NFL Week 11 game picks: Cardinals top Lions; Patriots stay hot

So "Godzilla" was on last night. It was the 2014 version.

Besides Bryan Cranston's wig clearly breaking bad, all I could think about was the 1960s movie "King Kong vs. Godzilla." Godzilla was supposed to be several-hundred feet tall, and King Kong 35 feet tall -- yet the producers made them the same height in that flick. Not only did I know that was a total sham at 8 years old, but I also knew King Kong was just some goofy actor in a gorilla suit. I might have even seen the zipper.

It made me think of Denver playing in St. Louis this weekend. Are the Rams, who have managed to upend the Seahawksand49ers, just James Spader in a zip-up gorilla suit? Or can they pull off this huge upset at home? (King Kong didn't.)

Yes, I'm on board with your asterisked logic, Zach -- Denver will show no mercy in taking care of the Rams this weekend. As for the rest of our Week 11 Game Picks, take a gander below. As always, feel free to share your take: @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 10-3 on his predictions for Week 10, giving him a record of 94-52-1 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 11? His picks are below.

Think the Bears bounce back this week at Soldier Field. Most people believe this club is completely lost. Maybe they're right. That said, the Matt Fortes and Brandon Marshalls of the world have too much pride to call it a season, and the Bears' offense presents matchup problems all over the board for the Vikings. But this game might actually hinge on how Teddy Bridgewater performs when Minnesota has the ball. Specifically, can the rookie quarterback locate -- and capitalize on -- open receivers? There are three things you can count on in this world: 1) Seth Rogen being in at least one bad movie per year; 2) multi-speed beach cruisers costing $200 more than you anticipate; and 3) receivers running free through the Chicago secondary. #MINvsCHI

Am I the only guy who thinks Houston at Cleveland is a sneaky good game? Ryan Mallett makes his first NFL start (after spending the bye week thinking about it). Meanwhile, that Cleveland defense looked awesome last Thursday night, and -- like the Texans -- Mike Pettine's boys have had extra time to rest and get healthy. Who knows who will be getting the rock in the Browns' ground attack? The eyeball test favors Terrance West. Houston hopes to counter with Arian Foster; this season, the running back hasn't been held under 100 yards in any game he's played the entirety of, but he's currently dealing with a hamstring issue. We also get to see a healthyish Jadeveon Clowney. That said, I trust Brian Hoyer. Like Mallett, Hoyer learned the ropes in New England, but the Browns QB is further along in his development at this point. #HOUvsCLE

Atlanta is trying to make something of its season. With the Panthers reeling, the Falcons have a legit shot at winning back-to-back games for the first time since 2012. It should be noted that this game is in Carolina, where the Panthers have been hit-or-miss in 2014. Two of their three wins came at Bank of America Stadium, as did a close loss to Seattle in Week 8. But Carolina has two issues at this point: the passing game and the opposition's passing game. Whether he's injured or uninterested, Cam Newton plain didn't look good on Monday. Meanwhile, Panthers DBs will have their hands full with Roddy White and Julio Jones. Antoine Cason and Melvin White have been getting fried, with each allowing opposing quarterbacks a 100-plus passer rating this year. I'm trusting Matt Ryan on the road -- not easy to do -- against a struggling defense. #ATLvsCAR

Appropriate that the Bengals are heading south, because that's exactly where Andy Dalton's game has gone since Jay Gruden departed. Last season, Dalton posted an 88.8 QB rating with 33 touchdown passes. This year? His QB rating has dropped to 78.0 and he's on pace for 14 TD passes. Considering he'll have to keep up in a potential track meet with Drew Brees in New Orleans, Dalton must raise his game. The Bengals' defense is 20th in offensive points allowed, and the unit was spanked in Cincy's two most recent road games: at Indianapolis and at New England. In fact, the Bengals' last win away from Paul Brown Stadium came in Week 1. Excited to see what Mark Ingram does; he's churned out 172, 100 and 120 yards over the past three weeks. #CINvsNO

Can Josh McCown raise this team from the *youknowwhere*? Last week, he tossed two interceptions, and the Bucs could not overcome three total turnovers in yet another loss. The good news: Even if McCown does turn the ball over, the host Redskins can't score off turnovers to save their lives. (They're the worst in the NFL in said category.) So McCown should take some chances getting the ball vertically to Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans -- this Redskins secondary can be had. The real issue for Tampa Bay might be getting to Robert Griffin III. The Bucs aren't generating a pass rush and aren't clamping down when opponents get inside their 30. Opposing QBs have compiled a 123.4 passer rating on the Bucs in that area of the field. Ugh. #TBvsWAS

If Denver is to be upset in St. Louis (something I don't see happening), the Rams will have to make Peyton Manning seriously uncomfortable in the pocket. Not sure why -- maybe opposing quarterbacks started wearing Drakkar or something -- but St. Louis has actually started sacking the passer again. The Rams logged 11 sacks over the past two weeks after recording just one through the first five games. Here's the thing, though: You can't blitz Manning. He has a 106.3 QB rating in 82 attempts while facing the blitz, hitting seven pass plays of 25-plus yards, and he's only been sacked twice. That's why it's imperative the Rams get home with their front four (like they consistently did in 2013). Getting Tre Mason going would help matters, too. #DENvsSTL

For every week of the 2014 season, I've been watching a game from the same week of the 1984 season. Recently, I watched the Giants host the 49ers on "Monday Night Football," bringing back memories of all the classic games these two would play over the years: Ronnie Lott having his finger amputated to play in the '85 wild card, Jim Burt knocking out Joe Montana in the '86 divisional round, and of course, the legendary 1990 NFC Championship Game. In fact, these two would match up later in the '84 postseason, at Candlestick. And we haven't even gotten to the 49ers' miracle comeback in the 2002 wild card (remember that ill-fated field-goal try?), or the 2011 NFC title bout ( did Ahmad Bradshaw fumble before the whistle?).

Sure, it's a long walk to the game preview, but this might be the most underrated series in the history of the NFL. As in the game I watched last week, the 49ers are hitting the road. To be frank, the season is starting to look lost for the 3-6 Giants, who are 1-2 in the NFC East and too far back to compete with the Eagles or Cowboys. Rashad Jennings is expected back; he'll have to show up big-time in his first game in a month. You know San Francisco is going to pound Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde after seeing Seattle roll up 350 rushing yards on Big Blue last week. This is the kind of game in which Eli Manning must play lights-out if the Giants are to have a chance. #SFvsNYG

Seattle leads the NFL in rushing at 170.9 yards per game. Kansas City's allowing 4.7 yards per carry, second-worst in the league. No bueno. OK, so let's look toward the passing game, because that's where this matchup gets interesting. Was doing some research in the NFL NOW newsroom after watching my buddy @SolomonsWisdom do a segment on blitz frequency, and I found that Russell Wilson ranks 24th against the blitz, compiling an 81.4 passer rating while completing under 60 percent of his passes. That said, the Chiefs rarely have to blitz, because their outside rushers bring it. How is Wilson on third down? Twenty-fourth again, picking up just 25 passing first downs. Alex Smith? He boasts a 102.2 passer rating on third down, with 43 passing first downs. He also has the largest conversion rate on third-and-7-plus in the league. Seattle's run game must keep it up, staying out of third-down situations, especially against this pass rush and a super-loud crowd that is not cheering for them (for a change). #SEAvsKC

Somebody can't suck this week. Or, at least, someone can't lose. The Chargers were flat-out awful the last time we saw them, while the Raiders remain the only winless team in the league. Oakland's problems start with a completely nonexistent run game -- something that doesn't help the rookie quarterback, or burn any clock to give a porous defense a breather. In fact, Oakland ranks dead last in the league in rushing at 62.1 yards per game. Philip Rivers merely needs to play an efficient game at home to win this deal for San Diego, but his numbers have taken a nosedive over the last few weeks. His passer rating through the first six games: 117.6. The last three: 71.2. #OAKvsSD

Perhaps the game of the week in the NFC. This matchup comes down to a few things:

A) Can Andre Ellington give the Cardinals any kind of balance against that Lions front?

B) Will the Lions be cognizant of (and able to contain) Drew Stanton's mobility?

C) Who will win the Megatron/Tate vs. Peterson/Cromartie matchup?

While I feel "C" will go to the Lions, "B" could present a problem for Detroit's defense in the desert. Don't underestimate Stanton. In fact, while driving, I heard Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on SiriusXM NFL Radio discussing that very subject. I nodded my head in agreement ... before switching over to Joe Jackson live in concert. Yes, he sang this song, in case you were wondering. By the way, this matchup represented one of the worst performances from the Detroit offense in 2013. I don't see Matthew Stafford stinking up the joint this time around. #DETvsAZ

What's suddenly special about Mark Sanchez? (Other than the fact that he's no longer providing punch-line material in the pages of GQ.) Well, he's actually been playing well for a while now. I went back and looked at his preseason: 25 of 31 for 282 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. In the regular season, his passer rating is close to 100, and he's averaging more than 9 yards per throw. So is Jordan Matthews his new beau? Going to the other side of the ball, Philadelphia's defense has made a ton of big plays. Problem is, Aaron Rodgers' offense doesn't give the ball away -- just eight turnovers all season. We'd like to see the host Packers pound Eddie Lacy right at the Philly front, but it's hard for the tailback to get momentum from the shotgun. I do see rookie Davante Adams being a factor in this game. The Eagles have struggled against teams with three good wideouts. See: Games against the Cardinals, 49ers and Redskins. (Two losses and a super close call.) #PHIvsGB

New England wins the best game of the weekend -- well, at least in the AFC. This is the toughest game to pick. We've seen the Patriots stink on the road this season (in Kansas City and Miami). On the other hand, how many top-flight QBs have these Colts faced? Two: Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, and Indy gave up 82 points combined to those two guys (and nine touchdown passes). The host Colts have won 16 of 20 games at home in the Chuck Pagano era. And Andrew Luck is about as hot as you can get, with 3,085 yards passing (tops in the NFL). That said, Tom Brady has thrown 18 touchdown passes to one interception over his past five games. So here's the difference: Luck has eight turnovers in two games vs. New England. He's an amazing player, but he can force some throws. We shall see on Sunday. #NEvsIND

Can Pittsburgh rebound after that debacle in the New Meadowlands last week? Surprising that the offense was shut down, considering that only Philly and Denver have more 30-point games this year. That said, the only thing that sucks worse in Nashville than the Titans is new country. Bring back Toby Keith, man. And bring back Tennessee's run game, please. The "ground attack" has averaged 62.3 yards per game over the past four, and the team as a whole has scored more than 17 points only once in the past eight games. In fact, the franchise hasn't been this low-scoring since the 1994, when it was known as the Oilers, and Cody Carlson, Bucky Richardson and Billy Joe Tolliver were in at quarterback because Warren Moon departed in free agency. Jeff Fisher became interim head coach that year. Cool history stuff. Oh, Pittsburgh wins. #PITvsTEN


Incredibly important matchup in terms of the AFC East and wild-card races. Whoever loses this game will be, at best, two games back of the Patriots in the East -- and New England would have to lose to the Colts for that to be the case. Also consider that the front-runner in the wild-card race is Kansas City, which has beaten both of these clubs. Bottom line: The playoff prospects for the loser of this contest will be tenuous, at best. Back in September, the Bills smacked around the Dolphins in Buffalo, 29-10. Not seeing it this time around, not in Miami. The Dolphins' defense is playing much better than it was in the season's opening month -- and the unit wasn't too bad then. Of course, Miami will be facing Kyle Orton, not EJ Manuel. The key matchup will be Orton vs. the Miami pass rush. Entering last week's loss to the Chiefs, the veteran was getting hit at the highest rate of any QB in the league. #BUFvsMIA

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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