Our NFL picks have found the five best games of the weekend for our experts to analyse them and find their best bets for each!
We have a home-coming reunion between a coach and a quarterback, we have an NFC North showdown and a matchup between explosive quarterbacks looking to lead their sides to the Super Bowl. Knowing this, we have provided our NFL picks for the five best contests on Week 11’s schedule.
Washington Football Team @ Carolina Panthers – 1pm ET
What funny timing that Cam Newton re-joins the Carolina Panthers one week before they were set to face his former head coach, Ron Rivera, and his Washington Football Team. Newton and Rivera linked up for eight seasons in Carolina, making it to the Super Bowl 50 in a year that Cam won MVP and Ron won Coach Of The Year, but now they square off with both sides needing a win to help their postseason chances.
Cam Newton is certainly back and now he returns home to the Bank Of America Stadium as a Panther, going up against his former head coach Ron Rivera. Both sides are coming off extremely impressive victories last week, but one side’s win was easily more impressive. While it was great to see Newton run for a touchdown and pass for a touchdown, Carolina only beat an Arizona side that was missing their quarterback and main receiver, along with multiple other starters. On the other hand, Washington was able to beat Tom Brady and the defending champion Buccaneers.
It was a great performance from Washington last week, especially from Taylor Heinicke. The four-year veteran, who served as Newton’s backup in 2018, had his best completion percentage for the season, 81.25%, and this was the first time in his last five games that he didn’t throw a pick.
Newton on the other hand was only used as a back-up in red zone plays last weekend. He only saw nine snaps but was still able to produce two touchdowns, and is now set to get the starter role this week. While he has never been the most efficient thrower, plus injuries and age have resulted in less game-breaking runs, Newton actually had the second best completion percentage of his career last season and now has some exceptional offensive weapons around him.
Looking at this game, both sides will lean heavily on their defenses. The Panthers have the best passing defense, 2nd best total defense and 6th best scoring defense, while Washington has the 6th best run defense, which is important against a lineup with Newton and Christian McCaffrey in it. With that in mind, it comes down to whether you trust Newton’s arm or Taylor Heinicke more, and the answer is neither. I’m taking the under.
Tim’s NFL Pick: Under 43 (-110)
Cam Newton will get first team reps this week and could end up starting vs. WFT and his former head coach, Ron Rivera. 👀 pic.twitter.com/3lyQAGwdLj
— theScore (@theScore) November 15, 2021
Last week the Panthers reunited with Cam Newton and it had phenomenal results. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals behind a strong performance by Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers looked like a darkhorse for a playoff spot as they sit at 5-5 and have a decent chance at making the playoffs if they continue the play they had against one of the league’s best teams in the Arizona Cardinals. Granted the Cardinals were playing without many of their best players but the victory was still resounding nonetheless.
The WFT also looked great last week with a win against the Buccaneers.Taylor Heinicke provided an encore performance to his playoff masterclass against the Buccaneers last season and when paired with the WFT’s ferocious pass rush, led to a huge win. Although they are 3-6, they have played a lot better recently than their record suggests.
These 2 teams are both in similar positions. 2 teams with great defense but questionable quarterback situations. Cam had a big debut but there was a reason he was cut in favour of rookie Mac Jones and Taylor Heinicke wasn’t the season starter for a reason. Outside of their wins last week both teams haven’t been good with the WFT having a 1-4 record in their last 5 games and the Panthers having a 2-3 record in their last 5. The Panthers do have the edge here as they have the better defense and thus I’m going with them to win by at least a field goal.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Carolina Panthers -3 (115)
The Washington Football team is coming off of a huge win against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs last Sunday afternoon at home. Now they will be looking to ride that wave of momentum in this one, without star Defensive End Chase Young, who tore his ACL and is out for the season. Washington comes into this game with a record of 3-6 as they look to stop what is becoming a lost season and find a way to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Taylor Heinicke will have to put up another impressive performance in this one to keep Washington rolling.
The Carolina Panthers looked like one of the hottest teams in the National Football League, after the first couple of weeks with Sam Darnold under center. Then things got derailed as Christian McCaffrey got injured and then Darnold went down as well. Now a familiar face is back home under center in Cam Newton and he led Carolina to a victory in his first start back over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday by a score of 34-10. Carolina is 5-5 on the year and right in the mix for a wild card spot in the NFC come playoff time.As for the outcome of this game, I look for Newton and the Carolina Panthers to pick up another win this sunday and keep themselves in line for a potential playoff berth in around 7 weeks time.
Tony’s NFL Pick: Carolina Panthers (-168)
Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills – 1pm ET
The Indianapolis Colts have won four of their last five games and find themselves just one game out of a Wild Card slot, but they are now tasked with getting on the road to take on the Buffalo Bills. While the Colts have been hot, the Bills have gone just 2-2, losing both of their non-division games over that span.
This is sure to be an interesting clash between the two sides with the most takeaways this season. Buffalo and Indianapolis are the only two teams with at least 20 takeaways so far this year and it has allowed their offenses to thrive. In fact, the Colts are the only team in the league with at least one takeaway in each game they have played. But how will they fare against Josh Allen and a Buffalo side responded well from a massive wake up call against the Jags.
After losing 6-9 and failing to score a touchdown in what may be the first time with Josh Allen as quarterback, the Bills responded with a 45-17 win over the Jets. They forced five turnovers in the game, and will be looking for more of the same against Carson Wentz this weekend.
While Wentz is known as the turnover king, given he had 15 interceptions and 10 fumbles last season, he has only had three and three respectively this year, indicating that he has that part of his game under control. What helps is a star running back, which Jonathan Taylor is. The Colts are 9-0 in games that Taylor rushes for 100+ yards, including in all five of their wins this season.
However, Buffalo ranks 3rd for run defense, giving up less than 90 rushing yards per game. That means that Indy’s strength can be taken away by the Bills, whilst Buffalo may not be able to be stopped on offense. The Bills have the best point differential in the league for a reason and that will be on display in this game. I don’t like that they are laying more than a touchdown, so I’m going to buy some points and hope for a nice win.
The Colts have quietly been one of the best teams in the league over the past few weeks with a 4-1 record over their last 5 games, with their only loss coming in overtime against the Titans who are arguably the best team in the AFC. The Colts have been playing well under quarterback Carson Wentz who has thrown 10 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions in the last 5 games, with those 2 interceptions coming in the overtime loss to the Titans.
The Bills on the other hand have been hit or miss. Despite playing one of the easiest schedules over the past few weeks, the Bills are 3-2 in the last 5 games. This includes an utterly embarrassing 9-6 loss to the Jaguars who are undoubtedly the worst team in the league. The Bills did bounce back with a blowout loss against the Jets last week but the cracks are obvious with the Bills.
The Bills are heavily favoured in this matchup when they shouldn’t be in my opinion. The Colts have a great defense and if Wentz can continue his recent strong play the Bills may not be able to stop him. I think you’d be a fool not to take this sort of value, as the Colts will either win this or make it very close.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Indianapolis Colts +7.5 (-118)
Indianapolis has been on a tear since Carson Wentz got healthy as the Colts have now won four of their last five games dating back to October 17th against the Houston Texans. Now they face what will likely be their toughest test of the season as they travel to Buffalo to take on Josh Allen and the Bills. With Tennessee’s recent success after a slow start the door to the AFC South Division title may be shut but the door for the AFC Wild Card spots is still very much open. It will be interesting to see how Indianapolis looks as we enter the home stretch of the 2021 season.
Make no mistake about it, even with the slip up to the Jacksonville Jaguars a few weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills are still the likely AFC favorite to play in the superbowl in Los Angeles in February of 2022. Buffalo responded to the loss in a big way with an absolute thrashing of the New York Jets on the road on Sunday by a score of 45-17. Buffalo will need to continue those winning ways as the surprising New England Patriots are breathing down their neck, as they only have a one game lead in the AFC East heading into week 11. Continuing winning ways is exactly what I expect for the Bills this week too. I look for Buffalo to grind out a hard fought win over the Colts at home.
Tony’s NFL Pick: Buffalo Bills (-330)
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 1pm ET
Aaron Rodgers returned to the lineup and everything looked relatively easy for the Green Bay Packers, dominating the Seahawks 17-0. They now get on the road for a big divisional rivalry game against the Minnesota Vikings, the second best team in the NFC North. While the Vikings have just a 4-5 record, they haven’t lost by more than a touchdown so far this season and will give the Packers a red-hot contest.
It is hard to go against the Packers in this one. They managed to beat the Seahawks 17-0 despite Rodgers only coming out of quarantine 24 hours before the game. He now gets a full week of practice and will have this offense humming, even without Aaron Jones, who went down with a bad knee injury. His absence only allowed AJ Dillon to step up and fill the void, as he finished with the only two touchdowns for the game.
Add in the fact that Aaron Rodgers performs statistically better against the Vikings than any other team, and this one should be easy for the Pack. His 15-8-1 record against them may be behind his records against the Bears and Lions, but the 5,839 yards and 47 touchdowns he has thrown against Minnesota are more than he has against any other side.
However, the Vikings have been playing great lately. Over their last four weeks they have played sides that are either in the playoffs or fancied to make them, going 2-2 with a net point differential of +6. Over that span, Kirk Cousins has 8 touchdowns and no picks, indicating that he and the offense are on the same page. Add in the fact that this isn’t a primetime matchup, which is the kryptonite to Cousins, and the Vikings should like their chances against the Packers in this one.
While they should, I don’t. Green Bay continues to be one of the best teams in the league and now with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, they should be a force to be reckoned with. Given the poor play of teams around them in the NFC, like the Rams, Bucs and Cardinals, Green Bay have to see this as a must win game, to give themselves a gap at the top of the conference.
Tim’s NFL Pick: Green Bay Packers (-126)
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 18, 2021
The Packers enjoyed the return of Aaron Rodgers last week with a 17-0 win against the Russell Wilson-less Seahawks. The Packers offense looks good with Aaron ROdgers like they always have but the Packers defense has been particularly good and may actually be the strength of the team. The Packers held the Seahawks scoreless, held Mahomes to 13 points and the explosive Cardinals offense to 21 points. This Packers defense has been one of the league’s best allowing just 18 points a game.
The Vikings are a difficult team to assess. No matter how good or bad their opponent is, they always seem to have a close game. Their biggest win in the last month came last week against the Chargers with a 1 touchdown victory. Prior to that they had close games where they won or lost by 4 or less points against the Cowboys, Ravens, Panthers and Lions.
This inter-division rivalry is one of the most fierce in the league. However with Aaron Rodgers under center, the Vikings have been unable to carve out many wins throughout his tenure. However, I think this will be a close game. The Vikings play well against good teams and I think they’ll be able to make this close. However, I think the Packers will still take this by 3 or more points.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Green Bay Packers -2.5 (-105)
The Green Bay Packers are coming off a huge win in Aaron Rogers return to the lineup on Sunday. While they only managed to score 17 points in the game, the defense shut down the Seattle Seahawks holding them scoreless. Now Green Bay heads into this all important NFC North matchup with some momentum and an 8-2 record, looking to further extend their lead in the division as they face second-place team Minnesota who they already have a 3 1/2 game lead over. They will be looking to extend their winning streak to two games before welcoming in the struggling Los Angeles Rams next weekend.
The Minnesota Vikings come into this game with a sub .500 record of 4-5, coming off of a victory over Justin Herbert The Los Angeles Chargers by a touchdown. Every game left from here on out will be equally as important to the Minnesota Vikings as every victory will help them keep pace in the NFC wildcard race. Wow they are not officially out of the NFC North division title race it is fair to say Green Bay is absolutely running away with the title of the season and are likely three or four weeks from clinching officially. I believe that the Green Bay Packers will get one step closer to winning the division this week when they go into Minnesota and come away with a huge win over the Vikings.
Tony’s NFL Pick: Green Bay Packers (-126)
Cincinnati Bengals @ Las Vegas Raiders – 4:05pm ET
We move into the afternoon time slot with two AFC Wild Card hopefuls, the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. Both sides come in on a two-game losing streak but are still tied with the Chargers for the last spot in the playoffs, meaning a win here isn’t just a win, but it could hold tie-breaker ramifications whilst also giving the victorious team a leg-up on their opponent.
I’m going with Joe Burrow and the Bengals coming off their bye to secure the win in Sin City. The Chiefs showed how to carve up the Raiders last weekend and while I don’t think Burrow is Mahomes and the Bengals are the Chiefs, they could be very close over the coming years, especially with Joe Mixon coming out of the backfield and Ja’Marr Chase out wide.
The Bengals’ offense is dynamic, and the best bit is their run defense is top eight in the league. This means that they have options offensively but they get the ball back and don’t allow you to chew through the clock. That is important against the Raiders, who have Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake coming out of the backfield.
However, the Raiders are very Derek Carr reliant and that doesn’t always work out for them, especially when they go 1/9 on third downs, like they did last week. Add in the fact that Cincinnati ranks eighth for sacks per game and actually performs better on the road in that area, it isn’t hard to see why I’m siding with the Bengals.
The Raiders have surprised me the most this season. Despite facing adversity at almost every junction, they still have a 5-4 record and have played respectable football outside of the beatdown they received last week. The Raiders did not look good against the Chiefs. The offense, which is the strength of the team, looked anemic with the team’s leading rusher being Derek Carr with 18 yards. The Raiders looked flat out bad and only managed 2 touchdowns in a 41-14 beatdown. The Raiders will be looking to bounce back against the Bengals.
The Bengals will also be looking to bounce back after their bye week. In their last game, the Bengals also suffered a beatdown with a 41-16 loss to the Browns. The Bengals were at one point the number 1 seed in the AFC and have fallen to 3rd in their division. The biggest issue has been the inconsistency of their offense. The Bengals will need a good game against the Raiders defense which is one of the worst in the league allowing 25.6 points per game.
Both teams are in a similar position. They are both 5-4 and are looking to bounce back from big losses. I think the Bengals are the better team and have the least amount of turmoil. Although they are going to play in Vegas, they have had the extra week of rest and I think that is a recipe for a big win.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (-120)
The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off of a much needed bye week but before that they were absolutely throttled by the Cleveland Browns and they will be looking for a way to recover from that game this week against the Raiders. Cincinnati has been a pleasant surprise this season to most NFL fans, despite glaring problems in the off-season and the preseason they have managed to put together a decent year. Joe Burrow is certainly looking like a candidate and potential winner for comeback player of the year as well, well his top target Ja’Marr Chase looks like a potential rookie of the year. Cincinnati comes into this game with a record of 5-4 as they are right in the mix of things for a potential playoff spot later this season.
The Las Vegas raiders had a pretty hot start to the 2021 NFL season but the wheels have fallen off as of late. It all started with the Jon Gruden email scandal that led to his firing/resigning. Then not too long after that Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette found themselves in serious legal trouble and are no longer with the team either. The Raiders are 5-4 coming into this game, and are very desperate for a victory to keep pace in the AFC much like the Cincinnati Bengals are.
Vegas is on a two game losing streak after losing a surprise game to the Giants and being blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs in their last game. As for the results of this game I look for the Cincinnati Bengals to be the team to bounce back and get a huge road victory and keep on chugging along towards the end of the NFL season and a potential playoff berth.
Tony’s NFL Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (-120)
Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs – 4:25pm ET
This is the game of the weekend as we have two division leaders from different conferences squaring off in a potential Super Bowl preview. The Kansas City Chiefs proclaim to be back in action, but the Dallas Cowboys are an extremely talented and deep football team, meaning this will be one heck of a contest.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys up against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. This is about as good as it gets this season, as the Chiefs seem to have come back to life while the Cowboys have been one of the better teams all season long. This is a tough one as Dallas have been playing better all season, are +13 on the Chiefs in terms of turnover differential and have a much more balanced attack, on both sides of the ball. However, betting against the Chiefs in Arrowhead is one of the most dangerous things to do, and I don’t think I can do it.
In a statement game with the top spot in the AFC West on the line, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs showed up big time. They dominated the Raiders last week and Mahomes, for the second time in his career – which is most in the NFL, had a 400+ passing yard, 5+ touchdown and no interception game.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys might have the most stacked offensive unit in the league, with Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard coming out of the backfield, whilst having Dak Prescott throw to the likes of Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. It is no surprise to see that they lead the league in total offense and points per game this season, I just worry that they may be one of their biggest tests of the season and while they should keep it close, they may not be able to keep up fully.
The Chiefs are laying 2.5 points so it is too risky to play that market while the total points line is set at 56, which could also be a risk despite the over being more likely to happen. I’m going to settle on the Chiefs straight up in Arrowhead. As I mentioned, it is dangerous to bet against them in that setting and their performance last week indicated that they may be back in business.
Tim’s NFL Pick: Kansas City Chiefs (-142)
Most games with 400+ passing yards since 2018:
🔹Dak Prescott – 9
🔹Patrick Mahomes – 6 pic.twitter.com/HOXWsweLsl
— PFF (@PFF) November 15, 2021
Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes face off in a matchup of 2 of the best young quarterbacks in the league. The Cowboys are coming off a huge win against the Falcons. The Cowboys offense and defense was clicking on all cylinders with the offene putting up 43 points while the defense allowed just 3 points. Dak had an efficient game throwing for 296 yards and 2 touchdowns. This was exactly what the Cowboys needed as they bounced back from a 30-16 loss to the Broncos the week before.
The Chiefs are in a similar situation as they also come off a huge win against their division rivals, the Raiders and look to continue turning the corner. The Chiefs are 4-1 in their last 5 games but have struggled against poor teams and only beat the Aaron Rodger-less Packers by 6 points. Mahomes did look good against the Raiders but has been throwing errant interceptions all season. Mahoems has 10 picks on the season which is by far the worst mark of his career. Mahomes needs to hope the trend of him throwing picks is over.
The Cowboys and Chiefs both have shown that they can put up huge points. I think that the winner of this game will be a toss up as both teams have been streaky. I think the overs is the best bet here as both teams are coming off big offensive performances and will be looking to continue.
Mike’s NFL Pick: Over 56 (-110)
The Dallas Cowboys come to this game with a record of 7-2 on the season. In their last game they responded after losing a shocking game to the Denver Broncos by absolutely beating down the Atlanta Falcons by 40 points. Dallas holds a commanding 3 1/2 game lead in a weak NFC East division and will be looking to extend their lead against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City is a team that has suddenly found their mojo in the past few weeks. This game will certainly not be an easy task for Dallas and it is one of their tougher matchups of the season as they travel to Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs come into this game on a three game winning streak and have gone from dead last to first in their division over the course of the last three weeks. After an unlikely start that saw them in the basement of the AFC West after the season’s first handful of games they have suddenly found their rhythm again and look like the same team that has gone to back to back Super Bowls winning one of those games. Patrick Mahomes suddenly looks like the MVP that he is again and Travis Kelce has emerged over the last few weeks to become the dominant force that we all know him to be at the tight end position. When the clock hits triple zero for this game I expect the Chiefs to come away with a big home win that will further submit their return to the top of the NFL as the season winds down.
Tony’s NFL Pick: Kansas City Chiefs (-142)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.