NFL Best Bets: Week 11

Last week against the spread: 1-3

2021 overall ATS: 20-19-1

It’s not like I didn’t warn everyone. I went 4-0 in Week 9 and promptly came on here to say that I will most likely fuck it up and have a bad Week 10. And that’s what happened. To make matters fair, none of my three losers were the victim of some sort of bad beat. The Seahawks (+3.5) didn’t score a point and lost 17-0; the Broncos (-1.5) got destroyed 30-13 by the Eagles; the only one I could have even a minor gripe with were the Colts (-10.5), but only because they took an early 17-0 lead (and ended up winning 23-17).

In short, I deserved the 1-3 outcome. It’s never what you aim for, but it’s kind of the nature of the business in a sport where the sports books get sharper as the season goes on. As soon as the gambler (me) has a good week, and feels like they have it all figured out, the reality is they are once again starting from square one the following week.

1. Miami Dolphins (-3.5) at New York Jets

We all know what happens when you put lipstick on a pig. At 3-7, that’s pretty much what the Dolphins are. They came into the season with relatively high expectations — 9 wins — and they have to feel like their current record isn’t indicative of who they truly are. After defeating the Ravens 22-10 on Thursday Night Football, they showed what they are capable of doing. And even though this is an obvious letdown spot, they do have the benefit of both (a) having three extra days to recover, and (b) playing a division rival.

The Jets are mailing it in. Despite having rookie second overall pick Zach Wilson, who could probably play if he had to, and backup Mike White, who proved that he can light it up on occasion (like he did in their upset over the Bengals), the Jets are rolling with veteran Joe Flacco. I don’t know what that means exactly, what New York are trying to accomplish, but I am guessing that “winning” isn’t it.

Score prediction: Dolphins 27, Jets 10

2. Houston Texans (+10.5) at Tennessee Titans

So you beat the Bills on Monday Night Football, 34-31, in Week 6; you whoop up on the Chiefs, 27-3, in Week 7; you beat your biggest AFC South Rival, 34-31, in Week 8; you take care of the Rams, 28-16, on Sunday Night Football in Week 9; you even go ahead and beat the Saints, 23-21, in Week 10. When I say “you,” I am talking about the Tennessee Titans.

When, then, do you take a step back, take a deep breath, and appreciate the work that you’ve done? I would argue that now is the time, in Week 11, against the worst team in the NFL. If the Titans come out and smack the Texans around, cover the 10.5-point spread, and dance their way to a 9-2 record, more power to them. I just can’t see it happening.

Score prediction: Titans 21, Texans 17

3. Dallas Cowboys (+2.5) at Kansas City Chiefs

This feels like so much bigger of a game for the Cowboys than it does the Chiefs. It shouldn’t be, but it is. You have this team that took last year off after Dak Prescott broke his ankle, began the season with a nail-biting 31-29 loss against the defending Super Bowl Champion Bucs, and have essentially been in cruise control on their way to a 7-2 record. Their most impressive win in that stretch came versus the Patriots, who despite being 7-4 were, at the time, just 2-3.

So this is like a coming out party for the Cowboys. It feels like that, anyway. Dak Prescott is on his comeback tour playing on the road against the two-time AFC Champion Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. It’s truly a game where Dallas can reestablish themselves, for the first time in a long time, as one of the NFL’s truly elite teams. And I think they can do it.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, have really limped through the 2021 season to this point. Last week’s 41-14 shellacking of the Las Vegas Raiders was sort of like their coming out party, their way of reminding the NFL that they aren’t a team to be fucked with. But the hard work — to them at least — has been done. Riding a three-game winning streak, they vaulted themselves from last place in the AFC West all the way into first, where they currently are.

This game also comes at a curious point in the Chiefs’ schedule, since next week they have a BYE. They have played about as poorly as they could have to reach the 6-4 record they have, they just got done putting together their best performance of the season against the Raiders, and they have next week off. Perhaps they are ready to pack it in, take a nice break, and prepare themselves for a stretch run where they are going to have to win a lot of football games to earn a berth in the playoffs.

Score prediction: Cowboys 37, Chiefs 24

4. Minnesota Vikings (+1) vs. Green Bay Packers

I don’t have a lot on this other than my belief that these two teams are a lot more even than most people give them credit for. At 4-5, the Vikings are still fighting for a shot at being a Wild Card, and at 8-2 the Packers just don’t have the same level of motivation.

I also think Aaron Rodgers might take some time before he is back to 100%. COVID does have lingering effects, after all. I know he’s one of the best to ever do, and I know I have lost a lot of money betting against him in the past. But in this spot, I’m rolling with the home underdog and expect a very tight outcome.

Score prediction: Vikings 26, Packers 24

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