NFL Pick'em Week 11: Man vs. Machine

Written by John Ferguson
November 15, 2019
635 views

NFL Pick'em Week 11

NFL Picks.jpgBoy, did we have a wild week in the NFL! Upsets galore made betting a little tricky to navigate this week. The Falcons clobbered their division rival the first-place Saints 26-9. The Saints were ~14 point favorites coming into that one, making them the heaviest favorite to lose this season. I liked the Falcons to cover that massive spread but never saw this type of upset. The Titans also found themselves on the winning side of a 35-32 shoot out upset against the Chiefs who just got Mahomes back. 95% of the bets and 93% of the money was on the Chiefs in that game at FanDuel Sportsbook according to Darren Rovell which is amazing. The Browns beat the Bills in what was the highest volume game in terms of betting at William Hill with 18% of the money going to that game. The Browns were the favorite but felt like underdogs the way they had played. The suddenly hot Dolphins handed the Colts a loss in a low-scoring affair by a total of 16-12. I had mentioned last week that it's getting harder to expect the Fins to lose by double digits each week, making their +11.5 spread attractive last week. They have covered the spread in five straight now. The Steelers upset the Rams who were fresh off a bye week 17-12. This is far from the dominant Rams team we had seen last season and the wheels are just completely falling off at this point. The prime time slates saw two upsets as well with the Vikes beating the Cowboys 28-24 and the Seahawks handing the 49ers their first loss of the season 27-24.

As for my weekly battle with the machine, man brought his winning streak to four games in Week 10 as I topped the machine in ATS/OU picks combined going 11-8 (58%) compared to the machine who went 9-10 (47%). My total season record is up to 132-125 (51.4%). Our weekly head-to-head battle has man bettering his lead by a margin of 7-3. The more I beat the machine, the less I respect "Terminator" movies for some reason, but there are still seven games left in the regular season so there's plenty of time for me to screw this up! The machine and I actually agree on a lot of picks this week and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Even picks like the Pats/Eagles O/U at 45 points being a push was exactly the same.

In case this is your first time reading this column, here is a quick recap of what we are doing with our weekly pick'em coverage. We have partnered up with the folks over at Betting Antelope who will be providing "the machine" aspect of our weekly pick'em. If you're unfamiliar with their product, Betting Antelope is an impressive machine learning model powered by SportsData.io and designed to predict moneyline, against the spread, over/under, and total team wins for NFL games. The model ingests data and trains itself each week as the season goes on, optimizing profitability by using a combination of regression and decision tree models to make picks. So this season, it's my research, opinions, and instincts vs. the machine.

Now that we have recapped the season thus far, let's take a look at our picks for Week 11!

For more info see FantasyData's Latest NFL Odds page here.


Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions

Matchup Notes:

  • Dak Prescott has been sacked just once on 83 pass attempts against the blitz this season -- best among NFL QBs.
  • Dak Prescott has completed passes for 20+ yards on 12 of his 56 total passing attempts (21.4%) when under pressure this season -- best of 35 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 9.0%
  • Ezekiel Elliott totaled 240 yards from scrimmage and one TD in one game against the Lions last season.
  • Amari Cooper has averaged 134.6 yards from scrimmage per game (673 yards / 5 games) on the road this season -- best of 105 qualified NFL WRs
  • Marvin Jones hasn't topped 56 yards and has no TDs in three career games against the Cowboys.
  • Lions WRs have caught 10 touchdown passes since Week 7 -- most in NFL.
  • The Lions defense has allowed a passer rating of 128.7 since Week 7 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 93.7
  • The Lions defense has allowed 13 TD passes since Week 7 -- tied for most in NFL.
  • The Cowboys are averaging 27.9 PPG overall this season (sixth-most) but just 25 PPG on the road. They've averaged 32.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Lions have allowed 26.3 PPG this season.
  • The Lions are averaging 24.1 PPG this season. 
  • The Cowboys have allowed 18.9 PPG this season -- sixth-fewest in NFL.
  • The Cowboys are 5-4 ATS this season. The over has hit in six-of-nine games this season and three-of-four road games.
  • The Lions are 4-5 ATS this season. They're 0-5 ATS in their last five games. The over has hit in six-of-nine games this season and three-of-four home games.

The Cowboys are coming off a disappointing home loss to the Vikings last week. The running game let them down as the team managed just 50 total yards of rushing offense. Before last week, the Cowboys had two solid wins against division rivals with a bye week sandwiched in between. When you zoom out, they have lost four of their last six games including their last two home games against NFC opponents. They'll need to tighten things up over the back half of their remaining schedule with tough road matchups against the Patriots, Bears, and Eagles still left on the docket. 

The Lions look like they'll be preparing to play without Matthew Stafford under center again this week. The Lions tied their lowest score of the season without Stafford last week by putting up just 13 points against the Bears. Jeff Driskel didn't completely sink the ship in Stafford's place as QB but is still a pretty big downgrade based on how well Stafford had played so far this season. With no running game to speak of all season as well, this Lions offense is starting to cave in and the defense has been a liability all season, especially in close and late situations. You would expect a close game here with Stafford active but without him, the Lions don't stand much of a chance. The spread and lines will shift if/when Stafford is eventually ruled out, but most are unreliable at the moment. I will take a spread up to 10 points in favor of the Cowboys.

My Final Prediction: Cowboys win 30-20

My Pick: N/A

Machine Pick: N/A


Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • Leonard Fournette has scored three TDs in two career games against the Colts.
  • Leonard Fournette has averaged 3.6 yards after contact per carry this season-best of 32 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 2.2
  • Jaguars WRs have averaged 7.3 yards after the catch since Week 7 -- 2nd best in NFL; League Avg: 4.5
  • The Jaguars defense has hit opposing QBs on 13.3% of dropbacks since Week 7 -- 3rd best in NFL; League Avg: 8.9%
  • The Jaguars defensive line has missed 31 tackles this season -- 2nd most in NFL
  • Colts WRs have caught 12 touchdown passes in the red zone this season -- most in NFL
  • Marlon Mack hasn't topped 46 rushing yards and has no TDs in four career games against the Jags.
  • The Colts defense has allowed 2 touchdowns on 90 completions (45.0 Completions Per TD) since week 7 -- 2nd best in NFL; League Avg: 13.6
  • The Colts are 1-3 in their last four games against the Jags and have been shut out twice in that span.
  • The Jaguars are averaging 19.6 PPG this season.
  • The Colts have allowed 21.4 PPG this season.
  • The Colts are averaging 21.6 PPG this season.
  • The Jaguars have allowed 21 PPG this season.
  • The Jaguars are 5-4 ATS this season. They're 3-1 ATS on the road this season. The under has hit in five-of-nine games this season. 
  • The Colts are 4-4-1 ATS this season. They're 2-3 ATS both at home and as a favorite this season. The over has hit in five-of-nine games this season.

The Jaguars are coming fresh off their bye week and announced that they will be getting Nick Foles back under center. Minshew-mania will be put on hold until further notice. The Jags went 4-4 with Minshew under center while Foles nursed his injury but are currently in last place in the AFC South looking up. They can gain some ground on the division with a win here against the second-place Colts who are doing the walk of shame into Week 11 after dropping another disappointing loss, this time against the Dolphins. The Jags also get an inter-division tilt against the Titans next week. If there was any time in the season to get hot, this is definitely it.

The Colts just couldn't get into a rhythm last week as Jacoby Brissett was missed more than we had anticipated. The Dolphins had Brian Hoyer's number as they intercepted him three times. The Colts have now lost two in a row but have continued to keep games extremely close having not lost by more than one possession in any game this season. A lot will be decided for the Colts in the coming weeks with three-straight games against division rivals on tap. They're tough to trust as a favorite this week given the luck they have had in recent weeks and neither team has been drastically different in home or away situations. 

My Final Prediction: Jaguars win 24-21

My Pick: Jaguars +2.5, Over 43.5

Machine Pick: Jaguars +2.5, Over 43.5


Buffalo Bills (-6.5) at Miami Dolphins

Matchup Notes:

  • Josh Allen has a 7-3 TD/INT ratio in three career games against the Dolphins.
  • The Bills defensive line has missed 33 tackles on 87 opportunities (37.9%) this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 18.7%
  • The Bills defense has allowed an average of 2.9 yards after contact per carry this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 2.1
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick has gained 70.3% of his total passing yards through the air against the blitz this season -- highest of 32 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 53.3%
  • Kalen Ballage has averaged 2.4 yards from scrimmage per touch since Week 7 -- lowest of 44 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 4.8
  • The Dolphins have allowed opponents to pressure their QB on 20.6% of dropbacks this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 14.1%
  • The Bills are 4-1 in their last five games against the Dolphins.
  • The Bills are averaging 19.3 PPG this season.
  • The Dolphins have allowed 29.8 PPG overall this season (second-most) but just 19 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Dolphins are averaging 13.2 PPG this season (second-fewest) but have averaged 18.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Bills have allowed 16.7 PPG this season (third-fewest) and just 14 PPG on the road.
  • The Bills are 5-3-1 ATS this season. They're 3-0-1 ATS on the road this season but just 2-3 ATS as a favorite and 1-3 ATS in their last four games. The under has hit in seven-of-nine games.
  • The Dolphins are 5-4 ATS this season. They're 5-0 ATS in their last five games. The under has hit in six-of-nine games.

The Bills and Dolphins get a rematch of their Week 7 matchup where the Bills came away with the win 31-21. If we remember though, the Dolphins were actually working on an upset in that game until the BIlls came back to win it in a fourth-quarter comeback. At that was when the game was held at home for them in Buffalo. A combination of the Dolphins suddenly winning games and now have home-field advantage has likely factored into the spread being much closer in this game. The Fins have also covered in their last five games making double-digit spreads a little less likely to see unless they fall off the deep end again.

The Dolphins defense had its best game of the season last week grabbing three INTs against Brian Hoyer and the Colts. They have now held their last two opponents under 20 points with the 12 points allowed to the Colts last week being the lowest opponent score of the season for them. The Bills haven't inspired much faith since the last time these two teams met while the Dolphins have suddenly become competitive. This should set up another decent scenario for the Dolphins to cover and I wouldn't be surprised to see them stun their division rivals this time. Both teams have seen the under hit frequently this season, though they combined for 52 points earlier this season.

My Final Prediction: Bills win 21-17

My Pick: Dolphins +6.5, Under 41

Machine Pick: Dolphins +6.5, Under 41


Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings (-10)

Matchup Notes:

  • Phillip Lindsay has averaged 3.9 yards before contact per carry (34 carries) since Week 7 -- 2nd best of 35 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 2.0
  • Broncos WRs have been targeted once in the red zone since Week 7 -- 2nd fewest in NFL
  • The Broncos defense has allowed 7 TD passes this season -- tied for 2nd fewest in NFL.
  • Xavier Rhodes has allowed receptions to receivers he was covering on 18 of 20 targets (90.0%) since Week 7 -- highest of 51 qualified NFL defensive backs; League Avg: 63.1%
  • Dalvin Cook has averaged 154.8 yards from scrimmage per game since Week 7 -- best of 35 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 41.3
  • The Vikings have run the ball on 50.3% of plays this season -- 3rd highest in NFL; League Avg: 39.9%
  • Stefon Diggs has averaged 12.8 yards per target this season -- best of 67 qualified NFL WRs; League Avg: 8.2
  • The Broncos have won their last three games against the Vikings.
  • The Broncos are averaging 16.6 PPG this season.
  • The Vikings have allowed 18.2 PPG this season (fifth-lowest) and just 13.8 PPG at home.
  • The Vikings are averaging 26.2 PPG overall this season and 29.8 PPG at home. 
  • The Broncos have allowed 18.9 PPG this season -- tied for sixth-fewest. 
  • The Broncos are 5-4 ATS this season. They're 4-2 ATS this season as the underdog and 2-2 ATS on the road. The under has hit in six-of-nine games this season and three-of-four road games. It has also hit in four-of-six games as the underdog.
  • The Vikings are 6-4 ATS this season. They're 3-1 ATS at home and 5-3 ATS as the favorite.

The Broncos are coming off a bye week but are likely still riding high after upsetting the Browns in Week 9 in Brandon Allen's first start as QB in place of an injured Joe Flacco. There were virtually no expectations for Allen making the win all the more impressive. But let's not kid ourselves, this is still an incredibly inexperienced QB now going into Minnesota to face a Vikings team that is 4-0 at home so far this season.

The Broncos defense had a slow start but has helped carry the team as of late, and Kirk Cousins is no stranger to dropping a total dud on us on occasion. I don't see an upset in the cards by any means and the Vikes have also won five of their last six games but I anticipate a fairly low scoring game here from both teams which make me a little wary of a double-digit spread. The Vikes only beat the Redskins by 10 points recently at home who are a much worse team all around than the Broncos right now. 

My Final Prediction: Vikings win 24-16

My Pick: Broncos +10, Push O/U (40)

Machine Pick: Broncos +10, Under 40


New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Matchup Notes:

  • Drew Brees has just six passing TDs in his last six games at Tampa Bay.
  • Drew Brees has completed 88.2% of passes against the blitz this season -- best of NFL QBs. The Buccaneers defense has blitzed on 30.2% of plays this season -- 2nd highest in NFL; League Avg: 17.2%
  • Alvin Kamara has six TDs in five career games against the Bucs but just one TD in two career games at Tampa Bay.
  • Michael Thomas has at least 94 receiving yards in five-of-six career games against the Bucs with 180 yards or more twice.
  • Jameis Winston has thrown less than two TDs in five-of-eight career games against the Saints.
  • Mike Evans has had three targets and no receptions in two-of-five career home games against the Saints. He's been held to 55 yards or less in seven-of-10 career games against them.
  • Chris Godwin has four TDs in five career games against the Saints.
  • The Buccaneers defense has tackled opponents for a loss on 15 of 58 rushing attempts (25.9% TFL%) since Week 7. -- 2nd best in NFL; League Avg: 12.6%
  • The Saints are 4-2 in their last six games against the Bucs.
  • The Saints are averaging 22.7 PPG this season.
  • The Bucs have allowed 31 PPG this season -- most in NFL.
  • The Bucs are averaging 28.9 PPG this season -- third-most in NFL.
  • The Saints have allowed 20.2 PPG this season.
  • The Saints are 6-3 ATS this season. They're 3-1 ATS on the road and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games. The under has hit in three of their last four games.
  • The Bucs are 2-7 ATS this season. They're 0-3 ATS at home and 0-5 ATS in their last five games. The over has hit in each of their last seven games.

We all know the story by now, the Saints got embarrassed by one of the worst defenses in the league last week, the Atlanta Falcons. This game had smash spot written all over it for Drew Brees to put up a vintage performance. Instead, the Saints continued to do what they have done all season. 30+ points one week, less than 14 the next. It has been a see-saw season with or without Brees in the lineup for the Saints all year. They'll look to get back on track this week against a Bucs team they already beat 31-24 earlier this season at home in Week 5. The game last week feels like an outlier, but with such high variance in their weekly scoring output, you're not comfortable putting money on this team right now.

The Bucs are another team you're never comfortable betting on as Jameis Winston can single handily derail the game with his turnover prowess. The Bucs squeezed out a win against the Cards last week despite Jameis giving up two INTs and taking four sacks in the game. Winston had an error-free performance last time they faced the Saints this season, but he didn't put up his ugly volume as part of the cost. The Bucs defense also gave up a big day to Teddy Bridgewater their last time out against the Saints letting him throw for 314 yards and four TDs with one INT in the contest. They'll need to play tighter on defense this time around if they want a chance to win. 

My Final Prediction: Saints win 30-27

My Pick: Bucs +5.5, Over 50

Machine Pick: Saints -5.5, Over 50


New York Jets at Washington Redskins (-2.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • The Redskins are 8-3 all-time against the Jets.
  • Sam Darnold has a passer rating of just 22.2 against the blitz (48 Pass Attempts) since Week 7 -- lowest of 26 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 90.1
  • The Jets defense has tackled opponents for a loss on 30 of 101 rushing attempts (29.7% TFL%) since week 7. -- best in NFL; League Avg: 12.6%
  • The Jets have allowed a QB Hit on 14.3% of dropbacks this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 8.6%
  • The Jets have gone three and out on 33.9% of their drives this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 20.6%
  • The Redskins defense has allowed just one passing TD (67 pass attempts) since Week 7 -- tied for best in NFL
  • The Redskins defense has allowed opponents to catch 24 of 30 passes (80.0% Reception Pct) in the red zone this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 59.8%
  • The Redskins have run an average of 43.7 of plays per game since Week 7 -- lowest in NFL; League Avg: 63.3
  • The Jets are averaging 14.4 PPG this season -- third-fewest in NFL.
  • The Redskins have allowed 24.3 PPG this season.
  • The Redskins are averaging 12 PPG this season -- fewest in NFL.
  • The Jets have allowed 26.4 PPG overall this season and 29 PPG on the road.
  • The Jets are 3-6 ATS this season. They're 1-3 ATS on the road this season and 1-3 ATS in their last four games. The over has hit in four of their last five games.
  • The Redskins are 3-6 ATS this season. They're 1-3 ATS at home this season and 2-1 ATS in their last three games. The under has hit in each of their last six games.

I feel like I say this every week when it comes to the Jets game, but this is probably the least exciting game of the week all around. The Jets at least broke out of their slump a bit last week thanks to the Giants winning the battle of who has the worst defense. The win ended a three-game skid for the Jets who will now face another terrible opponent in the Redskins. 

The Redskins have scored no more than nine points in five of their last six games. This isn't exactly the best growth scenario for rookie QB Dwayne Haskins to find his place in the league, but they have taken the sink or swim approach anyways. The team is due to get RB Derrius Guice back on the field soon and if he can actually stay on the field for once he could help open things up a bit for the passing game. For what it's worth, the Redskins defense has only allowed more than 20 points once in their last four games which gives them hope to hold off what is still a low-volume, low-talent Jets offense and coaching staff. I want no part of this game for betting purposes.

My Final Prediction: Jets win 21-17

My Pick: Jets +2.5, Under 38.5

Machine Pick: Jets +2.5, Push O/U


Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-4.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • The Falcons are 6-1 in their last seven games against the Panthers.
  • Falcons WRs have no touchdowns on 49 receptions since Week 7 -- tied for highest Reception per TD rate in NFL
  • The Falcons defense has intercepted 2 of 296 attempts (148.0 pass attempts per int.) this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 45.7
  • Christian McCaffrey has averaged 153.9 yards from scrimmage per game this season-best of NFL RBs
  • Christian McCaffrey has averaged 5.3 yards before contact per carry (58 carries) since Week 7 -- best of 35 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 2.0
  • The Panthers defense has allowed 6.3 yards per carry since Week 7 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 4.4
  • The Falcons are averaging 21.2 PPG overall this season and 25.4 PPG on the road.
  • The Panthers have allowed 25.3 PPG this season.
  • The Panthers are averaging 25 PPG this season.
  • The Falcons have allowed 28.8 PPG this season -- fourth-most in NFL.
  • The Falcons are 3-6 ATS this season. They're 1-4 ATS on the road (worst in NFL) and 3-4 ATS as underdogs. The under has hit in six of their nine games this season and each of their last three.
  • The Panthers are 5-4 ATS this season. They're 3-1 ATS as a favorite this season. The over has hit in four of their last five games.

Matt Ryan.jpgThe Falcons pulled off the most thrilling upset of the season against the Saints last week, but it came with a cost. The team lost breakout tight end Austin Hooper and veteran RB and two-time Pro-Bowler Devonta Freeman in the matchup. The win ended a brutal six-game losing streak and will keep head coach Dan Quinn employed for at least one more week. The biggest win for the Falcons in the game was the strong stand their defense finally took after getting beaten down each and every week before this. They didn't allow the Saints to score a single TD in the game and will look to build on that momentum against another struggling division rival, the Panthers.

Christian McCaffrey continues to do his best to carry the Panthers into playoff contention this season, but it wasn't enough to move the team passed the Packers last week. After finding an early-season resurgence under QB Kyle Allen, the team has now dropped two of its last three games and failed to score more than 16 points in those two losses. This is the first of two matchups against the Falcons this season for the Panthers and luckily for them they get home-field advantage where they have won their last two games and scored at least 30 points in each contest. The Falcons still have a large body of work showing an incredibly suspect secondary this season and we can't expect them to shut down opponents every week now based off last week's performance. While I see the Panthers as the favorite as well, I do like the Falcons offense to keep pace with the Panthers despite losing playmakers on offense. We can't forget Julio Jones' historical performance of lighting up the Panthers for 300 receiving yards alone in the past.

My Final Prediction: Panthers win 27-24

My Pick: Falcons +4.5, Over 49

Machine Pick: Falcons +4.5, Over 49


Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-4)

Matchup Notes:

  • The Ravens are 8-2 all-time against the Texans
  • Deshaun Watson has completed 70.2% of passes this season -- 2nd best of 27 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 64.5%
  • Carlos Hyde has broken 11 tackles since Week 7 -- tied for 3rd most among NFL RBs
  • Texans TEs have caught 8 touchdown passes this season -- most in NFL
  • The Texans secondary has missed 44 tackles this season -- most in NFL
  • The Texans defense has allowed 1,350 yards after the catch this season -- 2nd most in NFL
  • The Texans defense has allowed 3 rushing TDs this season -- 2nd fewest in NFL
  • The Ravens have thrown the ball 38.9% of the time since Week 7 -- lowest in NFL; League Avg: 54.3%
  • Ravens RBs have been targeted 28 times this season -- fewest in NFL
  • The Ravens defense has blitzed on 31.2% of plays this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 17.2%
  • The Texans are averaging 26.4 PPG this season.
  • The Ravens have allowed 21 PPG this season.
  • The Ravens are averaging 33.3 PPG this season (most in NFL) and 38.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Texans have allowed 21.2 PPG this season.
  • The Texans are 5-4 ATS this season. They're 3-1 ATS on the road this season and 4-1 ATS as underdogs. The under has hit in each of their last two games.
  • The Ravens are 4-5 ATS this season. They're 1-3 ATS at home and 2-4 ATS as favorites. The over has hit in six of their nine games this season.

This will be a game to watch right here as one of the marquee matchups of the week. Two of the AFC's finest teams featuring two of the most versatile, playmaking QBs in the league right now. The Texans are coming in fresh off a bye and have won four of their last five games. The Texans haven't lost a game by more than six points this season and though they lost J.J. Watt to injury again, their defense had their best performance yet in their last game as they held the Jaguars to just three points.

The Ravens are a different animal than what the Texans have seen this season and will likely give them their toughest test to date. The Ravens might as well have had a bye last week as they predictably steamrolled the Bengals 49-13. We even saw the backups come in the game for the Ravens last week as the game was well out of hand in the second half. They have now won five in a row which, of course, includes them handing the Patriots their first loss of the season in Week 9. They have also scored at least 30 points in each of their last three games. We haven't seen a dud from Lamar Jackson in a while which makes me feel like he is due, but the Ravens look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender at the moment. It's hard not to pick them this week.

My Final Prediction: Ravens win 30-27

My Pick: Texans +4, Over 51.5

Machine Pick: Texans +4, Over 51.5


Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-10.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • Larry Fitzgerald has been targeted at an average depth of 4.5 yards since Week 7 -- lowest of 67 qualified NFL WRs; League Avg: 11.1
  • Cardinals linebackers have missed 16 tackles since Week 7 -- most in NFL
  • The Cardinals defense has allowed 263 completions this season -- most in NFL
  • The Cardinals defense has allowed 25 TD passes this season -- most in NFL
  • The 49ers are 2-8 in their last 10 games against the Cardinals and 0-4 in their last four home games against them.
  • The 49ers have thrown the ball 44.0% of the time this season -- 2nd lowest in NFL; League Avg: 55.0%
  • 49ers RBs have averaged 150.0 rushing yards per game this season -- best in NFL; League Avg: 92.0
  • The 49ers defense has allowed 143.8 passing yards per game this season -- best in NFL; League Avg: 238.2
  • The 49ers defense has sacked opposing QBs on 14.4% of pass attempts since Week 7 -- best in NFL; League Avg: 7.4%
  • The Cardinals are averaging 22.2 PPG this season.
  • The 49ers have allowed 14.3 PPG this season -- second-fewest in NFL.
  • The 49ers are averaging 28.8 PPG this season -- fourth-most in NFL.
  • The Cardinals have allowed 28.1 PPG this season.
  • The Cardinals are 7-3 ATS this season (tied for best in NFL). They're 4-1 ATS on the road and 7-2 ATS as underdogs. The over has hit in four of their last six games.
  • The 49ers are 5-4 ATS this season. They're 2-4 ATS as a favorite this season and 0-2 ATS as double-digit favorites. The over has hit in each of their last three games.

The Cardinals and 49ers will get a quick rematch of a Thursday night contest we just witnessed in Week 9 between these two teams. The 49ers only won that game by three points and have lost their first game since, but apparently home-field advantage is enough for Vegas to warrant them getting a huge spread here as favorites. The Seahawks needed every second of overtime to put the Niners away on Monday Night Football, but the 49ers defense still did a decent job attacking the Seahawks and forcing four turnovers in that game. 

The Cardinals have dropped three straight games against tough opponents but have hung in there in their last two having lost by just three points in each game. One of those, of course, was the matchup against the 49ers where Kenyan Drake made his presence felt compiling 162 yards from scrimmage and a TD in his first game with the team. I never like to assume a double-digit win for a favorite when it comes to divisional matchups and this is a prime example of that. I would absolutely take the Cards plus points, though the 49ers are a pretty comfortable bet for the outright win. 

My Final Prediction: 49ers win 27-20

My Pick: Cardinals +10.5, Over 45

Machine Pick: 49ers -10.5, Over 45


Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders (-11.5)

Matchup Notes:

  • The Bengals are 4-1 in their last five games against the Raiders.
  • The Bengals defense has allowed 17.4 yards per completion since Week 7 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 11.4
  • The Bengals defense has allowed 8.8 yards after the catch since Week 7 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 5.3
  • Opponents have run the ball against the Bengals defense on 50.3% of plays this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 39.9%
  • Josh Jacobs has averaged 4.7 touches per game in the red zone this season -- tied for highest of 44 qualified NFL RBs
  • The Raiders defense has allowed 24 TD passes this season -- 2nd most in NFL
  • The Raiders defense has allowed a passer rating of 138.8 when blitzing (51 Pass Attempts) this season -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 89.8
  • The Raiders defense has allowed passes of 20+ yards on 24 of 142 attempts (16.9%) since Week 7 -- 2nd highest in NFL; League Avg: 9.5%
  • The Bengals are averaging 15.2 PPG this season -- fourth-fewest in NFL.
  • The Raiders have allowed 26.7 PPG this season.
  • The Raiders are averaging 23.1 PPG overall this season and 27 PPG over their last three games. 
  • The Bengals have allowed 28.8 PPG overall this season and 33.3 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Bengals are 3-6 ATS this season. They're 3-1 ATS on the road this season and 3-4 ATS as underdogs. The under has hit in three of their last four games.
  • The Raiders are 6-3 ATS this season. They're 3-1 ATS at home this season and 1-0 as a favorite. The over has hit in six of their last seven games.

The Bengals are playing for last place right now obviously after starting Ryan Finley over Andy Dalton last week and taking such a brutal loss to a division rival. Now they face a Raiders team who continues to improve and has had extra rest having played on Thursday night last week. The silver lining for the Bengals last week was that Joe Mixon and the running game finally found some success in the most unlikely matchup, but this team remains a bottom feeder all around on offense.

The Raiders pulled off a big divisional win against the Chargers last week and have now found themselves on the winning side of their last two games. Their offense has been incredibly consistent this season as Derek Carr has been one of the most underrated QBs in the league this season. They have scored at least 24 points in each of their last six games and have scored exactly 24 points four times this season. Their defense, however, has been equally consistent but in not as impressive of a manner as they have allowed at least 24 points in seven of their nine games played this season and exactly 24 points three times. They are playing on Rickey Henderson field at home after all, the legend runs deep in Oakland! The Raiders should have an easy "W" here giving them their third straight at home.

My Final Prediction: Raiders win 28-14

My Pick: Raiders -11.5, Under 48.5

Machine Pick: Raiders -11.5, Under 48.5


New England Patriots (-3.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Matchup Notes:

  • Patriots WRs have been targeted 5.7 times per game in the red zone since Week 7 -- highest in NFL; League Avg: 2.7
  • The Patriots defense has averaged a turnover percentage of 5.0% this season-best in NFL; League Avg: 2.2%
  • The Patriots defense has allowed a Completion Pct of just 54.1% this season-best in NFL; League Avg: 64.5%
  • Carson Wentz has completed 62.5% of passes when scrambling this season -- best of 27 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 39.9%
  • Eagles RBs have fumbled 6 times this season -- 2nd most in NFL
  • Eagles RBs have averaged 4.0 yards before contact per carry (10 carries) in the red zone since Week 7 -- best in NFL
  • Eagles WRs have been targeted 36 times since Week 7 -- 2nd fewest in NFL
  • Eagles WRs have averaged 1.0 yards after the catch since Week 7 -- lowest in NFL; League Avg: 4.5
  • The Patriots are averaging 30 PPG this season -- second-most in NFL.
  • The Eagles have allowed 23.7 PPG overall this season but just 18.5 PPG at home.
  • The Eagles are averaging 24.9 PPG overall this season and 27.2 PPG at home.
  • The Patriots have allowed 10.9 PPG this season -- fewest in NFL.
  • The Patriots are 6-3 ATS this season. They're 3-2 ATS on the road. The under has hit in six of their nine games this season. 
  • The Eagles are 4-5 ATS this season. They've covered the spread in each of their last two games.

brady-tom-usnews-012019-ftr-getty_hru...We have a huge Super Bowl LII rematch on our hands here, the only thing missing is the MVP. Both teams are coming into this matchup fresh off a bye week. The Pats are coming in after getting handed their first loss of the season by the Ravens in their last game as the Ravens posed a much tougher threat than the soft offenses the Pats had seen all season. They had no answer for Lamar Jackson or the Ravens rushing attack as they allowed 37 points and 210 total rushing yards. We will see what the Pats are really made of this season with their next four matchups all being against teams who sit at or near the top of their respective divisions at the moment.

The Eagles won their last two games before their bye to help get themselves on the right side of .500 before the week off. They have had an underrated rushing attack all season and if they use the blueprint just laid out by the Ravens, this should be a really interesting game. The Eagles defense had tightened up a bit in their last two games which is also in part due to weak opponents, but neither the Bills or Bears could score more than 14 points against them. We know the Eagles also have a stout run defense which will mean Tom Brady will have to air it out more than usual. I think the Eagles should keep this within three points.

My Final Prediction: Patriots win 24-21

My Pick: Eagles +3.5, Push O/U (45)

Machine Pick: Eagles +3.5, Push O/U (45)


Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (-6)

Matchup Notes:

  • The Bears are 6-1 in their last seven games against the Rams.
  • Mitchell Trubisky has averaged just 8.9 yards per completion when not under pressure this season -- lowest of 27 qualified NFL QBs; League Avg: 11.2
  • Bears RBs have averaged 1.2 yards after contact per carry this season -- tied for lowest in NFL; League Avg: 2.1
  • The Bears defense has allowed an average of 1.2 yards after contact per carry this season -- best in NFL; League Avg: 2.1
  • Rams WRs have averaged 17.9 yards per reception since Week 7 -- best in NFL; League Avg: 13.2
  • Rams RBs have gained 110 yards after the catch this season -- fewest in NFL
  • The Rams defense has pressured opposing QBs on 21.0% of dropbacks since Week 7 -- 2nd best in NFL; League Avg: 13.9%
  • The Bears are averaging 18 PPG this season.
  • The Rams have allowed 21.2 PPG overall this season and 28 PPG at home.
  • The Rams are averaging 25.1 PPG this season.
  • The Bears have allowed 17.4 PPG this season -- fourth-fewest in NFL.
  • The Bears are 3-6 ATS this season. They're 1-2 ATS on the road this season and 1-4 ATS in their last five games. The under has hit in each of their last three games.
  • The Rams are 6-3 ATS this season. They're 1-2 ATS at home this season and 5-3 ATS as favorites. The under has hit in each of their last four games.

The Bears snapped a four-game losing streak last week in a game that saw Lions QB Matthew Stafford a surprise scratch as he deals with multiple injuries. They will now travel to Los Angeles so they can show Mitch Trubisky's struggles to the world on Sunday Night Football. He threw for three TDs last week but was still held under 200 yards and took five sacks as well. It's been all or nothing for Trubisky this season as he has three games with two or more TDs and five games with none. I guess the silver lining here is that he has done a decent job taking care of the ball with just three INTs, but you can't rely on him or this offense as a whole to cover points any week.

The Rams are one of the most confusing teams for me this season. Nothing much has changed for them since last season, yet their offense looks like a completely different team. Jared Goff was never very impressive, but he at least managed his team to wins last season. This year is the complete opposite. He looks awful and the entire offense has been dragged down by his poor play. We also knew Todd Gurley wouldn't be the same coming into the season, but the running game has been virtually non-existent all season. They were held under 100 rushing yards as a team for the third straight game, making it six games in total this season under that mark. To make matters worse, they turned the ball over four times on their way to scoring just 12 points against a weak Steelers offense. The Bears defense isn't exactly elite this season as they have been, but they're still a respectable unit making me want no part of the believing in the Rams this week. 

My Final Prediction: Rams win 20-14

My Pick: Push, Under 39.5

Machine Pick: Push, Under 39.5 


Kansas City Chiefs (-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (Mexico City)

Matchup Notes:

  • Pat Mahomes threw six TDs and no INTs in two games combined against the Chargers last season.
  • The Chiefs defense has sacked opposing QBs on 13.3% of pass attempts since Week 7 -- 2nd best in NFL; League Avg: 7.4%
  • Mike Williams has averaged 14.8 yards per target since Week 7 -- best of 67 qualified NFL WRs; League Avg: 8.3
  • Keenan Allen has just one TD in eight career games against the Chiefs.
  • Melvin Gordon had 166 yards from scrimmage in his last game against the Chiefs.
  • Austin Ekeler has averaged 7.0 yards from scrimmage per touch since Week 7 -- 2nd best of 44 qualified NFL RBs; League Avg: 4.8
  • The Chiefs are 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Chargers.
  • The Chiefs are averaging 28.4 PPG this season.
  • The Chargers have allowed 19.4 PPG this season. 
  • The Chargers are averaging 20.7 PPG this season. 
  • The Chiefs have allowed 23.9 PPG overall this season and 29.7 PPG over their last three games.
  • The Chiefs are 5-5 ATS this season. The over has hit in seven of their 10 games this season.
  • The Chargers are 3-5-2 ATS this season. They're 2-0-1 ATS as underdogs this season. The under has hit in seven of their 10 games this season.

We'll travel south of the border for Monday Night Football this week for a divisional clash between the Chiefs and Chargers. The Chiefs are coming off a game that saw them lose in the final seconds as Harrison Butker's potential game-tying kick was blocked, giving the Titans the win. The Chiefs put up a season-high 530 yards of total offense in Pat Mahomes' first game back. Tyreek Hill had himself a big day thanks to the return of his favorite signal-caller. The running game continues to struggle to find its groove this season as Damien Williams dominated snaps out of the backfield while LeSean McCoy was a surprise healthy scratch.

The Chargers are coming off a disappointing loss and with extra rest to think about having played last Thursday. They lost to another division rival, the Oakland Raiders, in a game that saw Philip Rivers put together one of the worst two-minute drills we have seen this season. The Chargers are choke artists, but I still have a hard time looking passed their overall level of talent in most games this season and am usually prone to taking points with them. That won't be the case this week as I could easily see them getting outscored by more than one possession in this game.

My Final Prediction: Chiefs win 30-23

My Pick: Chiefs -4, Over 52

Machine Pick: Chargers +4, Over 52


John Ferguson

John Ferguson is an avid Fantasy Football fanatic with 10+ years of experience in friends and family leagues, paying public leagues, and DFS Tournaments. Ferguson specializes in draft strategies, trade negotiations (Buy Low/Sell High) and DFS value picks amongst other parts of fantasy football analysis. When Ferguson isn’t spending time skimming over stats while at the beach, he follows the Oakland Athletics closely as a diehard fan and enjoys spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three children. A native of Monterey, California, Ferguson now calls Quintana Roo, Mexico home.