Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.
It was a tough week for the panel last week with none of us coming in over 500 for the week. That’s the first time that’s happened all season though, not bad for twelve weeks in. Hopefully, it’s the last time it happens; the season is winding down and we’re all not far off from the break-even point, no small feat for a sport as sharp as the NFL.
You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll use for Week 11!
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)||Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)||Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)|
|Pick #1||Dolphins/49ers over 46.5||Packers -4.0||Packers/Bears over 43.0|
|Pick #2||Texans/Browns under 47.0||Ravens -8.5||Steelers -1.0|
|Pick #3||Packers -4.0||Eagles -5.5||Ravens/Broncos under 38.5|
|Pick #4||Lions +1.5||Chiefs/Bengals over 52.5||Ravens -8.5|
|Pick #5||Titans +5.5||Seahawks -8.0||Chiefs -2.0|
Rough week last time out, let’s try to right the ship as the season winds down. Mike McDaniel and Kyle Shanahan are two of the most offensive-minded coaches in the league. When the two square off on Sunday, it could turn into a contest to see who can run the most outrageous play. You know these coaches will be drawing up some real sicko stuff. These two teams are near the top of the league in terms of speed at skill positions and the coaches know how to utilize it. Good offense beats good defense in the NFL, I could see this one turning into a barn burner. MIA/SF O46.5
Second on the docket, we have the Texans and the Browns in Houston. Deshaun Watson is making his return to the football field for some reason. I won’t dive into the off-the-field stuff because this isn’t the place for it, but he really shouldn’t be allowed to play. Regardless, I’m hoping there’s some rust after a couple of years away from the game. The Texans’ defense should also be more motivated than ever, against their former franchise star who forced his way out of Houston. Offensively, the Texans can’t move the ball at all. Kyle Allen and Davis Mills are both fairly worthless; they likely won’t be scoring a ton of points. Give me the under here. CLE/HOU U47.0
Aaron Rodgers hates the Bears. He hates everything about them. He’s even on record saying he won’t see the new “Cocaine Bear” movie because a Bear appears to be the main character. He didn’t actually say that, but I’m sure he has feelings along those lines. Regardless, the Bears lost Eddie Jackson to injury this past week. He’s the leader of their defense, which struggled plenty even with him on the field. Even if Rodgers can’t eviscerate the Bears like he always does, Jordan Love looked great in his limited showing on Sunday. I’ll lay the points. GB -4.0
I read somewhere that the Jaguars had lost 19 straight games to NFC teams. The Lions play in the NFC. The Lions are at home. The Lions are underdogs. Nothing else to say. DET +1.5
Last but not least, Mike Vrabel and the Titans travel to Philly to take on the Eagles. The Eagles are sizeable favorites at 5.5 points. I think this is a sell-high spot on the Eagles after they destroyed the Packers on Sunday night in primetime. The Titans play a style of football that makes it hard to blow them out. They run the ball, keep possession, and play good defense. The Eagles are a great team, one of the best in the NFL, but the Titans should be able to keep this one close enough to cover the five and a half. TEN +5.5
The Packers lost to the Eagles 40-33 and fell to 4-8. Aaron Rodgers is banged up, and this team appears set to miss the playoffs for the first time in the Matt LaFleur era. The Bears aren’t having a good season either, as they are 3-9 and got torched by Mike White in a blowout loss to the Jets. Chicago lost Darnell Mooney for the year and Eddie Jackson is out indefinitely. Rookie defensive backs Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker as well as Justin Fields may not suit up against the Packers. Jordan Love was decent when he took the field last week, but the plan is for Rodgers to play this week. It has been an extremely disappointing season for Green Bay, but I think the Packers will beat the Bears for the eighth time in a row and cover while doing it. Inside the Numbers: The Packers are 13-8-0 in division games with an average margin of victory (MOV) of 7.5 points against the spread under Matt LaFleur. GB -4.0
Justin Fields was a full participant at practice on Thursday, and by all reports, he looked like his normal self. Justin and I actually have a lot in common considering I used to routinely deal with left shoulder dislocations back in the day–resulting in a partial tear of my labrum. Anyways, if he’s feeling good then this total should exceed the 44.5 that it currently resides at.
Ever since they let the reins off of Fields to make plays with his feet, the Bears have become the perfect over team. They have the second-best over record which sits at 8-4. Bears games are averaging an insane 60.8 points per game in their past five games with Fields on the field. Much of that has to do with their dismal defense. Chicago is 31st in defensive DVOA, 30th in EPA/play, and is allowing the 4th most yards per play.
The Packers aren’t in much better form as of late either. Just look at what Jalen Hurts did to them on the ground last week–17 carries 157 yards 2 TDs. Fields should have a field day just like Hurts. Over the last three weeks, the Packers are allowing an average of 31.6 ppg, are 21st in DVOA, and have allowed the fifth most yards per play. Coming into the year, their defense was supposed to be the backbone for the Packers. So much for that. Aaron Rodgers looks set to play Sunday and has to back up his, “I still own you,” remarks from last year. As underwhelming as he and that offense has been this year, anybody can move the ball against the Bears. GB/CHI O43.0
Nobody has had a more difficult schedule than the Steelers according to DVOA, even with their win over the Colts last week. Luckily for them, the scheduling gods have lightened up on them for a consecutive week as they travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons who aren’t anything special. Their offense functions through the ground game (second-highest rushing rate) which does not bode well for them this week. The Steelers are eighth in defensive rushing DVOA and have allowed the sixth-fewest YPC to opponents. Pittsburgh also got a huge boost to their defense the past couple of weeks with T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick returning to the fold.
The Falcons on the other hand possess one of the worst defenses ranking 30th in DVOA and are allowing the sixth most yards per play. Mike Tomlin’s is an unquantifiable edge over the vast majority of coaches in the league. He should be able to lead his team to victory once again in a dome on the road for a second straight week. PIT -1.0
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. My laments for how poor this Broncos offense is isn’t needed at this point. They can’t score against anybody, and the Ravens are defensively sound against anyone who doesn’t possess speed. They are ninth by DVOA’s metrics and since adding Roquan Smith to the middle of the defense they have held teams to the third-lowest EPA/play with the second-best DVOA. Okay, I lied. I need to add this on the Broncos’ offense: they are averaging 14.27 points per game which is the lowest mark since the 2000 Browns who averaged 10.1 ppg. DEN/BAL U38.5
It’s a steep spread, but if the Panthers can beat Denver by double-digits, then why can’t the Ravens…My favorite look for Baltimore this week however is teasing them down to -2.5. This is arguably the best teaser look of the season considering they meet the Wong teaser criteria with this low of a total, playing at home, and needing to win by only a field goal. I’ve paired them with the Seahawks down to -1.5, the Giants up to +8.5, and the Browns down to -1. BAL -8.5
What is up with the schedule makers?! Why didn’t they flex this game, the Titans/Eagles game, or the Dolphins/49ers game over the Cowboys and Colts? The AFC championship rematch of last season should be a banger and I’m backing the Chiefs to keep up their winning ways in the months of November and December. They have won 25 straight Nov/Dec games since 2019. Fun little fact.
The defenses are pretty much neck and neck statistically with both teams residing in the middle of the pack in terms of DVOA and yards per play. Obviously, Burrow and co. are in the upper echelon in offensive ranks, but the Chiefs are simply in a different stratosphere compared to anyone. They’re first in DVOA (CIN seventh), first in yards per play (CIN t11th), and first in EPA/play (CIN t4th). More than anything this is a gut call and I want a little skin in this game between two of the best in the game. Andy Reid is itching to break out the “good” plays against a solid competitor. KC -2.0
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)