What can I say, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll. I went 4-1 with my picks last week in Week 10, making me 21-4 over the last five weeks, with the money line. I’m 35-15 on the season. And I’m feeling good about the run I’ve been on, which also included a hole-in-one in Golden Tee at Striggies last weekend, but that’s for another time.
As good as I’m feeling, I won’t lie to you, Week 11 has the makings of a wacky week in the NFL. So, let’s get nuts.
Here are my picks for Week 11:
CAROLINA PANTHERS over Detroit Lions
-The 6-3 Panthers just got embarrassed on Thursday Night Football by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 52-21. It snapped Carolina’s three-game win streak. Now, the Panthers are a 3.5-point favorite in Detroit Sunday at 1 p.m. The Lions are in last place in the NFC North at 3-6 and have lost three straight, to the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. Detroit isn’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but their chances of advancing to the tournament aren’t very good at this point. If the playoffs began today, Carolina would be the No. 5 seed in the NFC and would be going to Washington in the Wild Card round. I think the Panthers will make the playoffs as either the No. 5 or 6 seed, but they’ll need to win this game in Detroit to prove me right. I expect Carolina to bounce back after being embarrassed in Week 10. Give me Cam Newton to lead the Panthers to their seventh win of the season.
HOUSTON TEXANS over Washington Redskins
-The 6-3 Texans are coming off the bye, and they’ll travel to D.C. Sunday at 1 to take on the 6-3 Redskins. This is a battle of first-place teams, but it’s the road team that’s the favorite. Houston is a 2.5-point favorite, mainly because of its six-game win streak. However, if you look at the teams the Texans have beaten since beginning the season 0-3, it’s not all that impressive. And let’s be honest, even though I’ve been high on Washington this year, if the Texans go into D.C. and win this game, it won’t necessarily be a “message-sender” to the rest of the league, even if it does mark a seven-game win streak. Houston has a top-10 defense, and an offense that’s much more explosive than Washington’s. I’ll take the Texans in this one.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS over Pittsburgh Steelers
-Remember when I said Week 11 could get wacky? This was one of the games I was referring to. The 3-6 Jaguars are in last place in the AFC South and have lost five straight. But they did see the return of Leonard Fournette last week, in a 29-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. They Jags are a 6-point underdog at home against a 6-2-1 Steelers team that’s won five straight. Pittsburgh no longer has to worry about Le’Veon Bell, who is now ineligible to play this season after failing to report to the team by Tuesday at 4 p.m. But wouldn’t it be a typical NFL outcome if the Steelers respond to that and a huge win over Carolina by losing to a last-place team? In the words of Paul Heyman, this isn’t a prediction, it’s a spoiler. Streaks will be snapped on Sunday at 1 in Jacksonville. Give me the Jaguars.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS over Chicago Bears
-This game was flexed into the Sunday Night Football Game of the Week, and for good reason. If the playoffs began as I write this, on Tuesday, the 5-3-1 Vikings would be the No. 6 seed in the NFC and they would be heading to Chicago to take on the No. 3 seed Bears, at 6-3, in the Wild Card round. These division rivals will play each other twice in the final seven weeks of the regular season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Minnesota wins both of them. Sure, this one on Sunday night is in Chicago the Bears are a 2.5-point favorite having won three straight, but those last three wins were against the 3-7 New York Jets, the 3-7 Buffalo Bills, and the 3-6 Detroit Lions. Not all that impressive, if you ask me. Meanwhile, the Vikings are coming off the bye, and look to give second-year running back Dalvin Cook a larger workload after he returned before the bye and ran for 89 yards on 10 carries. Minnesota has a chance to make a statement on national TV, and I think they’ll do just that. Vikings will win this one on the road.
LOCK OF THE WEEK: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS over Tennessee Titans
-The 4-5 Colts are actually a 2-point favorite in this game against a 5-4 Titans team that’s coming off a huge win over the New England Patriots. But all you need to know is that Andrew Luck is 9-0 in his career against Tennessee. The Colts have won three straight, and their offense looks like it’s ready to compete with a top defense like Tennessee’s. Last week’s game against the Patriots was the Titans’ Super Bowl. I’m convinced of it. This will be a letdown game for them in Indianapolis Sunday at 1. In a week that’s tough to find a lock, mainly because the Buffalo Bills have a bye and I can’t pick against them, I’ll take an underrated Colts team in their own building against a Titans team that might’ve emptied the tank in the previous week. Colts will win their fourth straight.