Squawka NFL

NFL picks, predictions for Week 11: Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns to win, says Nat Coombs

By Nat Coombs

Published: 18:12, 19 November 2021 | Updated: 20:20, 25 November 2021

This weekend’s matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals could determine the trajectory for both teams as far as a playoff push is concerned.

Win, and either can kick on for a postseason run. Lose, and the tilt may be irreversible. For more on that game and the rest of Week 11’s games, check out Nat’s predictions below.

In his main column this week, our NFL expert Nat Coombs looks at the resurgent New England Patriots and backs Bill Belichick’s side as ‘genuine Super Bowl contenders’.

NFL Week 11 predictions

Las Vegas Raiders vs Cincinnati Bengals

Two of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL this season have been the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals. Unlike the seasoned vet contenders like the Packers, Bucs or Pats, these two are young upstarts, freewheeling and flawed, capable of ripping off big plays but defensively suspect. As Week 11 comes into view with both teams at 5-4, a huge amount is riding on the outcome of this one.

Both have quarterbacks that are not afraid to sling it, and electric playmakers alongside that can join the neon dots. Derek Carr has defied his critics in a turbulent season for the Raiders, which has seen his head coach Jon Gruden leave under controversial circumstances — although given how underwhelmed Gruden seemed to be with his quarterback, perhaps not a bad thing in the long run for Number 4. Considering the loss of one of his star receivers, Henry Ruggs, and the further jettisoning of another number one overall pick, corner Damon Arnette, it’s fair to say that the Raiders’ dysfunction means they shouldn’t be anywhere near the playoff mix. But Carr has spirit — he leads the league in big time throws (28, as per PFF) — and even if the Raiders are going down, they’ll go down swinging. The addition of DeSean Jackson makes matters more intriguing, a Carr deep ball to the vet for a big gain/score highly plausible.

The Bengals are thrilling — particularly the Joe Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase tandem, which has become one of the strongest in the NFL. Burrow will fancy his chances against a Vegas defense that ranks 27th in passing TDs allowed. That said this Bengals defense can be torched, so expect (another) wild ride. I’d look at the over (50.5) in particular.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
@ 5/6 on SkyBet
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Jacksonville Jaguars vs San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are improbably back in the mix, such is the volatile nature of this season, with upsets abounding and those previously written off bouncing back into contention. Unlike other similarly positioned sides, San Francisco suffer from being in one of the tougher mixes in the NFL, even with Russell Wilson’s injury detonating the Seattle playoff push in the NFC West. But with the Rams’ offense faltering and the injury issues suffered by the Cards, the 49ers will sense they have a chance. This should be a routine victory, though San Fran’s impressive win over the Rams was underpinned by a solid ground game and the Jags have a stout rush D. Overall, however, the unit ranks 28th in the NFL in Defensive DVOA (as per Football Outsiders).

And there’s far more to Kyle Shanahan’s offense than a ground game, with Deebo Samuel emerging as a formidable talent, if not a conventional number one receiver. The return of George Kittle is huge for the 49ers’ run-in — expect him to build on his five catches (for 50 yards and a TD) against the Rams. Trevor Lawrence is having the season we all pretty much assumed he would — flashes of brilliance on a bumpy road. His offensive line has held up well, but injuries mean Lawrence is working with one of the weaker collections of skill players in the NFL right now. The 49ers have so much more to play for and should get it done.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers
@ 4/11 on SkyBet
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More on Squawka NFL


Cleveland Browns vs Detroit Lions

It’s crunch time for the Browns. They were blown away by the resurgent Patriots, who ran all over them and used that ground dominance to enable Mac Jones to have his most poised career start to date. More worryingly for Cleveland was how anaemic their offense looked. Much of this was marked down to the absence of Nick Chubb — though D’Ernest Johnson ran pretty well for 99 yards and 5.2 per carry — but it’s the injury-hit Baker Mayfield that’s the real issue. Mayfield managed just 73 yards in the air against New England and the Browns’ passing offense currently ranks 26th in the league.

Most NFL players tough it out and play through the season carrying a knock that’s not ever fully right, but Mayfield has taken several hits, including damaging his knee in the Pats loss. Earlier this week he suggested “this is probably the most banged up I’ve been during my career”, though he could have Chubb back against the winless Lions. Jarvis Landry has more on his shoulders than ever, and Mayfield discussed this week how he needs to get his receiver more involved. Against a Lions side that ranks 31st in points allowed, and whose struggling offense stumbled its way out of a win with a hapless showing in OT against the Steelers, this represents as soft a landing spot as the Browns could have hoped for. If the Browns don’t get it done on Sunday, they probably don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

Prediction: Cleveland Browns
@ 1/6 on SkyBet
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The rest of Nat’s Week 11 predictions

(winners in bold)

Eagles vs Saints
Jets vs Dolphins
Panthers vs Washington
Bills vs Colts
Titans vs Texans
Vikings vs Packers
Bears vs Ravens
Seahawks vs Cardinals
Chiefs vs Cowboys
Chargers vs Steelers
Buccaneers vs Giants

NFL Week 11 accumulator
Selected three-fold @ 1.92/1 with SkyBet
Full predictions @ 392/1 with SkyBet
Odds correct at time of publication.
18+ UK only. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware

Nat Coombs is a British writer, broadcaster and NFL expert who has been anchoring live sport across UK TV & radio for over ten years. Nat will be providing Squawka with predictions for the 2021 NFL season.

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