We’re back with the 11th edition of MTS’ weekly picks against the spread for the 2016 season. Unfortunately, Perry’s mediocrity continues, as he posted a 6-8 record in Week 10. What’s more concerning, was for the first time this season, “Perry’s Pledges” were just 1-3.
But every good story sees the hero stumble at first, right?
An asterisk denotes one of Perry’s “Pledges of the Week.” (Don’t call them “locks”; there’s no such thing!)
Week 11 Picks ATS
Thursday, November 17
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (-4)
As bad as the Panthers have been this season, they’re still not out of it at 3-6. But desperation has certainly set in, and a loss to the Saints could be the nails in the coffin.
Cam Newton and the Panthers offense have only rushed for 158 yards in their last two games combined, while the Saints defense hasn’t been terrible against the run this year on a per-carry basis anyway (4.1 yards per carry).
Drew Brees and the top-ranked Saints offense were robbed of a victory last week against the Broncos. Now they line-up against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The last time these two played, New Orleans totaled 523 total yards, 460 of which came through the air.
Cam Newton and the Panthers offense will have no problem putting points on the board, but their defense won’t allow them to run away with this game.
Pick: Saints (+4)
Sunday, November 20
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (Pick)
After starting the season 5-0, the Vikings have now lost four straight. Their offensive line is terrible, while their defense is being exposed on the ground, allowing at least 97 rushing in each of their last four.
On the other hand, the Cardinals have been underachievers this season. Their offensive line has been bad in pass-pro, but has at least provided David Johnson with holes to run through.
Sam Bradford and the Vikings offense will continue to struggle against a good Cardinals defense, while Carson Palmer will be tasked with handing the ball off all game. Even he can manage that these days.
Pick: Cardinals (Pick)*
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5)
The Bengals just allowed 122 yards on the ground to the Giants – one of the worst rushing attacks in the league – and now have to face the most efficient running team in the NFL, the Bills. Buffalo is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and have multiple threats to run the ball.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati continued to prove they are nothing more than a big-play offense. This team cannot sustain a drive, which is largely due to a surprisingly terrible offensive line.
The Bills lead the league with 30 sacks and will be in Andy Dalton’s face all day.
Pick: Bills (+4.5)*
Chicago Bears at New York Giants (-7)
The Bears should be truly embarrassed about getting blown out in Tampa Bay last weekend. Only totaling 161 net yards through the air against that awful secondary is a major cause for concern. To make matters worse, Alshon Jeffery has now been handed a four-game suspension for PED use.
The Giants, on the other hand, used their bye in Week 9 to put together a running game, evident by a season-high 122 yards on the ground against the Bengals in Week 10. Ben McAdoo has also realized that a happy Odell Beckham Jr. is what’s best for their team.
OBJ will be plenty happy in this one, and the Giants seventh-ranked rush defense will slow Jordan Howard.
Pick: Giants (-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-9) at Cleveland Browns
After completely blowing one of their last best chances for a win (by losing 28-7 to the Ravens), the Browns’ 0-16 train is gaining momentum; now they’ll have to play a very talented Steelers team that is almost as desperate for a win as they are.
Pittsburgh has now dropped four straight, and have left the door in the AFC North wide open for anyone to walk through, except for the Browns.
Cleveland will not be able to slow Pittsburgh’s offense, while whoever they line up under center will be in for a long day.
Pick: Steelers (-9)*
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
It may be hard to imagine the Chiefs offense blowing any team out; picturing Jameis Winston giving the game away requires very little creativity, though. Tampa Bay has turned the ball over 15 times this season, while Kansas City’s defense has generated 22 turnovers (league-high).
Alex Smith and Spencer Ware will capitalize a susceptible Bucs defense and, with the likely return of Justin Houston, the KC defense will take care of the rest.
Pick: Chiefs (-7.5)
Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Strength on strength! In their last two games, the Ravens have only allowed a combined 69 rushing yards. Now they meet the league’s top-ranked rushing attack. In their last seven games, the Cowboys are averaging 178 yards on the ground.
The Cowboys offensive line will continue to dominate in the trenches, while Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense will not be able to keep up. The unit put up a season-high 28 points last week, but that was the exception that proves the rule; it came against the Browns.
Pick: Cowboys (-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions (-6.5)
Although they’ve been competitive in their two, the Jags continue to give games away. The offense has only been turnover-free in one game this season, and have given the ball away at least three times in four games. Fortunately, they play a Lions team that’s only generated seven turnovers in nine games.
The Lions come into Week 11 with a lot of hope. Thanks to losses by both the Packers and Vikings last Sunday, Detroit sits atop the NFC North.
However, Detroit has not won a game by more than six points all season, and in true Lions fashion, will let a much weaker opponent hang around in this one.
Pick: Jaguars (+6.5)
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-3)
When these two played in Week 7, the Titans allowed 341 yards through the air and lost their tenth straight game to the Colts. But it was a game that Tennessee gave away in the last two minutes.
The Colts are allowing 4.7 yards per carry on the season and gave up 124 ground yards in the last meeting. They’re going to give up even more this time around against a suddenly surging Tennessee offense.
Marcus Mariota and the passing attack have been much better in their last three. With Indy forced to focus on the run, Mariota will be able to hit deep shots against a terrible Colts secondary.
Every streak has to come to an end.
Pick: Titans (+3)
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams (-1)
In spite of their four-game win streak, I’m not ready to fall in love with the Miami Dolphins. However, I am ready to put my confidence in them this week.
The Rams offense has scored 29 points, combined, in the last three games, and Case Keenum continues to incite calls for Jared Goff.
The Dolphins offense may not have a lot of success, but you don’t need many points to beat this Rams team.
Pick: Dolphins (+1)
New England Patriots (-13.5) at San Francisco 49ers
This game could be played in Chip Kelly’s backyard and the result would be no different. New England is going to score at will against the league’s worst defense, and Colin Kaepernick will continue being Colin Kaepernick.
Pick: Patriots (-13.5)*
Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
Although only one win separates these two teams, they find themselves in completely different situations. The Eagles are in the basement of the NFC East, while the Seahawks lead the NFC West by two games.
Looking at the four games the Eagles have lost, none came by more than six points, and all were against teams with winning records. However, Carson Wentz has few weapons at his disposal, and that’s been evident even against the weaker defenses he’s faced. The rookie has only had to play one team that ranks in the top-ten in total defense. He recorded a 52.4 passer rating in that contest.
The defense he’ll face this week ranks second in scoring and ninth in total defense. The Seahawks appear to be finding their groove after a few uninspiring victories to start the season, and they may have found a bit of a running game with C.J. Prosise carrying the rock.
However, this is a lot of points to lay with Seattle. Philadelphia’s defense is very good, and Wentz has done a great job protecting the ball. Playing against a top defense in a tough atmosphere will be a lot to handle, but Wentz will keep his team close.
Pick: Eagles (+6.5)
Green Bay Packers at Washington (-3)
No, Aaron Rodgers, I will not relax. You have lost three straight and your team’s biggest strength this season – the defense – is gravitating back to mediocrity (or worse). The Green Bay defense has now allowed at least 30 points in four of the last five games. This week, they’re tasked with slowing Kirk Cousins and the fourth-ranked total offense.
Although Washington’s offense has piled up the yards, they have had to settle for field goals far too often (16th in points scored). Their defense – which just allowed Sam Bradford and the Vikings to put up 284 net yards through the air – won’t have it easy this week, either. Green Bay has now scored at least 25 points in their last four games, but has been killed by slow starts.
While Rodgers has clearly regressed, the Green Bay offense isn’t terrible by any means. It should be able to capitalize on this Washington D. So even though I’m not calm, I’ll at least still take you to win this week, Aaron.
Pick: Packers (+3)
Monday, November 21
Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders (-5.5)
Not only do we know Brock Osweiler is a bad quarterback, but his coach has now given into that fact, too. Bill O’Brien is rightfully taking the ball out of his quarterback’s hands, attempting just 27 passes (for 92 yards) last week.
As for Oakland, they’ll be facing a similar defense to the one they saw in their last game (Denver): Houston is very good defending the pass, but can’t stop the run. The Raiders showed last time out that they can adapt to a defense’s weakness, running the ball 43 times against the Broncos.
Derek Carr won’t make any big mistakes, so Houston will have to actually rely on its offense to put points on the board, which won’t happen.
Pick: Raiders (-5.5)
Photo Credit: Larry Maurer [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.