Week 11 NFL Picks Against the Spread: Underdogs That Will Cover Your Bet
Unlike Week 10, Week 11 in pro football doesn't matchup as well for underdogs.
In turn, that makes the line even more important when picking with or against the spread. Here, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are one team to consider for mid-November.
The rookie quarterback and No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft has the Colts amidst a historic turnaround. And because of that immediate success, Indianapolis becomes a formidable opponent to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Along with the quarterback matchup, this AFC showdown possesses colossal playoff implications. As a result, the spread can be quite tricky when picking a winner for this game and the rest of Week 11. So, we press onward with confidence.
Note: All lines are courtesy of FootballLocks.com. Spreads may change before each game's kickoff so be sure to check back throughout the week for just in case purposes.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-2.5)
Both teams are coming off tough losses, although in different manners. The Miami Dolphins were completely dominated by the Titans, whereas the Buffalo Bills just missed upsetting the Patriots.
As for this matchup, each offense possesses the ability to run the rock and set up play-action. Defensively, though, neither are well-versed in coverage. And although the Colts won on the road in a short week, Miami playing at Buffalo is a different environment than Jacksonville.
Plus, Ryan Fitzpatrick can torch a secondary as we saw in Week 10 against New England.
Bills against the spread
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Unless running back LeSean McCoy gets fed 20 carriers, the Philadelphia Eagles can be expected to lose. The passing offense has resulted in far too many turnovers, which continues to put its defense in a bind.
And the Eagles aren't dominant enough in coverage or against the run to fend off anyone with additional possessions. On the flip side, Robert Griffin III may be explosive but the Washington Redskins aren't dominant in the passing game either. Hosting Philly on Sunday, Mike Shanahan also fields a vulnerable defense.
The Eagles still have big play potential and a much more reliable ground game in LeSean McCoy to keep RG3 off the field.
Eagles and the points
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Detroit Lions
If the Green Bay Packers establish the ground game early, the Detroit Lions don't have a chance.
Aaron Rodgers obviously has the skill set to dice up the Lions' coverage, but the Pack still must keep Matthew Stafford off the field. Detroit remains explosive in the passing game, and Green Bay is vulnerable to an aerial assault.
Fortunately for the cheese, Clay Matthews and Co. are better against the run and at applying quarterback pressure than Detroit.
Packers against the spread
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5)
Unlike the Saints, the Arizona Cardinals don't present reliable pass protection, a passing game or a running game. So, the Atlanta Falcons can be expected to steamroll in Week 11.
The only concern is Arizona's receiving corps, which is capable of making big plays versus the Falcons' secondary. Still, Atlanta's offense will move the ball and score because the Cardinals' defense will wear down as the game progresses.
Arizona simply lacks too much at the line of scrimmage to move the ball and keep pace with Matt Ryan.
Falcons against the spread
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1) at Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers may possess explosive potential offensively, but Cam Newton's pass protection and turnovers remain a concern. This ineptitude; however, is a competitive advantage for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Having defeated Carolina in Week 1, the Bucs forced two turnovers and recorded three sacks of Newton. Plus, Tampa limited the Cats to 10 rushing yards on 13 carries. Although the Bucs are suspect at allowing tons of passing yards, Ronde Barber and Co. are well-versed at forcing turnovers.
Factor in Tampa Bay's balanced attack, and the Panthers need a flawless performance to win.
Buccaneers against the spread
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
Even with the Cleveland Browns coming off a bye week, the Dallas Cowboys are expected to get the win. And rightfully so, because Big D performed well at Philadelphia, and Cleveland has much to prove on both sides of the line.
Now, Cleveland does field a better balanced offense than given credit. Brandon Weeden can sling the rock all over the field, and Trent Richardson is tough to tackle. Nonetheless, Dallas is also balanced offensively and sports a stronger defense against the run and pass.
Tony Romo has built some confidence over the past couple weeks, and Cleveland's vulnerable pass defense will once again be exposed.
Cowboys against the spread
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams (-3.5)
Through nine games, the New York Jets allow an average of 145 rushing yards per game, as well as 4.4 per carry.
Because of that vulnerability, anticipate the St. Louis Rams to slam Gang Green with Steven Jackson this week. Jackson went for 101 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers, so the Jets are unlikely to slow him down.
Include New York's offense lacking any sort of ball movement, and Jeff Fisher's solid defense will lock it down.
Rams against the spread
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-9.5)
When the Indianapolis Colts take on the New England Patriots this week, it's potentially the beginning of Andrew Luck's legacy.
The rookie signal-caller has diced up defenses fairly well this season, and it's no surprise Indy sports a 6-3 record.
On the flip side, Tom Brady and the Pats are also 6-3 and atop the AFC East. As we've seen all season, though, New England is extremely vulnerable against the pass: Which happens to be the Colts' strength as well.
One question; however, remains. Will Bill Belichick divvy up an extensive game plan to totally confuse the rookie quarterback? And even if so, how will Luck adjust mid-game. Well, the Colts also aren't terrible at running the ball. So, going with a balanced approach is Indy's best bet while keeping Brady off the field.
Colts and the points
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-15)
The Jacksonville Jaguars can't move the ball via ground or air. Also, the Jaguars can't stop anyone via the ground or through the air.
The Houston Texans; however, are arguably the most balanced offense in pro football and present consistent execution regardless of the play call. Defensively, the Texans are among the elite against the run and pass.
Include Houston's ability to apply quarterback pressure, force turnovers and score—the Jags don't have a chance.
Texans against the spread
Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at Kansas City Chiefs
One major advantage for the Cincinnati Bengals over the Kansas City Chiefs is passing offense versus pass defense.
K.C. only appears better than mediocre in coverage because the front seven has lacked against the run. As a result, there's not much of a reason for teams to challenge the Chiefs downfield when controlling the tempo at the line is possible.
Cincy's defense, though, has to deal with Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs rushing offense. And if K.C. can move the ball consistently versus Pittsburgh, it can control the game tempo at home against the Bengals.
Chiefs and the points
New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders allow an average of 375 total yards and 31.6 points per game.
The New Orleans Saints gain an average of 392.3 total yards and score 27.7 points per game. As you can see, the Raiders have no shot at slowing down Drew Brees and the Saints offense.
Therefore, Carson Palmer will simply have to keep up: Which isn't out of the question considering how many yards the Saints do allow. Oakland; however, only gets 21.2 points per game, and New Orleans is lockdown when backed inside its own red zone.
Saints against the spread
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-8)
Provided the Denver Broncos don't turn the ball over, the San Diego Chargers will be done by halftime.
Since the last two met, Denver has cut down on turnovers whereas San Diego has given the ball over more often. Including that Monday night comeback by Denver, Philip Rivers has tossed seven interceptions over the past four games to Peyton Manning's three.
The Broncos defense continues to improve as well, with a stronger pass rush and special teams winning the field position battle. The Bolts are simply on a downswing, and San Diego's defense remains inconsistent in coverage and stopping the run.
Broncos against the spread
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers
If there's was ever a chess match in pro football, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are just that: And even more so in 2012 considering Baltimore's defensive woes.
Pittsburgh has definitely gotten back on track, although the Steelers offense isn't as explosive as the Ravens. On the flip side, Pittsburgh's defense continues to improve and blanketing in coverage has become a strength.
The key factor here is Ray Rice. Pittsburgh's not as strong against the run as it is the pass. But slamming with Rice will set up play-action, keep Baltimore balanced and Ben Roethlisberger off the field.
With this also taking place in Pittsburgh, the Ravens' ability to control the ball and be explosive when needed, is a crucial edge.
Ravens against the spread
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (-6.5)
The Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers are almost exact replicas of one another.
Both offenses are focused around the running game and the defenses are dominant versus the run and pass. Chicago; though, holds a key advantage with the innate ability to force turnovers at will.
San Francisco, though, not so much by comparison since the 'Niners don't allow as many passing yards. Obviously each offense must remain balanced, so controlling the line of scrimmage is the answer.
Here, that slight edge goes to San Francisco because Chicago was shutdown up front versus Houston: And the 49ers are eerily similar with the Bears offense struggling up front.
49ers against the spread
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