Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. In Week 10, Nostrathomas got mauled. The carnage added up to Nostrathomas being 1-3 with his top picks, 4-7-1 overall against the spread and 5-6 straight up. That’s why Nostrathomas is toning down his usual level of arrogance heading into NFL Week 11. Actually, no he isn’t. It’s time to bounce back off the mat and go back on the attack.
Nostrathomas Predicts: NFL Week 11 Picks
Unfortunately for the public, the Las Vegas sports books beat up on everyone last week, proving that no matter what streak you’re on, they’ll eventually catch up. Last week’s results have Nostrathomas back under the .500 mark for the season at 14-15-2 for his top picks and 61-63-3 overall against the spread.
NFL Week 11 will be closing with two of the best prime time games offered by the NFL this season. There are also some solid money-making opportunities available on Sunday afternoon.
NFL Week 11 Games of the Week
Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago Bears -2.5 (Sunday Night Football, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL)
This game is a showdown for first place in the NFC North. Statistically, this game skews more towards the Chicago Bears than the general public realizes.
In the 23 statistical categories Nostrathomas uses to analyze games, the Bears are first in the NFL in six, all on the defensive side of the ball. They include passer rating allowed, advanced quarterback rating, rushing yards per attempt, negative pass plays, turnover differential and the top ranking for their defensive front overall.
It’s not just the defense that is pulling this team along though. Mitchell Trubisky has climbed to eighth in the NFL in net passing yards per attempt ninth in passer rating and the Bears are third overall in passer rating differential.
That doesn’t mean the Soldier Field faithful should be prepared for a blowout though. The Minnesota Vikings are currently seventh overall in Nostrathomas’ power rankings. Their defense leads the NFL in third-down conversion percentage, they are second to Chicago in negative pass plays and their defensive front overall is rated second in the league, hot on the heels of the Bears.
NBC flexed this game to Sunday night with the anticipation of an old-fashioned “Black and Blue” division bloodbath. Nostrathomas thinks they and the fans will get it.
Chicago is 5-1 against the spread in their last six at Soldier Field. That’s why they get the edge here.
Chicago Bears 26 Minnesota Vikings 22
Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 vs Los Angeles Rams (Monday Night Football, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA)
Two young gunslingers get to fight it out this week on Monday Night Football. Patrick Mahomes leads the Kansas City Chiefs back into the prime-time spotlight against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. This game is football porn at its finest.
How do you pick a game like this? Usually, Nostrathomas would skip the spread and bet the over/under, except the total for this game currently sits at 63.5, which is astronomical.
The one negative heading into this game is the Rams have lost wide receiver Cooper Kupp for the season with a torn ACL.
The trends say pick Kansas City. The Chiefs are 8-2 against the spread this season and Los Angeles is 4-8-1 in their last 13 against the points.
Kansas City Chiefs 38 Los Angeles Rams 35
NFL Week 11 Picks of the Week
Pittsburgh Steelers -5 vs Jacksonville Jaguars (1 PM ET; TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL)
The Pittsburgh Steelers have spent the past five weeks rolling through three of their division foes and two tough NFC squads. The climax of that run came last week when Pittsburgh steamrolled a tough Carolina Panthers team 52-21. This week they get a chance to exact some revenge against a Jacksonville Jaguars team the beat them 45-42 in the Divisional Round of last season’s playoffs.
That the Steelers will have had 10 days to dwell on that defeat is not what Jacksonville needs to deal with right now. Pittsburgh is fourth in Nostrathomas’ statistical power rankings heading into Week 11. The Jaguars held that spot through most of last season but have fallen to 22 in 2018.
Pittsburgh is fighting to hold the second seed and earn a first-round bye in the AFC. They also don’t have the Le’Veon Bell headache hanging over the team anymore. Though to Nostrathomas’ eyes, that holdout stopped bothering the Steelers once James Conner proved himself to be a quality running back in his own right.
Pittsburgh has won and covered their last five games while the Jaguars are 0-5 straight up and against the spread in their last five. Expect the Steelers to run their streak to six.
Pittsburgh Steelers 30 Jacksonville Jaguars 23
Carolina Panthers -4.5 vs Detroit Lions (1 PM ET; Ford Field, Detroit, MI)
The Panthers have had 10 days to move past their embarrassing 52-21 Week 10 loss in Pittsburgh. Despite jumping out to a 7-0 lead Carolina was never in the game. This week they get a chance to recover against the Detroit Lions who are on a three-game losing streak.
Nostrathomas has been reading a number of experts that have been writing off Detroit’s losing streak to the quality of teams they’ve been playing. In a manner of speaking that is true. The Lions have lost to the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears over that streak. They also give the Lions credit for holding Chicago’s offense to only eight points in the second half of last week’s game.
What the experts fail to mention is that Bears placekicker Cody Parkey doinked eight points worth of kicks off the right upright. With consistent kicking, Chicago buries the Lions by 20 points.
What the experts also aren’t taking into account is that Carolina is still a playoff caliber team despite the bad loss last week. Detroit stopped showing heart around the time wide receiver Golden Tate was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Panthers are looking to make a statement this week. The Lions will serve as the podium.
Carolina Panthers 28 Detroit Lions 18
Tennessee Titans +1.5 vs Indianapolis Colts (1 PM ET; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
This battle has huge playoff implications in both the AFC South and in the Wild Card hunt. The Tennessee Titans are 5-4 and one game behind the Houston Texans in the division. The Indianapolis Colts are one game behind the Titans. Indianapolis has won three straight games while the Titans have won two straight coming out of their bye, including a 34-10 pasting of the New England Patriots last week.
Why Tennessee on the road this week? The Titans have been playing strong on defense all season but are beginning to play it like Jacksonville did in 2017. Also, since Marcus Mariota has had the sleeve removed from his injured elbow he’s been tearing up opposing defenses through the air. Mariota’s passer rating in his last two games has been 119.9 and 125.0 against New England.
Tennessee is 6-1 this season when going into a game as the underdog.
Tennessee Titans 23 Indianapolis Colts 22
Houston Texans -3 vs Washington Redskins (1 PM ET; FedEx Field, Washington, DC)
This is a battle of two 6-3 teams trying to maintain control over their divisions. If the Washington Redskins win they will have put a virtual stranglehold on the NFC East. If the Houston Texans come out on top they’re guaranteed to hold serve over surging Tennessee for another week.
The key to betting this game is to not get too caught up into what Washington was able to do against the disintegrating Buccaneers last week. The Redskins are tough and opportunistic on defense but Houston is strong on both sides of the ball.
On offense, Deshaun Watson has put a passer rating together that’s 10 points higher than Alex Smith. Watson is also superior to Smith in net passing yards per attempt. He has the targets in the otherworldly DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas to sling the ball downfield with confidence. Thomas has also had the bye week to get more integrated into head coach Bill O’Brien’s offense. For Washington, Quinton Dunbar has been declared out for this game which makes the job of stopping the Texans offense even tougher.
Houston also has also taken over the top spot in run defense from New Orleans which will make it tougher for Adrian Peterson to be effective.
The Texans have played all four of their post-bye week games on the road under O’Brien and are 3-1. Nostrathomas is picking them to win and cover here.
Houston Texans 27 Washington Redskins 19
The Best of the Rest
Denver Broncos vs Los Angeles Chargers -7 (4:05 PM; StubHub Center, Carson, CA)
The Los Angeles Chargers have won seven of their last eight games at StubHub Center. They are also heading into this game riding a six-game game winning streak. This is a team that has serious playoff aspirations this season.
Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos are trying to salvage even a fragment of something positive to take from this season. They’re not going to find it here.
Los Angeles Chargers 30 Denver Broncos 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Giants -2.5 (1 PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)
Last week, the New York Giants brought San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Nick Mullens back to earth on Monday Night Football in a 27-23 win. The previous afternoon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did the near impossible. They torched Washington’s defense for over 500 total yards, the fourth time this season they eclipsed that mark, and put a total of three points on the scoreboard. Funny thing is, last week was the third time in those 500 yard games that the Buccaneers lost.
On offense, Eli Manning has managed a respectable 94.3 passer rating this year. The Buccaneers defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a passer rating of 122.3 against them, dead last in the NFL.
Look at that number in relation to the leading quarterbacks in the NFL and you see how abysmal that number is. The top quarterback in the NFL in passer rating this season is Drew Brees at 123.8, quarterbacks playing against the Buccaneers at 122.3, and Patrick Mahomes at 117.4.
Tampa Bay is 2-4 going back to 2010 in games where the temperature at kickoff is 45 degrees or below. The forecast for this Sunday at MetLife Stadium is for a game-time temperature of 43 degrees.
New York Giants 25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
Philadelphia Eagles vs New Orleans Saints -7.5 (4:25 PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA)
The Philadelphia Eagles are hanging on by the skin of their teeth to keep themselves within reach of a playoff spot in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints are in a fight with the Rams to secure home field advantage throughout the NFC postseason.
The Saints will put additional pressure on Los Angeles to beat the Chiefs on Monday night.
New Orleans Saints 35 Philadelphia Eagles 26
Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons -3 (1 PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)
Atlanta Falcons 32 Dallas Cowboys 18
Cincinnati Bengals +4 vs Baltimore Ravens (1 PM ET; M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD)
Andy Dalton will be without wide receiver A.J. Green for the second straight week. For the Ravens, it appears that Joe Flacco will miss this game with an injured hip. Coach John Harbaugh will attempt to sew a quarterback together from pieces of rookie Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 Baltimore Ravens 19
Oakland Raiders vs Arizona Cardinals -5.5 (4:05 PM ET; State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ)
Another game, another chance for Gruden the Elder to cross his arms and pace the sidelines while wondering why he ever left the Monday Night Football booth.
Arizona Cardinals 22 Oakland Raiders 15