NFL Week 11 Free Matchup Previews and Predictions: Where Data Meets the Turf
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The Value Index Algorithm is back with your weekly dose of data-driven NFL matchups previews and predictions.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
- Predicted Score: CIN 23.93 – BAL 26.77
- Spread: BAL -4.0
- Value Index: 1.16
- Pick: CIN
- Passing Offense vs. BAL’s Pass Defense: CIN has a pass-heavy offense, ranking 2nd in pass play percentage (66.61%) and also 2nd in passes per game (38.8). While BAL’s defense is strong against the pass (1st in opponent yards per pass and 4th in opponent pass yards per game), the sheer volume and focus of CIN’s passing game could challenge BAL’s defense. This could be particularly effective if CIN can maintain a high completion percentage (currently 13th at 66.76%) and exploit any momentary lapses in BAL’s pass defense.
- Turnover Differential: CIN excels in managing turnovers, boasting the best turnover margin per game (+1.1) and ranking 1st in takeaways per game (2.0) while also being 2nd best in giveaways per game (0.9). BAL’s offense and defense are both ranked 14th in this aspect. This indicates that CIN could capitalize on creating additional opportunities by forcing turnovers while minimizing their own.
- Red Zone Efficiency: CIN’s offense ranks 10th in red zone scoring percentage (TD) at 58.33%. BAL’s defense, while strong overall, is slightly less dominant in the red zone, ranking 3rd in opponent red zone scoring percentage (TD). CIN’s ability to convert red zone opportunities into touchdowns could be key in a game against a team with such a robust defense like BAL.
Las Vegas at Miami
- Predicted Score: LV 15.97 – MIA 28.39
- Spread: MIA -13.5
- Value Index: 1.08
- Pick: LV
1. Opponent Passing Yards per Game: In terms of passing defense, LV ranks 8th in the league, allowing only 198.7 passing yards per game. This is a significant advantage when facing MIA, whose offense is heavily reliant on its passing game (ranked 1st with 287.4 passing yards per game). If LV’s defense can maintain this level of performance, it could potentially disrupt MIA’s primary offensive strategy.
2. Opponent Points per Play: LV’s defense ranks 11th in the NFL in opponent points per play, allowing 0.319 points per play. This indicates a relatively efficient defensive performance, especially when compared to MIA’s defense which ranks 26th with 0.393 opponent points per play. This efficiency suggests that LV’s defense could be more effective in limiting the scoring opportunities for MIA’s offense, which is crucial given MIA’s high scoring rate.
3. Turnover Margin: LV’s defense ranks 22nd in takeaways per game with 1.1, while their offense ranks 27th in giveaways per game with 1.8. MIA’s defense, however, ranks 23rd in takeaways per game with 1.0, and their offense ranks 18th in giveaways per game with 1.4. Although both teams are not stellar in this aspect, LV’s slightly better performance in forcing turnovers compared to MIA’s could play a pivotal role in the game’s outcome.
New York Giants (NYG) at Washington (WAS)
- Predicted Score: NYG 16.40 – WAS 24.52
- Spread: WAS -9.5
- Value Index: 1.38
- Pick: NYG
1. Rushing Game: NYG’s offense places a significant emphasis on the run, ranking 7th in rush play percentage (44.96%) and 9th in rushes per game (29.0). Against WAS’s defense, which ranks 25th in opposing yards per rush (4.4) and 21st in opposing rush yards per game (116.6), NYG’s commitment to the run game could be particularly effective. This strength in the rushing attack could help control the game’s tempo and keep WAS’s offense off the field.
2. Opponent’s Passing Defense Vulnerability: Despite NYG’s struggles in the passing game, there’s potential to exploit WAS’s pass defense, which ranks 28th in opponent yards per pass (7.2) and 29th in opponent pass yards per game (264.3). Even though NYG ranks low in yards per pass and pass yards per game, WAS’s weaker pass defense could offer opportunities for NYG to improve their passing efficiency and gain significant yards through the air.
3. Turnovers and Takeaways: Both teams are closely matched in turnovers and takeaways, but NYG’s defense, ranking 23rd in takeaways per game (1.0), faces a WAS offense that is 21st in giveaways per game (1.5). This slight edge in defensive takeaways could provide NYG with additional possessions and scoring opportunities, particularly if they can capitalize on WAS’s tendency to give up the ball.
Pittsburgh (PIT) at Cleveland (CLE)
- Predicted Score: PIT 16.82 – CLE 21.32
- Spread: CLE -1.0
- Value Index: 3.50
- Pick: CLE
- Rushing Offense vs. PIT’s Rushing Defense: CLE’s offense excels in the rushing department, ranking 2nd in rush yards per game (147.9) and 1st in rushes per game (34.9), with a strong rush play percentage of 48.46% (3rd). On the other hand, PIT’s defense struggles against the run, ranking 25th in opposing rush yards per game (131.2) and 26th in opposing yards per rush (4.5). CLE’s potent rushing attack could be a significant factor in controlling the game and exploiting one of PIT’s key weaknesses.
- Red Zone Scoring Efficiency: CLE’s offense is quite efficient in the red zone, ranking 8th in red zone scoring percentage (TD) at 59.26%. PIT’s defense, however, ranks 4th in opposing red zone scoring percentage (TD) at 40.74%. Despite PIT’s strong red zone defense, CLE’s ability to convert red zone opportunities into touchdowns could be crucial, especially in a closely contested game.
- Turnover Differential: CLE’s defense is adept at forcing turnovers, ranking 8th in takeaways per game (1.7), contrasting with their offense which ranks 32nd in giveaways per game (2.1). PIT’s offense, while being careful with the ball (ranking 2nd in giveaways per game with 0.9), might still be vulnerable to CLE’s aggressive defense. The ability to create extra possessions through turnovers could be a game-changer for CLE.