Backup QB’s a Bound: NFL Week Eleven Preview

Another strong week for me, as I went 11-6/4-1 to bring my season totals to 81-73-4 and 21-16-1.   The good news is that week eleven is a bit like week 10 – there’s some really killer games on the schedule, plus some spreads you can sink your teeth into, so I’m looking for another good week to keep my current run going.  One of the obstacles week 11 presents that week 10 did not is assessing a number of teams who will be running with back up QBs.  That can be tricky, but it doesn’t skew things as much as you might think.

Hit the title/continue reading to check out the picks for the eleventh week of the NFL…
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All lines as of 11/15/12 @9:30 a.m. – line credit posted per game)

Philadelphia (+3.5) @Washington (Sheridan’s)

This game is a VERY tricky one to call, and it has nothing to do with the fact that Nick Foles will start in place of Michael Vick.  Vick has not been very good, and the Eagles’ offense has been flat out awful with him under center.  Against a bad defense like Washington’s, the Eagles are likely to gain 400 yards or close to it, but that doesn’t guarantee you a whole lot of points.  On the flip side, the Eagles’ defense has been almost as bad, and the Redskins should be able to move the ball with ease.  Neither of these teams can finish offensively however, so you could see a lot of field goals.  Or not.  This is not a game I would bet on.  The Redskins are coming off the bye, but they also have Dallas on Thanksgiving in four days, which is the biggest rivalry game in the NFL on the biggest spot it can be on the schedule.  Would it surprise you to learn that favorites with upcoming Thursday games have only covered once all season?  I’m going with that.

Washington Redskins 23 Philadelphia Eagles 21

Arizona (+10) @Atlanta (MGM Mirage)

I like the Cardinals in this spot quite a bit.  True, the Falcons are coming off a loss and they’ll want to rebound, but Arizona has had two weeks to prepare for this game, and the 10 points they’re getting seems like too much for the Falcons to cover.  Atlanta hasn’t really blown people out with regularity, and while Arizona is coming off its two worst losses of the year, I think they can stay close enough to the Falcons to cover this gaudy spread.  My only hesitation here is that Atlanta is typically much better at home and Arizona is typically not a great pick travelling East.  Falcons win, but not by double digits.

Atlanta Falcons 28 Arizona Cardinals 20


Tampa Bay (-1) @Carolina (

I’m very tentative about the Bucs here.  Carolina has played above their poor W-L record, and Tampa has only just fought their way into being a road favorite.  The Bucs are in playoff contention.  That ends if they don’t find a way to win this game, and the Panthers have really struggled to find ways to win games in the fourth quarter.  Spoiler alert?  Just maybe, but I’ll stick with Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28 Carolina Panthers 24


NY Jets (+3) @St. Louis (Las Vegas Hilton)

I’m really back and forth on this game.  The Jets are due for an out of the blue great performance like they had against Indianapolis in week 6.  That said, the Rams have played everyone tough all year.  I’m very tentatively going to look for St. Louis to knock off the Jets.  New York seems like a team in a lot of disarray, and while they’ve occasionally used turmoil to their advantage in the past, it doesn’t seem to be working this season.

St. Louis Rams 21 New York Jets 17


Indianapolis (+10) @New England (5Dimes)

I think the Colts are a bit overrated right now, but it’s not reflected in this line, which calls for the Pats in a blow out.  These teams have the same record.  Indianapolis doesn’t have the defense to top Tom Brady, but maybe they can stay with him well enough to cover a big number.

New England Patriots 30 Indianapolis Colts 21


Jacksonville (+14.5) @Houston (Sheridan’s)

Avoid this game like the plague.  Houston is not in a good spot here.  They’re coming off a huge showdown win on Sunday night and have to play again in a few days on Thanksgiving.  This is a sandwich game for them.  The problem is that Jacksonville may not score at all.  Houston won’t have to run up a big blowout number to cover here, even with a huge two touchdown plus spread.  I would take the Texans if you force me to, but I wouldn’t touch this game.

Houston Texans 23 Jacksonville Jaguars 7


Cincinnati (-3) @Kansas City (

Let’s start with this.  The Chiefs are too bad to take unless you’re getting a jackwagon full of points, which you’re not here with the inconsistent Bengals.  Kansas City can be a tough place to play, but you tend to throw out trends like that when one team is 1-8.  It won’t surprise me if the Bengals find a way to screw this up, but there’s no way I’m taking Kansas City.

Cincinnati Bengals 24 Kansas City Chiefs 20


New Orleans (-4.5) @Oakland (Las Vegas Hilton)

This game is interesting because it features two of the worst defenses anyone has ever seen anywhere.  New Orleans is coming off that huge win over Atlanta, and has the 49ers next week, which is a classic sandwich situation, but the Raiders just aren’t good enough for me to want to take them.  I like the over/under more than the spread here, which I’ll deal with later.  For the game, I would take the Saints if I had to.

New Orleans Saints 38 Oakland Raiders 31


San Diego (+7.5) @Denver (Sheridan’s)

I’m leery of a fat 7.5 point spread in a divisional rivalry game with the Chargers’ whole season on the line, but I can’t go against the Broncos here.  They’ve only lost three games this season, and that was to New England, Houston & Atlanta, three of the top teams in the entire NFL.  San Diego has shown no heart all season and I think they come in here and fold.

Denver Broncos 28 San Diego Chargers 20


Baltimore (-3) @Pittsburgh (Wynn Las Vegas)

Ben Roethlisberger is out for this game, so the Steelers will start Byron Leftwich.  The Ravens defense has been very shaky this season, but I don’t know if Leftwich is really good enough to take advantage.  The Steelers defense has been outstanding, and while the Ravens have made the transition to a team that can outscore its opponents instead of outstopping them, I have more than a small amount of concern about Baltimore taking on their arch rivals here.

Baltimore Ravens 21 Pittsburgh Steelers 17


Chicago (+5.5) @San Francisco (Stations)

The status of both starting QBs is up in the air right now, but the best guess is that Alex Smith will play and Jay Cutler will not.  I’m not sure it matters.  Both teams will struggle offensively no matter which quarterback is in there, and I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of points in this game as two of the leagues’ elite defenses square off.  I like the Bears here.  I think they can keep the 49ers out of the end zone, although San Francisco may have some success moving the chains utilizing Frank Gore.  This game may wind up looking a lot like Chicago’s game against Houston.  In other words, close, low-scoring, final score within 3 points.

San Francisco 49ers 17 Chicago Bears 14



“Peter, for the last time, Robert Griffin III is not your long lost cousin.  And there’s only one of him.”
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Green Bay (-3) @Detroit (

I love the Packers here.  They’ve had two weeks to get ready for this game and the Lions have a Thanksgiving game coming up.  The Packers are hot, which people tend to forget because they didn’t play last week, while the Lions have not looked good at any point this season.  Packers romp.

Green Bay Packers 28 Detroit Lions 17


Cleveland (+9) @Dallas (5Dimes)

This is another game I really like this week.  Cleveland has been covering big spreads all year.  They had last week off, which gave them the extra week to prepare for this game.  Dalas, meanwhile, is coming off a big division rivalry game against the Eagles and has their arch-rivals Washington coming up on Thanksgiving.  Moreover, if there’s any team in the NFL that could win one game and suddenly think they just have to show up to win the next one, it’s the Cowboys.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they lose this game outright.

Dallas Cowboys 23 Cleveland Browns 20


New Orleans @Oakland o/u 54 (Wynn Las Vegas)

I’m taking a little bit of a chance here with an over/under number that’s obviously inflated, but these two defenses stink.  It’s possible the Saints come out a little flat, but if they don’t, they might get you over the 54 all by themselves.  Even if they don’t, you can count on their defense to give up the difference.  Go over.

New Orleans Saints 38 Oakland Raiders 31


Chicago @San Francisco o/u 39 (Las Vegas Hilton)

This is another gamble because if the two starting QBs both play you could get burned here.  I got burned on an under bet with San Francisco last week, so maybe I’ll learn my lesson if this blows up in my face, but I just don’t see the Bears either giving up or scoring a whole lot of points in this game.  I like the under.

San Francisco 49ers 17 Chicago Bears 14

Rob Lazlo

Rob Lazlo lives in Atlantic City, NJ and is a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, following the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers. A former professional musician, he toured with the USO and visited Greenland, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Bahrain and many other locales. Rob is a big science fiction fan and loves movies, television, cooking, music and, of course, sports of all kinds. He works as a business consultant and is happily divorced with three children. For other hobbies, Rob plays sports titles video games and dabbles in online games. He also enjoys reading and following politics.