Follow Austin on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
We got another week of the picks. We have gone a pedestrian 4-4 and 3-3 the past two weeks, but Week 11 is finally the time we breakthrough, and the good news is that we are still an impressive 36-25-1 on the season. There was a lot of Covid news to navigate so make sure you keep up to date on the NFL news.
Before we get started, a quick reminder: If you're gambling this weekend, make sure to do so with our friends at MyBookie. Just like Aaron's college football picks, MyBookie offers a special to readers of this website: If you sign up and use the promo code "TORRES," MyBookie will double your first deposit. So you want to be $50 on the Chiefs against the Raiders, MyBookie will give you $100 to play with if you use the promo code "TORRES" at checkout. It's the best deal going in sports gambling.
Now, let's get to the picks.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
Spread: Browns (-3)
The Browns did us dirty last week when Nick Chubb went out of bounds on the one yard line to prevent them covering -3.5 point spread against the Texans. The Browns controlled the entire game, but they were just abysmal on the offensive end. In reality it should not have gotten to that point. I guarantee you Chubb’s decision has brought negative vibes on Cleveland’s team. I guarantee you there are hundreds of frustrated gamblers who googled internet hexes and tried to cast curses on Cleveland Browns. As a positive vibes only write-up, we are not touching them again.
But on a more serious note I like the Eagles in this spot for football reasons only: This is the healthiest the Eagles have been all season and their star players Miles Sanders, Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson, and Alshon Jeffrey finally had a whole week of practice together. Amazingly, the Eagles are still sitting alone in first place in the NFC East despite the loss to the Giants, and their game against Cleveland is a must win.
With their weapons back on the offensive end, the Eagles should be able to move the ball on a Browns defense that is ranked 26th in overall success rate. The Eagles are healthy on the O-Line and they get a couple top receivers and Miles Sanders back in the lineup. It's also worth noting that the Browns defensive metrics (19th in DVOA) have looked a lot better than they are due to playing inclement weather the last few weeks. Cleveland ranks 31st defending passes to running backs and I think Sanders should be able to feast.
Offensively, the Browns have been incredibly mediocre. Yes, they have had to deal with terrible weather. They still struggled to move the ball against the Texans (28th in DVOA) and Raiders (21st in DVOA) in back to back weeks. They have to face a much tougher test against an Eagles team that ranks 15th in overall team DVOA and 13th in rush DVOA. The Browns are a one trick pony that relies on running the football. The Eagles have run stuffers up front in Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox to plug the A and B gaps. If the Eagles can force Baker Mayfield into passing situations things will get ugly for the Browns. Think about it from this perspective: Dak Prescott currently has more passing yards than Baker Mayfield, and Prescott has not played in more than a month.
This is one of the rare situations where we get a better quarterback and a better defense. The Eagles should come out with more urgency with a murderous row of games ahead against the Seahawks, Packers, and Saints looming. A must win game for the Eagles and I think they get it done.
The pick: Eagles (+3)
Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos
Spread: Dolphins (-3.5)
I can simply sum this pick by saying: Drew Lock and the Broncos suck.
This line simply does not make sense. I really don’t see a scenario where the Broncos are winning this game.
It appears as though the market is expecting a regression from Miami, playing at high altitude in a game on the road. But I feel an average game from Miami still gets us a cover here. You can make the argument the Dolphins have played the best football in the NFL over the course of their five game winning streak. The Dolphins defense has been great, ranking 13th in overall DVOA and 8th in pass DVOA. The Broncos lead the league in giveaways at 21. This is a recipe for disaster against a Dolphins defense that has terrorized offensive opponents with cover zero blitzes.
Defensively the Broncos unit has been kind of a mess. Denver has given up at least 30 points in their last four games. Miami’s offense with Tua has not been spectacular, but it has been good enough. With Denver missing pass rusher Shelby Harris, I can see Tua being more comfortable in the pocket, and he will have one of his better games.
This game seems easy because it is. Taking Miami to win this one on the road.
The pick: Dolphins (-3.5)
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts
Spread: Colts -1.5
Here is one of the biggest games of the weekend featuring two division leaders with probable Hall of Fame quarterbacks. This is one of my favorite games of the season. This is a matchup where we get one of the best metrically based offenses (Packers) going against
of one of the best defenses (Colts). The Packers rank second in offensive (DVOA), third in scoring and fourth in yards per play, but they have only played two top 15 defenses. The Colts rank fourth in DVOA, fourth in scoring and second in yards per play. The Colts have also played inferior competition, and the Packers are going to be their toughest test.
As for Green Bay, typically, the Packers offense struggles when matched up against physical defenses. Well, the Colts are a physical monster. The Packers struggled immensely when they went up against the Bucs defense earlier this year, and the Colts play a similar style. The Packers have been heavily reliant on explosive plays made by Davonte Adams. He will have to go against familiar veteran corner Xavier Rhodes who is the sixth ranked cornerback according to Pro Football Focus.
While we get a stalemate with strength on strength, I love the Colts offense in this spot against a soft Packers defense. The Colts offense has been lackluster so far this season but they are due for some positive regression. The Colts ranked 29th in yards per rush, but they rank 21st in line yards and have a 56 percent success rate on runs behind left tackle Anthony Castonzo. The Packers are giving up a 60 percent success rate on runs outside the tackles this season. With Nyheim Hines finally getting the reigns as the lead back, the Colts should kill the Packers on outside zone runs. They have a significant advantage on the offensive line and they should keep Phillip Rivers upright during this game. Last week the Jaguars Jake Luton was able to move the ball on the Packers with heavy winds. I expect the Colts to have similar success this week.
The Packers will be the public underdog for Week 11, and we are going to fade them in this spot. I love the Colts advantage in the trenches in this matchup and the Colts are going to bully the Packers all game. Give me the Colts to win this game at home.
The pick: Colts ML
Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Spread: KC (-8)
Last week we took the public seven point road underdog on Sunday Night Football and we paid for it. That’s not going to happen again.
The Las Vegas Raiders have been the most underappreciated team in football this year. Jon Gruden has done a hell of a job and he is
simply not getting enough credit. The Raiders are 7-3 while playing one of the most difficult schedules in the NFL.
Heading into this one, there has been a lot of talk about the Chiefs playing angry after the Raiders beat them in Arrowhead earlier this year. But I don’t buy that. Jon Gruden set up a perfect game plan to beat the Chiefs last time around and the Raiders have the personnel to execute it. The Raiders have a solid run game with Josh Jacobs to sustain long drives and keep Patrick Mahomes off the field. Derek Carr has proven he can make the deep throws to speedsters Henry Ruggs over the top.
This line has gone up massively from 6.5 to 9.5 with seven Raiders defenders in contact tracing protocol. But recent media reports seem to reflect that Gruden had optimism that LaMarcus Joyner, Clelin Ferrell, and Jonathon Abrams were all going to play. The Raiders have dealt with Covid issues earlier this season and they have proven to prepare well through these circumstances. Weird things happen at night in Las Vegas, and I think we will have a surprising outcome once again here. Give me the Raiders and the points.
The pick: Raiders (+8)
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spread: Rams (+4)
We finally got an exciting matchup on Monday Night Football. In an exciting matchup, I am going to channel my Aaron Torres persona and take the under here (sorry Torres, it's true). With all the flash of Sean McVay's play calling, Tom Brady, and Antonio Brown - the success story of these teams has been their defenses.
Rams' 37-year-old defensive coordinator Brandon Staley has been the best assistant coach in the NFL, and under Staley's new revamped defense, the Rams rank second in EPA, fourth in DVOA, first in fewest yards per play allowed, and second in overall scoring defense. They have the best pair of defensive players in the NFL, in Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald. The presence of Donald in the interior is going to cause massive problems for Tom Brady. The Rams quarter coverage should limit the Bucs propensity for the big play. While the Tampa has a top scoring offense (29.6) points per game, they fail to move the ball efficiency ranking 22nd in the NFL on play per play success rate (48%). The Bucs heavily rely on big passing plays but the Rams are the best team in the NFL in defensive explosive play percentage. So I can see a scenario where Tom Brady struggles to move the ball in prime time once again. Tampa’s offense has routinely struggled against top defenses. With the nightmare matchup for the Rams on the offensive side of the ball, the Rams defense knows they need to play well to win.
Offensively for the Rams, I do not see a scenario where they can move the ball. The easy formula to predict Jared Goff's success is if he’s clean in the pocket Goff is good, but if Goff has lineman in his face, Goff is bad. While under pressure, Goff is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league with a QBR in the 20’s and a completion percentage of 36 percent. The Buccaneers defense is one of the top units at getting after the quarterback. They rank third in adjusted sack rate, second in pressure percentage (27.3 percent), and they
blitz at a 40 percent clip. Throughout his career, Goff has shown inability to get the ball out of his hand quickly against pressure. It’s going to be hard for him to find open guys against a defense that plays good in coverage. The Buccaneers are excellent at stopping the run, and in reality McVay is going to have to find some miraculous creative ways to move the football against this Buccaneers defense.
I think this game goes down to the wire, and the Rams might be a viable underdog. But I rather take the under while I enjoy this defensive slugfest.
The pick: Under 48.5
Remember, if you're going to wager on these games or any others, make sure to use MyBookie. Put in the promo code "TORRES" at checkout, and you automatically receive a 100 percent sign-up bonus.