Week eleven is here and this is a very important week for so many teams around the league. The playoff picture is starting to come into focus in some divisions around the league and there are several key games this week.
The past three weeks I have picked the Cowboys to cover the spread and win their games and I have been 3-0. This week I don’t have the Cowboys as one of my 5 games but I do have the team that they beat last week.
The Pittsburgh Steelers played one of their best and most complete games of the season, yet they still lost to the overwhelming ground attack of Ezekiel Elliot and the Dallas Cowboys. Despite solid performances from their triplets of Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, and Antonio Brown the Cowboys came out in front on a late touchdown.
One of those must-win games this week that I spoke about in the opening is the Steelers in Cleveland. A preseason favorite to contend for a Super Bowl berth, the Steelers sit at 4-5 past the midway point of the season.
Going on the road to play the worst team in the league is the get-right game that the Steelers need.
Pittsburgh Steelers -9 @ Cleveland Browns
This is a very simple on to pick. The Steelers average right around 24 points per game. That stat is a bit misleading, however, because of the Big Ben injury that forced him to miss a game and be dreadful the week after his return. This is one of the most gifted offenses in the league.
On the other side, the Browns give up the 2nd most points per game in the league, 30.1. That isn’t a good recipe when going against the likes of Brown, Bell, and Ben. This one will be over quick.
Steelers 35 – Browns 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7.5 @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are the quietest 7-2 teams in the league. They are tied for the lead in the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders and need to continue the winning if they want to make the playoffs in one of the toughest divisions in football. Andy Reid continues to be one of the most efficient and impressive coaches in the league. Their offense has been pretty good even without Jamaal Charles and really any outside receiver threat. This team continues to win and will this week.
Tampa Bay is one of the up-and-coming teams and will continue to improve for years to come. Jameis Winston is now flanked by a healthy Doug Martin and has his favorite target on the outside in Mike Evans. One of the big issues with Winston has been turnovers, he has 10 interceptions, 7th most in the league. That is not a good thing when you are going on the road to play the team with the most interceptions in the league.
Chiefs 24 – Bucs 20
Miami Dolphins -2 @ Los Angeles Rams
I have been campaigning all year for Jared Goff to start for the Rams. They moved to L.A. and traded up to the number one pick to get a guy to build their team around and then they start Case Keenum the first nine games of the season? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Either Goff is going to come out and lay an egg on Sunday or he is going to light a fire under this offense. Most likely lay an egg against a surging defense.
Miami is a completely different team now than they were in the beginning of the season. The emergence of Jay Ajayi has really sparked the team. This is a team that is top-10 in interceptions and sacks. Put those guys against a rookie quarterback with a terrible offensive line and it could get ugly in L.A.
Dolphins 27 – Rams 13
Philadelphia Eagles +7 @ Seattle Seahawks
The Dallas Cowboys continue to win and lengthen out their lead in the NFC East. Carson Wentz and the Eagles sit at 5-4 but are currently in last in the division. That record would be good enough to lead two divisions in the league. This is a good team with an above average defense. They need to put pressure on Russell Wilson if they are going to have any chance in Seattle.
For the past few years the Seahawks have largely been built to be a defensive team. That is no different this season. Even with a banged up Wilson, the defense has carried this team to a 6-2-1 record and the lead of the NFC West. This defense is 2nd in the league in stats and is going to go after the rookie Wentz. Wilson is getting healthier and running back Thomas Rawls is going to be back on the field. Seattle should win but it will be a close game.
Seahawks 26 – Eagles 21
Upset Special of the Week:
Arizona Cardinals +1.5 @ Minnesota Vikings
Back to my notion of must-win games here in Week 11. Let me give you my hot take of the week.
This is a MUST-WIN game for the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals are 4-4-1 and 2 games out of 1st in the division behind the Seahawks. Coming into the season, Arizona was seen as a Super Bowl contender. Now they are battling for their playoff lives. They won’t have an easy time getting this must win.
Minnesota was 5-0. Then they lost 4 games in a row. This is a team that needs a win almost as badly as the Cardinals do. When the season started, they were one of the best storylines of the early season with quarterback Sam Bradford playing for the injured Teddy Bridgewater. But this team just can’t get any traction in the last month. The running game has been dreadful without Adrian Pederson. Bradford has been a very average quarterback lately. This game comes down to turnovers. The offense with the less turnovers wins the game.
Cardinals 24 – Vikings 22
*All betting lines provided by Bovada.LV on the Thursday preceding particular NFL week.