Every Thursday, we’ll provide analysis and score predictions for every game on that week’s slate. Week 11 is filled with several divisional games, along with two marquee matchups in prime time.
Thursday Night Football
Bengals at Ravens
Spread: Ravens -4
The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals have split their past four meetings, with three one-score finishes during that span. Baltimore beat Cincinnati 27-24 back in Week 2, but Joe Burrow was still hampered by his calf injury. Burrow has looked like himself throughout Cincinnati’s current 4-1 run. The Bengals’ defense has been a middling unit this season, which really cost the team last week against Houston. So if the Bengals are going to beat the Ravens, Burrow likely drives that outcome.
The same can be said of Lamar Jackson, who has carried the Ravens’ offense throughout his career. But a big difference is that Baltimore’s defense is allowing the fewest points per game this season. The Ravens have a significant home-field advantage with more paths to victory than Cincinnati. Both teams are coming off narrow losses, though the Bengals are in more desperate need of a win.
Score Prediction: Bengals 24, Ravens 23
Sunday Afternoon Games
Cowboys at Panthers
Spread: Panthers +10.5
The Dallas Cowboys have won five games by at least three scores this season — and the Carolina Panthers are in danger of being the Cowboys’ sixth victim. Carolina is scoring the fourth-fewest points per game, and the team has been held under 15 points in its last three matchups. It’s hard to envision that changing against Dallas, which allows the fourth-fewest points per game. The Cowboys’ pass rush could derail this game against a struggling Bryce Young.
That means it’s on the Panthers’ defense to keep this contest close. Dallas has struggled to run this ball this season, but Dak Prescott is on an MVP-caliber tear, throwing for 1,082 yards and 11 touchdowns over his past three games. Ultimately, the Cowboys can dominate this game in multiple phases.
Score Prediction: Cowboys 27, Panthers 13
Raiders at Dolphins
Spread: Dolphins -12.5
The knock against the Miami Dolphins is that they are 0-3 against difficult opponents. But the Dolphins exit their bye to begin a five-game stretch against below-average teams. That starts with the Las Vegas Raiders, who have won both games since Antonio Pierce took over as the team’s interim coach — although the teams the Raiders beat were the Giants and Jets, who have two of the three worst offenses in football.
Miami is an entirely different animal, scoring a league-leading 31.7 points per game. If the Dolphins can jump out to an early lead, Aidan O’Connell will be forced to play from behind. Things could get ugly quickly for Las Vegas in that scenario.
Score Prediction: Dolphins 31, Raiders 17
Bears at Lions
Spread: Lions -9.5
Last week against the Chargers, Jared Goff threw for more than 300 yards and the Detroit Lions ran for 200. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded, high-performing offensive effort. When the Lions are at their best, they can dominate in both phases like they did last week. The Chicago Bears’ defense is playing its best football of the year but it is a beatable group.
Justin Fields returns to action after missing four games. Fields hasn’t been a reliable quarterback to this point in his career, but he’s capable of big spike weeks. Detroit’s defense has given up at least 37 points to three of the four average-or-better offenses the unit has faced. With Fields, Chicago can conceivably keep up in a high-scoring affair.
Score Prediction: Lions 28, Bears 24
Cardinals at Texans
C.J. Stroud has thrown for 826 yards and the Houston Texans have scored 69 points over their past two games. Houston also has given up 64 points during that span. While the Texans have exceeded expectations in a number of ways this season, they are still a young team.
Kyler Murray returned to action last week and had no limitations. The Arizona Cardinals still have a below-average roster, but they are a far more dangerous team with Murray. This game has some shootout potential with two high-performing quarterbacks facing two inconsistent defenses.
Score Prediction: Texans 28, Cardinals 24
Steelers at Browns
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns 26-22 back in Week 2 behind Pittsburgh’s two defensive touchdowns. Two months later, both teams still have high-end defenses and volatile offenses. That’s especially true for Cleveland now that Deshaun Watson is out for the season.
A matchup to keep an eye on here is edge T.J. Watt against Cleveland’s two reserve offensive tackles — which is especially bad news for the Browns with Dorian Thompson-Robinson back at quarterback. If the Browns win this game, their defense likely will drive that outcome.
Score Prediction: Steelers 16, Browns 13
Giants at Commanders
Spread: Commanders -10
The New York Giants won the first matchup between these NFC East rivals 14-7 back in Week 7, but since then, Tommy DeVito has taken over at quarterback for New York. The Giants’ offense was struggling with Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor, but New York has the worst offense in the league with DeVito under center. If New York keeps this game close, it’s likely from a strong defensive effort.
Score Prediction: Commanders 20, Giants 13
Titans at Jaguars
Spread: Jaguars -6.5
After a blowout loss to the 49ers last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a classic bounce-back spot against the Tennessee Titans. Teams that can mitigate Tennessee’s pass rush can shred the Titans through the air, but Trevor Lawrence has been good but not quite great this season. This matchup is a strong opportunity for him to show some ceiling.
On the other side, Will Levis has struggled in his past two outings. The Jaguars’ pass rush has a mild advantage against the Titans’ average-at-best offensive line, so if Jacksonville can make Levis play under duress, the Jaguars could win this game with distance.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 26, Titans 20
Chargers at Packers
Spread: Packers +3
The Los Angeles Chargers are 2-4 in one-score games after losing a tight shootout to the Lions last week. Los Angeles has a premium quarterback and a very talented roster, but it is maddeningly inconsistent. This is a borderline must-win matchup for the Chargers to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture.
The Green Bay Packers defense has been their better, more consistent unit this season, but in this particular matchup, Jordan Love has to exploit the Chargers’ underachieving defense. If Green Bay’s offense has another subpar showing, Los Angeles could win this game with distance.
Score Prediction: Chargers 26, Packers 23
Buccaneers at 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers went into their bye on a three-game losing streak and then destroyed the Jaguars last week. Brock Purdy was productive and efficient, while San Francisco’s defense dominated. Pairing Chase Young with Nick Bosa on the edge already looks like a winning move for the 49ers.
It’s hard to envision Baker Mayfield’s offense exceeding expectations in this matchup. That means it’s on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense to keep this game close. The 49ers can win this game without a great offensive effort, but quality teams have beaten Tampa through the air. If Purdy plays well, San Francisco could enjoy its second blowout in a row.
Score Prediction: 49ers 27, Buccaneers 13
Jets at Bills
Spread: Bills -7
The Buffalo Bills have lost three of their past four games, and they are in genuine danger of missing the playoffs. Buffalo fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey after last week’s loss to Denver, and in-season firings are rarely a good sign for professional sports organizations. In the Bills’ season opener, Josh Allen struggled during Buffalo’s 22-16, overtime loss to the New York Jets.
New York’s defense is still among the league’s best, but its offense has been abysmal. Expecting Zach Wilson to beat teams from the pocket, in a pass-centric offense, has been a losing formula. If that’s the Jets’ plan in Buffalo, the Bills’ defense could conceivably win this game on its own.
Score Prediction: Bills 23, Jets 13
Seahawks at Rams
Spread: Rams +1
The Los Angeles Rams annihilated the Seahawks Seahawks 30-13 on opening day. This week, Matthew Stafford is expected to return to action, which makes this a relative coin-flip game between NFC West rivals. Seattle has won three of its past five, but it is a few bounces away from being 1-4 during that stretch. Geno Smith was productive last week, but he’s been very inconsistent in recent weeks.
The Seahawks’ schedule after this matchup is brutal, making this close to a must-win game. Seattle has a better roster than the Rams in virtually every area but quarterback. If Smith plays well, the Seahawks likely win this game. If Smith continues to be inconsistent, the Rams could sweep Seattle this season.
Score Prediction: Rams 23, Seahawks 20
Sunday Night Football
Vikings at Broncos
Spread: Broncos -2
The Denver Broncos are on a three-game winning streak while the Minnesota Vikings have won their last five. Denver’s surge has been driven by its defense, which has limited the Bills and Chiefs over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson has 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions this season — and has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in five straight games.
The acquisition of Josh Dobbs has saved Minnesota’s season in the wake of Kirk Cousins’ season-ending injury: The Vikings have scored 58 points over the two games since Dobbs was traded to Minnesota. While Dobbs has been spectacular given the circumstances, Brian Flores’ defense is the reason Minnesota is 6-4. During the Vikings’ winning streak, they’ve allowed fewer than 20 points in four of five games. Justin Jefferson has some chance to return this week, which would be a major positive for Minnesota. But ultimately, the better defense likely wins this game.
Score Prediction: Broncos 20, Vikings 17
Monday Night Football
Eagles at Chiefs
Spread: Chiefs -2.5
Few matchups will garner more interest than this rematch of February’s Super Bowl. The Philadelphia Eagles have the better roster, and they have the revenge narrative on their side. When these teams met last season, Jalen Hurts accounted for most of Philadelphia’s offense. The Eagles’ running game should have a greater impact this time around.
There are two big differences for the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense in this matchup. The first is that Patrick Mahomes’ offense has simply been less productive than we’ve grown accustomed to. Outside of Travis Kelce, Kansas City continues to have an unreliable group of pass catchers. The second factor is that last year, the Eagles had a vulnerable run defense. That isn’t the case this year with Jordan Davis and rookie Jalen Carter in the middle. If the Chiefs’ offense exceeds expectations in this matchup, it’s likely through the air against the Eagles’ struggling secondary.
Score Prediction: Eagles 26, Chiefs 24
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