NFL against-the-spread picks: Why are we so eager to proclaim the Chiefs are back?

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One game is all it took for everyone to decide the Kansas City Chiefs were great again. 

The Chiefs blew out the Las Vegas Raiders last week in a Sunday night game, and that led to a week of proclamations that the Chiefs are back. It ignored the Chiefs had trouble beating a Green Bay Packers team with Jordan Love at quarterback. Or that Kansas City was entirely unimpressive in a win over the New York Giants at home before that. Everyone couldn't wait to tell the world the Chiefs were back on top, and they finally got a good performance to validate it. 

Maybe the Chiefs are back. But we should have to see more than one great game. We'll get a fine test for these Chiefs on Sunday. 

The Dallas Cowboys, unquestionably a better team than the Chiefs over the first 10 weeks of this season, are 2.5-point underdogs in Kansas City at BetMGM. It should be a great game. 

This will be a way to find out if the Chiefs defense, which has looked much better for a few weeks, is truly out of its bad slump. The Cowboys can move the ball at ease. If the Chiefs haven't truly fixed their issues, Dallas will find and exploit them. Kansas City's offense, which broke out against the Raiders, can show it is truly back if it can carve up a good Cowboys defense. 

I'm going to pick the Cowboys. They have been very good this season other than a weird loss to the Denver Broncos two weeks ago. Last week's Chiefs win was impressive, but I'd like to see them do it again. If they can handle the Cowboys, they'll certainly deserve to be talked about as contenders again. 

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are coming off an impressive win. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are coming off an impressive win. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Here are the picks for Week 11, with the point spreads from BetMGM

Falcons (+6.5) over Patriots

Just taking the team that might have looked the worst in Week 10 over the team that looked the best. This is exactly when the NFL fools you

Colts (+7) over Bills

The Bills are the favorite to win the Super Bowl at BetMGM. Josh Allen is the favorite to win MVP. I'm not sure I agree with either, at least not based on how Buffalo has played. I'm not sure why we're picking Buffalo to be the team that gets a pass for some bad performances this season. But they're flawed, like every other contender. 

Bears (+6) over Ravens

The Ravens are a team that has disappointed against the spread, yet they're getting a lot of respect here. I get that Baltimore will want to get back on track after last week's debacle at Miami, but the Bears aren't an easy out. 

Lions (+11.5) over Browns

Another game in which a favorite might be a little more motivated after laying an egg last week. Still, the Lions have been a very tough out. We'll have to keep an eye on Jared Goff's injury status, though I'm not sure the Lions are much worse off if he doesn't play. 

Texans (+10.5) over Titans

The Texans aren't good, and I don't feel comfortable picking them, but the Titans offense hasn't been good without Derrick Henry. Maybe this is a get-right spot, but I need to see it first. 

Vikings (+2.5) over Packers

If you're a bettor, you know the Vikings aren't as bad as their 4-5 record. They have been unlucky in close games. The Packers can't keep covering every week (they've covered each game since Week 1), and it feels like the Vikings are due for some good luck in what should be a close game. 

Dolphins (-3) over Jets

Ah, finally a favorite. The Dolphins aren't good, but Tua Tagovailoa hasn't been bad and has done well against bad defenses. And let's be very clear, the Jets defense is bad

Saints (+2) over Eagles

I've been wrong on the Eagles and Saints most of the season, so who knows? I do know the Saints can play defense and Trevor Siemian has been better than I expected. 

Panthers (-3) over Washington

If you know what you're getting out of Cam Newton, you can nail this pick. He could complete a third of his passes or account for four touchdowns; I'd believe either scenario. I'm optimistic the Panthers play well around Newton, mostly because he's not Sam Darnold. 

49ers (-6.5) over Jaguars

It feels like another week the 49ers can be run heavy, get a lead and lean on their opponent. The Jaguars have been a little feistier lately, and maybe they squeeze out a cover, but I still don't think they're very good. 

Bengals (-1) over Raiders

While the NFL world has been excited to proclaim that the Chiefs are back, are we positive the real takeaway wasn't that the Raiders are fading fast? It would be understandable given all the drama this season. The Bengals didn't look good before the bye, but they have shown signs of being a good team this season. 

Cardinals (-2.5) over Seahawks

If I knew Kyler Murray were going to play, this would be an easy Cardinals pick, given how bad Russell Wilson looked after he rushed back from a serious finger injury. If I knew Murray wasn't going to play, it would be a pretty easy Seahawks pick. We'll just see. 

Steelers (+5.5) over Chargers

If Ben Roethlisberger or T.J. Watt doesn't play, I'll probably flip my pick. But as of right now, I think the Steelers can find a way to keep it close. 

Giants (+10.5) over Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have been overvalued all season, even after they've lost two in a row. It's just too many points for a Giants team that is coming off a bye and should be the healthiest it has been since early this season. 

Last week: 5-9

Season to date: 77-72-1

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