NFL Week 11 Picks and Plays
The Saints are Brees-less. The Panthers may play minus McCaffrey. Don’t bet on the NFL until you consider these and other developments that could take Week 11 in a new direction.
As NFL Week 11 dawns, there are several news developments and angles bettors will have to factor into their handicapping.
- No Drew Brees. The New Orleans Saints quarterback suffered multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung last week in a faceoff with the San Francisco 49ers. Jameis Winston, acquired by the Saints in the off-season, is the logical replacement. Although Winston is interception-prone, tossing 30 last year, he’s also an explosive QB who passed for more than 5,000 yards last season. How will coach Sean Payton use him when the Saints go up against the Atlanta Falcons? The Saints have a good offensive system and were fine with Teddy Bridgewater replacing Brees for several games last year.
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- Will McCaffrey sit this one out? Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is arguably more important to his team than any NFL player is to any team. With McCaffrey healthy, the Panthers nearly beat Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago. Without him last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team lost by 23 points. The Panthers host the Detroit Lions as a banged-up team overall. The injury list includes McCaffrey, whose status is iffy. Carolina would have to start a rookie quarterback if he can’t go. For bettors, that could have a big impact.
- Pats in play. The New England Patriots, once 2-5, have a chance to get to 5-5 if they can upend their hosts, the Houston Texans, who have nothing to play for. Scoring an upset over the Baltimore Ravens turned the Pats’ season around last week, but they have a lot of work to do in order to gain playoff consideration.
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- There are a couple. The Tennessee Titans will visit the Baltimore Ravens, whom they toppled 28-12 in the playoffs last year. Unlike last season, however, when both teams were hot coming into the post-season, these teams are skidding. The Titans need to develop a pass rush and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson needs to throw more in order to set up the run. Another prime rematch pits the Chiefs against the hosting Las Vegas Raiders, who inflicted the only loss on Kansas City this year. The Chiefs were burned by big plays in the opener. Early Raiders betting action across the major sportsbooks kept the line at Kansas City -6.5. That’s a good line for the Chiefs, while any Raiders backers may want to see that line go to 7 before betting. This is the highest over-under, 56.5, of the weekend. The teams combined for 72 points the first time, with Vegas winning 40-32.
- Top teams against the spread this year? The Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins are 7-2. The Dolphins are 16-5 dating back to last year. This week, all are on the road. Pittsburgh and Miami are both laying points and Cincinnati is a slight underdog.
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