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Week 11 Cheat Sheet: NFL picks and predictions

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Peter Schrager

Peter Schrager is the Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com and the national sports correspondent for FOX News Channel's "FOX Report Weekend." He's the co-author of Victor Cruz's New York Times' best-selling memoir "Out of the Blue" and lives in New York. Feel free to e-mail him at peterschrager@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.

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The NFL's 10th week gave us a pair of near upsets in St. Louis and Miami, an absolute snoozefest on Monday night in Cleveland and an 86-year-old owner flippin' the bird in Tennessee (yes, this really did happen ... fantastic!). There were injuries to key players, statement wins from the Cardinals and Bengals, and a LaDainian Tomlinson sighting in San Diego. And, oh yeah, there was that play call in Indianapolis. What's in store for us in Week 11? Let's dig into the NFL Cheat Sheet. Last Week's Record: 10-5
Overall Record: 97-48

Thursday Night

Miami at Carolina: Few teams in the league are playing as well as the Panthers of late. It's not just DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The defense is starting to hold its own, too. Jake Delhomme has won four of his past five vs. the AFC. He'll make that five of six on Thursday night.
The Pick: Panthers 23, Dolphins 13

Sunday's 1 p.m. ET games

Washington at Dallas: Seven of the last 10 times these two have played, the game has been decided by five points or less. That shouldn't be the case on Sunday. Tony Romo gets back on track in that spaceship of a stadium he calls home and the Cowboys put the clamps on the suddenly resurgent Ladell Betts.
The Pick: Cowboys 27, Redskins 6 Indianapolis at Baltimore: The good news for Ravens fans? "Blind Side" is a fun 90 minutes and you'll love the Nick Saban and Lou Holtz cameos. The bad news for Ravens fans? Peyton Manning can't be stopped. Look for Indy to get by Baltimore for the seventh straight time this weekend. The "kicker" of it all? As the Ravens struggle with field goals and extra points each and every week, Matt Stover has been pretty much perfect for the Colts. Look for Stover to go home and nail some big ones in a win against his old squad on Sunday.
The Pick: Colts 33, Ravens 24 San Francisco at Green Bay: The first two quarterbacks taken in the 2005 Draft square off when Alex Smith goes up against Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. Though the Packers D gets beat up by the pundits from time to time, Green Bay is currently first in the league in turnover differential (+13). As for that Packers offensive line? Well, that's a whole other story. Green Bay finds a way this weekend — despite the O-line — and wins another close one at home.
The Pick: Packers 20, 49ers 17
Cleveland at Detroit. Eww.
The Pick: Lions 2, Browns 0 Buffalo at Jacksonville: Adam Schein refers to the Jaguars as "America's Team." I like the "Hyphenators" instead. With the Bills fresh off a disastrous loss in Tennessee, a mid-week coaching change and the first of what could be several T.O. sideline shouting matches, I'll go with the Jacksonville Sims-Walker-Jones-Drew-hyphen-hyphens.
The Pick: Jaguars 33, Bills 3 Pittsburgh at Kansas City: I'm worried about Todd Haley and the way he's treating his young Chiefs. Time and time again, he's seen screaming at his players on the sidelines. And not in the encouraging, likeable way. Instead in the frustrating, "I don't care if I'm embarrassing you on national television" kinda way. Haley ripped into Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles more than a few times each in Sunday's win over the Raiders. I'm scared to see how he'll handle a ferocious Dick LeBeau defensive attack on Sunday.
The Pick: Steelers 34, Chiefs 10 Seattle at Minnesota: The Steve Hutchinson Bowl! How's this for a stat to chew on? Heading into this weekend, Brett Favre leads the NFC in passing efficiency, Adrian Peterson leads the NFC in rushing and touchdowns and Sidney Rice leads the NFC in receiving yards. And, oh yeah, Jared Allen leads the NFC in sacks. I'll take the NFC All- Star team over the Seahawks in the Metrodome on Sunday.
The Pick: Vikings 31, Seahawks 21 Atlanta at N.Y. Giants: Quirky stat of the week? The road team has won every time the Giants have played the Falcons since 1979 (12 meetings). The Giants might have had their best week of the season last week — and they didn't even play. Why? For one thing, they didn't lose. That's something they haven't been able to say since early October. Secondly, their next two opponents lost their top offensive weapons (Michael Turner, Kyle Orton). Finally, and most importantly, both the Eagles and Cowboys lost. Without Turner slicing them up, the Giants squeak out a victory over the Jason Snelling-led Falcons.
The Pick: Giants 20, Falcons 16 New Orleans at Tampa Bay: Bring back the Creamsicle unis, Tampa! The Bucs are 1-0 in the throwbacks, and 0-8 in the pewter. The Saints, meanwhile, are 9-0 for first time in team history. New Orleans averages 36.8 points per game, the most in the NFL. It seems like the Saints find new playmakers every week. If it's not the usual suspects, it's a Courtney Roby or a Robert Meachem breaking games open. Watch someone else step up and lead the Saints to their 10th win on Sunday.
The Pick: Saints 38, Buccaneers 14

Sunday's 4 p.m. ET games

Arizona at St. Louis: Kurt Warner returns to where it all began. In his career at the Edward Jones Dome, the former Rams two-time league MVP has thrown 57 touchdown passes to 30 interceptions. The Cardinals have won five straight over the Rams and I don't see that changing this weekend. Warner adds to his TD total, connecting with Larry Fitzgerald for two scores and perhaps Early Doucet for another.
The Pick: Cardinals 27, Rams 16 San Diego at Denver: As a Jersey guy, it warms my heart to see Darrell Reid, Knowshon Moreno and Chris Simms — three of the Garden State's biggest high school stars of the past decade — all starting for the Broncos. As a fan of football, it also warms my heart to see LaDainian Tomlinson show he has a little gas left in the tank. Tomlinson gashed the Eagles for 96 yards and two touchdowns last week. Look for similar production on Sunday in Denver. Remember that Broncos bandwagon from three weeks ago? Full to the brim with members of the media piled on top of each other like sardines? Well, it's completely empty now. It always amazes me how fast that can happen.
The Pick: Chargers 27, Broncos 17 N.Y. Jets at New England: Say what you want about Bill Belichick's decision on Sunday night, but I guarantee nine out of 10 players in this league would rather play for a guy who goes with his gut and trusts his offense in a big spot than a coach who just plays it safe every time out. If you're going to knock Marty Schottenheimer for being too conservative in big games, you can't criticize Belichick for going for the win. But a screen pass to Kevin Faulk? Why not one of those slip screens to Wes Welker or Julian Edelman that had been working the entire game? OK, OK, enough on all that. The Patriots cream the Jets on Sunday. I'm sure we all can agree on that.
The Pick: Patriots 34, Jets 17 Cincinnati at Oakland: The Jamarcus Russell/Bruce Gradkowski era is so bad that Raiders fans are longing for the days of Andrew Walter and Marcus Tuiasosopo. Things were so boring last weekend vs. Kansas City, even Gus Johnson seemed disinterested. The Bengals are 4-0 on the road and shouldn't lose this one on Sunday.
The Pick: Bengals 20, Raiders 9

Sunday Night

Philadelphia at Chicago: I don't like when people call Jay Cutler stupid. The guy went to Vanderbilt! Is he erratic? Sure. Is he inconsistent? Fine. But, stupid? C'mon. Unless you went to Harvard or Princeton, please don't comment on the man's intelligence. Donovan McNabb hails from the Windy City and has won three of his last four games there. But I foresee an upset in this one. With Lovie Smith's job certainty up in the air, look for his Bears to find a way. And for that "idiot" Cutler to play well.
The Pick: Bears 28, Eagles 21

Monday Night

Tennessee at Houston: Though I don't condone it, I gotta say I'm pretty amazed Bud Adams still has the energy to flip the bird at age 86. I hope I'm as passionate at that age. I also hope I've got so much dough that a $250,000 fine is just a drop in the bucket. No middle fingers needed here. The red-hot Titans continue their second-half surge with an upset win over Houston. Vince Young returns home and finds a way in crunch time.
The Pick: Titans 24, Texans 20

Reader Email of the Week

Peter,
I gotta tell you, I'm pretty creeped out right now. This is some "Halloween"/"Nightmare on Elm Street" type stuff. As I'm sure you're well aware (I can picture you walking up and down the streets of New York City telling anyone who will listen), you accurately predicted that the Colts would beat the Patriots by one point in the final seconds in last week's Cheat Sheet. I know you just took a lucky guess, but that's still pretty eerie, man. As much as it scares me, I gotta give some props. Good job.
Dane, Edina, Minnesota
Dane,
Thank you, but that was no lucky guess, my friend. Leading up to Sunday night's game, I broke down game film from the last 10 times the Colts and Patriots played, analyzed the field conditions at Lucas Oil for three hours prior to kickoff and had a heart-to-heart with a crack team of consultants (my girlfriend, a homeless guy on the subway, some dude's dog in Dunkin' Donuts). After several days and hundreds of hours of preparation, the prediction was made. I'm not surprised that it was right. In fact, I'm angry I was off by 13 seconds. Remember, I also had the Giants beating the Patriots by 3 in the Super Bowl a few years ago. As for some non-football predictions, here are three you can put in the books, Dane:

  • That "New Moon" flick will do well in the box office.
  • Someone does something wacky on a VH1 reality television show.
  • A person you never spoke to in high school will add you as a friend on Facebook. They'll then send you some pics of their kids.
Enjoy that.
Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Cardinals, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Kevin Faulk, Jake Delhomme, Donovan McNabb, LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Stover, Ladell Betts, Adrian Peterson, Chris Simms, Tony Romo, Larry Fitzgerald, Jared Allen, Wes Welker, Aaron Rodgers, Courtney Roby, Andrew Walter, Alex Smith, Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, Darrell Reid, Vince Young, Jay Cutler, DeAngelo Williams, Jason Snelling, Robert Meachem, Sidney Rice, Jonathan Stewart, Jamaal Charles, Early Doucet, Julian Edelman, Knowshon Moreno

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