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November 16, 2023

Week 11 NFL picks

It's time to predict the winners for the upcoming week of NFL action.

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111623AndyReidPatrickMahomes Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are good at their jobs. #Analysis.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 11 NFL picks. To note, the team logos 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.


Bengals at Ravens (-3.5): After being subjected to Titans-Steelers Week 9 and Panthers-Bears 😱 Week 10, we get a Thursday night game worth watching. These are two evenly matched teams that both suffered losses in entertaining games last week. They also both had four-game winning streaks before those losses.

If the season ended today (it doesn't), the Bengals would be the 8 seed and thus would not be in the playoffs. Another loss would be really harmful, especially with the Bills sitting behind them at 5-5 and poised to push them even further down the standings.

I like good teams with great quarterbacks who desperately need to win games, and Joe Burrow has proven that he can beat the NFL's elite when the Bengals need it most.


Steelers at Browns (-1.5): Deshaun Watson will undergo shoulder surgery, and his season is over. As a reminder, the Browns traded three first-round picks (in 2022, 2023, and 2024), a third-round pick in 2023, and a Day 3 pick swap in 2024 (the Texans get a 4, the Browns get a 5). They then infamously signed Watson to a five year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract. 

In each of his first two seasons in Cleveland, Watson will have only played in six games. If we're including the contract, then that has to be the worst trade ever, right?

And we should probably also note here that the Eagles are extremely lucky that Watson did not want to play in Philly.


Raiders at Dolphins (-13.5): There were five double-digit favorites when betting lines opened this week:

  1. Raiders at Dolphins (-12), now (-13.5).
  2. Bears at Lions (-10), has since dropped to (-7.5).
  3. Giants at Commanders (-10), has since dropped to (-9.5).
  4. Cowboys (-10.5) at Panthers
  5. Buccaneers at 49ers (-11), now (-11.5)

There are a lot of horrendous teams this season.


Bears at Lions (-7.5): Justin Fields is set to make his return to the lineup after missing four games with a thumb injury. In the two full games Fields played before suffering his injury, he was 43 of 64 for 617 yards (9.6 YPA), 8 TDs, and 1 INT, for a passer rating of 131.3. 

How Fields plays the rest of the season in addition to where the Bears' two high first-round picks ultimately land will determine whether Fields remains the Bears' starter in 2024 or if they trade him to some other quarterback-desperate team and then select one in the draft. Fields' play the rest of the season will be really interesting to watch from a draft perspective.

As for this game, Fields' thumb still isn't 100 percent and the Lions are obviously the far better team.


Giants at Commanders (-9.5): How bad are the Giants? Well, I mean, watch them. But also, they're 9.5-point underdogs to a 4-6 team that traded two of their best players at the deadline and all but announced that their focus going forward will be on 2024.


Titans at Jaguars (-7): The Jaguars will look to bounce back after an embarrassing blowout loss to the 49ers last week. The Titans are a bad team, and the Jags swept them in 2022.


Cowboys (-10.5) at Panthers: The Cowboys blew out the Giants and Jets Weeks 1 and 2, and were maybe smelling themselves a bit when they lost to the putrid Cardinals Week 3. Fresh off a 49-17 beatdown of the Giants once again, the Cowboys will play another atrocious team on the road in the Panthers. This time around I think they remember their bad loss in Arizona earlier this season and take care of business.


Chargers (-3) at Packers: Ugh, this line looks so good on paper, as the Chargers are playing better of late while the Packers just aren't a very good football team. But the Chargers have burned me so much over the years that I just can't.


Cardinals at Texans (-5): If the season ended today (it doesn't) the Texans would be the 7 seed in the AFC. If they beat the Cardinals they'll move up at least one spot, assuming the Steelers-Browns game doesn't end in a tie.


Buccaneers at 49ers (-11.5): The Bucs are right in the middle of a weird stretch in their schedule during which they play six road games in eight weeks:

• Week 8: At Bills L
• Week 9: At Texans L
• Week 10: Titans W
• Week 11: At 49ers
• Week 12: At Colts
• Week 13: Panthers
• Week 14: At Falcons
• Week 15: At Packers

I'd be pretty unhappy about that as a journalist, much less a player. They shouldn't be affected by that quite yet, but this is a tough road trip to the west coast against a 49ers team that needs this game to stay atop the NFC West.


Seahawks (-1) at Rams: The Rams beat the Seahawks in Seattle 30-13 Week 1. The Rams are 2-6 with a -43 point differential since then, while the Seahawks are 6-2, and +16. Matthew Stafford will return to the starting lineup after missing the Rams' Week 9 loss to the Packers. He'll be an upgrade over Brett Rypien, of course, but he also wasn't exactly lighting it up when he went down.

The Seahawks have been a little inconsistent from week to week, but they are pretty obviously the better team here, and I'll gladly lay a point.


Jets at Bills (-7): The loser of this matchup is in big, big trouble in the AFC playoff picture. While I think that the Jets' stellar defense can force Josh Allen into mistakes like they did Week 1, I also have no faith in Zach Wilson to win on the road against a good team.

Also, the sooner the Jets are pushed further and further into irrelevancy, the sooner we can all stop hearing a washed Aaron Rodgers proclaim that he'll return this season... although I suppose he'll just find something else to latch onto for attention. Maybe he'll try to pathetically glom onto Travis Kelce's exploding popularity again?


Vikings at Broncos (-2.5): Oddsmakers keep making the Vikings underdogs, and they keep winning. Each year I like to find a team that the market is undervaluing for no good reason and ride them. This year that's Minnesota.


Eagles at Chiefs (-2.5): There are a number of matchups in this game that I believe are in the Eagles' favor.

  1. The Eagles' speedy edge rushers should create problems for the Chiefs' big, lumbering offensive tackles.
  2. The Eagles' offensive line should be back to full strength, and I like their chances of handling the Chiefs' pass rush.
  3. The Eagles' receivers have a matchup advantage against almost any secondary they face, and the Chiefs are no different, particularly when they're in nickel.

But in this matchup, it's hard getting past the fact that the Eagles' pass defense has been lit up by a bunch of average quarterbacks this season:

• Week 1: Mac Jones: 35 of 54 for 316 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 91.3 QB rating.
• Week 2: Kirk Cousins: 31 of 44 for 364 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs. 125.6 QB rating.
• Week 4: Sam Howell: 29 of 41 for 290 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 98.6 QB rating.
• Week 8: Sam Howell: 39 of 52 for 397 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 114.0 QB rating.
• Week 9: Dak Prescott: 29 of 44 for 374 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 115.2 QB rating.

None of those guys are remotely on the same level as Patrick Mahomes. #Analysis.

Can the Eagles slow Mahomes down? Sure, they've had some good defensive performances this season, most notably against Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins in primetime Week 7, and it's worth noting that the Eagles should have their best starting secondary (minus Avonte Maddox, of course) for the first time since acquiring Bradley Roby and Kevin Byard.

But when you give Andy Reid an extra week to prepare (he's 29-4 in those situations, including the postseason), it's hard to imagine the Eagles' secondary slowing down this Chiefs offense.

BYE: Falcons, Saints, Colts, Patriots.

• Picks against the spread: Bengals (+3.5), Steelers (+1.5), Seahawks (-1), Vikings (+2.5), Chiefs (-2.5).

• Eagles picks (straight up): 8-1
• Eagles picks (ATS): 4-4-1

• 2023 season, straight up: 94-58 (0.618)
• 2023 season, ATS: 24-23-4 (0.510) 
• 2022 season, straight up: 176-107-2 (0.621)
• 2022 season, ATS: 50-50 (0.500) 
• 2021 season, straight up: 179-105-1 (0.630)
• 2021 season, ATS: 46-40-1 (0.534)
• 2020 season, straight up: 169-81-1 (0.675)
• 2020 season, ATS: 45-37-3 (0.547)
• 2019 season, straight up: 160-107-1 (0.601)
• 2019 season, ATS: 42-35-3 (0.544)
• 2018 season, straight up: 173-94-2 (0.647)
• 2018 season, ATS: 41-36-2 (0.532)
• 2017 season, straight up: 181-86 (0.678)
• 2017 season, ATS: 36-32-2 (0.529)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (0.644)
• 2016 season, ATS:  41-34 (0.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

• Last 9 years, ATS: 369-314-17 (0.539)

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