Last week in the NFL gave us a compelling mix of upsets and close games that serve as a tangible reminder of what often makes the league must-see TV and the most popular sport to bet on stateside.
The central theme of Week 9 was the dominance established by the home squads. In turn, Week 10 will be remembered as the week of the relatively monumental upsets. The Falcons upending the Saints by 17 at the Superdome and the Dolphins actually pulling off a second straight win, in Indianapolis no less, have to rank as two of the biggest surprises of the season. Not far behind those outcomes is a Ryan Tannehill-led Titans squad coming back in the final minute to topple a Kansas City Chiefs team that had an apparently fully healthy Patrick Mahomes back in the saddle.
Week 11 is dotted with some interesting matchups, including a Texans-Ravens battle that will feature two of the most dynamic quarterback talents in the league, a Cardinals-49ers rematch, a Patriots-Eagles interconference showdown, and a Chiefs-Chargers AFC West potential shootout to close things out Monday night.
Without further ado, here’s a live look at the lines at sportsbooks in the US as we begin looking toward Week 11.
NFL Week 11 lines
Week 11 predictions and analysis
Steelers at Browns (-3) — Thursday night
Two AFC North rivals engage in battle Thursday night in what could turn out to be one of the lower-scoring games on the entire Week 11 slate. Both squads will be coming off victories, with Pittsburgh impressively notching its fourth straight win at the expense of the Rams and the Browns finally snapping a four-game losing streak with a close win over the Bills at home.
Neither squad is wowing with its offense at the moment, but the perception of each is completely different. The Steelers get the benefit of the “Gritty Overachievers” and “Prudent Game Managers” labels, since they’re having to make do without Ben Roethlisberger (elbow), and more recently, James Conner (shoulder). Pittsburgh is primarily getting business done with its opportunistic defense, but Mason Rudolph seems to be making legitimate strides under center.
Conversely, the Browns are stuck with the “Underachievers” and “Mistake-Prone” tags, and deservedly so. Cleveland has no shortage of big names on the offensive side of the ball, and they just added another in the form of Kareem Hunt, who made his season debut Sunday after completing an eight-game suspension. Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry have all had their moments this season, particularly Chubb. However, Cleveland still sits at 3-6, with the offense often to blame.
The fact Mayfield has been heavily prone to mistakes (12 interceptions, three fumbles, one lost) sets up a potentially long night for him against a Steelers defense that’s just one turnover behind the Patriots for most caused in the NFL. Therefore, a Chubb-heavy gameplan may be in the works, especially with Pittsburgh allowing 105.3 rushing yards per contest, making them a non-prohibitive matchup on the ground.
On the other sideline, coach Mike Tomlin appears to be opening up the playbook for Rudolph with each passing week. The second-year quarterback has 251- and 242-yard passing yardage tallies in two of his last three games. However, he’ll have a less-than-ideal matchup against a Browns secondary that’s regained its full capacity now that Damarious Randall has made his return from a hamstring injury that most recently cost him Week 8 and 9. With Conner believed to have good chance of returning Thursday, the Steelers may also opt to keep a lot of their attack ground-based, especially with the Browns allowing 134.9 rushing yards per contest (sixth most in NFL).
As it stands, the spread in favor of the Browns looks exploitable, while the Under may be viable as well. We’ll check back with a Thursday afternoon update on where both numbers stand.
Falcons at Panthers (-4)
50% of tickets and 52% of money bet on Atlanta Falcons at FanDuel Sportsbook
As alluded to earlier, the Falcons shocked the NFL in Week 10 with their road drubbing of a healthy Saints team. Week 11 gives them the opportunity that it wasn’t just a byproduct of extra bye-week readiness and a nothing-to-lose mentality that got the job done. However, the assignment may actually get even tougher for Atlanta in some ways.
To begin with, they lost Devonta Freeman to a foot sprain in Sunday’s contest. A Monday MRI is expected to reveal the severity. With Ito Smith also on injured reserve, that could leave Atlanta with Brian Hill and Kenjon Barner as its top two RB options again in Week 11. Then, the Panthers defense has been among the best in the league at getting after the quarterback, and Matt Ryan and his teammates also won’t have the benefit of playing in a dome as they did Sunday in New Orleans.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: This has been one of the big movers of the week, and in a surprising direction at that. The public has gotten on a Falcons team that certainly impressed last week, but that still has a fair share of warts and will be missing both Freeman and Austin Hooper (knee). Given the shrinking spread, I like the Panthers to cover even more than I would have coming into the week.
Bills (-6.5) at Dolphins
61% of tickets and 64% of money bet on Buffalo Bills at FanDuel Sportsbook
When a struggling team begins to see its new head coach’s philosophy and program start to pay dividends on the field, they can pick up a potent combination of confidence and momentum that can lead to some surprising outcomes. The Colts found that out first-hand Sunday, and on their home field no less. Miami’s second straight win featured stout play for the second straight week by a Dolphins defense that was once again missing two of its best players in Xavien Howard (IR-knee) and Reshad Jones (chest).
The Bills offense once again showed some of its weaknesses in Cleveland, which helped led to the Browns’ first win in the last five games. Josh Allen can be goaded into mistakes and Miami’s defense is playing with confidence at the moment. Therefore, a storm could be brewing for Buffalo on the outskirts of hurricane season in South Florida. Miami has played competitively even in defeat for the most part since a disastrous start, including against these same Bills at Buffalo earlier in the season.
Given their recent performances, it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question to see the Dolphins become a bit of a trendy cover candidate as the week goes and for this number to come down some as a result.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: Both teams are essentially at full health in terms of short-term injuries. Even the Dolphins’ Preston Williams‘ season-ending knee ACL tear two weeks ago is cushioned to an extent by the equally speedy Jakeem Grant, who can stretch defenses downfield. Jones may actually be back for Miami this week as well, giving the defense a boost. I lean towards another Dolphins cover here and a flyer on the Under of 40.5 points.
Cowboys (-7) at Lions
89% of tickets and 91% of money bet on Dallas Cowboys at FanDuel Sportsbook
Consider this number a somewhat fluid one, as there’s technically a chance Matthew Stafford (back) suits up in Week 11. However, that’s very likely to be kept either legitimately and/or purposely vague for the majority of the week. What we do know with more certainly is that backup quarterback Jeff Driskel has a little something to him. Not only did he look serviceable Sunday in a high-pressure, last-minute call to action at Soldier Field, but he also had a decent nine-game run helming a bad Bengals team last season.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are anything but trustworthy, as they showed yet again Sunday night. A normally solid defense gave up 153 rushing yards to the Vikings in a 28-24 loss. While the Lions have next to no running game at the moment, Dallas has already come up short on the road twice this season versus the Saints and Jets. But, Dallas could certainly find plenty of success through the air. Dak Prescott threw for 397 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota and gets an exponentially softer matchup versus Detroit.
A late-week check on the line should tell us everything we need to know about Stafford’s chances of suiting up.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: Stafford is officially ruled out by coach Matt Patricia, and the line has accordingly risen another two-plus points in favor of the Cowboys. Dallas does have a couple of injuries on the offensive line, with one of them, left guard Connor Williams, already a confirmed absence. However, their health problems pale in comparison to those of the Lions’. Detroit could also be down running back Ty Johnson (concussion) in addition to Stafford. On the defensive side, starters Romeo Okwara (groin), Damon Harrison (groin) and Tracy Walker (knee) are all questionable. I agree with the trend of the line this week, even as I feel Driskel is a reasonably competent fill-in for Stafford. I’m on the side of a Cowboys cover in this spot.
Broncos at Vikings (-10.5)
59% of tickets and 54% of money bet on Minnesota Vikings at FanDuel Sportsbook
The Vikings will come into this contest riding high after their aforementioned road win against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Coach Mike Zimmer may have to be on the lookout for a potential letdown from his club in their return home. The Broncos are projected to start Brandon Allen at quarterback again after the fourth-year pro was serviceable in a Week 9 victory against the Browns. However, this won’t be Cleveland nor Empower Field at Mile High that he’ll be lining up against/in on Sunday.
The Vikings sport a perfect 4-0 mark at home this season, having toppled the Falcons, Raiders, Eagles and Redskins by double digits there. That means they’ve proven capable of taking care of business against inferior teams like Denver shapes up to be, and against the one solid foe they’ve seen there in the Eagles. The Broncos do boast a solid defense and could therefore make life challenging at times for both Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins. That could be particularly true if Adam Thielen (hamstring) misses another game.
The line here is a big one already and could even grow throughout the week, despite the fact the Broncos will be coming off a bye. Early in the week, a bet on the Over of 39.5 points might be prudent, as that number may inch up a bit despite the fact the contest should rightfully carry modest scoring expectations.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The line has held steady at 10.5 points. Thielen has been officially ruled out but that hasn’t fazed the public as of yet. I would lean toward staying away from the spread myself, even though the Vikings are 3-1 ATS as a home favorite this season. Then, with the projected total having now risen another point to 40.5, I’m even more of the mindset of jumping on the Under due to the quality of both of these defenses.
Texans at Ravens (-4.5)
50% of tickets and 63% of money bet on Houston Texans at FanDuel Sportsbook
This is clearly one of the showcase games of the week, but the Texans arguably have more to prove. At 6-3, Houston’s three losses have come to teams with winning records – the Saints, the Panthers and the Colts. The combined current record of the opponents Houston has conquered is currently just 19-19, although they do claim a victory over the Chiefs. The Ravens are right up there with Kansas City as the toughest challenge for the Texans yet. The good news for Houston is that they’ve had the benefit of the bye week to prepare.
Baltimore impressively avoided any letdown against the Bengals in Week 10, taking care of their business on the road by a 49-13 margin after dethroning the defending champion Patriots the week prior. Without J.J. Watt, the Texans will be especially challenged to contain Lamar Jackson, who, with 702 yards, is well on pace to break Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season (1,039). Jackson is also much improved as a passer, having improved his completion percentage from last season’s 58.2 percent to 65.9 percent.
The Ravens defense struggled earlier in the season, but now that Jimmy Smith is back to health, Baltimore seems to be picking up its play on that side of the ball. They’ve held each of their last four opponents to 20 or fewer points. Deshaun Watson has thrown just five interceptions, but he’s been lucky to lose only two of the six fumbles he’s been guilty of. The Ravens certainly have an aggressive enough defense to capitalize on a quarterback that has trouble holding onto the ball.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The Ravens continued to hang in as solid favorites throughout the week, with the Friday night line identical to that of Monday’s. Each team’s speed receiver is questionable for the contest. Will Fuller (hamstring) and Marquise Brown (ankle) seem to each have a solid chance of playing, although Brown, who’s been playing through his injury recently, likely has the better shot. While these are both quality units and the showdown between Watson and Jackson should be a thing of beauty, I feel Baltimore will pull away enough for a cover despite the Texans’ 3-1 mark against the spread as a road team.
Jaguars at Colts (-2.5)
54% of tickets and 51% of money bet on Indianapolis Colts at FanDuel Sportsbook
There’s understandably not a ton of confidence in the Colts at the moment after a home loss to the Dolphins. However, the big asterisk attached to that defeat is the absence of Jacoby Brissett (knee). Brissett managed to practice in limited fashion leading up to Week 10 and will likely be available for Week 11. That alone should make a noticeable difference in the continuity of the Colts’ offense. So, too, would be a return to action for T.Y. Hilton (calf), who’s considered day-to-day as of Monday afternoon.
The Jaguars will be an interesting team to watch Week 11. They’ll be coming off the bye and will have Nick Foles back under center. Foles famously broke his collarbone on his one and only touchdown of the season in the opener versus the Chiefs, paving the way for the now-shut-down Minshew Magic to take hold. How quickly Foles reintegrates and how good a fit he is in the offense to begin with – we didn’t get much Week 1 sample size, after all – will help dictate the overall flow of this game. One clearer aspect of Jacksonville’s offense that shouldn’t change is how much usage Leonard Fournette gets. The workhorse back should continue in his usual role and should be refreshed coming out of the bye.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The Colts’ projected advantage has been knocked down another half-point despite the announcement that Brissett will make his return for this game. Hilton will remain out, while the Jaguars will essentially be at full health. Each team is a bit of a wild card here due to injuries/returning players, and this is a divisional battle as well to top it off. For what it’s worth, the Jags are 1-5 in their last six trips to Indy, but the three most recent losses have been by a combined 10 points. This one is a very close call in my eyes, but I’m leaning toward a Jaguars upset.
Saints (-5) at Buccaneers
85% of tickets and 85% of money bet on New Orleans Saints at FanDuel Sportsbook
Sure, the Saints were on the wrong end of the upset of the season in Week 10, while Tampa was able to squeak out a win against the Cardinals. The oddsmakers apparently aren’t investing into any carryover effect, as the Saints are sizable favorites for a road team in a divisional matchup. New Orleans figures to be an ornery bunch after their unexpected and thorough defeat at the hands of the Falcons. Drew Brees is 5-2 over his last seven games in Tampa, and New Orleans is 3-1 on the road this season. Therefore, the projected advantage for the Saints isn’t totally unexpected, especially given the Buccaneers continued to struggle mightily in the secondary during their 30-27 victory over Arizona on Sunday.
The Bucs surrendered Kyler Murray’s fourth 300-yard game of the season and saw Christian Kirk light them up for three touchdowns in Week 10. There has to be concerns about what Brees, Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn and Alvin Kamara could do to their defense. In the Week 5 meeting between the teams this season, Teddy Bridgewater was able to light up Tampa for 304 yards and four touchdowns, while Thomas produced an 11-182-1 line through the air.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The public has demonstrated a little faith in the Bucs, betting the number down since the start of the week. Tampa does have the advantage of finally being at home for back-to-back games for the first time all season, an intangible that could be relevant in this spot. The fact Saints corner Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) has been ruled out helps Mike Evans‘ cause as well, considering Lattimore shut him out when these two teams met in Week 5. The Bucs’ secondary will continue to be a concern here, but I like Tampa to slide under the 5-point number.
Jets at Redskins (-2.5)
87% of tickets and 85% of money bet on New York Jets at FanDuel Sportsbook
The Redskins are actually favorites for the second time this season, despite the fact it was announced Monday that rookie Dwayne Haskins will start the rest of the season. The Jets did cause another first-year signal-caller, Daniel Jones, to fumble three times in Week 10, one that Jamal Adams was able to return for a touchdown. With Gregg Williams calling the defensive plays, New York will likely come heavily after Haskins. However, as has been the case thus far, interim head coach Bill Callahan is very likely to lean heavily on Adrian Peterson to move the chains on the ground. The challenge against Gang Green will be tough in that regard – New York is surrendering an AFC-low 81.9 rushing yards per game.
For the Jets, they’ll encounter the Redskins coming off a bye week. That’s naturally given them extra time to prepare for the shaky Sam Darnold, who was better versus the Giants that in the prior two games. However, Darnold has proven shaky at times this season and has 10 turnovers (nine interceptions, one lost fumble) in six games. Washington’s defense has notably been much easier to crack on the ground than through the air – the ‘Skins are allowing the fifth-most rushing yards per game (136.0). Therefore, Le’Veon Bell could finally be due for his first 100-yard effort as a Jet and since the 2017 season.
The projected total here is also eye-catching – the 38.5 points on the board as of Monday night makes it the lowest of the Week 11 slate for the moment. Neither team’s defense has proven capable of shutting anyone down, however, so this number could be bet up over the course of the week, especially with explosive pieces like Terry McLaurin and Robby Anderson on the field in this contest.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: This is one of the more interesting movers of the week. A 1-8 Redskins team with a rookie quarterback under center has actually seen its projected advantage rise another 1.5 points throughout the week. However, there a few factors at play here. One is the return of rookie Derrius Guice after his stint on IR with yet another knee injury. He’ll give the run-minded Callahan another weapon alongside Peterson. The second Bell, who’s dealing with rib and knee injuries, in addition to an illness. And if he does suit up, note New York could have up to three starting offensive lineman out. Given how Darnold has looked under duress this season, I’m leaning toward a Redskins cover.
Cardinals at 49ers (-10)
74% of tickets and 84% of money bet on Arizona Cardinals at FanDuel Sportsbook
The Cardinals took the 49ers a bit by surprise just two games ago, coming within a field goal of San Francisco in a 28-25 loss. Arizona did have trouble moving the ball through the air until Andy Isabella’s 88-yard touchdown grab late in the fourth quarter. However, they surprisingly pushed San Fran’s front around enough to afford Kenyan Drake a 100-yard effort in his first game with the team.
The Cards couldn’t get that same ground attack going against the Buccaneers’ No. 1-ranked rush defense in Week 10, but Kyler Murray managed his fourth 300-yard effort of the season. Arizona was able to get Christian Kirk his first three touchdowns of the season as well. Kirk notably missed the first Cardinals-49ers meeting with an ankle injury. The Cardinals will be glad to have all hands on deck against San Francisco this time around.
The Niners are doing battle with the Seahawks on Monday night, so we’ll see how the outcome of that game might move the needle on this number. It’s a large spread by any standard, and one that could potentially be bet down over the course of the week. One advantage ‘Zona will have going in will be an extra 24 hours of rest over San Fran.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The spread ultimately did move, although by just a half-point. This, despite the following dings on the 49ers’ outlook: San Francisco suffered their first loss of the season Monday night against the Seahawks in overtime; Matt Breida is out with an ankle injury; fellow running back Raheem Mostert is questionable due to a knee issue; Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Dante Pettis (back) are both questionable as well; and last but most certainly not least, George Kittle is doubtful with the knee injury that already cost him Week 10. This is an extensive laundry list of key injuries, and both Breida and Kittle look like near-surefire absences. Given that it’s a divisional opponent and the teams are facing each other for the second time in three weeks, I’m firmly in the camp of the Cardinals coming in under this number at minimum, while an outright upset wouldn’t be completely out of the question.
Bengals at Raiders (-11.5)
74% of tickets and 78% of money bet on Oakland Raiders at FanDuel Sportsbook
Ryan Finley made the first start of his NFL career against the Ravens in Week 10. That went about how one would surmise. Finley threw for a modest 167 yards and was guilty of both an interception and a touchdown. However, he wasn’t disastrous by any stretch and now has that first game out of the way. Nevertheless, he faces another tough assignment in Week 11. Finley now has to go into the infamous Black Hole and face a Raiders team that appears to be picking up some steam.
Oakland toppled the division-rival Chargers on Thursday night for their second consecutive win. The Raiders got to Philip Rivers for five sacks in that contest, but they remain vulnerable in the secondary while allowing 283.2 passing yards per game. They’ve also surrendered the second-most touchdown passes (24) in the league. It remains to be seen if Finley will be able to take advantage of those weaknesses while working with a receiver corps that once again figures to be without A.J. Green (ankle).
Meanwhile, Josh Jacobs has to be licking his chops in anticipation of this matchup. Cincinnati continues to allow the most rushing yards in the NFL (173.0) by a wide margin. Jacobs has all three of his 100-yard efforts on the season within the last five games and is averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per carry. Oakland could have its pick on how to attack on offense, however – the Bengals also surrender 256.4 passing yards per game are giving up 13.4 yards per catch to tight ends specifically. That could certainly spell trouble against Oakland’s Darren Waller.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The Raiders’ projected advantage has bumped up another point-plus. That’s not exactly surprising, given the current disparity between the two clubs and Oakland’s rest advantage. There’s not much more to be said about this one that I didn’t note earlier in the week. On the injury front, Oakland starting free safety Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) will miss the contest, but it’s doubtful Finley and his short-handed unit can really capitalize. I’m going with the Raiders pushing their ATS record at home to 4-1 in this spot.
Patriots (-3.5) at Eagles
76% of tickets and 81% of money bet on New England Patriots at FanDuel Sportsbook
The marquee matchup of the late window of games unfolds at Lincoln Financial Field and features two teams coming off their byes. The Patriots will be looking to put a 37-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9 behind them. New England’s normally dominant defense wasn’t a match for the unique skills of Lamar Jackson, who touched them up for three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Eagles come into the interconference showdown with significantly more momentum. Philly notched consecutive wins before the bye after facing a crossroads moment following a 37-10 drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys in Week 7. Nothing figures to come easy for Philadelphia in this matchup, however. Not only does New England still boast the No. 2-ranked defense in the league (AFC-low 249.3 total yards per game allowed), but Philadelphia has frequently had trouble getting its passing game going this season without a legitimate, consistent deep threat. DeSean Jackson is no longer even an option to hold out hope for – he’s now on injured reserve with abdominal tear. The Eagles welcomed Jordan Matthews back into the fold last week, but the 2014 second-round pick is not a field-stretching threat in a true sense.
The Patriots are used to being favored by much larger margins. It will be interesting to see if this number gets bet up a bit during the week. One nugget to chew on until we check back Friday is that New England is 3-2 (60.0 percent) ATS as road favorites this season and both squads are 2-0 versus the number in interconference matchups.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The line unsurprisingly held steady here throughout the week, with both teams coming off byes and having stable injury situations. Facing the Patriots when Bill Belichick have had extra time to prepare is always a particularly challenging proposition. The fact New England figures to be in a particularly ornery mood doesn’t help the Eagles here, either. The Pats are 17-10-1 (63.0 percent) ATS and an NFL-best 24-4 (85.7 percent) straight up after a bye week since 2003, the fourth season of the Belichick era. I like New England to improve on those marks here against an Eagles squad that’s just 2-2 ATS as a home squad this season.
Bears at Rams (-6.5)
53% of tickets and 47% of money bet on Chicago Bears at FanDuel Sportsbook
This presents as one of the more interesting matchups of the week, right down to its spread and projected total. Los Angeles doesn’t really come off as a team that’s essentially a touchdown better than many teams following a Week 10 loss to the Steelers in which they lost another pair of offensive linemen. Due in large part to injury, Sean McVay’s offense isn’t operating at anywhere near the same capacity as last season. Looking ahead to this matchup against the Bears, the Rams project to be down starting center Brian Allen and starting right tackle Rob Havenstein due to knee injuries. Brandin Cooks is also already ruled out with a concussion.
The pass-blocking attrition helped lead to Jared Goff taking four sacks versus the Pittsburgh. Goff already has nine interceptions this season over nine games after throwing just 12 last season, and he even has a pair of sub-200-yard tallies. The Bears defense hasn’t been in top form this season. However, they certainly have the pass rush that can get to Goff behind his depleted line. They also have the ability to make an offense one-dimensional, as they allow just 94.0 rushing yards per contest.
Of course, the Bears offense hasn’t been any great shakes on most weeks, either. Their problems are more extensive than those of the Rams. Mitchell Trubisky did throw for three touchdowns against the Lions in Week 10 but was under 200 yards passing for the third time in the seven full games he’s suited up for. Rookie David Montgomery hasn’t been able to get into any type of rhythm on the ground either, with his quarterback’s shortcomings making life more difficult on him by encouraging stacked fronts. The Rams have been easier to succeed against through the air (240.2 passing yards per game allowed) than on the ground (90.8 rushing yards per contest surrendered), so Trubisky may have to largely put the offense on his shoulders in this spot.
We’ll revisit both the spread and the projected 41-point total at the end of the week, but the latter especially catches the eye considering it’s attached to a game involving the Rams. However, the number appears to take both Chicago’s typically anemic offense and the short-handed state of Los Angeles’ attack into account, as well as the above-average defense each team rolls out.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The Rams’ projected advantage holds steady at 6.5 points as the week wraps up. The Rams also have all three of their tight ends sporting questionable designations in addition to Cooks’ already confirmed absence. Meanwhile, the Bears are down their top two options at the position. Both Trey Burton (calf) and Adam Shaheen (foot) are already ruled out. Montgomery also sports a questionable designation and will reportedly be a game-time call due to an ankle issue. With each team affected a fair amount on the health front, I would leave the spread alone and instead pivot to wager on the Under of the 40-point projected total.
Chiefs (-4) vs. Chargers – Monday night (Mexico)
83% of tickets and 85% of money bet on Kansas City Chiefs at FanDuel Sportsbook
This AFC West showdown wraps up the week and could potentially turn into one of the highest-scoring games of the week. Kansas City somehow allowed a Ryan Tannehill-led Titans squad to rack up 35 points and 371 total yards in a surprising Week 10 loss. The Chargers were touched up for 26 points themselves by the Raiders last Thursday night as well. Los Angeles also allowed a 6:0 TD:INT to Patrick Mahomes last season, along with 66 points.
Both teams will be looking to get back on track in Week 11 and solidify their standing within what is currently a wide-open division. For their part, the Bolts could find plenty of success on the ground. Melvin Gordon looks to have rounded fully back into form after his extended holdout. Gordon now has back-to-back 20-carry games for the first time, and he surpassed the 100-yard mark against Oakland. The Chiefs saw Derrick Henry become the latest running back to run roughshod over them in Week 10. The 2016 second-round pick racked up 188 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. KC is now allowing the second-most rushing yards per game (148.1).
In turn, the Chiefs will face a Chargers defense that’s allowed a 72.0 percent completion rate. Los Angeles has done a good job of keeping the majority of those receptions short (207.8 passing yards allowed per contest) and limiting yards after catch, but this is Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce we’re talking about. Then, also consider Los Angeles has surrendered 110.5 yards per game on the ground, a decent figure that nevertheless ranks them in the bottom half of the league. Even if LeSean McCoy remains benched for his fumbling issues (UPDATE: the Chiefs are now calling McCoy’s Week 10 inactive status as “maintenance-related” in an apparent nod to the NBA), the duo of Damien and Darrel Williams is on hand to capitalize.
This is a smallish spread for the Chiefs, but KC has earned it by virtue of its inconsistent play. However, L.A. is just 1-3-1 ATS at home this season, while Andy Reid’s crew is 3-2 versus the number as a road team. We’ll revisit the line later in the week to see if the public has invested a bit more faith and dollars into Kansas City.
LATE-WEEK UPDATE: The Chiefs remain the same four-point favorites they were early in the week. This game is actually being played on the neutral field of Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, although that’s in closer proximity to Los Angeles than to Kansas City. Nevertheless, this neutral-field divisional battle could actually be as close as projected. KC has enough vulnerabilities in its defense, especially against the run, to potentially have trouble getting the Chargers off the field consistently. Each team is likely to pile up some points here, and while I lean toward a Chiefs cover, I’m firmly on the side of the Over on the projected total of 52.5 points.