After hitting on almost 70% of my picks the last five weeks, I hit a wall last week. I finished 5-7-2 after whiffing on many of the early games. I was lucky to make up for it and hit on some late games last week.
The Dallas Cowboys are officially rookie QB Dak Prescott’s team. Often-injured QB Tony Romo said this week that Dak deserves to be the quarterback. I guess this is one of the reason many top quarterbacks often have extremely crappy backup quarterbacks. The Cowboys had guys like Kyle Orton and Brandon Weeden for a reason, to appease Romo’s ego.
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 11 of the 2016 NFL season.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (-3) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
I really thought the Panthers were going to go on a big winning streak after their bye week, but they fell to the Chiefs a week after barely squeaking by the Rams. Carolina is having an issue protecting QB Cam Newton and their offense isn’t as explosive, even though they have more weapons on offense this season. The Saints is the best 4-5 team in the NFL. All of their games are competitive and three of their five losses were within a field goal. Carolina’s secondary is playing better than the last time these two teams faced each other, but it’s still not up to the task. I think the Saints air out the ball and attack Carolina’s secondary. I just don’t have faith in Carolina’s offense to keep up, so I’m taking the points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Chiefs are always a tough opponents at Arrowhead and this year they are 4-0. The Bucs have been a very solid road team this year with upsets at Atlanta and Carolina on their resumé. The Chiefs come into this game banged up, but during the string of injuries, they realized rookie WR Tyreek Hill is really, really fast. He is the kind of slot receiver soft-armed QB Alex Smith needs. Hill had ten receptions last game and even if star WR Jeremy Maclin plays this game, will get plenty of targets. The Bucs aren’t a pushover and this line is a tad too high. I wouldn’t put much on the moneyline, but I think Tampa Bay has a shot to be competitive. I have to take the points.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (+1) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
Oh man, this game looked like a potential monster of a game a month ago. Both teams come into this game hovering around .500. The Vikings are on a four-game losing streak (0-4 ATS) and their offense just looks like it needs oiled. It hasn’t improved since they ‘resigned’ offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Their defense is still somewhat holding their own, but they are getting no held on the other side of the ball. Arizona isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire either. They tied Seattle 6-6, lost to Carolina by ten points and last week only beat San Francisco by a field goal. I think this game will be won by whomever wins the battle between Arizona’s receivers and Minnesota’s secondary. I have to give the nod to Minnesota’s secondary. This game could be a bit ugly, but Minnesota can win an ugly game.
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
I know I said New Orleans was the best 4-5 team in the NFL earlier, but the Bills would give them a run for their money. They come into this game losers of three-straight, but the stretch of games included New England and Seattle, so there’s no shame in being competitive in a loss to those teams. The Bengals have looked extremely pedestrian this entire season. They are still a strong home team, but it’s not like they are blowing any teams away there. The Bills will attack Cincinnati on the ground and will be fresh coming off a bye week. I don’t trust the Bengals right now, I’m taking the points.
Chicago Bears at New York Giants (-7.5) – My pick is New York Giants
The half-point scares me a little, but the Giants have been playing pretty darn well and Chicago hasn’t given up bad losses. Chicago played like garbage against Tampa Bay last week and Jay Cutler was gifting passes to the secondary. Rookie RB Jordan Howard is a bright spot for the Bears, but he hurt either his ankle or Achilles. The Bears secondary will have issues with the Giants star receivers. As long as QB Eli Manning doesn’t turn the ball over much, the Giants should cover this game.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (+7.5) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
This game opened at +10, but as been bet down two and a half points. I still like the Steelers at a little more than a touchdown in this game. After playing a couple competitive games against the Giants and Titans, the Browns have went back to getting blown out. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger loves beating the Browns in his home state. I have to take the Steelers to cover in Cleveland.
Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys (-7) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
Vegas must be losing their shirts on Cowboys games this year. They a very public team and they are both 8-1 on the season and 8-1 ATS. It goes to show you that if you have a very good offensive line, it makes an average play turn into a huge one. One example was last week when the Cowboys were looking to place the ball for their kicker, but the offensive line opened up a hole for RB Ezekiel Elliott and he scored the game-winning touchdown. I’ve shit on the Ravens quite a bit this season, but they have been pretty good the last two weeks. I just don’t think Baltimore can hang with Dallas at the moment, so I’m taking Dallas to cover.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-3) – My pick is Tennessee Titans
The Colts beat the Titans 34-26 last month in a game that QB Andrew Luck was able to throw the ball with ease. The Titans has bright spots in the game as well like RB DeMarco Murray rushing for over 100 yards and QB Marcus Mariota being efficient with the ball. The Titans have relied even more on the run game the last few weeks. It has opened up the passing game for Mariota. I predict this game to be very close, just like the last game. A late fumble recovery touchdown in that contest by the Colts made the score a little inflated. I have to take the points in a possible shootout.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions (-6.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
The Lions have won four of their last five games. QB Matthew Stafford has played great during this stretch, but I don’t think they deserve this high of a point spread. Detroit hasn’t beaten any opponent by more than six points this season. I know the Jaguars have been blown out a few times, but the Lions tend to play down to lesser opponents. The Jaguars should be able to get a little running game going since Detroit struggles in that area. Jags QB Blake Bortles will need their run game to show signs of life to keep this one tight. I’m taking the points.
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams (+1.5) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
It’s officially Jared Goff time in Los Angeles. The Rams gave up on the season and decided to see what their #1 overall pick can do. If the Rams had ANY consistent offense at all, they would be dangerous. Their defense has stopped many teams, but their offense couldn’t capitalize. Miami QB Ryan Tannehill has an outstanding game last week, but he will not match that efficiency against the Rams. I have to believe QB Jared Goff will have better success than QB Case Keenum. The team will be rejuvenated and have a fire under their asses. The Rams defense should stymie Miami RB Jay Ajayi. I have to take the points and a possible Rams moneyline.
Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks (-6) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
As we all know, Seattle is one of the best home teams in the NFL. It’s a long flight from Philly and the crowd is insanely loud. Seattle is coming off two marquee wins against the Bills and Patriots. They succeeded by using their own blueprint on how to beat the Patriots by being physical and laying big hits on their receivers. The Seahawks won’t come into this game with as much juice, but this game could be a playoff preview. The Eagles will battle for a playoff spot if they win some games down the stretch. I like the Eagles use of RB Ryan Mathews last week. They’ve been using a rotating head of running backs and the two-headed attack of him and RB Wendell Smallwood, with RB Darren Sproles getting screen passes, works for rookie QB Carson Wentz. I have to take the points here.
New England Patiots at San Francisco 49ers (+12.5) – My pick is New England Patriots
I hate, hate, hate this line. Picking New England goes against everything I stand for as far as week-to-week strategy, but the eye ball test is hard to bet against. The Patriots are clearly heads and tails above the Niners at every position…but picking an East Coast team traveling to the West Coast, expect to give the home team 12.5 points AND play without tight end Rob Gronkowski ?! It sounds utterly ridiculous, but sometimes you just have to use your eyeballs. QB Tom Brady is returning to his home area in the Bay and the Pats want to erase last week’s loss by blowing out the Niners. I have to take the Pats to cover on the road.
Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins (-2.5) – My pick is Washington Redskins
Every time you write the Packers off, they end up going on a winning streak. I’m almost at a point where I am giving up on them. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers just doesn’t seem like he’s healthy. Yes, he is completing a lot of passes, but many miss their mark. I can’t quite put my finger on it. The Redskins are solid at home with wins against the Vikings and Eagles under their belt. Washington QB Kirk Cousins is playing for a man wanting a mega contract at the end of the year. He has been helped by a variety of running backs as well. I think the Redskins will cover this spread, but it will be a tight cover.
Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders (-6) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
This game is being played at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico. I wonder how the teams will endure the elevation and high pollution levels. I know when UFC puts on an event in Mexico City, if the fighters don’t get there a few weeks ahead of time and get used to everything, they get winded very easily. Anyways, the Raiders enter the game winners of six of their last seven games. I picked them to make the playoffs this season, but they could very well win the AFC West and get a bye. Houston was (and still is) the favorites to win the AFC South, so this could be another potential future playoff match-up. Houston QB Brock Osweiler has played the role of ‘game manager’ in their last two wins. They will need much more out of him if they want to keep this game close. I just don’t think Osweiler will come through, so I’m taking Oakland to cover in Mexico.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob