The Pittsburgh Steelers may have picked up a win in their NFL Week 10 road game against the downtrodden Indianapolis Colts, but head coach Mike Tomlin's team appeared disinterested for much of the game.
Look for the Steelers to come through with a much better effort as they host the up-and-coming Tennessee Titans in one of the most appealing Thursday night games of the season.
The Steelers came through with a 20-17 triumph against the Colts after trailing most of the game, and elite teams regularly find a way to win when they don't play their best—they also usually find a way to rebound from a substandard effort with one of their best games the following week.
Pittsburgh certainly has the weapons to have an explosive effort on the scoreboard. While quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has struggled for most of the season with a 12-10 interception ratio, running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown are most likely the top players at their positions in the league.
If Roethlisberger is just a bit sharper than he has been, the Steelers have a chance to cause big problems for Tennessee's 16th-ranked defense.
The Titans are tied for first place in the AFC South with the Jacksonville Jaguars at 6-3 and have reeled off four straight victories. However, Marcus Mariota has a 7-6 TD-interception ratio and has been battling injuries (ankle and shoulder) for much of the season.
The Steelers have the second-ranked defense in the league and are likely to come after Mariota at key points throughout the game. Even if they don't sack the athletic quarterback, they are likely to harass him into poor throws.
The Steelers are seven-point favorites in this game, according to OddsShark. The team is sure to be motivated and will have quite a bit to offer here, and we think Pittsburgh will get the win and cover as home favorites.
NFL Week 11 Schedule, Odds (Point spreads and totals courtesy of OddsShark)
Tennessee at Pittsburgh (-7) | O/U 44
Detroit (-3) at Chicago | O/U 40.5
Baltimore (-2) at Green Bay | O/U 38
Arizona (-1) at Houston
L.A. Rams at Minnesota (-2.5) | O/U 46
Washington at New Orleans (-7.5) | O/U 51
Jacksonville (-7.5) at Cleveland | O/U 37.5
Kansas City (-10.5) at N.Y. Giants | O/U 45
Tampa Bay at Miami (E) | O/U
Buffalo at L.A. Chargers (-4.5) | O/U 43.5
Cincinnati at Denver (-2.5) | O/U 39.5
New England (-6.5) at Oakland | O/U 53.5
Philadelphia (-3) at Dallas | O/U 48
Atlanta at Seattle (-3) | O/U 44.5
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings
The Rams and Vikings are both in first place in their respective divisions, and both teams appear to be getting better as the season progresses.
L.A. has responded brilliantly to rookie head coach Sean McVay, and he has been able to reach second-year quarterback Jared Goff and get him on track for a special season.
Goff, who didn't seem to get it as a rookie, has shown dramatic improvement, as he is throwing for an average of 265 yards per game with 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Just as Goff has improved, running back Todd Gurley has bounced back from a poor 2016 season and has rushed for 754 yards with a 4.4 yards per carry mark and seven touchdowns.
Robert Woods has become the team's top receiver, followed closely by rookie Cooper Kupp. Sammy Watkins started slowly after being acquired by the Rams, but he is starting to become more productive at the WR position.
The Vikings may be an even bigger surprise on the offensive end, as they have the ninth-ranked offense in the league with backup Case Keenum at the controls. Keenum took over from the injured Sam Bradford early in the season, and he is averaging 239.3 passing yards per game with 11 TDs and five interceptions.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have become his go-to receivers, but the loss of rookie Dalvin Cook to a knee injury has hurt. Jerick McKinnon runs hard and has been decent, but ex-Raider Latavius Murray has been disappointing (3.3 yards per carry) despite his size and strength.
While the Rams have the edge on offense, the Vikings have a bigger one on defense. Minnesota ranks fifth in yards allowed and has a couple of brilliant leaders in DE Everson Griffen (10.0 sacks) and FS Harrison Smith (51 tackles, three interceptions and six passes defensed).
The Vikings are 2.5-point favorites, and they also have the home-field edge. However, the Rams are too dangerous on offense and special teams. Look for Los Angeles to escape with a late road win that should cement their strong position in the NFC West.
Prop bets will be more plentiful as the season reaches its conclusion, and one of the props offered by OddsShark concerns the playoff possibilities of four teams.
The teams in question are the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.
The odds on the Seahawks are minus-400 to make the playoffs (yes) and plus-250 that they won't make it (no) into the tournament (a yes bettor would risk $400 to earn a $100 profit, while the no bettor would risk $100 to win $250). The Packers have even odds for yes, and minus-140 for no; the Falcons are minus-140 for yes and even for no while the Cowboys are minus-150 for yes and plus-110 for no.
We would advocate a yes bet for the Packers and a no bet for the Cowboys. Green Bay is trying to get the job done without Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone) at the QB position, and we have faith that backup Brett Hundley will continue to make the progress he showed in Week 10 against Chicago.
On the other hand, the Cowboys will struggle without running back Ezekiel Elliott, and they will fall short of the postseason.