Let me steal a line from Mark McGwire to start this column: I’m not here to talk about the past.
Yes, there was bloodshed last week. It happens. But we’ve got 14 new games on the Week 11 schedule and it’s time to catch up. Let’s just go to the polls. My faith is weak now.
Lines are from FanDuel.. Statistics from TruMedia/Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.
Week 10 Record: 4-10
Season record: 77-69-4
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers (-3)
Aaron Rodgers had just 14 completions on 20 attempts last week in Green Bay’s 31-28 win over the Cowboys at home. At 4-6, the Packers have yet to mature. They are +340 to make the tournament, which equates to a 22.7 percent chance.
Having said that, Green Bay will have to rely on a different formula in this game. The Titans have the best run defense in the NFL. A measure of DVOA outside of football.
The packers are at home. Their backs are against the wall. And it’s just a three-point spread. I hate to challenge Mike Vrabel as an advocate, but what the hell? I think I’m ready to hurt again.
The Pick: Packers (-3)
Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens (-13)
The Ravens are coming off a bye and look like a team about to go on a run. The next four games are against the Panthers, Jaguars, Broncos and Steelers. according to Unpredictable, which measures schedule strength based on how betting markets view teams, the Ravens have the easiest balance sheet in the NFL. At 6-3, they are one game out of the top seed, but will miss the playoffs where Baltimore faces both the Dolphins and Bills.
The Panthers are 2-3 under head coach Steve Wilks and beat the Falcons last Thursday night. But with Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have gone 7-3-1 against the spread as double-digit favorites. I like the Ravens to win big.
The Pick: Ravens (-13)
Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills (-7.5)
If you’re a Bills fan, last week’s loss to the Vikings was heartbreaking. But think of all the things that went wrong for him to blow that game. And then, most importantly, remember that Josh Allen looked healthy. The Bills are one of two teams (the other is the Eagles). He ranks in the top five in both offensive and defensive DVOA. Their three losses have come by a total of eight points. This is still a great team.
Jacoby Brissett went down for the last two starts before Deshaun Watson took over. But barring a miracle, the Browns (3-6) will not compete for a playoff spot. Their postseason odds are currently at +810, which equates to an 11 percent chance.
The Bills could have taken out their frustrations on this loose Browns defense and won by 30. But Cleveland can at least run the ball and Buffalo is dealing with injuries. I think it will be relatively close.
The Pick: Browns (+7.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts (+6.5)
Jeff won his first game as the Colts’ head coach last week on Saturday. Two things helped Indy’s offense. First, they went back to Matt Ryan at quarterback (though reports from Indy suggested that owner Jim Irsay was the first to try Sam Ehlinger, not former head coach Frank Reich). And two, they faced that Raiders defense It is ranked 32nd in DVOA.
The Eagles lost to Washington and turned the ball over four times. Tight end Dallas Goedert was playing at an All-Pro level, and now he’s injured. In 10 weeks, between tight ends, Goedert:
- Second, by accepting the premises
- First in every reception in the gardens
- After catching, first in the yards
- Third in rushing yards per route
He’s also one of the NFL’s best blocking tight ends.
But the Eagles still have AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith on the outside. Their ability to stop the run on defense will be tested in this game, but the Eagles have favorable matchups ahead of them.
Rich was a friend and mentor to Nick Siriani. The Eagles won big, and Siriani threw on a University of Maryland Reich jersey to honor his brother.
The Pick: Eagles (-6.5)
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-3.5)
These two teams only played in Week 8, and the Patriots left MetLife Stadium with a 22-17 win on May 7. Zach Wilson threw three touchdowns in the game.
Both teams have identified their strengths and weaknesses. The Patriots’ defense is first in EPA in drives, while the Jets’ defense is fourth. The Patriots’ offense is 27th in EPA per drive, while the Jets are 23rd. Mack Jones is 34th out of 35 quarterbacks per pass game by EPA, and Wilson is 30th.
The smart move here is probably to take the points. A game where this figure is low-scoring is where the defense dominates. But until Wilson shows me that he can get through a game like this without making significant changes, I’ll have to go the other way.
The Pick: Patriots (-3.5)
Washington Chiefs at Houston Texans (+3.5)
Much was made of the Chiefs’ running game (49 for 152 yards on carries) in Monday night’s win over the Eagles, but WR Terry McLaurin was the man who carried it. He finished with eight catches for 128 yards and several drives with impressive third-down conversions.
The Texans were competitive in their Week 10 loss and actually outgained the Giants by 20 yards. The Chiefs have a solid run defense, but Dameon Pierce has been tough to slow down. The rookie is currently fifth in the NFL with 772 rushing yards.
Washington QB Taylor Heinecke will turn the ball over if you give him enough opportunities. I’m not comfortable taking commanders to cover more than a field goal here on the road.
The Pick: Texans (+3.5)
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
We talked a lot about both groups An additional point is taken. The Rams have one of the worst offenses in the NFL, and now they will be without Cooper. Their season is over, and it’s hard to see how they’ll improve in 2023, other than showing a better chance of injury.
And the saints are in a terrible place. They are 3-7 and are paying Jameis Winston $15.2 million to sit on the bench. They already traded a first round pick next year to the Eagles. If the season ended today, that would be the fourth overall pick.
I’ve been getting killed by the Rams in these picks all year, but the Saints were made to give up more than a field goal here.
The Pick: Rams (+3.5)
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-3)
The Giants were dying to blow the lid on the Texans last week but somehow held on for an eight-point win. In that game, Saquon Barkley rushed 35 times for 152 yards. The Giants defense allowed 387 yards and 22 first downs.
The Lions look like a completely different offense when wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is on the field. In last week’s return game against the Detroit Bears, he had 10 catches for 119 yards on 11 targets.
The Giants are currently tied for a league-best 7-2 record against the franchise. They are a well-coached team, and at 7-2 should be a shoo-in for the playoffs. But against St. Brown, the Lions showed they can move the ball. I don’t think these groups are as far apart as their reports suggest.
The Pick: Lions (+3)
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Over the past five weeks, the Bears’ offense has been ranked fifth in EPA driving, and Justin Fields has been flat-out electric as a runner.
Highest regular-season, single-game rushing total by a QB in the past 20 years:
1. Justin Fields last week
2. Mike Vick (2006, Wk 12)
3. Lamar Jackson (2019, UK 6)
4. Colin Kaepernick (2014, UK 16)
5. Justin Fields this week
— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) November 14, 2022
Marcus Mariota looked awful during the Falcons’ Week 10 loss to the Panthers, but all indications are that head coach Arthur Smith isn’t ready to turn to starter Desmond Reeder.
The Bears are fielding one of the least talented defenses in the NFL right now. Maybe Mariota and the Falcons can bounce back here. But Field’s legs are such a flexible tool now. I love Chicago.
The Pick: Bears (+3)
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
Derek Carr was emotional after the Raiders lost to the Colts last week. The athleticsTashan Reed made the case that Carr could be the fall guy After the season, and that seems like the most likely scenario. The Raiders went all-in in 2022, traded for Davante Adams and signed Chandler Jones. They are 2-7, and only the Texans have fewer wins. Total offense to Josh McDaniel.
If you had told me before the season that the Broncos defense would rank second in EPA per drive through 10 weeks, I would have thought they were a Super Bowl contender. That’s not the case! Denver offense He is 31st in DVOA.ahead of only the Colts.
There’s no reason to trust either team, but the Raiders offense seems capable of moving the ball at least sometimes. I will take the points.
The Pick: Raiders (+2.5)
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (+1.5)
After last week’s impressive win over the Bills, the Vikings are 5-0 in limited games by seven points or fewer. “Who cares?!” as you read this. If you’re a die-hard Vikings fan. I’m with you! Sports fans are excited about the team you’re rooting for. Are the Vikings making the usual 8-1 team? No. But they win the NFC North, and the no. 1 seed in the NFC. If you root for the Vikings, you’re having fun this season. Nothing else should really matter.
The Cowboys fell to the Packers last week. They are 6-3 and would be a 6-seed in the NFC if the playoffs started today. They want this game quietly, or things could start to get messy with teams hovering around .500 like the Packers and Chiefs.
I’m still a big believer in this Cowboys team and I think they have a Super Bowl ceiling. I would love for Dallas to come back to this place.
The Pick: Cowboys (-1.5)
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5)
The Steelers got TJ Watt back last week and limited the Saints to 10 first downs and 186 yards in a 20-10 victory. Pittsburgh’s defense is a completely different unit with Watt on the field. Few defensive players in the NFL make as consistent an impact as he does.
As for the Bengals, they seem to be taking a bit of a nap as we head into the final eight weeks. Cincinnati is one of three teams (the Eagles and Bills are the others). He currently ranks in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive DVOA.. They have shown that they can win in different ways. With that said, the rest of the Bengals’ schedule is brutal. It’s tough in the NFL. As unpredictable.
The Steelers beat the Bengals in Week 1. This is a group game and they will have Watt on the field. I like Pittsburgh to be close.
The Pick: Steelers (+3.5)
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers (+5.5)
The Chiefs continue to boast the best offense in the NFL. They are first in expected points added per drive. The gap between the chiefs and the dolphins (No. 2) is approximately the same as the gap between the dolphins and No. 16 (Vikings).
The Chargers were shut out in the second half of last week’s loss to the 49ers. It’s going to be hard for Justin Herbert to do much, as he has the support of pass catchers. As of this writing, it is unclear whether the Chargers will return wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen for this game.
Herbert has looked very healthy over the past two weeks and has made several high-profile throws. The Chargers have played the Chiefs tough the last two years. I will take the points.
The Pick: Chargers (+5.5)
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (+8.5)
It is unclear whether the Cardinals will have Kyler Murray (hamstring injury) or Colt McCoy (knee injury) available for the game in Mexico City.
The 49ers didn’t exactly turn it on last week, but they held off the Chargers 22-16. Currently, only the Eagles have better Super Bowl odds than the 49ers among NFC teams.
Kyle Shanahan is one of the NFL’s most conservative in-game decision makers, so taking the 49ers on big lines like this is always uncomfortable. But I don’t believe in this Cardinal team.
The Pick: 49ers (-8.5)