s a blowout.
Joe: Eagles 24, Saints 17
The Eagles’ offense is really beginning to click while the defense is also playing better as of late. The Saints won’t be able to handle Philadelphia.
Andersen: Eagles 27, Saints 21
Jalen Hurts impressed last week while Trevor Siemian has replaced Jameis Winston very well in the Saints’ system. Sunday will feature a test of which player cracks first, and we’ll soon see it ends up being the latter.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Sam: Bengals 38, Raiders 31
Cincinnati can find plenty of running room against the Las Vegas front seven, but they won’t use it. Instead, they revert to their old tricks and let Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase play pitch-and-catch, which works like a charm. On the other side, Josh Jacobs finds zero lanes against a rested Bengals line coming off of a bye, but Derek Carr exploits soft spots in the middle of the zone. You paid for the entire seat, but you’ll only need the edge. The Bengals win a thriller.
Joe: Bengals 31, Raiders 20
The Bengals will return to the high-scoring, explosive-play team they were just a few short weeks ago. Their bye week came at the halfway point and thus they could regroup for a playoff. The Raiders are reeling, and while their division is one of the tightest in the NFL, every loss could be catastrophic at this point.
Andersen: Bengals 34, Raiders 17
The Bengals hit a road bump against the Browns in Week 9 but have since gone into their bye and, presumably, made sufficient adjustments. The Cincinnati defense will allow three scores but the offense will bail them out by totaling 34 points of their own despite being on the road.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Sam: Chiefs 34, Cowboys, 28
Back-and-forth we go. The Chiefs are turning the corner, and teams are taking note. It’s almost as if Patrick Mahomes just got done stretching and is ready to go. Dallas has used both segments of their offensive game well, and will continue to do so. Running back Tony Pollard could be a backbreaker. With that said, Dallas has given up way more points to lesser quarterbacks than Mahomes and won’t have any idea how to cover Travis Kelce.
Joe: Cowboys 31, Chiefs 27
These two teams combined for over 80 points in their respective matchups last week. This week will see them battle back and forth on the scoreboard. The Cowboys’ defense will be the difference-maker, leading them to the win.
Andersen: Chiefs 31, Cowboys 28
This late-afternoon game will likely be the best battle of the week. Dallas looked good last week, but we shouldn’t completely forget its Week 9 letdown at the hands of the Broncos. A similar trend applies to the Chiefs, who finally tallied a demanding win of their own last Sunday. In the end, this one will come down to head coaching, a category in which Andy Reid trumps Mike McCarthy.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sam: Cardinals 30, Seahawks 22
This is a statement game for Arizona. Kyler Murray will likely play, and that’s a dangerous proposition for each team. The Cardinals should not rush him back in a long season, and if he plays, that’s also bad news for Seattle. Anyone that saw the Seahawks’ performance against Green Bay knows that Russell Wilson will get eaten alive (even at home) against his division rival. He’s not right. In fact, Murray on one ankle might be better than Wilson, and there’s nothing the 12th Man can do about that.
Joe: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 17
Russell Wilson will bounce back from being shut out for the first time in his career. The offense will return to its big-play ways against a Cardinals defense that has had issues with giving up big plays at inopportune times. If Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are both back, the outcome will be the same, though the final score may be closer.
Andersen: Seahawks 21, Cardinals 13
A lot of unknowns circle this game. Will Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy be healthy enough to play? What is DeAndre Hopkins’ status? When can we expect Chris Carson to hit the field again? While definite answers do not exist, it is clear that both teams are dealing with significant injuries. In the end, I’ll take Russell Wilson and his squad at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sam: Chargers 26, Steelers 20
This, of course, is barring any further COVID-19 positives from Pittsburgh, which seems to be a hotbed. Assuming Ben Roethlisberger returns, they’ll keep it close, but he’s not a one man wrecking machine anymore. Los Angeles comes in with a bad taste in their mouths after falling at home to the Vikings. Expect them to right the ship, despite Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin’s pleas to his team.
Joe: Chargers 27, Steelers 24
Justin Herbert and the Chargers get the win to keep pace in the AFC West as the season grows shorter and shorter. The Steelers, because of their defense, will keep this game close but won’t score enough to get the win.
Andersen: Chargers 20, Steelers 14
Regardless of Ben Roethlisberger’s status, the Chargers should secure a one-score victory against the Steelers on Sunday. Quite simply, Los Angeles’ offense has been strong this season, finding production from all of its skill positions. The same can be said about the Steelers, but Roethlisberger can’t command his team as well as Herbert his.
New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sam: Buccaneers 42, Giants 22
Oh, to be a fly on the wall in team meetings this week anytime Tom Brady opened his mouth following their embarrassing loss to the Washington Football Team. You better believe the offense heard it, the defense heard it, the special teams heard it, and the coaches heard it. This is Monday Night Football, and Brady has been here too many times before. He goes out and puts on a show. New York are merely spectators.
Joe: Giants 24, Buccaneers 20
The Giants, coming off of their bye, will pull off the upset on the road on Monday night. The defending champion Buccaneers will lose back-to-back games to NFC East teams, adding to the theme of the last handful of weeks as major upsets continue to go down.
Andersen: Buccaneers 31, Giants 13
The Buccaneers are on a bit of a skid right now after facing a loss, bye week, and loss. Going forward, they should be able to right the ship, especially in this very favorable matchup against the Giants.
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