NFL Preview: Week 11
The magic continues
Week 5 record: 5-9
Overall record: 59-89-2
La Cerradura De El Padre: 7-3
My incredibly poor performance continued totally unabated this week as I got my usual two thirds of my picks wrong and even missed my lock of the week. I am terrible beyond words. I continue to insist it is some sort of reverse miracle to be this bad. It shouldn’t be possible. Just by sheer odds or good fortune, at some point I should stop being bad. I should just quit predicting outcomes given how bad I am (and I almost certainly will next year), but at this point I am curious just how far down the rabbit hole I can go. Can I go the entire year without one winning week? I feel like I can. I have the magic. This week, I am going to analyze the games, but with a twist. I am going to explain to you exactly why I am going to be wrong on my pick for every single game.
Let’s start out with why I was wrong to pick the Falcons +6.5 at home.
It’s seems obvious in retrospect that the Falcons just suck. A huge piece of that is their terrible offensive line play. The Patriots front 7 tore them apart. Stuffing the run continuously and pressuring Matt Ryan on virtually every drop back. With Ryan’s immobility, that meant there was really nothing else they could do. On the other side, the Patriots remain very mediocre. Mac Jones had some nice plays and some bad plays, but he did enough, which is what his epitaph will read this season. I think the most disappointing thing for me is the lack of pride the Falcons showed. there was no heart or passion from them after being totally humiliated four day prior. I thought that, in prime time, after a dismal showing, with their season likely on the line, they would give a tremendous effort. They didn’t.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills -7
I took the Buffalo Bills, and I am completely wrong about it. While they have the best defense in the league, they have shown a weakness stopping elite backs. Najee Harris got them in week 1. Derrick Henry got them. Even… oh shit… Carlos Hyde. Nevermind. The Colts are easy to exploit on deep passes. Nobody has a bigger arm than Josh Allen. But he has been a little off this year. Carson Wentz has been pretty mediocre, but going up against one of the best defenses in football, he is going to have a miraculous game, on the road in cold weather. Definitely take the Colts.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears +5
I took the Baltimore Ravens, and I am completely wrong about it. The Bears are a home dog. Always dangerous to trifle with a home dog. Plus, did you see how bad the Ravens looked last week? The Bears didn’t look bad because they were on a bye. So now Justin Fields had two weeks to get ready for this cover. The Ravens got blitzed a million times, and while the Bears lack the cornerbacks to hold up man to man for blitzing like that, they certainly will try, and trying hard is the most important thing. Just ask Matt Nagy, who has been focused for years on trying hard instead of talent. The Ravens won’t be angry after that terrible loss, their spirits will be down and they will have lost confidence. The Bears will run all over them on offense. The Ravens play down to the level of their opponent and Bears are a very low level.
Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Browns -11
I took the Cleveland Browns, and I am completely wrong about it. The Lions are just starting to get it together. So what if Jared Goff doesn’t play. Their backup had twice as many interceptions than touchdowns in college (most of which was in the FCS) so he is due for a good game. The Browns defense also will not be upset about how it played last week and take it out at home against a completely overmatched Lions group. They will be downtrodden and will continue to take their lumps. Meanwhile, the overwhelming offensive line for the Browns will check out in this one. The Lions love to keep two safeties back and dare teams to run. That will definitely work against a team that (checks notes) second in the league? And the Lions are third worst against the run? Ok, ignore that one. Maybe Baker Mayfield won’t play either.
Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans -10
I took the Houston Texans, and I am completely wrong about it. The Texans suck. It’s as simple as that. Of course the Titans will cover -10. So what if Julio Jones and Derrick Henry are out. Ryan Tannehill can get the cover. So what if he can barely move the offense without Henry, and the entire offense was built around Henry. Yes, they got lucky the last two weeks, especially against the Rams, but this week, they will overwhelm this terrible group. Tyrod Taylor made this team look good at the start of the season, but without the same pieces and his rust, he looked awful against Miami. No way they can keep it within 10. The Titans won’t be looking ahead to the massive, massive game against the Patriots. They will keep their focus week to week, like against the Jets, earlier… oh nevermind. Well, still. Guaranteed Titans win.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings +1.5
I took the Green Bay Packers, and I am completely wrong about it. First, the Packers record may look nice, but they have had some soft matchups. The Seahawks were a shell of themselves last week, and Russell Wilson wasn’t ready. Before that, Kyler Murray was banged up. Kansas City was still in their funk back when the defense held them to 13 points. You can’t trust Aaron Rodgers to play football, he doesn’t understand how vaccines work, and I am sure those two things are related. The Vikings, meanwhile, always lose to good teams… so you see how this makes my argument. The Packers RECORD might be good, but it was just luck. They aren’t actually good. So what if the Vikings secondary is basically an NFC North piñata. Aaron Rodgers is too busy with his Hollywood girlfriend to carve them up before he carves up his probably vegan Thanksgiving turkey, if he even celebrates the idea of giving thanks.
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets -3.5 La Cerradura De El Padre
I took the Miami Dolphins, and I am completely wrong about it. The God Damn Dolphins? They have sucked all year! So what if they have looked better since the team stopped their pursuit of a sexual predator and put the ball in the hands of their better quarterback. Joe Flacco is starting for the Jets! He is 6-1 all time against the Dolphins. So what if that was when he was good and playing on teams that were good. The record speaks for itself, probably in English. The Dolphins defense may be good, but it’s offensive line is the worst in the league by far. The Jets don’t have much, but they do have defensive linemen, and any team that uses defensive linemen can get sacks against this front. The Jets have this weird habit of winning games totally at random too. The Titans and the Bengals are both way better than the Dolphins. The Dolphins are gonna be overconfident and the fish are getting squished in New Jersey by the waterlogged corpse of Joe Flacco.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles -1.5
I took the Philadelphia Eagles, and I am completely wrong about it. That’s right, I am banking on Nick Sirianni outsmarting Sean Payton. That’s a terrible idea. The Saints have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, and the Eagles QB can’t throw well. So what if the Saints have looked awful without Alvin Kamara. Literally anyone can run on the Eagles 2 safeties back cover scheme that never changes. Even Trevor Siemian can figure that out. The Eagles offense has just been lucky of late, and the exact second Miles Sanders steps back on the field they will stop running the ball (which is what has lead to that success) at all and go back to passing. How do I know? Because I drafted Miles Sanders in fantasy. That’s how.
WTF vs. Carolina Panthers -3
I took the Carolina Panthers, and I am completely wrong about it. The Panthers have sucked all year. After three games when teams didn’t realize how bad Sam Darnold was, teams just focused on him and destroyed them. And yes, Sam Darnold is gone now, and literally any QB in football could be better (even one that had 8!!!!! passing TDs last season in 15 games), but somehow this will definitely pay off for the WFT. I know the WTF defense has been better. Last week they stopped the BUCS! And their offense controlled the ball. That wasn’t because the Bucs looked past that game or were checked out on the road. They will definitely keep that momentum going into a Carolina stadium that will be packed to the gills with excited fans, happy to see Cam Newton back. Yep, this is definitely going to work out for a franchise that was built on an Indian Burial ground or something.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars +6.5
I took the San Francisco 49ers, and I am completely wrong about it. The 49ers may have found their groove again with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle, but all that is going to come to a screeching halt on the road against Jacksonville. The Jaguars are playing inspired football, inspired by the man who literally wrote the book on leadership, Urban Meyer. The Jags will find their motivation from a man who knows his way around a bay area. Meyer’s brilliant scheming will find a way for rookie QB Trevor Lawrence to move the ball through the air against the 49ers tough run defense, but vulnerable secondary. They definitely won’t try to run for 250 yards against a brick wall, like Meyer indicated. This should be an easy cover for a group that has covered their last several outings, including two outright wins. So what if the 49ers just murdered the Rams. This is Jacksonville baby.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Las Vegas Raiders +1
I took the Las Vegas Raiders, and I am completely wrong about it. So you and I both have no idea what either of these two teams is? First move is to give up points. Definitely take the team with minus. Second, take the road team. Teams that are inconsistent often surprise you while playing on the road and play well. And if not often, at least sometimes. Third, the Raiders definitely downgraded at coach. While Jon Gruden had a losing record, clearly made bad draft selections, and seemed at times to have no idea how to run a modern offense, he is definitely better than a person he personally selected to help run a team. Actually, this might be true. Also, you gotta pick somebody, and you know I didn’t make the right pick.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs -2.5
I took the Dallas Cowboys, and I am completely wrong about it. The Cowboys are always overvalued by Vegas because their fans bet so much. Yes, the Chiefs have been spread poison almost this entire year, but LAST WEEK THEY WEREN’T. What have you done for me lately. And what the Chiefs have done is play great defense (ignore that Jordan Love was starting that one game) and have Patrick Mahomes play great (for one of the last 7 weeks, but what a one it was). The Cowboys just lost to the Broncos. The Chiefs beat the Broncos (last season). So obviously they will win. Ignore how opportunistic the Cowboys defense has been all season. That was luck. The Chiefs luck is bound to continue. As for the massive mismatch between the Cowboys offense and the Chiefs defense, the Chiefs are at home, so it’s fine.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks +2
I took the Arizona Cardinals, and I am completely wrong about it. Yes, the Cardinals have been better than the Seahawks in every single aspect of football this season. Yes, Russell Wilson looked like he Nathan Peterman out there with his broken hand. BUT, Kyler Murray might not play (although he is “close” to practicing, so that’s great) and the Seahawks are at home. That’s it. That’s the whole argument. If Kyler Murray doesn’t play, then you probably should take the Seahawks. I have no way of knowing this and releasing this column during the week.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Los Angeles Chargers -5.5
I took the Los Angeles Chargers, and I am completely wrong about it. The Steelers might not have Ben Roethlisberger, Minkah Fitzpatrick, TJ Watt, Chase Claypool, and other key contributors. Yes, they just tied the Lions at home. But you know how the Chargers are. They just blow it. And even though everything says they should win this obviously easy game, they won’t. They will give up a blocked punt or some shit. They will touch a punt they should not have caught and the Steelers will recover it. They will do some weird shit with their timeouts, and boom, another totally nonsensical loss despite a roster loaded with healthy talent. It’s what they do.
New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -11
I took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I am completely wrong about it. Yes the Buccaneers were embarrassed last week, but they won’t be angry about it. Tom Brady might be obsessed with winning, but the rest of them probably aren’t. Plus, while the Giants aren’t really equipped to take advantage of the Bucs greatest weakness (the secondary), neither were the WTF and they did fine. I am sure being at home won’t reenergize the Bucs. They will probably be looking ahead to the… Colts. Maybe not. But I am sure 11 points will be too much for the Buccaneers offense. The Giants are an ok defense. As Joe Judge said when he was hired. The Giants won’t beat themselves. This is the one week it will actually happen.