It’s almost fitting that there’s a game in Mexico this week, because it seems that this is the one week where everyone has decided to leave the country.
Andrew Luck? Gone.
Ezekiel Elliott? Gone.
Roger Goodell? Kind of gone. And I say “kind of” because he spent part of last week at a dive bar in New York, which is almost the same thing as leaving the country.
It seems that Goodell has turned into the football version of Publisher’s Clearing House because while he was at the dive bar, he decided to give away four Super Bowl tickets. If you’ve ever wondered how someone might react to winning Super Bowl tickets, I think this video pretty much sums it up. You might want to turn down the volume on your phone and/or computer before pressing play here, otherwise there’s a 40 percent chance you’ll go deaf.
Goodell is clearly a man of the people.
Once Jerry Jones sees that video, I bet he instantly signs off on Goodell’s new contract,and asks Papa John himself to hook Goodell up with free pizza for life. I’m not Goodell, but if someone were to offer me free pizza for life instead of money in my new contract, I’m jumping all over that. Pizza is the best.
Hanging out in New York wasn’t the only thing Goodell did this week. He also showed up in Las Vegas to help the Raiders break ground on their new stadium, or at least that’s what I was led to believe. There’s also a 50 percent chance that this was Goodell’s way of metaphorically burying his relationship with Jerry Jones, because honestly, I don’t think that thing is doing too well right now.
By the way, after just one event, I can already tell that the best thing about the Raiders’ move to Vegas is going to be all the celebrities who show up before every game, although I’m not sure the Raiders are going to be able to top what they pulled off on Monday when they got the Backstreet Boys to show up to the groundbreaking.
Well, it wasn’t all the Backstreet Boys, it was just two of them, but that still counts because the Backstreet Boys are a busy group and two is better than none.
Having the Backstreet Boys show up is definitely the new standard in stadium groundbreakings. It’s going to be tough for any NFL team to ever top that.
Anyway, let’s stop talking about the Backstreet Boys and get to the Week 11 picks — where I promise not to use BSB lyrics to pick games. I’m not promising I’ll never do it, I’m just promising I won’t do it this week.
If you want to make fun of me for all of the wrong picks I made last week — and there were a lot of them — you can do that in the comment section or on Twitter. If you hate comment sections and don’t have Twitter, you can get a hold of me on my Backstreet Boys fan site, just look for my screen name: BreechStreetBoy.
Once you’re done trying to figure out whether or not I actually have a Backstreet Boys fan site, you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here.
Now let’s get to the picks.
NFL Week 11 Picks
L.A. Rams (7-2) at Minnesota (7-2)
1 p.m. ET (FOX)
If you would’ve told me before the season that the Rams-Vikings game in Week 11 would involve two 7-2 teams, I would have asked you what drugs were legalized in your state recently and then asked you how often you were doing them.
The Vikings are 7-2 even though Case Keenum is their quarterback and the Rams are 7-2 even though their coach is a Millennial. It defies all reasoning. This entire season has turned into the NFL‘s version of the Upside Down. By the way, my fiancee just made me binge watch Season 2 of “Stranger Things” and I had planned to drop about 40 more references this week, but I’m not going to use them because I don’t want anyone to send me hate mail for spoiling the season. However, I will say that Case Keenum is the Bob of the Vikings offense.
The odd thing about this game is that Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has basically turned it into a game of “Clue” by making thea total mystery.
What Zimmer doesn’t know is that I’m actually good at “Clue” and I think it’s going to be Case Keenum in the kitchen with the revolver this week. It’s in the kitchen because I think the Rams defense is going to eat him alive on Sunday and it’s with the revolver because there’s a 90 percent chance Keenum is going to shoot the Vikings offense in the foot with at least one ugly turnover.
If the Rams do pull off the win here, it will bring Sean McVay one step closer to pulling off the greatest coaching feat of all time: Winning coach of the year, Millennial of the year and Sean of the year — over McDermott and Payton — all in the same season. That would give him a clean sweep of all the NFL’s most important awards, plus the ones I made up. You know what, I bet McVay’s also good at “Clue.”
The pick: Rams 30-24 over Vikings
New England (7-2) vs. Oakland (4-5) in Mexico City
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
The best thing about this game being played in Mexico is that I finally get to share with you all the Mexican tweets I’ve been saving over the past year. Now, I have no idea what any of them actually say, but I’m going to share them with you anyway.
My goal for 2018 is to actually learn Spanish so I can translate for you.
As for the actual game, I would say that the Patriots are a lock to win, but you never know what’s going to happen when you play in Mexico. For instance, someone brought a giant laser pointer to the game last year and then spent the entire night pointing it in Brock Osweiler‘s face.
I mean, that laser looks like it’s coming from the barrel of a tank. Since this game will mostly be played while the sun is still out, I don’t think lasers will be an issue on Sunday, BUT WHAT IF THEY ARE? Can you imagine what will happen if someone shines a laser in Tom Brady‘s face? Bill Belichick would probably stop the game, hunt the person down and then break the laser over their head. By the way, I did read Brady’s book and he didn’t mention anything about playing football while a giant laser is being shined in your eyes, so I’m not sure he would be prepared for that exact situation.
Besides the laser, my other favorite subplot in this game is the fact that Marshawn Lynch will be playing his first game against the Patriots since Super Bowl XLIX. If the Raiders get down to the 1-yard line at any point in this game, I hope they give the ball to Marshawn, so he can score a touchdown, and then I hope that he celebrates that touchdown by giving the ball to the guy who stole Brady’s Super Bowl XLIX and LI jerseys. I have no idea if that guy will be at the game, but he lives in Mexico and a total Marshawn move would be inviting him to the game. On the other hand, I’m guessing there’s a good chance that our jersey thief is probably banned from all NFL events for the rest of time, which actually seems like a fair punishment for almost starting an international incident.
The pick: Patriots 34-20 over Raiders
Philadelphia (8-1) at Dallas (5-4)
8:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
When Alshon Jeffery signed with the Eagles back in March, he made the prediction that Carson Wentz would eventually be named NFL MVP at some point, and at the time, I thought that was ridiculous. I honestly thought that Wentz winning an MVP had about the same chances of happening as me leaving sober at a wedding where there’s a free open bar. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ll never turn down a wedding invitation if there’s a free open bar, especially if that free open bar has Smirnoff Ice.
Speaking of a free open bar, Adrian Clayborn must have thought there was one in the Cowboys backfield on Sunday because he spent nearly the entire game back there in the Falcons‘ 27-7 win over Dallas. Clayborn racked up six sacks, which I’m only mentioning because Dallas could have the same problems this week if left tackle Tyron Smith has to sit out another game with his groin injury. The Cowboys will also be missing Sean Lee and Ezekiel Elliott, and normally, I’d say trying to win without your starting left tackle, a starting middle linebacker and one of your running backs isn’t possible, but the Eagles have kind of already proven that’s not actually the case.
The problem for the Cowboys in this game is that the Eagles are basically a better version of the Falcons and we saw what the Falcons did to Dallas. That being said, I do think the Cowboys will keep this one slightly closer because it’s at home and against a division rival.
The pick: Eagles 31-23 over Cowboys
Atlanta (5-4) at Seattle (6-3)
8:30 p.m. ET, Monday (ESPN)
The problem with picking the Seahawks in this game is that I’m not even sure they’re going to have enough players to field a team. If you watched the Seahawks play in Week 10 against the Cardinals, you may have noticed that a different Seahawks player basically left the field with an injury after every play.
Besides losing Richard Sherman for the season, defensive tackle Jarran Reed, left tackle Duane Brown, linebacker Michael Wilhoite, running back C.J. Prosise, defensive end Frank Clark, defensive end Sheldon Richardson and safety Kam Chancellor all left the field at some point during the game. Not to mention, the Seahawks were already playing without Earl Thomas, who may or may not return this week.
The problem for the Seahawks and their banged up defense is that they now have to face a quarterback who’s playing his best football of the season.
Now that I’ve talked myself into picking the Falcons, it’s time to try and talk myself out of it. My biggest problem with picking Atlanta in this game is that I hate picking against the Seahawks in primetime. Since Pete Carroll took over as coach in 2010, the Seahawks are 13-1 at home in night games. Of course, the Falcons do have a secret weapon and that secret weapon is coach Dan Quinn. Quinn spent two seasons as the Seahawks defensive coordinator (2013-14) and if anyone knows how to expose their defense, it’s him.
The pick: Falcons 23-20 over Seahawks
NFL Week 11 picks: All the rest
Best pick: I said the Coltsand lose to the Steelers and then guess what happened? The Colts scored 17 points and lost to the Steelers. Now, did I know that Indy was going to get on Twitter and then blow a giant second-half lead? Of course I did, because that’s basically par for the course in Indy.
If you’ve watched them at all this year, then you already know that the chances of the Colts blowing a late lead in any given game is basically 99.8 percent, so I usually just go ahead and factor that in when I pick one of their games. The Colts blowing a fourth-quarter lead is such a given that their fans now just assume it’s going to happen every week.
The Colts have been outscored 109-28 in the fourth quarter, so the fact they got outscored 11-0 by the Steelers in the fourth quarter of a game they lost 20-17 wasn’t really a surprise. It also wasn’t a surprise to see a concussion doctor get mad at the Colts for a play involving Jacoby Brissett because if the Colts have proven one thing over the past two years, it’s that they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to protecting the health of their quarterback.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Andrew Luck’s plan for fixing his shoulder involves getting as far away from the Colts as possible.
Worst pick: I don’t even know where to start here because Week 10 turned into a total disaster for me, and that’s mainly because I decided to roll with almost all underdogs last week. The low point was definitely my decision to take Brock Osweiler and the Broncos to upset the Patriots on Sunday night. On the scale of horrible sports-related decisions that were made over the past seven days, I’d say my Broncos pick ranks only behind O.J. Simpson getting kicked out of a Vegas hotel less than a month after being paroled.
I could be wrong here, but I always thought the goal is to stay out of trouble once you get paroled, not cause so much of it that you get banned from an entire hotel. Of course, if O.J. bet on the Broncos to beat the Patriots, I totally understand why he might have been upset.
The ugliest part of picking the Broncos is that Osweiler’s best throw of the night didn’t even land on the field. Nope, it landed on the sideline and almost killed a man.
I hope everyone on the Broncos’ sideline has hazard pay written into their contract because that might not be the last person who gets taken out by Osweiler this season.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I’m actually good (and bad) at picking, here’s a quick look.
Teams I’m 8-1 picking this year: Eagles, Cardinals, Browns, Lions
Teams I’m 2-7 picking this year: Jaguars
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Straight up in Week 10: 5-9
SU overall: 87-59
Against the spread in Week 10: 6-7-1
ATS overall: 72-69-5