Thought I'd change it up a bit this week so it's not back to as direct/straightforward of a list for Week 11, since I went for some wild-ass midseason awards edition of NFL power rankings in the previous iteration. Might as well add a twist and this may be the one going forward. After all, we're getting to the point in the NFL season where shit is really about to hit the fan. Let's spice it up!
Soooo in the spirit of all that, I've decided to include my Week 11 picks herein — albeit a little early. I may change two or three games leading into Sunday but mayhaps not. I generally like to dive in early and not overthink/second-guess shit. I'll post the final ones to TikTok as I've been doing every week. I don't think I posted during the span I had COVID but still tracked/sent to my buddies in case you're gonna hunt me down for proof. I recognize I have much room for improvement on my TikTok game/following so any little bit helps, ye charitable Stoolie hearts.
Overall Matty Fitz NFL picks update: Disappointing 7-7 mark last week, so I'm at 81-64-3 ATS for the season (55.7% overall). According to NFLPickWatch.com, that's damn good. See TikTok video below with a music choice I didn't realize at the time would be so distracting. Oops.
Zero weeks below .500, but a lot of middling results. Best showing so far was 10-5-1 in Week 3. Check out my Week 11 picks below (spreads are a mix of early plays from Tuesday and the latest lines).
- Titans +3.5, Panthers +13, Bears +3.5, Browns +8.5, Giants -3, Saints -2.5, Patriots -3, Eagles -6.5, Texans +3.5, Broncos -2.5, Steelers +4.5, Cowboys -1.5, Chargers +6, Cardinals +8
So now let's get into the rankings themselves, which will angle toward the game picks where most applicable and when the organic opportunities arise. Otherwise expect the typical [hopefully] entertaining write-ups on other teams/those who are on a bye.
32. Houston Texans (Last Week: 31)
As you can see I'm more or less expecting Houston to get its second win of the season this Sunday at home. They're a shitty roster and team, yet if you look at their schedule this year, the Texans are more competitive than you'd think for a 1-7-1 group. Other than one nightmarish quarter versus the Raiders, they've been right there in pretty much every game.
31. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 32)
It's so disgusting to even think about taking the Panthers to cover in Baltimore with Baker Mayfield at quarterback. I loathe this Carolina team. Oh well. A classic "spread is too high" spot. That doesn't mean I think the Panthers aren't the second-worst team in all of football because they emphatically are in my opinion. Behooves them to lose as much as possible to try to get Bryce Young.
30. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 28)
Raiders owner Mark Davis is all defiant about the failing Josh McDaniels Experiment amid a 2-7 start. Can't blame him. Let a beloved interim coach who led Las Vegas to the playoffs walk out the door and brought in another Bill Belichick disciple who flamed out as a head coach once before. I can't grasp what the fuck the Raiders are doing, or why their defense has regressed to such a severe degree. They've unraveled and are likely stuck with McDaniels next year for better or worse.
29. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 27)
Hard to fathom why Dennis Allen is sticking with Andy Dalton. To preserve whatever's left of Jameis Winston's confidence? Dubious. Neither quarterback option in New Orleans is terribly appealing as is. Although Allen's expertise is defense, that unit is underachieving in 2022. I won't be surprised if the Saints search for a different Sean Payton successor this offseason with the way things are trending.
28. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 30)
I've talked an incessant amount of shit about the Colts in this space every single blog. I'm in love with them right now. John Rich's coverage has certainly helped. So has the fact that they beat the Raiders with JEFF SATURDAY as their coach and a play-caller younger than me who helped Matt Ryan discover the Fountain of Youth!! Indy looked like a real offense! Sad for them at the minute. They're liable to get their teeth kicked in by a pissed-off Eagles team who just lost in prime-time.
27. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 22)
Matthew Stafford is likely to play in New Orleans. Can the Rams even protect him at all against that vaunted Saints defensive front? I don't like their chances. The only good news is his counterpart is Andy Dalton. Take a closer look at LA's losses real quick: two to the 49ers, Cowboys, Bills, Bucs and Cardinals with John Wolford at QB. Doesn't seem like such a catastrophe in that context. What is catastrophic is Cooper Kupp landing on IR. That effectively ends the Rams' season. How the mighty reigning Super Bowl champs have fallen.
26. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 24)
Russell Wilson doesn't know what he's doing. Nathaniel Hackett is drowning. I can't believe I'm picking the Broncos to win and cover against the Raiders. That has more to do with how hard it is to sweep a season series with a division rival than anything else, not to mention the clear superiority of Denver's defense. What a shit sandwich of a game that is, though. Remember when we thought every AFC West duel was gonna be must-see TV? Woof. For DangeRuss Truthers…please read/watch below.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 29)
The Week 9 bye gave rookie signal-caller Kenny Pickett some time to catch his breath. Bigger news out of Pittsburgh was T.J. Watt's return, as he contributed to a stout defensive effort in a 20-10 win over the Saints this past Sunday. Watt is a truly transformational presence who should help the Steelers strike fear into any given opponent down the stretch.
24. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 26)
The only way this Lions team can beat the opposition is via shootout. Or you know, via Aaron Rodgers throwing two goal-to-go interceptions. Sorry for the low blow, Detroit. Back-to-back victories is nothing to sneeze at. Shield your eyes from this Jared Goff anecdote: At home, he has a passer rating of 99.1 and 103.4 the past two years respectively. On the road: 80.7 in 2021, 80.5 in 2022. Traveling to face the 7-2 Giants and Wink Martindale's exotic blitz packages.
23. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 23)
Nick Chubb is everything great about the 2022 Browns, what they should stand for, and the role model on and off the field their long-suffering fans deserve. Deshaun Watson is decidedly not. Cleveland has the tricky task of getting Jacoby Brissett prepared for his last two starts before handing the reins over to the disgraced Watson. When in doubt, at least the Browns can hand the rock to Chubb and stay competitive. I'm stunned how this uber-talented defense is so undisciplined so often.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 25)
The Jags are so much better than their 3-7 record suggests. Two missed field goals in a 10-point loss at Kansas City the last time out is the latest example of Jacksonville self-sabotaging and underachieving. Through it all, Trevor Lawrence has made promising progress amid an admittedly still-uneven Year 2. All the elements are falling into place for the Jags to break out in a big way in 2023 at least.
21. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 18)
You can only go so far with Marcus Mariota under center. The Falcons are learning that the hard way. To be fair, they've suffered their fair share of injuries and had a dearth of high-end defensive personnel to begin with. That Atlanta has managed to post up only one game out of first place in the division through Week 10 is far more than most Falcons fans could've hoped for before the season kicked off.
20. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 17)
Defense used to be the Bears' perpetual calling card. Now that Justin Fields is balling out, they're getting shredded because of course they are. Good news is Chicago can already count this season as a win since the new JFF appears to be an ascending superstar quarterback, whether local Windy City media wants to believe it or not. I don't see why Fields' current roll won't continue Sunday in facing a shorthanded Falcons defense.
19. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 20)
Colt McCoy operates the offense in structure better than Kyler Murray. Hot take? I feel like it ain't. Whomever plays this weekend for the Cards in Mexico City, their season is more or less on the line against the 49ers. Arizona has played San Francisco pretty tough for some reason, may have Hollywood Brown back at wide receiver, and Kliff Kingsbury is 10-4 ATS as an underdog since 2021. It's when you actually buy in to the Cardinals hype that they let you down. Hence their 19th-place ranking.
18. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 21)
Christian Watson's breakout three-touchdown performance: A sign of what's to come, or a maddening flash of brilliance as the rookie keeps searching for consistency? Remains to be seen. I am impressed with how Green Bay roared back to stun the Cowboys and essentially rescued its season from oblivion. Beating the Titans on Thursday night would be such a huge bonus to get to 5-6 prior to Week 12's Sunday night showdown with the Eagles. I fear Tennessee's physicality and the crash from that latest triumphant high work against the Cheeseheads on such a quick turnaround.
17. Washington Commanders (Last Week: 19)
This feels a lot like the 2020 Washington team that won the awful NFC East. Chaotic/bad quarterback play, a defense feasting on bad opponents and getting hot at the right time to make the postseason. Not to just shit on the Commanders for spoiling the Eagles' perfect record, but pump the brakes on getting too excited. Be amped about Dan Snyder likely selling the team. That's fine. I'm talking about what's on the field now. They're headed to Houston fresh off what should be their biggest victory of the season. Classic trap game. Credit Ron Rivera for rallying the troops from 1-4 all the way back to .500, though.
16. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 15)
I'd have the Bolts higher and I think they're the playoff-caliber team I projected them to be…it's just that they've had so many damn injuries. Pour one out for Justin Herbert. His head coach Brandon Staley is taking his sweet-ass time fixing the defense. So why do. like the Chargers to cover at home? They play Kansas City well and actually have their top receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams practicing as of Wednesday! Good of a spot as any to buy low on the Bolts off a loss in San Francisco.
15. New York Jets (Last Week: 11)
Feels like the public will be all over the underdog Jets, or at least making the betting ticket splits somewhat even. Haven't we seen this movie a thousand times before? Bill Belichick facing a first- or second-year quarterback — and Zach Wilson at that? Come on now. I love the Jets' story and how they seem to be turning shit around. It'll be all for naught if Wilson doesn't step up. Let me reiterate that I loved him coming out of BYU. Thought he'd light it up in the NFL. Quite the opposite to date. There's a mild collective thrill from anyone with a modicum of rooting interest in Wilson when he GAME MANAGES at a semi-competent level.
14. New England Patriots (Last Week: 16)
Aaaaaand that's why the Pats are here. Not like they're blowing the doors off, yet there's something to be said for New England holding the last Wild Card spot in the highly competitive AFC. Never mind they're managing to do so whilst in the most unfamiliar AFC East cellar. New England's schedule is as tough as anyone's going forward. Fourth-hardest to be precise, per Tankathon. Kinda need to defeat your typical little divisional brother to start that run. Maybe don't tip your plays, either!
13. New York Giants (Last Week: 14)
I refused to buy into the G-Men being a surprise sleeper team prior to the season just because their schedule was easy. I didn't think any coaching in the world could break that antiquated organization out of its funk. Instead, Brian Daboll has transformed the culture quicker than I can recall anyone doing — under the freaking microscope of New York with Daniel Jones as his QB and no wide receiver help, no less! Good for the Giants. I hope they maintain their momentum, get Saquon the rushing title by year's end and, more immediately, destroy the Lions to move to 8-2.
12. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 5)
Anyone else seen that Dak Prescott passing stat on 3rd/4th down? He's quite literally historically bad in those critical situations. Not what you want to see out of your pricey quarterback. Provided Dak gets his act together and the defense keeps playing like it has for most of 2022, the Cowboys should manage an NFC Wild Card berth.
11. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 6)
Can't tell whether the Seahawks' loss to the Bucs in Germany was the beginning of a regression or just catching Tampa on a seemingly inevitable upswing. Either way, Pete Carroll has this scrappy, youthful Seattle bunch exceeding everyone's expectations and still leading the NFC West. They have three winnable contests after their Week 11 bye (vs. Raiders, at Rams, vs. Panthers). Can Geno Smith keep it up!? Can't wait to see.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 13)
Tom Brady and the Bucs get some much-needed rest off a roller-coaster, whirlwind 5-5 start that somehow has them atop the NFC South. I'm thinking TB12 emerges from the idle week with a renewed focus. Tampa's defensive effort against the Seahawks in Munich was most encouraging, as that side of the ball hadn't been up to snuff for most of the season. Perhaps just limit Brady's reps at wide receiver…
9. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 10)
Not sure what it is about Mike Vrabel. He has some secret sauce in Tennessee that flat-out wins football games in the NFL. The Titans play their tails off for him, and Derrick Henry gives them a clear, desperately needed identity on offense in lieu of other viable skill position talent. They're more consistent than the Packers and I like Vrabel getting his guys ready on a short week more than Green Bay's Matt LaFleur.
8. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 4)
Josh Allen doesn't seem quite right. That UCL injury is nothing to sneeze at despite how seemingly indestructible the Bills QB is. Allen's erratic accuracy and tendency to put the ball in harm's way are resurfacing of late. Buffalo is nevertheless comfortably inside the top 10.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 9)
Fresh off a bye, Cincinnati will soon have elite defensive tackle DJ Reader back and Ja'Marr Chase isn't expected to be too far behind. Flexed out of Sunday night's time slot, the Bengals' matchup against Pittsburgh is a late-afternoon kick and a big one amid a crowded AFC playoff picture. With a 0-3 mark in division play, too, this is a virtual must-win Week 1 vengeance clash for Joe Burrow and Co. The Bengals will crash down these rankings next week should they lose.
6. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 8)
Tip your cap to Lamar Jackson if you wear one. He's betting on himself to cash in on a second contract and causing zero problems about it. His top pass-catchers are exiting the lineup left and right. Hasn't mattered. Still has the Ravens 6-3 and atop the AFC North. You just wonder how long the guy can hold this leaky ship together.
5. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 12)
Even as an impartial, objective non-Vikings fan, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop amid this crazy 8-1 start. Can't imagine what scarred fans must be feeling. I hope they're enjoying themselves and Justin Jefferson's greatness in particular at least for now. Minnesota's latest win came courtesy of some impossible plays and a stunning 17-point rally at Buffalo. We might be approaching "team of destiny" status with these Vikings. Stay tuned. All I know is their radio guy is electric.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 2)
Some sort of letdown loss was gonna happen at some point. I wasn't shocked by Philly's defeat to the double-digit underdog Commanders. They had some fluky turnovers, one of which was a facemask on Dallas Goedert. Speaking of him, he's on injured reserve, robbing Jalen Hurts of a key pass-catching weapon. Between Goedert going down and Jordan Davis missing from the defensive trenches, the Eagles' depth will be tested.
3. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 3)
"Team will only go as far as QUARTERBACK X can carry them" is the bang-on cliche to ascribe to the Jimmy Garoppolo-led 49ers. As long as he takes care of the ball and Kyle Shanahan doesn't vomit all over himself whilst holding a huge lead in a critical game, San Francisco has as good a chance as anyone of hoisting that Lombardi Trophy.
2. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 7)
I made multiple bad predictions before the season began, but who doesn't? Proud to report I couldn't have been more correct about one of them if I tried: Mike McDaniel CRUSHING as a head coach. I was a tad biased due to his endearing press conferences. That was admittedly part of it, but it had nothing to do with how viable a backup career in comedy could be for him. It was to do with how authentic he is and how well that'd translate to the locker room to go along with his universally acclaimed schematic genius. He has Tua Tagovailoa as the runaway best statistical QB in the NFL now. And you knew where my headline was going. This is for you, TuAnon disciples!! Take a victory lap during Miami's bye!
1. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 1)
Boring I know. Chiefs No. 1. Big shock. Whatever man. They've won ugly a lot in 2022 and are still flawed on defense. This is all about continuity on the offensive coaching staff, Andy Reid being an elite head coach and Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City plays from behind better than any NFL team I can remember. The fact that such scenarios actually work in Reid's favor due to his pass-happy nature and oft-boneheaded clock management makes it all even more baffling, strange and awesome.