Welp, hope you faded last week’s picks. My embarrassing 3-10-1 mark needs no explanation or defending. Let’s simply move on to next week.
Oh really? You’re cool with that? Good. I was just saying that so I didn’t have to write as much in the intro. But if you’re on board, lets go! On to more picks you should totally fade!
Thursday, November 16
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Neither of these teams have been notching impressive wins the last few weeks, but the winner of this game will be a default powerhouse in the AFC. With Marcus Mariota using his legs more against Cincinnati, the Titans offense was able to show some different looks, and more resemble the “exotic smashmouth” version we saw last year. Meanwhile, the Steelers couldn’t contain the long ball, only securing a win against the Colts after they knocked Jacoby Brissett out of the game. Mariota is fragile, but Pittsburgh should probably come up with a better game plan than “hurt the QB.”
Pick: Titans (+7)
Sunday, November 19
Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Browns had bettors scared for a bit last week, jumping out to a ten-point lead over Detroit before Cleveland-ing everything up. Jacksonville tried its hardest to give away last week’s game, turning the ball over twice in the final two minutes, and yet, they still managed a win. A team that stumbles backwards into success will always find it against the Browns, who are a bleak 2-7 ATS this season.
Pick: Jaguars (-7.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (-3)
Wouldn’t both the Buccaneers and Dolphins love to go back to Week 1, when this game was supposed to be played? Things were so promising for both of these teams before the season, but Miami enters as losers of three straight, while Tampa has dropped five of its last six. When I previewed this game in Week 1, I said both quarterbacks were capable of sinking their teams in a hurry. With Jameis Winston replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, that’s even more true. Unfortunately, even when the QBs aren’t giving the game away, these clubs are sub-mediocre at best. Take the points.
Pick: Buccaneers (+3)
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at Green Bay Packers
Brett Hundley actually did a decent Aaron Rodgers impression on two game-winning throws against the Bears. But doing anything right against Chicago comes with a huge caveat: the Bears are totally lactose-intolerant. The Ravens D poses a different challenge, while Baltimore as a whole is 8-2 straight-up following a bye under John Harbaugh. Hundley was good last week; don’t bet on it happening twice in a row.
Pick: Ravens (-2.5)
Detroit Lions (-3) at Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky had his best day as a pro on Sunday, and the Bears could still only muster 16 points in a deflating loss to Green Bay. Between drops, penalties, sacks and one terrible challenge by John Fox, the Bears are too mistake prone under this regime to be trusted. And yet, even as they’ve tripped over their own feet the last two years, they’ve played the Lions tough, with each of the last four games decided by four points or fewer. Detroit has been an enigma these past few years, and considering that they’ve played two strong games back to back, this is a spot for a let down.
Pick: Bears (+3)
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)
The Rams face the Case Keenum Vikings in a huge game in the battle for a first-round bye. (When is that going to stop sounding weird?) With Teddy Bridgewater back on the sideline, Keenum showed no interest in ceding control of the offense, piling up 304 passing yards and leading Minnesota to 38 points against Washington in Week 10. The Rams offense continues rolling, as well. Robert Woods is so hot, his nickname should be “forest fire.” Minnesota is 4-1 against the number at home, while the Rams are 3-1 ATS on the road. Something has to give. Considering the Rams D got to practice against Keenum for the past two seasons, I’m banking on them being the ones to end his hot streak.
Pick: Rams (+2.5)
Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) at Houston Texans
Drew Stanton and Tom Savage star in: Seriously, How Does Colin Kaepernick Still Not Have a Job XII? (with a potential guest appearance from Blaine Gabbert). This game will see two truly excellent receivers making great plays despite being constantly under-thrown. But since Houston’s star receiver is in his prime, and home dogs are still covering more than they’re not, I’ll take the Texans.
Pick: Texans (+2.5)
Kansas City Chiefs (-11) at New York Giants
Yea … this isn’t going to go well for the Giants. Their run D is atrocious, their passing game is reliant on one player, and then there’s that whole Andy Reid-after-the-bye thing. The Chiefs are going to rebound nicely from that loss in Dallas.
Pick: Chiefs (-11)
Washington at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
Everytime I think the Saints are due for a letdown game, they deliver an even more complete beatdown than they did the week prior. New Orleans bullied Buffalo for 298 yards on the ground, and limited Tyrod Taylor to a 33.6 passer rating. The Saints have shown no weaknesses during their six-game win streak. Washington won’t make things easy on New Orleans, as Kirk Cousins and this offense have shown there’s no quit in them. But the Saints should be able to do whatever they want against a Washington D that is allowing 135 rushing yards per game over their last four.
Pick: Saints (-7.5)
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers (-4)
One of these teams is far more talented than their record reflects, while the other is the opposite. The Bills have once again gotten their fans hopes up only to fall off in the second half. I’m a little late to jump ship, but even with all the lifeboats gone, I’m sure there’s a nice door I can latch onto. The Chargers had another truly astonishing loss last week, but in front of a home crowd that (for once) won’t be a de facto away crowd, Los Angeles should have a bounce-back effort.
Pick: Chargers (-4)
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
This is literally all you need to know about this matchup.
Pick: Bengals (+2.5)
New England Patriots (-5.5) at Oakland Raiders [Mexico City]
The Patriots got back to dominating in all three phases, albeit against the hapless Brock Osweiler Broncos. Still, this is what most of us expected from a Bill Belichick team that started the year so atrociously on defense; we knew they would figure it out eventually. The Raiders are winning more, but still look deficient on defense. Two weeks ago, they were carved up by Jay Cutler. New England is 2-0 in international games, winning by a combined score of 80-14.
Pick: Patriots (-5.5)
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Dallas Cowboys
What seemed like one of the best games on the schedule a week ago could get ugly in a hurry. The Cowboys missed Ezekiel Elliott a little against the Falcons, but they missed a Tyron Smith a lot. How much? A six-sack day by Adrian Clayborn’s-worth. Dak Prescott can do a great deal in the offense even without his star back, but if the protection isn’t better against this Eagles front, the Cowboys are going to get boat-raced in this crucial NFC East tilt, especially with do-everything linebacker Sean Lee likely out as well.
Pick: Eagles (-3)
Monday, November 20
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-3)
The Falcons are catching the Seahawks at the right time. Richard Sherman is gone for the year, meaning Julio Jones could be in line for another monster day. He torched a Seahawk secondary absent Kam Chancellor last season for 139 yards. Then Atlanta put up 36 points in the playoffs when Seattle was down Earl Thomas. With Duane Brown also battling injuries, Atlanta’s D could have another feast, following an eight-sack afternoon against Dallas. Seattle just never seems to catch the Falcons at the right time, and this is another one of those instances.
Pick: Falcons (+3)