Von Miller celebrates a sack against the Panthers in Week 10.
We have reached Week 11 of the NFL season and things are beginning to get very interesting.
Injuries to quarterbacks were a theme around the NFL in Week 10. Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick all are questionable for Week 11 after taking big hits, and this will surely affect their team’s chances of winning going forward.
At this point in the season you know what to expect from most teams, but picking against the spread always makes things interesting.
In Week 11 there are some lines that make otherwise banal games interesting, Let's take a look at the picks against the spread for Week 11.
*Home teams are shown in CAPS
Buffalo showed some life last week against New England while the Dolphins fell flat on their faces against the Titans.
However, just two weeks ago the Dolphins were the surprise team of the season. Then Miami lost to Indianapolis in a shootout, and then the Titans made the Dolphins look like they did not belong on an NFL field in Week 10.
If Miami wants to have any hope of making a late run for the postseason and catching one of the 6-3 teams, it needs to win this game. The Dolphins simply have more on the line than the Bills and should rebound from their poor performance last week.
Miami 24, Buffalo 21
Yes, the Falcons suffered their first loss of the season in Week 10 against a hot New Orleans team, but Atlanta will rebound in convincing fashion against Arizona.
Things are upside-down in Arizona. The offensive line has let up by far the most sacks (41) in the NFL and the offense as a whole is in shambles.
While the Cardinals defense has been great, Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White and Julio Jones will be hard to contain. Patrick Peterson is a great athlete, but the trio will expose the Cardinals secondary.
This one won’t be close.
Atlanta 35, Arizona 17
The Cowboys ran into a team on a worse roll than them against the Eagles in Week 10. While America’s Team is 4-5, the games they have lost against tough competition have been close. Tony Romo and the Cowboys lost by less than a touchdown to the Ravens, Giants and Falcons.
The Browns have nothing to play for at this point in the season. At 2-7 they are firmly outside of the playoff picture and have an all-rookie backfield. Trent Richardson has been great, but I expect the Cowboys defense to bottle up the bruising back.
Dallas 28, Browns 17
The Eagles' losing streak is not ending anytime soon and especially not against the Redskins in Week 11.
The Eagles are a mess. Quarterback Michael Vick is out for Sunday’s game, and rookie Nick Foles has drawn the short straw to be the guy behind the Eagles offensive line who will be running for his life. Foles is also much less mobile than Vick (via Arizona Daily Star).
Robert Griffin III will pass and run all over the struggling Eagles defense and the Eagles offense will look dreadful.
Will Andy Reid make it to the end of the season?
Washington 24, Philadelphia 10
While injuries still linger in Green Bay, the team is fresh off a bye week and ready to begin a strong run to end the season. The Packers need a strong performance to make up ground on the Bears.
Detroit lost a must-win game against the Vikings last week and proved that it is not serious contenders for a playoff spot. While Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford are great talents, the Lions are trending downward.
Green Bay 35, Detroit 24
How could you not lock up this pick?
Tampa Bay has been playing great as of late and Carolina is coming off a bad loss to Denver.
Expect to see the “Muscle Hamster,” Doug Martin, go off again for big yardage and Josh Freeman take advantage of the stacked fronts for big gains.
Cam Newton’s season is the definition of a sophomore slump. Newton has been unable to get on track and be the impact player he was in his rookie year.
Newton’s struggles could be in big part due to the running game being underwhelming. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams were once the best two-headed attack in the league. Now, Cam has more yards and touchdowns than either back.
Tampa Bay 27, Carolina 17
It is hard to feel confident in any spread over two touchdowns in the NFL. After all, there is a certain amount of parity to expect on the professional level—right?
However, the Jaguars have not played at an NFL level for the majority of the season and Houston has emerged as possibly the best team in the league. This may be the most lopsided game of the year.
The Jaguars have the worst offense in the league and Maurice Jones-Drew missing another game will do nothing to help the team’s odds.
Houston won a sloppy game against the Bears in Week 10, but those are the kind of games championship teams have to win. J.J. Watt and the Texas defense will have a field day against the Jags.
Houston will win—big.
Houston 42, Jacksonville 13
Both the Chiefs and Bengals were impressive in Week 10.
The Bengals demolished the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants 31-13 and are making some noise as a playoff contender.
The Chiefs outplayed the Steelers on Monday Night Football but mistakes—most notably a Matt Cassel interception in overtime—cost the Chiefs the game.
Brady Quinn has been cleared to play in Week 11, but there won’t be a major boost for the offense if he is given the start.
The Bengals are trying to get into position to gain a second consecutive playoff berth. The only thing the Chiefs are in contention for is the No. 1 draft pick.
Cincinnati 21, Kansas City 10
The Colts are getting no respect against New England.
Luck relishes this kind of spotlight, rather than run away from it. He has been everything that was advertised and more. His play has basically muted any Colts fans reminiscing about the Manning days.
The Patriots offense is still prolific, but the defense has let opponents stick around in games it shouldn’t. A prime example of this was in Week 10 against the Bills.
The Patriots will come out on top, but the Colts will keep it close.
New England 31, Indianapolis 24
The Rams have been the most inconsistent team in the league. They have played stellar against games against division rivals Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona, but have looked hardly competitive against the better teams in the league.
Luckily for the Rams, the Jets are not among the better teams in the league.
The Jets have done nearly nothing right this season and are currently riding a three-game losing streak.
Even struggling veteran back Steven Jackson should have a big day against the Jets' 30th-ranked run defense.
Sanchez, Tebow—it really does not matter. The Jets are no longer a relevant team, and this game will be further evidence that change needs to happen within the organization.
St. Louis 24, New York Jets 17
The Saints are on fire and have their sights set on the postseason. It will take a monumental effort, but the Saints are capable of making a miracle run for the postseason. A win against Oakland is not only a game they should win, but also one they cannot afford to lose.
The Saints next four games are against the 49ers, Falcons, Giants and Buccaneers. A loss against Oakland would surely derail any talk of the Saints being a playoff team.
The Raiders are trending downward. After two consecutive wins, albeit against Jacksonville and Kansas City, the Raiders defense has been absent in the last two games. The unit has allowed a combined 97 points in those two games.
The Saints can put up points quick and the Raiders are allowing the second-most points in the league (31.6).
New Orleans 38, Oakland 21
The last time the Chargers saw the Broncos was on Monday Night Football in Week 6. The Chargers allowed the Broncos to come back from a 24-point halftime deficit and the downward spiral began.
The Broncos haven’t lost since that matchup and are looking like the best team in football with MVP candidate Peyton Manning under center.
The Broncos defense is elite. It pressured Cam Newton relentlessly and will torture Rivers as well.
Rivers has also made some very questionable decisions on interceptions this season. Turnovers and the inability to stop Manning will lead to a blowout win for the Broncos.
Denver 42, San Diego 24
The Steelers and Ravens meet twice over the next three weeks, and the AFC North is likely to be decided in those games.
The severity of Ben Roethlisberger's injury plays a major role in these games. He is unlikely to play Sunday (via Sporting News) and the Ravens will capitalize of his absence.
The Ravens are far from being 100 percent healthy, but have played well since their Week 8 bye.
The Steelers defense and the home-field advantage will keep things close, but the Ravens are the far better team without Roethlisberger in the Steelers' lineup.
Ravens 24, Steelers 13
The Bears are in a tough spot with Jay Cutler concussed (via NFL.com), and fans in Chicago are undoubtedly reminiscing on the the debacle that was the final stretch of last season.
However, Jason Campbell is a significant upgrade over Caleb Haine and should be over to take over much better.
The 49ers played much of their Week 10 game minus Alex Smith, who also suffered a concussion. Backup Colin Kaepernick took over and finished 11-of-17 passing for 117 yards. He also did damage on the ground, rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown.
This is a matchup of two monster defenses, not unlike the Bears' game last week against the Texans.
Still, the 49ers will take advantage of Culter being sidelined more than the Bears taking advantage of Kapernick being under center. San Francisco also has home field.
San Francisco 16, Chicago 10