NFL Week 11 Preview
Patriots @ Falcons
We have reached the point of the year where rookie quarterbacks stop playing like rookie quarterbacks. With that being said, it feels like Mac Jones reached the point in week six against the Cowboys. That was when I became ready to admit that I was wrong about Jones. In the pre-draft process, I didn't like Jones. In the modern-day, I believed that immobile quarterbacks at least need a big arm to make plays in the NFL. Jones has proven me wrong. While Jones doesn't have the strongest arm in the NFL, he is extremely decisive with the deep ball. Every game he finds at least one moment to air it out to Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor. Against Atlanta's defense, I can see it happening more than once. Bill Belichick does a great job at taking out the opposing offense's best weapon. This season, the Falcons' best offensive player has been Cordarrelle Patterson, who has already been ruled out. That means Bill Belichick will focus on the next biggest target, Kyle Pitts. With Calvin Ridley and Patterson out of the game and Pitts having all the attention, someone else on this offense will have to step up. Whether it be Russell Gage or Mike Davis, I don't have much faith in this team. This will be a statement win for the Patriots and Mac Jones' case for rookie of the year.
What to Watch For: Does Mac Jones become the OROY favorite after this game?
Player of the Game: Mac Jones QB Patriots
Final Score: Patriots 30 Falcons 22
Packers @ Vikings
People have desperately been waiting for the time that AJ Dillon will be the Packers' lead back, this is the time. With Aaron Jones out due to a minor knee injury, Dillon will be receiving the majority of carries in Green Bay's offense. With most of the Vikings' attention on number 12, Dillon will be running against lighter boxes. Dillon has the old-school ability to set the tone in this game. As a physical runner, his goal should be to never let one defender tackle him. Stay in bounds and run through contact; that is the goal. The Packers haven't had a downhill running back since Eddie Lacy, and I believe Dillon is much better than Lacy. This will be the AJ Dillon breakout game that we have all been waiting for. Defensively for the Packers, we get to see their first-round stud against Minnesota's first-round stud from last season. Eric Stokes has had an underrated rookie year and deserves to be mentioned in the defensive rookie-of-the-year conversation. Lined up against Justin Jefferson, Stokes will need to be physical all game long. Jefferson does a great job at shaking overly-physical defensive backs at the line, so Stokes' physicality will have to be decisive. I think Jefferson will take advantage of Stokes' inexperience and have a field day on Sunday. As for Minnesota's defense, they are getting Patrick Peterson back. Against a quarterback like Rodgers, it is important to have as many veterans in the back end as possible. Peterson won't be jumping any routes, but he knows when the quick screen passes to Davante Adams are coming. This should be a good game, but with Dillon running hard, I like the Packers to come out with the road win.
What to Watch For: Is this the AJ Dillon breakout game?
Player of the Game: AJ Dillon RB Packers
Final Score: Packers 27 Vikings 23
Lions @ Browns
We have somehow reached the point in the season where Tim Boyle is a starting quarterback. No offense to Boyle, but with Myles Garrett on pace to win Defensive Player of the Year, the Browns defense is going to eat him alive. While Cleveland played their worse game of the season last week, this is a get-right game. The Lions, coming off a tie, are the worst team in the NFL. If the Browns lose this game, we will be seeing members of the Dawg Pound with paper bags over their heads. Baker Mayfield beats up right now; that is not a secret. The Browns' offense will be leaning heavily on Nick Chubb. Chubb is a bruiser and he'll run time off this clock. The Lions also have a bulldog playing running back for their offense. D'Andre Swift is the best player on this team and Dan Campbell needs to find a way to get him the football. With Campbell taking over play-calling duties, the game plan should be feed 32. They can feed him a Thanksgiving dinner for all I care, the Lions are not winning this game. With Myles Garrett looking to add another name to his graveyard and Chubb back in the offense, this is Cleveland's game to lose.
What to Watch For: Can Tim Boyle (TB12) light a spark for Detroit's offense?
Player of the Game: Nick Chubb RB Browns
Final Score Lions 6 Browns 24
Dolphins @ Jets
The Dolphins came up with one of the biggest upsets of the year last week and are well-rested to play against a bottom three team in the NFL. With Joe Flacco starting for the Jets, Brian Flores is going to dial up lots of pressure. The Dolphins' defense was able to make Lamar Jackson uncomfortable last week by blitzing Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones. Holland and Jones will be bringing the heat again this week. A bright spot for the Jets has been their rookies, Michael Carter, and Elijah Moore. Moore has four touchdowns in the last four games while Carter has had at least eight fantasy points (Non-PPR) in the past six games. With Zach Wilson's return coming soon, Flacco will need to lay everything on the line this week. Nobody knows how many more seasons Flacco has left in him, so I expect the former Super Bowl MVP to play his heart out against Miami. While I don't think it will be enough to upset the Dolphins, I expect the Jets to put up a fight. Tua Tagovailoa is also playing with a lot on the line. There is a lot of speculation that Deshaun Watson will be playing for Miami next season, which means Tagovailoa needs to put as much on tape as possible to prevent that from happening. I expect this game to have a lot of turnovers, but with an extra three days' rest, the Dolphins will come out on top.
What to Watch For: Will Joe Flacco be taking shots downfield?
Player of the Game: Tua Tagovailoa QB Dolphins
Final Score: Dolphins 24 Jets 21
Colts @ Bills
This is the best game in the morning slate. The Colts are red-hot, winning four out of their last five, and the Bills are coming off of a 45-17 blowout win. Frank Reich brings out the best in Carson Wentz. Being able to rely on Jonathan Taylor running the football and Reich calling the plays has allowed Wentz to have his best season since 2017. Wentz is playing with a sort of freedom that allows him to sling the ball downfield and let his playmakers make plays. Michael Pittman Jr. has benefitted because of it; he and Taylor have both made second-year jumps. As for Buffalo's offense, Josh Allen has been a little inconsistent this year, and I expect his inconsistencies to continue against Indianapolis. Kwity Paye and Deforest Buckner have been shredding up quarterbacks this season, while Kenny Moore has proven to be the best nickel corner in the NFL. Last season, Cole Beasley was the best slot receiver in the NFL, so it will be fun to watch these two go head-to-head. Darius Leonard is having another all-pro season and I expect him to shut down the Bills' running attack. While Matt Breida looked like the best player on the field last week against the Jets, I expect Brian Daboll's game plan to be pass-heavy. While I don't expect this to be his best game of the season, I do think Josh Allen will get it done with his arm. This game is going to be close, but I expect Jonathan Taylor to rip a big run when the Colts need it the most. I like the Colts to pull off the upset win in Buffalo.
What to Watch For: Kenny Moore vs Cole Beasley
Player of the Game: Deforest Buckner DT Colts
Final Score: Colts 31 Bills 27
Football Team (WFT) @ Panthers
"Return of the Mack... Return of the Mack", ladies and gentleman... HE'S BAACKKK! Cam Newton is making his first start in Carolina since week two of 2019. The best part is that he is playing against his former coach, Ron Rivera. Last week, Newton was a breath of fresh air for Carolina's offense. He along with Christian McCaffrey and PJ helped rejuvenate the Panthers' entire team. The Panthers have been on a downhill trajectory since week six and Newton just flipped the entire thing around. In his first start of the season, I expect Newton to lean on McCaffrey. Joe Brady is going to dial up a heavy dosage of McCaffrey against a Washington defense that is without Chase Young. While the WFT did just upset the Buccaneers, I don't expect Taylor Heinicke to pull off upsets in back-to-back weeks. While Antonio Gibson looked awesome last week and the WFT defense was able to contain Brady without having a sack, last week felt like a fluke. I'd love Heinicke to prove me wrong and beat a motivated Panthers team, but I don't see it happening. I expect a big game for number one on the field and number one in your heart.
What to Watch For: Can the WFT generate pressure without Chase Young?
Player of the Game: Christian McCaffrey RB Panthers
Final Score: WFT 22 Panthers 27
49ers @ Jaguars
The 49ers proved everybody wrong last week against the Rams and I expect their success to continue today against the Jaguars. Kyle Shanahan was able to out-physical a defense with Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller. If he keeps the same game plan, the 49ers should be able to run the Jaguars off the table. While Elijah Mitchell isn't suiting up for San Francisco, Jeff Wilson is. This should be a huge game for Young Jefé (as they call him in the 49ers locker room). Wilson will dominate this game on the ground, but Deebo Samuel and George Kittle will dominate it through the air. The Jaguars have the second-worst pass defense in the NFL and Shanahan knows that. After such a dominating performance on the ground last week, the Jaguars will be planning on stopping the run. Shanahan will use that to his advantage which calls for lots of play-action. The 49ers didn't run any bootlegs against the Rams last week, which means Shanahan didn't empty his bag. The Jaguars should be scared because Shanahan is coaching with a chip on his shoulder. As for the Jaguars' offense, they will have a hard time finding success against Demeco Ryans' defense. I expect 49ers' rookie cornerbacks, Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas to get some playtime today. Those are the guys that Trevor Lawrence should target. While I do believe Lawrence will find Marvin Jones open downfield at least once in this game, I don't expect it to be enough to upset the 49ers.
What to Watch For: Will the 49ers keep going with the momentum?
Player of the Game: Jeff Wilson RB 49ers
Final Score: 49ers 30 Jaguars 20
Ravens @ Bears
The big news in this game is that both Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown are both out for Baltimore. That means that Tyler Huntley will be making his first career start for the Ravens. Huntley is the most entertaining backup quarterback in the NFL; he has that "dog" in him. Another player who has that "dog" in him is Bears quarterback, Justin Fields. Fields' progression has been apparent; coming off a bye week, I expect him to be sharp. Fields is a film junky and I'm positive that he used the bye-week to his advantage. I guarantee he knows the Ravens' defensive scheme to a tee and he'll be able to put up enough points to win this game. David Montgomery is back in action for Chicago; the Ravens have a good run defense, but it isn't great. There will be lanes for Montgomery to run through. The Ravens don't have a workhorse running back this season; that means Tyler Huntley will have to get the job done with his arm. Rashod Bateman could be in for a big game against Chicago. While the Ravens have a great team, I don't think it is good enough to beat the Bears in Chicago without their two biggest offensive playmakers. This will be a defining game for Justin Fields in his rookie season.
What to Watch For: Can Tyler Huntley be a starting quarterback in the NFL?
Player of the Game: David Montgomery RB Bears
Final Score: Ravens 24 Bears 27
Texans @ Titans
The Titans are rolling right now, they are the hottest team in the NFL and their entire defense is playing at an all-pro level. With that being said, this could be a trap game. Tyrod Taylor is playing and the entire team could easily overlook the Texans. To be fair, Houston wasn't able to score a single touchdown the last time we saw them play. Clinching the division is in the Titans' grasp, these are the games they can't lose. Quite frankly, the Titans are playing for home-field advantage right now. To claim home-field advantage, they can't lose to teams like the Texans. Offensively, Ryan Tannehill should force-feed AJ Brown; even if he is covered, throw the ball up to him. He's the best player on the offense right now and deserves 50/50 balls. Defensively, Kevin Byard has put himself in the conversation for defensive player of the year. Jeffery Simmons is the best defensive tackle in the NFL right now and Harold Landry is playing at an all-pro level. This is a must-win for the Titans, and I think they understand the urgency. I like "the boys" to win get this important victory.
What to Watch For: The number of AJ Brown's targets
Player of the Game: Harold Landry EDGE Titans
Final Score: Texans 17 Titans 27
Saints @ Eagles
Boobie is back! The Eagles are finally getting Miles Sanders back, and I'm excited to see him in Nick Sirianni's new offense. In Sanders' absence, Sirianni started running the ball downhill. I'm curious to see if Siranni will continue calling downhill runs for Sanders or only with Jordan Howard. One area that I have noticed Jalen Hurts grow in the past few weeks is his decision-making. Early in the season, Hurts would run the football whenever he had the chance to. Now he is using his legs to extend plays and find his receivers downfield. Devonta Smith is coming off his two best games this season and the Saints are bottom five in defending receivers this season. I could see Smith having a huge game against New Orleans on Sunday. The Saints' offense will run through Mark Ingram. Against the Titans last week, Ingram looked like his old self and ran extremely hard. Against a weak Eagles' linebacker core, Ingram is on pace for a huge game. I like the Eagles to get a hard-fought home win in this game because of their young offensive trio: Jalen Hurts, Devonta Smith, and Miles Sanders.
What to Watch For: Can Mark Ingram carry the Saints' offense?
Player of the Game: Devonta Smith WR Eagles
Final Score: Saints 23 Eagles 27
Bengals @ Raiders
The Bengals have been out of the spotlight for two weeks. After getting a blowout against the Browns in week nine and having a week ten bye, this will be a huge game for Joe Burrow. The NFL is all about momentum and getting hot at the right time. With the regular season slowly winding down, this is the time to start heating up. Ja'Marr Chase hasn't had a big game in a few weeks; against a weak Raiders' secondary, he could be in for a huge one. The Raiders' corners aren't physical enough to contain Chase. As for the Raiders' offense, all eyes are on Darren Waller. He'll be matched up against Logan Wilson and I think this could be his breakout game. Waller's production has dropped off significantly this season; the Raiders should consider force-feeding him. Screen passes, 50/50 balls, heck even reverses, Greg Olson needs to get number 83 in the football. The Raiders defense won't be able to stop Joey Burrow and I don't see the Raiders offense being able to go blow-for-blow with Cincinnati. This will be a huge statement win for Cincy.
What to Watch For: Darren Waller's production, or lack there of.
Player of the Game: Ja'Marr Chase WR Bengals
Final Score: Bengals 31 Raiders 28
Cardinals @ Seahawks
This will be the return of Russell Wilson that we were all expecting. Last week, the Seahawks got shut out for the first time in Russell Wilson's career. Wilson is the type of player that bounces back from adversity. Against a Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins-less Cardinals team, I like Seattle to get a big win. The 12th man has been missing their franchise quarterback for a while now; I think this is the bounce-back win that the Seahawks fans have been craving. I expect Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs to make life tough for Colt McCoy, the Seahawks will be bringing pressure all game long. The Cardinals are preventing Murray from making his injury worse, but in that process, they are dropping meaningful games. The Cardinals are in for the long game while the Seahawks are holding on for dear life. This is a must-win for Seattle while there is a little less urgency in Arizona. For that reason, I like the Seahawks to get a big home win at Lumen Field.
What to Watch For: How does Seattle's defense generate pressure?
Player of the Game: Russell Wilson QB Seahawks
Final Score: Cardinals 20 Seahawks 21
Cowboys @ Chiefs
This is a can't-miss game that will be a statement win for whatever team ends up on top. I expect both of these teams to score over thirty points and the stars to shine. CeeDee Lamb will go bonkers on Sunday and Ezekiel Elliot will get an early Thanksgiving dinner; he is going to eat. The Chiefs on the other hand should also have a huge day. While Trevon Diggs has the most interceptions this season, he has also given up the most yards by a cornerback. That means Tyreek Hill is going to get open downfield. The Chiefs are starting to build momentum and have recaptured the AFC West. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire returning, I can see both teams trying to establish the run early on. While both Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy may try to run the ball, I see both of them eventually giving the keys to their quarterbacks. Dak Prescott is having a career year while Patrick Mahomes is coming off of a five-touchdown game. This game is going to be everything we expect it to be; a whole lot of fun. Defensively, I want to see Micah Parsons wreak havoc. He is having a defensive rookie-of-the-year caliber season and he can solidify his case by asserting his will on Patrick Mahomes. As for the Chiefs' defense, Tyrann Mathieu can't let CeeDee Lamb or Cedrick Wilson get over the top of him. Mathieu understands the importance of this game, he is going to make a play in the biggest moment. Mahomes is going to build off his performance from last week and get his biggest win of the season against the Cowboys.
What to Watch For: Tyreek Hill vs Trevon Diggs
Player of the Game: Tyreek Hill WR Chiefs
Final Score: Cowboys 31 Chiefs 37
Steelers @ Chargers
On Sunday Night Football, we have two teams that desperately need a win. The Steelers are coming off of a tie against the Lions and the Chargers have dropped three out of their past four. Both of these teams have been relatively disappointing this season and need to find a way to pull out a win to secure a playoff spot. With Ben Roethlisberger returning to the lineup, I expect a heavy dosage of Najee Harris. Roethlisberger gives Pittsburgh a little more of a downfield passing threat so the Chargers can't load the box the entire game. When the Steelers are facing lighter boxes, I expect them to feed Harris. Harris has been unstoppable the season and he is going up against a bottom five-run defense in the NFL this week. He is in for another big game; I expect at least 100 rushing yards from him. As for the Chargers' offense, Justin Herbert is going to air the ball out. While the Steelers do have a good pass defense, Herbert is going to find a way to get the ball into Mike Williams and Keenan Allens' hands. While I don't expect the Chargers to have an answer for Harris, I think Herbert will play well enough to come out with a win.
What to Watch For: Can Najee Harris put the team on his back?
Player of the Game: Justin Herbert QB Chargers
Final Score: Steelers 22 Chargers 23