Week 11 has a dozen games for NFL fans to choose from on Sunday, including two that will have a direct impact on the NFC West title chase.
We’ll get to those two, plus one other one that may interest the 12s, momentarily.
First though, let’s take a quick trip around the league and see what DraftKings Sportsbook thinks of the other nine matchups . . .
Note: Stated lines for all games are/were as of Friday morning.
- Las Vegas Raiders at Miami Dolphins: The Raiders are undefeated since firing their head coach (and GM), but the home team is Week 11’s biggest favorite at -13.5.
- Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers: One team is 6-3; the other is 1-8. Even a novice bettor could predict who the sportsbooks favor. (Spoiler: It’s Dallas, by 10-1/2 points.)
Comfortable Wins Expected:
- New York Giants at Washington Commanders: Two weeks ago, Tommy DeVito was just an undrafted player on the Giants’ practice squad, now he’s their starting quarterback. Washington is favored by 8-1/2 points.
- Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions: The Lions lead the Bears by 4-1/2 games in the NFC North. Unsurprisingly, they are favored by 7-1/2 points at home on Sunday.
- Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: The AFC South’s No. 1 team (Jacksonville) is favored by a touchdown + an extra point over their last-place division mates.
- New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: Both of these teams entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, yet they both enter this game with five losses. The 5-win team (Buffalo) is favored by 7 over the 4-win team (NYJ).
- Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans: “Comfortable” might not be the right word when the Texans are favored by five points, but it seemed more appropriate than classifying this game as “should be close”.
Should be Close:
- Los Angeles Chargers at Green Bay Packers: Two 3rd-place teams face off on the frozen tundra; the team with the higher winning percentage (LAC) is a 3-point favorite.
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns: Coin flip, anyone? (The home team is favored by a single point.)
Alright, now let’s look at the three games that the 12s have a vested interest in, starting with a game that features the NFC West’s top team (via tiebreaker) . . .
Buccaneers at 49ers, 1:05pm, FOX, O/U 41
Obviously, everyone everywhere (except the Bay Area) wants the NFC South team to beat the NFC West team in this one . . .
Unfortunately, DraftKings doesn’t think that’s going happen: The San Francisco 49ers currently own the Week 11’s second-largest line and there’s little reason to believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will prove the bookmakers wrong.
History is on the 49ers side in this one too.
Tom Brady (aka TB12, aka the G.O.A.T.) was Tampa Bay’s quarterback last year.
This year, Tampa Bay is led by Baker Mayfield.
No one will ever confuse the two.
During the three seasons that TB12 spent in Tampa Bay (2020-2022), he led the league in passing yards once (2021) and finished third the other two years.
In his first year in Tampa Bay, Mayfield ranks 16th.
Comparing Mayfield to Brady isn’t fair though; let’s compare him to San Francisco’s quarterback instead.
Baker Mayfield: 197 of 305 (64.6%) for 2,143 yards (238.1 per game) with 14 TDs, 5 INTs, a QBR of 56.3, and a passer rating of 93.7.
Those aren’t bad numbers. Amusingly, they’re remarkably similar to Geno Smith’s.
Mayfield’s numbers aren’t as good as Mr. Purdy’s though . . .
Brock Purdy: 172 of 250 (65.9%) for 2,329 yards (258.8 per game) with 15 TDs, 5 INTs, a QBR of 76.2, and a passer rating of 109.9.
Purdy’s passer rating is No. 1 in the league (by 3-1/2 points over Tua Tagovailoa), as is his QBR (by 3.4 points over Patrick Mahomes).
Then there’s the defenses that each quarterback will be facing . . .
San Francisco’s defense is No. 5 in yards allowed (304.6 per game) and is tied with Kansas City at No. 1 in points allowed at 15.9 per game.
The Niners’ run defense is ranked No. 4, allowing 83.1 yards per game.
If there’s any sliver of light for Baker Mayfield in the storm cloud that is the 49ers’ defense, it’s the fact that their pass defense is basically league average, checking in at No. 15 overall (221.4 yards per game).
But . . .
Tampa Bay’s pass defense is No. 31, and their defense, as a whole, is No. 24 in yards allowed which means Brock Purdy is going to be grinning like the Cheshire Cat before the game.
It isn’t all doom-and-gloom though . . . Tampa Bay is No. 8 in points allowed (19.2 per game), and their run defense is No. 6 (two spots behind San Francisco’s run defense), allowing 87.2 yards per game.
The Pick: San Francisco to win and cover, Over 41.
Seahawks at Rams, 1:25pm, CBS, O/U 46
Only three teams in the NFL have fewer losses than the Seattle Seahawks heading into Week 11.
Yet if you look at the non-local media reports, few (if any) consider the Seahawks to be Super Bowl contenders, and TEN TEAMS currently have better odds than Seattle of hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the season.
That’s not a passive aggressive (or aggressive aggressive) way of saying the Seahawks are being disrespected; it’s simply the reality of the situation - a situation that exists, in part, because of what happened in Seattle in the very first game of the year.
The Seahawks went into the locker room at halftime nursing a 6-point lead, then watched the Los Angeles Rams score 23 unanswered points over the final 30 minutes.
That doesn’t tell the whole story though.
Oh no, that’s the family-friendly version of the story; the actual story is so, so, soooo much worse.
The Seahawks had five second half possessions . . .
- Seattle punted the first four times they had the ball and watched the clock run out after one play on Possession No. 5.
- The offense had the ball for all of 5 minutes and 6 seconds.
- The Seahawks’ total offensive output in the second half was 2 yards (yes, TWO), with “drives” of 5 yards, 10 yards, 2 yards, minus-24 yards, and 9 yards.
The Rams also had five second half possessions . . .
- L.A. scored 2 touchdowns and 3 field goals.
- The offense held onto the ball for almost 25 full minutes.
- The Rams amassed nearly 300 yards (286) on their five possessions.
Yeah . . . that was a bad day at the office.
The good news is that the Seahawks have a chance to avenge that loss on Sunday.
And avenge it they shall.
There are some things working against the Seahawks though, including the fact that division games are always tough.
Other things working against Seattle:
- A couple weeks ago it seemed as if Matthew Stafford would miss this game with a thumb injury, but . . . . nope! Mr. Stafford is expected to start on Sunday.
- Rams coach Sean McVay is 9-5 versus Pete Carroll’s Seahawks.
- Cooper Kupp, who missed the Week 1 game, is fully healthy and ready to be his usual “thorn in the side” self against Seattle.
Despite all that, Seattle is favored to win this game, and . . . who am I to argue? (especially since I want Seattle to win)
The Pick: Hawks to win and cover, Over 46.
Vikings at Broncos, 5:20pm, NBC, O/U 43
The home team in this one is led by a player that the 12s know well.
We’ve dropped a ton of digital ink on him on this here site so I’ll refrain from spilling any more. Instead, I’ll walk you through how the season has gone (so far) for the Denver Broncos . . .
To their credit, the Broncos rebounded by winning their Week 4 game (albeit versus the Bears, courtesy of a late field goal).
The Broncos (more specifically, their head coach) were ever-so-rightfully TROLLED by the Jets after losing the Hackett Bowl in Week 5 . . .
when you lose to the "offseason champs" pic.twitter.com/FzNIqGWZks— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 8, 2023
That ties them with the Philadelphia Eagles for the league’s second-longest active win streak - and, as crazy as it sounds, the Broncos are currently only one game behind the 7th-place team in the AFC.
(Insert Jim Mora “Playoffs?” meme.)
Like the Broncos, the Minnesota Vikings started the season 0-3 and were 1-4 entering Week 6.
Then they turned their season around.
If the season ended today, they’d be the 7th seed in the NFC.
Even more impressively, they’ve got a 1-1/2 game lead over the NFC’s No. 8 team.
As crazy as it sounds, the Vikings have the NFL’s longest active win streak (5 games) and have won their last two games with a quarterback who was playing for the Arizona Cardinals three weeks ago.
On a related note, Minnesota’s Week 9 win led to what might be the coolest social media post of the season:
Congratulations @josh_dobbs1 on yesterday’s big win! Looks like you rock(et) on and off the field. We heard you’ve even got a new nickname, the "Passtronaut." If the suit fits, wear it. pic.twitter.com/Pah3MuQsWs— NASA's Glenn Research Center (@NASAglenn) November 6, 2023
The Pick: Vikings to upset the Broncos, Under 43.
Here are the picks from the Field Gulls staff for Sunday’s games:
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.