NFL Week 11 Report



By Jim Hurley:

You probably already know this by now but ...This is the final week of NFL byes as Minnesota, the New York Giants, Seattle and Tennessee all are idle on this Sunday-before-Thanksgiving and so next weekend we'll have a full slate of 16 games although they will be spread out from Turkey Day (3 games) through the Monday Nighter.

Just thought we would take a moment or two here to get you some pointspread-related information regarding these NFL byes and what teams have done versus the vig the week after their bye:

Note that NFL teams in their week-after-the-bye are 13-11 ATS (against the spread) -yes, we might have first believed that mark to have been better too -and keep in mind there are four teams in action here in Week 11 play here that had last weekend off (that's Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington) and so we'll see how this quartet fares with three of the four playing this Sunday on the NFL road (with Washington, of course, home to NFC East rival Philadelphia).

If you wish to break things down, than note NFL teams off a bye laying points are 5-7 against the odds while teams taking points off their bye week are 8-4 -and this week the Cardinals and Browns are snapping up significant points off their bye. Just sayin'!

If an NFL team is playing at home off its bye week, than so far these clubs have registered a shoddy 4-8 ATS mark while teams playing away following the bye week are 9-3 and, again, there's Arizona, Cleveland and Green Bay all playing on the NFL road following their respective byes. Hmmm.

No doubt one of the reasons some of the post-bye favorites did not cash was because of timing:

Note that heavyweight teams such as Pittsburgh (just 16 points scored in a post-be week non-cover win against Philadelphia) and San Francisco (see 24-all draw with St. Louis last weekend) were not always in synch in their post-bye games plus that head injury suffered by SF quarterback Alex Smith didn't help either.

Gotta say the single-best post-bye week performance turned in -so far -in this year's NFL was that 30-9 win by Miami as one-point pups against the host New York Jets. No doubt the Fish sure "went to school" on the Jets' wobbly special teams and so that extra prep/film work came in real handy!

Still, keep in mind that over the years NFL byes have not followed any real patterns except for the fact the Philadelphia Eagles had won all 13 of their week-after-the-bye games SU (straight-up) under head coach Andy Reid but that streak was snapped back in Week 8 with a dismal 30-17 home loss versus the 3-point favorite Atlanta Falcons.

Wanted you to chew on and digest some of these bye and post-bye spread stats -and now we'll see if this year's trends "hold on" this weekend 'round the league.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the NFL Week 11 Side & Totals Winners plus there's NCAA Football, NBA and NCAA Basketball Winners each and every day -so just climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper. Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners and note the check-in times are after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. It's been a monster 2012 Football Season for America's #1 Handicapper and it's only gonna get better with a big NFL Week 11 card here and all the Thanksgiving Day/Weekend winners straight ahead!


INDIANAPOLIS (6-3) at NEW ENGLAND (6-3) -4:25 p.m. ET, NBC
Maybe it ain't exactly like the "old days" when a fellow named Peyton Manning was Public Enemy No. 1 in/around New England but give these Patriots fan enough time and they are sure to work up an attitude towards Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck!

The fact of the matter is the Colts "are back' even if Mr. Manning is no longer part of the mix and here expect Pats head coach Bill Belichick to unveil a few new looks at Luck who threw three INTs in his debut game in Chicago and has thrown only six interceptions in his next nine games.

If Luck -who earlier this month threw for an NFL rookie-record 433 yards against Miami -has his way than WR Reggie Wayne will be snagging a slew of long balls and do keep in mind New England's defense has surrendered 19 aerial scores this season.

However, expect lots of inside blitzes by the Pats who need to hurry Luck and also protect a shaky secondary -and let's go on record to state we believe New England will score at least one defensive touchdown here.

If the Patriots' pass-first offense -which leads the league with 33.2 points per game -has a game plan in mind here it's to get the ball out to slot receiver Wes Welker and TE Rob Gronkowski some 20-to-25 times in all and simply see if the Colts' DBs/LBs can stop 'em. Note that Gronkowski has 17 catches (5 TDs) in the last three games alone.

The Las Vegas oddsmakers have placed the Pats as solid 9-point favs and New England's failed to cover all three of its games this year in which the spread was this high or higher.

Spread Notes -New England is 5-4 ATS so far this season and that includes three spread setbacks in four tries at home with the lone cover coming in a 31-21 triumph over 6-point dog Denver way back on Oct. 7th. Meanwhile, Indianapolis rides into this clash on a four-game spread winning streak and the Colts overall are a spiffy 6-3 against the odds this season.

I rate this game at the top of the charts. There is simply no way this game loses. Position by position, squad by squad, QB vs QB or coach vs coach, Team A wins big, knocks team B out of the playoffs and heads will probably roll. But wait! That same exact description applies to another AFC game. If the numbers stay the same, you get that winner, too! Click here and play this Sunday for only $35.

GREEN BAY (6-3) at DETROIT (4-5) -1 p.m. ET, Fox
This marks the first of two meetings between these NFC North "pals" over the course of the next four weeks and a mere split may not be good enough for the Packers to win the division while a mere split also probably won't be enough for the Lions to stake their claim to a wild card berth.

Still, first things first here and the Pack comes in off its bye week having averaged nearly 32 ppg during the current four-game SU winning streak and this despite the fact Green Bay currently ranks only 12th in the NFL in passing offense (249.3 yards per game) and just 23rd league-wide in rushing offense (that's at 99.7 ypg).

No doubt Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers -who owns a career mark of 6-1 against the Lions with 16 TDs and only 4 INTs -hasn't had his full complement of targets week-in and week-out this year and now WR Jordy Nelson (ankle/foot/hamstring) apparently will be a game-time decision for this pre-Thanksgiving Week tilt.

The Lions have been a slow-starting bunch all year long and that could cost 'em here even if WR Calvin Johnson (12 catches for 207 yards in last week's 34-24 loss in Minnesota) piles up more fantasy points.

Spread Notes -Green Bay's 4-5 vig-wise this year (and that's after going a combined 35-18-1 ATS the three previous seasons) and note the Packers have covered nine of their last 12 head-to-head matchups with the Lions. Meanwhile, Detroit is 4-5 against the Las Vegas prices this year although the Lions have notched spread wins in four of their last five games.

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SAN DIEGO (4-5) at DENVER (6-3) -4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Hey, what's working these days with the Denver Broncos ... or, better yet, what's not working? The only team in the AFC West with a winning record these days has won/covered four games in a row with aforementioned QB Manning hot stuff ever since he turned the tables on the Chargers back on Oct. 15th when Denver overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit to win 35-24.

Manning's completed nearly 70 percent of his passes this year and now he's fresh off a 301-yard performance in last week's 36-14 romp in Carolina. Throw in the fact that Denver special teams star Trindon Holliday has scored TDs in each of the past two weeks (although you saw what he did with the ball prior to crossing the goal line with last week's 76-yard punt bring-back!) and this defense piled up a dozen sacks in those back-to-back road wins in Cincinnati and Carolina and so everything's just cheeky these days for the Broncos.

So, do the slumping Chargers -losers of four of their last five games -have a shot here as TD-plus pups?

They do if QB Philip Rivers doesn't force any bonehead throws here -and remember the Chargers are 5-1 SU behind Rivers in their last six trips into the mile high city but none of them came against Manning ... of course!

Spread Notes -Denver is 6-3 vig-wise this year and that includes the current four-game spread winning streak. Overall, the Broncos are 4-9-4 ATS in all head-to-head battles with San Diego while dating back to the start of the 2004 campaign. On the flip side, the SD Chargers are 4-5 ATS overall this season and just 3-6 versus the vig as pups since the start of last season.

Ravens at Steelers
8:30pm ET on NBC
By now you know Big Ben has been sidelined with a sprained shoulder joint. Stepping in is veteran backup Byron Leftwich, former signal caller for the Jaguars, Bucs and Falcons. Leftwich is not mobile, but he's very smart, has a strong arm and can pick apart a defense. And the Ravens D is riddled with injuries (Lewis, Suggs, D. Webb). True, Joe Flacco and his no-huddle offense dismantled the demoralized Raiders 55-20. But the Steelers are NOT demoralized.
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Unless you've been ignoring the national sports reports lately, than you know that the really big news regarding these NFL Week 11 Sunday Night/Monday Night tilts is who's not playing as the concussion-riddled league might be missing both starting quarterbacks in the MNF tilt in San Francisco while no QB Ben Roetlisberger for the host Pittsburgh Steelers in their game this evening against rough-and-tumble AFC North rival Baltimore.

Hey, let's not kid anyone ...The NFL without its starting- and star- quarterbacks takes lots of luster off these games but that's the nature of the beast and it is why the league goes to such great lengths to protect the quarterbacks and we've always sided strongly with that stance- no matter how many tough guys proclaim that NFL quarterbacks should "wear a dress" or what have you. Dopes!

So, we venture into these back-to-back prime-time games knowing it's far different from what we all should be watching but we'll detail what to watch without the injured and sidelined signal-callers. Here goes.

Tonight, it's ...BALTIMORE (7-2) at PITTSBURGH (6-3)- 8:25 p.m. ET, NBC
No doubt you've seen the stat that the Steelers are 0-4 SU (straight-up) in head-to-head games against the Ravens when Roethlisberger (dislocated rib) is out and so now you know one reason why this line went from pick 'em to Baltimore favored by 3 ½ points once it was announced "Big Ben" was a no-go.

If long-time back-up QB Byron Leftwich catches any sort of a break here it's that RB Rashard Mendenhall returns- he has missed the team's last four games with an Achilles injury- and no doubt head coach Mike Tomlin would love to get Mendenhall and fellow Steelers RBs some 35-or-so carries here ... even if Baltimore stacks eight men in the box on defense.

Look for Leftwich to try and hit a couple of early-game "home runs" here to speedy WR Mike Wallace as Baltimore's secondary could get stretched right out of the gate.

Meanwhile, Baltimore QB Joe Flacco is the only starting quarterback in either of these night-time games who's healthy and he comes off a 341-yard, three-TD game in last weekend's "speed limit" 55-20 win against the Raiders. Flacco will challenge the banged-up Steelers secondary that's expected to be missing S Troy Polamalu (calf) again and note CB Ryan Clark (second concussion suffered last week in the past month) is expected to go here but he'll be closely monitored by the Steelers medical staff.

If it comes down to one of those field-goal tries at the windy end of Heinz Field, than slight advantage to the guy that kicks there all the time and that's Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham who is an amazing 20-of-21 on FGs so far this year.

Spread Notes - Baltimore is just 4-5 ATS (against the spread) this season but that does include a current two-game spread winning streak (back-to-back covers against Cleveland and Oakland) and did you know the Ravens are 6-2-1 versus the vig in divisional games since the start of last season? On the flip side, Pittsburgh's 4-5 against the odds this season and the Steelers enter this prime-time bash with a rock-solid 14-8 ATS mark at home dating back to the start of 2010.

On Monday Night, it's ...CHICAGO (7-2) at SAN FRANCISCO (6-2-1)- 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
Maybe a Jason Campbell vs. Colin Kaepernick showdown at quarterback here isn't what the ESPN folks signed on for when this game was dropped on their Week 11 laps but it may be what we get if the Niners don't green-light concussed QB Alex Smith who claims he "feels better" after getting dinged in last Sunday's wacky 24-24 draw against St. Louis.

Smith figures to be a game-time decision for this bash that has major playoff/home-field advantage implications and the $64,000 question is will the rookie Kaepernick be mostly operating the wildcat offense or will second-year boss-man Jim Harbaugh- himself off a health concern after getting treated for an irregular heartbeat this week- turn loose the whole playbook for the kid from Nevada?

On the other side of the coin, there's no doubt that Chicago QB Jay Cutler is out after getting concussed on a brutally hard hit last Sunday night against Houston and so that means journeyman Jason Campbell steps in and the Bears better turn him loose a bit more after dink-and-dunk stuff failed miserably in that rainy second-half of the 13-6 loss to the Texans.

Campbell may be asked to roll out here and give a tattered Bears O-line an extra second or so or protection so we would expect a healthy dose of screen/flare passes to RB Matt Forte who probably needs to net 150-or-so yards here for the upset-minded Bears to have a shot.

Spread Notes - San Francisco is 5-4 against the Las Vegas prices so far this 2012 season but go back to the start of the Harbaugh Era and you'll discover that the 49ers are a scintillating 17-9-1 ATS overall and that includes a 10-4-1 spread mark at "The Stick". Meanwhile, Chicago is also 5-4 against the juice this season and the Bears enter this MNF clash having covered their last three consecutive road games (at Dallas, Jacksonville and Tennessee).


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