NFL Week 11 predictions: Expect Panthers, Patriots to improve to 10-0

Here are our NFL Nation reporters' predictions for Week 11:


Oakland Raiders: The four teams the Raiders have beaten have a combined record of 11-26. The Lions are 2-7. I expect the 4-5 Raiders to take care of business in Detroit. Yes, the Raiders' offense scored just 14 points against the Vikings after erupting for 106 points in the previous three games. But I see the Raiders reverting to their explosive ways against a defense giving up almost 30 points per game. Raiders 34, Lions 20. -- Bill Williamson

Detroit Lions: Detroit is coming off a historic win against Green Bay, but the 2-7 Lions have a problem – their secondary is really, really beat up. Detroit likely will have Darius Slay on Amari Cooper, but that leaves Michael Crabtree for a combination of Crezdon Butler and Bill Bentley, both of whom were not Detroit Lions last Friday. That should be an area for Derek Carr to pick on and could result in at least two touchdowns. Add that the Lions have scored more than 20 points only twice this season (Week 1 vs. San Diego, Week 6 vs. Chicago) and any team that can put up points is going to be a problem for the Lions. Raiders 27, Lions 21. -- Michael Rothstein


Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have turned to 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback since Andrew Luck (kidney/abdomen) is out. They ideally would like to ease some of Hasselbeck’s load by establishing a running game with Frank Gore and Ahmad Bradshaw. That’s a good idea and all, but the Falcons are third in the league in rushing yards allowed (88.9). The Falcons have staggered to back-to-back losses, but they’ve had two weeks to prepare for the Colts and they’re playing at home, where they’re averaging almost 30 points a game. That’s not good for a Colts defense that’s 28th in the league and could be without starting safety Mike Adams (ankle) and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (hamstring). Falcons 31, Colts 17. -- Mike Wells

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have won six consecutive games following a bye week, which bodes well for their quest to end a two-game losing streak. It helps that they’ll face Andrew Luck’s backup in Matt Hasselbeck, the fifth No. 2 quarterback thrust into a starting role the Falcons will have faced this season. But the 40-year-old Hasselbeck has seen every type of defensive look, so he won’t be easily rattled. For the Falcons, it comes down to how the offense will function after struggling with penalties and turnovers the past four weeks. Maybe a little no-huddle sprinkled in will help, but it’s all about Matt Ryan and the players executing regardless of the formation. An offense featuring Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman should be good for three touchdowns per game, and the Falcons have averaged just 16.7 points their past four outings. Falcons 24, Colts 14. -- Vaughn McClure


New York Jets: The Jets will be playing on nine days rest, the Texans five. That’s huge at this stage of the season, when teams are dealing with banged-up bodies. The Jets’ defense is due for a big game, and they should have one against T.J. Yates, who likely will replace Brian Hoyer. The Jets are 5-0 when forcing at least two turnovers. That will become 6-0 Sunday. Jets 27, Texans 14. -- Rich Cimini

Houston Texans: The Texans are facing a familiar foe in Ryan Fitzpatrick, the quarterback they shipped out last offseason in favor of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. Fitzpatrick’s passer rating, Total QBR, completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio are all better when he plays against teams that discarded him. He’ll enter NRG Stadium wanting to prove the Texans made a mistake. And he’ll have the support of a very talented defense. Jets 19, Texans 13. -- Tania Ganguli


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs have doubled their win total from a year ago, but they still haven’t claimed consecutive victories under coach Lovie Smith. Tampa Bay has to see more from its offense to claim that elusive second consecutive win after totaling just one touchdown in each of the past two games. The Bucs’ defense should play well enough to keep Tampa Bay close throughout. But until the Bucs show the ability to string wins together, there’s reason to doubt them. Eagles 24, Bucs 20. -- Andrew Astleford

Philadelphia Eagles: Tampa Bay relies on its sixth-ranked running game to take pressure off rookie QB Jameis Winston. The Eagles' defense is 19th in the NFL against the run, but that is skewed by the 338 rushing yards they allowed in two games without LB DeMeco Ryans. In this can’t-afford-to-lose game, Ryans and the Eagles' defense will find a way to get it done. Eagles 23, Buccaneers 21. -- Phil Sheridan


Denver Broncos: Brock Osweiler has the start in place of Peyton Manning as the Broncos try to end their first two-game losing streak since September 2012. With the New England Patriots set to come to Denver next Sunday, this game against the Bears could be a tipping point of sorts for the Broncos, and it will be on their defense to make things right. If this is a championship-caliber group, the Broncos need to play like it. Broncos 23, Bears 20. -- Jeff Legwold

Chicago Bears: Chicago has the edge at quarterback on Sunday with Jay Cutler over Brock Osweiler. Head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase know exactly what Osweiler can and cannot do. The Bears have won four of six. The Broncos have lost two in a row. I know this sounds crazy, but unless Cutler turns the ball over three to four times, Chicago has a great shot to win. This is Fox’s Super Bowl, even if he tries to play it off like “just another game.” Don’t believe the coach-speak. Fox wants to make a statement. Bears 22, Broncos 21. -- Jeff Dickerson


St. Louis Rams: Even if the Rams have a boost from installing Case Keenum as their starting quarterback, it's hard to overlook that an already shaky offensive line is being patched together after a slew of injuries. The Ravens don't have many playmakers and the Rams' defense should be able to keep it close. Baltimore has just one win at home, but all of their home games have been within one possession, which means this will be close. We'll give the nod to the home team with the better, more consistent kicker. Ravens 19, Rams 17. -- Nick Wagoner

Baltimore Ravens: On the day Ed Reed will be inducted into the Ravens' Ring of Honor, the game will be decided by turnovers. Baltimore has a minus-10 turnover ratio (tied for worst in the NFL), and St. Louis is plus-four (tied for eighth best). The Ravens are 16-28 (.363) when losing the turnover battle under coach John Harbaugh. Rams 24, Ravens 20. -- Jamison Hensley


Dallas Cowboys: In the season opener, the Cowboys needed Tony Romo’s late-game heroics and some atrocious clock management by the New York Giants to win. Before Romo was injured against Philadelphia, the offense contributed two field goals. There is no doubt the Cowboys will be better with Romo than they have been the past seven weeks, but they also need to be better than they were in the first two games with him. After missing three games in 2008 with a broken pinky, Romo completed 19 of 27 passes for 198 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in his return, a 14-10 win at Washington. There was some rust then and there will be rust now. But Romo will deliver. Cowboys 26, Dolphins 17. -- Todd Archer

Miami Dolphins: This game became more difficult for the Dolphins with the return of quarterback Tony Romo. But Miami’s defense gained some momentum last week with its pass rush recording four sacks and 10 quarterback hits in a win over the Eagles. Similar pressure on Romo and perhaps some rust after a nearly two-month layoff could be the difference in a close game. Dolphins 23, Cowboys 20. -- James Walker


Washington Redskins: The Redskins are 1-11 on the road under coach Jay Gruden and part of that problem this year stems from the quality of opponents. The teams they’ve played on the road are a combined 25-12 and this marks the second consecutive road game in which they’ve played an undefeated team. The Redskins are growing in confidence and they have the ability to keep the game close – and win. But they’ve struggled to stop good running teams and have allowed 5.49 yards per carry the past five games. Carolina likes to run. Panthers 23, Redskins 17. -- John Keim

Carolina Panthers: This game should scare the Panthers. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has had a passer rating of 124 or better in two of his past three games, including a 158.3 last week against New Orleans. This is Carolina’s second of three games during a 12-day span. It feels like a trap game. But Carolina will stay in it with the league's third best rushing attack and a hot quarterback going against the league’s 30th-ranked rush defense. Panthers 27, Redskins 13. -- David Newton


Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are averaging almost 25 points per game, 10th best in the NFL, and that’s after playing five games against opponents rated in the top 10 in scoring defense. They scored 45 points in the one game in which they played a bottom-five defense, against the Lions. The Chargers also have a bottom-five defense, so look for the Chiefs to score enough points to win. Chiefs 24, Chargers 17. -- Adam Teicher

San Diego Chargers: Since Week 7, the Chiefs lead the NFL with a plus-10 turnover differential, and they are the only team that hasn’t turned the ball over in that span, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Chargers have a minus-5 turnover differential this season and have lost the turnover battle in six of their nine games this season. The Chiefs should force the Chargers to turn the ball over a couple of times. San Diego is undermanned on offense and will struggle to protect Philip Rivers against Kansas City’s potent pass rush.Chiefs 24, Chargers 20. -- Eric Williams


Green Bay Packers: In the prediction business, it’s hard not to go off what you’ve seen most recently. In the Packers’ case, that’s a struggling team that falls behind early only to make a futile late rally. That’s a bad recipe anywhere, especially on the road against a team such as the Vikings, who have grown accustomed to winning. And now Aaron Rodgers has an apparent shoulder injury, which doesn’t help matters. Vikings 23, Packers 19. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: The Packers haven’t lost four consecutive games with Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback since 2008, and there’s a big part of me that thinks he’ll find a way to help them turn things around on Sunday. But the Vikings present a bad matchup for the Packers, with their well-disguised blitz packages, physical coverage concepts and a running back who has tormented the Packers almost as much as Rodgers has tormented the Vikings over the years. Because Adrian Peterson is playing well, and Rodgers doesn’t have all of his weapons, the Vikings win a close one at home to go up two games in the division. Vikings 24, Packers 20. -- Ben Goessling


San Francisco 49ers: The Niners are in full rebuild mode with a starting offensive backfield likely comprised of Blaine Gabbert at quarterback and Shaun Draughn at running back while the two-time NFC champion Seahawks are in full panic mode, sitting at just 4-5. What’s that they say about a wounded animal being the most dangerous animal, again? Gabbert has never won back-to-back starts in his career (going 0-5 after a victory), Seattle has won five of the past six meetings and after Sunday, it will be six of seven. The Niners' defense, which sacked Russell Wilson five times last month, will make it interesting for a bit. Seahawks 24, 49ers 13. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: Since Week 6, Russell Wilson has posted a QBR of 52.5 (21st) and a passer rating of 82.0 (24th). The offense has failed to find an identity all season long, but a visit from the 49ers may be exactly what this team needs. In the last meeting, Marshawn Lynch ran for a season-high 122 yards. And according to ESPN Stats and Information, San Francisco has scored one touchdown or fewer in its past eight games against the Seahawks. Seattle is the only double-digit favorite of Week 11 and should win big. Seahawks 24, 49ers 10. -- Sheil Kapadia


Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals haven’t lost back-to-back games since Weeks 9 and 10 of the 2013 season. When you consider that, and consider how good Bengals coaches have been about using past losses to motivate players this season, then you have the impression they won’t lose Sunday night’s meaningful game against the Cardinals. Before beating the Browns two weeks ago, coaches harped on Cincinnati’s blowout loss to the Browns on a Thursday night the year before. Ahead of the win at Pittsburgh, reminders of last year’s Steelers sweep were daily motivational tools. Having such an approach could be the necessary difference in a game that features two very similarly constructed teams. Bengals 21, Cardinals 20. -- Coley Harvey

Arizona Cardinals: On paper, these teams are nearly identical. Good, big-armed quarterback. Talented receivers. Potent running game. But the Cardinals are playing at home, where they’re 16-4 under coach Bruce Arians and coming off an emotional high from beating Seattle. The Bengals are allowing the fourth-most yards per carry (4.7), which plays right into the Cardinals’ hands. Arizona has been averaging 4.37 yards per game; Chris Johnson has averaged 4.14. Cardinals 31, Bengals 24. -- Josh Weinfuss


Buffalo Bills: Rex Ryan said this week the Bills will need to be a “zillion” times better Monday night in New England than they were in Week 2 against the Patriots, when the Bills trailed by 24 points by the end of the third quarter and allowed more than 500 total yards. Holding the Patriots to fewer yards will be one task, but winning the turnover battle will be another. Ryan cited a statistic that the Patriots are 62-1 with Tom Brady at quarterback when they win the turnover battle at home. In other words, don’t expect the Bills to win unless Brady makes a few mistakes, and he has rarely messed up this season. Patriots 31, Bills 20. -- Mike Rodak

New England Patriots: It wouldn’t be a surprise if there are some early struggles as the Patriots adjust to life without injured WR Julian Edelman and RB Dion Lewis, hence the lower point-total projection. Stopping the run has been one of the Patriots’ strengths on defense to this point of the season. The ability to do so against QB Tyrod Taylor, RB LeSean McCoy and Co. will be the primary factor in determining the final result. Patriots 23, Bills 17. -- Mike Reiss