At this point in the season we know who the playoff contenders are, and each game becomes more important to determine who makes it in.
The Colts and Cardinals came away with wins that put them both tied for the lead in their respective divisions. With their Week 10 wins, the Buccaneers and Dolphins drew to within a one game striking distance for their divisions' top spot. The Bills, Ravens, Seahawks, Eagles, and Titans took losses giving up valuable ground for playoff positioning.
Drew Brees suffered fractured ribs and a collapsed lung in a win over the 49ers, and is expected to miss at least two weeks. Jameis Winston will fill in during Brees' absence and will have a great opportunity to raise his value in free agency by keeping the razor thin division lead the Saints have over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Let's take a look at FindBet's Week 11 NFL Power Rankings based on what we've seen so far this season.
32. New York Jets (0-9, Last Week 32 +/- 0) - Trevor Lawrence seriously needs to consider going back to Clemson next year to avoid being a part of this train wreck under Adam Gase.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8, Last Week 31, +/- 0) - Have lost eight in a row and get the Steelers this week. They still have the Titans, Colts, Vikings, Browns, and Ravens on their schedule. Yikes.
30. Washington Football Team (2-7, Last Week 30, +/- 0) - Alex Smith threw for 390 yards in a close loss to Detroit. Smith's comeback has been a great story out of Washington after a preseason name change fiasco and a dud of a season.
What a journey it's been for Alex Smith. So inspiring 🙏 (h/t @FieldYates) https://t.co/JCaeXK4CtO— ESPN (@ESPN)1605453142.0
29. Dallas Cowboys (2-7, Last Week 28, - 1) - Coming off their bye week the Cowboys get a tough matchup against the streaking Minnesota Vikings and Dalvin Cook. Their defense will be tested as Cook has run all over everyone he's faced this year.
28. Denver Broncos (3-6, Last Week 25, - 3) - Denver dropped their second game in a row in an embarrassing 37-12 loss that saw Drew Lock toss four interceptions. Jerry Jeudy has settled into the offense though, and should be a nice pairing with Courtland Sutton when he returns from injury next season.
27. Chicago Bears (5-5, Last Week 27, +/- 0) - Chicago has now lost four straight and is giving Minnesota the window they needed to make a move for second place in the NFC North. The Bears must have thought between Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles that they had a starting quarterback, but over this stretch it's clear they need to be looking for other options in 2021.
26. New York Giants (3-7, Last Week 29, + 3) - The Giants enter their bye week riding a two game win streak. They'll get Cincinnati in Week 12, and have positioned themselves to unseat the Eagles for top spot in the NFC East. That's an accomplishment right?
Daniel Jones' 34-yard TD marks his third rush of 30+ yards this season. Just as many as Lamar Jackson 😮 https://t.co/KvT0wL40Hh— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1605465367.0
25. Los Angeles Chargers (2-7, Last Week 23, - 2) - Another one score loss for Justin Herbert and the Chargers. With a banged up running back group, Kalen Ballage has been productive in the primary role.
24. Houston Texans (2-7, Last Week 22, - 2) - The Texans were smothered by the Cleveland defense with Deshaun Watson only being able to throw for 162 yards. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt ran the Houston defense into the ground as both went for over 100 yards rushing. We won't be seeing a return to the playoffs for this group in 2020.
23. Carolina Panthers (3-7, Last Week 21, - 2) - Now losers of five games in a row, the Panthers have played themselves out of contention in a division looking up at the Saints and Bucs. Christian McCaffrey will be out again this week and that doesn't bode well for a team struggling to get a win.
Panthers officially ruled out RB Christian McCaffrey for Sunday's game against Detroit.— Adam Schefter (@Adam Schefter)1605722017.0
22. San Francisco 49ers (4-6, Last Week 20, - 2) - Even though they've dropped three straight, it's still impressive what this team has been able to do with all the injuries they've sustained. The NFC West is just too competitive this year and the 49ers have run out of tricks to keep their season afloat.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1, Last Week 19, - 2) - The Bengals got beat up by the Steelers in Week 10, but they get Washington this week and have the Giants the following week. A couple of opportunities for Joe Burrow to put on a show.
20. Detroit Lions (4-5, Last Week 26, + 6) - The Vikings look like the more serious contenders, but Detroit gets Carolina, Houston, and Chicago over the next three weeks.
19. New England Patriots (4-5, Last Week 24, + 5) - Say what you will about the Patriots and Bill Belichick, but they've now won two straight and are just a game below .500. One thing we've learned over the past two decades is to never count out a Belichick coached Patriots team.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1, Last Week 18, +/- 0) - They lost to the Giants in Week 10 which moved the G-Men into second place in the East behind Philly. It's anyone's division to win, but right now it's Philadelphia's to lose.
17. Atlanta Falcons (3-6, Last Week 16, - 1) - The Falcons are coming off their bye and get a gift from the football gods as they'll take on a Drew Brees-less Saints team in Week 11. Atlanta looks like they're getting on the right track under interim head coach Raheem Morris, and a win over New Orleans would give them a boost heading into the home stretch.
16. Los Angeles Rams (6-3, Last Week 17, + 1) - Okay L.A. you got your first good win beating the Seahawks last week. Even though Russell Wilson and Seattle are on a little slide and not playing their best football, it's a big win for the Rams.
15. Cleveland Browns (6-3, Last Week 14, - 1) - Nick Chubb ruined bettors' day running out of bounds at the end of the game instead of running it in for the touchdown. Anyone who had Cleveland laying four points, we feel for you here at FindBet.
Nick Chubb fantasy owners crying right now https://t.co/RtKWXutbdw— Barstool Sports (@Barstool Sports)1605474806.0
14. Minnesota Vikings (4-5, Last Week 13, - 1) - Dalvin Cook had a pedestrian 112 total yards and no touchdowns in a win over Chicago. I guess we have been a little spoiled by his recent fantasy performances.
13. Indianapolis Colts (6-3, Last Week 15, + 2) - The Colts took the division lead with their victory over the Titans last week. They did it in convincing fashion and could run away with the AFC South if the Titans' recent run of play continues.
12. Tennessee Titans (6-3, Last Week 9, - 3) - No team is falling from grace faster than the Titans right now. They're 1-3 in their last four games and have the Ravens, a rematch with the Colts, and the Browns over the next three.
11. Las Vegas Raiders (6-3, Last Week 12, + 1) - Following the Raiders this season has been like a high school romance. Right now Vegas is on a three game winning streak and everything is looking great, but they get the Chiefs this week and the break up could get ugly.
10. Miami Dolphins (6-3, Last Week 11, + 1) - In Tua we trust. Now 3-0 as a starter and beginning to get it done with his arm as he had 2 TD passes last week outdueling Justin Herbert. Salvon Ahmed burst onto the scene with 85 yards and a TD.
AFC East point differential: 1. Miami Dolphins +69 2. Buffalo Bills +7 3. New England Patriots -28 4. New York Jet… https://t.co/3RSOxHdAo8— Adam Beasley (@Adam Beasley)1605488162.0
9. Baltimore Ravens (6-3, Last Week 7, - 2) - Lamar Jackson was unable to lead his team to a game winning drive in the fourth quarter. Doubt has begun to set in on one of the preseason favorites to win it all. Cleveland is right on their heels and a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Steelers is ahead of them.
8. Seattle Seahawks (6-3, Last Week 6, - 2) - It's hard to believe it but Seattle is on a two game slide and losers of three of their last four. Russell Wilson has looked human over the past couple weeks, and they're at the bottom of a three way tie for the NFC West division lead.
7. Buffalo Bills (7-3, Last Week 4, - 3) - It took a miracle Hail Mary to be beaten by Arizona in Week 10. The Bills have become one of the must-see teams in the NFL this year. Josh Allen has done it all for the Bills this season including catching a touchdown from Isaiah McKenzie against the Cardinals.
JOSH ALLEN IS WR1 😱 (via @NFL) https://t.co/9s7qgWJYt5— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report)1605475419.0
6. Arizona Cardinals (6-3, Last Week 10, + 4) - Kyler Murray's Hail Mary to DeAndre Hopkins may have taken the lead for play of the year in the NFL. A great game overall was capped off by one of the most exciting plays in sports. The Cardinals are looking more and more like a Super Bowl contender rather than just a playoff contender.
Hail Murray on repeat. @K1 @DeAndreHopkins (by @WilsonFootball) https://t.co/MUuskOjaat— NFL (@NFL)1605749426.0
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3, Last Week 8, + 3) - That's more like it. Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans all had at least six catches and Ronald Jones had a 98 yard touchdown run. Tampa Bay cruised to a win over Carolina in Week 10.
RONALD JONES GOES 98 YARDS! @rojo | #GoBucs 📺: #TBvsCAR on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: … https://t.co/vKrV2Pmpt9— NFL (@NFL)1605470781.0
4. New Orleans Saints (7-2, Last Week 5, + 1) - The Saints beat the 49ers last week but lost Drew Brees for at least this week. The good news for them is that they have Jameis Winston to step in while Brees recovers which should give them a shot at maintaining their slim division lead over the Bucs.
3. Green Bay Packers (7-2, Last Week 3, +/- 0) - The running game was ineffective in Week 10 but Aaron Rodgers willed them to victory over the Jags throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Packers take on the Colts this week in a matchup of division leaders.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1, Last Week 2, +/- 0) - The Chiefs are coming off their bye and get a chance to avenge their only loss on the season as they get a rematch with the Las Vegas Raiders. Patrick Mahomes has been spreading the ball around to all of the weapons in his offensive arsenal which has made defending Kansas City nearly impossible.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0, Last Week 1, +/- 0) - Playing in the AFC North guarantees Pittsburgh some difficult games left on the schedule, but the Steelers have never been intimidated by a challenge. They have won close games, shown the ability to overcome deficits to win, and the defense is elite. Until someone can put a number in their loss column the top spot is theirs.
It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.