Guys, I'm starting to think the Dolphins aren't very good at tanking, which is kind of weird, because losing is something they're usually really good at.
Two weeks ago, I was hoping the Dolphins would go winless this year and then celebrate by popping champagne with the 1972 Dolphins, only the 2019 Dolphins wouldn't have actually popped the corks off any champagne bottles; instead, each member of that team would have each drank their own case of Busch Light, or Keystone Light. That would've worked too.
Unfortunately, the 2019 Dolphins have ruined my 0-16 Busch Light tanking plan by winning two games in a row, which, by the way, is somehow the LONGEST winning streak of any team in the AFC East right now. I don't know what the threshold is for popping champagne, but I feel any team that's not the Patriots having the longest winning streak in the AFC East should definitely qualify.
Speaking of champagne, I'll be popping some if I get all my picks right this week, so let's get to those so you guys can find out if I was crazy enough to pick the Dolphins to win their third straight game.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. Also, here's a not so quick reminder that you should download the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com.
For three days each week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday), I join Pick Six host Will Brinson to talk football and anything else we can think of. On Tuesday's episode, which you can listen to below, we talked about the Seahawks wild win over the 49ers, plus we also ranked our five favorite cheeses, because how could you not talk about cheese after watching a football game that was played in wine (and cheese) country.
Even though I'm only on three days per week, there's a new Pick Six episode every single day from Monday thru Friday and you should try to listen as often as possible. (You can click here to check out the podcast and subscribe).
Alright, that's enough of that, let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 11 picks
Pittsburgh (5-4) at Cleveland (3-6)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime)
Point spread: Browns, -2.5
I've seen enough of the Steelers offense over the past few weeks that I'm starting to feel like their best offensive strategy going forward is probably just to not have an offense at all. I have no idea how that would work, but Mike Tomlin is smart, he'll figure it out. The Steelers offense was so bad in Week 10 that it actually gave up more points than the defense did, and although it sounds like I'm making that stat up, I promise you it's real. The Steelers offense let the Rams score nine points (fumble return TD, safety) while the defense only surrendered three.
The Steelers defense has forced 26 turnovers this season, which is the second most in the NFL, and now, they get to go up against a quarterback (Baker Mayfield) who has thrown the second most interceptions. Normally, when I see a mismatch like that I would be leaning toward picking a blowout win for Pittsburgh, but let's be honest, the Steelers offense is so bad they're not going to blow anyone out.
The good news for the Browns is that they might be able to keep Mayfield from throwing any interceptions in this game by not letting him throw any passes at all. If the Steelers defense has struggled at one thing, it's stopping the run, which means, for the second week in a row, the Browns offensive game plan should be so easy to design that not even Freddie Kitchens can mess it up. Freddie, please give the ball to Nick Chubb as often as possible on Thursday.
The pick: Browns 20-17 over Steelers
Patriots (8-1) at Eagles (5-4)
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Patriots, -3.5
After six straight years of getting mean tweets from Patriots fans on Twitter, I've noticed they haven't really been yelling at me this season and I'm guessing that's because I have yet to miss a Patriots pick in 2019, or it could be because I've blocked them all on Twitter. It's definitely one or the other (JK, I've never actually blocked anyone on Twitter except for Will Brinson, but he deserved it). Anyway, heading into Week 11, I still have a perfect record picking Patriots games, making them the only team in the NFL I haven't whiffed on at least once this year. I can't say for sure, but I"m guessing my success is directly related to the fact that I am now only eating TB12-approved foods. If you want to correctly pick Patriots games, all you have to do is load up on weird things like beluga lentil tacos, green chili polenta and farm-to-table quinoa, and you also have to become more pliable. Trust me. It all works.
As for this game, I have decided I will not be picking against New England. For one, the Patriots are coming off a bye, which means Bill Belichick has had an extra week to prepare. Of course, let's he honest, Belichick didn't even need an extra week to prepare for the Eagles, and that's because we all know he's had someone on his staff breaking down film for this game since five minutes after Super Bowl LII ended. There is a 100 percent chance that Belichick has spent the past two years planning his revenge against the Eagles. There's also a 100 percent chance that Belichick and Josh McDaniels will be devising an offensive game plan that takes advantage of the Eagles' biggest weakness: Their secondary.
The last time these two teams played, Tom Brady threw for 505 yards, and based on what I've seen from the Eagles secondary, he might hit that number again on Sunday, only this time, Philly won't have Nick Foles around to bail them out.
The pick: Patriots 26-23 over Eagles
Chicago (4-5) at L.A. Rams (5-4)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Rams, -6.5
Sean McVay has only been an NFL head coach for two and a half years, and guys, I have to say it, I think he might already be out of offensive ideas, because he was definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel during the Rams loss to the Steelers on Sunday.
If you somehow missed it, here's a quick refresher of a few things that McVay decided to do during the second half of the game in Pittsburgh: For one, he PURPOSELY let Blake Bortles play quarterback on a key play during the third quarter, which makes no sense. I mean the Jaguars purposely let Bortles play quarterback for five straight years and we all saw how that went. Putting in Bortles for Jared Goff is like dumping your supermodel girlfriend so you can date Honey Boo Boo's mom (Sorry guys, I was watching a TLC marathon over the weekend. I'm not proud of it).
Not only did McVay let Bortles play quarterback, but he also let his PUNTER play quarterback. HIS PUNTER! In what will almost certainly go down as one of the top-three worse fake punts of all-time, McVay had Johnny Hekker motion from punt formation into SHOTGUN formation on a fourth-and-1 play against the Steelers. Not only did the Rams fail to convert on the play, but Hekker threw an interception.
Imagine getting a $134 million contract like Jared Goff did during the offseason and then your coach takes you off the field for Blake Bortles and then takes you off the field again so your punter can throw an interception in a pivotal situation. Nothing says "I don't trust my $134 million quarterback" more than replacing him with a guy who got cut by the Jaguars and a guy who kicks for a living. As if all of this wasn't weird enough, Todd Gurley didn't touch the ball a single time during the fourth quarter against the Steelers. Seriously, I have no idea what McVay is doing anymore.
Ironically, the only coach in the NFL who trusts his quarterback less than McVay is Matt Nagy, who I'm pretty sure wishes he had any quarterback other than the one he has. Although Mitchell Trubisky has been bad over the past year, I did learn a fascinating thing about him this week: He hasn't been as bad as Goff.
Jared Goff's last 16 games played:— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) November 11, 2019
Completion Percentage - 60%
Passing Yards - 4256
Touchdowns - 17
Interceptions - 16
Mitchell Trubisky's last 16 games played:
Completion Percentage - 65%
Passing Yards - 3313
Touchdowns - 20
Interceptions - 9
I think the moral of the story here is that I don't trust either of these quarterbacks, but right now, I trust Goff less.
The pick: Bears 16-13 over Rams
Kansas City vs. L.A. Chargers in Mexico City
8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Point spread: Chiefs, -3.5
The best thing about Chiefs-Chargers being played in Mexico is that instead of writing about the game, I can bore you with all the details from my trip to Mexico City that I took over the summer. As you guys can probably guess, the most important thing that happened to me on the trip is that I was finally able to scratch "watching a Lucha Libre wrestling match featuring a dwarf" off my bucket list. I have a long, confusing bucket list.
One other thing I noticed while I was in Mexico City is that they're actually taking care of the field at Azteca Stadium this year, which means I don't think this game is going to be moved. Presumably, that's good news for the Chiefs, because apparently, Patrick Mahomes' bionic arm is even more bionic in Mexico City.
Mahomes is convinced hein Mexico City because the elevation there is nearly 7,400 feet. I have no idea if Mahomes will actually be able to throw it that far, but I do know that I like the Chiefs in this game because of one person: Andy Reid.
If you want to see an NFL team get out-coached, just watch any AFC West team play against Reid. Since 2015, the Chiefs are 23-2 against the AFC West, which includes beating the Chargers nine of the past 10 times that these two teams have met. As if having Reid and Mahomes isn't enough of an advantage, Philip Rivers has been playing like he wants to retire early, which means there's no way I can take the Chargers here, and to keep with the tradition of the Chargers losing every game this season by one score, I am picking them to lose by one score.
On a completely unrelated note, if anyone at the NFL is reading, can you make it so the loser of this game gets their passports revoked. I mean, let's be honest, that should be a standing rule for all international games.
The pick: Chiefs 37-30 over Chargers
Lock of the Week
Denver (3-6) at Minnesota (7-3)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Vikings, -10.5
If there's any game in Week 11 that seems like a disaster waiting to happen, it's definitely this one. I'm not sure what kind of disaster, but we'll go with a Rocky Mountain avalanche, since this game is probably going to turn out badly for the Broncos. One problem that the Broncos have heading into this game is that Brandon Allen will be making the first road start of his career. If you're a quarterback making your first road start, ideally, you want that start to come against a bad team that you could potentially beat, like Cincinnati or Washington. Instead, Allen has to make his start against the only team in the NFC that's still undefeated at home this year.
Another problem for Allen is that the Vikings have been one of the best teams in the NFL at stopping the run this season, which means if Denver is going to win, it's going to be because Allen puts up huge numbers. Spoiler alert: Allen is not going to put up huge numbers.
Also, let's not forget the most important thing of all: The Broncos have a losing record and we all know that no one is better at beating bad teams than Kirk Cousins.
The pick: Vikings 31-13 over Broncos
Lock of the week record: 9-1 straight up, 4-6 against the spread
NFL Week 11 picks: All the rest
Jaguars 23-20 over Colts
Cowboys 27-20 over Lions
Bills 19-16 over Dolphins
Saints 30-27 over Buccaneers
Jets 30-23 over Redskins
Falcons 27-24 over Panthers
Ravens 34-27 over Texans
49ers 31-24 over Cardinals
Raiders 34-20 over Bengals
Best pick: Last week, I predicted the Ravens Lamar Jackson was going to run circles around the Bengals defense? Of course, I did. For one, the Bengals defense is horrible, so there was a 99.2 percent chance that Jackson was going to have a huge day, but also, I knew the Bengals were in trouble when I saw who was going to be imitating Jackson on Cincinnati's scout team during practice in the lead up to the game.in Cincinnati and then the Ravens went out and won by double digits in Cincinnati. Now, did I know that
They just said on the CBS broadcast that the Bengals used Andy Dalton as their scout team QB to imitate Lamar Jackson at practice this week.— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkesESPN) November 10, 2019
That seems less than ideal.
If I would've known Andy Dalton was going to be imitating Lamar Jackson in practice, I would have picked the Ravens to win by 45 instead of 14. I would have also encouraged the Bengals to forfeit.
Worst pick: Last week I picked the Chargers to beat the Raiders and I'll be honest, this loss summed up everything that's wrong with the Chargers. The Raiders only scored two offensive touchdowns in this game, and one of them came on this play.
THAT IS SPIDER 2 Y BANANA. THAT IS JON GRUDEN'S FAVORITE PLAY.
How did the Chargers not see that coming? Did anyone on the Chargers coaching staff watch just five seconds of television at any point over the past 11 years. Gruden spent half of his hiatus away from coaching talking about how much he loves SPIDER 2 Y BANANA. At one point, he was talking about the play so much that I became fully convinced that it was the only play in his playbook and that all other plays were just variations of it. As a matter of fact, I'm still somewhat convinced that that's the case, and I bet Andrew Luck would agree with me.
Gruden's QB camp should've been called "Spider 2 Y Banana Camp" because that's the only play he ever talked about.
Spoiler alert to whichever team is playing the Raiders next week: Make sure to watch out for Spider 2 Y Banana.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered if I actually know what I'm doing with these picks, here's what the best and worst individual team picks look like heading into Week 11 (All records listed are straight-up).
Teams I'm 9-0 picking this year: Patriots
Teams I'm 8-1 picking this year: Redskins, Dolphins, Lions (7-1-1)
Team I'm 3-6 picking this year: 49ers
Every other team is somewhere in-between.
Straight up in Week 10: 6-7
SU overall: 93-54-1 (Tied for eighth overall among all media members on Pickwatch)
Against the spread in Week 10: 5-7-1
ATS overall: 70-76-2 (Not tied for eighth overall)