It’s now the NFL Week 11 Picks, which means that all teams have had adios weeks and now we are prepared to put an eye on the standing from here on out.
Last night, the game Patriots v Colts was really incredible. Whenever those teams meet it’s like watching a great movie. It just seems to always live up to all the hype.
We still have two unbeaten teams into the season: (9-0) Orleans Saints and (9-0) Indianapolis Colts.
Going into NFL Week 11 Picks, (6-3) New England continues to lead the way in the AFC East, (7-2) Cincinnati took the lead in the AFC North, Indy remains perfect atop the AFC South, and (6-3) Denver and (6-3) San Diego are now knotted up for the AFC West lead.
In the NFC, (6-3) Dallas remains atop the NFC East despite a disappointing loss, (8-1) Minnesota continues to rule the NFC North, the Saints are of course unbeaten in the NFC South, and (6-3) Arizona remain in first place in the NFC West.
Peyton Manning’s fourth quarter comeback Sunday night was impressive, but not completely unexpected. Green Bay’s domination over the Cowboys likely cost a few bettors some money, but that is the same Packers team that was favored two weeks ago to beat the Minnesota Vikings.
A Cleveland win tonight over a Baltimore Ravens (-11) team desperate to get back above .500? Now this would be the kind of thing that turns the football betting industry on its ear.
Odds makers opened the line for the Ravens-Browns game just a shade higher than 10 and the contest attracted very little attention through the past week. Cleveland is rested off a bye week but divisional home teams off a bye are just 2-12 ATS when playing under the Monday night lights. It has added up to an increase of betting on the road favorite that began late Sunday and will likely continue up until kickoff.
Baltimore’s stout run defense has taken of criticism this year and attracted a lot of bad press when Bengals RB Benson recorded back-to-back 100-plus rushing days against them. Turn to Cleveland’s run game, which averages less than 100 yards per game on a whole, never mind one back, and stopping the Browns shouldn’t be too difficult.
Cleveland’ leading rusher, Jamal Lewis, has rushed for 100-plus yards just once this year in six starts and of the other five his best day was 69 yards. Three of Lewis’ six starts ended with less than 50 total rushing yards.
Ravens running back Ray Rice has been a big part of any success on offense this season and will be featured as a major part of the attack Monday. Leading all backs in receptions this year; Rice is second in net yards from scrimmage with 126.1 per game. He has also scored four rushing TDs in the past three games so against Cleveland’s 31st ranked run defense, Rice should flourish.
In the first meeting this season the Ravens throttled the Browns 34-3 and in eight games this year Baltimore has broken the 30-point barrier five times. It has been 15 games since Cleveland achieved such a lofty point total.
Handicappers speak of look-ahead spots when two mismatched teams hook-up but looking past the Browns is not something the ex-Browns do very often, especially with so much on the line. Baltimore plays Indianapolis next week but the surging Cincinnati Bengals have placed an added importance on every game for both Pittsburgh and Baltimore if they hope to contend for a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive AFC North.
The person who should perhaps be most nervous tonight is Browns quarterback Brady Quinn. Benched during his awful Week 3 performance against this Baltimore team, Quinn is back under center Monday for his second round of the season as starter. Unfortunately the offense has thinned at talent, the defense is losing hope and until someone can make sense of the coaching and management fiasco at Brownsville, it looks like another limp to the finish is in store.
This is the fourth double-digit point spread of the 2009 season on Monday night and all three double-digit favorites have won straight-up but missed covering the spread. All three games went “Over” the posted total, too, pushing the Over/Under mark in the past three years to 8-3 O/U in games with this high of a line.
Monday Night Football has produced a few doozies this year, but the odds are stacked against this one competing. Unless, that is, HC Mangini has some tricks up his sleeve he’s been saving. On that note we should probably mention that the money line on the Browns winning straight-up is paying +450.