By Ken Boehlke

Bills at Dolphins

Spread – MIA -5
Moneyline –  BUF +200 MIA -240
Total – 42

Side: Boy did NFL Network hit the jackpot on this one. A Week 11 matchup with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills would be lucky to bring even one team still in the playoff hunt, let alone two that have both identified this game as a must-win. The Bills have dominated this matchup over the past two years with a 29-10 victory earlier this season and two wins in 2013. There’s one major reason for those results. Defensive pressure. The Bills will exert high pressure not only into the face of Ryan Tannehill, but also on the receivers as well as the running backs. Miami will have to get creative to win this game because standard smash mouth football simply won’t get it done here. Pick: Bills +5

Total: This may be the biggest game for the Buffalo Bills franchise in the last decade. It’s a Thursday Night primetime game in which a win would move them to 6-4 with a legitimate shot of claiming a spot in the postseason for the first time since 1999. Expect energy on both sides of the ball which will lead the defense to fly around the field making plays and the offense to be out of control and take some time to settle in. Defensively Miami has been solid this season having not allowed more than 20 points since Week 5. Defense will win out for both teams which will make for a game that reminds you something of LSU/Alabama last Saturday night. Pick: Under 42

Texans at Browns

Spread – CLE -3
Moneyline –  HOU +155 CLE -175
Total – 42

Side: Go ahead and keep doubting the Browns, blaming their wins on the poor play of their opponents and pointing out the inconsistencies of their offensive unit. Meanwhile, we’ll keep laying the points on Cleveland and continue cashing our checks. The Browns are not getting the respect they deserve from the books and the way they matchup with Houston should see Cleveland favored by at least six. Houston will struggle to get Arian Foster going which will force Ryan Mallett in his first career NFL start to win the game for the Texans. Tashaun Gipson, Buster Skrine and someone they call Haden to do what they do and continue intercepting passes. Pick: Browns -3

Total: Rookie QB’s haven’t exactly passed the NFL test with flying colors this season, and while Mallett is not technically a rookie, making his first start after sitting on the bench since 2011, he’s essentially in the same class. The inexperienced QB’s best friend is his running back, which in the case of Foster is a very good one. However, the Browns have turned their focus to the run since allowing 127 yards to Denard Robinson of the Jaguars and have been much better the last three weeks. Their focus will be solely on making sure Foster doesn’t beat them and the secondary will clean up the rest against Mallett. There’s a real chance the Texans don’t score a touchdown in this game, which makes it nearly impossible for it to reach the number. Pick: Under 42

Vikings at Bears

Spread – CHI -3
Moneyline –  MIN +150 CHI -170
Total – 47

Side: Three weeks ago when Tom Brady and the Patriots essentially pitched a perfect game many thought the Bears had hit rock bottom. Then Sunday Night rolled around, and Aaron Rodgers made Brady’s game look just-ok and the Bears proved, rock bottom was even a bit lower than they thought. Chicago is probably the last place these Bears want to play though as the home crowd is as restless as they’ve been in years. Minnesota is a bad team, with a young quarterback, and still missing their superstar running back. But, the Vikings defense has been getting much better and might smell blood in the water against the wounded Bears. There’s a strong chance Chicago has officially quit on 2014, therefore laying points on the Bears simply isn’t a wise investment. Pick: Vikings +3 

Total: While Minnesota’s defense has been slowing improving, the Bears have been in free-fall and have officially become the worst defense in the NFL. Chicago has allowed 106 points in the previous two games and have looked like a unit that is beyond lost on the field. There is a major difference in this game as opposed to the last two though, and that’s the opponent. Allowing 50+ to anyone is unacceptable in the NFL, but when it comes against Brady and Rodgers it’s a bit more understandable. The Bears defense should be able to do more against the Vikings, but it’s still hard to believe Minnesota won’t at least find a few holes in that secondary. Pick: Over 47

Eagles at Packers

Spread – GB -5.5
Moneyline –  PHI +210 GB -250
Total – 57

Side: Both the Packers and the Eagles were brilliant a week ago in their primetime performances, but they are each about to experience a major bump in competition. Mark Sanchez will get the ball again for Philadelphia as they’ll plan to keep running the Chip Kelly system with Sanchez at the helm. The Eagles offense has been dynamite when Darren Sproles is on the field as they’ve continued to average almost 10 more points with him healthy. Against Green Bay, they’ll have to do much more on the ground though. LeSean McCoy was almost nonexistent against Carolina and Sproles did much of his damage on special teams. Green Bay is not good against the run, and if the Eagles can get McCoy going they’ve got a real shot to go into Lambeau and win outright. Pick: Eagles +5.5

Total: 57 would have been the largest number of the 2014 season, but if you scroll down you see it doesn’t even rank as the highest total of the week. Obviously both offenses are dominant and are in excellent form. But one of the key factors in the Eagles’ success has been their ability to score on special teams and via turnovers. Aaron Rodgers has thrown just three interceptions this season and the Packers have given the ball away just eight times, good for third best in the NFL. They’ll both look to avoid allowing the big plays and neither defense can be expected to force too many takeaways. Points will be scored, just not enough to reach the gigantic number. Pick: Under 57

Seahawks at Chiefs

Spread – KC -1.5
Moneyline –  SEA +105 KC -125
Total – 42.5

Side: Kansas City has quickly become one of the league’s scrappiest teams. They aren’t doing anything pretty, but they keep winning games. Arrowhead Stadium does offer one of the leagues best home field advantages, and the crowd will certainly be pumped up to prove to Seattle which is the tougher place to play, but there’s a major talent gap between these teams. Seattle has not been great away from home, but the last 10 minutes of the game against the Rams may have just been what the Seahawks defense needed to return to their 2013 form. Seattle will be all over the Chiefs offense and will make it difficult for Jamaal Charles to get into the flow of the game. Without Charles, the Chiefs offense sputters, and their defense won’t be able to hold up long enough against Marshawn Lynch and company. Pick: Seahawks +1.5

Total: This total will come down to how many points are created off turnovers. Both defenses are the far superior unit to the opposing offense, but often times in games such as this it’s takeaways that determine not only the winner but the final score. Surprisingly both of these teams rank in the lower third in takeaways and not surprisingly both rank in the top 10 in giveaways. Therefore, it’s likely it’s a game dominated by the punters and scoring will be at a premium. It is frustrating to cheer for a game to stay under such a low number, but there’s really no other choice here. Pick: Under 42.5

Falcons at Panthers

Spread – CAR -1.5
Moneyline –  ATL +100 CAR -120
Total – 46

Side: Someone had to be favored in this battle of NFC South teams that claim they still have a chance (heck even Lovie Smith still thinks his Bucs are alive). The books chose the Panthers, but most likely solely based off playing at home. Atlanta earned their second straight victory against the Buccaneers last week a welcome sight after their five game losing streak in between those wins. But there’s one matchup that majorly favors the Falcons and is the reason Atlanta will win the game outright. It’s the Panthers secondary. Aside from Chicago, Carolina has the worst defensive backfield in the NFL and they’ve consistently been torched by teams without weapons like Julio Jones and Roddy White. Assuming the Falcons line can hold up, which might be asking too much, Atlanta should win the game in a tight one. Plus, there’s a free point and a half for taking the road team. Pick: Falcons +1.5

Total: Carolina has now allowed 24 or more points in seven of their last eight contests. But it’ll be up to the Atlanta offense to take advantage of the porous Carolina D, something the Falcons have had trouble doing consistently. There has been one constant in the Falcons season though, and that’s their ability to score against NFC South foes. They average 40 per game against the South while just 16.5 against the rest of the NFL. The familiarity with the league allows Mike Smith and his offense to game plan effective ways to get Jones, White, Devin Hester and Harry Douglas the football. They do more of it, and the Panthers will put up plenty on Atlanta’s weak D as well. Pick: Over 46

Bengals at Saints

Spread – NO -7
Moneyline –  CIN +270 NO -340
Total – 50.5

Side: What a difference a couple months makes. If this game were being played in Week 3 or 4, the Bengals would likely be favored heading into the SuperDome, but with the Saints playing better as of late and Cincinnati stubbing their toe multiple times, the Saints come in as a touchdown favorite in the Week 11 matchup. San Francisco proved a week ago that it is possible to go into New Orleans and win and the Bengals have a similar makeup to that of the 49ers. Vintage Burfict’s availability will be the determining factor in the game. The Bengals are a different team defensively with Burfict in the game. He’s currently listed with “a shot” to play. If he does, the Bengals will keep it close and possibly even win straight up, if not, Drew Brees and Co will throw all over the Bengals D. Pick: Bengals +7

Total: Just like the spread, the total will be heavily dependent on Cincinnati’s health defensively. After the extended week the Bengals are hoping to have not only Burfict, but Leon Hall and Rey Maualuga back in the game. Priority number one against the Saints is slowing down Jimmy Graham. If the Bengals are without multiple linebackers that will be a tall task, but if one (especially if it’s Burfict) can play, New Orleans may find it a little more difficult to move the ball. Plus, with health comes QB pressure for the Bengals. Assuming health, this will be a rather low scoring game, but if the Bengals run out the same team they did on Thursday Night, they’ll give up a lot of points to the Saints. Pick: Under 50.5

Buccaneers at Redskins

Spread – WAS -7
Moneyline –  TB +260 WAS -320
Total – 45.5

Side: After their four game losing streak, which was all quarterbacked by Kirk Cousins, the Redskins have been playing much better football. For the first time in a long time they are expected to have Robert Griffin III in back to back games. Tampa Bay has yet to face a truly mobile QB this season but their defense still doesn’t look like its really ready for anyone yet. Lovie Smith’s teams are known for taking the ball away and pressing the passer with just their four man front. The Buccaneers have done neither. Add in the fact that Tampa’s secondary has been a mess and you have the second to worst defense in the NFL. RG3 should be able to find open receivers down the field and he’ll be able to escape the rare times the Bucs do find their way into the backfield. Pick: Redskins -7

Total: The Buccaneers have now played three straight games under the total all since the bye week. The main reason for this has been a combination of paltry offense in Tampa Bay and a commitment to stopping the run. In the past three games against Minnesota, Cleveland and Atlanta the Buccaneers have allowed just one rushing TD and have stymied every back they’ve faced. Alfred Morris is the kind of back that could change that though. Steven Jackson had the most success of any RB in that three week span and Morris’ speed/power running style is comparable to that of Jackson. Tampa will have to abandon its standard rush defense tactics in order to account for Griffin’s running ability on the edges. That should open the game up for the Redskins. Pick: Over 45.5

Broncos at Rams

Spread – DEN -9.5
Moneyline –  DEN -500 STL +400
Total – 51

Side: The Rams are set to return to the Edward Jones Dome after a three game road trip in which they went 1-2. On that trip they played terribly against the Chiefs, played well against San Francisco, and then combined both of those efforts playing a good half and a bad half against Arizona. They’ve have to be completely on their game to slow down the Broncos this weekend though. Weather is always a big factor in handicapping games in which Peyton Manning is involved, and with this one being played indoors on turf, it’s likely Manning will have success. The only way the Rams can stay in it is if they get pressure in Peyton’s face all afternoon, something they’ve been better at recently, but still rank below average in the NFL. Oh, and, can’t say we’re sold on the idea of Shaun Hill under center. Pick: Broncos -9.5

Total: Denver has faced a 50+ point spread four times in the first 10 weeks of the NFL season, those games are a combined 4-0 over the total. The Rams have only played in two games in which the spread has been higher than 44. Week 3 against Dallas and Week 5 against Philadelphia. Both of those games easily reached the number. The Rams offense has gone a bit stagnant as of late, but they have had a history of playing some relatively high scoring games. Manning and the Broncos are almost certainly to reach 30, and the Rams will enter the game with the expectation that they’ll have to score in order to keep up. Pick: Over 51

49ers at Giants

Spread – SF -4
Moneyline –  SF -220 NYG +190
Total – 44

Side: Since rattling off three straight wins to improve their record to 3-2 the Giants have fallen flat on their faces losing four straight not only outright but also against the spread. However, they are only giving a measly four points to the 49ers. This game is eerily reminiscent of the Jets/Steelers game from a week ago (which we nailed by the way). 49ers just won a huge game in New Orleans and are feeling as if they are back in contention, but this is the definition of a trap game. X’s and O’s scream 49ers in a blowout, but the Vegas line is telling us something, and odds are the public will bet the number even higher. Trust the inevitable randomness in the NFL and take the Giants. Pick: Giants +4

Total: When the Giants win, they usually score some points. With Odell Beckham Jr. continuing to prove his worth, and Andre Williams turning himself into a touchdown hawk, New York certainly has the weapons to get the ball into the end zone. They’ll keep trying this dink and dunk offense that randomly takes deep shots down the field. San Francisco will likely attempt to bring plenty of pressure, but the loss of Patrick Willis cannot be understated. Also, Aldon Smith’s return may end up working against the 49ers. He’s effectively takes a linebacker off the field, and becomes an extra pass rushers. Unless he gets to Eli Manning regularly, which is unlikely after a nine game layoff, the Giants will throw into the abandoned spot on the field and chip away at the Niners. Pick: Over 44

Raiders at Chargers

Spread – SD -10
Moneyline –  OAK +500 SD -700
Total – 44.5

Side: One of these times the Raiders are actually going to win a game. Unfortunately for them, this is not the week. The Chargers have had extended time off since their embarrassing loss in Miami and are getting a key player back in the lineup. Ryan Mathews’ return to the San Diego backfield will not only open up the pass game for Philip Rivers, but it will also make Branden Oliver much more dangerous as a spell back. The Chargers desperately need this one, and when a team needs a win and are at home against one of the leagues worst, they don’t have any problem getting it. Pick: Chargers -10

Total: The key to this total will be how often the Raiders are able to put points on the board. San Diego is going to put up their fair share of points in the game but will need help from Oakland if it’s going to get to the number. The Raiders have struggled to score away from home averaging a measly 15 points per game, but they managed 28 against the Chargers the first time around a little more than a month ago. Expect a pass happy attack from the Raiders as they attempt to keep up with the Chargers. It’s not going to resemble anything similar to a shootout, but maybe the extra clock stoppages from incompletions will allow for an extra possession or two. Pick: Over 44.5

Lions at Cardinals

Spread – ARI -2
Moneyline –  DET +110 ARI -130
Total – 41.5

Side: Bruce Arians is convinced his team can still compete for a Super Bowl title despite losing Carson Palmer to a season ending knee surgery. Drew Stanton is perfectly fine as a backup, but it will be up to Andre Ellington to carry the load and take the pressure of the former Spartan. Despite Stanton’s success earlier in the season, Detroit is a nightmare for quarterbacks, especially one’s thrown into the fire after an injury. The Lions will bring heat all day up the middle and the difference in the game will be how often the Cardinals can complete long passes. John and Jaron Brown have done well to stretch the field in the past, but this weekend will be a different story. Pick: Lions +2

Total: Both the Lions and Cardinals are used to playing low scoring games that stay under the total. Only twice has Detroit seen its game go over the total and both games had significantly higher numbers than this. However, this is the perfect spot for a surprisingly high scoring game. Matthew Stafford has his full complement of receivers and the Cardinals will likely implement an offense unlike anything the Lions have seen thus far. No, it won’t be a 45-42 game, but with a total so small, it doesn’t even require ether team to reach 30. Pick: Over 41.5

Patriots at Colts

Spread – IND -3
Moneyline –  NE +130 IND -150
Total – 58

Side: Quite possibly the game of the year will take place on Sunday Night in Indianapolis. The Colts have turned themselves into one of the best teams at home, but are taking on a Patriots team that is not only red hot but also coming off a bye. Most would expect that Belichick teams would be excellent off the bye, however they are just 8-7 since he became the head coach of the Patriots. It will be very tough for the Patriots to slow down Andrew Luck and the emergence of Dwayne Allen has made the offense even more prolific. Even though they are the favorites in the game, the Colts will play with an underdog mentality against the gold standard Patriots. Should be an awesome game to watch, but in the end, the Colts will be simply too good at home. Pick: Colts -3

Total: 58! It’s not only the highest total of the season, but it’s also five points more than anything the Patriots or Colts have faced this season. Everything points to a shootout between two of the league’s elite QB’s, but the number is just too tall for a game with such high stakes. It’s the Patriots’ first game away from home since October 12th, and the Indianapolis defense has been far better at home than away. The Colts have played back-to-back games under the total at home and the Pats’ defense can be expected to have some tricks for Luck with the extra week to prepare. When all is said and done it’ll feel like the game had plenty of fireworks, but won’t reach the total. Pick: Under 58

Steelers at Titans

Spread – PIT -5.5
Moneyline –  PIT -255 TEN +215
Total – 47

Side: The Steelers learned the hard way what happens when a team is taken for granted in their own building. Not only did the Jets beat Pittsburgh a week ago, they completely dominated the football game and made us remember the ugly Steelers that were on display before the impressive three-game win streak. One would have to think the Steelers have learned their lesson, but they will enter the game against a team that is playing their biggest remaining game of the year. Tennessee’s season is effectively over, but they still have this Monday Night game on the schedule. Primetime games have a tendency to bring out a little more intensity than the standard 1PM games. The Titans don’t want to get embarrassed in front of the entire nation. That alone should be enough to keep them in the game. Pick: Over Titans +5.5

Total: Last week everything pointed to the Titans airing it out and attempting to take advantage of the hobbled Ravens secondary. They didn’t and they lost. This week they have the same opportunity against an even worse secondary, and a front seven that relies on pressure from two 36-year-olds (Harrison and Keisel). Don’t expect Ken Whisenhunt to play this game as passively as he did the one against the Ravens. Pittsburgh will throw all over the Titans and have a chance to reach 30. Tennessee must throw the ball to stay in the game, and once they start doing it, they’ll have success. Monday Night games have been going over the total all year, this one won’t be the exception.

Listen to Over and Under with Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier on CBS Sports Radio 1140 every Sunday morning from 8 to 10. Follow the show on Twitter @OAU1140 and on Facebook.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]