NFL Week 11 Primer

John HarbaughSunday’s Best: Ravens (6-3) at Giants (8-1), 1:00 PM ET
Who would have thought this game would be the best matchup of the week with the Chargers playing the Steelers and Cowboys taking on the Redskins in the same weekend. The job first-year head coach John Harbaugh and his staff has done with rookie quarterback Joe Flacco has been amazing and the rest of the Baltimore players have really bought into the new regime’s system. They’ll get their biggest challenge this season on Sunday, however, as no team outside of the Titans is playing better than the Giants right now. There are a couple of great matchups within this game, but none bigger than New York’s power running game vs. the stingy Baltimore run defense. One advantage the Giants have is that this will be the Ravens’ fifth road game in six weeks and they might start to wear down. Flacco will face a ton of pressure from a quick Giants’ front seven, but getting Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain going will help neutralize what New York does best defensively. This will be the most physical matchup of the weekend.

Upset Watch: Rams (2-7) at 49ers (2-7), 4:05 PM ET
Everyone is scrambling to be the first to predict the Jaguars to upset the Titans this weekend, but people have been waiting for Tennessee to fall for weeks and still they remain unbeaten. It’s hardly a huge upset to predict one 2-7 team will beat another, but after their strong showing on Monday night, football pundits might assume this game will be an easy victory for the Niners. While there’s nothing to like about the Rams following their abysmal performance last week against the Jets, this is a better team than what they’ve shown and San Fran is a bit dysfunctional right now after their debacle on Monday Night Football. Jim Haslett is still fighting for a head coaching job (as is Mike Singletary) and there’s no doubt he’ll have his team more prepared than they were last week in New York. Of course, a win for the Rams would mean that Marc Bulger has to get his head out of his ass and someone has to find Torry Holt. But as usual with my “Upset Watch”, I won’t predict an outright win for St. Louis, but I say they at least cover the 5.5-point spread.

Tony RomIntriguing Matchup: Cowboys (5-4) at Redskins (6-3), 8:15 PM ET
Tony Romo will be back in action this week, but will he need a game or two to shake off the rust? Unfortunately for him, Dallas can’t afford to lose any more ground in a stacked NFC East. The Redskins are also fighting to keep pace in the division and will look to avenge their ugly loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football two weeks ago. They’ll have to do it without Clinton Portis, however, as he currently is sidelined with a MCL injury. Jason Campbell has been solid this season, but he’ll need to make plays without Portis in the backfield. If the Cowboys are going to walk away with a win, they’ll do so because of a strong defensive effort – not the play of Romo.

Other Notable Games:
Titans (9-0) at Jaguars (4-5), 4:15 PM ET
As previously noted, everyone is waiting for the Titans to slip and this very well could be the weekend they do. But they don’t seem like the team that gets ahead of themselves and every one of their wins has been a dogfight. The Jaguars rebounded with an impressive win over the Lions last week, but let’s not forget that they lost to the Bengals and Browns in two games prior to that.

Bears (5-4) at Packers (4-5), 1:00 PM ET
This is a must win for both teams because the Vikings are right back in the division hunt again. If the Packers lose, they might be able to kiss the playoffs goodbye. Kyle Orton is expected to play for the Bears.

Vikings (5-4) at Bucs (6-3), 1:00 PM ET
We’ll find out a lot about Minnesota this Sunday and whether or not they’ve returned from the grave. A win over a solid Tampa team would go a long way in proving they’ve rebounded from earlier seasons struggles.

Broncos (5-4) at Falcons (6-3), 1:00 PM ET
The legend of Matt Ryan continues this week in the Georgia Dome. Ryan is 4-0 at home this year and will have plenty of opportunities to make big plays against a horrible Denver defense. But Jay Cutler as lit opposing defenses up this year and there could be a wild finish to this game in the making.

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