Week 11 Edition
Written By Bo McBrayer@Bo_McBigTime
After countless predictions this season, I, the Sauce Boss, have only hit one PICANTake exactly right. I took a wonderful victory lap when it happened, so much so that I was breathing hard for three hours. Since then, I haven’t been very close to hitting on any of them. I am not discouraged, since one of my takes in Week 10 got me HEATED.
I won’t dwell too long on my incorrect takes involving Joe Burrow and the Bengals taking down Pittsburgh (yikes). Nor will I wonder why the Rams passing offense looked so meh against the Seahawks, falling well short of my prediction. Lastly, I was very far off in predicting RB1s last week, where only JD McKissic cracked the top-12 at the position. What had me absolutely shaking mad was the 49ers-Saints game.
The Saints were there to be had. Their offense was sputtering (as I predicted). Then, Kentavious Street laid Drew Brees down with a perfectly-formed sack. It shattered Brees, but unbelievably drew a yellow hanky for “roughing the passer.” It was an absolutely brutal call at the worst time. Brees got roughed in the very definition of the word, but not by the letter of the rule. It gave New Orleans 15 yards, a first down, and led to a touchdown they absolutely didn’t deserve. That bush league penalty changed the entire course of the game. The 49ers held the Saints well under the 350 yards that I predicted, but fell short by two scores. Two muffed punts notwithstanding, this one should have gone my way. I feel cheated out of a very spicy take that was rooted in plausible analytics.
Week 11 is a wonderful array of intriguing games. I have planted my flag in certain takes already this week, so I will use them as a foundation for my PICANTakes. I am really hoping I can hit at least one of these (maybe two?), so I can vent my bottled emotion from a rare moment where I was sharing a bloodlust with my wife after a call went against San Francisco.
Packers vs Colts Will be Under 42 Total Points
This take has a lot to do with the return of Jaire Alexander from concussion protocol, plus the matchup for the Colts offense is not ideal. The Colts have been surprisingly efficient through the air this year under Philip Rivers and the offensive line has graded out very well at keeping the old man standing in the pocket. They have not, however, done a very good job at run blocking this season. This gives me pause in expecting them to be able to exploit a weak Packers run defense with rookie Jonathan Taylor and receiving back Nyheim Hines. This is also assuming that the Colts defense will be their usual dominant self against Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams. I see a hard-fought contest, with Rodgers managing his team to a close win 21-17.
Chargers Will Blow a Late Lead and Give Jets Their First Win
Something will have to give in this one. On the surface, this one doesn’t seem too spicy, but the Chargers losing to a team that obviously has no intention of winning this season would really take the cake. Justin Herbert has been the stuff of legend this season, from his improbable spot start when Tyrod Taylor was a late scratch from medical malpractice and nearly knocked off the defending Super Bowl Champs, to his dropping majestic deep balls to no-name receivers against the formidable Bucs defense. The team has not fared as well. They have been the product of some of the worst late-game situational coaching west of Jason Garrett. The Jets would have beaten the Patriots last week if not for a pretty obvious call from the booth to remind Adam Gase of his directive. The last two possessions were so obviously sabotaged that it would take a team like the Lions or Chargers to still find a way to let the Jets win.
Taysom Hill Will Have Four Combined TDs and the Saints Will Beat the Falcons by 20+
We anxiously awaited the news yesterday, and many were surprised that Taysom Hill would be starting at quarterback for the Saints instead of Jameis Winston. This indicated to me that Sean Payton plans on using Hill and Alvin Kamara in a ground-and-pound tandem. Hill is as familiar as anyone with Payton’s offense and should be surprisingly efficient passing the ball. I honestly think this bodes well against the Falcons, who haven’t played well on defense all year. New Orleans does not want to get into a shootout with Atlanta, opting instead to keep Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and company on the sidelines and play one-dimensional catch up. Atlanta will not be able to run on the Saints anyway, which paves the way for a red hot Saints defense to get after Ryan and force the turnovers necessary for the blowout to happen.
Curtis Samuel Will Out-Rush and Out-Receive Mike Davis and End Up as a WR1 vs Lions
It’s not mystery that the Lions defense is really bad, especially against the running back position. When Christian McCaffrey first missed time with a high ankle sprain, Mike Davis was highly effective in a replacement role. The last four weeks, however, Davis has looked old and slow and has done virtually nothing with his volume of touches. Curtis Samuel has, in turn, seen more reps out of the backfield and has shown his premier athleticism and versatility. Of course, I expect Davis to garner more carries than Samuel, but I predict much more production out of Samuel coming out of the backfield in this game, exploiting a Lions defense that is dead last at defending the position. Add to that Samuel’s prowess as a wide receiver, and we could be in store for a massive performance from the 24 year old former Buckeye.