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Survivor Guide: Week 11

by Mark Miller
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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*Team listed in BOLD is my pick to win the game

 

Strong Play:

 

Carolina (vs. Washington) – The 9-0 Panthers are coming off a game in which they dominated the Titans defensively and didn’t let up for one moment in the entire game. They needed that type of performance from their D after sloppy play in the 4th quarters of their two previous games against the Colts and Packers. Against the Titans, the Panthers’ defense allowed just 11 first downs and gave up a total of 242 yards, 64 of which came on the ground. In fact, 25 of those yards came on one single run by Dexter McCluster. Take away that one single touchdown run, the Panthers held the Titans runners to just 39 yards on 20 carries. That doesn’t bode well for Matt Jones or Alfred Morris, both of whom are coming off their best games of the year. But how much stock do you put into their performances due to the fact it came against the Saints’ defense? You could definitely argue that the numbers were inflated for that reason, which means I expect both Jones and Morris to revert back to their mediocre play against Carolina this weekend. Kirk Cousins is also coming off his best game of the year, completing 20 of his 25 passes for 324 yards and 4 touchdowns. Even more impressive is the fact that he didn’t throw a single interception. There were times that Cousins was under pressure against the Saints’ defense, but he didn’t succumb to the pressure and make any critical mistakes. I think he’ll find himself under a lot more pressure against Carolina and will be forced to get the ball out of his hand very quickly which could force him into throwing the ball into coverage and could result in a couple of turnovers. There is a tough slate of games this week, but I believe Carolina is the strongest play this week and I think they’ll keep their undefeated season alive for at least one more week.

 

Next 3 Games:

Washington: vs. NY Giants, vs. Dallas, @ Chicago

Carolina: @ Dallas, @ New Orleans, vs. Atlanta

 

New England (vs. Buffalo) – Last week Rex Ryan beat his former team, this Monday night Rex Ryan tries to get revenge on the Patriots from earlier this season. The last time these two teams faced off against one another was back in Week 2 when the Pats routed the Bills 40-32. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, but the Bills did score 19 points in the 4th quarter against a Patriots’ defense that let up after the Patriots were leading 37-13 after 3 quarters. The Patriots also owned the Bills defense, totaling 507 yards, 466 of which were thrown by Tom Brady. But Brady doesn’t have Dion Lewis or Julian Edelman this week due to injuries. Lewis and Edelman accounted for 195 of those passing yards in Week 2, so I’m sure people are questioning who on the Patriots will use to help make up those yards. The one person you can probably count on is Danny Amendola, who ended up with 10 catches and 79 yards last week against the Giants and should fill in nicely for Edelman. The Bills’ run defense has been mediocre over the last 4 games, averaging 124 rushing yards per game and 4.6 yards per rush. I’m sure that Bill Belichick is aware of this and will try to expose the Bills’ run defense with LeGarrette Blount who’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry. With that being said, we all know that the Patriots are going to pass in this game. Brady should connect with Rob Gronkowski often in this game and I expect James White will have a bigger role in the passing game this week than he did against the Giants. Defensively, the Patriots will have to try to figure out a way to stop LeSean McCoy. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry in Week 2 against New England and has also rushed for 112 yards in each of his last two games, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. I just don’t believe that McCoy will provide enough offense for the Bills to defeat the Patriots. Also, keep in mind that Rex Ryan has a 4-11 career record against the Pats while Tom Brady is 24-3 all-time against the Bills. The Patriots should win this one at home and remain undefeated on the season.

 

Next 3 Games:

Buffalo: @ Kansas City, vs. Houston, @ Philadelphia

New England: @ Denver, vs. Philadelphia, @ Houston

 

Decent Play:

 

Seattle (vs. San Francisco) –  The 49ers went into their Bye week with an impressive and shocking win at home against the Falcons and they are hoping that their winning ways will continue with Blaine Gabbert starting at quarterback. Unfortunately for San Francisco, they have to travel to Seattle this week and play at CenturyLink Field, a stadium that they haven’t won a game in since 2011. In fact, the 49ers have lost 4 straight games against the Seahawks and 6 of their last 7. That doesn’t bode well for them this week in a game in which they might be without Anquan Boldin and Carlos Hyde. These two teams squared off against one another back in Week 7 and the Seahawks held the 49ers to just 3 points. The 49ers played much better in the second half of that game, but their defense couldn’t tackle Marshawn Lynch, allowing him to literally run over them as he ran for 122 yards and a touchdown. Lynch carried the ball only 8 times in their loss to the Cardinals last week, but I expect he’ll be the focus of the offense against the 49ers this week. Seattle’s run defense hasn’t been great this year as they’ve allowed 98 or more rushing yards 6 times this year. But I’m not confident that Carlos Hyde will be able to suit up this week which will leave the bulk of the carries to Shaun Draughn. If the Niners are without both Hyde and Boldin, the Seahawks should dominate the 49ers’ offense and will have a very good chance at holding the 49ers’ offense to just single digits for the second time this season.

 

Next 3 Games:

San Francisco: vs. Arizona, @ Chicago, @ Cleveland

Seattle: vs. Pittsburgh, @ Minnesota, @ Baltimore

 

Oakland (@ Detroit) – The Raiders dipped below .500 on the season after being manhandled by the Minnesota Vikings last week. The defense couldn’t stop Adrian Peterson, the special teams let up a touchdown, Latavius Murray had trouble getting the ground game going and Derek Carr was picked off twice. The Raiders sit one game out of the playoffs but have a very good chance at evening their record this weekend in Detroit. For just the second time this season, the Raiders held their opponent to under 91 rushing yards. However, please remember this came against the Packers’ backup running back, James Starks. Latavius Murray should have a bounce back game this week against a Lions’ defense that has allowed an average of 124 rushing yards per game. He should find large running lanes this week which could lead to one or two huge runs. Although Derek Carr was picked off twice last week, he did throw for 302 yards and two touchdowns last week. Carr will take advantage of the Packers’ secondary that allows opposing quarterbacks to complete 70% of their passes with a QB rating of 105.7, which are ranked last in the NFL and 31st, respectively. The Lions on the other hand are hoping to build off their shocking win against the Packers in Green Bay in Week 10 by taking advantage of a Packers team that came into the game struggling offensively. Oakland’s run defense isn’t very good, but they don’t have to worry about trying to stop Adrian Peterson this week, instead they can focus on limiting Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah. I don’t have any reason to believe that Calvin Johnson will torch the Raiders’ secondary because he’s only put together one really dominating game this season, which came against the Bears in Week 6. I think Carr will hook up with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree all day and Murray should run all over the Lions which should allow the Raiders to control the football and the clock for the entire game, leading to the Raiders’ 5th win of the season.

 

Next 3 Games:

Oakland: @ Tennessee, vs. Kansas City, @ Denver

Detroit: vs. Philadelphia, vs. Green Bay, @ St. Louis

 

St. Louis (@ Baltimore) – Baltimore suffered a very controversial loss at the hands of the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon and the NFL even admitted that the refs missed a call on the play when Elvis Dumervil was called for a face mask, extending the game for one more play. But that’s over and done with and the Ravens have to move on. Joe Flacco threw a couple bad passes in that game, but he did connect with his new #1 receiver, Kamar Aiken, on 7 occasions. Flacco will be relying on Aiken in this game and the Ravens will need a big game from Justin Forsett if they want to have a chance at beating the Rams. Unfortunately for the Ravens, I don’t foresee that happening. The Rams were handed another loss last week, this time against the Bears, and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, the Rams were done in by 2 huge plays by Zach Miller and Jeremy Langford. The Rams’ defense will make sure that they do not allow any big plays against the Ravens and should turn things around and get back to their dominating ways against one of the weaker offenses in the league. But things aren’t great for the Rams offensively. Case Keenum has been named the starting QB over Nick Foles and usually this would make me pause and most likely drop a team using a backup QB, but I don’t think things can get worse for them. I even think things should only improve. Keenum made two starts last year for the Texans at the end of the season and he had mixed results. In fact, his first game that he started came against the Ravens but that also happened to be his worst start of the two. I think Keenum could have some success against the Ravens and once they get the running game going with Todd Gurley, it should open up the passing game. Don’t expect Keenum to throw the ball deep in this game. He’ll keep things simple with short, safe passes with a couple check-downs to Gurley. As long as the Rams control the clock, hold onto the football and just feed Gurley, the defense should take care of things on their end which should result in a win for the Rams and bring their record back to .500, keeping them in the mix for the NFC playoffs.

 

Next 3 Games:

St. Louis: @ Cincinnati, vs. Arizona, vs. Detroit

Baltimore: @ Cleveland, @ Miami, vs. Seattle

 

Risky Play:

 

Kansas City (@ San Diego) – The Chargers are a mess on defense, their offense is missing their best offensive weapon in Keenan Allen for the rest of the season, and their running game continues to struggle. San Diego is coming off a bye, but I don’t think that extra time will do them much good against a Kansas City team that has quietly won 3 games in a row. Over the last 3 games, the Chiefs have outscored their opponents 97-36 and are coming off a dominating win against the Broncos. In that game, the Chiefs were efficient enough on offense but their defense was dominant. Granted, Peyton Manning wasn’t healthy, but they still got a ton of pressure on both him and Brock Osweiler, sacking both quarterbacks a total of 5 times. They also came up with 5 interceptions in the game. Charcandrick West will be relied upon to make big plays like he did against the Broncos which included an 80 yard touchdown reception, but I expect West to have a strong game running the football against the Chargers’ defense that allows 4.9 yards per carry. Phillip Rivers could be in for a long day, especially if Malcolm Floyd doesn’t play in this game due to a torn labrum. That could lead to a larger role for Danny Woodhead as Rivers could check down to him often in this game. But with a depleted defense and his best receivers out, Kansas City should be able to even their record at 5-5 and put themselves into position to possibly take over that 6th seed in the AFC.

 

Next 3 Games:

Kansas City: vs. Buffalo, @ Oakland, vs. San Diego

San Diego: @ Jacksonville, vs. Denver, @ Kansas City

 

Dallas (@ Miami) – Cowboys fans can breathe a sigh of relief, Tony Romo will return this weekend against the Miami Dolphins. Is it too little too late? Tony Romo doesn’t think so. If Dallas can put together a winning streak, they can get themselves back into the playoff hunt. But first things first, they need to end their 7 game losing streak. The Cowboys will look to go with a balanced attack in this game. The Dolphins allow 135.6 rushing yards per game, so I believe Dallas will try to establish the running game with Darren McFadden behind their offensive line. If the Cowboys have success running the ball, it will in turn help keep Romo protected and will open up the passing game. I figure Romo will throw the ball approximately 35 times in this game and Dez Bryant should see a large percentage of those targets. If Bryant isn’t open, Romo will go to his security blanket, the reliable Jason Witten. The Cowboys’ defense is expected to have Sean Lee suit up which isn’t good news for a Dolphins’ offense that has struggled over the last 3 games. Lamar Miller has not run the ball well over the last 3 games, totaling just 102 yards on 37 carries (2.7 ypc). I expect the Cowboys to shut him down and that could lead to the Dolphins giving Jay Ajayi a couple more carries this week with the hope that he will break one or two long runs. Miami has only beaten mediocre teams this season, and although I don’t consider the Cowboys an elite team, even with Romo, they are still one of the better teams in the league. Tony Romo completely changes the Cowboys’ offense and the threat of him throwing the ball will significantly help McFadden and the running game. The Cowboys aren’t a lock, but I expect them to snap their 7 game losing streak this week.

 

Next 3 Games:

Dallas: vs. Carolina, @ Washington, @ Green Bay

Miami: @ NY Jets, vs. Baltimore, vs. NY Giants

 

Minnesota (vs. Green Bay) – The Minnesota Vikings have put together a 5 game winning streak whereas the Packers are really struggling and are riding a three game losing streak. Adrian Peterson just ran for 200+ yards for 6th time in career, which ties him with OJ Simpson for the most games with 200+ rushing yards. AP may have an opportunity to break that record this week against the Packers. I know, that’s a pretty bold prediction, but I wouldn’t rule it out because the Packers’ defense has allowed Todd Gurley to run for 159 yards and Matt Forte to run for 141 yards against them this year. The Packers are struggling offensively and Minnesota’s defense will make sure that the Packers don’t get any easy points. Eddie Lacy sat out against the Lions leaving the running back duties to James Starks, but Starks couldn’t get anything going and struggled all game. If the Packers can’t run the ball, which I think will happen again against Minnesota, the Packers could be in for a long game. The Vikings hold a one game lead on the Packers in the division making this an extremely important game for both teams. I think this is a very risky game to take this week, but with how poorly the Packers have played I think the Vikings will find a way to win this game. 

 

Next 3 Games:

Green Bay: vs. Chicago, @ Detroit, vs. Dallas

Minnesota: @ Atlanta, vs. Seattle, @ Arizona

 

NY Jets (@ Houston) – The Texans came up with a very surprising win on the road in Cincinnati in Week 10, handing the Bengals their first loss of the season. The Texans’ defense put a lot of pressure on Andy Dalton all game and Houston’s secondary did a great job covering AJ GreenMarvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. T.J. Yates had to come in and replace Brian Hoyer after Hoyer was removed for a possible concussion and Yates led the Texans on the go-ahead touchdown drive on a great catch by DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone. The Texans’ defense did a nice job containing the Bengals’ running game and they’ll need to contain Chris Ivory this week who is coming off his best game since Week 5 against Washington. Houston will focus on shutting down Ivory first and then making sure that Ryan Fitzpatrick is uncomfortable in the pocket and which could force him to make mistakes during the game. I do think this will be a low scoring game because I believe this will be a defensive battle between these two teams. Hopkins sat out of practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury, and now his status for this game is up in the air. If he can’t play, Houston may find themselves settling for field goals, that is if they can get deep enough onto the Jets’ side of the field. But due to the fact that the Jets have lost 3 of their last 4 games and that the Texans are coming off their best win of the season as well as not having allowed a touchdown in their last 10 quarters (per Evan Silva), I feel the Jets are a risky play this week in Survivor Pools. If it is announced prior to you submitting your picks that Hopkins is out for the game, I’d bump the Jets up a few more spots and would list them ahead of Oakland in the Decent Play Tier.

 

Next 3 Games:

NY Jets: vs. Miami, @ NY Giants, vs. Tennessee

Houston: vs. New Orleans, @ Buffalo, vs. New England

 

Arizona (vs. Cincinnati) – The Sunday night game of the week is being played between two of the hottest teams in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals. Well, let me take that back, the Bengals were one of the hottest teams until Monday night when the Texans shut down their offense and Andy Dalton looked human and looked like he was playing in a playoff game. Dalton completed just 22 of his 38 passes for 197 yards and was picked off once, although that interception came on a hail mary at the end of the first half. Tyler Eifert didn’t help Dalton out as he dropped multiple passes and A.J. Green also fumbled a ball as Dalton was leading the Bengals on a possible game-winning drive. I think we all had a strong feeling that Andy Dalton and the Bengals would come back down to earth, but I didn’t think it would happen against the Texans. Now the Bengals travel to Arizona and face a Cardinals team that is coming off a thrilling win on the road in Seattle. Carson Palmer threw for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns and Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd got the best of the Seahawks’ defensive backs throughout the game. Both players should post big numbers against the Bengals this week, and if John Brown’s hamstring improves, that just adds an additional weapon, but I think Brown will be more of a decoy. I can’t count the Bengals out in this game and they will want to come out and show that last week was just a fluke. I just don’t think they’ll be able to steal this one on the road against a Cardinals team that is 17-3 at home during the regular season since 2013.

 

Next 3 Games:

Cincinnati: vs. St. Louis, @ Cleveland, vs. Pittsburgh

Arizona: @ San Francisco, @ St. Louis, vs. Minnesota

 

Avoid:

 

Atlanta (vs. Indianapolis) – Both the Falcons and Colts are coming off byes this week which means they’ve both had some extra time to prepare for this game. But the Colts are going to be without Andrew Luck for at least a month with a lacerated kidney which means Matt Hasselbeck will make his third start of the season, and this is a great game for him to make that start. The Colts’ offensive line has not played well all year, but the Falcons’ defense has had trouble getting pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, so Hasselbeck should have some time in the pocket to find open receivers like a healthy T.Y. Hilton. Both Devonta Freeman and Frank Gore have juicy matchups and I believe that the Colts will go to the running game early on in this game so that they keep the Falcons’ offense off the field. Granted, the Falcons’ offense has struggled of late, but the Colts’ defense hasn’t been very impressive either and it will be in their best interest if they can keep Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman off the field. The Colts have scored at least 27 points in each of their last 5 games and one those games Hasselbeck even started. Hasselbeck will be smart enough to protect the football and not force throws that could lead to turnovers. But even with that being said, I don’t have complete faith in him to make some big plays if needed while on the road this week.  This is a very risky game to take this week, but I think the extra time off for the Falcons was a good thing because it should have allowed them to iron out their kinks on offense. As long as Atlanta starts clicking offensively, I think they’ll come away with a much-needed win.

 

Next 3 Games:

Indianapolis: vs. Tampa Bay, @ Pittsburgh, @ Jacksonville

Atlanta: vs. Minnesota, @ Tampa Bay, @ Carolina

 

Jacksonville (vs. Tennessee) – The Thursday night game of the week pits two up-and-coming quarterbacks against one another in what otherwise looks to be an unexciting game to most fans. Luckily, I’m not one of those fans and am excited to watch both Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles face one another this week. Both quarterbacks are hoping to improve on last week’s play and I believe Mariota could be in for a big game, although he will be without Justin Hunter. Tennessee’s game plan may have Mariota air it out as opposed to Antonio Andrews running the ball and running the risk of being stuffed by the Jags’ run defense that allows a miniscule 3.3 yards per carry. The Jaguars on the other hand will give the ball to T.J. Yeldon with the expectation that he will find running lanes against a Titans’ defense that has allowed at least 116 rushing yards in 6 of their 10 games. I expect Tennessee’s pass rush to force Bortles out of the pocket, but at times he has made some nice passes to Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson while on the run. Bortles will need to cut down on the interceptions in this game and as long as he does that, I think the Jaguars will come away with their 4th win of the season.

 

Next 3 Games:

Tennessee: vs. Oakland, vs. Jacksonville, @ NY Jets

Jacksonville: vs. San Diego, @ Tennessee, vs. Indianapolis

 

Tampa Bay (@ Philadelphia) – The Eagles get to host a team from Florida for second straight week and this time they will play a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has traded wins and losses in each of their last five games. The Eagles are coming off a very bad loss against the Dolphins that has kept them a half a game behind the Giants for the division lead. Sam Bradford was knocked out of the game last week and Mark Sanchez came in to replace him. Sanchez threw a crucial interception which ultimately cost the team the win. It is expected that Sanchez will start this week, and if he does, I expect Chip Kelly will use DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to run the ball more often than usual and Sanchez will utilize Darren Sproles in the passing game. The Bucs will have a balanced attached with Doug Martin on the ground and Jameis Winston looking for Mike Evans throughout this game. As long as Evans doesn’t drop too many footballs, he should post a third straight 100 yard receiving game.

 

Next 3 Games:

Tampa Bay: @ Indianapolis, vs. Atlanta, vs. New Orleans

Philadelphia: @ Detroit, @ New England, vs. Buffalo

 

Chicago (vs. Denver) – The Broncos have announced that Brock Osweiler will start for Peyton Manning on Sunday against the Bears. With Osweiler getting the nod, I am expecting that the Broncos will plan to hand the ball off to Ronnie Hillman often in this game since the Bears allow an average of 4.6 yards per carry on the season. The Broncos’ defense, which had been its biggest strength, has not played particularly well the last two weeks and they will be without DeMarcus Ware again this week. In fact, the Broncos’ defense has recorded just three sacks over the last 2 games which is very unlike them after collecting 29 sacks in their first 7 games. The good news for Denver’s defense is that Aqib Talib returns this week from his one game suspension. Jeremy Langford is expected to get another start this week after putting up 182 total yards against a tough Rams defense. In fact, in his two starts, Langford has 324 total yards. The Bears will lean heavily on Langford, but I expect Alshon Jeffery to have a major role in this game. Jeffery saw a season-low 4 targets last week against the Rams, but that number should creep back up towards double digits. I don’t think we really know what to expect from Osweiler in his first start. He could ultimately be better than Manning and the Broncos could be better off with him as their QB going forward, but I need to watch him play first. Also, I need to see Denver’s defense play better again before I feel comfortable taking Denver in a Survivor Pool.

 

Next 3 Games:

Denver: vs. New England, @ San Diego, vs. Oakland

Chicago: @ Green Bay, vs. San Francisco, vs. Washington

 

Week 11 Survivor Pool Rankings:

 

1.    Carolina Panthers

2.    New England Patriots

3.    Seattle Seahawks

4.    Oakland Raiders

5.    St. Louis Rams

6.    Kansas City Chiefs

7.    Dallas Cowboys

8.    Minnesota Vikings

9.    NY Jets

10.    Arizona Cardinals

11.    Atlanta Falcons

12.    Jacksonville Jaguars

13.    Tampa Bay Buccaneers

14.    Chicago Bears

Carolina (vs. Washington) – The 9-0 Panthers are coming off a game in which they dominated the Titans defensively and didn’t let up for one moment in the entire game. They needed that type of performance from their D after sloppy play in the 4th quarters of their two previous games against the Colts and Packers. Against the Titans, the Panthers’ defense allowed just 11 first downs and gave up a total of 242 yards, 64 of which came on the ground. In fact, 25 of those yards came on one single run by Dexter McCluster. Take away that one single touchdown run, the Panthers held the Titans runners to just 39 yards on 20 carries. That doesn’t bode well for Matt Jones or Alfred Morris, both of whom are coming off their best games of the year. But how much stock do you put into their performances due to the fact it came against the Saints’ defense? You could definitely argue that the numbers were inflated for that reason, which means I expect both Jones and Morris to revert back to their mediocre play against Carolina this weekend. Kirk Cousins is also coming off his best game of the year, completing 20 of his 25 passes for 324 yards and 4 touchdowns. Even more impressive is the fact that he didn’t throw a single interception. There were times that Cousins was under pressure against the Saints’ defense, but he didn’t succumb to the pressure and make any critical mistakes. I think he’ll find himself under a lot more pressure against Carolina and will be forced to get the ball out of his hand very quickly which could force him into throwing the ball into coverage and could result in a couple of turnovers. There is a tough slate of games this week, but I believe Carolina is the strongest play this week and I think they’ll keep their undefeated season alive for at least one more week.
Next 3 Games:
Washington: vs. NY Giants, vs. Dallas, @ Chicago
Carolina: @ Dallas, @ New Orleans, vs. Atlanta

New England (vs. Buffalo) – Last week Rex Ryan beat his former team, this Monday night Rex Ryan tries to get revenge on the Patriots from earlier this season. The last time these two teams faced off against one another was back in Week 2 when the Pats routed the Bills 40-32. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, but the Bills did score 19 points in the 4th quarter against a Patriots’ defense that let up after the Patriots were leading 37-13 after 3 quarters. The Patriots also owned the Bills defense, totaling 507 yards, 466 of which were thrown by Tom Brady. But Brady doesn’t have Dion Lewis or Julian Edelman this week due to injuries. Lewis and Edelman accounted for 195 of those passing yards in Week 2, so I’m sure people are questioning who on the Patriots will use to help make up those yards. The one person you can probably count on is Danny Amendola, who ended up with 10 catches and 79 yards last week against the Giants and should fill in nicely for Edelman. The Bills’ run defense has been mediocre over the last 4 games, averaging 124 rushing yards per game and 4.6 yards per rush. I’m sure that Bill Belichick is aware of this and will try to expose the Bills’ run defense with LeGarrette Blount who’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry. With that being said, we all know that the Patriots are going to pass in this game. Brady should connect with Rob Gronkowski often in this game and I expect James White will have a bigger role in the passing game this week than he did against the Giants. Defensively, the Patriots will have to try to figure out a way to stop LeSean McCoy. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry in Week 2 against New England and has also rushed for 112 yards in each of his last two games, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. I just don’t believe that McCoy will provide enough offense for the Bills to defeat the Patriots. Also, keep in mind that Rex Ryan has a 4-11 career record against the Pats while Tom Brady is 24-3 all-time against the Bills. The Patriots should win this one at home and remain undefeated on the season.
Next 3 Games:
Buffalo: @ Kansas City, vs. Houston, @ Philadelphia
New England: @ Denver, vs. Philadelphia, @ Houston

Decent Play:
Seattle (vs. San Francisco) –  The 49ers went into their Bye week with an impressive and shocking win at home against the Falcons and they are hoping that their winning ways will continue with Blaine Gabbert starting at quarterback. Unfortunately for San Francisco, they have to travel to Seattle this week and play at CenturyLink Field, a stadium that they haven’t won a game in since 2011. In fact, the 49ers have lost 4 straight games against the Seahawks and 6 of their last 7. That doesn’t bode well for them this week in a game in which they might be without Anquan Boldin and Carlos Hyde. These two teams squared off against one another back in Week 7 and the Seahawks held the 49ers to just 3 points. The 49ers played much better in the second half of that game, but their defense couldn’t tackle Marshawn Lynch, allowing him to literally run over them as he ran for 122 yards and a touchdown. Lynch carried the ball only 8 times in their loss to the Cardinals last week, but I expect he’ll be the focus of the offense against the 49ers this week. Seattle’s run defense hasn’t been great this year as they’ve allowed 98 or more rushing yards 6 times this year. But I’m not confident that Carlos Hyde will be able to suit up this week which will leave the bulk of the carries to Shaun Draughn. If the Niners are without both Hyde and Boldin, the Seahawks should dominate the 49ers’ offense and will have a very good chance at holding the 49ers’ offense to just single digits for the second time this season.
Next 3 Games:
San Francisco: vs. Arizona, @ Chicago, @ Cleveland
Seattle: vs. Pittsburgh, @ Minnesota, @ Baltimore

Oakland (@ Detroit) – The Raiders dipped below .500 on the season after being manhandled by the Minnesota Vikings last week. The defense couldn’t stop Adrian Peterson, the special teams let up a touchdown, Latavius Murray had trouble getting the ground game going and Derek Carr was picked off twice. The Raiders sit one game out of the playoffs but have a very good chance at evening their record this weekend in Detroit. For just the second time this season, the Raiders held their opponent to under 91 rushing yards. However, please remember this came against the Packers’ backup running back, James Starks. Latavius Murray should have a bounce back game this week against a Lions’ defense that has allowed an average of 124 rushing yards per game. He should find large running lanes this week which could lead to one or two huge runs. Although Derek Carr was picked off twice last week, he did throw for 302 yards and two touchdowns last week. Carr will take advantage of the Packers’ secondary that allows opposing quarterbacks to complete 70% of their passes with a QB rating of 105.7, which are ranked last in the NFL and 31st, respectively. The Lions on the other hand are hoping to build off their shocking win against the Packers in Green Bay in Week 10 by taking advantage of a Packers team that came into the game struggling offensively. Oakland’s run defense isn’t very good, but they don’t have to worry about trying to stop Adrian Peterson this week, instead they can focus on limiting Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah. I don’t have any reason to believe that Calvin Johnson will torch the Raiders’ secondary because he’s only put together one really dominating game this season, which came against the Bears in Week 6. I think Carr will hook up with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree all day and Murray should run all over the Lions which should allow the Raiders to control the football and the clock for the entire game, leading to the Raiders’ 5th win of the season.
Next 3 Games:
Oakland: @ Tennessee, vs. Kansas City, @ Denver
Detroit: vs. Philadelphia, vs. Green Bay, @ St. Louis

St. Louis (@ Baltimore) – Baltimore suffered a very controversial loss at the hands of the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon and the NFL even admitted that the refs missed a call on the play when Elvis Dumervil was called for a face mask, extending the game for one more play. But that’s over and done with and the Ravens have to move on. Joe Flacco threw a couple bad passes in that game, but he did connect with his new #1 receiver, Kamar Aiken, on 7 occasions. Flacco will be relying on Aiken in this game and the Ravens will need a big game from Justin Forsett if they want to have a chance at beating the Rams. Unfortunately for the Ravens, I don’t foresee that happening. The Rams were handed another loss last week, this time against the Bears, and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, the Rams were done in by 2 huge plays by Zach Miller and Jeremy Langford. The Rams’ defense will make sure that they do not allow any big plays against the Ravens and should turn things around and get back to their dominating ways against one of the weaker offenses in the league. But things aren’t great for the Rams offensively. Case Keenum has been named the starting QB over Nick Foles and usually this would make me pause and most likely drop a team using a backup QB, but I don’t think things can get worse for them. I even think things should only improve. Keenum made two starts last year for the Texans at the end of the season and he had mixed results. In fact, his first game that he started came against the Ravens but that also happened to be his worst start of the two. I think Keenum could have some success against the Ravens and once they get the running game going with Todd Gurley, it should open up the passing game. Don’t expect Keenum to throw the ball deep in this game. He’ll keep things simple with short, safe passes with a couple check-downs to Gurley. As long as the Rams control the clock, hold onto the football and just feed Gurley, the defense should take care of things on their end which should result in a win for the Rams and bring their record back to .500, keeping them in the mix for the NFC playoffs.
Next 3 Games:
St. Louis: @ Cincinnati, vs. Arizona, vs. Detroit
Baltimore: @ Cleveland, @ Miami, vs. Seattle

Risky Play:
Kansas City (@ San Diego) – The Chargers are a mess on defense, their offense is missing their best offensive weapon in Keenan Allen for the rest of the season, and their running game continues to struggle. San Diego is coming off a bye, but I don’t think that extra time will do them much good against a Kansas City team that has quietly won 3 games in a row. Over the last 3 games, the Chiefs have outscored their opponents 97-36 and are coming off a dominating win against the Broncos. In that game, the Chiefs were efficient enough on offense but their defense was dominant. Granted, Peyton Manning wasn’t healthy, but they still got a ton of pressure on both him and Brock Osweiler, sacking both quarterbacks a total of 5 times. They also came up with 5 interceptions in the game. Charcandrick West will be relied upon to make big plays like he did against the Broncos which included an 80 yard touchdown reception, but I expect West to have a strong game running the football against the Chargers’ defense that allows 4.9 yards per carry. Phillip Rivers could be in for a long day, especially if Malcolm Floyd doesn’t play in this game due to a torn labrum. That could lead to a larger role for Danny Woodhead as Rivers could check down to him often in this game. But with a depleted defense and his best receivers out, Kansas City should be able to even their record at 5-5 and put themselves into position to possibly take over that 6th seed in the AFC.
Next 3 Games:
Kansas City: vs. Buffalo, @ Oakland, vs. San Diego
San Diego: @ Jacksonville, vs. Denver, @ Kansas City

Dallas (@ Miami) – Cowboys fans can breathe a sigh of relief, Tony Romo will return this weekend against the Miami Dolphins. Is it too little too late? Tony Romo doesn’t think so. If Dallas can put together a winning streak, they can get themselves back into the playoff hunt. But first things first, they need to end their 7 game losing streak. The Cowboys will look to go with a balanced attack in this game. The Dolphins allow 135.6 rushing yards per game, so I believe Dallas will try to establish the running game with Darren McFadden behind their offensive line. If the Cowboys have success running the ball, it will in turn help keep Romo protected and will open up the passing game. I figure Romo will throw the ball approximately 35 times in this game and Dez Bryant should see a large percentage of those targets. If Bryant isn’t open, Romo will go to his security blanket, the reliable Jason Witten. The Cowboys’ defense is expected to have Sean Lee suit up which isn’t good news for a Dolphins’ offense that has struggled over the last 3 games. Lamar Miller has not run the ball well over the last 3 games, totaling just 102 yards on 37 carries (2.7 ypc). I expect the Cowboys to shut him down and that could lead to the Dolphins giving Jay Ajayi a couple more carries this week with the hope that he will break one or two long runs. Miami has only beaten mediocre teams this season, and although I don’t consider the Cowboys an elite team, even with Romo, they are still one of the better teams in the league. Tony Romo completely changes the Cowboys’ offense and the threat of him throwing the ball will significantly help McFadden and the running game. The Cowboys aren’t a lock, but I expect them to snap their 7 game losing streak this week.
Next 3 Games:
Dallas: vs. Carolina, @ Washington, @ Green Bay
Miami: @ NY Jets, vs. Baltimore, vs. NY Giants

Minnesota (Green Bay) – The Minnesota Vikings have put together a 5 game winning streak whereas the Packers are really struggling and are riding a three game losing streak. Adrian Peterson just ran for 200+ yards for 6th time in career, which ties him with OJ Simpson for the most games with 200+ rushing yards. AP may have an opportunity to break that record this week against the Packers. I know, that’s a pretty bold prediction, but I wouldn’t rule it out because the Packers’ defense has allowed Todd Gurley to run for 159 yards and Matt Forte to run for 141 yards against them this year. The Packers are struggling offensively and Minnesota’s defense will make sure that the Packers don’t get any easy points. Eddie Lacy sat out against the Lions leaving the running back duties to James Starks, but Starks couldn’t get anything going and struggled all game. If the Packers can’t run the ball, which I think will happen again against Minnesota, the Packers could be in for a long game. The Vikings hold a one game lead on the Packers in the division making this an extremely important game for both teams. I think this is a very risky game to take this week, but with how poorly the Packers have played I think the Vikings will find a way to win this game.  
Next 3 Games:
Green Bay: vs. Chicago, @ Detroit, vs. Dallas
Minnesota: @ Atlanta, vs. Seattle, @ Arizona

NY Jets (@ Houston) – The Texans came up with a very surprising win on the road in Cincinnati in Week 10, handing the Bengals their first loss of the season. The Texans defense put a lot of pressure on Andy Dalton all game and Houston’s secondary did a great job covering AJ Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. T.J. Yates had to come in and replace Brian Hoyer after Hoyer was removed for a possible concussion and Yates led the Texans on the go-ahead touchdown drive on a great catch by DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone. The Texans’ defense did a nice job containing the Bengals’ running game and they’ll need to contain Chris Ivory this week who is coming off his best game since Week 5 against Washington. Houston will focus on shutting down Ivory first and then making sure that Ryan Fitzpatrick is uncomfortable in the pocket which could force him to make mistakes during the game. I do think this will be a low scoring game because I believe this will be a defensive battle between these two teams. Additionally, due to the fact that the Jets have lost 3 of their last 4 games and that the Texans are coming off their best win of the season as well as not having allowed a touchdown in their last 10 quarters (per Evan Silva), I feel the Jets are a risky play this week in Survivor Pools.
Next 3 Games:
NY Jets: vs. Miami, @ NY Giants, vs. Tennessee
Houston: vs. New Orleans, @ Buffalo, vs. New England

Arizona (vs. Cincinnati) – The Sunday night game of the week is being played between two of the hottest teams in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals. Well, let me take that back, the Bengals were one of the hottest teams until Monday night when the Texans shut down their offense and Andy Dalton looked human and looked like he was playing in a playoff game. Dalton completed just 22 of his 38 passes for 197 yards and was picked off once, although that interception came on a hail mary at the end of the first half. Tyler Eifert didn’t help Dalton out as he dropped multiple passes and A.J. Green also fumbled a ball as Dalton was leading the Bengals on a possible game-winning drive. I think we all had a strong feeling that Andy Dalton and the Bengals would come back down to earth, but I didn’t think it would happen against the Texans. Now the Bengals travel to Arizona and face a Cardinals team that is coming off a thrilling win on the road in Seattle. Carson Palmer threw for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns and Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd got the best of the Seahawks’ defensive backs throughout the game. Both players should post big numbers against the Bengals this week, and if John Brown’s hamstring improves, that just adds an additional weapon, but I think Brown will be more of a decoy. I can’t count the Bengals out in this game and they will want to come out and show that last week was just a fluke. I just don’t think they’ll be able to steal this one on the road against a Cardinals team that is 17-3 at home during the regular season since 2013.
Next 3 Games:
Cincinnati: vs. St. Louis, @ Cleveland, vs. Pittsburgh
Arizona: @ San Francisco, @ St. Louis, vs. Minnesota

Avoid:
Atlanta (vs. Indianapolis) – Both the Falcons and Colts are coming off byes this week which means they’ve both had some extra time to prepare for this game. But the Colts are going to be without Andrew Luck for at least a month with a lacerated kidney which means Matt Hasselbeck will make his third start of the season, and this is a great game for him to make that start. The Colts’ offensive line has not played well all year, but the Falcons’ defense has had trouble getting pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, so Hasselbeck should have some time in the pocket to find open receivers like a healthy T.Y. Hilton. Both Devonta Freeman and Frank Gore have juicy matchups and I believe that the Colts will go to the running game early on in this game so that they keep the Falcons’ offense off the field. Granted, the Falcons’ offense has struggled of late, but the Colts’ defense hasn’t been very impressive either and it will be in their best interest if they can keep Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman off the field. The Colts have scored at least 27 points in each of their last 5 games and one those games Hasselbeck even started. Hasselbeck will be smart enough to protect the football and not force throws that could lead to turnovers. But even with that being said, I don’t have complete faith in him to make some big plays if needed while on the road this week.  This is a very risky game to take this week, but I think the extra time off for the Falcons was a good thing because it should have allowed them to iron out their kinks on offense. As long as Atlanta starts clicking offensively, I think they’ll come away with a much-needed win.
Next 3 Games:
Indianapolis: vs. Tampa Bay, @ Pittsburgh, @ Jacksonville
Atlanta: vs. Minnesota, @ Tampa Bay, @ Carolina

Jacksonville (vs. Tennessee) – The Thursday night game of the week pits two up-and-coming quarterbacks against one another in what otherwise looks to be an unexciting game to most fans. Luckily, I’m not one of those fans and am excited to watch both Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles face one another this week. Both quarterbacks are hoping to improve on last week’s play and I believe Mariota could be in for a big game, although he will be without Justin Hunter. Tennessee’s game plan may have Mariota air it out as opposed to Antonio Andrews running the ball and running the risk of being stuffed by the Jags’ run defense that allows a miniscule 3.3 yards per carry. The Jaguars on the other hand will give the ball to T.J. Yeldon with the expectation that he will find running lanes against a Titans’ defense that has allowed at least 116 rushing yards in 6 of their 10 games. I expect Tennessee’s pass rush to force Bortles out of the pocket, but at times he has made some nice passes to Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson while on the run. Bortles will need to cut down on the interceptions in this game and as long as he does that, I think the Jaguars will come away with their 4th win of the season.
Next 3 Games:
Tennessee: vs. Oakland, vs. Jacksonville, @ NY Jets
Jacksonville: vs. San Diego, @ Tennessee, vs. Indianapolis

Tampa Bay (@ Philadelphia) – The Eagles get to host a team from Florida for second straight week and this time they will play a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has traded wins and losses in each of their last five games. The Eagles are coming off a very bad loss against the Dolphins that has kept them a half a game behind the Giants for the division lead. Sam Bradford was knocked out of the game last week and Mark Sanchez came in to replace him. Sanchez threw a crucial interception which ultimately cost the team the win. It is expected that Sanchez will start this week, and if he does, I expect Chip Kelly will use DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to run the ball more often than usual and Sanchez will utilize Darren Sproles in the passing game. The Bucs will have a balanced attached with Doug Martin on the ground and Jameis Winston looking for Mike Evans throughout this game. As long as Evans doesn’t drop too many footballs, he should post a third straight 100 yard receiving game.
Next 3 Games:
Tampa Bay: @ Indianapolis, vs. Atlanta, vs. New Orleans
Philadelphia: @ Detroit, @ New England, vs. Buffalo

Chicago (vs. Denver) – The Broncos have announced that Brock Osweiler will start for Peyton Manning on Sunday against the Bears. With Osweiler getting the nod, I am expecting that the Broncos will plan to hand the ball off to Ronnie Hillman often in this game since the Bears allow an average of 4.6 yards per carry on the season. The Broncos’ defense, which had been its biggest strength, has not played particularly well the last two weeks and they will be without DeMarcus Ware again this week. In fact, the Broncos’ defense has recorded just three sacks over the last 2 games which is very unlike them after collecting 29 sacks in their first 7 games. The good news for Denver’s defense is that Aqib Talib returns this week from his one game suspension. Jeremy Langford is expected to get another start this week after putting up 182 total yards against a tough Rams defense. In fact, in his two starts, Langford has 324 total yards. The Bears will lean heavily on Langford, but I expect Alshon Jeffery to have a major role in this game. Jeffery saw a season-low 4 targets last week against the Rams, but that number should creep back up towards double digits. I don’t think we really know what to expect from Osweiler in his first start. He could ultimately be better than Manning and the Broncos could be better off with him as their QB going forward, but I need to watch him play first. Also, I need to see Denver’s defense play better again before I feel comfortable taking Denver in a Survivor Pool.
Next 3 Games:
Denver: vs. New England, @ San Diego, vs. Oakland
Chicago: @ Green Bay, vs. San Francisco, vs. Washington

Week 11 Survivor Pool Rankings:
1.    Carolina Panthers
2.    New England Patriots
3.    Seattle Seahawks
4.    Oakland Raiders
5.    St. Louis Rams
6.    Kansas City Chiefs
7.    Dallas Cowboys
8.    Minnesota Vikings
9.    NY Jets
10.    Arizona Cardinals
11.    Atlanta Falcons
12.    Jacksonville Jaguars
13.    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14.    Chicago Bears

Mark Miller
Mark Miller writes the Survivor Picks column for Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter.