NFL Week 11 opening line report

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Taking a look at the NFL Week 11 schedule

We’ll finally have a good Thursday Night Football game to begin a week, as Week 11 starts with the Bengals and Ravens. The weekend may not be as exciting. We had a lot of close spreads last week and quite a few games that came down to the wire. This week, we have a lot of big spreads, as there are four double-digit favorites on the card. The Lions are close and the Bills may be over a touchdown favorite against the Jets if Monday Night Football goes well.

Big spreads aren’t guarantees that the favorites will cover or even win the game, but we’ve had to deal with a lot of bad football this season because of poor offense and quarterback injuries, so hopefully this week has some surprises in store.

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Here are some Week 11 thoughts:

(odds as of 11/12, 10:25 p.m. PT)

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-4, 44)

Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

This line looked different coming into the week, as early lookahead lines had Baltimore -2.5 or -3. Both teams lost in Week 10, but the Bengals looked worse, as they gave up well over 500 yards to C.J. Stroud and the Texans. The Ravens collapsed and blew a fourth-quarter lead against Cleveland, as pick-six really turned the tide of that game. Now we’re left to wonder on a short week if the Bengals can make the necessary fixes and look like the team that beat the 49ers and Bills or if they are more like the team that now has the same record as the Texans.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-4, 38.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

All of the sudden, this game is one of the biggest of the season to date. The Browns and Steelers are both very much in the playoff mix and a win here would give the victor a big leg up. The Browns already lost once to Pittsburgh in a game where the Steelers didn’t run a single play inside Cleveland’s 30-yard-line. Deshaun Watson is in a walking boot, so that’s not a great sign. That merits watching throughout the week as bettors will have tough decisions to make in this game.

Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans (-5, 48.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

What a fun game this has become. Kyler Murray came back and helped lead the Cardinals to victory over a bumbling Falcons bunch that has now dropped three in a row. The Texans were thought to be one of the worst teams in the league coming into the season, but the aforementioned Stroud is a legitimate MVP candidate at this stage and DeMeco Ryans is getting the most out of his team. Murray’s return certainly sparked the offense, but can the Cardinals keep pace with the Texans if need be? Even though Murray is back, this line is higher than what the lookahead line was last week.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5, 40)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Jaguars were one of the teams in my spotlight this week, as I wanted to see if the 49ers would look like the world-class team we all expected them to be coming out of the bye. They did that and then some by blowing out a Jags team that had been playing really well. Meanwhile, the Titans laid a giant egg of their own, as they mustered just a couple of field goals against a lackluster Bucs defense in a game that took some of the shine off of Will Levis. You’ll hear a lot about Mike Vrabel as an underdog again this week, but this Titans team may just be really bad.

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5, 44.5) at Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

I think this is maybe the toughest handicap of the week. This line suggests that Matthew Stafford will be back after the bye week for the Rams. Los Angeles took it to Seattle in Week 1 with a 30-13 win and outscored the Seahawks 23-0 after halftime. That makes this a revenge game for the Seahawks, who narrowly escaped against the Commanders one week after getting pummeled by the Ravens. Can we really trust the Seahawks to play to their potential here? After all, their last three wins against the Cardinals, Browns, and Commanders have not been impressive.

Early lines I like for Week 11:

Las Vegas Raiders at Miami Dolphins (-10, 47.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Raiders have been a great story these last two weeks in the aftermath of the Josh McDaniels firing, but they’ve beaten the Giants and Jets. This is a massive step up in competition against a Dolphins team that has mostly destroyed inferior opponents on the season. Miami is on extra rest, so any nagging injuries shouldn’t be an issue. The Raiders had 4.4 yards per play against the Jets and allowed 5.8 YPP. Aidan O’Connell only threw for 153 yards and only found Davante Adams with six of 13 targets. I just don’t see how the Raiders keep up. Emotion is great, but the further you get from the McDaniels firing, the more you have a really inexperienced head coach and teams will start to take advantage of that.

Pick: Dolphins -10

Dallas Cowboys (-11, 41.5) at Carolina Panthers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Cowboys really put it together nicely and embarrassed a Giants team that cannot wait for the season to end, but I think that has made this line a bit too big against Carolina. Say what you will about Bryce Young (and there is a lot to say), but the Carolina defense is still a feisty unit. Dallas has Washington on deck on the short Thanksgiving week in a game that means a lot more to them. There is no comparable spot based on the season returns for Dallas, but they have gone on the road and lost to the Cardinals, 49ers in blowout fashion, and Eagles, along with a very ugly 20-17 win over the Chargers. This just feels like a lot of points given the context.

Pick: Panthers +11