The Sports Editors’ Week 11 NFL Picks

Stuzin: Detroit Lions at New York Giants (+3)

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been shocked by the Giants’ performance this season. Running back Saquon Barkley has proved doubters wrong, leading the league in rushing yards with 931 and coming in sixth in rushing touchdowns. Additionally, although his yardage and touchdown numbers aren’t out of this world, QB Daniel Jones is tied for the league best in interceptions with only two, and he has a QB rating of 60.2, which ranks eighth.

As for their opponents, it feels like the Lions should have a better record than their current 3-6. QB Jared Goff does a decent job of leading the offense with 2,277 passing yards (ranking tenth) and 15 passing touchdowns (ranking eighth). Nevertheless, the Lions never seem to deliver the win. With the Giants’ recent success, I expect them to cover this narrow spread.

Martin: New York Jets (+3) at New England Patriots

The Jets lost to the Patriots at home in Week 8, with Zach Wilson having his worst game of the season with three picks. However, I think this game presents a great bounce-back opportunity for New York. Wilson looked great two weeks ago against the Buffalo Bills in the Jets’ biggest win of the season so far; he avoided turning the ball over and earned a 101.1 passer rating, per ESPN. Wilson’s struggles against the Patriots were a wake-up call: he needs to protect the football.

If Wilson can just avoid interceptions, then the Jets’ defense will be able to carry this game. I love how Jets cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed match up against the Patriots’ mediocre receiving core. The run game presents the bigger challenge for the Jets, with Patriots back Rhamondre Stevenson looking like the real deal. Still, the Jets’ defense should be able to toughen out this division rivalry to earn their first regular season win at Gillette Stadium since Brett Favre was the starting quarterback.

Fischer: Pittsburgh Steelers (+5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals 

Is the Steelers’ defense back? After a stellar outing to hold the New Orleans Saints to 10 points on Sunday, T.J. Watt’s return quickly revitalized “The Black and Gold.” In Week 1, the Steelers defeated the Bengals in overtime by a score of 23-20. For the Steelers to sweep the season series, Kenny Pickett does not need to throw touchdowns — he simply needs to avoid throwing interceptions, which he did against the Saints last weekend. In his second-year regression, running-back Najee Harris has also struggled to catch passes, so Pickett’s improved comfort in the pocket should lead Harris to take on a larger role in the passing game. 

Coming off a bye week and a dominant showing against the Carolina Panthers in Week 9, the Cincinnati Bengals may have adjusted to the loss of Ja’Marr Chase. While all signs point to the Bengals cruising to victory, playing in Pittsburgh is never a small feat. With “Terrible Towels” on display, a battle of struggling offensive lines on a snowy day in Pittsburgh should guarantee a close affair between these two teams.

Notis: Chicago Bears (+3) at Atlanta Falcons

Although the Bears lost a nail-biter to the Lions in Week 10, one thing became clear: quarterback Justin Fields is the real deal. Fields has become the dual-threat quarterback fans dreamed about since his days at Ohio State. Behind him, the Bears’ offense looks reborn, tearing apart defenses in the air and on the ground. Newly acquired wide receiver Chase Claypool has spread the focus of the defense and given Fields more room to create. Although the Lions have the worst defensive rating in the NFL (according to ESPN), no one should expect Fields’s dominance to not stop against the Falcons.

The Falcons, according to ESPN, have the second-worst defensive rating in the NFL. Fields is evolving before our eyes and gets the opportunity to play the two worst defenses in the NFL in back-to-back weeks. This is the easiest way for a young quarterback to develop. Fields’s development combined with the ineffectiveness of the Falcons’ defense is the perfect recipe for a Bears win. 

Silverstein: Minnesota Vikings (+1.5)  vs. Dallas Cowboys

The 8-1 Vikings have won seven in a row, are undefeated at home, just beat the Bills in Buffalo and, of course, are somehow underdogs to a Dallas team that has looked a bit shaky in recent weeks. The scary thing for Cowboys fans is that their past two games have confirmed what many suspected: they aren’t necessarily that much better with Dak Prescott under center as opposed to Cooper Rush. This isn’t Dak’s fault per se, but instead, it falls on the uncharacteristically subpar defensive play we’ve seen, with the Cowboys giving up 29 and 31 points to the mediocre Packers and Bears, respectively. With Rush, Dallas’ defense was shutting teams down, which allowed them to run the ball and play it safe through the air. But with the defense starting to stumble a bit, Dak has had to throw the ball more than he should, leading to some costly turnovers. Dallas’ playmaking defense needs to get back on track, but I don’t think it will happen against one of the most talented skill position groups in the league. SKOL Vikings this Sunday in Minneapolis.