Nov. 23, 2017
NFL Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Week 11 Headlines
Zeke Will Serve Full Suspension: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is dropping the appeal of his six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Which means that Elliott will be serving the full six-game suspension
Seahawks’ Sherman Tears Achilles: Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn Achilles during a Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Taylor Benched: The Buffalo Bills benched third-year starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor and will start rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday.
Jones vs. NFL: Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones has been accused of “conduct detrimental to the league’s best interest” in a later written by the NFL’s compensation committee.
Fantasy Football Start Em/Sit Em
Starting Quarterbacks: Alex Smith, Derek Carr, Case Keenum, Eli Manning, Carson Wentz
Sitting Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Andy Dalton, Jared Goff, DeShone Kizer
Starting Running Backs: Chris Thompson, Jerk McKinnon, Jordan Howard, Rex Burkhead
Sitting Running Backs: Joe Mixon, Lamar Miller, Alfred Morris, Tarik Cohen
Starting Receivers: Jarvis Landry, Michael Crabtree, Sterling Shepard, Jamison Crowder
Sitting Receivers: Jordy Nelson, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Marvin Jones
Starting Tight Ends: Evan Engram, Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, Cameron Brate, Jared Cook
Sitting Tight Ends: Charles Clay, Eric Ebron, Coby Fleener, Marteullus Bennett
Starting Defenses: Chargers, Cardinals, Jaguars, Ravens
Sitting Defenses: Bills, Falcons, Cowboys, Redskins
Titans vs. Steelers: Tennessee has become the league’s forgotten 6-3 team. While they have no glaring weaknesses to exploit, they don’t jump off the page on either side of the ball. Against the Steelers, the Titans have the size up front to make things difficult for Le’Veon Bell. They’re well coached in the secondary as well to combat the Pittsburgh passing attack. What this comes down to is if the Titans offense can be trusted to put up enough points. Against one of the best defenses in football, I’m not sure the Titans will be able to muster enough points to win this game.
Jaguars vs. Browns: Against the Jags defense, Cleveland will be lucky to score any points. They’re losing again.
Buccaneers vs. Dolphins: This is the Week 1 matchup that was pushed back due to Hurricane Irma. At this point, both of these teams could use a bye week. The Buccaneers are injury-riddled while the Dolphins have begun to slip into the embrace of mediocrity due to their turnover issues. Either one of these teams can win this game, but it will fall to which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Cutler and renowned for their backbreaking turnovers. In terms of which defense has the ability to extract more turnovers, Miami’s has the slight edge. That combined with the Dolphins offense being slightly more consistent might lead to a Miami victory.
Ravens vs. Packers: Green Bay showed that they’re not going into the tank quite yet. A win over the Bears keeps their season alive, but things won’t get easier from here. Brett Hundley will have to face a top-10 defense against the Ravens. Baltimore's run defense has been better since Brandon Williams returned, and if the Packers are going to win this game, they're going to have to lean on the run. The Ravens have had an extra week to break down the Packers offense as well. The Packers do have the benefit of playing a pedestrian Ravens offense. Their defense should have no trouble making life harder for Flacco and company. In a physical slog of a game, I think the Ravens make one extra play on defense that gets them the win.
Lions vs. Bears: Out of the gate, the big question in this game is whether the Chicago defensive front can apply pressure and contain Matthew Stafford. If Chicago accomplishes that as well and runs the ball well, they can win this game. Mitchell Trubisky will also have a say in whether the Bears can win this game. He looks to be getting the hang of playing at an NFL level, but he has to avoid the catastrophic rookie mistakes. Detroit has their work cut out for them. Their defense needs to find a way to get into the Bears backfield early and often and force Trubisky to win the game. Also, the Lions offense needs to try and score early to create a deficit that offsets the Bears running game. In the end, I give the edge to the Bears because of their defense and running game.
Rams vs. Vikings: We’re now entering the part of the season where we find out who the Rams really are. Up first is a matchup with the Vikings and their elite defense. In a matchup between the explosive offense and the elite defense, the smart money is usually with the defense. Especially considering the good defenses the Rams have played (Jacksonville and Seattle) have managed to stop the Rams offense. While the Rams defense is capable of making plays, they’re not a shutdown unit so to speak. So this will ultimately come down to which offense can do enough to win the game. Case Keenum has emerged as a solid contributor at quarterback surrounded by capable weapons. For that reason, I’ll pick the Vikings to win.
Cardinals vs. Texans: Both of these teams have fallen apart and become pitiful husks due to injuries. Blaine Gabbert will be making the start for the Cardinals, and his success will be predicated on Adrian Peterson’s success on the ground. If Peterson can get it going and help set up play action, the Cards should be able to move the ball on the Texans. As for the Texans, the injuries they’ve sustained has almost left them helpless in all facets of the game. So for that reason, I’m picking Arizona to pick up the win.
Chiefs vs. Giants: It’s all bad for the Giants after losing the much-maligned toilet bowl against the Niners last week. The locker room is also falling apart due to a myriad of issues from top to bottom. A perfect matchup for a Chiefs team that has shown to be inconsistent. The Giants are right next to the Browns in terms of who the worst team in the league is. So Kansas City had better take care of business in this one.
Redskins vs. Saints: New Orleans has emerged as easily the hottest team in the league. Their offense has been superb while their defense is emerging as one of the best in the league. The Washington offense will put that claim to the test. But even if they find ways to score points, can they keep up with the Saints offensive machine? The Saints are no longer the air assault offense that relied on the excellence of Drew Brees. Now, they want to beat you by pounding you to a pulp with the run game while Brees makes a few efficient throws. I think that will ultimately be too much for the Redskins to handle on the road.
Bills vs. Chargers: With their great start to the season nearly squandered, the Bills are making a quarterback change. Nathan Peterman will be starting in place of Tyrod Taylor. Peterman will be greeted by one of the best pass rush units in the NFL when the Bills face the Chargers. And the Bills won’t be able to rely solely on the run as the Chargers have made improvements on their running defense. Buffalo is struggling and haven’t played the sound mistake free football that got them off to their surprising start. Their zone defense will likely be picked apart by Philip Rivers should he get out of concussion protocol. This should be an easy victory for the Chargers.
Bengals vs. Broncos: These teams are very similar in their makeup. Both Cincinnati and Denver have good defenses with dysfunctional offenses on the other side. That alone will make this game close. What makes the difference is that the Bengals offensive line is awful and the Broncos have the secondary to contain A.J. Green. With Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas healthy, Brock Osweiler should figure out how to get some points on the board for a Broncos victory.
Patriots vs. Raiders: Oakland is coming off of a bye week in a do-or-die situation once again due to the divisional standings. They cannot afford any more losses if they can help it. And therein lies the problem. They’re facing a New England team that is on a roll with a secondary that resembles turnstiles. Tom Brady will likely torch the Raiders defense. The Raiders only hope is to find their identity on offense. Pounding the ball via the ground game would be a good idea, but the Raiders have seldom been successful in that endeavor so far this season. This could fall to Derek Carr to sling the ball around the field in an attempt to keep pace with the Patriots offense. But the Raiders defense is so bad that it won’t matter what they do. The Patriots are winning this game.
Eagles vs. Cowboys: With the Zeke suspension in full effect, the Cowboys find themselves locked into desperation mode. They cannot afford a loss. Last week’s beating by the hands of the Falcons showed the value of Zeke to the offense. The Cowboys had no physical identity whatsoever. The Eagles enter this game with an extra week of prep and with matchups in their favor. To start, the absence of Zeke and offensive lineman Tyron Smith means the Eagles cannot wait to pin their ears back and go right after Dak Prescott. The Eagles offensive line will likely offset the Dallas front and give Carson Wentz time to pick apart the rest of the Dallas defense. And finally, the Eagles can turn to a power running game if all else fails. The Eagles have the better team and the tactical advantages. They should win this game.
Falcons vs. Seahawks: The last two times these teams faced off, it has been advantage Falcons. Last year in the regular season, the Falcons were robbed of a victory due to bad officiating on a key play. During the playoffs, the Falcons destroyed Seattle. During the playoff game, in particular, Earl Thomas wasn’t available for the Seahawks. This time, Richard Sherman won’t be available. This should give the Falcons offense room to operate with the passing game. The game will ultimately be decided by the Falcons defense. Coming down the stretch last season, they were the hottest defense in the league. Coming off of a huge performance against the Cowboys, they’ll have to do it again against the Seahawks. Atlanta has the quickness to contain Russell Wilson, but tackling him is still difficult. This does mean however that Wilson won’t be running uncontested all day. All things considered, I think this game favors the Falcons and they’ll end up winning it.