Many NFL teams are facing a crucial crossroads as they enter Week 11 of the season. Several teams are fighting for their playoff lives, and a loss could mean the end of the road.
It is this kind of desperation that makes this week more unpredictable than any other to date.
After sorting through the odds, stats and trends, it is time to reveal the best bet, upset and lock for Week 11 in the NFL season.
The Lions need a win if they are to have any hopes of grabbing a playoff spot. They are 0-3 in the division and off a very frustrating loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
They still have several critical games in the division, starting with this one; if they can start a winning streak, the post-season is still a possibility.
The Lions catch the Packers at the right time, as the team is plagued by injuries to key personnel.
The biggest injury is the hamstring injury that will sideline linebacker Clay Matthews for this game, but that is not the biggest concern for the Packers this Sunday.
The following players will not play on Sunday vs. @detroitlionsnfl: Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews, Andrew Quarless, Charles Woodson.— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 16, 2012
The big injury that is going unnoticed is the injury to starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga. The Packers will have to juggle an offensive line that has already surrendered 29 sacks on the season, which is the second most-allowed in the NFL.
The Lions will exploit the weakness with a pass rush that will keep Aaron Rodgers feeling the heat all game long. The Detroit Lions will win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive as the best bet of the week.
Detroit Lions +3.5
The best bet on the Lions is also an upset, but this game will get the “upset” label because the NFL odds are higher.
The Oakland Raiders are off an embarrassing loss to the Baltimore Ravens where they allowed 55 points, but don’t let that stop you from backing the silver and black against the Saints.
Teams in the NFL usually come out more focused after an embarrassing loss, and it will benefit the Raiders that they will be at home for this contest. The Raiders have a football betting trend that supports a rebound in this game.
The Raiders are an amazing 18-8-1 against the spread after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game.
Drew Brees is a great quarterback, but Carson Palmer is having an outstanding season that is being overlooked. Palmer ranks third in the NFL behind Matt Ryan and Brees in passing yardage and he will be able to carve up a Saints defense that is No. 31 against the pass.
The Raiders get a pivotal win over the Saints as the upset of the week.
At first glance the Colts (+9.5) look like a gift, but look again.
After all, rookie quarterback Andrew Luck looks like a veteran, and he is up against a seemingly beatable Patriots pass defense, but dig a bit deeper.
For the first time in three weeks, the Patriots are on a normal seven-day schedule and that will make this team more comfortable heading into this matchup.
The Patriots are at home, and Tom Brady will be eager to carve up a Colts defense that has a glaring weakness.
Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn start at cornerback for injured starters Vontae Davis and Jerraud Powers. That is a serious drop in talent, and Brady will dissect this defense and move the ball with ease.
On defense, the Colts biggest pass rushing threat—linebacker Robert Mathis—has missed practice this week and if suits up on Sunday he will not be at 100 percent. This will give Brady the time he needs to put up big points on the scoreboard.
The Patriots defense will get a boost by cornerback Aqib Talib, who makes his debut as a member of the Patriots. Talib will give the Patriots flexibility to showcase different packages in an attempt to confuse Luck and cover up weaknesses that have been exploited in the past.
Luck is a fine young quarterback, but he still has plenty to learn; the Patriots will teach him a few things on Sunday. The Patriots at -9.5 is the lock of the week.