Big dogs due for letdowns and quarterback changes influence several of this handicapper's free NFL picks for Week 11, be sure to come and check out these must add plays.
Fading Last Week's Big Dogs
Last week, two double-digit underdogs on the NFL odds won games outright; Detroit, at +11, snapped a 24-game losing streak in the state of Wisconsin, upsetting the Packers at Lambeau 18-16, and Houston, getting 10 points, upset the unbeaten Bengals 10-6 in Cincy.
But as we've mentioned before on these pages, in the NFL what goes up often comes crashing down, on a week-to-week basis.
The Lions caught Green Bay at a good time, because at the moment the Packers stink. They can't run the ball, Aaron Rodgers has a case of happy feet and injuries have taken a serious toll. But Detroit is still a 2-7 team that ranks 27th in the league in total offense, dead last in rushing at just 67 yards per game, 25th in total defense and 28th vs. the run, giving up 124 YPG on the ground. And its greatest offensive threat, WR Calvin Johnson, is questionable for Sunday with a sore ankle.
In the same vein, the Texans caught the Bengals posing on a big Monday night “showcase” situation. But Houston managed just 256 yards of offense Monday, as its two quarterbacks combined to complete less than 50 percent of their throws. On the season the 4-5 Texans are getting outrushed by a 118-87 YPG margin, and now they're back to starting TJ Yates at quarterback, after Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion.
Previous to last week two other double-digit dogs had pulled outright upsets this season; Tampa Bay won at New Orleans back in Week 2 getting 10 points, and Chicago won at Kansas City back in Week 5 also getting 10 points. The Bucs and Bears combined to go 0-2 SU, 0-1-1 ATS their next times out.
So for the first of our free NFL picks for Week 11 we'll fade the Lions and Houston.
Tampa Bay is 3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS over its last five games mainly because it's outrushing foes on the season 126-101. Philly, meanwhile, is 4-5 this year both SU and ATS because it's been so damn inconsistent, beating the Jets, Saints and Giants, but losing to Dallas basically without Tony Romo, to Washington and last week at home to Miami. We'll take the Bucs and the points.
Denver has lost two games in a row and is now starting Brock Osweiler at quarterback in place of the injured Peyton Manning. And over the last three weeks around the NFL teams starting backup quarterbacks are just 1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS. Meanwhile, Chicago is 4-2 SU, 5-1 ATS over its last six games, and rookie running back Jeremy Langford has produced 320 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns over the last two contests, subbing for Matt Forte. We like the Bears, for the win at home.
Finally, Dallas went winless without Romo, and covered just one of seven spreads. But five of seven losses came by one score or less, two came in overtime, and they led another game into the fourth quarter. This week the Pokes get Romo back, and we figure he's worth at least three or four more points than Matt Cassel, right? Meanwhile, Miami may have upset the Eagles last week, but on the season the Dolphins have been outgained by seven of nine opponents, and are getting outrushed 136-103. We like Dallas.