Saturday, November 19, 2016

NFL Picks, Week 11

Home teams in CAPS

Tennessee (+2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Four weeks ago the Colts beat the Titans 34-26 in Tennessee. Since then The Titans have scored 36, 35, and 47 points. They have also both played Green Bay. The Colts won by 5 points, the Titans 22. I'm taking the Titans.

DETROIT (-6) over Jacksonville
I don't trust Jacksonville. Gus Bradley's time is up and it's hard to not look at that situation and believe everyone is simply playing out the string.

KANSAS CITY (-7) over Tampa Bay
Kansas City is a good team. An offensively limited team, but a good team. A team that feasts on the mediocre teams when it plays them. Tampa Bay is a quintessentially mediocre team.

NEW YORK GIANTS (-7) over Chicago
It appears that I've undersold the Giants, their defense may not be good enough to justify this past offseason's spending spree, but it's certainly improved. And the offense, while not quite as dynamic as anticipated, is doing enough to win week-to-week over the last month. So what better time for me to get on board than a home game against Jay Cutler?

Arizona (+2) over MINNESOTA
This is a tough one. Neither offense is performing at the level you'd expect, but the Vikings offense isn't even functional at this point. I don't love backing the Cardinals a week after they needed all 60 minutes to eke by the 49ers, but I can't take the Vikings against a decent team right now.

Buffalo (+2.5) over CINCINNATI
I'm not sure if it's age, a coaching brain drain, or just Andy Dalton remembering he's Andy Dalton, but the Bengals have taken a noticeable step back from last season. Their defense is not nearly as strong as it has been the last 2-3 years, and the offense is back to being a complementary piece, not one that can carry the team. The Bills, on the other hand, are not the (foot) joke we expected coming into this season. Their defense is back (well, at least their pass rush is, and that covers up quite a few sins) and the offense is long as LeSean McCoy is healthy. He is this week, so I'm riding the Bills.

DALLAS (-7.5) over Baltimore
The Ravens started 3-0, lost 4 straight (including to the Jets), then won their last 2 (thought one was against the Browns). I picked against Baltimore both of the last 2 weeks, mostly because their offense has been pretty horrid all year long. I was wrong both times, because I underestimated their defense. I thought long and hard about taking the points here, because the spread is high and the Ravens defense is legit. But the wins against Pittsburgh and Cleveland look less impressive when you look at what those two teams have been doing over the last 3 weeks or so.

Pittsburgh (-8) over CLEVELAND
Pittsburgh has talent, but has been underachieving the last few weeks. Cleveland has little talent, but had been getting the most out of what it had until about 3 weeks ago, when they blew a 13-point lead and lost to the Jets. Losing does take a toll, and that Jets game looked like Cleveland's best chance to avoid a realistic 0-16 season. Losing that likely took some air out of their sails, and the Browns don't seem to have recovered yet. Pittsburgh had better get right this week.

Miami (-2) over LOS ANGELES
The Rams have finally taken the training wheels Goff their first overall pick quarterback (sorry, I'll show myself out). Miami is coming in with some significant injuries, including to their center, Mike Pouncey, but I don't like Goff's first NFL action coming against this defense.

New England (-12) over SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco has no talent, and any chance of this being a trap game for the Patriots ended when Brady's pass fell incomplete on 4th down last Sunday night. 

SEATTLE (-6.5) over Philadelphia
Seattle rolls in the second half of the season since 2014. I'm buying in that 2016 will be no different, especially after that showing last Sunday night off a short week in Foxboro. Philly's defense is eons better than the Patriots' defense, but with this game at home I'm looking for Seattle's defense to shake off the issues they've had over the last month or so to feast on the Eagles' backsliding rookie quarterback.

WASHINGTON (-3) over Green Bay
Something is truly rotten in Green Bay, meanwhile the Redskins have been playing pretty well for a few weeks now. This does not look like the game where the Packers get back on track.

OAKLAND (-6) over Houston
The Texans cannot overcome their complete liability of an offense against good teams. The Raiders are a good team (and yes it feels pretty weird to type those words.

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