As longtime readers of MTS will tell you, we like to do things early around here. When it comes to the NFL, each week we preview all the game action about ten days in advance. Why? Because, like any organism, we’re trying to carve out a niche! Last week, we gave you an early Week 11 preview. As promised, below is the update to that preview, incorporating up-to-date lines now that the Week 10 action has wrapped up.
Week 11 brings the last set of byes with Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New Orleans, and the New York Giants all getting a rest. Thursday night’s Titans/Jags tussle means many fans won’t start watching until the weekend.
The week continues slowly on Sunday with the Colts at Falcons and Broncos at Bears looking like the best of a lackluster morning bunch. But the heat gets turned up from there: the Packers visit the Vikings on Sunday afternoon in a pivotal NFC North clash, Cincinnati takes on Arizona in the Sunday nighter, and Buffalo wraps the week by heading to New England on Monday.
Let’s take a look at the full slate.
Tennessee (2-7) at Jacksonville (3-6) – Spread: Jaguars -3.5
These teams have split the season series each of the last six seasons. The Jags, who will be back in Jacksonville for the first time since a Week 6 loss to Houston, have taken three of the last four from Tennessee at home. They’ve been decent as the home team so far this season, splitting games with Carolina and Miami early and then beating Buffalo as the “home” team in London. Jacksonville also won at Baltimore on Sunday.
The Titans will be on the road for the third time in four weeks, but that’s not terrible news for squad, which is 0-5 at home. To begin the campaign, Tennessee crushed the Bucs on the road (41-14) and lost at Cleveland (28-14). More recently, they lost by two scores in Houston and scored a comeback win over New Orleans (34-28 in OT). They are coming off of a home loss to Carolina (27-10) but are 4-2 against the spread when Marcus Mariota plays the entire game.
Dallas (2-7) at Miami (4-5) – Spread: Pick’em
Tony Romo returns to the lineup for the Cowboys, who have been competitive but failed to win since his injury in Week 2. Since beating the Eagles in Philly, Dallas has lost one-possession road tilts against the Saints, Giants, and most recently the Bucs. Dallas has won two straight and four of five against the Dolphins.
Miami (1-2 home, 1-2 ATS) will be at home for the first time in a month. The Fins have just one win in Miami so far, a blowout victory against the Texans in Week 7. They fell to Buffalo and the Jets early in the season. After a Week 10 win in Philadelphia, the Fins are 4-5 straight up and against the spread, overall.
Oakland (4-5) at Detroit (2-7) – Spread: Raiders -2
Oakland will be on the road for the first of two straight with a date at Tennessee looming in Week 12. The Raiders are 2-2 outside of Oakland straight up and against the spread with wins over Cleveland and San Diego and losses against Chicago and Pittsburgh. All four games were decided by one score. After winning two in a row to move into a Wild Card spot at 4-3, the Raiders fell off the pace with a loss in Minnesota on Sunday, their second in as many weeks.
Detroit has yet to cover a home game and are 1-3 SU in the Motor City. They beat the Bears, 37-34 in OT, but weren’t close against the Broncos, Cardinals, or Vikings. The Lions have won three straight against Oakland, though, dating back to 1996, and they’re also coming off their first win in Green Bay in decades.
Indianapolis (4-5) at Atlanta (6-3) – Spread: Falcons -6
Two teams coming off of bye weeks meet in Atlanta and both need wins to keep their playoff hopes high. The Colts are under .500 (4-5 SU and ATS) but still lead the AFC South. On the road, Indy is 2-2 SU and has covered twice, including during an overtime loss at Carolina in Week 8. The Colts will be without quarterback Andrew Luck, though, who’s sidelined for at least two weeks with a kidney injury.
After starting 5-0, Atlanta has dropped two straight and three of four. They handled the Eagles, Texans, and Redskins at home early on, but lost to Tampa Bay, 23-20, in Week 8. Atlanta is 6-3 overall – and still hold down a Wild Card spot in the NFC – but they’re just 4-5 against the number (2-2 home).
New York Jets (5-4) at Houston (4-5) – Spread: Jets -2.5
The Jets lone road win came at Indianapolis in Week 2 when Andrew Luck fired three interceptions. New York lost by a touchdown in New England and two scores at Oakland. The team will have a bit of extra time to prepare after falling to Buffalo on Thursday night in Week 10.
Houston is in the midst of playing three home games over a four-week stretch. Thus far at home, the Texans beat the Bucs and Titans but fell to Kansas City and Indianapolis, only covering in the two wins. On Monday night, the Texans shocked previously unbeaten Cincinnati, getting a tremendous performance from the defense in a low-scoring 10-6 win.
Tampa Bay (4-5) at Philadelphia (4-5) – Spread: Eagles -6
After the Bucs won three straight games against Philadelphia a decade ago, the Eagles have responded with three consecutive wins of their own, including a blowout at home in 2009. This will be the Buccaneers’ first road game since upsetting Atlanta, 23-20, in Week 7. The Bucs also won in New Orleans early on but lost road games in Houston and Washington thereafter, bringing their road record to 2-2 (3-1 ATS). Tampa Bay scored in the final minute to beat Dallas at home on Sunday (10-6), but Jameis Winston had his worst performance in weeks.
Philly is 2-2 straight up and against the spread at home following a Week 10 loss to Miami. The only close game was last Sunday’s error-filled game. The Eagles blew out the Saints and Giants and got beaten soundly by Dallas. After a Week 12 trip to Detroit, the schedule gets more difficult for the Eagles as the Pats, Bills, and Cardinals wait in the wings. Quarterback Sam Bradford was injured in Week 10 and Mark Sanchez is likely to play this week. He didn’t look good in relief of Bradford against the ‘Fins.
Denver (7-2) at Chicago (4-5) – Spread: Broncos -1
Bears coach John Fox faces one of his former teams, a squad that he helped to a Super Bowl appearance two short years ago. Chicago sputtered against three of the best teams in the NFL to start the season, but since then have been very competitive. That said, they are only 1-3 at home straight up and against the spread (with losses to Green Bay, Arizona, and Minnesota plus a win against Oakland). The Bears have won back-to-back road games at San Diego and St. Louis.
The Broncos are 4-1 away from home and 3-1-1 ATS. They lost at Indianapolis, 27-24, in Week 9 but won in Kansas City, Detroit, Oakland, and Cleveland before that. The Broncos are coming off an ugly home setback against Kansas City in Week 10, and will be without injured quarterback Peyton Manning (which could be a good thing based on how he has played this year). Brock Osweiler will be making his first career start. Next week the Broncos host New England.
St. Louis (4-5) at Baltimore (2-7) – Spread: Ravens -1
The Rams have just one win on the road this year, a 24-22 upset in Arizona. They lost by two touchdowns at Washington and Green Bay, and fell by a field goal to Minnesota. They’ve also never beaten the Ravens in Baltimore, whiffing in their two previous tries. The Rams lost badly on Sunday at home as a touchdown favorite against Chicago.
The Ravens are 1-3 at home and 0-4 against the spread after a last-second Week 10 loss to Jacksonville. They beat the Chargers, 29-26, in their previous home game, but lost tight ones to the Bengals (28-24) and Browns (33-30) before that.
Washington (4-5) at Carolina (9-0) – Spread: Panthers -7
Before the Panthers came into the NFL, Charlotte was Redskins country. These days, Carolina is riding high, and Washington has mostly been forgotten. Washington leads the all-time series, 7-4, but Carolina has won three straight.
Washington is 0-4 on the road and 1-3 against the number. They lost by double-digits in New York to both the Jets and Giants, and were dominated by the Patriots, 27-10. Their only competitive road game was a 25-19 setback at Atlanta. Washington also dominated New Orleans at home last weekend (47-14).
The Panthers are 5-0 at Bank of America Stadium but just 3-2 ATS. They scored wins over the Colts and Packers in Weeks 8 and 9, dominating early on but allowing late-game comebacks and failing to cover in both. They held the Titans in check on Sunday in Nashville (27-10) to stay perfect on the season.
Green Bay (6-3) at Minnesota (7-2) – Spread: Vikings -1
After playing inconsistently at home during their first year at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings are 4-0 straight up and against the spread in the Twin Cities this season. They had no trouble with the Lions or Chargers, and beat the Chiefs and Rams in close contests. Minnesota also won at Oakland on Sunday, taking over the NFC North lead in the process.
The Packers are 2-2 overall and for betting purposes outside of Green Bay with wins over the Bears and Niners and recent losses to Denver and Carolina. The Packers lost as double-digit favorites at home to Detroit on Sunday, falling a game off the pace in the div; they’ll meet the Vikes again on the final Sunday of the regular season in a game that could decide the fate of the division.
Kansas City (4-5) at San Diego (2-7) – Spread: Chiefs -3
The 111th all-time battle between longtime divisional rivals Kansas City and San Diego is an opportunity for the Chiefs to even the score for the time being. (San Diego is 55-54-1 all time against KC.) A win in Week 11 would also make it three straight for the Chiefs over Philip Rivers and company.
This will be the second straight divisional road game for KC, which dominated Denver in Week 10 (29-13). Andy Reid’s squad is 2-3 SU and ATS on the road, winning at Houston to start the season but falling in Green Bay, Cincinnati, and Minnesota. San Diego is 2-3 at home and 1-4 against the spread (and often finds its own fans outnumbered at Qualcomm). The Chargers beat Detroit, 33-28, and Cleveland, 30-27, with one possession losses against Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Chicago. The beleaguered squad is coming off a much needed bye.
San Francisco (3-6) at Seattle (4-5) – Spread: Seahawks -12
What was the best rivalry in the NFL earlier this decade has turned lopsided. Seattle has won four straight by an average margin of more than a dozen points. In October, the Seahawks beat the Niners 20-3 in a completely one-sided game.
The 49ers are coming off of a bye and have yet to win on the road (0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS). Their only competitive road game was a 30-27 loss to the Giants in Week 5. Seattle could be in for a letdown after falling short in a big Sunday night showdown against Arizona in Week 10, though. The loss dropped the once home-dominant Seahawks to 2-2 at home and 1-3 against the number.
Cincinnati (8-1) at Arizona (7-2) – Spread: Cardinals -3
The Cardinals will be playing a second straight game against a Super Bowl hopeful, having scored a huge win at Seattle in Week 10 (39-29). The Cards are 3-1 at home and 2-2 against the number in 2015. They dominated the Saints and Niners early on, but lost to the Rams and held off the Ravens more recently.
Cincinnati is perfect in four road games, both straight up and ATS. They made easy work of Oakland and Buffalo while winning tight contests against the Ravens and Steelers. The Bengals have among the best scoring margins in the NFL, possessing both a solid offense and defense. While the Cincinnati defense kept Houston in check on Monday, the offense didn’t show up in the Bengals first loss of the year (10-6).
Buffalo (5-4) at New England (9-0) – Spread: Patriots -7.5
This is the second of three straight road games for the Bills. Buffalo has a bit of extra time to prepare for New England after beating the Jets on Thursday Night Football in Week 10. The Bills are 3-1 on the road straight up and against the number. That said, wins over the Dolphins and Titans plus a loss to Jacksonville in London aren’t all that impressive.
New England is 5-0 at home and 3-0-2 ATS. Their two most recent homes game were blowouts against Miami and Washington. They have also played seven-point games with Pittsburgh and the Jets, and routed Jacksonville, 51-17. New England needed some luck to stay unbeaten in Week 10, coming from behind to shock the Giants in New York (27-26).
(Photo credit: NFL News Desk Admin (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode].)