It’s a pre-Thanksgiving feast this weekend in the NFL with a number of intriguing matchups and plenty of intra-divisional play which is sure to lead to plenty of hard-hitting, hard-fought games. There’s several rematches from earlier this season as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean picking the games is any easier. If you’re in search of last-minute fantasy football help, click here to check out our fantasy football sleepers for week 11.
Here’s my picks for the week against the spread as taken from ESPN’s Pigskin Pick’Em; the home team is listed in ALL CAPS:
ATLANTA FALCONS (-9.5) over Arizona Cardinals
The Falcons look to bounce back from their first loss as they return home and welcome the hapless Cardinals. Arizona has dropped five in a row after a 4-0 start. The question here is the points not the straight up winner. Arizona has lost by nine or more in three of their five losses including 31-17 before heading into their bye-week. Atlanta’s opportunistic defense should be able to pressure and force turnovers since the Cardinals still don’t have much of a running game. I think Falcons win 34-10.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-7.5) over Cleveland Browns
The Browns are 0-4 on the road and the Cowboys looked solid last week knocking off the the Eagles in Phily. Dallas is a tricky team to pick since they seem to play at the level of their competition whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I think they’ll win this one 24-14 as they prepare for their usual Thanksgiving game.
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) over DETROIT LIONS
The Packers come off their bye for a tough road game in Detroit. They’ll be looking for their fifth win in a row, and I think they’ll get it against a Lions team that has been up-and-down all season. Last week, they lost in Minnesota but are 2-1 at home. This is a division game and should be a close, high-scoring game which means plenty of fantasy football goodness coming to all those involved in this won. Green Bay 34-Detroit 21
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs are bad, but they did take the Steelers to OT last week before they lost. The Bengals beat the Giants last week and are looking for some consistency after losing four in a row right after winning three in a row. Andy Dalton looked good last week an should be able to throw for the win in KC 27-10
ST LOUIS RAMS (-3.5) over New York Jets
The Jets circus rollis into St. Louis having won just one of their last six games. The Rams played much etter last week after returning from London and earned a tie with the 49ers. At home, St. Louis is 3-1 with their only loss against the Packers and wins over Washington, Arizona, and Seattle. The Rams are improving while the Jets seem to be headed the other way. St. Louis wins here 22-13
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (-3.5) over Philadelphia Eagles
The Skins had dropped three in a row and four of five headed into their bye-week, but will get Pierre Garcon back this week as well as catching the Eagles at an opportune time as they go with backup rookie Nick Foles at QB with Michael Vick out with a concussion. Look for the RG3 show again as Washington tries to take advantage of their division rivals difficulty. Washington 33, Philadelphia 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) over CAROLINA PANTHERS
The Panthers had bounced back from a rough start before getting beatdown 36-14 by Denver last week. Tampa, on the other hand, has won three in a row and four of five as they had to Carolina. The two teams met in week one and Tampa won 16-10. The Bucs rush defense is allowing the least yards per game in the league which is bad news for the run-heavy Panthers offense. Tampa’s offense has come a long way since week one as well so I think they’ll take this one by even a larger margin 23-7.
New Orleans Saints (-4.5) over Oakland Raiders
If the Raiders were at full strength, I’d take them for the upset, but without Darren McFadden and possible Darrius Heyward-Bey the Raiders offense won’t be able to keep up with the resurgent Saints. Lots of points in this one in both directions as the Saints win 45-35
DENVER BRONCOS (-7.5) over San Diego Chargers
The Broncos and Chargers met in a memorable Monday Night Football matchup week 6. This one’s at Mile High and with the Chargers still spiraling out of control from that 35-24 loss, I think Denver completes the series sweep as the beat the Bolts 31-16
Indianapolis Colts (+9.5) over NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots are winning but not blowing people out with the exception of the game against the Rams in London. The Colts have been fueled by their coach’s struggle against cancer as they’ve been Chuckstrong reeling off four wins in a row and knocking off the Packers earlier this season. I don’t think they’ll get the win at Foxboro but I do think it will be close. I see New England winning 34-31
Baltimore Ravens (+3.5) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers without Big Ben will turn to Byron Leftwich as their division rivals come to town on Sunday Night Football. The Ravens pulled out a win last week in impressive fashion 55-20 against Oakland and are 2-0 since their bye and since they have the better QB and RB in this game, I think they’ll keep it within a FG. This could easily end up in OT where I see the Ravens winning 23-20.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-4.5) over Chicago Bears
Jason Campbell on the road against the 49ers defense doesn’t seem like a good plan for success for the Bears. Alex Smith should play for the Niners in their third primetime game in their last four. They’re 2-0 so far beating the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football and the Cardinals on Monday Night Football two weeks ago. They’ll be extra motivated after playing to a tie last week to bury the Bears but I do think it will be relatively close until the end when San Fran will pull out the win 20-10.