NFL Picks: Week 11 and the Last of the Byes
We posted another solid performance in Week 10, going 9-7 against the spread (61% accuracy on the season) and 8-7 on over/unders (54% accuracy on the season). Even better, we hit on three of our five Best Bets to keep us over 70% accurate on those picks this season. While the rest of the NFL world still reels from a world where Tim Tebow is 4-1 as a starter in 2011, we dive right into some of the best picks in the biz.
Titans (+6) at Falcons
I think the Falcons are probably better than the Titans, but not six points better. The offense proved it predictability in their overtime loss to the Saints. The defense lacks a pass rush — co-team leaders in sacks John Abraham and Corey Peters have just three each all season. Matt Hasselbeck is still dangerous when given time to throw. This game feels like one that will come down to a last-second field goal.
The Pick: Titans +6, Under 44
Bills (+2) at Dolphins
The Dolphins are riding high after a two-game winning streak in which they held their opponents to single digits in each game. The Bills are in the midst of a two-game losing streak in which they’ve scored 11 points or less in each game. See the trend? Expect the Bills’ patchwork offensive line to play worthy of a 2-7 record, while the Miami defense and running game gives them more of a 5-5 look.
The Pick: Dolphins -2, Under 43
Bengals (+7) at Ravens
This has the look of a low-scoring game. Absent is wunderkid A.J. Green from the Cincinnati offense, which should help depress scoring. Ray Lewis’ absence should compel the Bengals to go run-heavy in this game, while their defensive scheme should cover up Leon Hall’s replacement for at least a week. I expect a low-scoring game here, and it’s always good to take seven points in those situations.
The Pick: Bengals +7, Under 40.5
Jaguars (+1) at Browns
The Browns have proven awful running the ball, and not too adept at throwing it either. They haven’t scored more than 17 points since a Week 2 game against the now 0-10 Colts. Maurice Jones-Drew and an excellent Jaguar defense should set the tone in this game, and the Cleveland offense should spend most of the game on their side of the field. As a side note, look at that over/under below! It’s sad that we have to take the under anyway.
The Pick: Jaguars +1, Under 34
Raiders (+1) at Vikings
Neither of these teams are very good, despite Oakland’s lead in the AFC West. Oakland doesn’t have a strong defense, but with eight in the box against Adrian Peterson, that may not matter if they can tackle. On the other hand, Oakland has a nice running game with Michael Bush and a surprisingly competent passing attack, headlined by Carson Palmer and Denarius Moore. Unfortunately, I think home field wins out even though I think Oakland’s better.
The Pick: Vikings -1, Over 45.5
Panthers (+7) at Lions
Can you say trap game? The Lions have a key matchup against the Packers on Thanksgiving, and you’d better believe they want to be the first team to topple the champs in 2011 (we’ll just assume that team isn’t the Bucs). With just three days to prepare, that game will weigh heavily on their minds as Cam Newton jumps out to an early lead and never looks back. The Lions may rally late, but I can’t see them covering a touchdown spread.
The Pick: Panthers +7, Over 47.5
Buccaneers (+14) at Packers
That’s a huge line, but the Packers have earned it. No team can handle all the passing game option Green Bay consistently throws at their opponents, and the Buccaneers certainly aren’t built to hang tight in a shootout. Honestly, this line could be six points higher and I’d still side with the champs. However, a lack of scoring on the Buccaneers’ part will keep the total score down a tad, and the Packers should go conservative in the second half and save the tricks for the Lions.
The Pick: Packers -14, Under 48.5
Cowboys (-7) at Redskins
Dallas is certainly on a roll, with a healthy Tony Romo and a dangerous DeMarco Murray carving up defenses. Anyone that has followed Mike Shenanihan this season knows that Tashard Choice is going to inexplicably get about 25 touches in this game, which suits the Cowboys just fine. In fact, the only player that can beat the Cowboys this week is Tony Romo himself, and even on the road I don’t see that happening.
The Pick: Cowboys -7, Over 41.5
Cardinals (+9.5) at 49ers
After dropping six straight games, the Cardinals are 2-0 in November, thanks largely to improved quarterback play (John Skelton?) and great defense. However, they face one of the few teams with a better special teams unit than them this week. Sure the 49ers are good, but are they dominant? They’ve only managed double-digit wins in five of seven games during their current winning streak. The Cardinals are better than the Browns, who only lost by 10 in San Francisco.
The Pick: Cardinals +9.5, Under 40.5
Seahawks (+3) at Rams
This has the look of a defensive struggle. The Seahawks lost the right side of their offensive line this week, and their QB and two top receivers have been dealing with injuries. Aside from a weird game against the Saints, the Rams have been completely inept on offense this season. averaging just over 10 points in their other eight games. You know we’re going with the under then, and I’ll also lean toward the healthier Rams at home.
The Pick: Rams -3, Under 39
Chargers (+3.5) at Bears
The Bears look legit: good defense, great special teams, great running back and a 6-3 record against one of the hardest 10-week stretches in the league. The Chargers look awful, flopping in a totally winnable division while losing their last four games. They’ve had 10 days to prepare for this game, and it feels like they’d need 10 more to be competitive with this dark-horse Super Bowl contender. Bears in a rout.
The Pick: Bears -3.5, Over 45
Eagles (+5) at Giants
Think the Eagles have been horrendous this season? You’d be surprised to know that they actually have a higher point differential (+17) this season than the division-leading Giants (+7). If Philadelphia can establish the run early and make the Giants throw, they have a shot at pulling off the upset. Vince Young knows he’s auditioning for a starting job next season, and he should be pretty solid after a week of practice. Take the Eagles to keep their hopes alive.
The Pick: Eagles +5, Over 45.5
Chiefs (+15) at Patriots
On one side, you have Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, throwing the ball to Wes Welker, who’s having a historically good year for a receiver, and Rob Gronkowski, who early in his career is on pace to shatter every tight end record in the book. On the other hand, you have Tyler Palko and Jackie Battle. The Patriots are going to eat this team up, as the Jets’ Thursday loss puts them one win away from effectively clinching the division.
The Pick: Patriots -15, Over 46.5
Panthers (+250) over Lions
Best Bets: 34-14-2