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November 17, 2016

Week 11 NFL picks

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111716RichardSherman Charles Krupa/AP

"Richard Sherman is in for a loooooong day against Nelson Agholor," said nobody ever.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 11 NFL picks. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.

Saints at Panthers (-3.5): If the Panthers lose this game, they're done. I'll make a bet on desperation. (Also, it's not like the Panthers are suddenly some kind of bad team).

MORE ON THE EAGLES: Doug Pederson and Pete Carroll agree: Eagles' defense on same level as Seahawks' | Carson Wentz's Rookie of the Year odds plummet | Report: NFL acknowledges obviously illegal hit on Jordan Matthews was illegal | Eagles power ranking roundup: Week 11

Steelers (-8) at Browns: I'm beginning to lean toward the Browns not winning any games this season. Their remaining opponents after the Steelers:

  1. Giants
  2. Bengals
  3. At Bills
  4. Chargers
  5. At Steelers

I don't see any wins there. I mean, I could list any five teams in the NFL and say, "I don't see any wins there," but those are five competent teams.

Ravens at Cowboys (-7): Everyone and their mother is calling the Dallas Cowboys the best team in the NFL, which they are not. (I'll take the Seahawks and Pats over them). Still, the Ravens should be an easy matchup for Dallas, who is looking like a surefire bet to get a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Jaguars at Lions (-6.5): The Jaguars suck. #Analysis.

Titans at Colts (-3): The Colts have won 10 straight games against the Titans. I'm not inclined to go against that trend until I see a different result.

Bills at Bengals (-2.5): The Bengals have shown on national television the last two weeks against the Redskins and Giants that they are no longer the good team they once were. I like the Bills to bounce back from a frustrating loss a week ago against the Seattle Seahawks.

Buccaneers at Chiefs (-7.5): I told you six weeks ago to start riding Big Red and the Chiefs after they got blown out by the Steelers 43-14. Since then , they're 5-0 and look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Bears at Giants (-7.5): The Bears have 12 players on injured reserve, including starters Kyle Long, Kyle Fuller, Kevin White, Lamarr Houston, and Hroniss Grasu. Oh, and star receiver Alshon Jeffery is suspended for four games, meaning that the Bears' starting wide receivers are now Deonte Thompson and Eddie Royal.

This team was already garbage with those guys.

Cardinals at Vikings (Pick 'em): The Vikings have dropped four straight and their season is quickly going down the toilet. Meanwhile, the Cardinals, like the Panthers above, are nearing desperation mode.

Dolphins (-1.5) at Rams: Case Keenum has unquestionably been a bottom-five type of quarterback this season, who was completely worthy of his benching in favor of No. 1-overall pick Jared Goff. In light of the news of that switch, the line moved from a "pick 'em" to the Dolphins favored by 2.5. Really? Because they benched Case freaking Keenum? Goff will be better than Keenum, and the Dolphins only have Goff's college tape to work off of, while the Rams know full well by now what his strengths and weaknesses are.

Personally, I think the idea that Goff is some kind of joke is ludicrous. For example, many Eagles fans have watched Bryce Treggs highlights at Cal after it was announced that he would be active on game day. This is less a Treggs highlight reel, and more like a Jared Goff highlight reel. Look at some of these throws:

My hot take of the week: Goff is going to be good on Sunday, and I'll take the Rams at home (+2.5) over Miami all day.

Patri*ts (-13) at 49ers: Deflatey McGee returns home to the Bay Area, where he learned to cheat as a kid.

Eagles at Seahawks (-6.5): When you look at the two most lopsided matchups in this game, my belief is that they heavily favor the Eagles.

The Eagles' biggest strength on the team is their defensive line, which lines up perfectly with the Seahawks' biggest team weakness, their offensive line. If the Eagles can get after Russell Wilson consistently with four rushers, they have an outstanding chance of shutting down the Seahawks' offense, like they've done to several other teams so far this season.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks' biggest strength is their defensive secondary, which lines up with the Eagles' biggest weakness, their wide receivers. This is almost kind of a waste for Seattle. The Eagles' receivers never make any plays anyway, which almost kind of negates the importance of the Seahawks' secondary.

In other words, I like how the Eagles match up here. Still, ultimately, the Seahawks' defense will prove to be too much for the Eagles' offense. 17-16 Hawks.

Packers at Redskins (-2.5): As we mentioned in this week's Hierarchy/Obituary, after starting 2-4 in 2015, the Redskins finished strong going 7-3 down the stretch, and 4-0 in the fourth quarter of the season. "You like that!" fever swept the nation's capital, and most Redskins fans felt very confident heading into their playoff matchup at home against the Packers. And then...

(fart noise).

This Sunday, they'll have their chance for revenge against the Packers once again at home.

Texans at Raiders (-6): The Texans are somehow probably a worse 6-3 team than the Giants.

BYEFalcons, Broncos, Jets, Chargers.

• Picks against the spread: Panthers (-3.5), Colts (-3), Rams (+2.5), Eagles (+6.5).

• 2016 season, straight up: 85-60-2 (.585)

• 2016 season, ATS: 27-18 (.600)

• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)

• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

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