John Halpin's Week 11 NFL Picks
15 Nov, 2017 by John Halpin
Through 10 weeks, Jeff Ratcliffe of Pro Football Focus leads the Pickwatch standings with a 99-47 record (straight up). More importantly, the Pickwatch Fan Picks are T-6 with a 96-50 mark. If you beat all the alleged experts, you’ll keep coming back here, right?
On to the Week 11 picks, with selections being both straight up and against the spread unless noted otherwise. If you have any questions, catch me on Twitter (@jhalpin37).
(Home team in CAPS.)
Week 10 records: 11-3 SU, 8-5 ATS (Seahawks-Cardinals was a push)
Overall: 87-59 SU, 69-71 ATS
STEELERS (-7) over Titans
I joked last week that I expected the Titans to advance to 6-3 for the season, and I would still be unimpressed. What have they done since Week 3 to make us say, “Hey, these guys are really good?” Maybe they’ll prove me wrong on Thursday, but until they do …
The pick: Steelers win and cover
Jaguars (-7.5) over BROWNS
The Browns have lost three of their four home games by just a field goal. I want to pick them here – to win, and not just cover the spread – but the pairing of DeShone Kizer with the Jags’ D is too combustible. Let’s split the difference.
The pick: Jags win, Browns cover
VIKINGS (-2) over Rams
I like the new and improved Rams as much as the next prognosticator, but they’re heading east for the dreaded 1 p.m. kickoff, and the Vikings are pretty darned good. This is the best game of the week, and the Vikes should take it.
The pick: Vikings win and cover
PACKERS (+2) over Ravens
Brett Hundley looked competent last week, right? Unfortunately, he injured his hamstring against the Bears, and he’s got a date with a Ravens’ defense that ranks third in passing yards allowed, while leading the NFL with 13 interceptions. I keep saying I don’t know what to make of the Ravens, and that holds true here. With Hundley’s status in question, let’s give the Ravens a road win.
The pick: Ravens win and cover
Chiefs (-11) over GIANTS
When my kids make their weekly picks – they’re 54 percent against the spread, by the way – my advice usually includes the idea that NFL teams don’t usually roll over and die when things get tough. The Giants are testing this theory right now – Googling “giants quit” returns more than 8.4 million results. However, if they have any pride left, they’ll keep things respectable at home versus a Chiefs’ team that has lost three of its last four games. This spread is too big.
The pick: Chiefs win, Giants cover
SAINTS (-8) over Redskins
I pick the Redskins often because I like Kirk Cousins. Four months from now, when he signs the largest contract in NFL history, I’ll smile.
Sorry, Kirk – I’m staying away this week. The Saints look too good. They run the ball very well, their defense is surprisingly strong, and they can unleash Drew Brees whenever they need to.
The pick: Saints win and cover
TEXANS (+1.5) over Cardinals
Drew Stanton (or maybe Blaine Gabbert) versus Tom Savage? OMG I can’t believe the NFL’s ratings are down!
The Texans’ offense is lost without DeShaun Watson, and their defense hasn’t been as good as advertised (even without J.J. Watt). The Cardinals are in a similar boat, but their offense is probably worse. Do I have to pick one of these teams? OK, fine.
The pick: Texans win and cover
BEARS (+3) over Lions
I thought the pesky-at-home Bears would beat the Packers in Week 10. They might have done so if it wasn’t for that ridiculous fumble-touchback-challenge play. Oh, well.
The 5-4 Lions have won two straight, but those games were against Hundley and Kizer. Let’s go with the home team on what should be a chilly day in Chicago.
The pick: Bears win and cover
DOLPHINS (-2.5) over Bucs
During Monday night’s game, about half my Twitter feed consisted of messages saying, “How did the Dolphins win four games?” They’re bad – Football Outsiders’ DVOA system now has them rated as the NFL’s worst team. Worse than the Browns, even.
But, the Dolphins did win those four games, including road contests against the Chargers and Falcons. This week, they’ll host Ryan Fitzpatrick and a disappointing Bucs’ defense. Afterwards, we’ll be talking about how they’re the worst 5-5 team in league history.
The pick: Dolphins win and cover
CHARGERS (-4) over Bills
The Bills appear to be imploding before our eyes. That’s too bad, as they were a good early-season story.
The Chargers’ horrible, self-inflicted loss at Jacksonville sure has dampened my playoff prediction for them. I still have faith, though.
The pick: Chargers win and cover
RAIDERS (+7) over Patriots
Hola! The Pats and Raiders battle in Mexico City, where the altitude (7,300 feet above sea level) will be no match for Tom Brady’s training regimen. In fact, the Pats stayed in Colorado after beating the Broncos, making this week’s altitude adjustment a non-issue.
The Pats are an easy pick, right? Their defense has improved since its early-season struggles, and they look like their usual, dominant selves after five consecutive wins. Yeah, whatever. Coming off a bye, I have a feeling the Raiders will play well.
The pick: Raiders win and cover
BRONCOS (-2.5) over Bengals
Ewwww … sorry if you have to watch this one. The Broncos have lost five straight games, and allowed 121 points over their last three. Meanwhile, the only team the Bengals have beaten away from home is the Browns. These are similarly bad teams, so we’ll take the home version.
The pick: Broncos win and cover
Eagles (-3.5) over COWBOYS
The Cowboys’ loss in Week 10 showed that they miss Ezekiel Elliott, though perhaps not as much as All-Pro LT Tyron Smith, whose status for this game is TBD. Oh, and they’re also expected to play without All-Pro LB Sean Lee. That’s three strikes.
The pick: Eagles win and cover
SEAHAWKS (-3) over Falcons
No Richard Sherman and no Devonta Freeman for this one. Bummer.
The inconsistent Falcons are 1-4 ATS on the road this season, and will visit one of the league’s most hostile environments … where the Redskins won in Week 9. This one could go either way. Coin flip time.
The pick: Seahawks win and cover
The Chiefs are the week’s only double-digit favorite, and we haven’t used them here. Do we care this late in the season if they break our rule about not using road teams?
The biggest home favorites are the Saints and Steelers, both of whom face solid opponents. The Chargers are tempting, with a home matchup against the imploding Bills. But do we trust them enough? Nah – let’s go with the Chiefs.
Week 1: Bills (win)
Week 2: Ravens (win)
Week 3: Panthers (loss)
Week 4: Seahawks (win)
Week 5: Eagles (win)
Week 6: Broncos (loss)
Week 7: Rams (win)
Week 8: Bengals (win)
Week 9: Texans (loss)
Week 10: Lions (win)