Week 11 in the NFL sees the final four byes of the season, meaning from here on out we get a full slate of football all the way to the end of December. Week 11 also sees a quick turnaround for Thanksgiving games this coming Thursday, but before we get to that, we’ve got a few games worthy of your attention.
Here’s a look at three of Sunday afternoon’s most intriguing and noteworthy match-ups. There are important games across the slate, with teams bustling for position or just trying for a rare win, but these are the ones that have caught the eye of CasinoReview ahead of the weekend.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay (5-4, 2-2 road) looks to win its fourth game in a row Sunday, something it hasn’t done in four years. The Buccaneers will travel to Carolina (2-7, 1-4 home) to take on a Panthers side that has lost six of the last seven.
Tampa Bay will be looking to keep up the pace to make the postseason, a tough ask when you consider that Atlanta is streaking ahead and New Orleans may well be on the way back. But the Buccaneers have been tough of late, winning four of the last five. The Bucs also beat the Panthers 16-10 in Week 1.
Carolina’s 1-4 home record is only better than that of Kansas City (0-5) and Jacksonville (0-5). That’s not the sort of company you want to be keeping.
Odds: Carolina opened as 1½-point favorites but the momentum has swung in the opposite direction and now the Buccaneers are favorites (-2). The over/under is 48½.
Take: Tampa Bay – Number one in the league at stopping the run, Tampa Bay will force the Panthers, and Cam Newton, to throw which has been a less than successful tactic so far this season. The Buccaneers meanwhile are number three in the league in scoring, having put together a strong passing and rushing game. It could be a long day for the team from Charlotte. Take the Bucks to cover the spread, as they have done seven times this season, with the total going over.
New York Jets @ St. Louis Rams
You’d be forgiven for not realizing that the New York Jets (3-6, 1-3 road) took to the football field on Sunday afternoons, such is the comedy parade of off-field antics. This week unnamed players denounced Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, and just about everybody else you can think off. This mishmash of egos and enemies will head to the Gateway City this Sunday.
St. Louis (3-5-1, 3-2 home) managed to snap a three-game losing streak last week, scoring a tie –yes, a tie – with San Francisco. The Rams will be looking to go one better and get a win this weekend. Better hold on to your hats.
New York defeated the Rams the last time the two sides met (2008), breaking a seven-game losing streak. However, the Jets have never beaten the Rams in St. Louis. New York’s one and only road win against the Rams came in 1970 – the first time the two sides met – when the Rams were located in Los Angeles.
Odds: The Jets’ turbulent week has seen the spread open up in this one. The Jets are now 3½-point underdogs, with the over/under at 38½.
Take: NY Jets – The thing the Jets need least right now is for this saga of discontent and uncertainty to continue. There needs to be a cutting of the chord and a restart. If the Jets were to lose, we might finally see such a move – whether it involves a certain Florida Gators quarterback or not – but if the Jets win, this sorry mess will continue to drag on. Take the Jets to win and cover the spread then, perhaps even on an almost solid performance by Mark Sanchez. Take the total to go under with these low-scorers on the field.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Indianapolis (6-3, 2-2 road) had another emotional visit from head coach Chuck Pagano this week. These emotional meetings have tended to spur the Colts on to victory but this week could be a little different.
Indianapolis travels to New England (6-3, 3-1 home) to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots in what will be an enticing game. Brady will face-off against Andrew Luck for the first time, as both teams look to add to winning streaks of three and four respectively.
The Patriots have won two in a row against Indianapolis, and nine of the last 14. The Colts have not won in New England since 2006.
Odds: New England opened with a healthy eight point advantage which has since risen to nine. The over/under is 54.
Take: New England – The bubble that Indianapolis has encased itself within – and the hype that has followed – may be about to burst. Can Luck and Co. sustain an entire season of high tension and emotion, as well as the steep learning curve that comes with making the jump to the pros? Maybe, but not against Tom Brady who could be about to hit form. Nine points might seem a large spread, but take New England to cover it with a two touchdown victory. Take the total to go over, as it has in seven Patriot games this season.
There’s also the small matter of Baltimore’s match-up with Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football and Chicago’s trip to San Francisco for Monday Night Football. We haven’t forgotten about those games, we just want you to come back and read about them on Sunday and Monday.
Week 11 Schedule
Thursday: Miami 14-19 Buffalo
Sunday: (1 PM ET) Arizona @ Atlanta | Tampa Bay @ Carolina | Cleveland @ Dallas | Green Bay @ Detroit | Jacksonville @ Houston | Cincinnati @ Kansas City | NY Jets @ St. Louis | Philadelphia @ Washington; (4:05 PM ET) New Orleans @ Oakland; (4:25 PM ET) San Diego @ Denver | Indianapolis @ New England; (8:20 PM ET) Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Chicago @ San Francisco
Bye: Minnesota, NY Giants, Seattle, Tennessee