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NFL Week 11 picks, predictions against the spread

Dan takes a look into his crystal ball

Arizona Cardinals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Somewhere around 7 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, these picks crossed the threshold — we’re over .500 for the season. Week 10 was the third straight week of eight wins. Let’s try to make it four or just win more.

Remember these picks are strictly for fun and entertainment purposes and please for your sake do not take these picks as gambling advice. Lines used here come from the Westgate Las Vegas via OddsShark. Home team in CAPS.

Note: there’s no line for Cincinnati at Baltimore because no one knows who is going to play quarterback for the Ravens. We’ll update that pick when a quarterback (fingers crossed for Lamar Jackson) is named and a line comes out. Update: Lamar Jackson starting, Baltimore (-6). Let’s do it.

SEATTLE (-2.5) over Green Bay

This should be a fun game. Both of these teams — despite the disappointing records — are top-10 in DVOA. Seattle ranks eighth overall and Green Bay is 10th. The Seahawks offense should be able to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense and the Seattle defense should have the advantage to make that a little easier to do. Add that this game is in Seattle and the Seahawks being favored, even by a little, sounds right.

[Update: Starting the week with another win. 1-0].

Carolina (-4) over DETROIT

What do we make of Carolina? They were a strange team to start the year, had a brief dominant stretch, then got embarrassed by Pittsburgh last Thursday. But then there’s Detroit, who hasn’t exactly inspired at any point this season. The Panthers’ defense hasn’t been anywhere near where it’s been over the past few seasons — 24th in DVOA — but Detroit’s offense isn’t good enough to take advantage and Carolina’s offense is significantly better than the Lions defense.

Tennessee (+2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS

This game could be more fun than it looked like four weeks ago. Indianapolis only has an 18.7 percent chance of making the playoff per Football Outsiders, but the Colts have played well lately and rank 15th in DVOA. Tennessee is right behind them at 16th and the Titans defense is the best unit of the bunch. In a game that should be close, we can go with the points.

ATLANTA (-3.5) over Dallas

It looked like Atlanta was figuring out what it needed to, then whatever happened in Cleveland happened. The offense is still one of the best in the league — fourth in both yards and points per drive — but the defense is now the worst unit in the league by DVOA. The Falcons might get Deion Jones back this week, which would help against a Dallas offense that’s gone between fine and meh this season.

Tampa Bay (+1.5) over GIANTS

Tampa Bay had more than 500 yards of offense, but just three points last week. You can either laugh at that type of futility or realize a high number of things had to go wrong to come away with so few points. If the Bucs can put up close to that type of yardage on Sunday, expect way more points against a defense that has allowed the eighth-most yards and points per drive.

Houston (-3) over WASHINGTON

Washington is not a good team. The offense is just 21st in points per drive and 24th in big play rate. It’s a slow, methodical pace down the field. That’s probably not going to work against a Houston defense that’s been one of the best units in the league this season. There’s a dangerous pass rush against an injury-plagued offensive line and the Houston secondary has improved play throughout the season.

Pittsburgh (-5.5) over JACKSONVILLE

The Jaguars just aren’t the same team they were last season. The defense is still good, but there’s a big difference between first and ninth in defensive DVOA, especially when the offense drops from 14th to 28th. So while we can have memories of the five-interception game from Ben Roethlisberger, the Jaguars aren’t playing at that level and the Steelers are playing way better.

CHARGERS (-7) over Denver

There are maybe three or four divisions the Broncos could lead right now, but they play in the AFC West and sit at 3-6 despite ranking ninth in DVOA. The quarterback play hasn’t been consistent enough and that’s not going to work in a division with the Chiefs and Chargers. The Chargers have turned into one of the best teams in the league — third in overall DVOA, third on offense, and 11th on defense. Philip Rivers is having one of the best years of his career — third in QBR — and even typical Chargers things like bad kickers haven’t slowed them down.

ARIZONA (-5.5) over Oakland

So this is where we are with the Raiders, huh? 5.5-point dogs to the Cardinals and I don’t even flinch taking Arizona. The Cardinals are surprisingly sixth in defensive DVOA and that just might be enough to let the Arizona offense take the lead on a terrible Raiders defense. At least the Cardinals have some young players and hope for the future. The Raiders are just unwatchable.

NEW ORLEANS (-8) over Philadelphia

This is the Saints at home in the dome against an Eagles secondary that is falling apart more by the minute. Even as New Orleans has struggled on defense this season — 29th in yards allowed per drive and 27th in points allowed per drive — Philadelphia hasn’t shown the offensive ability to keep up if this turns into a shootout.

Minnesota (+2.5) over CHICAGO

The biggest weakness in Minnesota is the offensive line and that’s going to be an issue against the Chicago pass rush. But the Vikings do have enough on offense to get around that and the defense has played better of late — fourth in yards allowed per drive and fifth in points allowed per drive — which could slow down Mitchell Trubisky if the situation isn’t ideal for him.

Kansas City (+3.5) over RAMS

Give me the points, the over, and this matchup again in February, please.

Last week: 8-5-1
Season: 72-70-6