Ranked No. 1 by many metrics last year, Baltimore’s defense is starting to play at the same level, and the Ravens offense is explosive. They will keep rolling in Week 12.
Road underdogs also continue to perform well and have produced a 63-41-4 ATS record.
Los Angeles has become a shell of last year’s Super Bowl squad. The Rams’ deficiencies have not been on full display over the last month, because of subpar competition, but Baltimore will show why the Rams won’t make the playoffs this year. The Ravens lead the NFL in scoring (34.1 points per game) and rushing (203.8 yards per game), and no team utilizes tight ends like Baltimore.
Lamar Jackson’s development has been remarkable. He threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns last week, completed 16 of his final 18 passes and doesn’t turn the ball over. The Rams like to give it away, with six turnovers over the last two weeks, and their injury-decimated offensive line is exploitable.
Wade Phillips says Lamar Jackson is the MVP. pic.twitter.com/wZ3lWa2E4Z
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) November 21, 2019
Baltimore has developed into a beast against quality competition, and this game has all the makings of a mismatch.
Pick: Baltimore -3
Perhaps Atlanta discovered a magic pill earlier this month. They’ve risen from the depths of a six-game losing streak to post convincing wins over playoff contenders New Orleans and Carolina the last two weeks. Whatever the reason the Falcons are clearly playing at a much higher level than Tampa Bay presently. The Jameis Winston era is coming to an ignominious end, as the maligned quarterback tossed another four interceptions last week to increase his league-leading total to 18.
Jameis Winston now has 18 INTs in 10 games
— FanSided (@FanSided) November 17, 2019
Atlanta has allowed only four field goals and no touchdowns in the last two games, and the defense had four interceptions and five sacks against Carolina last week. Falcons QB Matt Ryan is poised to have a big afternoon against Tampa’s 31st-ranked pass defense, and I like how wide receiver Calvin Ridley performed last week, with eight receptions for 143 yards. The Falcons will carry their momentum forward.
Pick: Atlanta -4
Dallas is an underdog for the first time this season, and this is too many points to give with New England’s pedestrian offense. I won’t understate the coaching advantage for New England, but Dallas has excelled in this role under Jason Garrett, with a 10-2 ATS record as a road underdog off a win against opponents exiting a non-divisional game.
New England lacks skill players on offense and does not enter in good form after an ugly win over Philadelphia, when it failed to get much going and was held to fewer than 300 total yards. Tom Brady went 26-for-47 against a bad secondary, with the Patriots lone touchdown coming via a trick wide receiver pass, and Julian Edelman’s production has declined (tied for first in the league with eight dropped passes).
New England can grind out a close win behind a formidable defense, but Dallas presents a challenge with its balance. Quarterback Dak Prescott is performing at a career-best level and the Cowboys rank first in total offense (444.6 yards per game).
Pick: Dallas +6.5
Chicago boasts the worst offense in the NFL, and this point spread is ridiculous in my estimation. The Bears can’t run the ball effectively (they’re 29th overall with a 79.9-yard per game average), and I was surprised to see Matt Nagy keep quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as the starter. Trubisky has been unable to hit water from a boat and boo birds will be out early in Soldier Field.
New York has a soft defense, but rookie Daniel Jones exits a good performance (308 yards passing, with four touchdowns and no interceptions) and the Giants are averaging 32 points per game over the last six contests. If running back Saquon Barkley gets going, New York can win this game. Chicago still features an outstanding defensive unit, but bad offense drags down good defense, and there is no bigger discrepancy between quarterbacks on the schedule this week.
Daniel Jones on the Bears: “They’re a good defense, but we’ll be ready for them”
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 20, 2019
Pick: New York Giants +6.5
Green Bay exits a bye week, with a healthy roster focused on securing a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Packers rank second with a +9 takeaway/giveaway ratio, with defensive backs Jaire Alexander and Kevin King wreaking havoc at times, and San Francisco has been prone to turnovers.
San Francisco dominated the first half of the season, and won the first seven games by an average margin of 18.5 points, but injuries have become a factor. The Niners have piled up injuries at an alarming rate, with the loss of defensive ends Dee Ford (6 1/2 sacks) and Ronald Blair the last two weeks, and top tight end George Kittle is out again. They have not been able to run the ball as successfully as teams load the box against them, and Jimmy Garoppolo threw two more interceptions last week to raise his season total to 10.
Green Bay will have to overcome a fine defense, but quarterback Aaron Rogers rates a significant edge over his counterpart, and I predict an upset. The Packers boast a superb 7-3 ATS record this year, including a 2-0 mark as a road underdog, and San Francisco is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five games.