Let’s be honest folks, this 2019 season has been a pathetic one for me on the blog. A season-long record of 21-33 is absolutely nothing to write home about. In fact, it’s embarrassing to admit. BUT, as a true gambler would tell you, “there’s a lot of game left”. If we sweep the next six weeks, I finish with a record way above .500. I may be down, but the clock is not at 0:00 yet.
Now, if you’ve been fading me for the last few weeks, congratulations, you are one rich individual. However, if you take away anything from this depressing blog, I hope it’s my locks of the week that have been hitting 75% of the time with a yearly record of 6-2.
Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 vs. Cleveland Browns
To start off Week 11, we are treated to a Thursday night matchup that features two teams that have been trending in two very different directions.
On one side, you have the Pittsburgh Steelers who were 1-5 to start the season after their first six games and on the other side, you have the Cleveland Browns who haven’t put together a pretty win once this year.
Yes, I know the Browns just beat a current playoff contender Buffalo Bills team, but let’s be honest here, they were one last-second play away from losing that game. And who have the Bills beat to where that game would be chalked up as a statement win?
I do think that Vegas is giving the Browns a little bit of a home-field advantage in this one by giving them the -2.5 edge, but on a neutral site, I think the Steelers are the better team here. I don’t trust Baker Mayfield against a pretty proven and hungry Pittsburgh defense and I’m anticipating a few turnovers from the young Cleveland quarterback.
As long as Mason Rudolph can do what he does best and simply manage this game, I think the Steelers ride their defense to victory in this one to victory. I’m taking the Steelers here +2.5 while also advising to take them on the ML.
**The Steelers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games. The Steelers are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games. The Browns are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
New York Jets +1 vs. Washington Redskins (LOCK)
This week’s line between the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins was one that I simply could not believe. In fact, my jaw dropped when I saw that the Jets were a 1 point underdog. Despite the fact that these teams are only one game apart in the win column, I still firmly believe that they are lightyears apart. In fact, if you ask me the Jets have greatly underachieved this year.
Yes, I know Sam Darnold was hurt early on, but I thought the fact that they now had one of the game’s best playmakers in Le’Veon Bell and a more than capable defense, that they would have been able to squeak out more than two wins by this point. As far as the Redskins go, I don’t even want to waste a sentence on them. To put it simply, They’re terrible and rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins is going to have to do a lot in this game and going forward to prove me otherwise. The fact that the Jets are better at arguably every position on the field and that they're coming off a nice team win against their city rival in the New York Giants makes the Jets +1 here an easy, easy pick for me.
**The Redskins are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games. The Reskins are 0-8 in their last 8 home games. The Jets are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games against the NFC East.
Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens OVER 49.5
The game between the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens has the potential to go down as 2019’s game of the year. Anytime you have two MVP candidates squaring off behind center in DeShaun Watson and Lamar Jackson, that instantly becomes must-watch television.
The Ravens come into this game being arguably the most impressive offensive team in the NFL as they have scored a combined 116 points over their last three games while the Texans have been great on offense as well, putting up a solid 76. Oh, and let's not forget that the Texans are coming off a bye, giving them an extra week to gameplan and allow their banged-up offensive weapons in Will Fuller and Jordan Thomas to get fully healthy.
Although both teams have very respectable and talented defenses, I still think the offensive firepower will reign supreme in this one. I think these teams trade touchdowns back and forth all game in this one. I love the OVER 49.5 play for this must-watch contest.
**The total has gone over in 5 of the Ravens last 7 games. The total has gone over in the 3 of the Texans last 5 games.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Oakland Raiders -10
The Oakland Raiders were a team I had absolutely no confidence in going into the 2019 season and boy have they proved me wrong. I didn’t have much expectation for the Cincinnati Bengals going into this year, but I think it's safe to say that whatever my expectations were, they’ve fallen well below it.
The funny storyline to me in this matchup and for the Raiders’ 2019 season in general is how dominant they have been as the home team (3-1 in Oakland, 4-1 as the home team if you count London) despite the fact that they are packing up and leaving for Las Vegas within the next few months. All of the Raiders’ losses this year have come to playoff contenders in the Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and the Houston Texans. They've balanced those L's with quality wins over the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Yes, I’m well aware that those “quality” wins are against teams that most likely miss the playoffs but the point I’m trying to make here is that the Raiders take care of business and beat the teams they need to beat. Nobody is going to call them out for losing the games they lost, but we would be roasting them for losing the games they won. All in all, their resume shows that they’re not quite a playoff team (yet), but it also shows that they are more than capable of blowing out an abysmal Bengals team, especially after having an extra three days to prepare (played Thursday night in Week 10).
I see the Raiders winning this one easily by double digits. I’m taking the Raiders here -10 and locking that in ASAP before the line moves against them.
**The Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games. The Bengals are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games.
New Orleans Saints -5.5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This week’s matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is an interesting one. We have the Saints coming into the game off a surprising blowout loss to their division foe, the Atlanta Falcons and the Bucs coming in off a big team win against fellow basement dweller, the Arizona Cardinals.
Despite momentum moving in two opposite directions for the two teams, I think the Saints immediately stop the shift this week by coming into Tampa and letting the Bucs know who still runs that division.
Given the early successes of the Saints, despite not even having Drew Brees, they were due for a clunker at some point this season. Luckily for them, it came in a regular season game that really won’t matter when the season is all said and done. I think the Saints dominant pass rush and stout secondary get to Jameis Winston early, causing him to give up a few of his trademark turnovers.
Drew Brees and Sean Payton don’t get caught napping in back to back weeks. I think all of the factors going into this game makes it easy to hammer the pick of Saints by -5.5 an easy one.
**The Saints are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games. The Saints are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games. The Buccaneers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games. The Buccaneers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers +4
Considering how much I went back and forth on this game this week, I’m a little surprised with myself that I decided to include this game as one of my top six picks.
I think the most underwhelming and inconsistent team this year in the NFL is the Los Angeles Chargers and that to me that is not even up for debate. Coming into this season I saw the Kansas City Chiefs as the favorite to win it all and despite a few major injuries throughout this season, I still think they have what it takes to beat anybody.
However, this game is taking place in Mexico City. A place where neither team is familiar with in a stadium where neither team should have a great home-field advantage fanwise (Chargers never have one anyway, so this is a double plus for them). My logic behind this pick is that I’m taking the team that is given the points.
Straight up, I think the Chiefs win this game, but I don’t believe it will be easy. Despite the Chargers up and down season, let’s not forget they still have a borderline Hall of Fame quarterback in Phillip Rivers and top offensive threats in Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry.
If the Chargers decide to wake up for this one, I think they can hang with the Super Bowl threat Chiefs. Again, the neutral field makes the Chargers plus the points even more intriguing for me. I’m rolling the dice here and taking the Chargers +4.
**The Chiefs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games.
Season Record: 21-33
Lock of the Week: 6-2
Original photo via New York Jets Twitter (@nyjets)