If you are looking for some quarterback matchups to draw your attention, well, Week 11 is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. This week gives us Tom Brady facing off with the Raiders in Mexico City. It gives us the Dak Prescott versus Carson Wentz debate in primetime on Sunday night. Jared Goff and Case Keenum, two of the bigger surprises this year, will be involved in a key matchup. Matt Ryan closes out Monday in Seattle, where Russell Wilson has been having to do it all in 2017. The week starts with Tennessee and Pittsburgh in an AFC playoff potential preview. The primetime and stand-alone games have some quality. Then there’s this:
We still don’t know if Philip Rivers will miss the game Sunday, but that’s some dark stuff.
Last Week: 7-6 ATS
Tennessee (+7) at Pittsburgh
What happens when two teams that play to the level of their competition actually have to square off instead? The Steelers have struggled at Cleveland, lost at Chicago, and should have probably lost on Sunday against Indy. Tennessee has done just enough to win in recent weeks.
Still, Tennessee’s power rating is impacted by a blowout at Houston, and a loss at Miami. Matt Cassel played six quarters in those games. I’ll take the Titans +7 to keep it competitive.
SUNDAY 1 PM ET
Detroit (-3) at Chicago
Detroit came out flat last week but still had enough to come all the way back and cover a big spread against the hapless Browns. The Bears came out flat, John Fox had a horrific challenge, and the Bears lost an opportunity against the Packers. I’m a believer that the Lions will make a run. Lions -3.
Kansas City (-10.5) at NY Giants
The Giants have given up a touchdown to a tight end in every game. Hello, Travis Kelce. Kansas City’s schedule is much easier down the stretch, and Andy Reid has a great record coming off a bye. Chiefs -10.5.
Tampa Bay (+1) at Miami
This is Miami’s first non-primetime game in a month. Thank goodness we can hide this one early on Sunday. They are awful. Bucs +1.
Baltimore (-2) at Green Bay
Joe Flacco is flying under the radar when it comes to the bad quarterback play discussion. He’s averaging 5.3 yards per attempt halfway through the year. Brett Hundley, for comparison, is at 5.7. I have a hard time laying the points here. Packers +2.
LA Rams (+2.5) at Minnesota
The Rams are first in points scored, first in net yards per pass, and have allowed 57 points in the last five games. The Vikings are playing well also and this will be a fun one–pretty much the game to watch in the early window if you have the means. I’ll take the Rams +2.5 getting the points when leading the league in those key indicators.
Arizona (PK) at Houston
Last week, I said that Houston was a bet against so long as Tom Savage was the quarterback. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Arizona is invoking the trump card–also bet against Blaine Gabbert.
It appears that Bruce Arians does not understand correlation and causation when it comes to Gabbert.
Jacksonville (-7.5) at Cleveland
Sunday’s forecast could bring lake-effect snow and winds upwards of 20 miles per hour. That is a recipe for avoiding Blake Bortles and his stellar mechanics. The Browns are always painful to take but this could be an ugly game. Browns +7.5.
Washington (+8) at New Orleans
The Saints have a defense. They ran the ball 24 straight times last game. Saints -8.
SUNDAY 4:05/4:25 PM ET
Buffalo (+4) at LA Chargers
Tyrod Taylor’s benching is indeed a rare thing. The closest thing I can think of is when Denver benched Jake Plummer after a 7-4 start, but he had thrown more interceptions than touchdowns at that point, and they drafted Jay Cutler in the first round. Nathan Peterman is a fifth round rookie. Equally concerning is that the Bills’ rush defense was awful last week. Chargers -4.
Cincinnati (+2.5) at Denver
Marvin Lewis threw his 21-year old rookie under the bus this week. Things seem to be going well.
Marvin Lewis has let a lot of people down. Bengals +2.5.
New England (-7) vs Oakland (in Mexico City)
The Raiders have had two weeks to get ready for this, and it’s not a stretch to say that it’s must-win for them, sitting at 4-5. Raiders +7.
Philadelphia (-4) at Dallas
Dallas is in desperation mode. Ezekiel Elliott is out. Tyron Smith may try to rush back because of last week’s disaster, but he’s probably not 100%. Eagles -4.
Atlanta (+3) at Seattle
Russell Wilson is still the Seahawks’ rushing leader, with 290. Chris Carson, out for most of the year, is 2nd. Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls are averaging about 2.6 yards per carry each. Wilson is carrying this offense, and now the Seahawks will experience life without Richard Sherman. Julio Jones up first is a tough draw. Falcons +3.