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NFL picks, Week 11: Few teams disappoint you quite like the Bears

Few teams disappoint you quite like the Bears.

After an encouraging performance in a 23-17 loss to the defending NFC champion Falcons in the season opener, they laid an egg in a 29-7 loss to the Buccaneers in Tampa. After a convincing victory over the Steelers in Week 3, they crapped out against the Packers in a 35-14 loss at Lambeau Field. After two victories and a close loss to the Saints in the Superdome, they came off the bye week feeling like a potential contender and lost to the Packers, who had Brett Hundley at quarterback, last week at home.

BEST BET
Lions at Bears
Time: Noon, Fox-32. Line: Lions by 3. Total: 41.
Records (overall/ATS): Lions 5-4/5-4; Bears 3-6/5-4.

That’s been the Bears’ M.O. for years, but especially under John Fox. The Bears are 0-6 straight-up and against the spread when they are favored in three seasons under Fox.

Bears coach John Fox watches the game against the Packers. | Nam Y. Huh/AP

On the other hand …

While the Bears rarely are worse than when you expect their best, they rarely are better than when you expect their worst.

These Bears don’t have near the us-against-the-world mentality that often fueled the Lovie Smith teams. But they often respond when expectations are lowest. After starting 0-3 and losing 26-0 to the Seahawks with Jimmy Clausen in 2015, they beat the Raiders as three-point dogs at home. After getting thrashed by the Vikings 38-17, they beat the Bucs on the road.

Last year, after the Cowboys ran over them in a 31-17 loss at AT&T Stadium, the Bears beat the Lions at Soldier Field. And this season, after that discouraging loss to the Buccaneers in Week 2, they beat the Steelers 23-17 at home.

So after a disillusioning loss to the Packers that put Fox on the hot seat and has fans thinking the worst, you can see this one coming a mile away.

Pick: Bears 27, Lions 20. 

Top Plays of Week 11

Chiefs at Giants

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Chiefs by 10½.
  • Total: 44.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Chiefs 6-3/6-3; Giants 1-8/3-6.
  • Outlook: After a 5-0 start (5-0 ATS), the Chiefs have lost 3 of their last 4 (1-3 ATS) but figure to be rejuvenated coming off a bye week against a Giants team that has lost its last three games by a combined 106-45. Andy Reid is 16-2 SU/13-5 ATS after the bye week.
  • Pick: Chiefs 31, Giants 13.

Rams at Vikings

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Vikings by 2½.
  • Total: 46.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Rams 7-2/6-3; Vikings 3-6/5-4.
  • Outlook: Big test for Jared Goff against a top-notch Vikings defense on the road. Opposing QBs have a combined 5 TDs and 6 INTs vs. Vikes at U.S. Bank Stadium, with only the great Drew Brees (104.7) above 88.2.
  • Pick: Vikings 23, Rams 13.

Bills at Chargers

  • Time: 3:05 p.m.
  • Line: Chargers by 4½.
  • Total: 43½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Bills 5-4/5-3-1; Chargers 3-6/4-4.
  • Outlook: After back-to-back losses following a 5-2 start, the Bills turn to rookie QB Nathan Peterman in place of Tyrod Taylor (who had a 98.6 rating in six games before crapping out last week). Seems like a panic move.
  • Pick: Chargers 30, Bills 13.

The rest of Week 11’s games

Ravens at Packers

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Ravens by 2. Total: 38.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Ravens 4-5/-4-4-1; Packers 5-4/4-5.
  • Outlook: The Packers seem to be withstanding the loss of Aaron Rodgers better than in the past — or maybe they just played the Bears. This might be another good spot. The Ravens have lost 5 of their last 7, including losses of 37, 17 and 40, plus a 3-point loss at home to the Bears. Ravens are 7-2 SU/ATS coming off the bye under John Harbaugh. 
  • Pick: Ravens 23, Packers 20 (OT).

Redskins at Saints

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Saints by 7½. Total: 51.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Redskins 4-5/3-6; Saints 7-2/7-2.
  • Outlook: Saints have won 7 straight (7-0 ATS), all by a TD or more, averaging 32.7 points with a plus-129 differential. Redskins have lost 3 of 4 and are 1-4 ATS in their last five games. But Kirk Cousins, after facing two pretty good defenses (Seahawks, Vikings), is due for a breakout game.
  • Pick: Saints 41, Redskins 38.

Jaguars at Browns

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Jaguars by 7½. Total: 37.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Jaguars 6-3/5-4; Browns 0-9/2-7.
  • Outlook: After a bad matchup against the Lions last week, the Browns have a better matchup against the Jaguars — their top-ranked run defense (3.1 yards per carry, 86.4 per game) vs. the Jaguars’ second-ranked rush offense (4.8 yards per carry, 163 per game). 
  • Pick: Jaguars 37, Browns 17.

Cardinals at Texans

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Cardinals by 1. Total: OFF.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Cardinals 4-5/2-6; Texans 3-6/5-4.
  • Outlook: Tom Savage expected to be better in his second start in place of Deshaun Watson, and he was worse — two INTs and a 55.4 rating in a blowout loss to the Rams. Cardinals aren’t in much better shape, but you have to think Bruce Arians can get more out of Blaine Gabbert. 
  • Pick: Cardinals 17, Texans 13.

Buccaneers at Dolphins

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Pick ’em. Total: 41.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Buccaneers 3-6/2-6-1; Dolphins 4-5/3-4-2.
  • Outlook: Jay Cutler was over the body-language thing in his latter years with the Bears, but he looked disinterested in a dismal performance last week in a 45-21 loss to the Panthers.
  • Pick: Dolphins 24, Buccaneers 13.

Patriots vs. Raiders

  • Time: 3:25 p.m. in Mexico City, Ch. 2.
  • Line: Patriots by 6½. Total: 52½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Patriots 7-2/5-4; Raiders 4-5/3-5-1.
  • Outlook: Patriots have a typically impressive yards/points differential. They’re last in the NFL in total defense (408.3 yards/game) but 14th in points allowed (21.7). They’ve allowed just 67 in a 5-game win streak (13.4 average).
  • Pick: Patriots 23, Raiders 16.

Bengals at Broncos

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: Broncos by 2½. Total: 38½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Bengals 3-6/4-5; Broncos 3-6/2-6-1.
  • Outlook: Great spot for the Broncos, who have a team they can handle after losses to the Chiefs (6-3), Eagles (8-1) and Patriots (7-2). Bengals are playing their third straight road game.
  • Pick: Broncos 24, Bengals 17.

Eagles at Cowboys

  • Time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 5.
  • Line: Eagles by 3½. Total: 48.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Eagles 8-1/7-2; Cowboys 5-4/5-4.
  • Outlook: Ezekiel Elliott is obviously a big loss for the Cowboys, but LT Tyron Smith is clearly a bigger one. Falcons’ Adrian Clayborn had six sacks vs. Smith-less Cowboys last week. 
  • Pick: Eagles 27, Cowboys 17.

Falcons at Seahawks

  • Time: 7:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN.
  • Line: Seahawks by 3. Total: 44½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Falcons 5-4/3-6; Seahawks 6-3/3-5.
  • Outlook: Seahawks have won 5 of 6 (3-2-1 ATS), but they’re without CB Richard Sherman (Achilles) and could be without S Kam Chancellor (stinger). Earl Thomas expected back.
  • Pick: Falcons 28, Seahawks 21.