The Week 11 NFL Report




By Jim Hurley:

Think about it: We're heading into NFL Week 11 action and already there have been 11 NFL teams (or more than one-third the league's teams in all) that have been forced to play a version of "musical quarterbacks" because of some sort of injury to their starting signal-callers.

Incredible, eh?

What strikes us as being even more incredible is the fact that many NFL teams - or how about most of 'em! - really don't have a solid back-up quarterback in place when/if the starters go down?

Sure, we've all heard the chatter about how "costly" quarterbacks can be and that in the modern-day NFL the teams must spread out their spending and so that's why - in many ways - there's literally no high-quality back-ups at any position these days and you can literally count on one hand just how many NFL teams have "depth".

Still, the odds of a starting quarterback making it through a 16-game regular season without an injury is remote - what, maybe 20 to 25 percent or so - and so it behooves franchises to invest something in back-up quarterbacks and yet this year alone we've seen the following guys get into important NFL action:

There's been Jeff Tuel in Buffalo; Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell in Cleveland; Chad Henne in Jacksonville; Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien in Green Bay; and Kellen Clemens in St. Louis just to name a few.


But here's a prediction: No matter the salary cap or no matter the spending on other players on a regular 53-man roster, look for NFL teams (or at least many of them) to change their tunes when it comes to back-up quarterbacks beginning next season.

There's simply no way that NFL teams can continue to thrive with No. 1 quarterbacks on the shelf and even if it means more "QB controversies" we believe that many teams will right this wrong and shore up and fortify their team's most important position in the 2014 (and beyond) season.
Can there really be any other way to go about conducting your gridiron business?

After all, you could make the case that the Green Bay Packers, for example, are a completely different team without the services of now-injured QB Aaron Rodgers and so why should a whole season be flushed down the toilet just become some general manager didn't want to invest big bucks in a back-up slinger?

Hey, it's on to this week's football action and we get it kick-started with NFL Week 11 action.

Tonight, it's ...
INDIANAPOLIS (6-3) at TENNESSEE (4-5) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Speaking of back-up quarterbacks, the host Titans go with Ryan Fitzpatrick here for this prime-time divisional game after starter and oft-injured QB Jake Locker went down for the year last weekend with a Lisfranc foot injury in the 29-27 loss to Jacksonville.

Fitzpatrick completed 22-of-33 passes for 264 yards with two TDs and no INTs in a relief role last Sunday but note he tossed four INTs while starting for Locker a few weeks back in losses against Kansas City and Seattle ... and if you were rating the quarterbacks who will start this week/weekend in NFL action you'd probably have Fitzpatrick down 'round the No. 29 or No. 30 range ... right?

On the flip side, the Indy Colts have one of the league's best and brightest quarterbacks in Andrew Luck yet last week the former Stanford stud was a dud while throwing three picks in a somewhat inexplicable 38-8 home loss to 7 ½-point pup St. Louis.

Here, Luck - who often energizes the Colts with his key runs for first downs - might be wise to let the Indianapolis ground game dictate matters against the NFL's 21st-ranked rush defense (allowing 115 ypg).

Might this be a good time for RB Trent Richardson (averaging just 2.8 yards per pop since coming over from Cleveland back on Sept. 18th) to get 20-to-25 carries with no questions asked?

Spread Notes - Indianapolis has covered three-of-four road games so far this 2013 season and the Colts are a nifty 5-1-1 ATS (against the spread) in their last seven AFC South tilts. Meanwhile, Tennessee is a decent 5-3-1 against the odds this year but the Titans are 3-10-1 ATS in divisional games the past two-plus seasons.

My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 11 Side & Totals winners beginning with tonight's game between the Indianapolis Colts at the Tennessee Titans when you check with us here at the red-hot Jim Hurley's Network and then keep rollin' in the green all week/weekend long with all the NCAA Football, the NFL, the NBA and now NCAA Basketball too!

There's College Football this evening too with a pair of TV games including Georgia Tech at #8 Clemson (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) and Marshall at Tulsa (7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1) and remember there's prime-time action on Friday too with Washington at #13 UCLA (9 p.m. ET kickoff on espn2) and that's all before we even get to a jam-packed Saturday of great gridiron action! Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - pile up the profits this November!

On Sunday in NFL Week 11 action, it's ...
BALTIMORE (4-5) at CHICAGO (5-4) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
We're back to that back-up QB theme here as the Bears - reeling a bit following all the post-game criticism after QB Jay Cutler was allowed to come back "a week too soon" from a groin injury and this time injured his left ankle - go with Josh McCown who did throw an 11-yard scoring strike to WR Brandon Marshall with 40 seconds left last week in an eventual 21-19 home loss versus Detroit.

True, McCown (538 yards passing with 4 TDs and 0 INTs so far this year) - is a higher-end quality back-up slinger than most of the NFL's other second-stringers but you can expect the aggressive Ravens to "dial up" a variety of blitz packages here and so getting the ball into the hands of loud-mouth WR Marshall may not be so easy.

Spread Notes - Chicago's a rotten 2-6-1 versus the vig overall this season but the Bears enter this tilt at 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games against AFC competition. Baltimore is 1-4 odds-wise away this year after compiling a 29-19-3 ATS road mark the past five seasons.

SAN FRANCISCO (6-3) at NEW ORLEANS (7-2) - 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
Did last week's 10-9 loss by the SF 49ers to Carolina totally destroy any/all hope of winning the NFC West? You may be surprised by our Jim Sez answer ... but no!

San Francisco enters Week 11 play two full games back of the rival Seattle Seahawks but keep in mind the Niners will host the Seahawks in Week 14 play and who's to say the 49ers can't win the tiebreaker?

First things first and San Francisco must get things cleaned up offensively after all the Niners could do last week was get three field goals by veteran PK Phil Dawson and folks are still whispering about the inefficient game of QB Colin Kaepernick who completed just half of his 22 passing tries against the Panthers (and for only 91 yards, no less!) while rushing the ball just four times for 16 yards.

No doubt Kaepernick must shake-and-bake his way for some big gainers with his legs here and so look for San Fran - with or without banged-up TE Vernon Davis (concussion) - to spread the field and have Kaepernick run the spread option with the forecast here for a minimum of 10 carries.

On the flip side, the Saints simply don't lose at home anymore - okay, four SU (straight-up) setbacks in their last 22 games in all - and here QB Drew Brees (3,064 yards passing with 25 TDs and 7 INTs this year) will lean a bit more on swing passes to RB Darren Sproles and mid-range darts to WR Marques Colston what with TE Jimmy Graham (805 yards receiving and 10 TDs) still gimpy after playing sparingly in last Sunday Night's 49-17 triumph over short-handed Dallas.

Spread Notes - New Orleans is a perfect 5-and-oh spreadwise at home this season and did you realize the Saints now are a collective 18-4 vig-wise at home dating back to the start of the 2011 season (that's an .818 winning rate)? San Francisco has covered six-of-nine overall games this season and the 49ers are 6-3-1 ATS as an underdog side since the start of the Jim Harbaugh Era in 2011.

NOTE: There's plenty more NCAA Football and NFL Week 11 Previews/Forecasts straight ahead in the next couple of editions of Jim Sez ... so don't dare miss out as tomorrow we'll check out the biggest/best College Football games on the Saturday docket including Georgia at Auburn!


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