NFL Week 11 game picks: Broncos fall to Bears; Pats stay perfect

What a horrible time to prognosticate games. Consider the week that was.

Who had the hapless Lions taking down the Pack at Lambeau? Which fan, base besides #ChiefsKingdom, foresaw the whuppin' (and benching) that took place in Denver? Which quarterback took down the Bengals' perfect record? T.J. Yates?

It was the worst week of picks yours truly has ever had in all my years of doing this for Last season, I got hot late, easily picking over twice as many right as wrong. This season? Geez, staying above .500 has been a formidable task.

Nobody does negative like Browns fans. (But fair point.)

After that Negative Nancy preamble, let's get to some Positive Perry. The picks below are winners ... all of them. Don't agree? Drop me a line. @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 4-10 on his predictions for Week 10, giving him a record of 84-62 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 11? His picks are below.

Do you trust the Lions to replicate last week's performance in Lambeau? For that matter, do you trust the Lions period? Or do you trust Derek Carr and the Raiders to bounce back? Tough game to predict, given that Jim Caldwell's club shocked the football world by beating Green Bay on the road for the first time since Chris Spielman and Bennie Blades were lining up on defense. Carr won't find too many players of similar ilk lining up for one of the worst scoring defenses in the league. With Latavius Murray presumably ready to get back on track, Oakland should generate enough offense -- including three Sebastian Janikowski field goals -- to prevail.

 **Relevant stat:** If the season ended today, Carr's 101.5 passer rating would be the second-highest in 
 [Raiders](/teams/oaklandraiders/profile?team=OAK) history, behind Ken Stabler's 103.4 in 1976 -- the only time to date a 
 [Raiders](/teams/oaklandraiders/profile?team=OAK) QB has posted a passer rating of 100-plus for the season. That '76 Oakland team went on to win the 
 [Super Bowl]( 

Interesting matchup, in that both teams are coming off a bye. Indy disappointed everyone early in the year, while Atlanta started off like gangbusters, only to slump badly over the last month. Then again, is that recent downturn simply indicative of the quality of Dan Quinn's football team? This game should tell us much about the Falcons. We know they're "any one of 37 species of raptors," with "thin, tapered wings." That's a falcon in a nutshell. Oh, you want to know about the football team? OK ... inconsistent quarterback play, supported by the most underrated tailback and perhaps the scariest WR1 in the league.

 **Fun fact:** 
 [Julio Jones](/player/juliojones/2495454/profile) is having a huge year, putting him on track to potentially threaten the record for receptions in a season (143). The last -- and only -- Falcon to lead the NFL in receiving yards was Alfred Jenkins, who did it with 1,358 yards 34 years ago. 

By most logic, St. Louis should win this game. The Rams are healthier. They have more talent. They haven't lost practically every close game this season. But what about The Case Keenum Effect, which sounds a bullhorn -- if not a ram horn -- to go the other way? Well, the most important thing is that we acknowledge this is The Tony Banks Bowl. Now that we're past that golden nugget, here's another: Though Steve Smith Sr.'s season ended after his seventh game, he's still 264 yards ahead of the Ravens' second-leading receiver, Kamar Aiken, who has played in nine. That is an enormous margin. While Aiken caught seven balls last week, he was targeted 14 times and only averaged 10.4 yards per catch. That's not exactly threatening defenses.

 **Fun fact:** In 10 games as a starter, Keenum's passer rating (76.8), touchdown-to-interception ratio (11:8) and yards-per-game (219.5) are all better than 
 [Nick Foles](/player/nickfoles/2532842/profile)' marks (75.9, 7:6, 186.4) this season. 

The win one, lose one Bucs are on schedule to lose this weekend in Philadelphia. Given that the NFC East is destined to be muddied by an 8-8 division winner, then the Eagles should win, to keep the forgettable division on its own schedule. We probably will see Mark Sanchez on Sunday -- so we can expect a 340-yard, three-score performance that will raise the water level of hope for Philly fans just high enough to drown them at 7-9. Tampa Bay must open bigger holes for Doug Martin, whose yards-per-carry marks over the last three games are 3.1, 2.8 and 3.5.

 **Not-so-fun fact:** The team leaderboard will tell you the Bucs are 
 [the seventh-ranked defense overall]( in the league. Problem is, those rankings are based on yards per game. A much more valuable metric? Points allowed per game, a category in which Tampa is 
 [ranked 26th]( 

Yep. Chicago wins its third in a row. As solid as Jeremy Langford has been filling in for Matt Forte, had he caught that third-down pass late against the Vikings in the Week 8 loss, the Bears would be a mere tick behind Minnesota in the NFC North standings. Langford was brilliant in the passing game last week, posting the rare 100-yard receiving game for a rookie running back. How much he will play when Forte comes back is anyone's guess. Anticipate a time share, a phrase fantasy owners like almost as much as " Eddie Lacy" right now. The Broncos also will return a key component to the lineup: Aqib Talib. This pass rush isn't the same without the injured DeMarcus Ware, though. Intriguing Week 11 contest here.

 **Historical symmetry:** It seems like forever ago, but the 
 [Bears](/teams/chicagobears/profile?team=CHI) and 
 [Broncos](/teams/denverbroncos/profile?team=DEN) played 
 [one of the wilder games of 2011]( 
 [Marion the Barbarian]( (yes, he played in Chicago) 
 [fumbled twice]( while 
 [Tebowmania spread like wildfire]( in a Denver OT win. 

New York tries to bounce back after a Thursday night filled with errant throws, dropped passes and arguable coaching decisions ... essentially, Jets football over the last 10 years. Hey, at least they're consistent. What could affect the outcome of this game is if Chris Ivory is wearing down. Next Gen Stats show that he's getting to the line of scrimmage slower than he was earlier this year, which could be a concern, bearing in mind that the Texans have the best third-down defense in pro football. Houston has allowed opponents to extend drives on the game's most important down only 31 times this season, easily the lowest figure in the league.

 **Relevant stat:** Of the players with the most receiving touchdowns since 2012, two 
 [Jets](/teams/newyorkjets/profile?team=NYJ) are in the top five: 
 [Brandon Marshall]( and 
 [Eric Decker](/player/ericdecker/497284/profile). Let's see if 
 [Johnathan Joseph](/player/johnathanjoseph/2495872/profile) and company can play lights-out like they did 
 [in Cincy]( 

Carolina moves to 10-0 on the strength of a linebacker corps that eats Matt Joneses and Alfred Morrises for lunch. Actually, Jones' first-step explosion should allow him to break one touchdown run in the red zone. Morris, however, should be largely ineffective against a front seven that can stifle a patient runner -- those holes don't stay open very long. Still, it's too bad for Carolina that defensive coordinator Sean McDermott won't get prized pass rusher Charles Johnson -- he of the 52.5 sacks in the five seasons prior to 2015 -- back in the fold for at least another week. It'd be nice to stop leaning on 55-year-old Jared Allen to collapse the pocket. Love Allen, but he should be a situational rusher, not an every-down player, at this stage of the game.

 **[Fantasy]( nugget:** The presence of the Carolina defense doesn't bode well for anyone starting 
 [Kirk Cousins](/player/kirkcousins/2532820/profile) or, really, any other Redskin. But as a fantasy owner, how do you sit 
 [Jordan Reed](/player/jordanreed/2540160/profile)? Tight end is often a barren wasteland in the game, and the dude has five touchdowns in his last three contests. 

These two teams don't square off that much, particularly in Miami, where the Cowboys have only played three times in the last 31 years, losing there in 1984 and winning in 1996 and 2007. The contest in '84 marked the first time I was ever allowed to stay up for the entire "Monday Night Football" broadcast. The 13-2 Dolphins bested the 9-6 Cowboys in a game the latter had to have to make the playoffs for the 10th year in a row. Miami's Mark Clayton set a single-season receiving touchdown record that night (18, since surpassed by Jerry Rice's 22 in 1987 and Randy Moss' 23 in 2007). And no matter what anyone says about today's QBs, Dan Marino's '84 season was the best ever, period. Last year was Tony Romo's best ever, as he led the NFL in passer rating. He'll be suiting up for Dallas for the first time since Week 2 -- and given the way the Cowboys' defense has been playing, they should be able to beat the Fins. The key for Miami will be keeping their quarterback clean. Ryan Tannehill was sacked four times in Philadelphia and is on pace for 48. That's too much.

 **Historical symmetry:** The '96 contest between Dallas and Miami was one of the most-hyped matchups of the '90s, as it pitted a 
 [Cowboys](/teams/dallascowboys/profile?team=DAL) team going for its fourth 
 [Super Bowl]( in five years against a 
 [Dolphins](/teams/miamidolphins/profile?team=MIA) squad coached by Jimmy Johnson, who had built Dallas' championship roster. 

Philip Rivers sure could use someone else stepping up in San Diego. Malcom Floyd is going to try, torn labrum and all, though it's tough to imagine him playing in this one. Don't blame Danny Woodhead for the lack of support -- he's been balling for the Bolts' offense. On an unrelated note, it would be nice if commentators could start attributing Woodhead's skill set to anything other than his height, or lack thereof. "That Woodhead is so effective because linebackers can't see him, and he can slip out without them picking him up!" If that's all it takes to be the best third-down back in football, then why not just trot Sean Astin out there? Kansas City trotted Charcandrick West out there and made the Broncos pay last week. More impressive is the shutdown play of the Chiefs' corners, who present a bad matchup for San Diego's patchwork receiver corps.

 **Not-so-fun fact:** The 
 [Chargers](/teams/sandiegochargers/profile?team=SD) are on pace for all of 2 punt-return yards this season, which would be the fewest since 1960. As if Rivers needed a little 
 *less* help. #fieldposition 

A lot of people around the country are anticipating a Vikings victory. All the signs pointing to a Vikes win are there: The Packers' offense has struggled in this three-game losing streak; the game is in Minnesota; and Green Bay's defense is failing to get stops when needed. Perhaps most alarming is the human play of Aaron Rodgers over that span. Over those three losses, Rodgers has often seemed to be at a loss for words, completing 56.5 percent of his passes for less than 6 yards per throw. Meanwhile, Minnesota's D has only allowed 17.1 points per game, second-best in the NFL. But Hall of Fame players often rebound in the toughest of circumstances, on the road, without a full deck of cards around them. This will be one of those times. #relax

 **Did you know?** The 
 [Vikings](/teams/minnesotavikings/profile?team=MIN) are the least-penalized team in the league ... in case you needed more evidence that Mike Zimmer is a fantastic coach. 

Is Blaine Gabbert the answer for the Niners? Before you snicker, remember that this guy did go 10th overall in the same draft that featured Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton as second-round picks. Then again, Jake Locker was drafted ahead of all those folks -- so, uh, never mind. Gabbert will endeavor to get the ball out on time, as he did versus the Falcons two weeks ago, although he'll find this Seattle pass rush to be a different animal entirely than Atlanta's ... like, the difference between Alabama and ITT Tech. Unfortunately, that pass rush wasn't able to get to Carson Palmer in the waning moments Sunday night. That said, Gabbert has not shown a penchant for hitting the long ball à la Palmer. And the threat of the draw -- the play that killed the Seahawks late in the loss -- won't be as effective, given the 49ers' so-so aerial game. #SFvsSEA

Top-flight matchup of the week: The Bengals are coming off their first loss of the season to face a Cardinals team that many think is as strong, top to bottom, as any in the league. On that point, you can make the argument that both rosters are as bloated with talent as any in the NFL. So let's break this one down in simple terms:

 **Key for the [Bengals](/teams/cincinnatibengals/profile?team=CIN):** 
 [Andy Dalton](/player/andydalton/2495143/profile)'s ability to handle the Arizona blitz packages. He's posted a staggering 118.8 passer rating against the blitz this season (though he managed a passer rating of just 76.0 against the blitz 
 [on Monday]( 
 **Key for the [Cardinals](/teams/arizonacardinals/profile?team=ARI):** How much juice 
 [Chris Johnson]( and that running game will provide. Johnson ran 25 times for 58 yards in 
 [last week's win]( over Seattle. Those are obviously not impressive numbers, but they do show Bruce Arians' commitment to the run game. 

The Bills climbed back into the AFC wild-card saddle with their win over the Jets at the New Meadowlands last Thursday night. Can they take two in a row on the road, this time against an AFC East foe who might be the top team in the NFL? For starters, Buffalo's defense probably needs to cut in half the 466-spot Tom Brady laid on them last time. Cutting LeSean McCoy loose to run wild through the second level of the Patriots' defense would burn clock and reduce the burden on Tyrod Taylor to win by himself. Meanwhile, Brady and the New England offense overall looked mortal after Julian Edelman left with a broken foot last week. With Edelman and Dion Lewis on the shelf, this might be a game in which Danny Amendola catches eight to 10 balls for over 100 yards.

 **Relevant stat:** Rex Ryan has won a few big games over the 
 [Patriots](/teams/newenglandpatriots/profile?team=NE) (the 2010 Divisional Playoffs spring to mind), but for the most part, Brady has owned him. He's won 11 of 15 against Ryan-coached defenses, posting a 28:8 TD-to-INT ratio and over 280 yards per game. 


Doing it. Taking the plunge ... picking Jacksonville to win Thursday night. It's not because the Titans are much worse, either. How is Tennessee going to defend Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns when it had a middling day versus the Panthers' pass catchers last week? (No offense, but Ted Wells' mustache catches more things than Ted Ginn Jr.) Moreover, the Titans must be able to provide Marcus Mariota with balance. Antonio Andrews -- everyone's waiver-wire fantasy darling last week -- ran for 8 yards at 0.7 yards per pop against the Panthers. That's not even three feet per carry. On the other side, Blake Bortles has thrown a pick in five straight games.

 **Remember when ...** 
 [Charlie Whitehurst](/player/charliewhitehurst/2495974/profile) 
 [got the start at Jacksonville]( last year and, bless his heart, put the 
 [Titans](/teams/tennesseetitans/profile?team=TEN) in position to win? Of course, it 
 [ended like this.]( 

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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