Week 11; Sunday Perusal, Previews, Punts and Picks

They say that football doesn’t really start until Thanksgiving, so I guess we’re almost there. The good teams are showing up, the bad teams are doing what they do and everyone is figuring out where they sit in the NFL in 2022.

Week 11 kicked off with the Packers losing to the Titans, they did it through the air for once and if they can add balance alongside Derrick Henry then they could possibly do something in the post-season. They have basically won their division already so they’ll likely be hosting in the first round of the play-offs. They are the very definition of “greater than the sum of their parts” and incredibly well-coached. The Packers on the other hand, I am loving this downfall.

The early Sunday slate remarkably has the Jets as a highlight game, something I didn’t think I’d be saying at the start of the season, they have greatly out-performed expectations – I did think they’d be improved but the schedule was horrible so fair play to the Jets for their performance so far.

The Cowboys and Vikings is the best game of the later slate while the Chiefs and Chargers were rightly moved into prime-time at the expense of the Bengals and Steelers game and the week closes with the Mexico City NFC West clash between the 49ers and Cardinals.

A quick look back at last week –

  • Germany game – Poor call from me on White, he was the rusher and as such didn’t get much through the air, and Kenneth Walker didn’t find the endzone despite 16 touches including a lot of reception in hurry-up.
  • Fields o59.5 – Flew over it again, he had 67 in one rush
  • Kadarius Toney found the endzone, 7/2 was tasty for him especially as he’s already down to 13/8 this week (I will be on that)
  • Ameer Abdullah was over-priced, had 4 receptions in their game, I’l’l be honest if he’s double-digits again I’ll be tempted.

That was all I suggested last week, so the Toney TD left the week in profit at least.

Bears +3 at Falcons: 48.5

The Bears have scored more points than anyone else over the last month, a far call from me expecting them to be the lowest scoring team in the league before the season start! It’s mainly on the back of Justin Fields rushing as he topped 100 yards for the second game in a row and went over the now 68.5 yard line in 4 of his last 5 games. The passing game has improved markedly off the back of his added ground threat although Cole Kmet is questionable to play today which would be tough for them as he’s had 2 TDs in each of their last 2 games, and 5 in 3.

If Kmet misses out then you’ve got to expect more for Darnell Mooney who is their main only wide receiver of note. If Kmet misses out it might be worth a random punt on Tevin Wesco the backup TE, although Chase Claypool has the physique to show up in the redzone, so could be something on him. – The run game is down to David Montgomery and maybe rookie Trestan Ebner as Khalil Herbert (who I really like) has gone to IR for at least 4 games.

The Falcons really should have moved on from Marcus Mariota but Arthur Smith is refusing to allow that so they’ll probably continue stuttering their way through games. They are fairly similar to the Bears actually in that they want to rely on their run game and pass off of that, so the likes of Patterson, Huntley and Allgeier will get a healthy amount of work on the ground and Mariota is Fields-lite in terms of rushing, he also led his team on the ground last week.

The passing game is tough to predict due to accuracy issues and while Drake London and Kyle Pitts should be studs they just aren’t found anywhere near enough. 2 receptions from 8 targets last week for Pitts, he must have the worst completion percentage of any player this year.

The Falcons run defense is 25th according to DVOA, while the Bears defense as a whole is terrible, ranking 29th overall, so there should be points in this one, the evil bookmakers aren’t stupid though and the total is now up to 49 points, I’d still be leaning the over though. – Justin Fields o100 rush yards – 11/4 (PP)

Eagles -6.5 at Colts: 46

The Eagles lost their unbeaten start to the season on Monday Night Football as the Commanders beat them by controlling the ball, allowing the Eagles just 20 minutes of possession. It was even worse for them as they lost Dallas Goedert to injury and an ankle injury to AJ Brown restricted him to 1 catch for 7 yards – Goedert is missing this week but AJB says he feels fine, logically it should mean more for Devonta Smith but his production has been very hit-or-miss this year. Quez Watkins actually led the team in yards on Monday with 80. Jack Stoll the probable replacement at TE? A backup TE double at 120/1 from these first two games would be quite something.

The run game should be used a lot here and Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell do fairly well although Jalen Hurts stealing TDs caps their up-side, especially in fantasy.

All the money this week has been on the Colts after they won last week with Matt Ryan and Jonathan Taylor back in the team, who’d have thought having your best players back would be a good thing? – It was Taylor who made the real difference and he looked like he was close to the form he was in last year with 147 and a TD on the ground against a terrible Raiders team last week.

Matt Ryan kept it clean as Pittman and Parris led the team with 9 targets each. Parris Campbell has been frustrating to follow due to his frequent injuries but he’s got the shiftiness to put up big yards if he’s able to keep healthy for an extended period, he had the sole receiving TD last week.

A very tough game to call, and now the line is under 7 points it’s a no-bet on spread. I would think the Colts will try a similar tactic to Washington and try to control the ball so Jonathan Taylor props make sense 88.5 and 19.5 attempts… They’re high lines, but I’m always going to take around even money on him scoring – Jonathan Taylor 10/11 (Most) There is an 11/10 at Betfred if you’ve got an account there. – I’d lean Colts covering, Eagles winning outright and UNDER on the total.

Jets +3 at Patriots: 38

The first sky game of the night is in Foxborough as the 6-3 Jets take on the 5-4 Patriots. These two met each other just a few weeks ago at the Metlife where the Patriots were also 3 point favourites… and you’re telling me it’s the same line in Foxborough? The Patriots have won 13 games in a row against this team, they’ve covered the spread in 9 of those 13 games and the Jets haven’t won on the road against the Pats (in the regular season) since 2008.

The Jets are probably the better team though and maybe would have won had a bogus roughing the passer call not overturned one of the worst throws of the season as Mac Jones throw straight to a defender. They still lack at QB as Zach Wilson can’t be trusted and Belichick will be able to confuse him. They lost Bryce Hall a few weeks back but have adapted well with Michael Carter and James Robinson both performing well last time they played.

Garrett Wilson has had a solid rookie season and has stepped up with Corey Davis missing out once more. It’s tough outside of him with Mimsy having to show up, and while the tight ends are capable they just haven’t really been used in the passing game for this team.

The Patriots have a terrible QB as well, Mac Jones had a fine rookie year in a well-managed offense but they seem to have killed him mentally and he has made some awful mistakes this season. They really don’t have much talent around him which certainly doesn’t help him and the pass rush will likely cause him issues here as well.

Rhamondre Stevenson is the key to the game for the Patriots, he’s scored 4 TDs in their last 4 games with Damien Harris out, Harris is off the injury report here so it may well be back to a 1a and 1b attack but Stevenson is the one I’d be looking for.

Both teams are top 6 in defensive DVOA, the Patriots rush defence the lowest rated of the stats on either side, so there could be some success on the ground for the Jets.

I’m taking the Patriots to continue the streak. On paper it should be close but Belichick loves beating them.

Rams +2.5 at Saints: 39

Not a whole lot to talk about in this one, probably the worst Super Bowl defense in my life-time as the Rams limp into this one at 3-6 without Cooper Kupp who is missing at least 4 games and probably the rest of the season. They should have Matthew Stafford back, great, who’s he going to throw to? Allen Robinson should get more targets but it will probably be Tyler Higbee and Ben Skowronek – I will however be looking to Van Jefferson to go over his 37.5 rec. yards as the deeper threat on this team.

The run game isn’t worth talking about so just a few notes – Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Kyren Williams now he’s off of IR? Who knows, we do know their offensive line is dismal and the run game has barely existed.

The Saints have missed their chance to topple the Buccs from the top of the NFC South, they have 3 wins as well, they’re keeping Andy Dalton at QB (Jameis said this week he’s not been able to fully train all year) so they’ll be limited and trying to rely on Alvin Kamara but he’s not been able to get going recently either. Juwan Johnson at TE is the one to look for in TD Scorer props, and probably yards at a 26.5 line, he’s gone over that in 4 of their last 5 games.

What a terrible game, probably.

Lions +3 at Giants: 44.5

I know full well I won’t be able to call this game, I’ve got things consistently wrong on the Lions who won their first road game in TWO YEARS last week. Jared Goff is generally terrible on the road but it turns out facing a Bears defense which has given up was just the tonic.

D’Andre Swift doesn’t seem like he’ll ever be fully fit and Jamaal Williams probably gets a decent amount of play on the ground, it was just 1 carry for Swift last week and 16 for Williams who found the endzone for the 9th time this season last week.

Amon-Ra St. Brown is a stud and has the full trust of his QB, he finished with 119 from 10 catches last week, his highest return this year. Outside of him it’s rather limited with Kaliff Raymond having 3 receptions the second most-targeted player last week. It may be a rough outing for this side of the offense.

The Giants are somehow here at 7-2 and heading to the playoffs, they’ve not pulled up any trees but it turns out getting incredibly good coaching can work well in this league, the return of Saquon Barkley obviously helps, he had over 30 carries last week as they seem like they’re happy with his health. He’s second in the league in attempts and yards and has 6 TDs. He should get another 30 carries this week against one of the worst defenses in the league (27th vs the run in DVOA) – Daniel Jones rush yards is of interest to me as well, his line is 36.5

Passing game? Darius Slayton is the main threat both deep and everything else, I doubt there will be reports of Kenny Golladay “used heavily” this week, what a terrible signing that has proven to be, they should just cut him at the moment. Wan’Dale Robsinson has shown in spots but the passing game is second-fiddle so it’s tough to put faith in anything there.

The Giants should win and cover, if you get some pass rush on Goff he struggles. 8-2 for the Giants, incredible. Saquon line is triple figures, I can’t take the over there, I’d be tempted with Goff u227.5 passing yards though.

Panthers +13 at Ravens: 41.5

This is a correlated parlay if I ever saw one, if you like the Panthers take them and the under.

Baker Mayfield returns for the Panthers. Great? Not something that moves the needle, if anything it’s probably worse, although this is a REVENGE game for him against a Ravens team he’s not done well against. D’onta Foreman had one huge game and they relied on him in their win against the Falcons last Thursday night as well with 31 carries in that game.

The passing game probably isn’t worth talking about, DJ Moore is talented but you can’t take anything related to him and while I’ve been high on Terrace Marshall so far he’s probably not one I’ll take against a solid Ravens defense. Tommy Tremble maybe worth a sniff at bigger prices with Mayfield back.

The Ravens are probably without the Gus Bus, he’s going to see if he can go but it seems unlikely so probably a lot more Kenyan Drake who has run well and of course Lamar who averages over 7 yards per carry.

Not a while lot to say on their passing game although they should have Mark Andrews back which helps there, without him it was tough to suggest anyone other than an Isaiah Likely TD. They’ve been hit by injury and have always been run heavy anyway.

Ravens should win, they’ll probably cover because the Panthers aren’t good.

Commanders -3 at Texans: 41.5

Taylor Heinicke has come in and made the Commanders at least a little entertaining, they controlled the ball against the Eagles and that win somehow keeps them in the running for a playoff spot in the NFC. Rookie Brian Robinson 26 carries for 86 yards, no efficient but they didn’t need him to be, it was all about keeping the ball. Antonio Gibson had double-digits carries as well, and Heinicke can take off if required.

Terry McLaurin is a stud and his numbers have improved greatly with Heinicke under centre, 8 for 128 from 11 targets against a very good Eagles defense was very impressive and his line at 61.5 seems like a sensible over. Outside of him Curtis Samuel is Deebo-lite (although he has out-statted him this year so far) and he can do it on the ground and through the air, creating something from nothing.

The Texans are Dameon Pierce and not much else, in fairness they’ve been keeping games close without ever looking like winning any of them. Chris Moore is the only one I’d look at for a TD depending on price. 5/1 was what I was looking for and he’s that price at PP.

Commies win and cover, Chris Moore anytime – 5/1 (PP)

Browns -7.5 at Bills: 50

The big news here is the game moving from Buffalo to the dome in Detroit which definitely helps the Bills passing game more than it does anything on the Brown’s side of the ball so it’s a bit surprising that the line moved toward Cleveland.

The Browns need a win to try and keep any slim hope of a post-season for when Deshaun Watson returns in a couple of weeks but it seems unlikely with them relying heavily on Nick Chubb. The game-plan for them should be keeping the ball away from their opponent and the Bills have allowed long drives to teams this year, so it could work to an extent.

The passing game isn’t exactly great, Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones the main guys but with Jacoby Brissett it’s never going to be pretty.

Josh Allen is officially not on the injury report with his elbow injury, which is a little surprising given the reports when he did it. He’s not been in great form with redzone turnovers costing the team in recent weeks but he’s one of the better QBs in the league so it’s silly to think he’s going to be crap. The Browns were torn apart by the Dolphins last week and similar is feasible here.

Stefon Diggs is a top 3 WR and going against a team which ranks 31st in defensive DVOA he should be able to put up some big yards. Gabe Davis hates his dog and is very hit and miss, if he makes a catch he’ll probably go over his 55.5 yard mark. Dawson Knox is a decent TE for them, but again his workload has been varied this year.

The run game for the Bills isn’t exciting with Devin Singletary averaging under 4 yards per carry over the last few games, while the other runners there aren’t doing a whole lot either.

Got to take the Bills winning and covering. 20 pts each is 9/4 at Skybet which is tempting. Obviously leaning to the over now it’s inside.

Raiders +2.5 at Broncos: 41.5

What a pile of crap on the table here as well. The Raiders can’t get wins despite putting up some big leads this year, although they are the only team who’ve been able to put up points on this incredibly good Broncos defense this season.

Derek Carr got emotional after their loss to the Colts last week, he and Devante Adams are the main bright spots for the offense and Josh Jacobs has done well on the ground but they seem to have gone away from him in recent weeks for some reason. He did have 144 against the Broncos earlier in the season. The lack of Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow really hurts their offense, the likes of Mack Hollins and Foster Moreau are capable but not at the level of the guys they’re replacing.

The Broncos offense is anaemic and it’s due a lot to Russell Wilson who is apparently using Seahawks audibles still which the rest of his team don’t understand. It’s not good Jeff. The run game is muddled with Latavius Murray, Melvin Gordon and now Chase Edmonds all there. Muddled but not good.

Weirdly they do put up yards they just can’t convert drives into scores, Courtland Sutton and Jeudy should be a very good duo, but with Juedy out again it’s down to the like of… Kendall Hinton and er… Jalen Virgil, good household names.

Hard to take anything but the under. I know people who are very high on the Broncos this week but I can’t do it.

Cowboys -1.5 at Vikings: 48.5

The late Sky game wasn’t a tough choice, with America’s team taking on a Vikings who sit at 8-1 and #2 seed in the NFC. Yet it’s the home team who are the underdog here… weird.

The Cowboys threw away a 14-point 4th quarter lead for the first time in their history against the Packers last week, the inability to convert short yardage at the end of the game hampered them with Zeke missing again. Zeke will be back for this one though, which, while he’s not as explosive as Pollard who topped 100 yards again last week, he will get those tough yards, and the 1-2 punch is pretty good.

CeeDee Lamb showed up again with 150 and 2 TDs and he’ll has a decent enough matchup against an average Vikings defense, outside of him it’s been a lot more Dalton Schultz with Dak Prescott returning at QB. Micahel Gallup and Noah Brown have shown they can help when needed but their involvement has waned.

The Vikings are winning on the back of better coaching and a heavy dose of luck, but it’s been years of losing close games so I guess it evens out eventually… Maybe.

They do have a solid core with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and the outstanding Justin Jefferson doing most of the heavy lifting for the team. Cousins has been his usual self, middle of the pack with a decent up-side, but he’s got two things against him here, the pass-rush of the Cowboys with a backup LT protecting him and the fact it’s not a 6pm start, but this year seems different, he’s definitely got his swag back.

Dalvin Cook has scored 5 games in a row and his 81-yard rush started the comeback last week (he had terrible numbers before that) he can do it on the ground and through the air, not much more totsay about him, he’s a very good RB. Alexander Mattison fills in well for him as well.

Justin Jefferson is arguably the best WR active this week, he had at least 9 catches last week which NextGenStats rated as having <50% chance of being completed including the catch of the season as he wrestled the ball off of the DB. Adam Thielen does well as the 2 and TJ Hockenson has come in and immediately contributed, 4.5 receptions for him seems a fair line.

Should be a cracking game, I like the Vikings to win and cover. TJ Hockenson o4.5 receptions

Bengals -3.5 at Steelers: 40

All the money for this game is coming on the Steelers. TJ Watt and the Steelers dominated the Bengals offensive line in the opening game and it seems most people think that will happen again this week. As a Bengals fan I’m not sure how this game is going to go.

This game has the best uniform matchup of the week as the all-white Bengals go against the all-black of the Steelers and the game getting flexed from prime-time is a big boost for the road team as well who struggle mightily with the lights on them.

The negatives for the Bengals, no Ja’Marr Chase, which is definitely a hit for them, but they compensated for that with Joe Mixon against the Panthers a fortnight ago, and I’d imagine that’ll be the plan here as well as they’ll surely try and be a little more conservative with the probable pressure coming on Joe Burrow. A big positive for the Bengals is the return of DJ Reader, one of the best run-stuffers in the league.

Even without Chase they’ve got a talented group with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd both capable of taking anything to the house and Hayden Hurst proving a useful pickup at TE. A solid game from Michael Thomas would be handy as he dropped some vital catches last time they played.

The Steelers offense isn’t clicking, Kenny Pickett has shown a little on the ground and I’m sure George Pickens will make a catch which will be replayed a billion times on the NFL twitter feed, but their passing game hasn’t got going and they aren’t explosive at all, the longest TD they’ve scored this year comes from just outside the redzone.

Najee Harris ran well last week but has reported knee pain this week so it might be a little more Jaylen Warren at RB. It was the first time they’d been able to put up yards on the ground and while I do think Tomlin is a good coach I would be surprised if they have as much success this week.

I’m lost on this game, it could be a blowout to the Bengals, or it could be a close defense heavy win for the Steelers if they get the pressure which is expected. The Bengals need this game like blood after losing their first 3 in the division and getting swept by a very poor Steelers team would be damning on them. I’m going to be a foul-mouthed half-drunk mess, so apologies for any twitter outbursts now.

Chiefs -5 at Chargers: 52.5

This is the game which was correctly moved to Sunday Night Football as the Chiefs look to essentially wrap up another AFC West title against a Chargers team who should finally have some weapons returning. It should be a cracker.

Patrick Mahomes moved to the top of the MVP rankings after another imperious performance a week ago and he’ll look to notch up another win here, the run game is terrible so it’s all on his arm and ability to find the open man.

They are without Juju Smith-Schuster who misses with concussion and Mecole Hardman but the acquisition of Kadarius Toney has helped mitigate those losses to a certain extent and Travis Kelce is as reliable as ever. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has done well with Mahomes and should have a more expansive role with the injuries at WR for them, and Jody Fortson is there for Redzone TDs.

The Chargers are hoping to have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams back for this, it seems like Williams is 80% to play and a little lower on Allen but both seem like they’ll return which is huge for a Chargers offense which has relied heavily on backups for a lot of the season. Justin Herbert has good games vs this opposition and hasn’t been too bad with replacement level players, it’s tough to blame things on him.

Austin Ekeler has been superb picking up the slack and usually shows up against the Chiefs as well. His reception line is my go-to when they play.

Deandre Carter and Joshua Palmer have been fine filling in without the upside and Gerald Everett had been playing well but is looking like he’ll miss out, because the Chargers aren’t allowed to have a fully healthy offense for any games.

Should be a cracking game, the highest total of the week, they usually go over, and I’d be leaning to the Chiefs now that the line has come in a little on the Chargers injury news. Kad Toney anytime – 13/8 (PP)

Long one this week and it’s a little late, but enjoy the weekend games, the later the games get this week the better they look like they’ll be, could well be a late one!

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