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Gavin Liddell/Kansas City Chiefs

2022 NFL Game Picks: Week 11

Last week: 9-5

Season: 88-61-1


TEN (6-3) @ GB (4-6)

Thursday, November 17 | 8:15 PM ET | Prime Video


Tonight’s game has a wintry forecast with the temperature at Lambeau Field hovering around 25 degrees, and it’s tough not to be reminded of the cold-weather matchup in 2020 that Green Bay won, 40-14, with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combining for 31 carries, 218 rushing yards, and two touchdowns. In the same game, Derrick Henry was contained with 23 attempts for 98 scoreless yards during a stretch where he was wrecking the NFL, and it will take a similar effort from a Packers run defense that has struggled this season for them to build on last week’s overtime victory over Dallas. For Tennessee, the run defense is much improved with the second-fewest rushing yards per game allowed in the league (85.1), and getting some key defenders back following an opportunity to heal up with the stand-ins playing great versus Denver is huge. Still, I like Green Bay to remain in the playoff hunt by using the low-volume, opportunistic passing attack as Aaron Rodgers continues to gain confidence in his supporting cast.


Winner: Green Bay Packers


CHI (3-7) @ ATL (4-6)

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


A lot of blame was placed on Marcus Mariota for last week’s loss to the Panthers, but Atlanta’s pass protection fell apart, and Cordarrelle Patterson was strangely not featured with just six touches (I thought the veteran would have a monster night as a pass-catcher based on how Carolina was defending them early). The mini bye should have Arthur Smith’s offense coming out with a better game plan, though, and Chicago’s defense has really struggled in recent weeks with 38.3 points per game allowed over the past three games—which puts a lot of pressure on Justin Fields despite all the damage he’s doing on the ground. Overall, I’d say this is a spot where the Bears can open up the passing game to get Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool going versus a depleted secondary of the Falcons, so Fields will have an opportunity to make amends for a late pick-six in Week 10. The concern is Atlanta getting their running game back on track and Chicago feeling the impact of Roquan Smith being in Baltimore.


Winner: Atlanta Falcons


CAR (3-7) @ BAL (6-3)

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


The Ravens are in the driver’s seat in the AFC North with a three-game winning streak before the bye, and the roster has been getting serious reinforcements with players recently returning from injury—including rookie pass rusher David Ojabo (Achilles) being set to make his debut this weekend. Of course, Carolina isn’t a team to overlook due to their young defensive talent and how hard they play, and Baker Mayfield starting for the injured PJ Walker (ankle) adds another layer to this matchup with the former No. 1 overall pick knowing Baltimore well; Mayfield typically playing better with a chip on his shoulder is notable, but I’d just hope he isn’t too fired up after those headbutts last Thursday night. On the road, there might not be enough firepower for the Panthers to keep up with Mayfield—as he said this week—surrounded by a different-looking offense than he had earlier in the season with Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson now gone.


Winner: Baltimore Ravens


CLE (3-6) @ BUF (6-3)

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


People have pointed to the weather forecast in Buffalo over the next few days (three-to-six feet of snow) as reason for them to build a dome, but football is meant to be played in the elements, and I’m happy the franchise is building an open-air stadium with only a partial roof (essentially covering most of the fans). Snow and winter weather in general should be the best homefield advantage in sports for northern teams, and the Browns probably wouldn’t be as equipped to handle the environment on Sunday if they weren’t a cold-weather team with an outdoor stadium themselves. The construction of Cleveland—with Nick Chubb dominating on the ground—should give them a chance to pull off the upset this week, but committing to the run has routinely been an issue under Kevin Stefanski, and it might take an offensive lineman pulling a Quenton Nelson to get that corrected (especially with how quiet/humble Chubb is). On the other side of the field, Devin Singletary is a runner that seems to have “snow tires” on a wintry surface, and Josh Allen is too great of a player to not put an end to his late-game mistakes in back-to-back games.


Winner: Buffalo Bills


WAS (5-5) @ HOU (1-7-1) 

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


I thought the Commanders were done earlier this season with a 1-4 record, but Carson Wentz battled with a broken finger to beat the Bears, and Taylor Heinicke has since won three-of-four starts—with the lone loss being by three points to the Vikings. Washington trading for Wentz considering the draft capital never made sense to me, but Heinicke’s magic makes it difficult to take him out of the lineup, and there is a real shot of them getting to 8-5 with matchups against the Falcons and Giants after this week. The Texans can’t get overlooked with the Commanders possibly riding the high of knocking off the previously undefeated Eagles, and Chase Young (knee) returning should be an added jolt to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s easy to imagine Washington’s front swarming Davis Mills all afternoon, and bottling up Dameon Pierce should be the priority to avoid a disappointment.


Winner: Washington Commanders


PHI (8-1) @ IND (4-5-1)

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The run defense of the Eagles without Jordan Davis (ankle) was mentioned last week as perhaps their only weakness, and Brian Robinson Jr. churning out 86 yards on 26 carries (including a touchdown) routinely kept Philadelphia on their heels facing third-and-short situations all night. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Indianapolis will be able to do exactly what Washington did with Davis still out—with the difference being the extra gear Jonathan Taylor has on the second level after Robinson appeared to be a split second away from breaking a long run multiple times in Week 10. In addition to the Colts feeding their best player every week under interim head coach Jeff Saturday, the leadership of Matt Ryan makes them a very dangerous opponent. That said, Philly will be focused on making sure a loss doesn’t turn into a losing streak, and I believe they’ll also feature the running game to set up play-action opportunities for A.J. Brown—who had a 10/155/1 line in Indianapolis last season.


Winner: Philadelphia Eagles


NYJ (6-3) @ NE (5-4)

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


There are still questions about the New England offensive staff with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge leading it, but the bye week could result in improvements after a chance to self-scout, and a “reset” might have been what’s needed for Mac Jones to return to his rookie-year form. The first matchup between the Jets and Patriots could have been a blowout if New England was able to convert on third downs (six-of-19) and cap off drives with touchdowns (they kicked five field goals), so improved situational football—and playing at home—are two advantages that can pull them even with New York in the competitive AFC East. Furthermore, Zach Wilson has yet to crack Bill Belichick’s defense with an 0-3 record, 2:7 touchdown-interception ratio, and 12.0 points per game for the Jets in his starts versus the Pats, and New York’s season still feels like a house of cards to me despite wins over a few contending teams.


Winner: New England Patriots


LAR (3-6) @ NO (3-7)

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


I started last week’s write-up for Saints-Steelers by mentioning Taysom Hill and his lack of involvement by New Orleans, and he’s now seen four touches over the past two weeks since helping power a 24-0 victory in Week 8 on a season-high 11 touches. Perhaps the Saints sticking with Andy Dalton over Jameis Winston will mean they want to give Hill an expanded change-of-pace role to spark the offense (and the versatile weapon has completed seven-of-ten pass attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown this year), but why haven’t they tried that in either of the past two games? While the Rams have major issues of their own with Cooper Kupp (ankle) set to miss at least four games and the offensive line continuing to struggle, Kyren Williams and Allen Robinson II are two playmakers that should be leaned on, and maybe Matthew Stafford not having the option to lock onto Kupp will allow Sean McVay’s offense to operate more efficiently. So unless there are reports of Hill being unleashed with a larger role this weekend, I’m picking Los Angeles to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.


Winner: Los Angeles Rams


DET (3-6) @ NYG (7-2)

Sunday, November 20 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


Lions-Giants is a very interesting matchup between two similar teams in terms of their slug-it-out mindsets, and it also features two of the more underrated quarterbacks in the league with Jared Goff and Daniel Jones squaring off. I think the key to the game will be how Detroit’s offensive line handles the pressure sent by Wink Martindale, as Goff has often been unflinching versus the blitz—which is a good thing if it’s picked up and guys are open, but can lead to disaster if he holds onto the ball too long and gets strip sacked. Defensively, the Lions are allowing the most yards per pass attempt (8.1) in the NFL, so they need to stabilize things in coverage; Saquon Barkley going off is one thing, but New York getting long touchdowns by their pass-catchers can be demoralizing. This pick might be me wanting the Lions to win so all six teams playing on Thanksgiving are legitimate playoff contenders (Detroit’s schedule sets up nicely after taking on the Bills), but Dan Campbell’s squad has shown they can win the kind of gritty games that the Giants have played in all season.


Winner: Detroit Lions


LV (2-7) @ DEN (3-6)

Sunday, November 20 | 4:05 PM ET | FOX


I feel bad for Nathaniel Hackett not reaching expectations in what could be his only shot to be an NFL head coach, and he doesn’t appear to be incompetent or hard-headed like some failing head coaches have been in the past; instead, the Denver offense simply hasn’t clicked with Russell Wilson not playing up to his potential and injuries impacting the group, so it’s been up to the league’s top scoring defense (16.6 points per game allowed) to keep the Broncos competitive. In the first meeting this season, Las Vegas bullied their way to a victory with Josh Jacobs rushing 28 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns, but Denver just showed they can stop the run by containing Derrick Henry last week, and Patrick Surtain II shadowing Davante Adams—without Hunter Renfrow (oblique) or Darren Waller (hamstring) available alongside him—should allow Hackett to get a win at home if his team still has fight with another winnable game on deck (@ CAR) in Week 12.


Winner: Denver Broncos


DAL (6-3) @ MIN (8-1)

Sunday, November 20 | 4:25 PM ET | CBS


The Cowboys (with a loss) and the Vikings (with a win) had opposite results in a couple of overtime thrillers to headline Week 10, and their matchup this weekend should be an outstanding game between two NFC contenders. The chances of a Minnesota letdown could be softened by them being home underdogs as the NFL’s top team in terms of record, but Dallas did win with Cooper Rush under center last season—and the offense for the Cowboys seems to be getting closer and closer to a full-blown explosion (the interceptions prevented that last week). Also, Ezekiel Elliott (knee) being back would give them a tone-setter and closer to keep Tony Pollard fresh coming off a career-high 26 touches, and Micah Parsons has been too quiet recently with zero sacks in three of the past four games. I don’t think Justin Jefferson will be erased by Trevon Diggs and company like he was last year (two receptions for 21 yards), but Dallas has the star power on both sides of the ball to prove oddsmakers right.


Winner: Dallas Cowboys


CIN (5-4) @ PIT (3-6)

Sunday, November 20 | 4:25 PM ET | CBS


Sunday is a massive opportunity for the Steelers to add fuel to a fire that started last week, as they can pull within one game of the Bengals in the AFC North and have a very promising schedule down the stretch (@ IND, v ATL, v BAL, @ CAR, v LV, @ BAL, v CLE). I certainly wouldn’t count out Mike Tomlin from finding a way to once again avoid a losing record, and Cincinnati won’t be happy to see both T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick (appendectomy) on the field for a defense that sacked Joe Burrow seven times and forced him to turn it over five times in the opener. To make matters worse, Ja’Marr Chase (hip) remaining out will allow Pittsburgh to rotate coverage towards Tee Higgins, and Tomlin knows how important it is to stop Joe Mixon following the star runner’s five-touchdown performance before the bye. The formula of getting back to feeding Najee Harris (season-high 20 carries last week) and allowing Watt and company to lead the way could suddenly make the Steelers a dangerous “in the hunt” squad when the playoff picture graphics likely drop on Thanksgiving.


Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers


KC (7-2) @ LAC (5-4)

Sunday, November 20 | 8:20 PM ET | NBC


It sounds like Kansas City could be down JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) and Mecole Hardman (abdomen) on Sunday night, but the trade for Kadarius Toney has already paid dividends, and the former first-rounder could be fully unleashed for a game that will essentially clinch the AFC West for the Chiefs or open the door for Los Angeles to win the division. No matter what, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will likely find a way to put up points, so the Chargers’ hopes in primetime depend heavily on the status of Mike Williams (ankle) and Keenan Allen (hamstring) to give Justin Herbert a shot to go blow-for-blow with Mahomes. If the difference-making pass-catchers are back, it still might not be enough with the run defense for LA—after losing defensive tackles Otito Ogbonnia (knee) and Christian Covington (pectoral) for the season—trying to stop emerging rookie Isiah Pacheco.


Winner: Kansas City Chiefs


SF (5-4) @ ARI (4-6)

Monday, November 21 | 8:15 PM ET (Mexico City) | ESPN


The final international game of the season takes place in Mexico City, and it’s a crucial matchup in the NFC West as the 49ers look to stay hot and the Cardinals try to put pressure on Seattle and San Francisco atop the division. Arizona notably won both matchups last season, and that includes a 31-17 victory with Colt McCoy under center—which should give the team even more confidence in the backup if Kyler Murray (hamstring) is out again after McCoy steadied the ship in Week 10. The difference will be a greater commitment to the run for the Niners, though, as that’s clearly what Kyle Shanahan wants, and it’d be a shock if the pass rate was at 80% like it was when San Francisco lost to McCoy in 2021. I’m anticipating a down-to-the-wire, one-possession game that will be decided one of the standout defenders making a game-changing play in the fourth quarter—Nick Bosa or J.J. Watt on the defensive line, Fred Warner or Isaiah Simmons at linebacker, or Charvarius Ward or Budda Baker in the secondary.


Winner: San Francisco 49ers