Week 10 of the NFL season was another action-packed affair, bringing us several exciting games and surprising upsets. The Chiefs look to be the strong favourites for home field in the AFC, whilst the Rams and Saints are locked in a strong battle in the NFC. Week 11 presents us with another exciting slate of fixtures that will help the playoff picture become that much clearer. Deshaun Watson leads the Texans into Washington in a battle between two 6-3 teams, whilst the defending champions look to keep their season alive in New Orleans. Let’s take a look at the best value on offer in each of the main Sunday games, featuring another strong weekly multi.
Where to Watch: ESPN, 7 Mate or NFL Game Pass Monday 12:20 pm
The Bears enter this one at an impressive 6-3 record after 3 consecutive victories over the Jets, Bills and Lions. QB Mitchell Trubisky has been excellent of late, completing 23/30 passes for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns against Detroit last week. This effort was much needed as the Chicago rushing attack struggled mightily to get going, totalling only 54 yards on 22 carries. Wide Receiver Allen Robinson enjoyed by far his best outing of the season last week, totalling 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. This was balanced nicely by an impressive display from Rookie Anthony Miller, who managed 122 yards and a touchdown of his own.
Defensively, the Bears are coming off 3 very strong consecutive performances. However, these did occur against 3 of the worst teams in the NFL this season. Led by Khalil Mack, their dynamic pass rush dominated Detroit with ease, registering 6 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. They also limited the previously strong Lions rushing attack, holding them to just 76 yards on 3.2 yards per attempt. Two big interceptions from Bryce Callahan and Prince Amukamara were the icing on the cake of a great day. Against a Minnesota attack that is better than anything they’ve faced recently, this defence will have to be on top of their game here.
The Vikings enter this one fresh off their bye, with a 5-3-1 record that places them a half game behind the Bears for first place in the NFC North. Free Agent acquisition has been a significant upgrade at QB over Case Keenum, completing only 71% of his passes for 17 touchdowns compared to just 5 interceptions. RB Dalvin Cook also looked very strong in his return from injury, putting up 109 yards from scrimmage in just 14 touches last time out. In Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, the Vikings also have one of the best receiving duos in the NFL, capably supported by veteran Tight End Kyle Rudolph.
Defensively, the Vikings have looked very strong recently, holding their opponents to 17 points or less in 3 of their last 4. They destroyed Detroit before their bye, holding Matt Stafford under 200 passing yards and sacking him a whopping 10 times. Defensive End Danielle Hunter earned Defensive Player of the Week honours for his 3.5 sack performance, which was capably supported by 2.5 sacks by Tom Johnson. They also held the Lions rushing attack under 3 yards per carry, which was instrumental in pulling out the win. In a tough Chicago environment, they’ll be looking to repeat this effort here.
I’ve been high on the Vikings all season and think that they’re the better team here. Aside from an aberration at home against the Bills, their only 2 losses this season have been against the Rams and Saints, two of the top three teams in the league so far. This roster is actually stronger on paper than the team that made the NFC Championship last season, largely due to the huge upgrade at Quarterback.
Despite putting up some strong numbers, I believe Mitchell Trubisky has become overrated by the oddsmakers. He delivered sub-par performances against Green Bay and New England in losses earlier this season and hasn’t faced a defence with Minnesota’s quality. In a primetime game in front of a national audience, I think Kirk Cousins can outduel him here. Whilst I expect the Vikings to win this one outright, the 3 points represents strong value.
Over 45.5 Points
Whilst the Bears are renowned for strong defensive play, their match total has gone above this line in 5 of their last 6 games. Part of this is the very strong performances from their offence, which hasn’t put up below 24 points in its last 6 outings. The Vikings offence has also been firing in that stretch, scoring at least 23 each week over the same stretch.
Whilst both of these sides have formidable defences, the offences have shown this season that they are very much up to the challenge. 45.5 points really isn’t all that much in the modern NFL, particularly on a primetime Sunday Night Football game. With the total going over this number in 8 of their last 10 combined games, I’m expecting this trend to continue here. The points total is about 5-6 points too low and there is some good value on the over.
1st TD Scorer: Dalvin Cook
There was a ton of talk in the pre-season about the impact that Dalvin Cook was going to have on the Vikings offence this season. He looked excellent in his first 4 games as a rookie, before unfortunately suffering a season-ending injury. Unfortunately, he suffered the same fate this season, missing 5 games after suffering an injury against LA. In his return against Detroit last week, Cook looked incredibly dynamic. He picked up 109 yards on 14 total touches and is an excellent threat both as a runner and receiver. This makes him a threat from all over the field and I expect him to get some run in the red-zone here.
Score Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 27-23 Chicago Bears
Monday, November 19, 5am (AEDT), Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The 4-5 Falcons return home after an absolutely crushing loss in Cleveland last week. With the lack of a running game, QB Matt Ryan continued his strong form with 330 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. Julio Jones had 107 yards and a score, however it wasn’t enough in an anaemic offensive display. Defensively, they were dominated on the ground by Cleveland to the tune of 211 yards and a score. QB Baker Mayfield also had an efficient outing, averaging 10.8 yards per attempt and throwing for 3 touchdowns. A loss here would all but eliminate Atlanta from playoff contention.
The 4-5 Cowboys travel to Atlanta off the back of a huge road win in Philadelphia last week. RB Ezekiel Elliott led the way, totalling 151 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries. QB Dak Prescott also had one of his better outings, completing 26/36 passes for 270 yards and a score. On defence, this strong Cowboys unit did a great job containing the Philadelphia offence. They allowed just 71 yards on the ground and forced a key interception of QB Carson Wentz. The Dallas defence has consistently been one of the better units in the league this season and will need another strong effort against Matt Ryan and Co.
Prediction: Cowboys +3
After the Cowboys win in Philadelphia last week, they now rightly feel as though they have every chance to win the NFC East. With Zeke Elliott in top form at the moment, I expect them to run over Atlanta’s week rushing defence. Their fast and versatile defence is also well-built to contain Matt Ryan and Co. Dallas Cowboys 27-24
Monday, November 19, 5am (AEDT), Ford Field
After an impressive first 6 games of the season, the Lions enter this one at 3-6 after 3 straight losses. The usually strong Lions rushing attack was held quiet, averaging only 3.2 yards per attempt. This put a ton of pressure on QB Matt Stafford, who was sacked a whopping 6 times. On defence, the Lions were carved apart by Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky. They allowed 11.8 yards per pass attempt and 3 touchdowns in a terrible display. Things don’t get any easier this week as they welcome the versatile Panthers offence to town.
The 6-3 Panthers travel to Detroit off one of their worst performances of the season, where they lost by 31 points in Pittsburgh. Christian McCaffrey was the lone offensive bright spot, registering an impressive 138 yards and 3 touchdowns from scrimmage. Defensively, it was a night to forget for this usually strong unit. They allowed Ben Roethlisberger to complete 22/25 for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns, allowing a further 140 yards on the ground. The strong prior form of Carolina makes me think they’ll be able to bounce back here.
After last week’s terrible effort, I just can’t pick the Lions again. Even after their big loss in Pittsburgh, I’m confident that the playoff-bound Panthers can bounce back here. Expect Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey to run wild in this one. Carolina Panthers 30-17 Detroit Lions.
Monday, November 19, 5am (AEDT), Lucas Oil Stadium
The 4-5 Colts enter this one as one of the form teams of the league, having registered 3 straight victories. QB Andrew Luck has been outstanding, completing over 70% of his passes and throwing for 10 touchdowns in this 3-week stretch. Tight End Eric Ebron has really enjoyed a breakout campaign, with 9 touchdowns to his name so far. As they’ve started to get healthy, the Colts defence has also delivered improved performances. They completely shut down the Jaguars rushing attack last week, forcing a struggling Blake Bortles to try and beat them.
The 5-4 Titans are right back in contention in the AFC South after convincing consecutive victories over the Cowboys and Patriots. Marcus Mariota has looked better in recent weeks, throwing for 4 touchdowns and no picks in his last 2 games. The famed RB duo of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis were excellent against New England, combining for 115 yards and 2 scores. Defensively, the Titans continue to deliver elite performances. They allowed just 40 rushing yards against New England last week, completely shutting down Tom Brady in the process.
Whilst the Titans have been great over the past fortnight, I believe the Colts equally strong performances have been ignored by the general public. I expect Mariota and Co to struggle in this one, whilst Andrew Luck makes enough plays on offence to win. Indianapolis Colts 27-20 Tennessee Titans.
Monday, November 19, 5am (AEDT), MetLife Stadium
New York Giants
The Giants enter this one at 2-7 after a big win in San Francisco on Monday Night Football last week. QB Eli Manning had one of his most efficient outings in recent memory, throwing for 3 touchdowns and leading the game-winning drive. Mercurial Wideout Odell Beckham temporarily silenced some of his critics, hauling in 2 impressive touchdown catches. Defensively, the Giants were solid in this one. They caused 2 crucial interceptions and generally limited the 49ers offence. Against the mistake prone Bucs Quarterbacks, they’ll be looking for a similar display here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The playoff hopes of the 3-6 Buccaneers are all but over after an embarrassing loss to Washington last week. Despite throwing for 400 yards, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 2 costly interceptions as the offence put up only 3 points. RB Peyton Barber has largely struggled so far this season, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. Prior to last week, Tampa’s defence had allowed 30 points in 5 of their last 6. Their poor pass rush has been on display all season, as opposing QB’s have had ample time to expose their weak secondary.
Having lost 6 of their last 7, the Bucs are in free-fall mode right now. There is a lack of confidence in both their Quarterback and Coaching staff, for very good reason. The Giants showed some strong signs against the 49ers last week and I expect them to build on that with their first home win of the campaign. NY Giants 27-23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Monday, November 19, 5am (AEDT), FedEx Field
The 6-3 Redskins return home after a big win in Tampa last weekend. It was their defence that shined, causing 4 costly turnovers and allowing just 3 points. This unit has proven themselves to be one of the better run defences in the league, consistently keeping the Redskins competitive. QB Alex Smith was solid in his game-manager role, throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon. The resurgence of 33-year old RB Adrian Peterson has been a great story for this team, having amassed over 800 total yards so far.
The Texans travel to Washington after their bye, which was proceeded by an excellent 6-game winning streak. QB Deshaun Watson has emerged as a future star, completing 65% of his passes for 17 touchdowns so far. In DeAndre Hopkins and the newly acquired Demaryius Thomas, he also now has one of the best complementary Receiver duos in the league. The defence has also stepped up of late, allowing an average of just 15 points in their last 5 games. In J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus, they have an elite pass-rushing trio capable of disrupting most opposing offences.
This is definitely a public play, but it’s one I’m confident in making. With their plethora of injuries on the offensive line, the last team Washington wants to face now is Houston and their ferocious defensive front. Deshaun Watson has emerged as an upper echelon QB in this league and I expect him to lead Houston to their 7th straight win here. Houston Texans 23-13 Washington Redskins.
Monday, November 19, 5am (AEDT), TIAA Bank Field
The 3-6 Jaguars slumped to their 5th straight loss against Indianapolis last week in what has been a very disappointing campaign. Even the return of Leonard Fournette wasn’t enough to boost this struggling rushing attack, which averaged just 2.7 yards on their 34 attempts. Even QB Blake Bortles put on a better display, totalling 320 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was the vaunted Jaguars pass defence that struggled, allowing Andrew Luck to throw for 285 yards and 3 scores in a vintage display. Things don’t get any easier this week as Ben Roethlisberger and the high-flying Steelers come to town.
The 6-2-1 Steelers travel to Jacksonville off the back of 5 straight victories, including a 31-point rout of Carolina last week. RB James Conner has continued to step up in Le’Veon Bell’s absence, totalling over 1100 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns so far. QB Ben Roethlisberger had his best display of the season last week, going 22/25 for 328 yards and 5 scores. The Steelers defence has really stepped up of late, not allowing more than 21 points in their 5-game win streak. Led by Jon Bostic, Morgan Burnett and Joe Haden, this unit is more than capable of firing the Steelers to an AFC North crown.
Prediction: Steelers -5
Last year’s playoff defeat to Jacksonville crushed the Steelers and I expect them to be looking for revenge here. The Jaguars are playing terribly on both sides of the ball right now and I’m not sure how they contain Roethlisberger and Co. Look for Pittsburgh to cement their playoff status here. Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Monday, November 19, 5am (AEDT), M&T Bank Stadium
Last week’s bye came at a much-needed time for the Raiders, as they look to recover from 3 straight defeats. QB Joe Flacco has noticeably regressed in recent weeks and could make way for rookie Lamar Jackson here. The Ravens rushing attack has also struggled all season, with RB Alex Collins averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. Defensively, the Ravens have remained strong for the majority of the season. In C.J. Mosley, Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith, they have a talented unit that will need to continue to step up for Baltimore to claim a playoff spot.
The 5-4 Bengals travel to Baltimore after a dreadful home display, where they were destroyed 51-14 by the Saints. QB Andy Dalton struggled without A.J. Green, throwing for just 153 yards and 2 picks. RB Joe Mixon has had a strong season so far and will need to see more of the ball for Cincinnati to succeed here. Defensively, the Bengals have been dreadful in recent weeks, allowing totals of 45, 34 and 51 points in each of their last 3. They allowed 244 yards and 3 scores to the Saints dynamic rushing attack, whilst QB Drew Brees tore them apart for a further 265 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Whether it’s Joe Flacco or Lamar Jackson that starts on Sunday, I expect the Ravens to pull this one out. Despite their poor 4-5 start, a win here puts them in control of their playoff destiny. I think they’re the better team here and will be looking to avenge their loss in Cincinnati earlier this season. Baltimore Ravens 27-17 Cincinnati Bengals.
Monday, November 19, 8:05am (AEDT), State Farm Stadium
The 2-7 Cardinals return home after a convincing defeat in Kansas City last week. RB David Johnson delivered his performance of the season, totalling 183 yards and 2 touchdowns from scrimmage. However, QB Josh Rosen continued to struggle, averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt and throwing 2 interceptions. Defensively, they just couldn’t contain the dynamic Chiefs passing attack. They allowed 117 yards and 2 scores to Tyreek Hill in a record day for QB Patrick Mahomes. That said, the Cardinals defence has been largely strong this season and should find some success against a struggling Raiders offence.
The 1-8 Raiders have emerged as the worst team in the NFL this season, losing each of their last 5 games by 14 or more points. When he’s not busy crying, QB Derek Carr has struggled in leading an offence that has scored 6 points or less in 3 of their last 4 games. Whilst they haven’t been helped out by a poor offence, the Oakland defence has struggled so far. The lack of a pass rush has become a noticeable problem without Khalil Mack, as they are routinely torched by opposing Quarterbacks.
Prediction:Under 41 points
I’ve got no confidence in either of these sides against the spread, so I’ll back against their anaemic offences here. The Raiders total has gone under this number in 4 of their last 5, whilst the Cardinals total has gone under in the last 2. I’m expecting a low-scoring and dull affair here in Arizona. Arizona Cardinals 20-16 Oakland Raiders.
Monday, November 19, 8:05am (AEDT), StubHub Center
Los Angeles Chargers
The 7-2 Chargers enter this matchup as one of the form teams in the NFL, having won their past 6 games. QB Phillip Rivers is having one of the best seasons of his 15-year career, having thrown for 21 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions so far. RB Melvin Gordon built on his strong campaign in last week’s win in Oakland, totalling 165 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers defence has also emerged as one of the best units in the league, holding their opponents under 20 points per game over the past 5 weeks. Against a Broncos offence that has struggled, I expect another strong performance from Melvin Ingram, Derwin James and Co.
After losing 6 of their last 7 games, the 3-6 Broncos are back in action this week as they travel to face the Chargers. QB Case Keenum has had an indifferent campaign so far, throwing 11 touchdowns to his 10 interceptions. Rookie RB Phillip Lindsay has emerged as one for the future, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Defensively, this Broncos unit has noticeably regressed since the 2016 Superbowl side. Aside from Von Miller, they really lack impact playmakers that can disrupt an opposing offence. They’ll definitely be tested this week against Phillip Rivers and the high-flying Chargers.
I continue to think the Broncos are overrated by the oddsmakers. The Chargers have won their last 6 games and the Broncos are notoriously poor on the road. I’m expecting Case Keenum to struggle against this LA defence, whilst Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon cruise to victory. LA Chargers 31-20 Denver Broncos.
Monday, November 19, 8:25am (AEDT), Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans Saints
Fresh off of a 51-14 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals, a strong case can be made that the Saints are the best team in the NFL. Their dynamic and versatile running game led the way against Cincinnati, totalling 244 yards and 3 scores. QB Drew Brees is playing as well as ever aged 39, having thrown 21 touchdowns and only 1 interception so far. The Saints defence has also emerged as one of the better units in the NFL, consistently playing excellent complementary football. A pass rush led by Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor caused havoc on the Bengals offence last week, whilst defensive backs Marcus Williams and Eli Apple both ha big interception returns.
The 4-5 Eagles travel to New Orleans off the back of a poor home loss to the Cowboys last week. QB Carson Wentz was solid in this one despite the loss, throwing for 360 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight End Zach Ertz was the primary beneficiary, hauling in 14 catches for 145 yards and 2 scores. Defensively, the Eagles struggled to contain the strong Cowboys rushing attack. They allowed 171 yards and 2 scores on the ground, including 8 yards per attempt to Zeke Elliott. This doesn’t bode well against the dominant Saints rushing attack.
Prediction: Over 54.5
In what appears to be one of the games of the week, I’m expecting another high-scoring affair in New Orleans. Saints home games have sailed comfortably over this total 3 of 4 times this season and I just don’t see how their offence is stopped. For Philly, I expect Carson Wentz to put up enough points to bring this one over. New Orleans Saints 34-24 Philadelphia Eagles.
With no huge favourites on the board this week, this multi follows a bit of a different theme. As home favourites against mediocre sides, I expect both the Saints and Chargers to win relatively comfortably here. Similarly, I expect Big Ben and the Steelers to avenge their playoff loss with a win in Jacksonville here. At $2.45, the value is too strong to pass this one up.