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NFL Week 11 game picks: Ravens edge Texans; Pats top Eagles

Gregg Rosenthal went 5-8 on his predictions for Week 10, bringing his season record to 89-58-1. How will he fare in Week 11? His picks are below.


8:20 p.m. ET (FOX) | FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland)

It was telling that Cleveland's game-winning drive last week really started with a third-and-7 throw to Kareem Hunt lined up as a wide receiver. Hunt adds juice to an offense that was still erratic against the Bills in a performance typical of the Browns' season. At a certain point, it's time to believe the teams that show you what they are. Thursday night presents a major step up in class for Baker Mayfield against a peaking Steelers defense, with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree well-suited to expose Cleveland's shaky tackles. Mike Tomlin's gang has forced 24 turnovers in the seven games since acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick, while the Browns' defense has forced two turnovers in the last five weeks. That's a recipe for an ugly Steelers win and plenty of boo birds.


1 p.m. ET (FOX) | Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)

I'm hesitant to simply throw away Atlanta's road win in New Orleans as some rivalry week fluke. That's because the Falcons' defense has played so far beneath its talent level all year, and Dan Quinn's defenses have traditionally closed the season far stronger than they started it. This should not be a two-win team. Grady Jarrett and the Atlanta front could keep it rolling against a Panthers offensive line that is making Kyle Allen's job considerably tougher each week. How much of an upset is this really when it matches a former league MVP at quarterback, still in his prime, against an undrafted signal-caller making his ninth career start?

1 p.m. ET (FOX) | Ford Field (Detroit)

Lions fans who've been critical of Matthew Stafford over the years could get a chance to learn what life is like without him if his back injury keeps him sidelined any longer. With Stafford, Detroit possessed an exciting vertical offense that would have probably beaten the Bearslast week to push their record to 4-4-1. Without him, this is one of the worst teams in football. That is more of a knock against Lions coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn than backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. The comprehensive issues in Detroit's running game and defense will be laid bare for all to see as long as Stafford is sidelined.

UPDATE: On Friday, Lions coach Matt Patricia told reporters Matthew Stafford will not play against the Cowboys.

1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

Gardner Minshew was incredible for a rookie. I still don't think he offers the 2019 upside of Nick Foles, especially for a Jaguars team that can't rely on its defense to carry it. The emergence of D.J. Chark and Chris Conley as deep threats matches up with Foles' mad-bomber style. That could force defenses to approach the Jaguars differently. Only Frank Gorehas seen a higher percentage of eight-man boxes than Leonard Fournette among runners with at least 100 carries, per Next Gen Stats -- something Foles could help decrease. The Colts' offensive ceiling, meanwhile, remains low with T.Y. Hilton on the sideline, even with Jacoby Brissett expected to return this week. Don't be surprised if Foles leads another late-season surge. It's what he does best.

1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

The Dolphins took a lead into the fourth quarter in Buffalo when these teams faced off in Week 7, which marked a turning point for both squads. The Dolphins proved they can compete against decent opposition and have won two games since. The Bills' defense and Josh Allen's development both began to show they may not quite live up the hype, trends that have played out in the three games since. While Buffalo's secondary is strong, the pass rush and run defense are middling. Allen's accuracy can't be called streaky, because there are no good streaks. He makes just enough plays to keep both teams in the game, another trend I expect to see in a close Bills win.

1 p.m. ET (CBS) | M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)

It's a shame the NFL didn't flex a game with two of the leading MVP candidates to Sunday Night Football, but I suppose you have to squeeze in Trubisky-Goff II while you still can. The Ravens are among the most improved teams since September, with the offense hitting the stratosphere and the defense steadily improving. The Texans remain mysterious. The best performance from their mediocre defense came withoutJ.J. Wattin London. Their offense is playing against expectations with good pass protection and little vertical passing. Both teams are impossible to prepare for on third down because there is no perfect play call against Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson. In a coin-flip matchup, the overpowering Ravens rushing attack remains the defining group of two teams that can transform so seamlessly from week to week.

*1 p.m. ET (CBS) | U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis) *

In a dark Broncos season, there have been notable rays of sunshine. Courtland Sutton made the leap into a true No. 1 receiver, the type of player who can make an untested first-time starter like quarterback Brandon Allen look a lot better. Phillip Lindsay has backed up his Pro Bowl rookie campaign despite getting fewer touches. Safety Justin Simmons should be a Pro Bowler, typical of a Vic Fangio defense that found its footing after a slow start. The Broncos are your stereotypical stretch-run tough out, a spoiler that will require opponents to not beat themselves. Congratulations for making it to the end of my long way of saying this game could get more complicated than expected for the Vikings.

1 p.m. ET (FOX) | FedExField (Landover, Md.)

Dwayne Haskins' first career start against Buffalo had some encouraging signs. While Washington interim coach Bill Callahan limited Haskins' exposure, the Ohio State product threw a few timing passes with anticipation that some NFL veterans never quite master. He's not a quarterback who needs to "see it" to throw it, which is one reason he went in the first round. Amidst a truly miserable season in Washington, Haskins' play is the only thing left that matters, and matchups don't get much easier than this one.

1 p.m. ET (FOX) | Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)

This game takes on greater importance after the Saints' no-show against Atlanta. Was that a blip on the radar or a troubling sign entering the meat of their division schedule? It's a relatively down year in the NFC South, and Teddy Bridgewater had no problem slicing up this Bucs defense in Week 5. That was one of many games in which Jameis Winston -- the league leader in interceptions (14) -- was lucky not to have thrown a few more. Winston is also first in sacks taken (34), a number that should climb plenty against a New Orleans defense I trust as much as the New Orleans offense to make some big plays Sunday. This whole "balanced Saints team" takes some getting used to.

4:05 p.m. ET (FOX) | Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Kyler Murray is playing so well lately that he's turned Chris Wesseling into a raving devotee. Normally, I'd be incredibly fired up to see the rookie test his mettle against perhaps the NFL's best defense, but these two teams just played in Week 9. Two games in three weeks is a scheduling sin, but the 49ers look rather different offensively than they did on Halloween. Tight end George Kittle and running back Matt Breida are expected to be out, while wideout Emmanuel Sanders' status is uncertain at best. That makes this matchup a dangerous one for the Niners, but they have done an incredible job all season overcoming injuries, especially on defense.

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) | Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland, Calif.)

We've arrived at the portion of this delightful Raiders season that few saw coming -- except for Raiders Twitter, to whom anything less than a 12-4 preseason prediction is a sign of disrespect. Yep, the Raiders should absolutely win their next two games against the Bengals and Jets, pushing them to terrific playoff position at 7-4. The brutal efficiency of Oakland's slow-paced offense could help keep this game closer than Raiders fans want, but Bengals rookie quarterback Ryan Finley didn't show anything last week to make you believe he's ready to win a shootout. (And winning a shootout is the only path to victory this Cincy defense allows.)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS) | Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)

The profile of each team has flipped since Super Bowl LII 21 months ago. The once high-flying Eagles are a station-to-station offense that will rely on a grinding running attack to overpower the Patriots. After ranking 31st in defensive efficiency back in the 2017 season, New England now relies on a big-play defense (first in turnovers, fourth in sacks) to carry a mediocre passing attack and the worst Patriots running game since they gave carries to Steven Jackson in an AFC Championship Game. Both teams are coming off a bye, making this a fascinating test for how two excellent coaching staffs try to fix their shortcomings while laying out their vision for how to get back to the big game.

8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) | Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles)

The Rams' offensive line had all but collapsed before losing two starters to injury last week. That's a troubling sign heading into a matchup against a Bears front that held L.A. to six points last December, kick-starting an offensive nosedive that appeared to reach its nadir last week in Pittsburgh. The Bears' passing attack appears closer to rock bottom, and this matchup now features two excellent defenses, not one. The Rams are ranked fourth in team defense, according to Football Outsiders, one spot ahead of the vaunted Bears. If the defenses are equal, this one isn't tough to pick, despite the Rams' recent struggles. Their worst should be better than the Bears' worst.


8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) | Estadio Azteca (Mexico City)

I'm not worried about this four-loss Chiefs team. An elite passing game and a sneaky-good pass defense is the most reliable route to the Super Bowl; the Chiefs have both. Even with Patrick Mahomes not quite at full speed, the Chiefs put up 530 yards in Tennessee on a day he missed a few open throws and drops killed multiple drives. Keeping Mahomes "off the field" with a strong running game isn't enough -- and it remains uncertain if the Chargers have a strong running game. The Bolts' defense will have to get stops, and they haven't done that consistently enough all season to pick them here.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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