2019 NFL Week 11 Picks & Previews: Who Will Come up Big when it Matters?

Welcome to my Week 11 NFL Picks.  Last week, I went 7-6, putting my overall record at 85-61-1 (85-62-1 with Week 11 TNF).  This week, many marquee match-ups will take place. The Patriots and Eagles have a Super Bowl LII rematch.  The next two best AFC teams in the Ravens and Texans face off. AFC South rivals in the Colts and Jaguars will battle it out in an important game for the Wild Card race.  On Monday Night Football, the underperforming Chiefs and Chargers will play an important AFC West game in Mexico. Which teams will emerge as contenders this week, and which teams will fall behind or fall flat?  Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Lock of the Week

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The Dolphins have won two in a row, and the Bills are a bit overrated.  But QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and his depleted offense are no match for a rising young Bills D.  Without CBs Xavien Howard and Aqib Talib, the Dolphins will also struggle to contain WRs John Brown and Cole Beasley.  The Dolphins run defense isn’t in much better shape against the RB duo of Devin Singletary and Frank Gore. The Bills will be at their best in this game, and that will make things too difficult for Miami to pull off another upset.

Upset of the Week

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I’m a believer in QB Derek Carr and the Raiders offense.  But without S LaMarcus Joyner (injured) and CB gareon Conley (traded), I’m worried that the Raiders will have trouble containing WR Tyler Boyd and the rest of Cincy’s receivers.  The young Oakland front seven has improved, but they may also struggle since they’re facing 2018’s AFC leading rusher in Joe Mixon. With help from Mixon, Boyd, and a banged-up but underrated defense, the Bengals will come out on top here and pull off a huge upset, exposing the Raiders and winning their first game of 2019.

The Other Games

Posted to Twitter Thursday

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Expect WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and TE Vance McDonald to outmatch Cleveland’s young secondary, helping QB Mason Rudolph lead Pittsburgh to an upset victory.  With ex-Browns and current Steelers CB Joe Haden out, the Steelers secondary will also be a bit shorthanded, making things easier for QB Baker Mayfield. I do expect Cleveland to turn their season around, and this game will help build momentum.  But I think they’ll need TE David Njoku back on the field to give them the boost they need for wins and contention.
img_6209 I don’t expect much more from Washington this year, but QB Dwayne Haskins, RB Derrius Guice, and WR Terry McLaurin will thrive against a depleted Jets defense, showing promise for the future.  QB Sam Darnold will connect with WR Jamison Crowder here as usual, but he’ll have trouble connecting with his other receivers against an underrated Redskins D, causing the Jets to fall short.
img_6210 I had originally said Houston would pull off an upset here coming off the bye.  But with WR Will Fuller V and CB Bradley Roby still sidelined, I don’t think the Texans have enough in the tank for a victory here.  They should come pretty close, as the run game thrives and WR DeAndre Hopkins outmatches a strong Ravens secondary. However, QB Lamar Jackson will rely on his usual tactics as he leads the Ravens in a close one.
img_6211 Many people have said the Colts’ fate this week depends on QB Jacoby Brissett’s health.  But even with Brissett playing, I don’t think the Colts will be able to take down Jacksonville.  The Jaguars will have QB Nick Foles back to lead them. Meanwhile, the Colts will still be without WRs T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell, leaving Brissett with minimal options as Indy falls short.
img_6212 This will not be as easy for Minnesota as people think.  The Vikes are still without WR Adam Thielen, and CB Chris Harris Jr. will have WR Stefon Diggs in tight coverage throughout the game.  The Broncos run defense should be able to slow down RB Dalvin Cook as well. That will leave QB Kirk Cousins with less options, but with a lot of help from the defense, I still expect the Vikes to come out on top here.  
img_6213 The Lions run game is running out of options, as RB Kerryon Johnson is done for the year now.  Though QB Jeff Driskel will put up a slightly better game against an inexperienced Cowboys secondary, the Lions will fall short at home.  Expect Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott to be able to run all over Detroit’s weak front seven, and the rest of the offense should do alright as well.
img_6214 Tampa’s offense will put up another strong game here, especially against a Saints secondary that’s missing CB Marshon Lattimore.  But QB Drew Brees and his receivers will put up a field day against a crumbling Buccaneers secondary. Tampa’s run defense has been pretty good, but it’s their secondary that will cost them here, as WR Michael Thomas dominates.
img_6215 This Falcons offense just keeps losing weapons.  WR Mohamed Sanu was traded. TE Austin Hooper and RB Devonta Freeman are hurt.  But I think Atlanta will take one last victory lap against a weak Carolina secondary before struggling down the stretch.  The WR duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will thrive, and RB Christian McCaffrey will have another strong game as well.  But McCaffrey can’t lead the Panthers alone.
img_6216 I’m a little concerned about the 49ers right now with WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Dante Pettis, and TE George Kittle banged up.  This game will definitely be close, as QB Kyler Murray and his offense continue to succeed, even against a strong 49ers D. But San Fran will still edge out a home victory.
img_6220 The Eagles secondary has improved, but it is still no match for QB Tom Brady and his receivers.  Especially in a favorable match-up, Brady can make any receiver look like a star. The Eagles will put up a good fight, as their backfield will improve with RB Jay Ajayi in the mix and QB Carson Wentz will have a strong game.  But without WRs Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, the Eagles will fall behind.
img_6218 This will be a very defense-heavy game.  The Rams offense has struggled more and more as the season progresses, and they are no match for an elite Chicago defense.  However, QB Mitch Trubisky and his offense have been even worse, and I don’t expect anything special for them in LA either. In the end, I have the Rams winning in overtime, but this will be an ugly game.
img_6219 QB Philip Rivers has declined significantly this year.  But with help of RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, I think he can lead LA past the Chiefs.  The Chiefs run game will struggle against DE Joey Bosa and a strong Chargers front seven. QB Patrick Mahomes and his receivers will thrive as usual, but if the Chargers offense puts up a strong game all around against a flawed Kansas City defense, the Chiefs might not have enough in the tank.

That’s all for my picks this week.  Stay tuned for more posts soon.

In addition, as many of my readers are football fans living in the Boston area, I wanted to mention that I’m putting on a charity event at APEX Entertainment, where you can bowl, eat, and watch Monday Night Football as well as Gonk Knocks, my series about how my high school’s football team prepares for the season.

Go to https://www.accelevents.com/e/GonkKnocksFootballNight to buy event tickets, buy raffle tickets, bid in the silent auction, or make a straight donation.  The event will benefit the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and The Algonquin Football Boosters.

You can also text “Auction” to 201.241.4608.

 

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