Our Week 11 picks have one common theme in mind: bet on the best quarterbacks and the best teams. After taking a look at the NFL odds, we’ve hashed out three picks that back Tom Brady’s New England Patriots, Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos and Matt Schaub’s Houston Texans.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
NFL Betting Odds: Patriots -11
The Patriots are coming off a bye week, while the Bills looked incredibly flat after their bye as they were handled easily by Houston. The Bills have lost five of their last 20 in New England and even though they’ve covered the spread eight times during that period, it’s tough to trust that they can keep it close after their second-half collapse of 2011. The Patriots are well rested and head coach Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for the Bills (especially on a long plane ride from London, England following Week 8’s rout of St. Louis).
Pick: Patriots -11
Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers
NFL Betting Odds: Broncos -4
This has the potential to be the best game of the week if the Panthers play the way that they can, particularly on offense. Carolina snapped a five-game skid with a win over Washington and the entire team played well, but they take their cues from Newton, who has to be a better leader. All he has to do is watch Peyton Manning, who has given the Broncos an identity and has led them to three straight wins, but his offensive prowess masks a defense that can be suspect at times. Denver is a deserved favorite on the road, but West coast teams going to the East (and vice versa) can be worrying and the Panthers have a little bit of their swagger back.
Pick: Panthers +4
Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears
NFL Betting Odds: Bears -1
This is the early marquee matchup of the weekend as both teams have raced out of the gate as Super Bowl contenders. Houston were coming off a bye and barely had to get out of third gear to beat Buffalo, while the Bears, after struggling through wins over Carolina and Detroit, blew out Tennessee on the road and put up 51 points on the Titans. This is a typical matchup of a warm-weather team headed to a cold venue, but the Texans are well equipped to handle anything Chicago throws their way. They have one of the top three running backs in the NFL in Arian Foster, an experienced quarterback in Matt Schaub (who grew up in Pittsburgh, so he should be used to the cold) and a defense that is actually ranked higher than Chicago, who sits in third. This is going to be a hard-hitting game, especially if the weather starts to get bad, and both teams aren’t going to give an inch as they know what is at stake. In a very close game, if you’re going to bet the NFL, go with the road team.
Pick: Texans +1