The gambling powers that be refuse to let me ride too high with my picks. My Week 10 performance came back down to Earth and we finished at 3-4 for the week, which I'm honestly not too disappointed with because it could've easily been even worse. Nonetheless, we remain ahead of the chains at 41-30 for the season, though the weekly Lock fell again for just the fourth time out of 11 total.
I'm keeping this introduction short because I'm eager to right the ship and give out seven heaters for Week 11.
Los Angeles Rams +3.0 at New Orleans Saints
I, for one, an utterly shocked by how bad the Rams have been this season. But I can't stay away from taking the defending Super Bowl champs to cover against the 3-7 Saints. L.A. was without Matthew Stafford in their loss last week to the Cardinals - a team they beat earlier in the season with Stafford. Their previous two losses were to two generally solid teams in the 49ers and Buccaneers. The last time the Rams took on an undeniably inferior opponent, the Panthers, they won 24-10. This is the same Panther team that has already defeated the Saints by eight points in their first of two matchups this year. With Stafford returning to the lineup, even with Cooper Kupp now sidelined, I think the Rams will be able to generate enough offense to get the job done. They shouldn't have to score too many points with the strength of their defense and the inexperience of New Orleans' collective offensive unit.
Indianapolis Colts +7.0 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
I bet against them last week, but the Colts looked surprisingly good in Jeff Saturday's first ever head coaching appearance. Matt Ryan and Jonathan Taylor both returned to the lineup and the offense looked smoother than it had while Sam Ehlinger was under center. I think the Eagles are definitely one of the best teams in the NFC and they shouldn't panic after being handed their first loss of the season. But sometimes, the loss that ends a perfect season can begin a bit of a spiral. Now, I think there's a good chance Philadelphia will bounce back and even win on Sunday, but I don't like them to cover seven points in Indianapolis after the Colts have regained a bit of confidence and momentum with a new guy leading the locker room. This game will be relatively low-scoring and will be decided by just three or four points.
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Over 49.5
I've started to love betting overs in Bears games in recent weeks, which is a complete 180 from how I viewed their matchups in the early part of the season. Justin Fields has turned into a fantasy star essentially overnight, and Chicago's offense has exploded against poor defenses. The Bears are averaging 31 points per game over their last four contests, and they show no signs of slowing down against a Falcons team that is only marginally better than the Detroit defense Chicago just faced. Fields is an Atlanta native, so he's going to want to show out in front of his friends and family. Marcus Mariota and the Falcons didn't have a great showing last week against the Panthers, but I'm expecting them to give the ball to Cordarrelle Patterson more and move the ball more effectively against the Bears. Both teams should approach or exceed 30 in this one too.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Over 48.0
That Bills-Vikings game last week was the best NFL I've watched since the Bills-Chiefs playoff game last season. The biggest thing I learned (which I kind of already knew but not to the extent I do now) is that Justin Jefferson is an absolute freak at receiver. To be honest, I don't know how the Vikings don't score 30 or more each game with the Jefferson/Adam Thielen combo with Dalvin Cook in the backfield. Minnesota has emerged as one of the best teams in the league so far and it'll be a battle on Sunday as the Cowboys look to stay within arms reach of the Eagles in the NFC East. One thing in common with games featuring the Vikings as well as the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys is that they aren't point-shy. While Jefferson has been exalted by his performance this season, Dallas has a guy who has been nearly as reliable and effective when you factor in their quarterback situation in the early part of the year. I don't know which receiver will have a better game this Sunday, but it should be a shootout that will be very fun to watch. I like the Vikings to win something like 30-27, but I'll take the over in a game that could go either way.
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Under 52.0
I usually expect lots of points when the Chargers and Chiefs face off, but L.A. has been hampered all season by injuries to their two star receivers. As a result, the productivity and efficiency hasn't been there as they've had to basically rely completely on Austin Ekeler to get across the goal line. Reports suggest Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will likely play this week for the first time in weeks, but they'll probably also be on a bit of a pitch count to avoid any kind of re-injury to either guy. The Chargers got the better of the Chiefs when they met for the first time in Week 2, but I think Kansas City has gotten back into normal form now and will win this game to even the season series. While the game wasn't that high-scoring last time, I think it'll be even less so in round two. The Chiefs are also dealing with their own injuries on offense and haven't exploded for points as much as they have in previous years. I'm thinking something like 24-20 in Kansas City's favor.
Arizona Cardinals +8.0 vs. San Francisco 49ers
I really like what the Niners did by trading for Christian McCaffrey a few weeks ago, and he seems to have settled in to the lineup now after spending some time in the system. Still, San Francisco is going to win games mostly because of their defense. Their gameplans with Jimmy Garoppolo simply don't allow for high octane offensive explosions. That's why I think that even if they win against the Cardinals on Monday night, it's going to be a close game. Arizona still has a lot to iron out, but they've looked much better on offense since DeAndre Hopkins returned to the lineup. The fact that the game is in Mexico City, while not as extreme as the game in Europe, leads to the tiniest bit of discomfort in travel and setting, which is just enough to throw some things out of whack for the teams involved. As a result, I expect this game to go back and forth and definitely end within one score. Which is why I love the Cardinals as eight-point underdogs.
Lock of the Week: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Under 41.0
Good grief, the Broncos are an absolute laughing stock of the NFL right now. They can't score points whatsoever and their $245 million quarterback provides hysterical content to make fun of seemingly every week. That being said, they can play defense - and they have to if they want to have any shot at winning week in and week out. The Raiders have the weapons to theoretically be a good offensive team, but they haven't shown that this season. They haven't even surpassed 20 points in any of their last three contests. I know it was relatively high scoring the first time these teams met this year, but that won't happen again. The first team to 20 will surely win, if either can make it there. Bucket Squad country: let's ride.
Written by Nick Swatson