LOS ANGELES. A potential Super Bowl preview was supposed to merely be the inter-conference game of the year. Instead it has turned into so much more. The Kansas City Chiefs were supposed to play the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City. The Mexico City game is meant to showcase the greatest game to thousands of new fans. It also serves to build goodwill at a time when political tension is increasing between the United States and Mexico. Unfortunately, the NFL 2018 schedulers moved this year’s Chiefs vs Rams game from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to unsafe conditions on the playing field at Azteca Stadium.
Football is supposed to be an escape from everything else, but real life conditions in Mexico and Los Angeles made that impossible. NFL games in the past two tears have gone on in Mexico without incident. In fact, the results were total successes for the NFL and Mexico.
The problems with Azteca Stadium for this NFL 2018 season
This season, however, Azteca Stadium has accumulated too many events that have damaged the venue from a football standpoint. Hence, the decision to move the game back to the US. So instead of 100,000 screaming fans, a potential Super Bowl matchup will be played in front of only 30,000 fans. See the YouTube video on this situation below.
These are both excellent teams, and the Rams have not had a home field advantage all year. This could be as exciting a shootout as the game between the Rams and New Orleans. While Mexico has problems with the Azteca Stadium playing surface, Los Angeles is in far worse shape. Psychologically, that is. The City of Angels finds itself reeling this week from the double gut punch of a nightclub shooting and deadly wildfires.
It is for these reasons that football must play its central role of healing people from the pain of their broken lives. True, football cannot heal that pain. But it can serve as a brief respite from it. The Chiefs and the Rams owe it to fans — including those in Mexicao City —to play the game of the year this Monday. And with these teams, that is highly possible.
With that, here is the NFL 2018 Week 11 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, without Azteca Stadium. Point spreads provided by OddsShark. All times Eastern.
NFL 2018 Week 11: Thursday, November 15, 2018, 8:20 p.m
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (-3) — From the Fail Mary game to Matt Hasselbeck’s prediction to the bungled onside kick, these teams never fail to entertain. It’s tough to go against the 12th man, and the Seahawks played the Rams tough. However, so did the Packers. The Packers are desperate, and a desperate Aaron Rodgers is never fun to play against. Upset special, Packers win outright.
NFL 2018 Week 11: Sunday, November 18, 1:00 p.m.
Carolina Panthers (-4) at Detroit Lions — Carolina took a colossal beating from Pittsburgh, giving up 52 points. The Lions have looked lifeless in recent weeks, their emotional victory over New England ages ago. Expect Carolina to bounce back. In a duel between Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford, Newton has more weapons. Panthers win but fail to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) — Both teams have suffered humiliating losses in recent weeks after strong starts. With this one, go with the home field. Also, the Ravens have the better defense. Ravens cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-3) — These teams are head-scratchers. Dallas gets walloped at home by Tennessee but goes on the road and beats Philadelphia. Atlanta lost at Cleveland after winning three straight. Ezekiel Elliott ran well, and neither of these teams have much of a home field advantage. Give the Atlanta offense one more week to show they have rebounded. Falcons cover.
Houston Texans (-3) at Washington Redskins — Washington wins on the road and loses at home, as Josh Norman ripped the home fans. Houston has won six straight games and had two weeks to prepare for this one. Alex Smith does not make mistakes, but DeShaun Watson has more weapons. Texans cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars — Jacksonville beat Pittsburgh twice last year, but this is not the same Jacksonville team. They have lost five straight games and their defense is not what we saw last year or early this year. The Steelers are burning for revenge and will get it. Steelers cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants (Pick) — Both teams are awful, but the Giants shows a ton of heart in a Monday Night Football comeback win. Tampa Bay showed zero heart in losing at home and scoring only three teams. Eli Manning may be on his last legs, but he deserves a chance to show that he can string together another win against a bad team. Giants win.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-2) — After a 1-5 start, the Colts have won three straight. Tennessee has thrashed Dallas and New England in consecutive weeks. The Titans may be due for a letdown after their big emotional shellacking of New England, but Marcus Mariota has been getting more help than in years past. Still, at home, go with a revitalized Andrew Luck. Colts cover.
NFL 2018 Week 11: Sunday, November 18, 4:00 p.m.
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-7) — The Broncos are a bad team. The Chargers are a good team. Sometimes it really is that simple. The Chargers have won six straight games. While they should have scored more against the anemic Oakland defense last week, at home they should handle a reeling Denver squad. The spread is high given that Denver has a competent quarterback who could get a garbage touchdown. Chargers win but fail to cover.
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals (-4) — Both teams are awful, but the Cardinals beat the 49ers while the Raiders lost to them by 31 points. Oakland is a mess. They have no defense, rookies on the offensive line, and a tendency to quit when faced with adversity. Cardinals cover.
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-9) — The Eagles are not the same team as last year. The Saints are a Serious Super Bowl contender. The spread is high, but the Eagles allowed Ezekiel Elliott to run all over them last week. Between Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, the Eagles will have a tough time. That is before getting to Drew Brees. Everything screams in favor of the Saints, but it also screams for a garbage touchdown to beat the spread. Saints win but fail to cover.
NFL 2018 Week 11: Sunday, November 18, 8:00 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-3) is the Sunday night game. Both teams are atop the division. Mitchell Trubisky is improving and Khalil Mack is back from injury. However, even with the home field, the Bears are a young team. Mike Zimmer has an experienced team. While Minnesota has not played as well as they did last year, go with the experience at quarterback and defense. Upset special, Vikings win outright.
NFL 2018 Week 11: Monday, November 19, 8:20 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) is the Monday night game, staged not in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium as originally planned for the NFL 2018 season, but back in L.A. for reasons noted above. Both teams are 9-1 and looking Super. They both have great quarterbacks, playmakers on offense, and more than respectable defenses. They are both complete teams. The Rams have not had much of a home field advantage this season, but recent events have united the city. Football is a game of emotion. At home, expect emotion to carry the day. Rams cover.
—Headline photo: Azteca Stadium (Estadio Azteca) playing field in better days, circa 2007.
(Image via Wikipedia entry on the Stadium via approved Flickr photo by Jymlii Manzo, CC 2.0 license)