I don’t necessarily know what qualifies as the best bye week ever, but I feel like taking a three-day trip to Argentina has to be on the list. Also, let’s not forget that Kelce flew all the way there just to hang out with an Eagles fan, which is somewhat suspicious because his Chiefs are PLAYING the Eagles this week.
I have no idea if Taylor Swift will be at the game on Monday, but if she shows up, she might want to borrow one of those split jerseys that Donna Kelce wears every time the Eagles and Chiefs play each other. The Super Bowl rematch between the Eagles and Chiefs is definitely the biggest game of the week. So who’s going to win? Let’s get to the picks and find out.
Actually, before we get to the Week 11 picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. In completely unrelated news, I’m in charge of the NFL newsletter here at CBSSports.com, which I’m only telling you about because it’s the perfect gift for the holidays. If you want to buy someone a gift, but you don’t actually want to spend money on them, just subscribe them to the newsletter. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. All you have to do is click here and enter their email address.
I’ve spent 11 weeks asking you to sign up for that newsletter and if you haven’t done it yet, I should probably just assume it’s not going to happen. And that’s alright. Even if you don’t sign up, I still love you and you still get my picks.
NFL Week 11 picks
Cincinnati (5-4) at Baltimore (7-3)
8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime)
On one hand, we have the Bengals, who forgot to show up for the first three quarters against the Texans, but then still somehow almost won the game before losing 30-27 on a last-second field goal.
On the other hand, we have the Ravens, who lost a game they had no business losing. The Ravens were beating the Browns 31-17 with under 10 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, and they somehow managed to blow that lead in a 33-31 loss.
The fact that the Ravens blew a fourth quarter lead is mildly concerning and that’s because they seem to do it every other week. If an NFL game was only three quarters long, the Ravens would be undefeated and they would have won the past five Super Bowls, but unfortunately, Roger Goodell hates the Ravens, which is why games are four quarters long.
So how bad have things gotten for the Ravens? This bad.
For whatever reason, the entire team seems to melt down whenever they have a big lead in the fourth quarter and that starts with Lamar Jackson. Since the start of the 2021 season, Jackson has 13 touchdowns and 13 turnovers in the fourth quarter (to put that in perspective, Joe Burrow has 25 touchdowns and 11 turnovers). Jackson has been even worse when the Ravens have the lead over that span with just five touchdowns and eight turnovers. He also has a QB rating of just 60.7 in games since 2021 where the Ravens have a fourth quarter lead, which is the worst rating in the NFL for any QB who has at least 20 attempts in that situation.
With those stats, it would be easy to pin this all on Jackson, but the defense has also been disappearing. If the Ravens start playing the fourth quarter like they play the first three quarters, this team would be nearly impossible to beat.
These two teams played back in Week 2 with the Ravens beating the Bengals 27-24, but it’s hard to read too much into that game, because Joe Burrow was basically playing on one leg at that point. That being said, I’m fully expecting another one score game this time around.
If the Bengals lose on Thursday, that’s going to essentially kill any shot they have of winning AFC North, which is why I think we’ll see them in desperation mode. I am mildly concerned at the fact that the Bengals have lost 13 STRAIGHT road prime-time games, but no one has been better than Burrow at ending these ugly franchise losing streaks and I’ll say he ends another one on Thursday. To bring this pick full circle, I’ll go ahead and say the Ravens blow a fourth quarter lead and the Bengals win on a field goal.
The pick: Bengals 23-20 over Ravens
If you want a more analytical approach to your NFL picks, then I highly suggest that you check out the SportsLine Projection Model, which has been on fire this year. Check it out if you want to know which side to bet for every game in Week 11.
Pittsburgh (6-3) at Cleveland (6-3)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
For the first 10 weeks of the season, the Steelers offense was so bad that I was starting to think that their best offensive strategy would be to just not have an offense at all. I have no idea how that would have worked, but it certainly would have been an upgrade from what they were doing.
Over the past two weeks though, the Steelers offense has slowly been getting better and I’m pretty sure it’s happening because of two big changes the team made. First, they moved offensive coordinator Matt Canada down to the sideline, which has been a popular decision so far in the locker room.
The other big change that the Steelers have made is that they’ve taken the offense out of Kenny Pickett’s hands. I’m guessing that once Canada got down to the sideline, he finally had a front row seat to what was happening on offense and he immediately realized that Pickett was in way over his head.
How do you fix that? By taking the game out of his hands. Over the past two weeks, the Steelers have run the ball 55.5% of the time, which is pretty wild you consider that they were only running the ball 39.5% of the time through the first eight weeks of the season.
The Steelers have completely changed their offensive philosophy and it has totally worked so far. Over the past two weeks, they’ve recorded their two highest rushing totals of the season and they’ve won both games. Their new formula for winning games is simple: They run the ball, they play good defense and then they hope they don’t get stuck in a situation where they have to count on Pickett to win the game for them.
As good as this plan has been, I don’t think it’s going to work against the Browns. The Browns have been one of the best teams in the NFL at stopping the run and if they stop the run on Sunday, the Steelers are going to have a tough time moving the ball.
Back in Week 2, the Steelers beat the Browns 26-22, but they got two defensive touchdowns and they still only won by four points. If they get two defensive touchdowns again, I think they win, but that’s probably not going to happen. The Steelers have been out-gained in every game they’ve played this season and I fully expect that streak to continue in Week 11.
The pick: Browns 24-17 over Steelers
Arizona (2-8) at Houston (5-4)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
We’re only 10 weeks into the season and I’m pretty sure that C.J. Stroud has already locked up the offensive rookie of the year award, so let’s talk about something bigger: MVP.
It’s not easy for a rookie to win MVP, but it feels like Stroud is now in the conversation after leading a game-winning drive in each of the past two weeks. If Stroud were somehow able to win MVP this year, it would be historical. You can count on one hand how many times a rookie has won the MVP. Actually, you can count on one finger. Jim Brown is the only rookie to have won the award. He did it in 1957, and since then, only one rookie has even finished in the top-3 of voting over the past 35 years (Randy Moss in 1998).
Stroud is doing things that rookies almost never do. Not only is he putting up huge numbers, but he’s not making very many mistakes. With 2,626 passing yards and just two interceptions, Stroud has the fourth-most passing yards in NFL history by a QB with two or fewer interceptions through 9 games (And we’re not talking about just rookies here, we’re talking about every NFL QB ever).
The Texans rookie QB has also been clutch. Not only has he led two game-winning drives over the past two weeks, but over the course of the season, he’s thrown for 306 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions in the fourth quarter of Houston’s one-score games this year.
As good as Stroud has been, he’s going to get a test this week from a Cardinals defense that has been surprisingly good against the pass. The Cardinals offense also just got a boost with the return of Kyler Murray in Week 10. The offense also got a boost because the Cardinals remembered you’re allowed to throw the ball to your tight end (Trey McBride finished with 131 yards in Week 10, becoming the first Cardinals tight end to hit the 100-yard mark SINCE 1989).
The Texans lost to the Panthers two weeks ago, so an upset here against a frisky Cardinals team wouldn’t be a total shock, but I’ll say they win thanks to another game-winning drive from Stroud.
The pick: Texans 27-24 over Cardinals
Minnesota (6-4) at Denver (4-5)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
The NFL decided to keep this as the Sunday night game for Week 11, and I have to say, I applaud the league’s decision, if only because it means that everyone in America will get a chance to watch “The Passtronaut” in action.
If someone ever made a football movie about a quarterback who’s also an astronaut, it would definitely be called “The Passtronaut” and it would definitely star Josh Dobbs. I’m 99.8% sure that he is the only QB in NFL history who has ever been given a nickname by NASA and as we all know, if NASA gives you a nickname, everyone has to start using it on you, so “The Passtronaut” it is.
I have no idea how Dobbs has done it, but he’s won two straight games for the Vikings, which is borderline amazing when you consider that at this time two weeks ago, he wasn’t even playing for them. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago he was playing for the Cardinals and he had been told by his head coach that he wouldn’t be traded. However, since there is no loyalty in the NFL, Dobbs was gone less than 24 hours later.
I thought the Vikings season was over when Justin Jefferson got injured, but they survived. I thought the Vikings season was over when Kirk Cousins got injured, but they survived. Now, they have Josh Dobbs and I’m 60% sure he’s going to lead them to the playoffs.
Dobbs could have a huge game against the Broncos. Not only is Denver coming into this game off a short week after playing on Monday night, but the Broncos also have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They’ve surrendered the most points per game, the most rushing yards per game and the most total yards per game heading into Week 11. That’s the reverse triple crown that you never want to win.
That being said, the best way to beat this Broncos team is by running the ball and I’m not sure the Vikings are capable of doing that. However, I am sure this will be a close game. Of Minnesota’s 10 games this season, nine of them have been decided by one score and this probably won’t be any different.
The pick: Broncos 20-17 over Vikings
Philadelphia (8-1) at Kansas City (7-2)
8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
This game might set the Monday night record for most viewers and that’s because we’re getting a Super Bowl rematch that involves Taylor Swift’s two favorite teams. If just 50% of Swift’s fans tune in on Monday, there will be 179 million people watching.
Swift grew up an Eagles fan, but she’s now dating a Chiefs player, so I have no idea who she’s going to root for, although based on the video below, I have to think she wants the Chiefs to win by 100.
Since you’re now wondering, I have no idea if Taylor will be at the game. Although Eagles corner Darius Slay does not want her to attend, she could theoretically make it happen. After a concert on Nov. 19 in Brazil, she doesn’t have another show until Nov. 24, so if she feels like jumping on a 12-hour flight, she could get to the game on Monday night.
If you’re friends with Taylor and you know her plans, please let me know what she’s going to do so I can make an informed pick for this game. The Chiefs are 4-0 when Taylor shows up and Travis Kelce has put up monstrous numbers in each game that she attends, but he hasn’t been as good when she doesn’t show up (Kelce is averaging 108 yards per game with Taylor in attendance versus just 41.3 yards per game when she’s not there).
When these two teams met in Super Bowl LVII, the Chiefs won 38-35, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing another shootout and that’s mostly because the Chiefs have one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. No one can score on the Chiefs (they’ve given up the second-fewest points per game) and no one can pass on the Chiefs (they’ve surrendered the fourth-fewest passing yards per game).
The good news for the Eagles is that if they can’t throw the ball on the Chiefs, they can simply turn to their rushing attack, which is putting up nearly 130 yards per game. The biggest issue with the Eagles this year is that Jalen Hurts has looked hobbled, but he’ll be coming off a bye here, which means that his knee will have had two weeks to heal heading into this game.
The Chiefs are coming off a bye and I have NEVER picked against Andy Reid coming off a bye and I’m probably going to regret this immediately, but I like the Eagles in an upset (Reid is 21-3 in his regular-season career coming off a bye). If anyone can outsmart Reid coming off a bye, it’s Nick Sirianni, who has NEVER lost a regular-season game coming off a bye. Sure, he’s only 2-0, but the Eagles did win both those games by double digits.
The pick: Eagles 27-24 over Chiefs
NFL Week 11 picks: All the rest
Chargers 31-21 over Packers
Lions 31-17 over Bears
Dolphins 30-20 over Raiders
Commanders 27-17 over Giants
Cowboys 34-16 over Panthers
Jaguars 24-17 over Titans
49ers 34-20 over Buccaneers
Bills 24-16 over Jets
Rams 27-20 over Seahawks (If Matthew Stafford plays)
Seahawks 24-13 over Rams (If Matthew Stafford DOESN’T play)
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Raiders would beat the Jets in a close game and guess what happened? The Raiders beat the Jets in a close game. Now, did I know that Zach Wilson was going to throw a back-breaking interception late in the game that was essentially going to cost his team any chance of winning? Of course, I did. When Wilson plays, you can pretty much count on the fact that he’s going to commit at least one back-breaking turnover and he came through with that in the fourth quarter against the Raiders. Although I wasn’t surprised by the interception, I was surprised by what happened next: The player who picked Wilson off (Robert Spillane) made a baby announcement during his postgame interview.
I’m now rooting for the Spillanes to name the kid Zach Wilson Spillane.
Worst pick: For some reason, I picked the Patriots to win in Germany last week even though they can barely win games in the United States and that decision definitely blew up in my face. Not only did the Patriots lose, but we might have actually witnessed a total meltdown by Bill Belichick. At one point in the game, he decided not to put a punt returner on the field, which definitely backfired on him. He also benched his starting quarterback with two minutes left to play, which also backfired on him. The entire season is backfiring on him, and yet, I still picked his team to win. I deserved that loss.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I’m actually good at picking, here’s a quick look at my best and worst teams when it comes to picks this year.
Teams I’m 9-1 picking this year (Straight up): Giants, Panthers (8-1), Packers (8-1), Jets (8-1)
Longest winning streak: Chargers and Jaguars (Four straight wins)
Teams I’m 1-8 picking this year (Straight up): Titans, Texans
Longest losing streak: Texans (Eight straight losses)
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Straight up in Week 10: 7-7
SU overall: 90-60 (2-16 picking the Titans and Texans, 88-43 picking everyone else)
Against the spread in Week 10: 6-6-2
ATS overall: 72-72-6