Well, I can sum up Week 12 with one word: OUCH! A final three minutes featuring a defensive touchdown followed by a Matt Schaub-led touchdown drive cost us the first game and it went downhill from there.
Looking back at the picks, we got a lot of the game flow right, but a Derrick Henry/Leonard Fournette explosion in the second half of Titans-Jaguars, Lamar Jackson making a mockery of the Rams defense, and the aforementioned finish in Bucs-Falcons leaves us with a winless week.
For me the biggest takeaway comes from Rams-Ravens. I pointed to the Rams defense and its record stopping the run thus far in 2019. But as I’ve talked about in the past, Jackson does not lead a typical run offense and extrapolating Los Angeles’ success against standard rushing attacks was a costly mistake.
Onwards to Week 13.
GREEN BAY PACKERS AT NEW YORK GIANTS (+6.5, 45)
Remember that early-season hype about the Packers defense? In the first three weeks of the year, they earned 10.8 expected points per game from their defense. Since then, the defense has been worth -11.4 points per game and they now sit 20th by EPA and 22nd by DVOA on the season.
The Giants offense hasn’t been anything to write home about but look for a better game from Saquon Barkley against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers & Co. get a mouth-watering matchup. The Giants are allowing 7.5 net yards per dropback (ahead of only the Dolphins and Bengals) and you can bet the Packers offense will be looking to bounce back after an embarrassing outing against the elite 49ers defense.
PREDICITION: Over 45
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT DENVER BRONCOS (+3, 38.5)
The battle of two of the slowest teams in the NFL. A Broncos game has averaged about 3.5 fewer plays than an average game, and the Chargers at 6.5 plays slower than average. Denver has every reason to play slow. Brandon Allen is completing well under 50 percent of his passes while the running game has given Broncos fans glimmers of hope.
The Chargers on the other hand are, as usual, a little more confusing. Their offense has had its moments and they sit 15th by EPA but have been unable to convert that into points. They sit 26th in the league in red-zone offense and get a tough test this week against the Broncos, who sit 12th by EPA but more importantly rank second behind only the Patriots in red-zone touchdown percentage allowed.
The low total is concerning but this looks to be a slow, low-scoring slog of a game.
PREDICITION: Under 38.5
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS (+3, 47.5)
Lamar Jackson showed the blueprint for beating what had been a very good Rams defense. There’s no one quite like Jackson, but Kyler Murray is probably the next best thing. The speedy rookie has been reluctant at times to run but has topped 25 yards in all but one of his last nine starts and has shown more of a willingness to use his legs in recent games. While it hasn’t always been pretty, the Cardinals offense ranks 12th in EPA and is coming off 2 very impressive performances against the 49ers No. 2-ranked defense.
The Under bet last week in Ravens vs Rams was much more about the inability of the Rams offense to score, and that offense does indeed look broken beyond repair. Luckily for L.A., they get a chance to get right against the league’s worst defense by EPA. The Cardinals are allowing well over 400 yards of offense per game and allow opponents to score on over 45 percent of their drives, both 31st in the NFL. Broken though they may be, the Rams should still be able to score often this week.
PREDICTION: Over 47.5
Week 12: 0-3
Season to date: 14-22