NFL Spreads Week 11: Road Underdogs That Are Best Picks to Cover

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2012

September 10, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips (95, left), linebacker Takeo Spikes (51), and linebacker Shaun Phillips (95) celebrate after a play during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 22-14. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

One debate that will probably never end concerns the importance of home-field advantage. From the extremes of giving teams a major edge to no edge at all, and everything in between, it's clear there's no real consensus on the issue.

That's probably because there are so many other factors in play besides the field. Therefore, it becomes difficult to single out that variable. When looking at it from the perspective of picking games, it's best to rely more on what the teams can do than where they are playing.

With that in mind, let's take a glance at some road underdogs that should cover the spread in Week 11.

All odds are courtesy


Indianapolis Colts (+9)

This week, Andrew Luck will get his first look at the New England Patriots, a team that frustrated Peyton Manning for so long during his time with the Colts. It's a crucial game for Indianapolis, as it hopes to keep its edge in the wild-card race intact.

The rookie quarterback has led the Colts to two straight victories on the road and has never looked overwhelmed by the situation. He must continue to illustrate that poise in what's shaping up to be a shootout with Tom Brady this week.

The Patriots' lackluster secondary, which ranks 29th in passing yards allowed, should give Luck plenty of passing lanes to find Reggie Wayne and company. While New England might pull out the win late, the Colts will keep it close and cover.


San Diego Chargers (+7.5)

The Chargers lost to the Denver Broncos by 11 in the first meeting, which has made Denver a popular pick this week. However, fans should know by now that anything can happen from week to week, especially when a game is between division rivals.

Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns to lead the Broncos to that earlier victory, but the Chargers have actually been pretty successful in slowing him down over the years. He has a career 77.6 QB rating against San Diego, the second-lowest of any team he's faced.

Given the fact the Chargers really need this win if they want to retain any hope of winning the division, anything less than their most inspired effort of the season would be a surprise. They will be able to keep it within a touchdown, and don't be surprised if they pull off the upset.


Chicago Bears (+7)

Jay Cutler's status remains up in the air due to a concussion suffered last week, but even if Jason Campbell is forced to step into the lineup, the Bears are a good pick to cover. The San Francisco 49ers don't exactly have an explosive offense to contend with.

The passing game is pretty far down on the pecking order for Chicago. Of course, everything begins with defense. As long as the Bears remain strong on that side of the ball on Monday night, Campbell should be able to do enough to keep it close.

Also, if you lock in the line now and Cutler ends up making enough progress to play, it's a steal. All told, it should be a close game regardless of who's under center for the Bears. The chances are good that a late field goal decides the winner.