Somebody needs to get me in touch with Austin Powers or something because I need some of my mojo back.
What I mean by that horrible opening joke is my betting skid continued. I went 6-7 against the spread (81-67 overall this year), and while I’m disappointed, Week 10 was nuts. The Dolphins started a winning streak, the Falcons blew out the Saints, and ten of the thirteen games were decided by one possession or less. Hopefully this week, we revert back to normal and make some dough.
So without any further ado, let’s try not to get embarrassed!
(Betting lines via Casear’s Sportsbook; last updated November #15th)
BYE WEEK TEAMS: Green Bay Packers (8-2), Seattle Seahawks (8-2), Tennessee Titans (5-5), New York Giants (2-8)
DALLAS COWBOYS (5-4) [-6.5] vs. DETROIT LIONS (3-5-1)
It remains to be seen if Matthew Stafford will return this week from his back injury, but it seems doubtful to me. With Detroit basically out of playoff contention, there is no point in rushing back the face of your franchise while he is banged up.
So we get another healthy serving of Jeff Driskel! The former Florida quarterback wasn’t awful in the loss to Chicago last week, but he gets another tough matchup on the road against a Dallas team coming off a tough loss at home to Minnesota. Dak Prescott has been awesome this year, and the Cowboys are going to need him to flourish with the Lions’ defensive line stacking the box for Zeke. Despite their inconsistencies, I believe Dallas is a good football team and should handle Matt Patricia’s depleted squad.
THE PICK: Cowboys (-6.5)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-5) vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (5-4) [-3.0]
Look on the bright side Jags fans, instead of starting a quarterback with swag, you get a Super Bowl Champion back!
Nick Foles will start for Jacksonville this Sunday after breaking his collarbone in Week 1 and look to keep the Jaguars in playoff contention against a reeling Colts team that may be without Jacoby Brissett as well. After watching Brian Hoyer look like a corpse against Miami this past week, I’m going to be rolling with the Jags in this one. I will state, however, that the Colts offensive line should be able to take away some of the ferocious pass-rushing skills of Josh Allen and Calais Campbell. This will be a tight one.
THE PICK: Jaguars (+3.0)
BUFFALO BILLS (6-3) [-6.5] vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS (2-7)
I was being serious, Buffalo fans. I’m not putting any more faith into your middling team masquerading as a playoff contender. Especially when you realize you’re going toe-to-toe with a red-hot Dolphins team!
I understand it may feel like you’ve taken some LSD, but it’s real alright. The Dolphins are on an actual winning streak when just 21 days ago we were debating if they should be relegated to the Sun Belt Conference. Nevertheless, Brian Flores deserves props for his job this season and getting a roster, that was ready to quit on him before the season started, to play very well the past two weeks. Could they go for the three-piece? Maybe. Despite their inconsistencies on offense, the Bills still have a good defense that should force a few Fitzpatrick turnovers. Regardless of who wins, this one should come down to the wire and five-and-a-half points for the road team is a bit too much.
THE PICK: Dolphins (+6.5)
DENVER BRONCOS (3-6) vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-3) [-10.0]
Let me start with this. I fully expect a Super Bowl contender in Minnesota to easily defeat this Broncos team led by Brandon Allen. I understand he defeated Cleveland two weeks ago, but at this point Hue Jackson could probably get more out of that team than Freddie Kitchens.
This line is too big for the Broncos not to cover in my opinion. Despite the struggle that is going to occur scoring thanks to a poor offense going against this juggernaut Minnesota defense, Vic Fangio has his defenders playing possessed. The team is ranked #4th in total defense and has the #2nd best red-zone defense in the league. The only success I see Minny having with the ball is giving it to Dalvin Cook. This matchup has 19-10, 21-13 written all over it, so I’d be surprised if the Broncos failed to keep things tight.
THE PICK: Broncos (+10.0)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-2) [-5.5] vs. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-6)
Well, Vegas must be expecting an outcome similar to the game that Tampa Bay just played against Seattle. High scoring, down to the wire, and a touchdown wins it. I can’t say I disagree much.
In betting terms, the Saints suffered the biggest defeat of the year last Sunday, losing to the 1-7 Falcons. New Orleans was favored by -13.5, and I bet Atlanta very confidently knowing 1) They were coming off of a bye and 2) they would generate enough offense to keep it close. While Drew Brees and company looked lackadaisical in that defeat, I foresee a strong possibility of a bounce-back performance. Despite their win, the Bucs defense is still a mess (outside of their #1 ranked run D). The way Michael Thomas is playing, Drew Brees should toy with Todd Bowles’ unit. Jameis and his guys will put up some points, but frankly, I don’t believe it will be enough.
THE PICK: Saints (-5.5)
NEW YORK JETS (2-7) vs. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-8) [-2.5]
Folks, it’s time for the Week 11 #StinkerOfTheWeek!
Sam Darnold and the Jets bounce backed nicely against the Giants this past week after getting humiliated by the lowly Dolphins. Could New York start a winning streak of its own? They’re going against a horrendous Washington team that announced Monday that Dwayne Haskins would be the starter for the remainder of the year. After watching Haskins struggle so far this year, you may think it is smart to hammer the underdog Jets in this one. Not so fast. I like that Bill Callahan made this decision as soon as the bye week was over, which leads me to believe he liked enough of what he saw in practice and in the film room to trust the rookie out of Ohio State. I also don’t believe Darnold will have the same success against this secondary led by Landon Collins. Give me the Redskins in this one to win outright.
THE PICK: Redskins (-2.5)
ATLANTA FALCONS (2-7) vs. CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-4) [-4.5]
Can Dan Quinn lead the Falcons to two straight victories over divisional opponents? It’ll be close. I understand it could’ve simply been an off game for New Orleans, but I loved what I saw from Atlanta last week. The offense was more balanced, Matt Ryan looked good, and most importantly, the defense actually played with, you know… passion. Atlanta will need several miracles to make the postseason this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t play spoiler for teams. Beating a struggling Carolina team that has been too reluctant on Christian McCaffrey would be another morale boost to this organization. I’m predicting another close game, and I like the Falcons to cover regardless.
THE PICK: Falcons (+4.5)
HOUSTON TEXANS (6-3) vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-2) [-4.0]
The game of the week in my opinion over New England and Philadelphia, this game will have major playoff implications. The winner will have the inside track to a bye in the postseason, so expect a tough effort from both teams. I was careful to use the word “effort” because I am highly confident in Baltimore in this game.
Lamar Jackson is either #1 or #2 in everyone’s MVP rankings, and he should continue that success against a Houston defense missing its best player and is old in the secondary. Deshaun Watson, for how great he is, has certainly put forth a couple of stinkers so far this year, and I’m afraid the Ravens are going to murder them in time of possession pounding the rock throughout the game. After this one, it’s going to be even more clear that Baltimore is legit.
THE PICK: Ravens (-4.0)
ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-6-1) vs. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-1) [-10.0]
The 49ers’ perfect record went up in flames Monday night in a thrilling affair with the Seahawks. Despite the loss, San Francisco had several silly mistakes that blew the game for them, so I trust that it won’t happen again for them. They get a solid opportunity to correct themselves also against Arizona. Now, I am obviously confirming my belief in them to win the game. To win by 10 points or more, without George Kittle again? Not sure. That’s a very big spread, and the Arizona offense could possibly get Chase Edmonds back this week. It’s also a short week for the Niners, so I like the Cardinals to cover.
THE PICK: Cardinals (+10.0)
CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-9) vs. OAKLAND RAIDERS (5-4) [-11.0]
Who would’ve thought before the season that the Oakland Raiders would be ten-point favorites against anybody? It’s just a testament to the job that Jon Gruden has done to get the most out of his players.
The Raiders are one of the frontrunners for the #6th seed in the AFC, and they have a wonderful opportunity to help themselves against the lowly Bengals. Ryan Finley looked mediocre as anything against the Ravens, but he gets an easier matchup against Oakland. I expect Zac Taylor to continue running Joe Mixon into the ground because that’s the only way they’ll score if A.J. Green is still out. If Andy Dalton was starting, I’d like Cincy and the points. This team is atrocious, however, and looks to have mailed it in. Chucky strikes again.
THE PICK: Raiders (-11.0)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-1) [-3.5] vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-4)
A rematch of Super Bowl LII, the Patriots will travel to Philadelphia to try and get back into the win column. As for Philly, they need to churn out as many wins as possible to compete for the NFC East crown. While I don’t think the Patriots defense will be as dominant in this game as they were before the Ravens game, I’d like to think that they limit the scoring opportunities of the Eagles. With how poor the Eagles pass defense has been, Philly will need to be reliant on moving the ball and scoring at will. That’s no easy task against this New England team, and Brady and company should win the game fairly easily.
THE PICK: Patriots (-3.5)
CHICAGO BEARS (4-5) vs. LOS ANGELES RAMS (5-4) [-6.5]
It’s a shame we won’t get the Houston-Baltimore game on Sunday Night. While I understand it’s too early to flex primetime games and these two squads have had disappointing years, I’m just not excited about this game.
Maybe we’ll see an offensive explosion for the Rams, but I doubt it. Sean McVay has done a poor job adapting to the changes on offense this year, leading the Rams to be one of the more stale and predictable teams to watch so far. Mitch Trubisky had a good game last week finally, but now has to deal with the pressure of Aaron Donald going against his banged-up line. I like the Rams to win the game outright in the end, but this should be a game that neither side crushes the other.
THE PICK: Bears (+6.5)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-4) [-4.0] vs. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-6)
As long as the field isn’t going to be a dirt pit, the Chiefs and Chargers travel to Mexico Monday Night to try and avenge equally devastating losses. Patrick Mahomes was sensational in his return against Tennessee, but his defense let him down. I would like to think the Chargers can have the same impact, but Philip Rivers has me worrying. His age is starting to show and he hasn’t been able to utilize his receivers to the best of his ability, specifically Keenan Allen. In what should be a high scoring game, I have to roll with the Chiefs and Mahomes, as they have too much at stake to blow this one and put themselves in a playoff hole.
THE PICK: Chiefs (-4.0)