Just when you thought you had a handle on the 2013 NFL season, last week brought some extra craziness to the party. The remaining winless teams have earned the right to shed that label by beating teams that are in the playoff hunt, but that might not have been the biggest surprise from last week’s action. Let’s hope that Week 11 brings more of the same.
Every game in the NFL season is vital, but Week 11 brings some juicy matchups between some of the best teams the league has to offer. Here are predictions for every game on the schedule, as well as a breakdown of three games that you should be watching.
|Week 11 Predictions|
|New York Jets||Buffalo Bills||Buffalo Bills||BUF -1|
|Baltimore Ravens||Chicago Bears||Chicago Bears||BAL +3|
|Cleveland Browns||Cincinnati Bengals||Cincinnati Bengals||CLE +6|
|Washington Redskins||Philadelphia Eagles||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -4.5|
|Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||Detroit Lions||DET -2.5|
|Atlanta Falcons||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB +1.5|
|Arizona Cardinals||Jacksonville Jaguars||Arizona Cardinals||ARI -7.5|
|Oakland Raiders||Houston Texans||Houston Texans||OAK +7|
|San Diego Chargers||Miami Dolphins||San Diego Chargers||SD -1.5|
|San Francisco 49ers||New Orleans Saints||New Orleans Saints||NO -3|
|Green Bay Packers||New York Giants||New York Giants||NYG -4.5|
|Minnesota Vikings||Seattle Seahawks||Seattle Seahawks||MIN +13|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Denver Broncos||Denver Broncos||KC +8|
|New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers||Carolina Panthers||CAR -2.5|
|All odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com|
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints, Sunday 4:25 p.m. EST
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a disappointing Week 10 loss which provoked questions about the strength of their offense and the development of Colin Kaepernick. Those questions will take center stage when they play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints are a scary team at home, as their unblemished record (5-0) would suggest. They showed how dominant their offense can be last week with an NFL-record 40 first downs against the (albeit porous) Dallas Cowboys defense.
|Drew Brees Home vs. Away|
The key to this matchup will be Colin Kaepernick and whether he can silence his critics. Frank Gore will be able to run on a New Orleans defense that is giving up five yards per carry, but San Francisco will need to take to the air to keep pace with Brees.
Vernon Davis’ availability would be a huge boost to the San Francisco offense, and he’s hoping to get back on the field according to AP’s Janie McCauley:
Even with Davis, the 49ers offense has struggled to find playmakers with Michael Crabtree sidelined by injury. The ground game will be able to keep San Francisco in the game early, but eventually Drew Brees and Co. will take control.
Prediction: New Orleans Saints 31, San Francisco 49ers 20
New England at Carolina Panthers, Monday 8:40 p.m. EST
No defense boasts a favorable matchup when they’re going against Tom Brady, but the Carolina Panthers will pose some problems for the New England Patriots. Their front seven is a dominant unit that will stuff the run but can also get to the quarterback—as Colin Kaepernick found out on six occasions last week.
|What the Carolina Panthers Defense Allows|
The biggest question for Carolina will be how it matches up against Rob Gronkowski. Thomas Davis is the seventh-best cover linebacker in the league according to ProFootballFocus (subscription required), but Gronkowski is a matchup problem unlike any other.
New England’s pass defense is also one of the league’s best, but they are sorely missing Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo in the run game. They have given up 128 yards per game on the ground, and that will be the area where Carolina holds a decisive advantage.
The Panthers will be able to run the ball and win the battle of time of possession. Because of that, they’ll be able to extend their winning streak.
Prediction: Carolina Panthers 17, New England Patriots 14
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, Sunday 8:30 p.m. EST
The NFL saved the best for last, on Sunday at least. Two of the best teams in the league face off, and it’s hard to gauge how the game will unfold.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only unbeaten team still standing, but there are questions surrounding their legitimacy as a contender. They haven't faced a team that is over .500 yet, so everybody will be tuning in to see how they fare against another contender.
Peyton Manning’s ankle has been the storyline of the week and, while he is going to take the field for the Denver Broncos, there are some concerns about how he’ll fare against the dominant Chiefs pass rush.
Kansas City’s defense is built to do what the Indianapolis Colts did in Week 7: bully the Broncos and disrupt Manning. But the Colts still needed 39 points to come away with the upset. Can the Chiefs mirror that kind of offensive output?
They’ve scored 30 points just once this season, and they will likely need to cross that barrier to beat the Broncos.
Prediction: Denver Broncos 27, Kansas City Chiefs 20