We matched a season best betting performance of 5-2 in week 10. But more importantly, the horrid streak of bad luck for the Lock of the Week finally ended. It was never in doubt, and now full confidence has been restored for the weekly Lock. I don't want to overreact, but I would imagine the Lock will cash every week from now until the end of the season. Our total record is now 35-32-2, with an upward trending 3-7 Lock of the Week status. Let's improve both figures in week 11.
New Orleans Saints -3.5 vs. Atlanta Falcons
It feels like this is an unpopular pick with Drew Brees out and New Orleans's backup quarterback being somewhat of a mystery, but I still think the Saints without Brees are a much better team than the Falcons. Saints coach Sean Payton said on Friday that Taysom Hill will get the start on Sunday, but I think Jameis Winston will get some snaps too. Either way, New Orleans will continue to feed the ball to Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas as much as possible, and I don't think the offense will struggle to score points on Atlanta's poor defense. Keep in mind that last season when Brees got injured early in the season, then backup QB Teddy Bridgewater went 5-0 in his absence to keep the Saints in the playoff picture. Bridgewater is probably a better quarterback at this point than either Hill or Winston, but the rest of the team is more or less the same from last year. Even without Brees, I think they'll be able to end up winning by a touchdown or more depending on the defense's success against a solid Falcon offensive attack.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens Under 49.5
Tennessee's offense has struggled in their last few games. When defenses are able to stack the box and bottle up Derrick Henry, the Titans struggle to get anything going. Baltimore is coming into the game allowing only 18 points and 110 rushing yards per game. For a team that struggles when they can't run the ball effectively, things won't get any easier for Tennessee on the road against one of the elite defenses in the league. Like the Titans, the Ravens like to rely on the run as well, only Tennessee's weak defensive line will allow Lamar Jackson and his backfield committee to gash the Titans all game long. This feels like a game where Baltimore gets out in front early, Jackson attempts fewer than 20 passes as they kill the clock for most of the second half, and the Titans are forced to play from behind and air it out with Ryan Tannehill, which is not a successful gameplan for them. I think the final score will be around 24-13, falling comfortably under the expected point total.
Miami Dolphins -4.0 at Denver Broncos
Last week, I took the Dolphins to cover against the Chargers as my Lock. It hit, and I expect Miami's five game win streak to extend against a young Broncos team coming off two consecutive losses. These teams are nearly exact mirrors of each other in certain aspects. Miami is 6-3 while Denver is 3-6 on the year. The Dolphins have a positive 7.7 net scoring average against opponents this season, while the Broncos have a negative 7.5 average. Denver actually has better yards gained and allowed per game, but I think Miami will create some big plays on defense and in special teams that will turn the tides in their favor. The Dolphins are suddenly right in the middle of the playoff picture for the first time I can remember (I'm 24 years old) and these next three games are almost must-wins since they have a pretty tough four-game stretch to end the season. Tua gets it done for the fourth game in a row to start his career and the Dolphins win by more than a touchdown.
Indianapolis Colts -1.5 vs. Green Bay Packers
This game is essential a pick 'em game, and it will come down to two things: whether Indianapolis's defense will be able to slow down the Packer passing attack and whether Green Bay can get pressure on Philip Rivers. The Colts defense is elite. Through this point in the season, the Colts are ranked fourth in points allowed, first in total yards allowed, and second in passing yards allowed per game. It's a defense a team needs to win a game like this, going up against one of the best quarterbacks the league has seen. The Packers are in the bottom half of the league in total sacks, and the Colts have surrendered a league low nine sacks through nine games, which is a terrific figure. Rivers has success when he is able to stand in the pocket and thrown, and the running back committee of Nyheim Hines, Jonathan Taylor, and Jordan Wilkins will take pressure off of Rivers to have to make throws to win the game. This could be the best game of the week and I think it could come down to the final possession, but I'm taking Indy to win by a field goal at home.
New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers Over 46.0
The Chargers have an offense that can create big plays at a moment's notice, but I'm more intrigued by their defense in this matchup. L.A. has allowed fewer than 30 points only once in their last six affairs, and that was last week when Miami put up only 29. The Jets have a worse offense than their previous opponents, but they did score 27 against the Patriots before their bye last week. I expect the Chargers to put up over 30 by themselves, so the question is whether New York can put up 17 or so. Joe Flacco will likely be the starter again this week, and as a veteran, I think he will be able to take advantage of a relatively young defense. The final score will be something like 34-17, allowing the over to hit with ease.
Los Angeles Rams +4.0 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Moving on to the other team in Los Angeles, they have a date with a rather inconsistent Buccaneers team on Monday night. I think these teams are pretty evenly matched, but L.A.'s defense is for real this season. Led by Jalen Ramsey, their secondary is very good and can match up well with Tampa's plethora of pass catchers. Other than the Super Bowl a couple years ago, Sean McVay's teams typically play well in big games, and they won their first two primetime games of the season. The Rams just held Russell Wilson's Seahawks to 16 points, and I think they'll put pressure on Tom Brady and force some turnovers. The Rams won't lose by more than a field goal, and they could end up winning outright if Jared Goff is able to connect on a few big plays. I expect it to be tight the whole game, but I'm confident that the Rams at least cover.
Lock of the Week: New England Patriots -2 at Houston Texans
Don't look now, but the Patriots just beat the Ravens to pull within 2 games of the leading wild card team. This feels like a game that's impossible for Bill Belichick to lose. The Texans only managed to score seven points against the Browns last week, and after New England held Baltimore to just 17, Houston may not reach double digits for the second consecutive game. If the Patriots are going to make a surprise playoff run, they have to win the games their favored in. After we all wrote them off a couple weeks ago, Cam Newton has started playing like he was at the beginning of the year when they looked poised for success. They won't need to score many points in this one, but they'll make sure to keep a secure lead throughout. The Patriots will win 20-10 and the Lock of the Week will win for the second week in a row.
Written by Nick Swatson