Well, Week 11 didn’t get off to a good start as I somehow talked myself into picking the Packers…again…after a long streak of picking them and failing. That game dropped me to 7-4 on Thursday night games after starting 6-0, so I have to get it back the rest of the week.
I said it was going to be a trench war and I was right in the sense that Tennessee figured that out. They came ready to run the ball against a weak Packers’ run defense and even though it wasn’t the easiest early, they stayed committed and it paid off. Green Bay did a reasonable job limiting Derrick Henry to just 3.1 yards per carry, but by staying committed it allowed Tennessee to get into more 3rd and manageable situations where Henry could keep the chains moving.
When GB was able to get a run stuffed, Tannehill was accurate and hit throws to open receivers for most of the game. Henry also threw a TD pass to go along with his rushing score because GB had to commit so much to try and stop him, and when TEN could time them up they were able to get big, demoralizing chunks.
Green Bay was getting some big runs to the edges early, but couldn’t get much up the middle and wound up going away from it and eventually abandoned it altogether as they were forced to play catch-up. In that space, Christian Watson proved to be the new it guy on the Packers’ offense and Allen Lazard showed that he’s no #1 WR in the NFL.
The Packers appeared outmatched on both sides of the ball, but it was a competitive game. I think it came down to coaching because they seemed to hedge their bets on 3rd down too much on 3rd 7 medium and 3rd & long. That’s the Derrick Henry effect. He had the GB defense on their heels and Tannehill was able to capitalize. I was right that he would throw a pick, but it didn’t end up being costly.
All the logic pointed to Tennessee winning a cold snow game just the way they did, but I talked myself into Green Bay “needing” it more and I am going to have to reassess that, but it’s time to move on.
(+165) CHI Bears 3-7 @ (-140) ATL Falcons 4-6 (-3, O/U 49)
The way the Falcons got punched in the mouth last week soured me on them more than just back-to-back losses because the Bears are at the top of the league in rushing. Plus, the emergence of Justin Fields as a dynamic run threat is something the Atlanta defense is going to have to account for. Knowing my luck, the Falcons will find a way to win, but I can’t pick them here.
Pick: CHI | ATS: CHI +3 | O/U: 49
(+285) CLE Browns 3-6 @ (-365) BUF Bills 6-3 (-8, O/U 49.5)
The Bills are the better team. I have no doubt, but they have some key injuries on defense that will make Cleveland a tougher out than usual. Plus, what the Browns do best is what the Bills are the worst at: running the ball. The Bills also struggle to stop the run, but I expect more 7 man boxes here and a tad less nickel than usual. Buffalo should win but I don’t trust them to cover.
Pick: BUF| ATS: CLE +8 | O/U: O 50
(-305) PHI Eagles 8-1 @ (+240) IND Colts 4-5-1 (+6.5, O/U 45.5)
The Eagles weren’t going to go unbeaten all year and it may be a good thing for them to get that monkey off their back. It’s a lot of pressure to stay undefeated and the game they lost to Washington was very close. The bad sign is that Washington was able to run the ball down Philly’s throat and the Colts are going to try to do just that with last year’s rushing champion. Indy is still on the hunt and seems to have found their identity again under new coach Jeff Saturday, but beating the bottom-dwelling Raiders by less than a TD isn’t impressive enough for me yet.
Pick: PHI | ATS: IND +6.5 | O/U: O 45.5
(+143) NY Jets 6-3 @ (-170) NE Patriots 5-4 (-3.5, O/U 38)
Both teams coming out of the bye and fighting for positioning should make for a good game, but the Pats own this series. The Jets are definitely due for a win, but the Pats have won 13 in a row and they will find a way to make Zach Wilson have to win it. It’s never easy to win in Foxborough.
Pick: NE | ATS: NYJ +3.5 | O/U: Over 38
(+126) LA Rams 3-6 @ (-150) NO Saints 3-7 (-3, O/U 39)
The Rams have been a disaster and with Cooper Kupp out with a knee injury, we don’t know who these Rams are going to be. The Saints, however, have been a disaster of their own and are dealing with a lot of key injuries on their defense. We have seen defenses step up and Aaron Donald will be the best player on the field and, without Kupp, the Rams will have to actually have an offense.
Pick: LAR | ATS: LAR +3 | O/U: Over 39
(+140) DET Lions 3-6 @ (-165) NY Giants 7-2 (3, O/U 45)
I like the Lions and always cheer for the underdog, but the Giants aren’t a fluke at 7-2. New York is coming off their bye but is dealing with some injuries, so it’s going to be a Saquon kind of a day. D’Andre Swift and DJ Chark appear to be back in the lineup and that will make Detroit a bigger problem, but they are stepping into a very cold game in the Meadowlands.
Pick: NYG | ATS: NYG -3 | O/U: Over 45
(+550) CAR Panthers 3-7 @ (-800) BAL Ravens 6-3 (-13, O/U 41.5)
Baltimore is definitely the better team, but have some key guys questionable. Carolina is back to Baker Mayfield and he does have some experience against the Ravens so that could help them a bit, but the addition of Roquan Smith elevates that Baltimore defense by a lot. Big spreads are tough, so I have my eye on that.
Pick: BAL | ATS: CAR +13 | O/U: Over 41.5
(-165) WSH Commanders 5-5 @ (+140) HOU Texans 1-7-1 (+3, O/U 41)
The Commanders have to be feeling good after how they handled the Eagles and that kind of commitment to the ground game should be lethal against a Houston defense that is at the bottom of the league in rush defense. Washington should roll ’em.
Pick: WSH | ATS: WSH -3 | O/U: Over 41
(+122) LV Raiders 2-7 @ () DEN Broncos 3-6 (+2.5, O/U 41.5)
The Raiders stink but so do the Broncos. When these teams met in Vegas Raiders found a way to win but it wasn’t like they dominated the whole way. In Denver, with a good defense, I have to take the Broncos to avenge that loss. Now that I have picked the Raiders, watch them go and win again.
Pick: DEN | ATS: DEN -2.5 | O/U: Over 41.5
(-125) DAL Cowboys 6-3 @ (+105) MIN Vikings 8-1 (+1.5, O/U 48.5)
It was a shock to see Dallas blow a 14-point lead to the Packers, but that was in Green Bay so there are some historical ghosts looming there. The Vikings are due for a loss to a good team and that should have happened last week in Buffalo, but they gutted out the win. Dallas won’t make the mistake of not running the football though and if Zeke plays they will have a little more of a dynamic attack.
Pick: DAL | ATS: DAL -1.5 | O/U: Over 48.5
(-205) CIN Bengals 5-4 @ (+170) PIT Steelers 3-6 (+4, O/U 40)
The Bengals are looking to get that Week 1 loss back and it wouldn’t have even made it to overtime if not for Ja’Marr Chase and he’s not playing. T.J. Watt is back and should make them more of a threat but Kenny Pickett isn’t on the level yet. The Bengals should win this game.
Pick: CIN | ATS: CIN -4 | O/U: Over 40
(-240) KC Chiefs 7-2 @ () LA Chargers 5-4 (+5, O/U 52)
The Chargers’ injury issues have been a big-time detriment to their overall production and their coach is a bit of a bonehead, but they are still at 5-4. The Chiefs won’t have JuJu but they have plenty of weapons and an emerging run game. If some combination of Keenan Allena and Mike Williams play and play well, it’s a closer game but until that actually happens I don’t want to speculate.
Pick: KC | ATS: LAC +5 | O/U: Under 52
(-365) SF 49ers 5-4 @ (+285) AZ Cardinals 4-6 (+8, O/U 43.5)
Kyler Murray and D-Hop may not even play in this one. Colt McCoy knows how to play but the Hopkins injury is more of a concern. The O-line injuries for the Cards are the biggest problem with the 49ers’ defense. Have to go Niners here in the altitude.
Pick: SF | ATS: AZ +8 | O/U: Over 43.5
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