A look at the best bets around the league for Week 11.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions (-6.5)
The Jaguars are in a need of a confidence-booster after two tough losses in a row in which they outgained their opponents, but the Jags drew a daunting and reposed Lions squad for this Sunday's game. Detroit is 4-0 in its last four games off a bye week, covering the spread in each of those contests. Jacksonville’s carelessness with the football (minus-14 turnover ratio, worst in the NFL) is one of the reasons it's sitting at 2-7. The Jags have also had difficulty scoring this year, mustering less than 20 PPG. And the stingy Lions’ defense won’t make their lives easy; they’ve allowed less than 18 PPG in their last three games.
Traveling to hostile territory will also hurt the Jaguars’ chances at snapping their four-game skid, as the Lions are 3-1 at home this year and 4-1 ATS in their last five at Ford Field. Matt Stafford might have some trouble with Jacksonville’s fifth-ranked pass stoppers, but RB Theo Riddick has emerged as a reliable all-purpose option (209 yards) despite some testing matchups with the Texans and Vikings in successive games. Expect the Lions to take this game easily and keep themselves in the hunt in the NFC North.
The pick: Lions -6.5
Miami Dolphins (-1.5) at Los Angeles Rams
Winners of four straight, including an upset victory in San Diego last week, the Dolphins travel up the California coast for another winnable game against the L.A. Rams. The 31 points Miami notched in Week 10 is a higher total than the Rams have put up in their last three games combined (29). Jared Goff takes over at quarterback now, but there doesn’t seem to be an air of confidence about him around the league.
L.A.’s run defense is good but so are the Jets’ and Chargers,’ and Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi handled them both (188 yards combined). Miami is susceptible to the ground attack (third-worst in football) but Todd Gurley has been a major disappointment for the Rams this year, averaging fewer than 60 YPG rushing. Once the Dolphins get a lead, their ninth-rated pass stoppers should be able to handle the Rams’ feeble air attack and cruise to another win.
The pick: Dolphins -1.5
Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders (-5.5)
Division leaders clash in Mexico City on Monday night, but this game should be fairly one-sided. The Texans will get a heavy dose of Latavius Murray, who went off on the Broncos defense last Sunday to the tune of 114 yards and three TDs on 20 carries. Houston’s had trouble stopping the run this season, surrendering over 120 YPG on the ground.
The Raiders’ once-porous defense has shored up lately, as they’ve allowed just over 300 YPG in their last three games (all wins). By contrast, the Texans are third-worst in the league in total offense.
Houston’s 6-3 record is inflated as it is 3-0 against AFC South teams. The Texans are just 3-3 out of division this year, including a ghastly 0-3 mark on the road in non-division games. This makes Oakland the best bet of the week.
The pick: Raiders -5.5
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings (E)
Baltimore Ravens @ Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5)
Chicago Bears @ New York Giants (-7.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-8) @ Cleveland Browns
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
New England Patriots (-13) @ San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins (-2.5)