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NFL Picks For Week 11: Why the Falcons-Saints Spread & Packers-Colts Total Are Among Biggest Edges


Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers

  • Each week, Sean Koerner compares NFL odds to his Power Ratings -- if there's a notable difference between, he'll make a bet.
  • He's been highlighting the biggest of those edges throughout the season and he has two for Week 11.
  • Find out why he likes the Falcons to cover against the Saints and the Packers-Colts total to go under.

NFL Picks For Week 11

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Falcons +4 at Saints
Packers-Colts Under 51.5

Falcons +4 at Saints

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Last season, the Saints went 6-0 when Drew Brees was out of the lineup due to a thumb injury. The main reason they were able to do so was backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s ability to run a similar offense. With Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill as the replacement options this time around, head coach Sean Payton will have to alter his offense dramatically for either QB.

For Week 11, Payton will go with Hill under center. On a per-play basis, Hill has been one of the most valuable quarterbacks in the league. He ranks 25th in expected points added (8.7) despite attempting only five passes this season.

Hill’s main asset is his rushing ability, so I expect Payton to put together a creative game plan to build around that. However, it’s going to be tougher to get the same per-play value out of Hill if opposing defenses can put all of their attention on him.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Taysom Hill

I had this line projected at Saints -5 if Brees were healthy. And I already liked the Falcons heading into this game, as they have played much better than their 3-6 record. We could see a similar situation to last season when they were 1-7 entering their bye week and went 6-2 in the second half of the season.

The Falcons have averaged 34:21 game time (leading), which ranks sixth on the season, and would indicate they have played more like a team that would be 6-3.

Hill presents a wide range of outcomes. Typically that would help a team if they were an underdog, but it hurts them if they’re a favorite. I have the Saints as only 3-point favorites for this matchup, as a result, and I like the idea of taking the points here.

It’s worth noting that Calvin Ridley and Cam Jordan are both questionable. If Ridley is active and Jordan is out, I would move the line down to Saints -2.5.

It’s ideal to lock this in at +3.5 or +4 while you can (shop real-time lines here).

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Packers-Colts Under 51.5

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | More Game Info

The 7-2 Packers take on the 6-3 Colts in what should be a playoff-like atmosphere with both teams giving maximum effort. It’s a scenario that could lower this matchup’s scoring potential, especially considering it’s projected to be the fourth-slowest game of the week.

The Colts’ defense ranks fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against both the run and the pass. They should be able to slow down the Packers just enough to prevent a high-scoring game. Davante Adams is probable with an ankle injury, but if he’s playing at less than 100% it’ll help lower the scoring environment that much more.

On the other side of the ball, the Colts offense will likely take advantage of the Packers’ run-funnel defense (16th vs. pass and 22nd vs. run in DVOA).

The Colts’ running game has struggled this season, ranking 29th in success rate. I expect them to get going here and use their running game as a way to eat up the clock and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

The potential return of Jaire Alexander will help slow down the Colts passing offense that is starting to heat up with both T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman back in the lineup.

I have this matchup projected at 49.5. Both 50 and 51 are key numbers for a total, so I like locking this in before the market (correctly) bets this number down.

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