NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 11
Written by Brandon Lewis on November 16, 2017
By: Brandon Lewis
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins (-3)
In the battle of Florida, the Buccaneers head to Miami to take on the Dolphins. This was supposed to be the bye week for both teams, but since Hurricane Irma cancelled the Week 1 showdown, this game is taking place with both teams in a must-win situation. The Bucs are coming off a hard-earned victory against the New York Jets last week. They enter at 3-6, but in the competitive NFC South, another loss could end their hopes for a Wild Card birth. The Dolphins come in 4-5, and they have been struggling as of late. In the last three games, they have played on Thursday Night, Sunday Night and Monday Night, losing all three by a combined 67 points. Their offense looks lost, and the defense cannot stop anybody. Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans returns this week after missing last week due to a suspension, and I think he has a huge game and helps lead his team to victory. Tampa Bay, as a road underdog, is a solid pick this week.
Arizona Cardinals @ Houston Texans (+1.5)
This game features two teams that have disappointed thanks to a ton of injuries. Both teams have lost their starting quarterback – Carson Palmer in Week 7 and Deshaun Watson three week’s ago. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson has done an admirable job filling in for David Johnson, but he cannot catch balls out of the backfield and make people miss with his shiftiness like Johnson can. With Palmer and Johnson out, the offense does not look right, and their defense is not as good as it once was. The Texans defense that was ranked at the top of the league last year is now the twenty-second-best defense in the league, thanks to injuries to pass rushers J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Both of these teams are a mess and trending in the wrong direction. However, I think quarterback Tom Savage and the Texans have the advantage because they have the overall better receiving corp, allowing them to move the ball better. They are also at home, and as an underdog, look like a nice bet.
New England Patriots v. Oakland Raiders (+6.5)
In Week 11, Tom Brady leads the Patriots against Derek Carr and the Raiders in Mexico City. When the schedule first came out back in April, this was a marquee matchup because of how good these teams looked on paper coming into the season. While the Patriots have a 7-2 record and have been playing good football since the first month of the season, the Raiders come into play at 4-5 in desperate need of a win. Not only is Oakland a solid bet at +6.5, but I think they get the win. Last year, the Raiders played in Mexico City against the Texans, and they won the game 27-20. The Patriots defense is still in the bottom third of the league in total defense, even with the improvements they have made. They are thirty-first in pass defense, and Carr should have a great day throwing to wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. I think the Raiders’ defense frustrates the Patriots just enough to squeak out a close victory.
Atlanta Falcons (+3) @ Seattle Seahawks
Monday Night Football is a rematch of the NFC Divisional Playoff matchup last year. Now, the Seahawks will try to get revenge on the Falcons. The game last January was played in Atlanta, but it does not change the fact that Atlanta absolutely routed Seattle. Working in Atlanta’s favor, Seattle lost cornerback Richard Sherman for the season last week with a ruptured achilles tendon. When he went out, Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton was able to move the ball down the field, and the Cardinals offense is not on the same level as the Falcons. Yes, the Falcons have struggled this year, but they looked back to normal last Sunday when they beat the Dallas Cowboys 27-7. Seattle’s defense has seen its struggles this year even with Sherman. They almost lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, they gave up over 500 yards of offense to Deshaun Watson and the Texans and they lost at home to the 4-5 Washington Redskins just a couple of weeks ago. I just do not see how they stop the Falcons’ offense to win this game, as the road underdogs look good.