Let’s take a look at the biggest games coming up in Week 11 of the NFL. All NFL football betting lines are courtesy of Sports Interaction’s online sportsbook.
San Diego Chargers (6-3) at Denver Broncos (6-3)
You’ll notice there’s no line available for this game yet, and with good reason. The fate of this game – and quite possibly the Broncos’ season – lies with the health of QB Kyle Orton. Will he play? Orton hurt his ankle against the Redskins last Sunday (a 27-17 Denver loss), and the stark contrast of how the Broncos played with him as opposed to how they did without was telling. In the first half, Orton went 11-for-18 passing for 193 yards and two long touchdown bombs to Brandon Marshall.
In the second, Chris Simms came in as an injury replacement, completed 3 of 13 passes for 13 yards and an interception, netting him a passer rating of 7.5.
There’s no such QB problem for San Diego, however. Philip Rivers continues to play at a Pro Bowl level, exemplified last weekend against the Eagles. Rivers completed a whopping 80% of his passes (20-of-25) for 231 yards and two touchdowns and, perhaps most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over once. Denver is mired in a three-game losing streak and this is almost a must-win game, at home, against a division rival. But if they can’t slow down Rivers and his skyscraping WRs (Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd), they’ll be in deep, deep trouble.
Indianapolis Colts (9-0) at Baltimore Ravens (5-4) Colts -1.5, Over/Under 45.0
What a weird last few days for the Ravens. First, they’re on a short week, having played on Monday Night Football. Second, they’re coming off another whipping of the Cleveland Browns, arguably the worst team in football (Baltimore has now outscored Cleveland 50-3 in two games this year). And third, they now go from the doghouse to the penthouse in playing the AFC-leading Colts, who haven’t lost a game this season.
It’s hard to gauge how good the Ravens really are this year. The Cleveland games were so lopsided that they skewed Baltimore’s statistical body of work: The Ravens have nine interceptions on the year, but six game against the Browns; the Ravens have held opponents to single-digit scoring three times this year, but twice against the Browns. You get the idea.
There’s also a question about the Colts, only it’s a little different: When will their luck run out? Indy has been playing with fire for three straight weeks – narrow victories over the 49ers, Texans and New England all came at the friendly confines of Lucas Oil field, where they’re supposed to get breaks going their way. But now the Colts head out on a two game roadie starting in Baltimore, which is a notoriously tough place to play.
Atlanta Falcons (5-4) at New York Giants (5-4) Giants -6.5, Over/Under 46.5
Two teams desperate for a win do battle in the Big Apple this Sunday. After starting the season 5-0, the Giants have crumbled, losing four straight before enjoying the salvation of last weekend’s bye. Things aren’t much better in Atlanta, where the once 4-1 Falcons have lost three of their last four and can hear the Carolina Panthers creeping up behind them in the NFC South.
There are problems all over the shop for Atlanta. Matt Ryan is in the throws of a sophomore slump (12 interceptions, one more than he had all of last year), Michael Turner is banged-up (sprained right ankle) and Jason Elam can’t make a field goal. He’s 5-for-10 from kicks 30 yards and longer this season, an amazing stat for one of the most reliable kickers in NFL history.
Even with all of Atlanta’s problems, though, six-and-a-half points are a lot to be getting against a Giants team that has looked really bad in recent weeks. The Falcons should put it together on Sunday and rebound to at least cover, if not win straight-up.