If you listen to the Pick Six NFL Podcast -- and if you're not listening to the Pick Six NFL Podcast, you should probably start doing that right now -- then you're probably well aware that the Super Friends, me being one of them, are into fun facts that are only sometimes fun, but are more often merely facts that are only kinda sorta fun. It can be a bit of a mixed bag. With that in mind, now that I've set expectations, here's a fun fact ...
If you don't count Weeks 1 and 2, my weekly best bets this season have gone 20-19-1, which I know isn't great, but hey, it is passable.
Turns out, that's not much of a fun fact because, well, Weeks 1 and 2 do in fact count, which means I'm actually sporting a 21-28-1 record with my weekly best bets, which makes it less of a fun fact and more of a sad what if -- something, as a Bears, Mariners, and Arsenal fan, I'm more than used to at least. What's been especially problematic, besides that 1-9 start to the season, is that I've yet to post a four-win week. You know how some NFL teams are stuck in 9-7, 7-9 purgatory? Well, I'm stuck in 3-2, 2-3 purgatory. With only seven weeks remaining, I'm in desperate need of a four- or five-win week so that I can finally stop referencing my 1-9 start to the season.
Without further delay, let's get to the picks.
Last week: 3-2
This year: 21-28-1
Obviously, those two quarterbacks are two of the best players in football regardless of position. They'reRussell Wilson as the league's frontrunner for MVP. Combined, the two quarterbacks have accounted for 44 touchdowns. The Ravens' offense is leading the league in scoring with an average of 33.3 points per game. The Texans aren't far behind, checking in at eighth with 26.4 points per game. Defensively, neither of these teams are particularly strong with the Ravens checking in at 14th in DVOA and the Texans lagging slightly behind at 18th. Six of the Ravens' nine games have gone over. A week ago against the Bengals, they hit the over all by themselves.at unseating
In what is probably the best game of the week between two MVP candidates, I think we'll see an explosion of points. The Texans should be able to go punch for punch with the Ravens, which should help us avoid a situation where the Ravens can just sit on the ball and run out the clock.
2. Bears at Rams Under 40.5
In what will likely be the opposite of a shootout, we have a game between two young quarterbacks, both of whom are former high draft picks, that are struggling to find their footing in 2019.
After a rough second half to the 2018 season -- including the playoffs -- Jared Goff is making look reckless and foolish. After improving in his second NFL season and his first under Matt Nagy, Mitchell Trubisky hasn't just failed to make the leap in Year 3, he's somehow managed to worsen. Both quarterbacks are among the league's worst when it comes to the advanced metrics. Goff is 24th in DYAR. Trubisky is 26th. Goff is 24th in DVOA. Trubisky is 27th. Goff is 29th in total QBR. Trubisky is 32nd (out of 33 qualified quarterbacks).
And it's not like either team is particularly adept at running the ball now that Todd Gurley is no longer the superstar he was as recently as last season and the Bears' offensive line has decided to stopped blocking the way it did a year ago. By rushing DVOA, the Rams and Bears respectively rank 17th and 26th. By overall DVOA, the Rams' offense and Bears' offense respectively rank 21st and 26th.
What these two teams are actually good at is playing defense, with both of them sneaking their way into the top-five by DVOA. Unsurprisingly, six of the Rams' nine games have gone under. The Bears' have the exact same record in terms of the over/under.
With the Rams seriously banged up on the offensive line and given Goff's propensity for caving under duress, I think we're going to see a huge game by the Bears' defense similar to how they stymied the Rams' then-explosive offense a season ago. Given just how bad Trubisky has been, I can't take the Bears to cover or win this game. But I do like the under.
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Unlike the Bears and Rams, the Broncos and Vikings do not both have top-five defenses by DVOA. But they do both have top-10 defenses by DVOA.
On the road against a Mike Zimmer defense, Brandon Allen should struggle in only his second career start. Meanwhile, with Dalvin Cook, the Vikings are a team that likes to run the ball -- only the 49ers have racked up more rushing attempts than the Vikings. Look for the Vikings to get up by two scores in the early going given just how much better they are in nearly every area of the game before letting Cook salt away the game.
I'll take the under in a game between two good defenses, one dominant running game, and a quarterback making his second career start.
Both of these teams are stuck in the suck, but the Redskins shouldn't be favored against anyone. They haven't pieced together one completely competent performance this season -- they were lucky to escape the Dolphins' late charge in their lone win. The Jets aren't good, but they have at least demonstrated the ability to score points with Sam Darnold. We saw it in Week 10 when the Jets put up 34 points on a Giants defense that ranked, at the time, 25th in DVOA. The Jets offense should be able to find similar success against a Redskins defense that is 24th in DVOA.
But the biggest reason I like the Jets is their defense, which is actually kinda sorta maybe good. By DVOA, they're actually 11th. We know that the Redskins will run the ball considering Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, and Haskins hasn't yet demonstrated that he's NFL ready. So, it's good news then that the Jets' defense is No. 2 against the run by DVOA. And even if the Redskins do air it out, does anyone have confidence that Haskins can avoid turning the ball over? He's already racked up four interceptions even though he's attempted only 44 passes this year., they're starting rookie
The Jets are bad. But they're playing an even worse team. So, I'll take them to cover -- and I think they'll win too.
5. Cardinals +11 at 49ers
The Cardinals might not be a good football team, but with Kyler Murray repeatedly demonstrating why he was worthy of the top-overall pick, they've been able to cover the spread frequently. Despite being only 3-6-1 on the season, the Cardinals are 7-3 against the spread, including 7-2 as underdogs.
On Sunday, the Cardinals get a 49ers team that they just covered against on Halloween. The 49ers entered that matchup as 10.5-point favorites. They ended up escaping Arizona with a three-point win. Helping the Cardinals this time around is that the 49ers are especially banged up. Both George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders -- Jimmy Garoppolo's favorite targets -- are ailing. Both . Left tackle Joe Staley has already been ruled out.
I don't think the Cardinals will beat the 49ers. But I do think this will be closer than an 11-point game. Despite being 8-1 on the season, the 49ers are only 5-4 against the spread, including 2-4 as favorites.