What a great week for sportsbooks, as favorites went 5-9 against the spread by the lines I used in my column last week. We went 2-3 on our top five picks, as the New Orleans Saints gave us a bad beat against the Tennessee Titans, and the Los Angeles Rams failed to show up against the San Francisco 49ers. Additionally, I made my Arizona Cardinals pick when Cam Newton was not a member of the Carolina Panthers. I had no idea he would inject the franchise with an incredible amount of energy like he did.
We've had a few bad weeks but I know a turnaround is coming. This week is sure to be a fun one, as the Dallas Cowboys take a trip to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs, and Newton hosts his former head coach in Ron Rivera.
Let's jump into the picks. Peep the season stats below.
Top five picks record: 28-22
Overall ATS record: 69-80-1
Straight up record: 92-57-1
2020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
Washington Football Team at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
I don't know if Newton is a legitimate starting signal-caller right now. What I do know, however, is that he has injected some serious energy into this franchise. Even with Colt McCoy under center for the Cardinals last week, I did not expect the Panthers to do what they did. Bank of America Stadium is going to be rocking with Newton starting in his first game for the Panthers since Sept. 12, 2019, and the fact that Rivera is returning is just the cherry on top. Carolina's offense may not score 34 points again, but the No. 2 defense in the league is going to be juiced.
Washington is 1-3 on the road this season and has scored exactly 10 points in each of its last two road games. Taylor Heinicke is exciting to watch but the defense lost a leader in Chase Young last week and also has Montez Sweat still out due to a jaw injury. Again, I'm not sure how the Panthers will fare as we finish out the season, but I'm going to lean into the momentum Newton is carrying with him into this matchup. Panthers -3.5 right now is +100, so wait to see if it drops to -3. I'd much rather have it there.
The pick: Panthers -3.5
Projected score: Panthers 23-17
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Dolphins defense is returning to form, as this unit has played well over the past couple weeks. They have recorded 9.0 sacks since Week 9, which is tied for most in the NFL during that timeframe, and have recorded six takeaways over the past two games, which is again tied for the most in the NFL in that timeframe. As for the Jets, their defense has been absolutely atrocious. They are coming off of a 45-17 beatdown suffered at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, and are allowing 32.9 points and 417.1 yards per game -- both of which rank dead last in the league and are the worst in franchise history.
Joe Flacco is going to be starting for the Jets for the first time since being traded from the Philadelphia Eagles. He's going to be under some duress, however, as the Dolphins have gotten pressure on a league-high 35 percent of opponent dropbacks this season, according to TruMedia. The Jets have allowed pressure on 38 percent of dropbacks this season, which ranks the fourth-worst in the league. Three of the last four losses for the Jets have come by at least 15 points, so I'll lay three points with Tua Tagovailoa and Co.
The pick: Dolphins -3
Projected score: Dolphins 24-10
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
While it was against the Jets, the Bills looked great on both sides of the ball last week. I'm ready to forget about that bizarre loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars a couple of weeks ago. As for the Colts, they are 0-4 this season against teams with a winning record, and 5-1 against teams with a losing record.
In a league chock full of offense, there aren't many defenses I trust. However, the Bills are one of them. They lead the league in points per game (15), yards per play (4.6), yards allowed per game (274.1), third down percentage (29.5) and takeaways (24). Buffalo has the third-best run defense in the league and the second-best pass defense. I think they can contain Jonathan Taylor. As far as the offense goes, the Bills average a second-best 31.1 points per game. Even after putting up just six points against the Jaguars!
The pick: Bills -7
Projected score: Bills 31-21
San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Listen, I don't want to be one of those people who look into one game more than one should, but maybe the 49ers got back on track vs. the Rams. The 49ers ran the ball 44 times for 156 yards, the defense forced two turnovers, Deebo Samuel recorded a huge performance in the receiving game and Jimmy Garoppolo threw two touchdowns and just four incompletions. That looked like the 2019 49ers team that went to the Super Bowl -- which is exactly what Garoppolo said after the game. The 49ers have the potential to be one of the better teams in the NFL. They just have to rely on the run game and the physicality of the offensive and defensive fronts.
The 49ers are 3-1 on the road this season, and 15-5 away from San Francisco since 2019. That's tied for the third-best away record in that timeframe. I don't think the 49ers blow out the Jags, but I'll take six points.
The pick: 49ers -6
Projected score: 49ers 24-17
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Raiders are coming off of a 41-14 blowout loss to the Chiefs, but they were down just three points halfway through the third quarter. Like the Raiders, the Bengals have recorded two embarrassing losses back-to-back. The first came against Mike White and the Jets, and then Cincy was dominated by Nick Chubb and the Cleveland Browns, 41-16. To make matters worse, the Bengals just had their bye week. Normally you would think that helps a team regroup, but teams coming off of a bye week are 5-11 ATS this season.
Joe Burrow has struggled a bit over his past few games. He's tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with Sam Darnold (11), and has thrown an interception in five straight games -- which is the longest active streak in the NFL. Defensively, only the Jets have allowed more points per game and yards per game than the Bengals have since Halloween. I view this as a bounce-back matchup for the Raiders.
The pick: Raiders +1
Projected score: Raiders 27-24
Other Week 11 picks
Patriots 28-24 over Falcons (+7)
Saints (+1.5) 27-23 over Eagles
Ravens (-4.5) 28-20 over Bears
Browns 26-17 over Lions (+11.5)
Titans 30-21 over Texans (+10)
Vikings (+2) 28-27 over Packers
Cowboys (+2.5) 35-31 over Chiefs
Cardinals (-2.5) 24-21 over Seahawks
Chargers (-5.5) 29-21 over Steelers
Buccaneers 30-23 over Giants (+11)