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Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) rolls out of the pocket to pass. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)
November 18th, 2023
The second half of the season is in full swing, and we will focus on a trio of NFL games in Week 11, selecting either a side or total from each game as well as player props of interest.
Pittsburgh needs to toughen up against the run, allowing 4.5 yards per rush, but it remains a top defensive unit and Cleveland must show versatility — the Browns can’t run every play and expect to win. Cleveland faces a letdown situation following a dramatic come-from-behind win at Baltimore and the loss of Deshawn Watson to a season-ending shoulder injury. And given the presence of rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who struggled to throw downfield in a previous start (three interceptions), the Browns figure to rely on short passes, a strategy that plays to Pittsburgh’s strength. The Steelers rank first in DVOA when it comes to defending short passes and teams have been able to exploit their secondary on long passes (20th-ranked), but the Browns won’t look to do so. Pittsburgh has won two straight to move to 6-3, the offense has been on the uptick due to an improved ground game (371 rushing yards last two games), and the Steelers will take advantage of Cleveland’s quarterback woes.
Green Bay has turned things around in recent weeks, dominating the Rams before playing well enough to win at Pittsburgh in Week 10, and it's tough to imagine laying points on the road with the banged-up Chargers, who appear to be disintegrating on defense. The Packers keep games close, sustaining four narrow losses, and Jordan Love enters on the upswing, delivering his most encouraging performance to date by throwing for 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week. The Packers were able to move the ball effectively all game on Pittsburgh and look poised to take advantage of the Rams’ worst-ranked passing defense. Los Angeles is dealing with key injuries, and Green Bay has never been healthier. We like the Packers to win straight up.
These teams know each other well and recent games have been low-scoring affairs, with the Giants defeating Washington 14-7 in Week 7. Injuries have forced New York to start its third-string quarterback, the Giants are easily the lowest-scoring team in the league (11.7 points per game), and the offense has little hope of operating efficiently against a resurgent Washington that has defeated New England and played Philadelphia and Seattle to one-score games since the embarrassing loss to New York. Washington has little ground game, though, averaging only 87.9 rushing yards per game (28th-ranked), and the Giants have enough defense to keep it low-scoring. We’ll side with the Under.
.@mcarter2nd in the Week 11 fit. pic.twitter.com/IcZTic3ORc— New York Jets (@nyjets) November 18, 2023
.@mcarter2nd in the Week 11 fit. pic.twitter.com/IcZTic3ORc
Teams couldn’t run early in the season on Cleveland, which held Pittsburgh to 55 rushing yards in a Week 2 loss, but teams with winning records have had more success against the Browns of late, averaging 127 rushing yards in the last three contests. Pittsburgh got off to a shaky start due to its offensive ineptitude, but the Steelers have righted the ship in recent weeks due to an improved rushing attack, with Jaylen Warren rushing for 101 and 88 yards in the last two games. Warren will get the opportunity to pound the ball against Cleveland, which figures to have little offense with Dorian Thompson-Robinson taking over, and the up-and-coming back will put up at least 40 rushing yards in this spot.
It took long enough, but Jordan Love has looked like the quarterback of the future in recent weeks, throwing for 289 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh, and Green Bay will need him to move the ball because the Chargers can score points. This is the perfect situation for Love to thrive because he’s going up against the NFL's worst-ranked pass defense, Los Angeles is allowing 291.2 passing yards per game, 34.3 yards more than second-to-last Tampa. We like how Luke Musgrave, Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks have played of late, assisting top targets Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson, and look for a big game from Love.
Washington focused upon slowing down Kenneth Walker last week, holding him to 63 rushing yards on 19 carries as Seattle’s declining pass game struggled until the final quarter, and Washington did a respectable job holding Saquon Barkley to 77 rushing yards on 21 carries in Week 7. Barkley benefited from Tyrod Taylor, who had 279 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns in the previous meeting, but New York is down to the third-string quarterback, rookie Tommy DeVito, and he’s not ready for NFL defenses yet, completing 14 of 27 passes for 86 yards last week. Barkley won’t receive the same number of carries this time around as Washington focuses its efforts upon containing him, and we’ll side with the Under in rushing yards.
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