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This is a Thursday night worth tuning in: Titans at Steelers

NFL PICKS WK 11 NFL PICKS WK 11 |  Photo: AP

By BARRY WILNER
November 15, 2017 04:22 PM

Many weeks, football fans find other things to watch on Thursday nights. The matchups aren't exactly intriguing.

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This is a week to tune in.

Pittsburgh, ranked third in the AP Pro32, is a 7-point favorite over No. 11 Tennessee. It's an important game for several reasons:

— Both teams lead their divisions, the 7-2 Steelers in the AFC North, the 6-3 Titans in a tie with Jacksonville atop the AFC South.

— Both are in good shape for wild-card slots, and this game could have tiebreaker ramifications.

— Both teams are on four-game winning streaks.

— Each comes off tight tests against inferior opponents, Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, Tennessee at home to Cincinnati. It will be interesting to see how (or if) they rebound with stronger performances.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey isn't concerned that the short turnaround will affect his club. Playing the Steelers always gets a team's attention.

"If we let that become a distraction, it can be, yes," Mularkey said. "This team's pretty mature and pretty good about handling different situations, and this won't be any different."

Unfortunately for Tennessee, it has not played particularly well on the road. So ...

STEELERS, 20-17

KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP

The Lions did their thing, though it took a while, against Cleveland. Difficult to find an eligible team, will try JACKSONVILLE on the whoever-plays-Cleveland theory.

No. 2 New England (minus 6) vs. No. 18 Oakland at Mexico City

It gets tiresome making Patriots the top choice, but it also makes a lot of sense.

BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 30-20

No. 20 Arizona (minus 2 1-2) at No. 24 Houston

One of several home underdogs we like this week.

UPSET SPECIAL: TEXANS, 19-13

No. 19 Baltimore (minus 2 1-2) at No. 16 Green Bay

Another home dog we will go with.

PACKERS, 17-16

No. 13 Detroit (minus 2 1-2) at No. 27 Chicago

And another.

BEARS, 17-16

No. 7 Kansas City (minus 9) at No. 31 New York Giants

OK, enough of that. Here's a favorite ready to romp.

CHIEFS, 30-13

No. 5 Los Angeles Rams (plus 2 1-2) at No. 6 Minnesota

Who would have projected this to be the highlight of Week 11?

RAMS, 27-24

No. 1 Philadelphia (plus 3) at No. 14 Dallas

Cowboys can kiss NFC East title and maybe a wild card goodbye if they lose.

COWBOYS, 28-27

No. 12 Atlanta (plus 3) at No. 9 Seattle

Dan Quinn against his mentor, Pete Carroll. Even though they are undermanned ...

SEAHAWKS, 23-21

No. 10 Jacksonville (minus 7 1-2) at No. 32 Cleveland

Just can't pick the Browns to win.

JAGUARS, 23-20

No. 28 Tampa Bay (plus 3) at No. 23 Miami

This was Week 1 matchup postponed by Hurricane Irma.

BUCCANEERS, 20-16

No. 17 Washington (plus 8) at No. 4 New Orleans

Saints have that rising-up look, Redskins have that banged-up look.

SAINTS, 34-23

No. 15 Buffalo (plus 4 1-2) at No. 21 Los Angeles Chargers

Did prospect of finally making playoffs scare Bills into QB change?

CHARGERS, 22-20

No. 26 Cincinnati (plus 2 1-2) at No. 25 Denver

Remember when Denver was a tough place to play?

BENGALS, 17-16

___

2017 RECORD:

Last week: Against spread (7-6). Straight up (8-5)

Season Totals: Against spread (67-69-3). Straight up: (88-57)

Best Bet: 6-4 against spread, 8-2 straight up.

Upset special: 6-4 against spread, 6-4 straight up

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Credits

By BARRY WILNER

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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