Before we get to my NFL Week 11 free picks, I’m going to quickly touch on the one prevailing topic that everyone keeps chatting about:
One of the top skill players in the NFL, Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, will forego playing this season after failing to report before the deadline. Bell must now sit out the rest of 2018. It looks like the star RB over played his hand. Although not having Bell in the backfield hurt Pittsburgh in the first month, the Steelers have since turned into one of the top teams in the league. New Pittsburgh RB1 James Conner is on his way to 1,000 yards rushing. Conner also leads the team with 11 touchdowns.
The Steelers’ former running back should do well on the open market after he becomes a free agent. How much Bell makes is all relative, though. He could have signed his tender for over $14 million, built his resume, and possibly play for a Super Bowl team this season. After a year off, there won’t be a lot of organizations willing to take a shot on ball carrier who played hardball with one of the more respected teams in the league.
The drama is thankfully over and we’ll revisit everything in the summer when Bell signs with a new team. For now, we have to focus on Week 11. Pittsburgh has a game this Sunday against the opponent that ended their playoff run last season in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Check out an analysis of that game along with all the other great matchups on NFL Week 11 Sunday.
Sunday, Nov. 18
Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars
There is a ton of action coming in on Pittsburgh, and for good reason. Not only do the Steelers have the revenge factor in their favor after getting knocked out of the playoffs last year by Jacksonville, but they also got the positive trends behind them. Pittsburgh is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 while the Jaguars are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5. Simplistic roulette play, but it’s the one to make. The Steelers should dominate the Jaguars by close to 3 touchdowns.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Steelers -5.5
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Off
The line remains off because Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco is questionable and Bengals’ wide receiver A.J. Green is out until December. When the line is set, Baltimore should be the favorite. I sort of don’t care by how much the Ravens are favored by. They’re the play because no matter who’s under center, the Bengals can’t stop any quarterback from throwing for 400 yards.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Ravens ATS
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons -3
Sometimes, I wonder what other NFL handicappers are thinking. The Falcons are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 while the Cowboys are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games versus a team with a losing home record. Not only that, but the Cowboys looked great when upsetting Philadelphia on the road as a big time dog in Week 10. I think Dallas is going in the right direction while Atlanta’s not. I’ll play the Cowboys on the moneyline.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Cowboys +145 ML
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts -2.5
This matchup has usually been perilous for Tennessee, with the Titans going 1-6 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Indianapolis. However, all the other hot trends reside on Tennessee’s side: 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win, 6-0 ATS in their last 6 versus the AFC South, and 6-2 ATS in their last 8. Visually, Tennessee also looks like the much better team. I’m going moneyline instead of paying juice to get a measly point spread.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Titans +105 ML
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants -1
The Giants mounted a comeback against San Francisco for their second win of the season this past Monday night. That must be why so many bettors side with NYG, even though both teams look like bet-off candidates. The trends point to the Buccaneers stopping the Giants from starting a winning streak though. Tampa Bay’s 19-3-1 ATS in their last 23 games in Week 11 while New York is 5-15 ATS in their last 20 games in Week 11. This is a strange game with a strange feel and a worrisome line for the home team, so I’ll run the risk of backing the very tight dog. Don’t love it, but would prefer to lose money on Tampa than invest in the Giants after one narrow victory.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Buccaneers +1
Houston Texans -3 at Washington Redskins
Most back the Texans to cover the spread, fresh off their bye and a strong win over Denver in Week 9. However, Washington is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games, and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games in November. Washington is 6-3 ATS this season overall and continue to keep us guessing, but I’m not totally sold that Houston is as rock-solid as this visitor’s line suggests. You’re more than welcome to take the logical play and back Watson along with the Texans, but every time we think Washington is dead in the water, they spring back to life. I’ll take the Redskins.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Redskins +3
Carolina Panthers -4 at Detroit Lions
Everything is telling me not to go against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11. If you blindly follow the trends then you are setting up nicely in this one. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after an ATS loss, 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up loss, and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in November. But, I saw how the Steelers demolished the Panthers in Week 10. I’m not comfortable laying points on a road favorite to bounce back after such a massive beat down. Detroit has shown a bit of life, and Carolina has a nasty habit of playing down to the level of their opponents. Detroit has a chance here and I’m more than willing to roll the dice.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Lions +4
Denver Broncos at L.A. Chargers -7
Although Denver has gone 1-3 SU in their last 4, they’re 3-1 ATS in those games. The Broncos aren’t an awful team like the one the Chargers beat and covered the spread against in Week 10. The trends say Chargers, but I feel 7 points are too many. I’m backing Denver. This game will prove whether there’s any fight left in them, and I’ll pay the iron price to find out.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Broncos +7
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals -5
Oakland’s not even trying anymore. The Raiders are 1-7 SU and ATS in their last 8. I’m not looking at anything else. Arizona should easily cover the spread. This game is so disinteresting to me that I’m not even going to try and play up the obvious “red/black”, roulette analogy.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Cardinals -5
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints -9
The Saints have gone 8-0 ATS in their last 8. They also won all 8 of those games and are undeniably the hottest team in football right now. It’s hard to see Philadelphia managing enough points to stick with the Saints. Drew Brees and New Orleans should beat the Eagles by at least 14 and continue to assert themselves as the team to watch in the conference with a merciless destruction of the defending champs.
NFL Week 11 Free Picks: Saints -9