PFT’s Week 11 picks


Last week, MDS and I disagreed on a grand total of none games.  This week, we’ve got some disagreements.

We’ve got five of them.  Which means that we won’t be tied next week, unless there’s a tie in one of those five games.

The full slate of picks (with none of us predicting a tie) appears below.

Last week, we both guessed right on 10 of 13 games.  For the year, we’re at 96-51 (65.3 percent).

Bills at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Both of these teams suffered tough losses on Sunday and will have to shake it off on a short work week for a big game Thursday. The loser of this one is just about out of the AFC playoff race, but the winner is still alive. I think the Dolphins, playing at home, will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 21.

Florio’s take:  The Bills have been handling the Dolphins with relative ease when their offensive line wasn’t a mess.  Miami’s offensive line currently is a mess.  Case closed.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 24, Dolphins 14.

Falcons at Panthers

MDS’s take: It says something about how bad the NFC South is that the winner of this game between the 3-6 Falcons and the 3-6-1 Panthers will be right in the thick of the division title race with the Saints. I’m going with the Panthers.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Falcons 17.

Florio’s take:  The Falcons are mediocre and moving in the right direction.  The Panthers are mediocre and moving in the wrong direction.  Cam Newton is injured unless he isn’t.  Carolina’s offensive line is offensive.  Advantage Atlanta.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 27, Panthers 16.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: The Vikings are 4-0 against teams with losing records and 0-5 against teams with winning records. That should mean they’ll beat the Bears, but I have a funny feeling that Chicago’s offense is going to bounce back from the debacle in Green Bay and put a lot of points on the board.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take:  The Bears, reeling after a pair of blowout losses, return home for the first time in four weeks to a throng of fans ready to serenade them with boos or worse if they fall behind a Vikings team that doesn’t have a Tom Brady or an Aaron Rodgers to run up the score early.  If the Bears can’t respond to the withering criticism and relentless scrutiny with a victory over a sub-.500 team, everyone in the organization should be terminated.  And fired.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 24, Vikings 20.

Texans at Browns

MDS’s take: It’s been many years since we’ve been able to say this, but the Browns are a legitimately good team. I’m not ready to pick them to win the AFC North just yet, but they’re at least going to be in the hunt through December, and they’ll cruise to an easy win over the Texans.

MDS’s pick: Browns 24, Texans 10.

Florio’s take:  It’s the Battle of Brady Backups, with Brian Hoyer and the Browns facing Ryan Mallett and the Texans.  There’s also a Pats-Jets vibe to this one, with a former Belichick assistant facing a former Rex lieutenant.  It would be a very Browns thing for Cleveland to blow it after a 21-point win over a division rival — and the Browns likely would do just that, if the game were in Houston.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 17, Texans 13.

Seahawks at Chiefs

MDS’s take: To me, this is the hardest game of the week to pick. The Seahawks seem like they’ve shaken off their struggles of a few weeks ago and are playing at close to the level they played at last year. But the Chiefs have won their last three home games by scores of 41-14, 34-7 and 24-10. It’s tough to go to Kansas City and win, but I say the Seahawks can do it.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 21, Chiefs 20.

Florio’s take:  It’s another AFC West reunion game, in a series the Chiefs lead 32-18.   Edge goes to the home team, especially since the home team has a defense that could be able to bottle up Marshawn Lynch and chase down Russell Wilson.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 19, Seahawks 13.

Bengals at Saints

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have been somewhat disappointing, but the Bengals on the road are more disappointing than the Saints at home. I’ll go with the home team.

MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take:  Reeling from a rare home loss, the Saints need to keep distance between themselves and the rest of the none-of-the-above NFC South.  Andy Dalton 2.0 could be exactly what the Saints need.

Florio’s pick:   Saints 31, Bengals 21.

49ers at Giants

MDS’s take: The 49ers look like a team making a push for the playoffs, while the Giants look like a team just playing out the string. San Francisco should win this one handily.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Giants 13.

Florio’s take:  It’s the rematch of a classic NFC title game from 2011.  This one won’t be quite the same.  Because the Giants stink.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Giants 13.

Broncos at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams have played competitive football against good teams recently, and they might do so again against the Broncos. But there’s a difference between being competitive and winning.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 23, Rams 20.

Florio’s take:  Austin Davis, Kellen Clemens, Sam Bradford, Kurt Warner, Jim Everett, Roman Gabriel, Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait.  None would be a match for Peyton F. Manning.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 35, Rams 20.

Buccaneers at Washington

MDS’s take: I wouldn’t pick Lovie Smith’s guys to beat anyone right now. Washington isn’t very good, but Tampa Bay is a lot worse.

MDS’s pick: Washington 28, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take:  Two weeks is more than enough time to get ready for a one-win team.  Even for Washington.

Florio’s pick:  Washington 27, Buccaneers 20.

Raiders at Chargers

MDS’s take: I don’t think the Raiders are going to go 0-16, but they’re not going to win at San Diego, where the Chargers will look fresh coming off a bye week and heading into a stretch of the schedule that will determine whether they can reach the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Raiders 13.

Florio’s take:  Three straight losses have San Diego’s playoff chances on the ropes.  The Raiders were punched through weeks ago.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 35, Raiders 17.

Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: If Carson Palmer were playing, I’d take the Cardinals. With Drew Stanton? It’s a tough choice, but I think the Lions’ defense is going to apply a lot of pressure on Stanton and make it tough for him to read through his progressions. Stanton will make some plays with his legs, but not enough plays to win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 17, Cardinals 16.

Florio’s take:  When the schedule came out in April, who would have envisioned Detroit at Arizona being one of the top game of the month of November?  With the Lions at 7-2 and the Cardinals at 8-1, it’s a game with major implications for the NFC playoff tree.  Calvin Johnson has run roughshod over the Cardinals in each of the last two years — and Arizona has won both games.  Sure, these aren’t the Lions of 2012 and 2013.  But these aren’t the Cardinals of those two seasons, either.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 23, Lions 20.

Eagles at Packers

MDS’s take: There’s a crowded field of teams jockeying for position in the NFC playoff race, and the loser of this game will have its back against the wall. I think Aaron Rodgers can have a big game against the Eagles’ defense, and Green Bay will win.

MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Eagles 20.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles looked great on Monday night.  But that was at home against the Panthers.  This will be on the road against the Packers, who despite having a bad defense have an offense good enough to outscore Mark Sanchez and company.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 27, Eagles 20.

Patriots at Colts

MDS’s take: These teams are more or less even, both playing very well on offense with great quarterbacks, both just so-so on defense, both strong on special teams. When it’s even, I go with the home team.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Patriots 21.

Florio’s take:  Give Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare, and he’ll beat anyone.  Anyone not named Eli Manning.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Colts 24.

Steelers at Titans

MDS’s take: The Steelers might be the most unpredictable team in the NFL. They can blow out the Colts and Ravens, but they can also lose to the Buccaneers and Jets. I’ll take a guess that they won’t play as badly on Monday night as they did last week against the Jets.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Titans 14.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers should win easily.  Then again, they should have won easily last Sunday against the Jets.  A loss at Tennessee could be fatal to Pittsburgh’s playoff chances, especially with everyone else in the division over .500.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 27, Titans 17.

90 responses to “PFT’s Week 11 picks

  1. I like your picks Mike, and you will likely put some distance on him; however, that Cardboards pick vs. Detroit is really going out there on the limb.

  2. A couple things….

    1. “The 49ers look like a team making a push for the playoffs…”

    Based on what? They’ve dropped two of their last three games, and only won in New Orleans in part due to a highly questionable OPI call on Jimmy Graham.

    2. Steelers/Titans

    Steelers are 2-6 all time in Nashville. Crazy as it may sound, I could see an upset here.

  3. As a Browns fan, I’m happy my team is playing well and still in the playoff hunt, but the team and fans need to stay humble. We’re 6-3, but there are still 7 games to play and the only thing we know is that we can’t go 5-11. Go Browns!

  4. That’s funny, the Bears putting up a ton of points on a Mike Zimmer defense. Bears fans still have a glimmer of hope, at least until about half time.

  5. Other than the at Carolina win, Steelers are road kills….even their other win was shaky against the Jags….and they got their lunch handed to them in Cleve, Balt and NYJ.

    But they have been good in prime time and maybe the Munchkids (Coach Munchak’s O-Line) will make his return to Nash a smash.

    Steelers 27, Titans 20

  6. I think I need to get my head looked at. My picks are the same as Mike’s with the exception of the Pats/Colts. I think the Chargers/Raiders is a good pick, but I think the score will be a lot closer than the spread you guys have made it. I desperately want my Raiders to win at least 1 game this year, and was hoping it might be this one.

  7. Cardinals will be fine. Stanton is in his 3rd year in the offense and is playing very confident. Hasn’t thrown a pick yet and beat the Giants, 49ers & Rams. Not easy to make clutch throws against divisional opponents. The #3 rush D will have its time with the #31 rushing attack, making Detroit one dimensional against the league leader in INT and turnover differential. Cardinals win as turnovers are the difference in this one. Another tiebreaker to get! #RedbirdsareRising, #NoFlyZone, #BigRedCurtain, #BrucetheArianNation,#TheArianBrotherhood, #Ques4HomeSB, #Quest4LombardiTrophy

  8. Florio, just come out and say you hate the Dolphins, it would be much easier.

    They must have turned you down for a job or something. You need to seek anger management classes.

  9. The Bears have checked out. If the Vikings even come close to playing up to their capability, the Bears will be 0-4 at home after this weekend.

  10. I think the Lions vs Cardinals game is going to be a low scoring, defensive chess match. In the end though, I think ARZ is going to pull the win off at home 21-17 Cardinals.

  11. The Patriots at the Colts is a very attractive match up for the national Sunday night audience. It’s highly unlikely to be blowout like many of this year’s prime time games have been.

  12. southpaw2k, there was nothing questionable about that OPI, he pushed off, no matter how slight, and it’s a penalty.

    Pittsburgh may be 2-6 in Nashville but the are 18-2 against rookie QBs since 2004. I won’t be surprised at an upset, but not 2 weeks in a row.

  13. Are you guys going with the “they’re due” logic on the Bears pick over Vikings? Sure, the Vikings are young and inexperienced, but they have one of the top defenses in the league, have won two games in a row, and are coming off a bye week. It’s not the worst pick you’ve ever made, but it does not make sense.

  14. The Bears are a dumpster fire, on top of BMarsh being hurt and could be out? It seems weird to say this because I can’t remember the last time the Vikings won at Soldier Field, but I would bet my house on the Vikings this weekend.

  15. If the Niners are as flip about their trip to the Meadowlands, as you two are, look for an upset. The Giants aren’t as bad as they have looked and the Niners aren’t as good as they used to be. Kaepernick hasn’t proved to be the Messiah that everyone anointed following their Super Bowl loss and Eli is still a guy who took two mediocre teams to the Big Dance and won both times.

  16. Ken Whisenhunt gave up on the Titans’ season after only 5 losses. That was the point he decided their 3rd string rookie would be the new starter to see if he had what it takes to be the guy next year–directing their decisions in the 2015 draft. Yes, I’m a frustrated fan. (I remember the 1 and 4 Titans going on to reach the AFC Championship in 2002.) … So even the unpredictable Steelers should with this one without a second thought.

  17. I don’t think the loser of the Packers/Eagles are “up against the wall” to make the playoffs. Up against the wall are teams with 5 losses. Four losses and you’re still okay. Eagles have 2 more games left against Dallas. I’m sure the Packers can drop this game, too, and still be alright.

  18. Tomlin and Haley will finally realize their best chance to win is to come out aggressively passing with Ben and his corp of solid WRs (and not use LBs as WRs), and to have plays that throw the ball down the field instead of side to side. Steelers should score over 30 points. With how the AFC North is shaping up, beating the Titans is critical. If their game plan is to be tentative again, ownership should call Tomlin and Haley out. That is why they lost to the Jets, the game plan was pathetically weak.

  19. Buffalo will upset Miami

    Atlanta will squeeze by Carolina

    Vikings will slip by the Bears

    Houston will lose by a FG to the Browns

    Eagles n Sanchez will fall to the cold weather and the Packers

    Seattle upset in Kansas City

    Weird things happen in New Orleans, Cincy gets blown out.

    Niners n Willis take the game from the Giants

    Denver will fight all four quarters n fall to the Rams in St Louis

    Tampa will fall to the Skins in a close one

    Oakland will fight but fall to the Chargers

    Detroit will out play the Cards

    NE and Belichek after a Bye Week over Indy

    Pittsburgh falls to the Titans with no defense

  20. A key factor in many of these northern cities this week will be the frigid weather. It’s likely to decrease passing efficiency and increase turnovers.

  21. Who have the Packers beat? A terrible Bears team twice, pathetic Panthers team, a mediocre Vikings Team who started a rookie, the Dolphins on a last second trick play, and oh yeah… the Jets!


  22. Remember when Arizona started 4-0 a couple years back and then lost like 11 straight games? Including a 58-0 loss to Seattle? Yeah…me too. Lions will put a beating on them this week and it’ll be “deja vu all over again.” Sorry Cards fans, you have priors for complete, humiliating collapses and Stanton isn’t taking you anywhere.

  23. As an Eagles fan I get people picking the Packers. However, I don’t get how lopsided many think this game will be. Green Bay is good but they have been good against some really bad teams.

  24. Browns being somewhat successful means Manziel is on the bench. This makes me happy. Keep eating up that humble pie.

    Detroit vs Drew Stanton should be a no brainer. They bottled up Cam defensively, they kept Rodgers bottled up, and they shut down the success that Tanny had with the read option last week. I don’t think the Cards move the ball well on that defense, and further more, I don’t think the Lions will be stopped easily offensively as the RBs will be catching tons of passes out of the backfield this week with Peterson and Cromartie locking down Tate and Calvin. Bush/Riddick/Bell should combine for about 15 receptions.

  25. To all you Dolphins fans complaining about how much he hates your team: please, educated yourselves further. He hates the Bills just as much as the Dolphins. He had to choose one of them.

    He’s picked the Bills 2 times in their 9 games prior to this one, and no, that does not include the Jets in which both he and MDS picked the Jets. So please, stop acting so hurt. He hates the Bills, the Dolphins and a few other teams too.

  26. How is Stanton going to score enough points on Detroit’s #1 D to beat the Lions? I don’t see the Lions losing. In previous seasons, the Lions might have found a way to lose this one, but this season, they’re finding ways to WIN games. I have no doubt they win this one by 7.

  27. Dolphin fans trying to pull a R . Incognito and bully Florio!!! Cmon man ! Of course the Fins are going to win . They have an all world QB , a genius head coach , and a winning tradition and culture . LOL!!!!

  28. The Colts plan to confuse the Patriots by piping in soothing nature sounds instead of crowd noise.

  29. Cards over the Lions…Stafford will do his best Romo imitation (ints in 4th qtr) and Fitzgerald will have a better game than Megatron…to date, Cards have played a much more difficult schedule than the Lions and for game management, will take Arians all day long over Caldwell…let the game begin: should be a great one…

  30. Mark Sanchez is rattled by cold weather. Green Bay is a very cold place. Sanchez will be shivering dreaming away about old times in Cali while Aaron Roders exposes the Eagles porous LB corps.

  31. Green Bay doesn’t have a bad defense. The Bears have a bad defense.

    The Packers D is about average overall. We can see this reflected in average points given up per game. The only part of their defense that’s been bad is the run D which just held Matt Forte to 3.2 YPC.

    Their pass D is very good at #6 against opposing passers. They’re also #6 in creating turnovers.

    That doesn’t add up to a bad defense. They’re average at worst.

  32. Browns must score early, build a lead. Then force Mallett to throw the ball. Cleveland run defense would be hard pressed against Foster. Turnovers will be the deciding factor and Houston should make more than necessary for a Browns win.

    Cleveland 31-17

  33. The Patriots getting 3 points at Indy is stealing money. Pats by 10. I just don’t see the Colts having any answer for Brady and Gronkowski.

  34. The Bears may win, but the prognosticators fail to recognize the strength of the Vikes is their defense. I can easily see the Vikes offense only scoring 17 points, but I’d be amazed if the Bears pile up more than 30 points as predicted.

  35. There are a ton of “toss up” games this week. I have been doing much better picking so far this year (70%) but I have a feeling it’s back to reality with a drubbing in week 11. I’m due for one of those ugly 5-11 kind of weeks.

  36. Wahhhh Florio picked the Bills… Maybe it has to do with the fact that Tannehill gets smacked around EVERYTIME he plays the Bills… Or that the Bils have the best D line in the NFL and the Phins are playing backups and rookies on the offensive line?

  37. Part of what the Cardinals have done this year includes Stanton under center. He’s already started 3 games this season. I suggest doing your research before assuming that the Cards will lose due to that.

    Not sure if you say that he went 3-3 for 83 yards and a TD last week without more that a few minutes to warm up.

    Detroit’s run game will go nowhere and Stafford is facing a very tough secondary, he will make mistakes. Perterson and Cromartie will continue to eat.

  38. The Vikes are beating Chicago… there is just no way a fast rising defense (which frankly is far better than GB’s just look at the stats) cannot do the same thing to Chicago GB did. Will they score 45 points? No. But that won’t be needed, because the Bears won’t score half that, and the Vikes very well could on that horrible Chicago defense.

  39. While the Packers should be favored at home, I don’t think the Eagles are in any way afraid of them. Eagles special teams are better than anyone’s. The Packer’s run defense is ranked 30th. the Eagles D should sack Rogers multiple times. I think the game is a toss-up.

  40. Eagles have not scored less than 21 all year. Green Bay’s defense isn’t THAT good. But Green Bay probably does win. More likely 31 -28.

  41. In order for the Hawks to win they can’t make mistakes and will have to rely on Lynch and Russ running the football. Defense should keep us in the game but I have no idea what to feel about the Hawks so this game will say a lot on our post season chances.

  42. “Steelers can blow out the Ravems” And they also GOT blown out by the Ravens.

    But no matter which team shows up against the lowly Titans, the Steelers should win. The Steleers won’t drop 2 consecutive losses to bad teams.

    27-13 stillers.

  43. You say the defenses are not great and then you predict 24-21 Colts with two extremely dynamic offenses?

    I think the Patriots hold the Colts in the 20’s, as the Patriots defense is much better than the Colts and the Patriots get their points.

    35-24 Patriots.

  44. The only way Indy wins is if they cheat again by pumping in fake crowd noise like they did during the Manning years to get an unfair advantage over the opposition.

  45. I agree with all of Florio’s picks with the exception of the Bills beating the Dolphins. I would love for that to happen but with Spiller out I don’t see that prediction coming true. Although if there is a way for Buffalo to win it’s that great defensive line of their’s smacking Tannehill around. Once again though I’m not holding my breath on that one.

  46. Looking good, guys! Now you’re only one correct pick behind me for the year. Don’t let it get you down that I’m a complete amateur who watches little football these days; I’m sure you’ll do respectably in the last part of the season and demonstrate the benefits of your expertise.

  47. Florio’s take: Austin Davis, Kellen Clemens, Sam Bradford, Kurt Warner, Jim Everett, Roman Gabriel, Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait. None would be a match for Peyton F. Manning.
    Probably need to remove Warner from this list. I’d much rather have Warner in a meaningful game.

  48. Wow Florio picks my Bills for the first time in like 30 years and the Fins are up in arms. Patsfan1820…no fears dude, when BOOBY gets loose he is tough to bring down…..The D will sack Tannehill 6 times…..should be a good night for my Bills if our coach Maronne stays out of the players way…….

  49. Look for Brandon Pettigrew to have big game vs. Cards.

    Packers D gets exposed Sunday.

    What the hell happened to Cincy????

    Glantz-Culver now showing Jags -2 vs. BYE

  50. Don’t understand the spread or the dire predictions about the Eagles if they lose. They are still ahead of Dallas now, and play them twice. If Sanchize plays well, this one is gonna be close.

  51. This weekend is shaping up nicely!

    seaFrauds get iced in Arrowhead.

    Lions reach the pinnacle of their season and beat the Cards before tanking the rest of the season and missing a wildcard spot by half a game.

    I don’t care what happens in the Rams game, but foresee ToeHead getting beat up by a stellar Pass Rush.

    And the Giants are still hapless.

    NINERS! Gain pivotal positioning in the strongest division in the league.

  52. azcardsfan4life says:
    Nov 13, 2014 8:50 AM
    Cardinals will be fine. Stanton is in his 3rd year in the offense and is playing very confident. Hasn’t thrown a pick yet and beat the Giants, 49ers & Rams. Not easy to make clutch throws against divisional opponents. The #3 rush D will have its time with the #31 rushing attack, making Detroit one dimensional against the league leader in INT and turnover differential. Cardinals win as turnovers are the difference in this one. Another tiebreaker to get! #RedbirdsareRising, #NoFlyZone, #BigRedCurtain, #BrucetheArianNation,#TheArianBrotherhood, #Ques4HomeSB, #Quest4LombardiTrophy

    Good analysis until ended with the #TheArianbrotherhood crap. You know Bruce does not want to be associated with that crap. He would probably slap you silly if he ever met you. At least I hope he would. I know I would.

  53. Falcons beating the Panthers. That’s a do or die pick.

    For one, even if the Panthers offensive line sucks, the Falcons defensive line can’t even get to the QB, let alone stop the running game. Remember the Vikings game. The Vikings have a sub par offensive line, and the Falcons defense allowed over 400 yards in that game. Their defense is literally the worst in the NFL in pass rushing and stopping third down plays. They have no pass rush and can’t stop the running game. Heck, I bet even at 45%, the Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton and RB Stewart would have a field day against them, and I would expect major bonus points for Kelvin. My score is 32-14 Carolina wins.

  54. Call me crazy (might be true) but just wanting to go on the record predicting Cincy comes back with a rage and makes the Saints look like the Aints in New Orleans. There, I said it.

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