Lamar Jackson must get on his agent about these contract talks. The Ravens are making their annual run to the playoffs and Jackson might have an opportunity to chase down Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen for MVP honors, however one way or the other he’s set to turn out to be a free agent.

Jackson is his personal agent, in fact, and contract talks are paused after the 2 sides failed to satisfy Jackson’s deadline for a deal earlier than the beginning of this season. He reportedly turned down a six-year, $274 million supply from the Ravens as a result of solely (yeah, solely) $133 million was totally assured — effectively wanting the totally assured $230 million Deshaun Watson bought from the Browns over 5 years.

It’s fairly wonderful that Baltimore has let this drag on this lengthy, even when it has the power to franchise-tag him for the subsequent couple of seasons.

Speaking of winners, I’m not amongst them for the primary time in three weeks. I used to be 6-8 towards the unfold final week due to collapses by the Bills and Cowboys, and the Jaguars not protecting by half some extent. We have been 2-2 on greatest bets, and this week we’re going to once more experience with the Lions as they face the Giants. We’re additionally taking the Titans over the Packers, the Falcons over the Bears and the Eagles over the Colts.

Last week: 6-8 towards the unfold.

Season document: 69-78-5 ATS (Plays of the week are 9-13-2)

All odds are from BetMGM and are locked when the choose was made. Click here for dwell odds.

GO DEEPER

NFL Power Rankings: Vikings continue to rise, Chiefs move into top spot

Aaron Rodgers is again, child! And they have a big-play receiver in any case in Christian Watson. At least that’s the consensus after the Packers got here again to beat the Cowboys final week. As with most video games lately, it turned on one play, a fourth-and-7 cross that Rodgers hit on with the Packers down 14 factors within the fourth quarter. We’re not saying the win was fluky, however the Cowboys are actually 195-1 after coming into the fourth quarter up 14 factors.

Now the Packers tackle one of many hottest groups within the league, one that may stress Rodgers with out blitzing and may cease the run. The Titans even have Derrick Henry and the Packers have the Thirtieth-ranked run protection DVOA and have surrendered 38 runs of 10-plus yards on early downs, trailing solely the Texans. Green Bay has given up 150-plus yards on the bottom a league-leading six instances.

And if this sport is nearer than I believe it is going to be, the Titans have a league-leading 16 wins (towards eight losses) in video games determined by three factors or fewer since 2018. When they’re street underdogs by three or extra factors underneath Mike Vrabel, the Titans are 10-7, 12-5 towards the unfold (2-1 this season).

The choose: Titans +3

Justin Fields is nice! Everybody loves how a lot Fields is working now — he traveled 34.2 yards from snap to attain on his 1-yard TD run final week and is reaching prime speeds of 20 miles per hour. And whereas he’s very enjoyable to look at and is clearly improving overall, persons are type of shedding their minds. One nationwide pundit talked about him for MVP and the general public is betting on the Bears once more this week …

Pssst. The Bears have misplaced three video games in a row and never coated in two of them.

And an enormous a part of that’s their protection. While each these groups run at a historic fee and there will be a lot of pile pushing — the Bears rank second amongst all groups since 2000 at 59.6 %, whereas the Falcons are fifth at 56.1 % — the Bears’ protection ranks final in EPA per drive (-1.73) and factors allowed per drive (3.24) since Week 8.

The choose: Falcons -3

For the second time within the three weeks, the Bills have been coasting and blew a straightforward cowl Sunday — and this time they misplaced the sport (to the Vikings). Josh Allen deserves a tip of the cap for enjoying harm, however then you may throw the cap at him for all the dumb turnovers. No QB within the NFL has misplaced extra EPA off turnovers this season than Allen (-61.01).

They ought to bounce again towards the Browns, although. Cleveland not solely doesn’t get a whole lot of stress on the quarterback regardless of having Myles Garrett, but it surely has the worst whole defensive dashing EPA and defensive dashing EPA per snap common of any group by means of its first 9 video games since a minimum of 2000.

It may be very laborious to put eight factors with a group that hasn’t coated in three video games and is twentieth in run protection EPA, particularly if you don’t understand how excited the Browns are about their prospects with Deshaun Watson about to hit the stage. But … Nick Chubb and the incoming snowstorm maintain it shut.

The choose: Browns +8

Jeff Saturday is a genius! Colts proprietor Jim Irsay took a victory lap after his buddy beat the Raiders on Sunday, and the general public has purchased in as this line has already moved down three factors. And whereas Saturday appears to have solved their offensive line problems overnight — the Colts averaged a season-best 4.27 yards earlier than contact per carry and allowed stress on a season-low 13.3 % of dropbacks — can we level out one small element?

They beat the Raiders, a group that was one way or the other shut out by the Saints three weeks in the past and is 2-7. The Raiders protection has the fewest variety of sacks within the NFL and their secondary is helpless. The Eagles are top-of-the-line groups within the league, they usually’re stout within the trenches with playmakers at cornerback. They wouldn’t let Matt Ryan rip off a 39-yard jog, and in addition will probably be clear-eyed and mad coming off their first loss.

The choose: Eagles -6.5

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Life received’t be really easy in Jeff Saturday’s second sport as Colts interim coach. (Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today)

Bill Belichick has not been something particular out of the bye week (11-10-1 ATS, 15-7 general), however you must like his possibilities towards a younger quarterback that he has tortured of their three conferences. In a win over the Jets final month, the Patriots blitzed Zach Wilson on 23.3 % of his dropbacks, the bottom fee he has seen this season, however he was pressured 41.9 % of the time, the second-highest fee of the season.

Wilson has been the NFL’s worst passer towards stress by EPA/DB, and this will probably be a defensive battle as Mac Jones is next on the list; the Jets pressured Jones 38.6 % of the time within the final matchup, a season excessive for him. The Jets and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Quinnen Williams are legit, however the Patriots have received and coated 4 of the final 5 and that’s adequate for us.

The choose: Patriots -3

No Cooper Kupp. That’s all bettors want to listen to to again the Saints, even with Rams QB Matthew Stafford anticipated again from a concussion. Kupp has accounted for 33.9 % of his group’s receptions (leads the NFL) and 37.8 % of the Rams’ receiving yards (trails solely Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson).

Stafford may cry without Kupp. He has a 77.4 % completion fee focusing on Kupp, with an 8.74 YPA, 45.2 % first down fee, 58.1 % success fee and a 106.6 passer score. Stafford’s numbers focusing on anybody else: 66.5 % completion fee, 6.03 YPA, 30.3 % first down fee, 48.6 % success fee and a 77.2 passer score.

The Saints can’t cease the run and have a bunch of accidents, and one of many few issues working for me this season goes towards Saints coach Dennis Allen each time potential. They’re 2-7-1 ATS. Allen did determine to not bench Andy Dalton, who ranks 14th in EPA per dropback and twenty fourth in QBR — hey, by EPA/DB, it’s his greatest 12 months since 2018.

The choose: Rams +3.5

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Updated NFL playoff picture: Which teams have growing concerns entering Week 11?

The Lions have won two in a row, and simply think about in the event that they ever unleash D’Andre Swift once more. The Giants have been a revelation this season, however their run protection will be had, so Lions coach Dan Campbell ought to pound them with that large backfield, that includes Jamaal Williams and Swift. The Giants like to blitz and Jared Goff has been stable towards further stress. In truth, Amon-Ra St. Brown has been focused on 40.8 % of his routes when the Lions are blitzed, in comparison with 28.7 % when not blitzed. In truth, St. Brown was an enormous motive the Lions beat the Bears final week.

At first look, it might appear to be the ground-and-pound Giants will rely once more on Saquon Barkley, who has posted a career-high explosive run fee (9.6 %). His 23 rushes of 10-plus yards are eight greater than he has ever had by means of the primary 9 video games of a season. But the Lions usually are not horrible anymore defensively after getting some our bodies again. They are tied for fifteenth in success fee with eight-plus within the field (60 %).

The clever guys haven’t given the Giants a whole lot of respect this season, they usually’re 7-2 ATS. But we predict they get this one proper. We solely wish we had the Lions at +3.5 earlier within the week.

The choose: Lions +3

The Panthers (0-4) and Raiders (0-5) are the one groups with out street wins, and that ought to proceed this week. The Ravens, as we predicted, have received three straight video games, protecting the final two, and their protection is getting more healthy and nastier. And Justin Houston appears to have discovered the fountain of youth — his 8.5 sacks are the third most by a participant by means of a group’s first 9 video games of their age-33 or older season, and Houston has performed in solely six video games.

That’s a nasty matchup for a suspect offensive line — or is it nonetheless? — and Baker Mayfield, again at QB resulting from an damage to PJ Walker. And it doesn’t get any higher on the opposite facet of the ball, the place the Panthers are twenty second in adjusted run protection EPA. Ravens RB Gus Edwards has returned to follow and Kenyan Drake has been running great, on prime of what Jackson brings. (And the Ravens’ No. 1 passing goal, tight finish Mark Andrews, additionally returned to follow on Wednesday.)

There is a motive Jackson is 8-2 towards the unfold as a double-digit favourite. The Ravens run away from groups after which punish fools like Dalton (final week) and Mayfield.

The choose: Ravens -13

We jumped off the Commanders’ bandwagon too early, as they not solely coated the unfold in week 10, however they beat the Eagles. And they have some help on the way. But in case you watched the sport, powerful man QB Taylor Heinicke was intercepted simply as soon as, however was fortunate to not have a minimum of two extra (and that was the explanation we picked the Eagles). Washington was additionally fortunate that A.J. Brown was injured early in that sport.

The Commanders must be too excessive coming off that win, and Texans rookie RB Dameon Pierce will make them pay. He has accounted for 79.7 % of the Texans’ rushes and 84.3 % of their dashing yards, each of which might be highs for a rookie RB since a minimum of 2000.

Texans quarterback Davis Mills has offensive line and isn’t horrible, and may win this sport if he does a greater job of defending the ball than Heinicke. Washington shouldn’t be favored over anybody on the street, particularly off a brief week.

The choose: Texans +3

Call me a dreamer, however I figured Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Russell Wilson would reap the benefits of the bye week and enhance towards the Titans final week. The offensive line isn’t doing him any favors, however perhaps it’s Wilson. He has misplaced a whole lot of his off-script creation means, primarily based on his sack fee when pressured:

2019: 22.2 %
2020: 20.5 %
2021: 21.2 %
2022: 28.7 %

The Broncos did rating a season-high 23 factors vs. the Raiders of their first matchup this season. The undisciplined Raiders received that sport, however that was earlier than they misplaced 4 out of 5 video games, Derek Carr cried out of frustration, he and Davante Adams mentioned some teammates aren’t shopping for in, coach Josh McDaniels shrugged and owner Mark Davis mentioned McDaniels is doing a “fantastic” job.

The Broncos are 3-6 and have protection. The Raiders are 2-7 and don’t.

The choose: Broncos -2.5

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Mark Davis says Raiders coach Josh McDaniels is doing a “fantastic” job regardless of the group’s 2-7 document. (Sam Morris / Getty Images)

We have to provide Kirk Cousins some props. We referred to as the Vikings frauds at 7-1, however Cousins stood within the pocket and made some nice throws underneath stress to assist safe an inconceivable win over the Bills. The Cowboys defense will bounce back and produce extra warmth than the Bills did, so Mr. Cousins, you’re going to have to point out me once more.

I used to be able to take the Cowboys, coming off a loss with the Vikings coming off an all-time win, however there isn’t a line worth. The 8-1 Vikings have a fantastic house crowd and shouldn’t be underdogs to an up-and-down Cowboys group, particularly since they’ve lastly unleashed Justin Jefferson. The third-year receiver averaged 1.83 targets of 15-plus air yards within the first six video games, however within the 4 video games since, he has averaged 4.67 targets of 15-plus air yards. And Jefferson has caught a league-leading 76 % of his targets of 15-plus air yards (25 such targets).

This really feels just like the annual second the place the nationwide pundits all debate how good Dak Prescott actually is. Give me the warmer QB and dangerous level unfold.

The choose: Vikings +1.5

T.J. Watt and the Steelers got here by means of for us final week towards the Saints, and getting factors towards a division rival with out their prime receiver appears inviting, particularly when you think about coach Mike Tomlin is 16-3-3 ATS as a house underdog, per BetLabs.

But within the phrases of the good Mad Max GIF, “That’s bait.” It’s a entice. The Bengals are the extra gifted group, and coming off the bye week offers a more healthy Tee Higgins an opportunity to make large performs in Ja’Marr Chase’s absence. Plus, they are getting defensive deal with D.J. Reader again. That’s an enormous deal towards a Steelers group with a rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett and a struggling working sport, even if its O-line feels like it is making strides.

With Reader vs. the run this season, the Bengals have a 74.4 % success fee, with 1.34 yards allowed earlier than contact per carry. Without Reader, it was all the way down to a 55.8 % success fee, with 1.89 yards allowed earlier than contact per carry. That distinction in success charges is equal to the distinction between the No. 1 run protection and the No. 27 run protection.

The choose: Bengals -4

The groups’ first matchup was a toss-up, however the Chargers received’t have Joey Bosa this time. Their whole defensive line is banged up, and never solely will they’ve a troublesome time getting stress on Patrick Mahomes — they’ve the NFL’s third-worst third-and-long protection, surrendering conversions 35.4 % of the time when dealing with third-and-7 or extra — however in addition they might have hassle slowing down working again Isiah Pacheco if coach Andy Reid needs to go that route.

Reid might try this if JuJu Smith-Schuster is out resulting from a concussion, as Smith-Schuster has been the Chiefs’ prime goal on third-and-5 or longer (20.4 % goal share).

The Chiefs will certainly have rising linebacker Nick Bolton, whereas the Chargers’ offense has been erratic and Keenan Allen’s hamstring might maintain him out once more. Justin Herbert’s prime two targets on third down this season have been Joshua Palmer and Mike Williams, however amongst 72 certified receivers, they rank 59th and sixtieth, respectively, in EPA/goal on third and fourth down.

The Chargers are coming off a hard-fought loss to the 49ers, and I don’t know if they will match that effort right here. And they lose large at house usually.

The choose: Chiefs -6

Eight is an enormous quantity and the unfold will solely go up, because it seems like Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray will bypass the possibility to play in Mexico, relaxation his hamstring and cheer on Colt McCoy. The Cardinals additionally simply misplaced tight finish Zach Ertz, they usually weren’t a fantastic group even with these two guys. No group has trailed extra usually this season than the Cardinals by way of time of possession (final), variety of offensive performs run whereas trailing (final) and variety of defensive performs whereas trailing (tied with the Colts for final).

The Cardinals have hassle stopping the run, and the Niners simply added a wholesome Elijah Mitchell to Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel. And they might simply throw it to McCaffrey as effectively. Among the seven 49ers who’ve run 30-plus routes since McCaffrey joined the group, McCaffrey’s targets/route (32.1 %) leads the best way.

McCoy beat the 49ers simply final season, in order that they received’t take him calmly. The 49ers win large and the Mexican followers fall in love with Jimmy Garoppolo, though he won’t have done much in the game.

The choose: 49ers -8

— TruMedia analysis courtesy of NFL editor Aaron Reiss. 

(Graphic: John Bradford / The Athletic; photograph of Lamar Jackson: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)



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