So much for the idea that the calendar turning to November would change my fortunes picking games.
The first weekend of November sure didn’t change a thing. I went 8-6 straight up and 6-8 against the spread. That isn’t good enough.
Now that we’re past the halfway point of the season, I vow to turn this thing around. It can’t be this bad for an entire season, can it?
I sure hope not. This week’s card looks tough on the surface, but I do like my picks more this week than I have at any time during the first eight weeks.
It’s turnaround time.
Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Oakland Raiders
This is a big game now for both teams in the division. The Chargers impressed in a big way last week beating the Packers. The defense was dominant. I think that will carry over against the Raiders and Derek Carr. Chargers take it.
Pick: Chargers 21, Raiders 17
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-2.5)
This is essentially an elimination game for these two. The winner stays alive in the division race. Chicago’s offense has been dreadful, but the Lions have struggled on defense. I think this is a game where Chicago’s defense comes up big. Bears win it as the offense shows some life.
Pick: Bears 24, Lions 20
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Baltimore Ravens (-10) at Cincinnati Bengals
This will be Ryan Finley’s first NFL start for the Bengals. That will be challenging against the Ravens defense. The Cincinnati defense has had run issues all season long and that will lead to a big game from Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram on the ground. The Ravens will take advantage of the bad Cincy defense and a rookie passer.
Pick: Ravens 30, Bengals 14
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (-3)
The line on this game looks funky. The Browns are favored? Why? They’ve been bad, but this is a potential season saver for this team as the schedule gets softer. The Bills have feasted on a bad schedule and I think that shows up. The Browns will take it.
Pick: Browns 23, Bills 16
Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-5)
This is one of the best games of the week with a Panthers team that is now playing with Kyle Allen the rest of the way traveling to play a Packers team coming off a bad loss. The Green Bay offensive line had issues last week against the Chargers, but they will re-group here as Aaron Rodgers gets back on track. Packers take it.
Pick: Packers 27, Panthers 20
Atlanta Falcons (+13) at New Orleans Saints
Both teams come off their bye, but it’s the Saints who went into it riding high. The Falcons are a mess and might not have Matt Ryan. But these two teams are rivals. That matters. Atlanta will keep it close if they have Ryan. There should be a lot of points.
Pick: Saints 33, Falcons 27
New York Giants (-2.5) at New York Jets
The battle of New York isn’t exactly sexy, but both teams need a victory in the worst way. The Giants are playing on a short week, but they have made some strides. The Jets have regressed in a big way. Look for Daniel Jones to outplay Sam Darnold as the Giants win it.
Pick: Giants 26, Jets 21
Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.5)
Pick: Bucs 34, Cardinals 28
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans (+3.5)
Patrick Mahomes will likely be back in this one, but this is a tough game for the Chiefs. The Titans have won the last three in the series, including a playoff game. They did it by being the more physical team. They will use that style in this one to pull off another upset.
Pick: Titans 23, Chiefs 21
Miami Dolphins (+10.5) at Indianapolis Colts
This will almost certainly be Brian Hoyer at quarterback for the Colts with Jacoby Brissett suffering a knee injury last week. The Dolphins won for the first time last week in beating the Jets, but this is a big step up in competition, even with Hoyer under center. The Colts will handle the Dolphins as they wait for Brissett to return.
Pick: Colts 28, Dolphins 23
Los Angeles Rams at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5)
The Steelers have made big strides the past few games, but the Rams offense will be a big challenge for their defense. Jared Goff seemed to get it going before the bye. But this will be a tough game for him and that offense. The Steelers will find a way behind their defense.
Pick: Steelers 23, Rams 20
Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (-3)
The Cowboys have impressed in winning the past two, but they are playing on a short week. The Vikings, though, are playing consecutive road games after losing at Kansas City. Kirk Cousins doesn’t play well in big prime-time games and I think that shows up. The Cowboys win it with their defense leading the way.
Pick: Cowboys 26, Vikings 19
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
This is the game of the week. We get to see Russell Wilson against that 49ers defense. Can the Seahawks block that front? The Seattle defense has been awful the past few weeks. Jimmy Garoppolo might be able to take advantage of that. This could be fun to watch.
Pick: 49ers 27, Seahawks 20