The Journal Gazette
Sunday, November 22, 2020 1:00 am

Jaws' Week 11 Picks

The coronavirus pandemic is raging throughout the country and the NFL has not been exempt. Almost 100 players have been affected and teams are on red alert to see who will be available each week. Now, the league is placing all teams in intensive protocol to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. Maybe that explains the lack of parity so far. According to The Associated Press, there are 15 teams with at least six wins and 12 others with three or fewer, the most ever in both categories through 10 weeks. On to Week 11 ...

Green Bay at Indianapolis

Time: 4:25 p.m. (Fox)

Records: Packers 7-2; Colts 6-3

The skinny: Indianapolis has had 10 days to prepare for this showdown and is coming off an impressive win at Tennessee. Green Bay is 4-1 on the road and may get receiver Allan Lazard back from injured reserve. He is needed against one of the top defenses in the league.

Prediction: Packers 21-18

Philadelphia at Cleveland

Time: 1 p.m. (Fox)

Records: Eagles 3-5-1; Browns 6-3

The skinny: Cleveland got running back Nick Chubb back last week and he proved to be the difference in blustery conditions. Philadelphia's offense with quarterback Carsen Wentz is struggling in all conditions but won't face Myles Garrett.

Prediction: Browns 24-14

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville

Time: 1 p.m.

Records: Steelers 9-0; Jaguars 1-8

The skinny: Pittsburgh will have to guard against a trap game, with Baltimore lurking Thanksgiving night. Jacksonville is trapped into a top-five pick in the draft.

Prediction: Steelers 34-14

Cincinnati at Washington

Time: 1 p.m.

Records: Bengals 2-6-1; Washington 2-7

The skinny: This is a battle for a top draft pick. Cincinnati seemed to be improving behind rookie QB Joe Burrow and receivers Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, but got throttled last week by Pittsburgh. Washington's offense was competent against Detroit with Alex Smith. Look for that to continue.

Prediction: Washington 23-20

Detroit at Carolina

Time: 1 p.m.

Records: Lions 4-5; Panthers 3-7

The skinny: Can Detroit capitalize on the momentum from kicker Matt Prater's 59-yard last-second, game-winning field last week? This could a trap game for the Lions, who are not known for their consistency or good fortune. Carolina won't have stud running back Christian McCaffrey and that may be all the luck Detroit needs.

Prediction: Lions 24-20

Atlanta at New Orleans

Time: 1 p.m.

Records: Falcons 3-6; Saints 7-2

The skinny: New Orleans is treading into dangerous waters, what with Drew Brees out a few weeks with a rib injury, likely putting the offense in the uncertain hands of turnover-prone Jameis Winston. Atlanta has played better under interim coach Raheem Morris and this is an ideal spot for an upset.

Prediction: Saints 24-21

New England at Houston

Time: 1 p.m.

Records: Patriots 4-5; Texans 2-7

The skinny: New England came up with an inspiring win over Baltimore in a torrential downpour. Can the Patriots back that up in the perfect conditions of the Houston dome? Houston couldn't do much in wild and windy Cleveland and will welcome the relative calm of NRG Stadium.

Prediction: Patriots 23-20

Tennessee at Baltimore

Time: 1 p.m. (CBS)

Records: Titans 6-3; Ravens 6-3

The skinny: Both of these AFC contenders are hurting. Tennessee has lost three of its last four while Baltimore has dropped two of its last three and has major injury problems, especially on defense. This game could set a land-speed record for time of game as both teams are built on the premise of a strong running game. In that regard, I'll go with Derrick Henry to bludgeon the Ravens' defense.

Prediction: Titans 19-17

Miami at Denver

Time: 4:05 p.m.

Records: Dolphins 6-3; Broncos 3-6

The skinny: Miami is flying high heading into Mile High behind rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, having won five straight. Denver QB Drew Lock (bruised ribs) is hurting as is tight end Noah Fant. The Dolphins' defense is opportunistic and will certainly take advantage of a hurting Broncos offense.

Prediction: Dolphins 26-17

N.Y. Jets at L.A. Chargers

Time: 4:05 p.m.

Records: Jets 0-9; Chargers 2-7

The skinny: Los Angeles may not be able to win games, but it does have two more wins than New York. Make it three.

Prediction: Chargers 30-14

Dallas at Minnesota

Time: 4:25 p.m.

Records: Vikings 4-5; Cowboys 2-7

The skinny: Minnesota is coming off a tough win at Chicago and now comes home to face downtrodden Dallas, which may get QB Andy Dalton back. That won't be near enough to stop Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

Prediction: Vikings 27-17

Kansas City at Las Vegas

Time: 8:20 p.m. (NBC)

Records: Chiefs 8-1; Raiders 6-3

The skinny: Kansas City is fired up for this game because apparently Las Vegas had an impromptu victory rally around Arrowhead Stadium the last time these teams met. Now, the Raiders have been gutted by the coronavirus, especially along the defensive line, so expect Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes to show no mercy and do a victory dance on the Vegas Strip.

Prediction: Chiefs 40-21

L.A. Rams at Tampa Bay

Time: 8:15 p.m. Monday (ESPN)

Records: Rams 6-3; Buccaneers 7-3

Prediction: Another chance for Tom Brady and Tampa Bay to show in prime time that they're Super Bowl-worthy. Last time in the spotlight, they got skunked by New Orleans. Now, they face a Rams defense that's given up the second-fewest points.

Prediction: Buccaneers 24-21

Open: Buffalo, Chicago, N.Y. Giants, San Francisco

Last week: 10-4; Season: 102-44-1

– Mark Jaworski, The Journal Gazette

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