Cook’s NFL Picks: Week 11 Thursday Edition!

Hi, hello & welcome to Week 11 of the National Football League! Things are getting pretty hot & heavy as we head towards the playoff push. This week the Thursday game is back on network television and features two of the NFL’s top star quarterbacks. It should be a good one!

Thursday, November 17

New Orleans at Carolina (-3.5)

The Saints are 4-5 & the Panthers are 3-6. Both teams are looking up at 6-4 Atlanta in the NFC South and realizing that winning the division is likely the only way they’ll get into the playoffs. Both teams are coming off of pretty brutal losses. The Saints probably should have beaten the Broncos and the Panthers damn sure should have beaten the Chiefs after that 17-0 start, but they both ended up with another notch in the loss column & fell further behind the Falcons.

I’d say the Saints are pretty much what we expected them to be at the beginning of the season. They struggled early on, but have rebounded to get close to .500 and respectability. Drew Brees is still one of the best quarterbacks in football & gets the job done every week. The defense is still pretty awful & the main thing keeping New Orleans from getting back to the top of the NFC. What you see is what you get with the Saints.

We can’t say the same for the Carolina Panthers. After their NFC title run last season we expected more of the same this season, along with a possible Super Bowl victory. That’s looking highly unlikely at this point. The offense hasn’t been as productive, the defense has gone into the tank & the coaching staff doesn’t appear to have any answers for any questions that come up. Josh Norman hasn’t been replaced. Cam Newton seems more concerned with complaining about people hitting him than anything else. Fortunately, he won’t have to worry about people hitting him this week.

It’s often dangerous to predict offensive battles on Thursday nights due to lack of rest, but the defenses in this one are so bad that I think it’s safe to say that Brees & Newton will be slicing & dicing their way to good amounts of fantasy points. I don’t think it’ll quite get up to 41-38 like it did in the Week 6 Superdome meeting, but the point total shouldn’t be too far off from that. Newton has thrown more touchdowns against the Saints than any other team during his career thus far.

I feel like this is a good spot for the Panthers to get something going against a Saints team that traditionally doesn’t travel well. Carolina obviously isn’t the same team they were last season. A playoff spot looks highly unlikely. But this is the type of the game where a team that’s been there before needs to show some guts & intestinal fortitude. In a must-win game for both teams, the home-standing defending NFC Champions have to be the favorite and have to get the job done. This is Carolina’s last chance to get something done in 2016. A loss here and you can definitely count them out.

Week 10 Results: 8-6

2016 Results: 72-70-5

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