NFL Week 11 Game Picks: Shapeshifting
NFL Week 11 Game Picks: Shapeshifting
Week 10 in the NFL settled plenty of watercooler debates around the country, but there are still many questions left unanswered. Conference supremacy this season was almost immediately handed to the NFC following a handful of games with the AFC mired in mediocrity, but now it seems that the latter is catching up.
Teams are just trying to survive at this point as injuries are piling up for many squads and there is no relief in sight with the majority of the bye weeks already behind us. This area of the schedule is where teams test their resolve and clubs are exposed for a lack of depth or other shortcomings that weren’t as evident in weeks past.
This week in particular will feature several grudge matches that won’t really need any additional motivation to get the players amped up. Historic rivalries filled with hatred and many teams just vying for a leg up on the competition, this will provide all of the necessary incentive to make this week a dramatic one.
Several divisional games will give fans a much clearer picture of which teams are destined for the playoffs and which will be watching the postseason from the couch. Late season runs by some familiar faces have the new frontrunners a bit worried while cracks in the armor of previous champions have provided other young clubs with a newfound hope.
A changing of the guard in the NFL has most of us still on the edge of our seats wondering what will happen on a week-to-week basis. Here is a rundown of the week 11 games and just what to expect in each contest as the season reaches its boiling point.
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
Turnover is the buzzword for both of these teams coming into this game. Both suffered losses on opposite ends of the spectrum in week 10 due to handing the ball to their opponents. The Bills were at least competitive however and it seems like Miami’s defense is trending in the wrong direction. Ryan Fitzpatrick and company will bounce back.
Bills 27 – Dolphins 20
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons
Arizona is in freefall as the losers of five in a row and that doesn’t figure to change this week with an angry Falcons team on the schedule. Fresh off of their first loss of the year, Atlanta figures to take out their frustration on a Cardinals team with no real hope. This one could get ugly.
Falcons 34 – Cardinals 17
Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys
Close calls have been the story of the season for the Cowboys as even without their top rusher DeMarco Murray, Dallas has managed to have a chance to win each and every week. This week shouldn’t be as close with the Browns on the schedule as even though Cleveland has some nice young talent, there are still too many holes on the roster for them to be consistently competitive.
Cowboys 27 – Browns 17
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
It’s been an odd year for Green Bay so far and the Lions could say the same thing. Both teams had high hopes coming into the year, but it appears only the Packers can attain those goals at this point. Aaron Rodgers has been rounding into form recently and as the team continues to get healthy, the rest of the league should continue to get frightened.
Packers 38 – Lions 27
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Suddenly the Bengals look like the team everyone expected to see at the beginning of the season. Even though their offense lacks much outside of A.J. Green, the defense looked great against Eli Manning last week. Kansas City was surprisingly competitive as well in week 10, but this game should be a win for Cincy.
Bengals 28 – Chiefs 20
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Where do we even start with this one? This is the disappointment bowl as Mike Shanahan so aptly dubbed it and with Michael Vick now out for a while due to a concussion, things could go even further south for the Eagles. Robert Griffin III and company will have their way with Philly in this one.
Redskins 31 – Eagles 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
One of the most dangerous teams lurking around the periphery of the playoff race is in Tampa. The Bucs are explosive on offense and can make plays defensively to change games in a hurry. Carolina is quite parabolic and this week will continue on the downside of that rollercoaster-like pattern.
Bucs 31 – Panthers 14
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
All you can say about this one is poor Jacksonville. The Texans looked dominant against the Bears in the clash of the elites last week and Houston will only continue to build its dominance as the weeks progress. Look for this one to be kept on the ground in the second half with the score out of hand quickly.
Texans 37 – Jags 13
New York Jets vs. St. Louis Rams
It’s safe to say that this one won’t be a tie, right? The Rams showed some real fight in their draw last week and the Jets really don’t have much fight left in them. Based purely on the trend lines of these two teams, the Rams will have a clear edge with their offense finally getting healthy.
Rams 27 – Jets 24
New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders
This Drew Brees led team looks like what many expected to see coming into the year finally and the Raiders, well, they look like the Raiders. Now that New Orleans has a running game to go along with their prolific passing attack, they may still have to outscore teams, but they are more than capable of that.
Saints 45 – Raiders 16
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
San Diego is all but dead in the AFC West, yet a win would still keep them mathematically in the hunt given their divisional record. Peyton Manning has made Denver an instant Super Bowl contender and the Broncos look to be kicking it into high gear. This one will be a tight divisional game, but Denver has too much at home.
Broncos 31- Chargers 27
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
It isn’t Tom Brady and Peyton Manning anymore, but Andrew Luck is a nice consolation prize for this rivalry. Indy has been riding the wave of emotion from their coach Chuck Pagano and his fight with leukemia. New England has been able to keep winning, but narrowly in recent weeks. This one will be close as well, but something tells me that Luck and the Colts will show a changing of the guard.
Colts 30 – Patriots 27
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
This game is always a slobber knocker and yet another injury to Ben Roethlisberger last week has him uncertain for this contest. In a grudge match like this, teams need to have all of their weapons available. This game will likely decide the top spot in the AFC North as well as a first round bye in the postseason. No Big Ben means no win for Pittsburgh.
Ravens 20 – Steelers 13
Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers
A tough schedule for the Bears who just took part in a knockdown, drag-out fight last week. This bout is for right to be called the NFC’s badest team and the 49ers have been slipping from those ranks of late. Both teams could be without their starting quarterbacks due to concussions so this might have points scored only on defense. Which D would you take in a game for your life? Yeah, me too.
Bears 17 – 49ers 10