NFL Week 11 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 11 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 10: Rick: 2-10-1; Coin: 4-8-1
Cumulative: Rick: 67-79-2; Coin: 70-76-2

Note: Last week our Coin Flip went 13-0 on college games. The odds of that happening are 8,192-to-1 (2^13).

Thursday, November 14

8:20 pm Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-2 1/2, 40) - At 3-6, the Browns aren't scaring anybody, especially the Steelers, who, with their 17-12 win over the Rams last week, have won four straight after their horrendous, 1-4 start.

Pittsburgh has tightened up everywhere a little bit, which is enough to turn a marginal team into a playoff contender. They've only played two road games and are 1-1, the loss significant, as it was at San Francisco, where everybody had lost up until Monday night. The big edge is on defense. Cleveland's isn't very good, allowing 24.6 per game. Pittsburgh is allowing 14.8 over the last four games.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Prediction: Steelers 23 Browns 17

Sunday, November 17

1:00 pm Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-5 1/2, 50 1/2) - Rising up and smiting the Saints in New Orleans last week, 26-9, the Falcons surprised everybody, including themselves.

Now that they've won their second game of the season, another divisional opponent arises. Carolina is coming off a tough, 24-16, loss at Green Bay, failing at the goal line as the clock expired. The Panthers seem good enough to play with anybody, but now, so does Atlanta, which rediscovered its running game and defense. Carolina proved again how vulnerable they were to big plays, gashed repeatedly by the Packers. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should improve their careers against the Panthers.

Coin Flip: Atlanta

Prediction: Falcons 31 Panthers 21

1:00 pm Buffalo Bills (-5 1/2, 40) at Miami Dolphins - When these two met in week seven, Buffalo took a 31-21 win at home, dropping Miami to 0-6. Since then, the Dolphins are 2-1, while the Bills are 1-2. Buffalo managed only a win over Washington, while losing to the Eagles and, last week, at Cleveland, 19-16. At the same time, the Dolphins lost at Pittsburgh, beat the Jets in Miami, and won at Indy, 16-12, last Sunday.

This being a divisional game, the teams know each other well enough to make it stifling for the offenses, which rank 31st (Miami) and 25th (Buffalo). The Bills have a huge edge on defense (16.7 ppg), almost two touchdowns better than Miami (29.8).

Coin Flip: Miami

Prediction: Bills 21 Dolphins 10

1:00 pm Dallas Cowboys (-3 1/2, 51 1/2) at Detroit Lions - Dallas looked like they were sleepwalking through most of the first half in Sunday night's 28-24 loss to Minnesota. Perhaps a change of venue (that game was a home game for the Cowboys), and some more urgency might ignite the Dallas offense and defense. The Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia atop the NFC East, at 5-4.

With seven teams in the conference sporting equal records or better, there's not much room for error if the Cowboys seek the playoffs. It's looking like the East division will send no wild cards, so Dallas should realize they MUST win the division.

The Lions were downed by the Bears, 20-13, without the services of Matthew Stafford. Jeff Driskel was OK as his backup, throwing for 269 with a TD and one pick. Cowboys are 2-2 on the road; Lions the same at home. Dallas should win but probably won't.

Coin Flip: Detroit

Prediction: Lions 24 Cowboys 23

1:00 pm Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings (-10 1/2, 39 1/2) - Returning from Dallas with a 28-24 victory, the Vikings trail the Packers by just a game in the NFC North and their offense is almost 10 points better, on average, than Denvers' (26.2 vs. 16.6 ppg).

There's little separating these two on defense. Minnesota is allowing 18.2 ppg, Denver 18.9, and, despite their 3-6 record, Denver isn't bad. Three of their losses have come by just two points each. Only Green Bay and KC have beaten the Broncos by more than eight points. Minnesota is of that caliber, but Denver's defense e ought to keep this close.

Coin Flip: Denver

Prediction: Vikings 22 Broncos 16

1:00 pm Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-4, 49 1/2) - A real showdown here as the AFC teams in the #2 (Baltimore, 7-2) and #3 (Houston, 6-3) spots behind 8-1 New England square off. This match-up features two of the brightest, young QBs in the game, Houston's Deshaun Watson and brilliant Lamar Jackson for the Ravens.

Baltimore has won five straight; Houston, four fo their last five, plus they are coming off a bye, usually a good sign, but they're just 2-2 in road ventures this season (3-1 ATS). Ravens have won their last three by 14 (@ Seattle), 17 (New England) and 36 (@ Cincinnati). Hard to dispute their success.

Coin Flip: Houston

Prediction: Ravens 30 Texans 24

1:00 pm Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-3, 44) - It's probably too early to give up on either of these teams. The Colts are 5-4, Jags, 4-5, both trying to remain relevant in the AFC South. This being their first of two meetings this season, it's a close call, with much hinging on the availability of Colts' QB, Jacoby Brissett. Backup Brian Hoyer was ineffective in a 16-12 loss to Miami last week.

Jacksonville comes off a 26-3 rout by Houston in London and last week's bye. They'll be ready and their best effort makes them a winner.

Coin Flip: Jacksonville

Prediction: Jaguars 19 Colts 14

1:00 pm New Orleans Saints (-5 1/2, 50) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Saints got rolled by Atlanta last week, 26-9, while Tampa slipped by Arizona, 30-27, both games on the teams' home fields. The Buccaneers have the third-highest scoring offense in the league, at 28.9 ppg, and that's not going to work against them here. Their win snapped a four-game losing streak, while the Saints' loss ended a six-game win streak.

New Orleans held sway, 31-24, at home when these two met in week six. The Buccaneers have the offense to keep them close. New Orleans' secondary was gashed last week, something the Bucs should exploit.

Coin Flip: Tampa Bay

Prediction: Buccaneers 35 Saints 27

1:00 pm New York Jets at Washington Redskins (-1, 39) - Wow! Does it get any stinkier than this week's version of the Toilet Bowl? The Jets, by virtue of their 34-27 win over the inept Giants (2-8), are 2-7. Washington is 1-8 and coming off a bye.

Washington's offense just isn't getting it done. In their last five losses (a 17-16 win at Miami in week six in between) they've scored a total of 28 points, less than six per game. Even though New York's defense is allowing 26.4 points per game, the Redskins won't be able to take advantage. Besides, isn't Sam Darnold due for a good effort?

Coin Flip: New York Jets

Prediction: Jets 24 Redskins 17

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