Denver Broncos -1.5 & Dallas Cowboys -1
BroncosThis is a game I really wanted to release at -7, but it was quickly bet off the key number on Sunday night. Therefore, the only option is putting it in a teaser since I don't like posting picks at unfavorable numbers.
But needless to say I love the Broncos to win this game. There really isn't a lot of weaknesses to highlight with Denver with the exception of McGahee's ongoing fumbling problems and the not-so-good red zone defense. Otherwise, this team is steamrolling through the schedule.
Funny enough, the Broncos surge started when they went into halftime trailing 24-0 against the same Chargers. Ever since that game, both of these teams have been going in opposite directions.
Rivers has been putting up decent numbers, but this isn't a game that he's going to feel comfortable in. His O-line is not protecting him well enough and Denver can bring a lethal pass-rush. It's uncertain if Dumervil will play, but his injury isn't nearly as bad as first thought. Whether he goes or not, the Chargers will have to find a way to slow down Von Miller. Additionally, DJ Williams makes his return, which could be downright scary for opponents. Look for him to be eased back in and Woodyard has played very well in DJ's absence.
For the Chargers, while Norv Turner isn't busy biting the heads of reporters, he's trying to figure out how to get this team to play consistently. They've shown more than enough signs that the potential is there on both sides of the ball, but they just can't put it together for long stretches. Peyton's pass protection has been excellent this season and I expect him to continue his tear this game. He should have more than enough opportunities to burn a less-than-stellar secondary. Given that Denver rank among the top in drive success, third down conversions, and red zone efficiency, it's safe to say they'll get their points. Even though the Broncos struggle with their own red zone D, the Chargers rank dead last in that area.
Finally, we have a guy named Trindon Holliday. He ripped it up in the preseason, but the Texans cut him after an unproductive September. Given Houston's problems on special teams, I was a bit surprised they gave up so quickly. Now he's become a weapon to be accounted for as he already has two return TD's for the Broncos. San Diego isn't horrible on special teams, but they aren't great either.
CowboysWeek 10 marked one of the few times I added Dallas as a straight pick for the simple reason that they always have an inflated number. Being "America's Team" of yesterday still resonates with the betting public so it's not often you find true value on their point spreads. Yet, the Eagles have become all-fade material this year so I couldn't pass it up.
The first thing that jumps off the page with them is the schedule they've played. The bulk of their games have come on the road so far and the competition has been stiff. Some might say they are due for a letdown against an inferior opponent, but they are still alive in the playoff hunt. Motivation should not be a problem.
The obvious problem for the Browns is that Brandon Weeden has been terrible this season. Trent Richardson is a bright spot, but he hasn't paid dividends in short yardage situations. This season Cleveland is 8 for 18 on third and 1 and Richardson was 2 of 7 on those plays. Therefore it should be no surprise their offense ranks near the bottom in drive success and red zone efficiency. The Cowboys D have been above average in those categories this year, despite playing some very good offenses.
Things are much better for the Browns on the other side of the ball where they rank average across the board. This doesn't provide a huge advantage for the Dallas offense, but they should be able to do enough to put up some points. They've had very little trouble moving the ball this year, but things continue to break down in the red zone. It also doesn't help that Dallas have among the most penalties on offense either. I don't think they are about to turn that around anytime soon because I'm not a big fan of Jason Garrett, but we are talking about the Browns here so I don't foresee it being a big issue this week.
It might not be pretty, but Dallas is primed to win this game. They own too many advantages across the board and have the benefit of home field advantage. This is a no-brainer teaser option.
DEN -1.5 & DAL -1.
Miami Dolphins +9 & Denver Broncos -1.5
More Week 11 picks.