NFL Week 11 picks: Streaking Vikings stay hot against Cowboys; Steelers upset Bengals; Niners keep rolling

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There’s a chance Josh Allen’s injury is a NothingBurger (cheese $2 extra). Maybe we all made too much of this right elbow injury that magically aligned with Buffalo’s descent from clear-cut title contender into AFC sixth seed and the third-best team in the AFC East. 

Personally I tend to think otherwise. The slow leak of information about the injury followed by Sean McDermott labeling Allen “hour-by-hour” ahead of a game where he lay on the ground holding his elbow after making a tackle following a bad interception … I hope I’m wrong, mostly because Josh Allen is a supreme athletic talent who I want to watch play football, but this whole thing stinks.

We all saw the television moment against the Jets where his elbow was hurt. Then it took until Wednesday (72 hours?) before we got an unusual update (hour-by-hour is just absurd) about his elbow from the head coach. Then he clearly played hurt.

So what is happening here — is Allen fighting through a season-ending injury knowing the Bills are the favorites? Is he “fine?” Is it a situation where rest doesn’t matter and Buffalo is just playing chicken with its franchise quarterback? 

The last 10 quarters of football haven’t been MVP Josh Allen. I’m not a medical professional (despite my college transcript), but connect the dots here. Chris Mortensen of ESPN (I would trust any and all things Mort says, particularly Allen-related, based on my experience) reported the UCL injury, and we’ve gotten nothing since from the Bills. 

I don’t know the specifics of the injury so I can’t weigh the short- vs. long-term risk/reward for Buffalo. Allen won’t stop playing until he’s carted off, because he’s a warrior. 

But he’s not the same player he was earlier in the season. His elbow is clearly injured and despite having Case Keenum as a capable backup to potentially rest their superstar QB, the Bills are rolling him out there. 

My best guess is they know rest does nothing and they’re shoving — and Allen is on board — all-in on this year. It feels very shortsighted for a long-term front office, but it’s hard not to chase the Super Bowl as a favorite. I hope I’m wrong. Let’s pick some games.

All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook

NFL Week 11 Picks

Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Stream:
Amazon Prime
Follow: CBS Sports App

Featured Game | Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans

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This game is happening before the Pick Six Podcast Best Bets show; otherwise it would definitely qualify as a revenge game. Two things can be true here. One — Mike Vrabel is a top five coach in the NFL and easily the most underrated head coach in professional football. Two — Aaron Rodgers might have found a window to make a playoff run. I jumped on the ESPN Playoff Machine and the bottom line is this: If Rodgers and the Packers offense get hot and chalk holds, Green Bay can get involved. You can get the Packers +320 to make the playoffs on Caesars right now, which we need to offset these disastrous Packers division bets. 

The pick: Packers 21, Titans 17

Props, Best Bets: Packers -3

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: 
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)

Featured Game | Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns

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An impossible handicap unless you know what Josh Allen’s status. No one does, and I refuse to believe he’s just “fine” after throwing 40+ times in another losing effort. Cleveland isn’t good on defense, but the Bills can be gashed in the run game and Nick Chubb specializes in explosive rush plays. Over a touchdown with a wounded Allen? I think you have to take the points with the Browns. 

The pick: Bills 27, Browns 24

Props, Best Bets: Browns +8

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: 
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Featured Game | New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

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We have a long-standing philosophy here of taking Bill Belichick against the Jets. It isn’t changing now.

The Pick: Patriots 24, Jets 10

Bets: Pats -3

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: 
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Featured Game | Indianapolis Colts vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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The Nick Sirianni Revenge Game!!! Sirianni loves Frank Reich, and the Colts canned his old boss for Jeff Saturday; not sure if you heard about it or not. Philly off its first loss and Indy off its first Saturday/Sunday win — this is a clear-cut Eagles spot. 

The Pick: Eagles 35, Colts 17

Bets: Eagles -7

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV:
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Featured Game | Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers

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The only way not to take the Ravens is if you get Baltimore -33. That’s a pass, but anything less is a smash. If you’re one of those people thinking Carolina is a cool/trendy dog, you should go listen to “You Better You Bet.” It’s an OK betting radio show, but for some reason they LOVE the Panthers.  

The Pick: Ravens 42, Panthers 7

Bets: Ravens whatever

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV:
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Featured Game | Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears

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Everyone is trying to sell high on Justin Fields, but they are ignoring the most important fact about Chicago’s offense: At some point in the last month, Luke Getsy did what everyone wanted the Bears to do for the last two years and designed an offense around Justin Fields. This explosion is not an accident. My only hold-up here is Fields’ performance vs. the blitz — he hasn’t been great and Dean Peas cranks up pressure like few in the NFL. I know this sounds silly, but whoever wins this game is in striking distance of the NFC wild card. Welcome to #InTheHuntSZN. 

The Pick: Bears 28, Falcons 27

Bets: Pass

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV:
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Featured Game | New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions

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Cold weather in the Meadowlands, two very conservative head coaches and everyone wanting some scoring despite the point total being 45. One of my most famous sayings that should eternally be attributed to me is “sometimes a line is just a line.” I ignored it in Texas-TCU, and maybe I’m doing the same thing here, but this under feels so nice. The Lions hit overs early in the season, but have been 3-2 to the under in their last five and the Giants are a massive under team all season. I think we get a very cautious fight here.

The Pick: Giants 17, Lions 14

Bets: Under 45

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: 
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Featured Game | New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams

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Matthew Stafford will likely play in this game, but there is zero chance he’s healthy, and shouldn’t have to get lit up behind this offensive line. The Rams are one loss from shutting everyone down and regrouping. Sean McVay won’t want to accept that but it’s better for 2023. The Rams are behind the Lions in the NFC standings. Settle down, Saints, you’re behind the Panthers. The biggest storyline no one is talking about here? New Orleans gave its 2023 first-round pick to the Eagles and it’s a top-five selection right now. I would take an alternate under 24 here.

The Pick: Rams 13, Saints 7

Bets: Under 39

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV:
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Featured Game | Houston Texans vs. Washington Commanders

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People like to crush Ron Rivera, but Riverboat knows how to read a locker room. Go read the quotes from Terry McLaurin — starting Taylor Heinicke was the only move. He’s also a better fit in Scott Turner’s offense — Carson Wentz holds the ball too long trying to make things happen himself; Heinicke wants to make plays in the passing game. And he drinks Busch Light. That cannot be discounted. Seriously — my man brought a six pack of Busch Light for an hour flight from Philly to D.C. and promptly got sponsored by Busch Light (after Bud Light dropped him for some terrible reason). We all want and need Taylor Heinicke in the playoffs. 

The Pick: Commanders 24, Texans 17

Bets: Pass

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV:
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)   

Featured Game | Denver Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders

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“Someone has to win this game” — Nathaniel Hackett. Auto Raiders bet, especially after the incredibly ugly loss last weekend by Josh McDaniels’ crew. They’re not firing him no matter how much you yell, so why not steal some division wins and let it SIMMA DONNA. Please be aware I’m putting this game in the Pick Six Podcast Revenge Game Parlay, but I will let Pete Prisco and R.J. White decide which side (I would lean Broncos revenge angle against McDaniels, but curious to see). 

The Pick: Raiders 17, Broncos 14

Bets: Raiders +3

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV: 
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Featured Game | Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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VERY quietly a Steelers win here would put Mike Tomlin back in the playoff conversation. The Bengals are dangerous with Joe Burrow come playoff time, but I wouldn’t sleep on the Steelers trying to creep back into “on the radar” playoff convo. Mike Tomlin dragged a team with 14 starts from Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges to eight wins.  

The Pick: Steelers 21, Bengals 17

Bets: Pass

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV: 
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)  

Featured Game | Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys

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Stinky, stinky line. The Vikings seem pretty obvious, but what if they’re just good? Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson are unequivocally top five at their position. Hate them all you want, but they just keep winning.  

The Pick: Vikings 24, Cowboys 21

Bets: Vikings +1.5

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: 
NBC | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Featured Game | Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

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Can we get someone other than Joe Lombardi in charge of Justin Herbert? Please? I’ll take the Bolts with the points, but the Chiefs are the only trustworthy team in the NFL and the Chargers are 3-4 losses away from Dean Spanos calling Sean Payton about a job opening.

The Pick: Chiefs 28, Chargers 24

Bets: Pass

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: 
ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (click here)  

Featured Game | Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers

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The general consensus that the 49ers are about to take off and get real hot isn’t wrong. It’s just funny because people wanted to kill Jimmy G a month ago. It’s hilarious to see when people hype Tua — they are point guards in a great offensive system. It’s not a bad thing, just picture Steve Nash on the Suns. Jimmy is cooking, too, and the Niners’ hype is real. I would not fade them.

The Pick: 49ers 27, Cardinals 14

Bets: 49ers -8

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