Holy smokes, the week 10 picks were a disaster. We went 3-10 and it was quite possibly the worst week I’ve ever had picking football games. I mean seriously, a lot of those games weren’t even close. Oakland +7 1/2? Lost the game by 35 points. Giants -4? Lost the game by 18 points. Miami -6? Yup, lost the game by 34. And on, and on… Ugly week.
That moved us to 59-58 on the season, so we are still (barely) above .500 . But let’s put last week behind us and look forward to Week 11. Things can’t get any worse, can they? We’ll soon find out.
Stay in the loop. I usually tweet out some picks on Sunday morning, so follow me on Twitter (@Fantasource) to get the latest.
Let’s do a 180 from Week 10 and get some winners again…
Last Week: 3-10 (boooo!)
Season Record: 59-58-2
Sunday, Nov. 18th
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (-3, O/U 43 1/2)
The big story here is that Eagles QB Mike Vick has a concussion, and it looks like rookie Nick Foles will get the start this week. To say that the Eagles have struggled this season is an understatement. They have been the most disappointing team in football. Philadelphia had very high expectations to start the season and now they are 3-6, on the cusp of firing their head coach, dumping their franchise QB and blowing up the team to rebuild.
Washington comes in off of a bye week, and they would like nothing more than to knock off the division rival Eagles. I could look at stats and breakdown matchups and all that, or I could state the obvious and say take the Redskins. The Eagles are in a free fall. They have given up 38, 28, 30 and 26 points over the last 4 weeks. I can’t take the Eagles here, especially not with a rookie QB making his first start on the road.
I expect RGIII and the Redskins to be able to move the ball against this struggling Eagles defense, and in a high scoring game the Redskins get the home win.
Pick: Redskins -3
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (+3 1/2, O/U 51 1/2)
Ok, this one gets “Fishy Line of the Week”. Green Bay is only laying 3 1/2? They are coming off of a bye week, they are riding a four game winning streak and they have won those games by an average of 13 points. Now they go to Detroit and only lay 3 1/2?
Here’s my bottom line, the Lions are 29th in pass defense and the Packers are 3rd in pass offense. That’s the X factor and that is why I love the Packers. On top of that the Packers are still fighting for the NFC North division title, only one game behind the Bears.
They have motivation, they are rested and they have a potent pass offense heading in to face a weak pass defense. The Packers will get it done on the road.
Pick: Packers -3 1/2
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (-10, O/U 44)
The only way the Cardinals cover this game is if they can shut down the Falcons offense. Arizona has no offense. None. They are 30th ranked in the league and they haven’t scored over 17 points in their last five games.
But I think they can keep this game close enough to cover. And they will do it on the ground. Atlanta’s weakness is it’s rush defense, which is 26th ranked in the league. The Cardinals 5th rated pass defense should be enough to contain Matt Ryan, and if WR Julio Jones is out (he is questionable as of Wednesday) then the Falcons pass game will take a big hit.
The Cardinals will have their hands full, no doubt. But 10 points is a lot especially when you expect a low scoring game. I’ll take the points and hope for a slugfest.
Pick: Cardinals +10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (+1 1/2, O/U 48 1/2)
The Bucs are rolling pretty good right now and could be the hottest team in the league. Winning 4 of 5, covering in all four of those wins. But their schedule was also pretty favorable. Those wins are over San Diego, Oakland, Minnesota and KC. The lone loss in that stretch was against the Saints. So they got those four wins against pretty weak competition.
Carolina on the other hand has gone 1-6 over the last 7 games, but they have had a pretty tough schedule in those games (Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, NY Giants). The only “bad” team in that stretch was the Redskins, and the Panthers managed a win on the road in that one.
I like the Panthers, and the fact that 92% of the bets are coming in on the Bucs makes me even more inclined to take Carolina. Two good defenses, one team (Bucs) due for a letdown, while another team (Panthers) due for improvement. I’ll take the home dog here.
Pick: Panthers +1 1/2
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-7 1/2, O/U 43 1/2)
Last week the Browns let me down. They proved once and for all that they do not have an offense capable of getting in the endzone. They only managed 5 field goals last week versus Baltimore. Two weeks ago? A 7-6 win over San Diego. Three weeks ago? A 17-13 loss to the Colts. The bottom line is that lately they can’t seem to score points.
I’m taking Dallas in this one. Last week they looked pretty good, yes it was against a floundering Eagles team but still, that win could have jump started their season. And if the Cowboys can get a win this week would put them only 1 game back of the division leading Giants. I think they come in fired up and get a nice comfortable win at home.
Pick: Cowboys -7 1/2
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams (-3 1/2, O/U 38 1/2)
I think the popular pick in this game is going to be the Rams. Everyone is reading about how the Jets have become a circus and how some players are saying that Tim Tebow is a terrible QB (um, but he hasn’t really had a chance to play QB), and they hear that Rex Ryan was crying after last weeks loss to the Seahawks. Things can’t get much worse for the Jets. And that is why I think this week they can pull the upset at St Louis. Yes, the Jets have struggled, but they do have talent, and they can beat the Rams.
Last week the Rams went out to San Francisco as 13-point underdogs and came away with a tie. That game had everything, blown leads, last second field goals, overtime, missed field goals in OT. It’s cliche to say but the Rams left it all on the field last week and I think they are due for a letdown after that division battle in San Francisco.
Considering that the Jets defense is pretty good (12th ranked), and the Rams defense is pretty good (10th ranked) I think we will see a low scoring game. I expect a lot of running with Rams RB Steven Jackson and Jets RB Shonn Greene, and I’ll say the Jets find a way to get a win on the road.
Pick: Jets +3 1/2
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-9, O/U 53 1/2)
Did I learn my lesson last week by taking the Patriots -10 against the Bills? Laying big points with a team that has struggled all year on defense? No, I haven’t. And I like the Patriots again this week.
CHUCK STRONG is a very cool thing and the fact that the Colts have been able to run off 4 straight wins recently is impressive, but let’s look a little closer at those games, at Jacksonville, Miami, at Tennessee, Cleveland. All of those teams are in the bottom third of the league. So that winning streak was inspirational but it wasn’t like they were knocking off the Texans and Bears.
The Colts defense is bad, even worse than the Patriots. Indy is 32nd ranked against the pass, and 31st ranked against the run. The total here is 53 1/2, which tells you that Vegas is expecting a lot of points. I expect a lot of points also, but I think the Patriots will score the majority of them. I’ll lay the points at home with the Pats.
Pick: Patriots -9
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-15, O/U 41)
The question isn’t if the Texans will win, it’s how much will they win by. Houston is 4-1 at home, both straight up and against the spread. They have home wins by 12, 30, 24 and 20. I expect them to win this game handily. I know laying 15 is a lot of points, but when the other team has a non-existent offense and a very bad defense then I’m not concerned.
The past 3 games Houston has only surrendered 6, 9 and 13 points, and I don’t see the Jags offense breaking that trend. I am expecting the Jags to get shut down on offense, right now they are have not announced who will start at QB, it’s looking like Chad Henne but it could also be Blaine Gabbert. But it won’t matter. I’ll say that the Texans will win by 20+ and do it pretty easily.
Pick: Texans -15
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (+3, O/U 43 1/2)
The Chiefs laid it all out on Monday night against the Steelers, even jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first half, but when the dust settled they ended up on the losing end of a 16-13 score.
And now they come back home to play in front of a disgruntled fan base, against a pretty decent Bengals team fresh off of a win over the Giants.
Both teams are struggling on defense, but the Bengals have some weapons on offense and that is going to be the difference. The Chiefs haven’t scored over 16 points since week 4 and they are currently in the middle of a six game losing streak, and I see that streak continuing.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green are a pretty potent duo, and they should be able to take advantage of the Chiefs defense and get the Bengals enough points to win and cover on the road.
Pick: Bengals -3
New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders (+4 1/2, O/U 54 1/2)
Is New Orleans for real? They started the season 0-4 but have won 4 of their last 5 and are now right back in the playoff hunt at 4-5. The Raiders have been struggling recently, including a brutal 55-20 loss at Baltimore last Sunday. But I like Oakland in this one getting points at home.
This will be a high scoring game, no question. Both defenses are pretty bad, and both offenses like to throw the ball a lot. But if you look at yards per game differential, the Raiders have outgained their opponent in 4 of their last 5, while the Saints have been outgained in their last 5. The Saints are giving up a league high 479 yards per game on defense. I think Oakland will be able to move the ball this week and score enough points to get a win over the Saints at home. I’ll take the points, but I might not need them.
Pick: Oakland +4 1/2
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-7 1/2, O/U 48 1/2)
This game comes down to one matchup for me, Peyton Manning and the #2 ranked Broncos pass offense going against the 26th ranked Chargers pass defense. That’s it. This Broncos team has scored over 30 points in 6 of 9 games and they already have a 35-24 win over the Chargers in San Diego.
I think the Broncos are the better team and they will show it on Sunday. A win will move Denver three games up in the division and all but lock in the AFC West division title, I don’t see them taking their foot off the gas. Laying 7 1/2 is never fun, but I’ll do it and hope the hook doesn’t come back to haunt me.
Pick: Broncos -7 1/2
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3 1/2, O/U 41)
This game opened at Steelers -3 1/2, but then Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger got hurt on Monday night and will not play this week, so the line switched to Ravens -3 1/2. I don’t know, that seems like a pretty dramatic line shift off of one injury.
I know Ben is the starting QB, and his backup Byron Leftwich didn’t look too good on Monday night, but I still think I’ll take the points in this one. I think Leftwich will be ok, and the Steelers offense will still be able to move the ball against this Ravens defense.
Factor in the home crowd and the rivalry, and I think the Steelers as a home dog is the pick here.
Pick: Steelers +3 1/2
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (-4 1/2, O/U NL)
This could be a battle of backup QB’s. Both starting QBs (Bears Jay Cutler and 49ers Alex Smith) suffered concussions last week, and both are questionable to start so that makes this game tough to handicap. I’ll go off of the information I have when I write this, that Alex Smith will probably play and Jay Cutler will probably not. Of course both, or neither, could suit up on Monday so this could be irrelevant by Monday. But with a line of 49ers -4 1/2 I am taking the Bears.
The Bears defense is just too good. Yes, I know the 49ers have a great D but I think the Bears D is better. Jason Campbell would be the Bears QB and he has NFL experience so while there is a drop off from Culter I don’t think it will be huge.
Both teams are coming off disappointing games at home in Week 9, the 49ers managed a 24-24 tie against the Rams, despite falling down 14-0 early. And Chicago was knocked off 13-6 by the Texans on Sunday night in the rain.
Forget the QBs for a minute, and I like the better defense getting points. Da Bears.
Pick: Bears +4 1/2