Week 11 was just what the doctor ordered.
I broke out of my cold spell, going 9-5 (90-72 overall) in Week 11 thanks to a very predictable slate of games. This week isn’t the same story, as just looking at the matchups is giving me a headache. Don’t get me wrong, this may be the best slate of games we’ve had all year so far. Picking the spreads will be anything but entertaining, unfortunately. Nevertheless, we’re getting closer to the postseason, and I’m jacked!
So without any further ado, let’s try not to get embarrassed!
(Betting lines via Caesar’s Sportsbook; last updated November #22nd)
BYE WEEK TEAMS: Minnesota Vikings (8-3), Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), Los Angeles Chargers (4-7), Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-7) vs. ATLANTA FALCONS (3-7) [-3.5]
Get ready for a shootout, ladies in gentleman!
To be fair, I don’t even feel confident with that opening line seeing this rejuvenated Falcons defense the last two weeks. Give some credit to Dan Quinn, who after a horrific start to the season has defeat divisional foes in back to back games while only allowing an average of six points per game. It’s a little too late in terms of the playoffs, but now his Black Monday firing doesn’t appear to be a lock right now.
Speaking of firings, Jameis Winston should be fired into oblivion for the way he’s sabotaged the Bucs this year with his turnovers. Already at a league-high 18 picks with six games left, this is Winston at an absolute climax of ineptitude. He has all the arm talent in the world, but he simply cannot be trusted anymore, which makes this Tampa Bay squad easy to pick against.
THE PICK: Falcons (-3.5)
DENVER BRONCOS (3-7) vs. BUFFALO BILLS (7-3) [-3.5]
I hate this game already, I really do.
I don’t trust either of these teams very much, and although Buffalo is clearly better, Vegas doesn’t seem to have much faith either if they’re only favored by four. Josh Allen has actually played very well over the last two weeks, including his most recent performance against the Dolphins. This Denver defense is a much harder task, so the game should be closer. The Broncos collapsed spectacularly last week, but if they jump out to an early lead, I don’t believe in the Bills to pull off an offensive explosion as the one Minnesota did. At the end of the day, Buffalo is the better team at home and it remains to be seen how much longer the Broncos will actually be trying this season.
THE PICK: Bills (-3.5)
NEW YORK GIANTS (2-8) vs. CHICAGO BEARS (4-6) [-6.0]
Folks, it’s your Week 12 #StinkerOfTheWeek!
Even if Mitch Trubisky wasn’t questionable with a hip injury that he apparently suffered against the Rams, who wants to watch this game? The Bears are playing with the same intensity as Droopy, and the Giants’ defense is so bad, Chicago could perhaps score twenty on them. Now, the Bears defense has still been very good, and I do entrust in them turning over Danny Dimes at least once in this contest. The problem is that their offense is so anemic I can’t see them pulling away with a victory unless Mr. Dimes does his best Jameis Winston impersonation. I think that route is very unlikely, however, so I like this to be a close one.
THE PICK: Giants (+6.0)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-5) [-6.5] vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-10)
Guys… this may be the week.
It may seem foolish to put an ounce of faith into this Bengals team, but hear me out. They actually hung in there with Oakland last week, and let’s check on the injuries on the Pittsburgh offense. JuJu Smith-Schuster is doubtful with a concussion and a knee injury, James Conner’s AC joint sprain keeps flaring up, Diontae Johnson is concussed, and Maurkice Pouncey will miss three games after nearly curb-stomping Myles Garrett last Thursday. Mason Rudolph has been bad WITH all of those weapons, now at his disposal, he will have (checks notes) Jaylen Samuels, James Washington, Johnny Holton, Deon Cain, and Tevin Jones.
I’m going with the upset in this one, and even if the Bengals bungle, they should keep it within a touchdown.
THE PICK: Bengals (+6.5)
MIAMI DOLPHINS (2-8) vs. CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-6) [-10.5]
It truly is a testament to the 2019 Cleveland Browns that this line isn’t higher against an awful Dolphins team. I’m intrigued about how Cleveland will respond after last week’s fiasco. Maybe they come out firing (which is what they should do against this defense), or maybe it’s just more of the same slopping penalties, undisciplined plays, and awful game design. This feels like the former, and I expect Baker Mayfield to have the best game of his struggling sophomore season so far.
THE PICK: Browns (-10.5)
CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-5) vs. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (8-2) [-10.0]
A struggling quarterback on the road against one of the league’s best teams, which also possesses an elite defense. What could go wrong?
The Carolina Panthers are just about in the same category as the Bills and Titans of the world, as teams that you have no idea how they will perform week to week. Last week, Kyle Allen was an atrocity, and the defense let Matt Ryan throw all over them. This is a team that has lost three of their last four and looks to once again be fading down the stretch. It will be interesting to see if Ron Rivera is let go, but I doubt it. The line is around ten right now, so I’ going to reluctantly choose Carolina. If thy get blown out again, they’re going to be in big trouble
THE PICK: Panthers (+10.0)
OAKLAND RAIDERS (6-4) [-3.0] vs. NEW YORK JETS (3-7)
This line is incredibly disrespectful towards Oakland. I understand they’re away, but this team has overachieved and should handily take care of a Jets team that is only receiving this betting respect because they lit up a Washington team that has given up. The only thing I’d worry about a bit if I was an Oakland fan would be the Jets neutralizing Josh Jacobs and forcing Derek Carr to beat them with his arm. Even if so, I believe the Raiders continue their hot streak and vault into a first-place tie with the Chiefs in the AFC West. FYI, those two meet next week.
THE PICK: Raiders (-3.0)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-2) vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-5) [-1.0]
One of the many marquee games on tap for Week 12, this is a must-win for Philadelphia. Although I don’t expect the Cowboys to beat New England (SPOILER ALERT), if Philly wants to gain any ground in that division then taking care of Seattle is a necessity. Their defense looked tremendous against the Pats last week, but their offense is still concerning. Outside of their two tight ends, no other pass-catcher has played well this season. As for Seattle, their secondary remains a large concern, which means Carson Wentz could have a big day. All of those factors added up and I think the Eagles get a humungous win at home this week.
THE PICK: Eagles (-1.0)
DETROIT LIONS (3-6-1) [-3.5] vs. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-9)
I have to admit, I almost picked this as another major upset for the week. If there is one pillow-soft defense for Dwayne Haskins to squeak out his first win, it would be Detroit’s. Matthew Stafford looks to be out again, and I don’t think Jeff Driskel is going to keep lighting the world on fire. At first glance, it appeared like a great opportunity for the Redskins to wi-
Oh yeah I forgot, they’ve given up.
Yeah, you can’t believe in this team at all. Bill Callahan has lost the locker room, the fans spend more time chanting for the owner to get fired then cheering in the game, and the players don’t care anymore. It would be a massive disappointment if the Lions blew it, but let’s be real, it wouldn’t be THAT surprising.
THE PICK: Lions (-3.5)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-6) vs. TENNESSEE TITANS (5-5) [-3.5]
Raise your hand if you’re shocked that this game wasn’t flexed to Thursday Night Football! Do these uniforms ring a bell?
God, is this game a snoozer. Even the line suggests that, a simple home-field advantage -3. Is it even worth giving an analysis for this game? Both teams are going to run the heck out of the ball and try and win the time of possession battle. I’ll go with the Titans because I can only imagine what Derrick Henry is going to do against this run defense that got abused by Indy for 264 yards.
THE PICK: Titans (-3.5)
DALLAS COWBOYS (6-4) vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-1) [-6.5]
Both of these teams are coming off of shaky wins, but are firmly in the playoff picture. Dak Prescott has taken another step and looks to be in the MVP conversation, while Tom Brady looked really shaky against an Eagles defense that had been struggling for most of the year. I personally believe that Dallas has one of the best teams in the league, but due to mediocre coaching, I’m not sure that they’ll ever reach their ceiling. This would be a tough matchup regardless, and I’m going to roll with the Patriots defense to shut down the Cowboys in Gillette.
THE PICK: Patriots (-6.5)
GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-2) vs. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (9-1) [-3.0]
In what could be a preview of the NFC Championship Game, this is easily the game of the week. There are so many great matchups. Rodgers vs. Garoppolo. Green Bay’s O-line vs. the Niners D-line. Davante Adams vs. Richard Sherman. This is going to be a fun one.
Jimmy G has seen an uptick in his passing numbers the last three weeks, throwing for nearly 330 yards a game with nine touchdowns to only three picks. Kyle Shanahan has trusted him to be more assertive, and it has mostly paid off. The Packers’ secondary is no joke, so San Francisco will need to lean on its backfield of Matt Breida (if healthy), Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Jeff Wilson. The Packers have seen Aaron jones be a touchdown machine for them, and another week of Davante Adams recovering from his toe injury will only help matters. It’s going to be a classic, but I like the Packers’ experience in these spots more for them to pull out the primetime win on the road.
THE PICK: Packers (+3.0)
BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-2) [-3.0] vs. LOS ANGELES RAMS (6-4)
A solid Monday Night game to cap off an exciting week, Lamar Jackson looks to carry his MVP run into Los Angeles in a matchup against the Rams. Although it was against a pathetic Bears offense, the Rams D played phenomenally. Could that be what saves their season and puts them in the playoffs? Perhaps, but no one has been able to stop Jackson and the Ravens offense lately. Goff continues to struggle, and Baltimore’s ability to hold the ball and murder the other team in the time of possession is what separates them. I don’t expect that to change this week.
THE PICK: Ravens (-3.0)