Thursday, Nov. 17
New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Carolina Panthers (3-6)
When it comes down to it, the Saints offense is ridiculous and the Panthers defense is ridiculously medicore.
Drew Brees has led the Saints to an average of 427.7 total yards per game, the most in the league. The Panthers secondary is in the NFL’s bottom third in terms of yards allowed.
Carolina’s strong point defensively is their run defense, but the Saints rarely utilize anyone in their backfield. It’s just an air show that has worked against most defenses this season.
Cam Newton should help the Panthers put some points on the board, I just don’t think they’ll put up enough points to catch the high-flying Saints.
Q’s Pick: Saints, 31-23
Sunday, Nov. 20
Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
The Titans did some major work last weekend against the Packers posting a 47-spot that included a touchdown pass from DeMarco Murray.
Murray and reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week Marcus Mariota have paced what has turned into one of the most efficient offenses in the league (and yes, you read that right).
The Titans rush for 146 yards per game, third most in the league, and average 386.1 total yards per game, sixth-most in the NFL.
That bodes well against a mess of a Colts defense that is one of only four teams allowing more than 400 total yards per game (402.8).
Q’s Pick: Titans, 27-20
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7) at Detroit Lions (5-4)
The Jaguars’ offense continues to tail-spin, now in an un-elite group of seven teams that average fewer than 20 points per game (19.3).
That’s not to say the Lions are a powerhouse — they only score 22.8 points per game.
But Detroit has signature wins this season against the Eagles, Redskins, and Vikings in the last month and are coming off a bye week, so they’ve had plenty of time to prepare for Blake Bortles and the ever-struggling T.J. Yeldon.
Detroit’s also 3-1 at home this season.
Q’s Pick: Lions, 24-17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
The Chiefs are widely regarded as having one of the league’s best defenses, but really they have one of the league’s best secondaries.
The team has an NFL-high 13 interceptions this year but their Achilles heel is their run defense, which allows 121.7 yards per game and ranks 27th in the league.
If the Bucs want to win, they need to attack there. Tampa relies heavily on the run game, averaging the second-most rush attempts per game (35) but we don’t know who their running back will be because injuries have forced them to use four different starters this season.
Jameis Winston shouldn’t be expected to win this game on the road against that secondary but the Bucs have a chance if they get the run game going. I’m just not sure they will.
Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 30-21
Chicago Bears (2-7) at New York Giants (6-3)
The Bears are reeling once again, losers of five-straight road games and now they get to stumble into a “hot” Giants team that’s won four in a row.
I put that word in quotations because the Giants could just as easily have lost all of the games they’ve won this year. In fact, they haven’t won a game by more than one possession and, despite their record, have been outscored this season, 182-184.
Q’s Pick: Giants, 28-24
Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
I started the year having no belief in the Vikings, then was convinced they were better than I thought when they started the year 5-0, and now I don’t believe in them again.
I do believe in David Johnson and the Cardinals and maintain that they are a much better team than their record indicates.
Arizona’s defense should have a feast against a Vikings offense that is one of the worst in terms of efficiency in the league. Minnesota’s 302.3 total yards per game are the fewest in the league and Sam Bradford has cooled tremendously since his hot start.
The Vikings defense is still among the league’s best but their run defense has struggled lately — luckily for them so has Johnson, who has rushed for only 55 and 24 yards in his last two games.
Still, if defense wins games, Arizona has a better one.
Q’s Pick: Cardinals, 23-17
Buffalo Bills (4-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-5-1)
With LeSean McCoy returning to full health following a bye week, the Bills should look to use the run game to beat a Bengals defense that currently allows more than 116 yards per game on the ground.
Tyrod Taylor has turned into a weapon for Buffalo as well, but it’s McCoy’s offense which rushes for 155 yards per game, second only to the Cowboys.
The bye week, which includes rest and preparation, gives Buffalo an advantage over Cincinatti who is coming off a tough loss and a short week.
Q’s Pick: Bills, 28-23
Baltimore Ravens (5-4) at Dallas Cowboys (8-1)
How ’bout them Cowboys and their record?
Baltimore has quietly been winning games utilizing a bone-crushing defense that allows a league-few 71.3 yards per game on the ground and 281.6 total yards.
It’s going to be a classic power matchup against the Cowboys top-ranked run game. Defense typically wins these types of games but Dallas beat the Packers at a time when their defense was the league’s top-ranked.
Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 30-24
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5) at Cleveland Browns (0-10)
True, injuries have slowed the team, but at least two of those men have been on the field together for most of the season.
Anyways, Pittsburgh’s pass attack remains one of the most lethal in the league and it shouldn’t slow down at all against the Browns, who allow the second-most total yards per game (419.1) in the league.
The Browns will win a game this season, but their first one won’t come this weekend.
Q’s Pick: Steelers, 34-20
Miami Dolphins (5-4) at Los Angeles Rams (4-5)
The biggest story coming out of this one is that this year’s No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff will officially be making his NFL debut.
It couldn’t come at a better time for the Rams offense. Led by Case Keenum, they averaged the second-fewest total yards per game with 308.
Goff has been highly-touted but hasn’t even been on the field since the preseason, and his first test is against a Miami secondary that is among the league’s top-10 in pass yards allowed. Miami has struggled to contain the run this season though, and that could open up chances for Todd Gurley.
At the end of the day, I just think Miami is too good a team for Goff to win against convincingly. The Dolphins need this game more than the Rams do.
Q’s Pick: Dolphins, 26-23
New England Patriots (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (1-8)
There’s little these teams have in common, but they can both say they lost heartbreakers last weekend.
The Patriots were stopped on 4th and goal in the final seconds against the Seahawks and the 49ers lost to the Cardinals on a game-winning field goal.
The similarities stop there.
The 49ers allow a league-worst 429.7 total yards per game and 180.4 (one-hundred-eighty-point-four) rushing yards per game.
LeGarrette Blount, anyone?
Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-21
Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Seattle Seahawks (6-2-1)
Every time I pick against the Eagles, they win.
Not this time. I think.
The Seahawks are finally clicking on offense, led by the resurgence of Russell Wilson, who has thrown for 630 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games.
Thomas Rawls is expected to return from injury this week against Philly’s 13th-ranked run defense.
Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 24-16
Green Bay Packers (4-5) at Washington Redskins (5-3-1)
The Packers were absolutely embarassed by the Titans last week, giving up 47 points for the first time since 2008.
And that was right after Aaron Rodgers called out his team for a lack of effort.
Things don’t get easier against the Redskins rested offense, which ranks in the league’s top-5 in total yards and passing yards per game.
Kirk Cousins has a chance to put up big numbers against a Packers secondary that has given up at least 31 points in each of their last three weeks, all losses.
Q’s Pick: Redskins, 30-24
Monday, Nov. 21
Houston Texans (6-3) at Oakland Raiders (7-2)
Por primera vez en más de una década, la NFL está de vuelta en México.
I think that’s correct, my Spanish is as shaky as the Texans offense.
Houston and their prized quarterback Brock Osweiler have the worst pass offense in the game, throwing for 187.3 yards per contest.
The good news it they have Lamar Miller and Oakland’s defense features the third-worst secondary in the NFL.
This game is in Mexico City, so there’s no homefield advantage for either team, but the Raiders are coming off a bye and have had plenty of time to prepare for the trip and the Texans.