Week 11 of the 2021-22 NFL season brings a slew of good matchups with increasing ramifications in the race for the playoffs.
Key bouts in the AFC, such as Caron Wentz and the 5-5 Indianapolis Colts going head-to-head with the 6-4 Buffalo Bills, a matchup of two struggling but hopeful contenders in the 5-4 Las Vegas Raiders and 5-4 Cincinnati Bengals, and a Sunday night meeting between Justin Herbert 5-4 Los Angeles Chargers and Ben Roethlisberger (or Mason Rudolph?) and the 5-3-1 Pittsburgh Steelers, could have impacts on an bloated race for the conference’s division leads as well as three wildcard spots.
Other high profile matchups include the first career meeting of Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott, as well as important NFC games: The 4-5 Minnesota Vikings will look to even their record with a win over the 8-2 Green Bay Packers, and the 4-6 Philadelphia Eagles will look to climb into the conference’s wildcard race against the 5-4 New Orleans Saints.
To debate or discuss these picks, be sure to join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
Week 1: 6-10
Week 2: 12-4
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 12-4
Week 5: 13-3
Week 6: 10-4
Week 7: 9-4
Week 8: 9-6
Week 9: 5-9
Week 10: 9-4-1
Overall: 96-54-1 (64%)
After a poor showing in Week 9, I bounced back with a 10-4-1 record in Week 10. I don’t think anyone saw the Dolphins defeating the Ravens or Washington Football Team overcoming the Buccaneers. I was wrong on the Cardinals-Panthers game, thinking Arizona could win without Kyler Murray two weeks in a row, as well as the Rams-49ers game, not foreseeing Los Angeles failing to show up.
My best picks of the week were Vikings over Chargers and Eagles over Broncos, both underdog picks. Patriots over Browns and Chiefs over Raiders were also solid picks, with spreads closer than three points.
In Week 10 I incorrectly predicted:
- Ravens over Dolphins
- Cardinals over Panthers
- Rams over 49ers
- Buccaneers over Washington Football Team
See Also: 2021-22 NFL Season Predictions
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
- Playoff Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
- Midseason Predictions and Super Bowl 56 Matchup
- Half Season MVP Watch
Thursday Night Football
New England Patriots (6-4) at Atlanta Falcons (4-5)
Line: New England Patriots (-7.0)
The New England Patriots may have been the team to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl after they had taken a 28-3 lead, but the Dallas Cowboys were the ones cracking jokes last week at Atlanta’s expense after taking a 28-3 lead. Matt Ryan and the Falcons ultimately lost 43-3, erasing any progress they had made towards being a competitive team.
The Patriots on the other hand, who head to Atlanta with a perfect 4-0 record on the road, are currently enjoying their best stretch of the season so far with young Mac Jones under center. New England has won four straight games, rising to the Top Ten in this week’s Power Rankings, and have averaged an astounding 37.5 points per game during the win streak. The Patriots should win handily, with Bill Belichick’s defense likely shutting down the Falcons offense.
Patriots win 33-17, Patriots win ATS
Indianapolis Colts (5-5) at Buffalo Bills (6-3)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-7.0)
While not necessarily one of the most talked about games of the week, this AFC clash between the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills is one of the most important matchups of Week 11. After an 0-3 start, Carson Wentz and the Colts are looking for their sixth win in nine tries as they claw their way back up the standings. The Bills dismantled the Jets 45-17 last week, but have gone just 2-2 over their last four games after an impressive 4-1 start.
If Buffalo plays like they did last week, they’ll win this football game, but if they play like they did in their 9-6 loss to the Jaguars, they’ll likely fall to 6-4. I don’t have an extremely nuanced rationale, but I think the Colts will pull this one out in a tough road environment to improve to 6-5 and become a legitimate threat for an AFC wildcard spot. I just don’t trust the Bills right now when they’re not playing bad teams. For Buffalo, a loss would mean inviting the Patriots into the race for the AFC East.
Colts win 27-20, Colts win ATS
Miami Dolphins (3-7) at New York Jets (2-7)
Line: Miami Dolphins (-3.0)
Two AFC East franchises with a revolving door at quarterback will meet on Sunday afternoon in MetLife Stadium. The Miami Dolphins have flipped between Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett, due to health reasons, and used both in last week’s win over the Ravens. The New York Jets are still missing rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, and will opt for veteran Joe Flacco on Sunday over Mike White, who threw four interceptions last week against the Bills.
Both teams have problems and concerns, but Miami is a little more put together at the current moment.
Dolphins win 26-13, Dolphins win ATS
Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at Chicago Bears (3-6)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-6.0)
Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are coming off a pretty poor showing against the Dolphins in last week’s Thursday Night Football loss. Luckily, they get a cold Chicago Bears team that has lost four straight matchups. Now, Justin Fields and the Bears did put up a season-high 27 points against Pittsburgh last week, but it was just the first time Chicago scored more than 24 points in a game this season. Against a Ravens team that averages 25.7 points per game, the Bears likely won’t be able to keep up unless the Ravens have another huge dud game.
Ravens win 27-17, Ravens win ATS
Detroit Lions (0-8-1) at Cleveland Browns (5-5)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-10.0)
While the Detroit Lions obviously benefited from the absence of Ben Roethlisberger last week, it was the incredible rushing abilities of D’Andre Swift that allowed Detroit to keep Pittsburgh at bay in a 16-16 tie. The Cleveland Browns are coming off a putrid showing against the Patriots where they lost 45-7.
I do think the up-and-down Browns will bounce back against a weaker opponent, but maybe Jared Goff and the Lions make it an interesting one and cover the spread.
Browns win 24-17, Lions win ATS
Houston Texans (1-8) at Tennessee Titans (8-2)
Line: Tennessee Titans (-10.0)
Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans have rolled to back-to-back wins over the Rams and Saints despite the loss of running back Derrick Henry, and now sit tied for the best record in all of football. In some senses, you could call this a trap game for Tennessee, but realistically, the Houston Texans aren’t beating anyone right now. The Titans improve to 9-2 on the season with their seventh straight win.
Titans win 33-16, Titans win ATS
Green Bay Packers (8-2) at Minnesota Vikings (4-5)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-2.5)
Aaron Rodgers returned for the Green Bay Packers last week after missing a game due to COVID-19, but it was Green Bay’s defense who stole the show in a 17-0 win over Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. The Packers are 8-2, and have won eight straight games with Rodgers under center, and believe it or not, they’re only scoring the 19th-most points in the NFL at 21.6 per game. It’s that defense, allowing 18.0 points per game, the third-lowest mark in the league, that has led to Green Bay’s dominat record.
The Minnesota Vikings may be 4-5, but they’re a pesky team, and haven’t lost a game by more than a score. I’m not going to pick Minnesota outright, but I don’t expect that trend to change: the Vikings should play a very close game here.
Packers win 24-23, Vikings win ATS
New Orleans Saints (5-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)
Line: Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5)
This is a tough one to pick. After nearly giving the Titans a run for their money in the fourth quarter last week, I feel justified giving Trevor Siemian and the New Orleans Saints some respect. At the same time, I think Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles could build on last week’s win over the Broncos and make a second half playoff push this season.
Philadelphia is 0-4 at home this season, which raises another debacle: could such an unlikely trend continue? I could really go either way on this one, and while I see and and agree with the Eagles being favored, I think I’m going to go with the Saints in a narrow upset.
Saints win 26-23, Saints win ATS
Washington Football Team (3-6) at Carolina Panthers (5-5)
Line: Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
Both teams are coming off upset victories last week: with Washington Football Team overcoming Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, and the Carolina Panthers outplaying the Kyler Murray-less Cardinals. Cam Newton looks set to start for the Panthers on Sunday against his former coach Ron Rivera. Throw in Christian McCaffrey, who looked great last week after missing a big chunk of the season, and Carolina is a shoo-in to win, right?
While I’ll personally be rooting for Newton to succeed on Sunday, coming in and winning his first start back with the team seems too good to be true. Carolina could certainly win this game on solid defense and efficient play from McCaffrey alone. But my gut says Newton’s first start of the season won’t be all flowers and roses, and perhaps Washington can build off last week’s win despite the loss of pass-rusher Chase Yong.
Washington wins 23-17, Washington wins ATS
San Francisco 49ers (4-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7)
Line: San Francisco 49ers (-6.0)
The San Francisco 49ers’ upset win over the Rams on Monday night essentially saved their season, giving them at least a fighting chance at a playoff spot over their final eight games. The 49ers should be able to even their record to respectable 5-5 with a win in Jacksonville, which would also improve San Francisco’s 3-1 road record.
Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars are slowly making strides, going 2-2 in their last four games with wins over the Dolphins and Bills and a one-score loss to the Colts last week. But with the 31st-ranked scoring offense in the league and 27th-best defense, the Jaguars will rarely be favored to win.
49ers win 27-16, 49ers win ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) at Las Vegas Raiders (5-4)
Line: Cincinnati Bengals (-1.0)
Unless you’re a fan of one of these two teams, this game is probably more important than you realize. Both teams are currently on two-game losing streaks, and both teams are still in their division’s race as well as the AFC Wildcard race. The outcome of this game could ultimately be an eventual tiebreaker for a playoff spot.
It’s really tough to tell who has the edge here as the teams tales are nearly identical. Both started 5-2, lost a one-score game to a New York (New Jersey) football team, and both allowed 41 points in their last outing, with the Cincinnati Bengals falling to the Browns and the Las Vegas Raiders losing to the Chiefs last week.
There is one X-factor however: the Raiders are still recovering from the losses of Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette. With Las Vegas dealing with not just on-the-field struggles, but also personnel issues, Cincinnati may be the smarter choice. Also, Cincinnati’s offense and defense rank 9th and 11th in the NFL despite recent struggles, while Las Vegas ranks 17th and 26th in the same categories. Give me Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and the Bengals.
Bengals win 27-20, Bengals win ATS
Sak Sports Blog Game of the Week: Dallas Cowboys (7-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have won three straight games, but it wasn’t until last week’s 41-14 victory that the two-time defending AFC champions really looked like themselves: just in time for a high profile matchup with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, and the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys average an NFL-high 31.6 points per game, so the Chiefs offense will have to have a repeat performance of last week’s 41-point showing to keep up. Prior to last week’s win, the Chiefs scored 20 points or less in three straight games. But the most important trend for Kansas City is their defense. After giving up the most points in the league through six weeks, the Chiefs defense has settled in over their three game winning streak, allowing just 12.6 points per game over this stretch.
Slowing a Dallas team that put up 43 points against the Falcons last week and once scored 35+ points for four straight weeks is no small task, but luckily for Kansas City, their offense and defense are both rebounding at the same time. Could the Cowboys march into Arrowhead Stadium and earn their eighth win of the season? Definitely. But right now feels like the Chiefs time, and at home, they might just pull out a classic Chiefs shootout victory.
Chiefs win 38-35, Chiefs win ATS
Arizona Cardinals (8-2) at Seattle Seahawks (3-6)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)
Kyler Murray should be set to return for the Arizona Cardinals after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins may need another week or two, but Murray’s return should be enough to elevate the Cardinals level of play after last week’s loss to the Panthers.
The Seattle Seahawks got their main man, Russell Wilson, back last week against the Packers, but couldn’t muster anything in a 17-0 loss. At home, with one more loss certain to doom any postseason chances, the Seahawks are sure to play hard on Sunday afternoon. But with NFL MVP candidate Murray back on the field, I think the Cardinals get back to their winning ways.
Cardinals win 27-24, Cardinals win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)
Line: Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)
Apparently, this is a big week for interdivisional matchups in the AFC. Just like Colts-Titans and Bengals-Raiders, two AFC teams with five wins ore more will square off on Sunday night to help establish the conference’s pecking order. Ben Roethlisberger is likely, though not certain, to return as the Steelers quarterback after Mason Rudolph played Pittsburgh’s way to a 16-16 tie last week.
Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers have cooled off a bit since a 4-1 start, but have essentially played the same game for the last three weeks: losing 27-24 to the Patriots, beating the Eagles 27-24, and losing to the Vikings 27-20. If this trend continues, I would see the Chargers as the more likely team on the winning end of another 27-point performance.
Chargers win 27-20, Chargers win ATS
Monday Night Football
New York Giants (3-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-11.0)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost back-to-back games, the New York Giants have won two of three, and Tom Brady has historically struggled against the franchise that beat him twice in the Super Bowl. So Daniel Jones and the Giants have a fightinfg chance in this one right? As a Giants fan, I’d advise you not to get your hopes up.
While Tampa Bay has dropped two straight games against the Saints and Washington Football Team, that’s probably the last place you want to have Brady in as your opponent. The Buccaneers will be hungry for a win, with the Saints and Panthers suddenly breathing down their necks in the NFC South race. And pitting Tampa Bay’s third-ranked scoring offense against New York’s 19th-raned scoring defense isn’t a recipe for success. Above all, I don’t think the Giants offense (19.9 PPG, 24th in the NFL) can keep up. If the Buccaneers can get to 30 points, they’ll essentially have won the game.
Buccaneers win 31-19, Buccaneers win ATS
Teams on Bye
- Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver Broncos (5-5) head into their bye week after a 2-1 stretch against NFC East teams. With the Chargers and Chiefs up next, Denver will either stay in the AFC West race or fade away over the next three weeks.
- The Los Angeles Rams (7-3) have some regrouping to do after back-to-back losses to the Titans and 49ers. Hopefully two weeks of practice will help the Rams passing game adapt to the loss of Robert Woods and the addition of Odell Beckham Jr.
- 2021-22 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6, Post-Week 7, Post-Week 8, Post-Week 9
- 2021-22 NFL Picks: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: Playoffs and Super Bowl
- NFL 2021: Midseason Predictions and Super Bowl 56 Matchup
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- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC West
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC East
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC West
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC East
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Header Photo: CowboysZone.com