Observer Roundtable NFL and Upset Picks: Can the Pats bounce back?
Aidan Thomas | Friday, November 15, 2019
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5)
Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)
New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
After falling to the Saints 24-31 earlier this season, the Buccaneers look for revenge on the road. Perhaps Tampa Bay is catching Sean Payton in perfect timing given last week’s unspeakable performance, but nevertheless, “Teddy Time” will rule the day. The Saints win and cover.
In a true battle of elite quarterbacks, I expect an explosive day of offense in Baltimore this weekend. The Texans’ defensive holes make them vulnerable to the lethal run game of Jackson and Ingram, and I seriously doubt the Ravens offense will stop rolling anytime soon. Ravens win and cover.
I expect the Pats to be out for blood after their bye week. The defensive allowance feels more like a fluke than a holistic downturn, and the offensive threats of the Eagles at home pale in comparison to the Ravens’ performance in Week 9. The Eagles defense stays consistent at home, and the Patriots gain a late lead. Patriots win and cover.
What happened to the Saints last week is an example that any team can beat another team on any given week. I still think that the Saints are a very good football team and bounce back from the bad loss. Saints win and cover.
I am very excited to see both MVP hopefuls in Watson and Jackson go at it. While the Texans put on an impressive showing in London and are coming off their bye week, the Ravens offense led by the mobile threat in Lamar Jackson will find ways to gash Houston. Ravens win and cover.
The Eagles have shown flashes of looking like playoff contenders, but have also played some extremely bad games mixed in between. Despite the loss to Baltimore, New England has been a consistent team and I don’t see them slipping up again this week, especially with the extra rest. Patriots win and cover.
My confidence in the Saints has been badly shaken after last week’s dud versus the Falcons. That being said, I think they’ll pull out the win, but the Buccaneers do enough to keep this one close — Saints win but do not cover.
I picked against the Ravens as underdogs against both Seattle and New England they laughed in my face, so I’m going to trust Lamar Jackson and his boys to win this one. However, Houston’s offense has developed more consistency recently and is coming off a bye week so they keep this one in doubt until the end. Ravens win but do not cover.
Another tight game, and another game where I like the favorite in a tight contest. The Pats showed weaknesses against the Ravens, but they are deadly off of a bye. The Eagles are rested, but they have shown horrible inconsistencies this year. The Eagles keep it close and challenge the AFC leaders, but the Pats pull one out. Pats win but do not cover.
I won’t put too much stock into last week’s shocking loss against the Falcons, as the Saints are still working Drew Brees back into their offense. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, always seem to be in close games and can never do enough to close the win. I’ll pick it to be a close game again. Saints win but don’t cover the spread.
The Texans, coming off a dismantling of the Jaguars in London, and a bye, should be well-rested for this one. The defense took a major blow with JJ Watt being ruled out, and without him, it will be tough for them to contain Lamar Jackson. The Ravens defense will make some big plays to shut down Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense, and the Ravens will win and cover.
The Eagles, as bad as they’ve looked at times this year, are still a tough team to pick against at home. However, they’ve shown a complete inability to compete with the top teams in the NFL this year. The Patriots, coming off a bad loss to the Ravens, will bounce back in this one, exposing the Eagles shaky defense. Patriots win and cover.
Last week the Saints were dismantled by the Falcons, scoring only nine points in that loss. Until last Sunday, the Falcons had given up at least 20 points in every game of the season. However, the Saints have Drew Brees, and I don’t think he will allow his team to have back to back letdowns. The Saints will roll in this one and win and cover.
In a game that might have major seeding implications for the AFC playoffs, it is very hard to pick against the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens, as the Ravens have won their last three games by 14 or more points. The Texans, however, have not been playing too shabby themselves, so I think this game will be a close one. Jackson will make some plays late, though, and I expect the Ravens to win but not cover.
The Patriots have had a bye week to fix their defensive mishaps in their 37-20 week 9 loss against the Ravens. I think Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will right the ship this week and give the Patriots a win over a very inconsistent Eagles team that owns wins against the Packers and Bills but was handed three consecutive losses to the Falcons, Lions and Cowboys. I don’t expect the Eagles to play their top game against the Pats, and I expect the Pats’ defense to rebound. Pats win and cover.
Tampa Bay is one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL and have lost each of their last three games by less than a touchdown. The Bucs will try to break this streak against the Saints, but New Orleans’ offense is just too overpowered. Expect Drew Brees to rebound from an awful loss against the Falcons and to lead the Saints to a victory while covering the spread.
In the matchup of the week, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson look to strengthen their cases in the MVP race. The Raven’s defense has looked excellent in past couple games, and, if this trend continues, Baltimore will have a clear advantage due to the injury of JJ Watt. In my opinion, the Ravens have seemed more convincing in their victories, and I think that they will win and cover.
Coming off a bye week, New England has had some extra time to lick their wounds after a tough loss against Baltimore. The Eagles have earned some very impressive victories in the past two weeks as they dismantled the Bills’ and Bears’ formidable defenses. This pattern will not continue against New England. The Pats earn an easy win while covering the spread.
COLLEGE AND NFL UPSET PICKS OF THE WEEK
David Kramer: In their past two games, Oklahoma allowed 89 points on defense. Wow. This week, they face an undefeated Baylor team that — as evidence by its nail-biting victory over a previously-undefeated TCU last weekend — always finds a way to secure a victory. With the Bears playing in front of a home crowd, I expect high energy and electric offense in what will be the biggest game in the Big 12 this season. You heard it here first: the Bears upset Oklahoma.
Dominic Gibson: Texas has been an underwhelming team this year, much to my disappointment. Despite the lackluster play, Texas is not quite dead yet in the Big 12 championship game hunt yet. True they need some things to go right with other teams but Texas will be hungry and desperate against an Iowa State team who has been inconsistent at times. Texas will be returning a few more healthy starters at the defensive secondary position and the inclement weather will perhaps favor the run game, a strength of the Longhorns. I think Texas will keep its hopes alive and pull it off in Ames over Iowa State.
Aidan Thomas: It’s still pretty hard to tell whether Florida is elite this year. I’ve trusted them twice in my roundtable picks, and they let me down both times. So now I’m picking against them. Florida has got to be a little deflated as their playoff and SEC title hopes went down the drain. I think they are looking ahead to their rivalry game with Florida State, and as seven-point favorites, Florida drops their weekend battle with Kelly Bryant and the Missouri Tigers.
Liam Coolican: It is hard to tell which South Carolina team will show up on a given week. Is it the team that beat Georgia and then nearly knocked off Florida? Or is it the team that got blown out by Tennessee and lost to Appalachian State? Now, though, with Will Muschamp’s team needing two wins in the last three games to be bowl eligible, I expect the former, and I think they will knock off Texas A&M on the road. Texas A&M has been in some close games with bad teams, and I think this is the week it finally catches up to them.
Nate Moller: The Rams and Bears have arguably been two of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this year, and both teams will face each other this week on Sunday Night Football. Despite the Rams being a six-and-a-half point favorite, something tells me that the Bears are going to step up in Los Angeles and get a win. Despite the Bears’ poor play over the last five games, all of their losses have been relatively close and I think they are due to win a close one. Bears pull off the upset, putting the Rams in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
Patrick Gallagher: UCLA has caught fire recently with an impressive three-game win streak over conference opponents. After a 0-3 start, many were calling for an early end to the Chip Kelly era in Los Angeles, but now the Bruins are ranked third in the PAC-12 south and have an outside chance of winning this division. UCLA’s quarterback Dorian Thomson-Robinson has played consistently well scoring at least two touchdowns in each of his last three appearances, and I think he will lead the Bruins to a chaotic victory over the heavily favored Utes.