The NFL column is back and we are due for a bounce back week. Going to admit, last week was not great. We went 1-5, and we have nothing to go but up from here.
In football we just worry about the next play, we don’t think about the past. Positive vibes only here at AT media. We are 37-34 on the year, so still positive year to date. Week 12 is the week we get back on track. So without further to do here are the picks.
Indianapolis at Houston
Spread: Indianapolis (-10)
It’s ugly home dog season. Indianapolis beat Houston handily 31-3 earlier in the season, but that was when Davis Mills was the starter. Houston is a significantly better team with Tyrod Taylor under center.
Despite it, this still looks like a bad matchup for Houston. Houston ranks 31st against the run and Indy has been running teams over with Jonathon Taylor leading the way. But many of those rushing stats have been compiled in blowout performances. Both teams are coming off losses. Houston’s home loss against New York looks extremely bad.
But I get a competent QB going against an Indy defense that struggles defending deep passes. We saw Houston in an underdog spot a couple weeks ago against Tennessee, and I think they will be viable here as well. I would wait to make sure Brandin Cooks is a full go. Assuming he plays, Houston is live to keep this game competitive. Give me Houston and the points at home.
The pick: Houston (+10)
Philadelphia at New York
Spread: Philadelphia (-5)
Is it possible that New York may be overrated? It sounds crazy, but their power rating is inflated due to the fluke win at Cincy early this season with Mike White. They beat Miami in a coin flip again in London.
On the other hand, Philadelphia may be the most improved team in football. That’s because Philly’s head coach Nick Sirianni found out his team is pretty good at running the football. Philly ranks third overall in rush DVOA and they will face a NYJ defense that ranks 31st in rush DVOA. Gardner Minshew will be getting the start in replace of Jalen Hurts. The line has moved two points. I’m not concerned with the change of quarterback.
New York has the worst defense in the league, Philly moves the ball regardless. Philly is one of the best teams playing with a lead. They have a great secondary and interior pass rush. They’re four quarters coverage will bait Zach Wilson into making a handful of mistakes. I typically don’t like taking road favorites, but making an exception here.
The pick: Philadelphia (-5)
Los Angeles at Cincinnati
Spread: Cincinnati (-3)
This is a game that professional bettors are split on. Cincinnati is coming off their best performance of the year, slaughtering their divisional rival Pittsburgh. Now they have to turn around to play a desperate Los Angeles team.
LA has the worst run defense in the league. We saw Joe Mixon go full beast mode against Pittsburgh last week. It’s also fair to note, Trey Hopkins and Riley Reiff are questionable for Cincy. The dominant run game is the only path for Cincy here. Los Angeles is a more diverse team. LA ranks ahead of Cincy in overall DVOA (16th vs 18th). While the Cincy defense has been a revelation this season (16th in DVOA), they have faced the 27th worst schedule of offenses this season. Cincy defense is vulnerable to explosive passing plays. Which is kind of a problem when you are facing Justin Herbert at QB.
This line is a major overreaction from Cincy’s blowout win against Pittsburgh and LA loss at Denver. Give me LA has a short road dog.
The pick: Los Angeles +3
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Spread: Baltimore (-4)
Talk about overreaction from last week, this line is the definition of one. Pittsburgh has been significantly downgraded after their performance against Cincy last week. Although Baltimore came away with home victory last week, they looked less than stellar securing a victory despite Lamar Jackson’s four interceptions.
Most importantly, Ben Roethlisberger announced this will be his last season with Pittsburgh. You really think Big Ben is losing his last home start against Baltimore? I don’t think so. Baltimore defense has a narrative history of being great, but this year’s unit does not hold up to the pedigree of years past. Baltimore ranks 18th in DVOA and 24th against the pass.
Pittsburgh has some playmakers on the outside. The true difference maker in this game is the presence of TJ Watt on the edge. Pittsburgh has a top 5 defense with him, but their DVOA falls in the bottom 20 without him. He is the most valuable defensive player in the NFL right now. Unlike Clowney, Watt is capable of bringing Lamar down.
The Baltimore offense is in a funk, and Pittsburgh shuts them down Sunday.
Give me Pittsburgh in an underdog spot in a must win game at home.
The pick: Pittsburgh (+4)
Denver at Kansas City
Spread: Kansas City (-8.5)
Believe it or not, Sunday Night Football has first place in the AFC West at stake. Denver will be in first place with a win. That’s how crazy this NFL season has been. After two convincing wins against Las Vegas and Dallas, Kansas City is priced at the top of the market-again.
Naturally, it’s time to fade them. I think Denver is a great matchup.
Defensively, Vic Fangio plays a two deep look that has given Kansas City fits all season. Dallas and Las Vegas decided not to join the trend and remained in their base cover 3 look against Kansas City. Which allowed the KC offense to thrive. I expect some push back this week. In their last eight games when favored by seven or more dating back to last season, the Chiefs are 0-8 ATS.
Offensively, Denver is pretty underrated. They are extremely balanced, ranking 12th in passing DVOA and 13th in running DVOA. Javonte Williams is an explosive back who can take over a game. With Melvin Gordon being doubtful, he should get a lot of touches here. Bridgewater will lead long drives against this Kansas City defense while avoiding the big mistake.
Denver is on the right side here. Fade Kansas City is back in play.
Follow Austin Montgomery on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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