Week 10 brought relief with a bounce-back 4-1 result. Unfortunately, the only failure also happened to be my two-unit play on the Buffalo Bills. However, for the large part, it was a very positive week, and one that I am hoping to repeat in with my totals picks in Week 11 of the NFL. Week 11 is an interesting one, concluding on Monday Night Football in Mexico as the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs square off.
Week 10 lessons
It would be wrong to not look at last week and see what lessons can be learned. In the case of the loss on the Bills, the lesson is simple. We learned not to bet on their offense unless they are playing the worst defense in the league. That being said, they scored 16 points and had two missed field goals. This loss stings, but I do not feel like the process was wrong, as I had them projected for 22 points.
In terms of wins, I doubled down on the Chicago Bears, and it nearly did not work out. An offensive explosion either side of half time had me sweating. The lesson here is not to underestimate how bad this Lions defense can look at times. As for the Bears offense, if the defense they are facing is even mediocre, then you should consider the under against them.
The victory on the Arizona Cardinals was unnecessarily complicated thanks to David Johnson fumbling but still felt relatively comfortable. The Cardinals offense should be a consideration for the over most weeks, and anyone facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be a prime over candidate as well.
The last victory was the Minnesota Vikings, and I felt great about it the entire game. I had them pegged for around 25, and they always looked on course for it. The Dallas Cowboys defense has serious issues in places, and their opponents are always going to be in consideration for the over unless they are not very good, or we see something much better from those Cowboys. As for the Vikings, their offense is good and well worth backing the over when they are against a defense with any question marks about them.
Week 11 totals and picks
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
The Falcons were incredible last week defensively against the New Orleans Saints. What makes it even more incredible is just how bad they were on that side of the ball coming into their bye week. They stifled the Saints and sacked Drew Brees six times as the Saints offense was reduced to a laughing stock. The question is, can they do it again this week in Carolina? I don’t see why not. This game does not have the intensity that last week had, but it is still a chance to stick a spanner in the works of a divisional opponent.
When you also add in the improvements the Falcons made defensively in the second half of last season; it makes sense they might do the same this year. From Week 2 until their bye week in Week 8, six games, they had an average of over 30 points allowed per game. They also let their opponents gain over 500 yards twice, 400 yards three times, and 381 yards in the sixth game. In the second half, they allowed an average of just 23.44 points per game. They did not allow over 500 yards once and only allowed over 381 yards on three occasions.
The Panthers struggled last week against a mediocre Packers defense and could have issues all over again against the Falcons. 27.5 points is a lot. You either need four touchdowns or three touchdowns and three field goals. That is not easy to do. Instinct and seasonal records are going to tell you that the over is the play here, but for me, it is under all the way, which my YPP metric agrees with, placing the Panthers at around 23 points in this game.
1u – Carolina Panthers Under 27.5 Total Points | -120
I outlined the reasons above why I think the Panthers max out at around 24 or 25 points this week, so unless I see the Falcons winning this game, the under is the play here. I have serious concerns about this Falcons offensive line, and the Panthers defensive line is good enough to blow up situations for them. I think the Falcons cap out around 20 points, with a limited running game and a quarterback under fire for a majority of his passes.
1u – Under 49.5 Total Points | -110
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
I could not more be more excited about this game. It is so good that it will actually make a lot of people go away from RedZone this week and just focus on this game. Both Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson are MVP candidates, and they might need to play like that in this game. Neither defense is overly threatening, as both teams have routinely allowed 20-plus points when facing competent opposition. Four of the Texans last five games have seen over 50 points scored, as have both of the last two Ravens games. This game should have 50 points scored with relative ease.
1u – Over 49.5 Total Points | -110
The main reason I see this game going over is the under-estimation of the Texans offense. The projected line of 22.5 is odd to me. The Texans have exceeded that number in their last five and seven times in total. The main reason for the line is likely the Ravens’ defensive efforts the past few weeks, as they have not allowed 23 or more points since Week 5. However, those games have either been inclement weather conditions (Seattle Seahawks) or average at best offenses (New England Patriots & Cincinnati Bengals). I do not see this Ravens secondary being able to restrict a very talented Texans offense, where 25 should be their floor in this one.
1u – Houston Texans Over 22.5 Total Points | -120
Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams
Did you see both of these offenses last week? It was ugly. The Rams got completely dominated offensively, and the Bears made a mediocre Lions defense look solid. This game has got a bump for being in LA, but I am expecting a similar outcome to last season’s close-fought messy game. Personally, I expected this line to be around 37.5, so give me the under at 41.5 all-day.
1u – Under 41.5 Total Points | -110
Ben Rolfe is an NFL picks writer and editor at PFN. You can follow him @benrolfe15 on twitter. For more gambling information and all of our writers NFL Week 11 picks, make sure to get our All-Access Pass! Follow us on Twitter for more great content @PFN365.