- The Falcons are a live underdog this week with Taysom Hill at quarterback for the Saints
- Green Bay should also be able to pull off the road upset against Indianapolis
- Bury last week’s picks that went 0-2 and lost us 3 units. We still have +10.32 units to blow through!
I probably express the sentiment every year, but this NFL season is flying by. It seems like just yesterday that people thought the Dallas Cowboys would be a powerhouse, the Miami Dolphins would be a doormat, and that coaches wearing masks on the sideline was optional.
In what has been a weirder year than usual, we’ve still reached that point in the season where we have a good idea of what all these teams are, or at least what trajectory they’re on for the rest of 2020. After looking at the Week 11 odds, here’s a couple underdogs on the upswing that I really like. (And one insane pick I promised I would make!)
NFL Week 11 Upset Picks
|Pittsburgh Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars||PIT – 10||+410||Jaguars||1|
|Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints||NO -3.5||+155||Falcons||1|
|Green Bay Packers vs Indianapolis Colts||IND -2.5||+110||Packers||2|
Odds taken Nov. 20 from DraftKings and FanDuel
Loyal readers of this column will not be shocked by this pick, since I told you it was coming last week. The Steelers drubbing of the Bengals did not shake my confidence in Pittsburgh’s ability to lose to bad teams on the road. Meanwhile, the Jaguars were surprisingly game to take on the Packers last week.
JK Scott might have to retire after this. pic.twitter.com/I7nJWD8oWg
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 15, 2020
The Steelers are currently -10.5 favorites in Duval County. But as I already went over, these big favorite spots are not where you want to back Pittsburgh against the number.
Last week we pointed out the Steelers performing well in that spot vs the Ravens but they are notorious for letdown games & the stats back it up. Since 2005, off a win, when Ben starts on the road against a non-divisional opp with a Win % advantage of >25% he’s 1-17 ATS/end pic.twitter.com/JwcaJHOHwm
— Evwagers (@evwagers) November 8, 2020
I’m chasing the great Steeler choke job again this week. It’s my white whale. If you don’t want to join me in my Ahabian pursuits, perhaps these other two picks might be more your speed.
Falcons Get Over The Hill
Atlanta was a really enticing play earlier this week when we thought Jameis Winston was going to be under center. A quarterback with the ability to match the Saints 2019 season’s worth of turnovers in a single game would’ve made this a real toss up. But Sean Payton is taking a different approach this weekend.
Saints’ QB Taysom Hill will start Sunday vs. the Falcons, per source. Hill took all the starter reps at practice this week. Jameis Winston will be the backup.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 20, 2020
With Taysom Hill starting now, there’s slightly less value on Atlanta pulling the upset, but the Falcons are still in a great spot to win here.
Hill has never attempted more than two passes in an NFL game. More of a gimmick than a quarterback, Saints fans have grown tired of seeing him get the ball in big spots rather than the teams actual playmakers.
How long do you need Taysom? pic.twitter.com/lTKOa81p9W
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 15, 2020
Hill might make an impact as a runner early, but he’s provided no reason to believe he can execute an NFL offense for four quarters. And now that the Falcons defense has reached a base level of competency under Raheem Morris, it could be a long afternoon for Hill.
Atlanta is 3-1 under their interim head coach, allowing 10 fewer points per game while actually holding on to fourth quarter leads.
Something to note: the #Falcons have improved markedly in pressure rate (QB hits + knockdowns + sacks as a % of all pass plays) since Raheem Morris took over. The defense is now up to 8th in the NFL (24.9%) after languishing in the 20s for the majority of the season.
— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) November 19, 2020
Even though the Saints have been the superior side over the past few years, the Falcons have still played their rivals tough, splitting their last eight meetings 4-4 straight up.
Back to the Pack
Green Bay was one of our first winning bets of the year, and we haven’t really had a chance to revisit them since. Now that they’re getting points on the road against Indianapolis, it seems like a good time to use some of those units we saved in Week 2.
The Colts had their most impressive showing of the season in Tennessee on Thursday, but when you zoom out on their schedule so far, that’s not saying much. When it comes to stepping up and competing with actual contenders, Indy is 0-1 against teams that are currently in a playoff spot.
On the left is each team's remaining strength of schedule (good luck Bills and Rams).
On the right, each team's strength of schedule faced so far. I double-checked the Colts b/c it's insane:
JAX, MIN, NYJ, CHI, CLE, CIN, DET pic.twitter.com/jFOhysA8xf
— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) November 2, 2020
Indianapolis teams of old would be a great matchup against the Packers awful run defense, but this year’s iteration isn’t scaring anyone on the ground. The Colts rank 29th in the league in yards per carry and 18th in rushing DVOA.
If this is going to turn into a battle of passing attacks, I wouldn’t take old man Rivers to win a shootout with Aaron Rodgers indoors.
Philip Rivers on anticipating this weekend's QB battle against Aaron Rodgers:
"The number that stands out to me is how few interceptions he's had in all these years with as aggressive as he is as a passer."
— Larra Overton (@LarraOverton) November 18, 2020
Rodgers is undefeated in three indoor games this season, throwing 11 TDs and zero interceptions. Look for another banner day from the Packers offense as they roll in this one.