NFL Week 11 Picks: The Eagles throttle the Cowboys, more of Will Brinson's best bets

Finally a piece of good news on the best bets front: I took the Steelers on Thursday. Unfortunately that doesn't help you because today is Friday (on the other hand maybe it helps you because you couldn't fade me in that spot; if you've been fading these picks you've made money, and I apologize for that). 

Whatever, these are all winners. I'm ignoring the lines and just taking teams I trust. That means some road chalk, it means some large lines and I don't care. These are just better teams squaring off against teams that are overmatched. I've been getting too cute and trying to identify the spreads where there's some value. That's a sensible way to play, but the NFL isn't sensible in 2017. Give me teams I can trust when it comes to narrowing down my picks. I trust all five of these teams (I mostly trust the Steelers for already winning). Last week I trusted the Bears to beat someone by a touchdown. Say that out loud. It was dumb. Let's get back to basics.

You can see my full Week 11 picks right here, plus check out all of our 2017 NFL Expert Picks here

Eagles -3.5 at Cowboys

This line is FLYING up -- I got it locked at 3.5 for the Super Contest (the lines lock some time on Wednesday evening). It looks like it's at 4.5 (-115) right now, making it quite the pricey endeavor for a road division game. But that's because the Cowboys are likely going to be without left tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee. I believe Dak Prescott is great and I think the Cowboys can overcome the loss of Ezekiel Elliott as long as everything else is fine on the roster. But without Smith, Prescott was under fire last week and Adrian Clayborn managed to record six sacks (by himself!). The Eagles have the most terrifying defensive line in football right now with Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Derek Barnette sending pressure in waves. I hate the idea of rolling with a huge road favorite in a prime-time divisional game when the public is loading up on that team, but how can you not like the Eagles in this spot, coming off a bye? They're just the better team. I would be tempted to jump on this line now and wouldn't be surprised if it got north of Eagles -5 at some point Friday if Smith looks like he'll officially be out. My Spidey Sense is jumping on this one because there are red flags, but Philly is a superior, rested team that knows it can effectively lock up the division Sunday.

Patriots -6.5 at Raiders

This game features Oakland as a "home" team but it's actually in Mexico City. The Patriots have been training at the Air Force Academy in order to get used to the altitude and they spent last week playing against the Broncos in Denver. The significant difference in the air shouldn't affect them. Oakland can probably score here and I could see the over getting throttled, but it's moved too much (opened at 50, up to 55 now) to buy at this point. Oakland just can't stop anyone is the problem here -- the Raiders rank dead last in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA metric and also dead last against the pass. Do you know who doesn't even like to run? The Patriots, who are finding their rhythm in the short passing game and are rotating in Rex Burkhead, James White and Dion Lewis with an impressive effectiveness. Seven is a ton of points, I suppose, but it is a neutral game -- would you like the Pats -4 in Oakland? I would. They're a better team with an improving defense and a lethal offense. The Raiders will have to play a track meet to keep it close, and I like Bill Belichick to outsmart Jack Del Rio enough that he gets the requisite possessions to comfortably beat the number.

Chargers -5.5 vs. Bills

Not even sure what this number is now that Philip Rivers is likely to play and Nate Peterman is starting over Tyrod Taylor, but I probably would have taken the Chargers with Kellen Clemens starting, honestly. The Bills don't look like they have given up on Sean McDermott or anything, but I'll happily bet on a weird response from the team when the coach decides to bench Taylor amid a playoff run (the 5-4 Bills are actually the No. 6 seed) en route to a West Coast game for a fifth-round rookie. Taking away what Taylor can do -- run read-option plays/generally cause havoc with his legs -- will limit the holes for LeSean McCoy. And maybe Peterman is a stud that McDermott correctly identified. It's a gamble, though, especially with the Bills starting to teeter pretty heavily when it comes to their performance. They are an OK team that spent the first part of the season playing above its head; reality set in the last two weeks with a 13-point loss to the Jets on Thursday night followed by the Saints eviscerating the Bills in Buffalo 47-10. New Orleans snatched the Bills lunch in every facet of the game. The Chargers should have Rivers and have the sort of defensive front seven that can stack the box against McCoy and put some serious pressure on Peterman. The Chargers don't blow teams out often, but it's hard to see the Bills keeping things close here. This might be the one game that actually feels like a home game for the Bolts too.

Lions -2.5 at Bears

This is the game that gives me the biggest pause but only because of the red flags surrounding it. A lot of us on the NFL Experts Pick page love Detroit, with only Pete Prisco taking the Bears. This feels like an overreaction to what we saw last week: the Lions pulling away for a cover against the Browns at home and the Bears getting banged up by the Packers in Soldier Field. Chicago has been a very frisky dog at home this week, but the bottom line for me this week is that I'm taking better teams. And the Lions, for all of their flaws, are a better team than the Bears. Detroit can play enough defense to snuff out whatever it is Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears are doing on offense. Teryl Austin can cook something up. Offensively, the Lions are in the bottom half of the league overall, but Matthew Stafford is starting to get things going, completing 73 percent of his passes for 10.3 yards per attempt along with five touchdowns and one interception over the last two games. All Detroit has to do is score 17 points and they're probably putting this one out of reach. And if it comes down to a late game situation, give me the Lions giving less than a field goal. 

  • Last week best bets: 2-3
  • Best bets season: 18-32-1
  • Last week overall: 7-6-1
  • Season overall: 68-73-5
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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