There are four divisional matchups in the NFL in week 11, but the game of the week features the Indianapolis Colts hosting the New England Patriots on Sunday night. (Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville, and the New York Jets are on byes.)
Here’s a quick preview of every game in the NFL in week 11, complete with the early spread.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (-5) – Thursday
Both the Bills and Dolphins lost in week 10 and will need a win to keep pace in the Wild Card race. With the AFC East-leading Patriots in tough at Indy, the winner could move to within one game of the division lead. Buffalo already beat Miami at home in week 2, smashing the Fins 29-10. Buffalo is 2-4 SU in its last six road games at Miami, though. And the Dolphins are playing some of their best football in recent memory, winning three straight before week 10’s narrow, last-minute road loss to the 7-2 Lions.
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns (-3.5). SU Pick: Texans
After a bye week, the Houston Texans will face the new top-dogs in the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns. Houston is 4-1 SU and ATS in its last five games against Cleveland, but they haven’t met since 2011. The total has gone UNDER in all five. The Browns are coming off of their best game of the year, when they crushed the former AFC North leaders, Cincinnati, on the road – breaking the Bengals’ 14-game home unbeaten streak in the process. That said, we expect a let-down from the inconsistent Browns and see Arian Foster running wild against one of the league’s worst rush-defenses.
Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs (pk).
The Kansas City Chiefs are rolling; they are 6-3 overall and, after beating Buffalo on the road in week 10, have won four straight. The difficult levels goes up a notch in week 11, however, as they host the current Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have won three in a row, but have looked like a flawed team in each game. Most recently, they rode a strong second half to a 38-17 rout of the Giants, but they trailed at halftime and really struggled to get the passing game going. Marshawn Lynch saved the day, rushing for four touchdowns against the worst run-defense in the NFL. The Seahawks struggles in the passing game are nothing new this year, as they are second-last in the league in passing. The Chiefs are middle-of-the-pack against the run but first in the league against the pass. Look for them to load the box against Seattle and force Wilson to beat them with his arm.
The Kansas City Chiefs are 6-2 ATS in the season.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-2.5).
The fight for the NFC South division is still wide. The Saints climbed back to .500 and looked poised to run away with the underperforming division, but then had their 11-game home winning streak snapped in week 10 by the 49ers. Once again, every team in the division is under .500 and the winner of this game could be leading (or tied for the lead in) the division come Monday if the Saints lose to the Bengals. The Falcons will go to Carolina looking to get their second win in a row after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, and the Panthers will look to avoid a third straight home loss.
The Panthers are 4-2 SU in their last six home games against Atlanta. In the last 19 such games, the total has stayed under in 13
Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints (-6.5).
This game features two teams that just had lengthy home unbeaten streaks snapped. The Bengals were unbeated in 14 straight home games before losing to Browns 24-3; the Saints had won 11 straight at home before falling to the 49ers 27-24 in OT. The Bengals will enter this matchup on ten days of rest. Hopefully they used at least nine of them to work on QB Andy Dalton’s self-confidence. The fourth-year QB out of TCU had a disastrous game against the Browns on Thursday night, and the Bengals surrendered the division lead in the process. While the Bengals should come out motivated, it’s hard to see the Saints losing two in a row at the Superdome, especially against the Cincinnati team we just saw on TNF.
Both of these teams have had their struggles against the number. Cincinnati is 2-5 SU in its last seven road games, while New Orleans is 1-4 ATS in its last five against the Bengals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins (-7).
Tampa Bay has one win on the season, and they keep waffling between Josh McCown and Mike Glennon under center. McCown is the quarterback-du-jour, but it was Glennon who led the team to their lone win. Washington is coming off a bye week with QB Robert Griffin III set to start his second game in a row. Another loss for the 3-6 Redskins would all but seal their playoff fate for the year.
Tampa Bay is 2-4 SU and ATS in its last six games when playing on the road against Washington.
Denver Broncos (-9) at St. Louis Rams.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning is coming off a five-touchdown performance against the winless Oakland Raiders in week 10. Rams rookie QB Austin Davis will have the monumental task of trying to keep pace with the future Hall-of-Famer. The Rams hung with the NFC-leading Cardinals for the better part of the game in week 10, but the defense cracked late, giving 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter en route to a 31-14 loss. Now, like Washington, St. Louis needs a win to keep any semblance of a playoff chance alive.
Denver is 1-4 SU in its last five road games against St. Louis, but Peyton wasn’t under center for the Broncos in any of those.
San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at NY Giants.
Last weekend, the 49ers saved their season by doing the nearly impossible: beating the Saints in the Superdome. The Giants couldn’t do the same, losing to the Seahawks in Seattle. This weekend, these formerly fierce rivals will hook up in East Rutherford, and both will be looking to dominate the line of scrimmage. In the Giants’ three wins on the year, they have averaged 159 rushing yards. For the season, though, they average just 104. Running on the 49ers, who have the seventh ranked rush defense in the NFL through ten weeks, will be a little harder in week 11 as Pro Bowl linebacker Aldon Smith returns from a nine-game suspension.
The NY Giants are 5-1 SU in their last six games when playing San Francisco and 3-1-1 against the spread in those five matchups. The total has stayed under in four of the Giants’ last six home games against San Francisco.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-9.5).
The Chargers come off of a week 10 bye looking to snap a three-game losing streak. Week 11 will prove just how dire things have become for the once mighty Chargers, as they host the winless Raiders. San Diego has won six of the last ten games in the series, but Oakland has covered the spread in seven of those. In week 6, San Diego escaped from Oakland with a 31-28 win, needing a late interception to hold off the Raiders. Despite the interception, rookie QB Derek Carr had arguably his best game of the season, throwing four touchdown passes.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (pk).
Top spot in the NFC will be on the line in week 11 as the 7-2 Lions travel to Arizona to face the 8-1 Cardinals. The winner will hold the a big head-to-head tie breaker when it comes time to sort out the seeds in the NFC playoffs.
Arizona will be without starting QB Carson Palmer for this game – and likely the remainder of the season – after Palmer suffered an ACL injury in week 10. The Lions, meanwhile, are just getting healthy. Stud receiver Calvin Johnson looked to be in midseason form in his first game back from injury, piling up seven catches, 113 yards, and one touchdown in the Lions’ thrilling win against the Dolphins in week 10.
Arizona has won seven of the last ten meetings against Detroit and has covered the spread in six.
New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts (-2.5).
Two of the AFC’s top teams will also face off in week 11, as the 7-2 Patriots are on the road against the 6-3 Colts. Tom Brady is 2-0 in his career against Andrew Luck including playoffs, but both games were at Gillette Stadium; this is the first time Brady will meet Luck at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Colts have won three straight.
Look for this game to be a high-scoring affair. The Colts average 32.2 points per game, leading the NFL after ten weeks; the Patriots are second, averaging 31.2. Both teams will come in rested after week 10 byes.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5) at Tennessee Titans – Monday
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ confusing season continues. The Steelers were upset by the NY Jets in week 10, surrendering over 140 yards on the ground and turning the ball over four times (including two picks by QB Ben Roethlisberger). The Steelers were hot before getting to NY; they were on a three-game winning streak and Roethlisberger had thrown an NFL-record 12 touchdowns (and no interceptions) in the previous two games. Pittsburgh will look to get back on track in week 11 against the struggling Titans.
After a perplexing week 1 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Titans have lost seven of their last eight games, with the lone win coming against the lowly Jaguars. The problems for the Titans start at quarterback. The perpetually injured Jake Locker has been replaced by rookie QB Zach Mettenberger as the Titans look for a long-term solution under center. The LSU product has been up-and-down through his first two full games, throwing for 299 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception against the Texans, but just 179 yards, one touchdown and one pick against the Ravens. The Titans ground attack has not made things any easier for Mettenberger and the passing game. The Titans put up just 36 and 67 yards on the ground against the Titans and Ravens, respectively.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (Tom Brady) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.