Friday, November 18, 2016

NFL Week 11 Primer (With Picks): Just The Picks, Ma'am

The Chiefs have won five in a row, and just might be getting Justin Houston back this week.
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Last week was bad. Combined, we went 10-18 against the spread, including an embarrassing 3-11 showing from Jeremy. We agreed on eight picks and went 2-6.

To express our shame (and also because Jeremy totally blanked Thursday night and forgot to write them), we have no real intro this week and no listed Game(s) of The Week. Just the picks. Which you should probably skip, because we suck at them. Just scroll down and point and laugh at Jeremy's Week 10 record.

Here Are The Picks We Agree On (Home Teams in CAPS)

CAROLINA (-3.5) over New Orleans

JC: We're off to a great start already.

JP: Seriously, how the (expletive) did Carolina not cover here? The Panthers were up 20!

Tennessee (+3) over INDIANAPOLIS

JC: Tennessee threw us off the scent for a hot second but I'm back on the bandwagon after their drubbing of Green Bay last week. I continue to believe that they're the best team in the AFC South. Or maybe I just really want it to be true and have tricked myself into thinking it.

JP: I actually think you're onto something, and I think people may have written Marcus Mariota off way too early (at least compared to Jameis Winston). Tennessee isn't great, but the Colts can't stop anybody.

DETROIT (-6.5) over Jacksonville

JC: So, uh, Detroit is in first place in the NFC North. Is everyone okay with this? Does this seem weird to anybody else? And this is despite, for the 89th consecutive year, having an embarrassingly poor running game. They aren't even really that far above average in any aspect, yet they've won four of their last five games. They might be a mirage. But they should take care of business at home against Jacksonville.

JP: Well, I seem to remember a guy named Barry Sanders who ran the ball pretty well for Detroit in the 90s, but I get your point. The Jags are bad again, and they aren't even "fun bad" like they were last year.

Arizona (+2) over MINNESOTA

JC: The Vikings just seem to be in free-fall. Arizona hasn't been that impressive themselves, but Minnesota has been a borderline dumpster-fire for the last month.

JP: Guys, Sam Bradford can't do this all on his own, and I'm only saying that half-sarcastically.

Buffalo (+2.5) over CINCINNATI

JC: Cincinnati is another team that just can't seem to get their junk together. Their run defense has been pretty bad, and now they're going up against the most explosive ground attack in the league. This seems like a bad matchup.

JP: Took the words right out of my mouth. Buffalo could be a nightmare for Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh's defense down the road.

DALLAS (-7) over Baltimore

JC: Here's a theory - what if the AFC North is just bad? It seems pretty obvious that the NFC East is better than the NFC North (a theory I would have rejected off-hand two months ago), but if the AFC North is just plain bad (regardless of the reference point), then this line might be three points too low.

JP: Didn't I say the AFC North was the worst division in football like, four weeks ago? 

Miami (-2.5) over LOS ANGELES

JC: The Case Keenum/Jared Goff thing is just funny at this point. The Rams are dead last in scoring, 31st in total offense, and Keenum has thrown 11 interceptions in 9 games. Exactly how bad would you expect Jared Goff to be?

JP: Well, Goff looks like he's going to start this week, so I guess we'll find out.

New England (-13) over SAN FRANCISCO

JC: The Patriots coming off a loss playing against the worst defense in the league? They might score 70.

JP: Ok, yeah.

Philadelphia (+6.5) over SEATTLE

JC: This pick is 100 percent bitterness. I'll cop to that.

JP: Yeah, but also, do you really have confidence in the Seahawks to not have an emotional letdown? That, plus Philadelphia occasionally looking brilliant makes me skeptical of giving a touchdown, even at home.

WASHINGTON (-3) over Green Bay

JC: As weird as this sounds, I think enough time has passed that we can say that betting against Green Bay until they show that we shouldn't is a reasonable strategy. I really don't have any confidence in their ability to go on the road against a better-than-average team and pull out a win.

JP: How are the Packers this underwhelming?

OAKLAND (-6) over Houston

JC: I will not be betting on Houston on the road at any point this season, especially playing against probably the second-best team in the AFC.

JP: Yeah, I've been saying Houston is a fraud for a while, and that I really like Oakland. This only makes sense.

Here are the Picks We Disagree On (Home Team Still in CAPS)

JC: KANSAS CITY (-7.5) over Tampa Bay

The Bucs have a terrible defense that Kansas City should be able to chew up pretty easily. With Justin Houston back in the lineup, they should have a pass rush to speak of as well. The Chiefs haven't had an impressive blowout win in a few weeks, this could be their "hey, in case you forgot, we're pretty damn good" game.

JP: Tampa Bay (+7.5) over KANSAS CITY

I guess I could see that happening, but I have enough faith in Tampa Bay's offense to keep this thing close. But yeah, the Chiefs are good, and nobody is talking about the fact that they've won five in a row.

JC: Pittsburgh (-9) over CLEVELAND

The Steelers need to come out and lay the smackdown in this game if they want any chance of bouncing back in this division.

JP: CLEVELAND (+9) over Pittsburgh

This is the part where I continue to bet against the Steelers and reap the benefits/cry.

JC: Chicago (+7.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS

Here are the Giants scoring margins this season: +1, +5, +7, +4, -7, -14, -2, +3, +1. Do you see any blowout wins in there? I don't either. In fact, they've been out-scored on the season. I'm not that comfortable with them giving more than a touchdown.

JP: NEW YORK GIANTS (-7.5) over Chicago

Solid point, but in case you forgot, this is Trump's America, and math/logic can't save you now!

Jeremy's Record:
Last Week: 3-11
Season: 71-72-4
Last Week's Disagreements: 1-5  
Season's Disagreements: 20-25-1

Joe's Record:
Last Week: 7-7
Season: 76-67-4
Last Week's Disagreements: 5-1   
Season's Disagreements: 25-20-1

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