2011 NFL Week 11 Primer

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) gets up offf the field after being sacked by the Oakland Raiders during their Thursday Night NFL football game in San Diego, California November 10 , 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Jets @ Broncos, 8:20PM ET, Thursday
Tim Tebow will have a hard time winning another game this season in which he only completes two passes, especially this one tonight against the Jets. I know – I’m going out on a limb with that statement. I fully expect an angry Rex Ryan defense to shut Tebow down but then again, who knows? Maybe Tebow has another surprise up his sleeve. Denver’s defense is certainly good enough to keep this one close and if Mark Sanchez starts turning the ball over and making boneheaded decisions, the Broncos are certainly capable of pulling off the upset.

Eagles @ Giants, 8:20PM ET, Sunday
Last week I saw a team in Philadelphia completely give up. But they always seem to give the Giants problems, especially in New York. If Vince Young (assuming he plays for the injured Michael Vick) comes out motivated, then there’s no reason the Eagles can’t pull off the upset. But Eli Manning is playing some of the best football of his career and Philadelphia’s defense has looked lost under coordinator Juan Castillo. This game could really go either way. The G-Men could roll to an easy victory and keep Dallas at bay in the division, or Philly could surprise and turn the NFC East completely on its head.

Bengals @ Ravens, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
The Ravens have been playing up or down to their competition all year. One week they’re beating the Steelers (twice), Texans and Jets, while the next they’re losing to the Jaguars and Seahawks, or nearly losing at home to the Cardinals. Thus, it’ll be interesting to see how Baltimore comes out for this one. The Ravens blew it by not showing up last Sunday in Seattle and while Cincinnati is banged up, the Bengals have been competitive all season (as evidence in their 6-3 record). Will the real Ravens show up or will they view Cincinnati as an inferior opponent and once again take their foot off the gas?

Chargers @ Bears, 4:15PM ET, Sunday
The Chargers’ loss last week to the Raiders was pretty jarring, even for an underachieving San Diego bunch. Oakland has been competitive all year but the Raiders were banged up on both sides of the ball, were without Darren McFadden and were playing on the road. The Chargers needed to win that game. Instead, they lost for the fourth week in a row and now they have to travel to Chicago to play a red-hot Bears team playing with a ton of confidence right now. With Oakland in Minnesota this Sunday, it’s entirely feasible that the Bolts could be staring at a two-game deficit in the AFC West with six games to go. Philip Rivers has to step up at some point and stop making so many mistakes.

Titans @ Falcons, 4:15PM ET, Sunday
Here are the Falcons’ next five games: home against Tennessee and Minnesota, on the road against Houston and Carolina, and then back home against Jacksonville. There’s no reason Atlanta can’t be 10-4 when it travels to New Orleans for a Week 16 rematch against the Saints, but at some point its offense needs to put it all together. Matt Ryan has to be better, offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has to be better and Roddy White definitely has to be better. Julio Jones or no Julio Jones, this Falcon offense has too much talent to be this inconsistent. There’s not a doubt in my mind that if Atlanta doesn’t play to its absolute full potential that Tennessee could win this Sunday. The Titans have an extra spring in their step following the news of Matt Schaub’s season-ending injury and their defense could definitely shut the Falcons down if it plays as well as it did last Sunday in Carolina.

Cowboys @ Redskins, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
The Giants sometimes have trouble with the Eagles so this is a prime opportunity for the Cowboys to pick up a big road win and then sit back and see if Philly can knock off New York on Sunday night. If that happens, both New York and Dallas would be 6-4 atop the NFC East. But the ‘Boys can’t get caught looking ahead. The Redskins have been abysmal offensively over the past month but Rex Grossman nearly led Washington to a win in Dallas earlier this season. Of course, that was when the Cowboys couldn’t even snap the ball and had several no-names at receiver, but still – take heed Dallas.

Bucs @ Packers, 1:00PM ET Sunday
Does anyone else feel as though the Packers are flying under the radar? I realize that’s hard to do at 9-0 but nobody is talking about this team. Between Tim Tebow, Rex Ryan, and daily updates on the Dallas Cowboys (for whatever reason), the national media outlets barely talk about the Pack. And it’s almost like they do a drive-bye segment when they do. Green Bay has a very realistic shot at going undefeated although this is a prime letdown game coming up on Sunday. Tampa Bay has played like crap-o-la the past three weeks and the Packers are coming off a short week having played on Monday night. Still, the Bucs lack the firepower necessary to keep pace so I don’t see Green Bay stumbling at home this week.

Cardinals @ 49ers, 4:05PM ET, Sunday
Considering Arizona has won the last two weeks, this game is a little more interesting than some would think. I don’t expect the Niners to lose at home but they are playing a 3-6 Cardinals team one week after flexing their muscles against the Giants. And with a trip to Baltimore coming next Sunday, this is a prime letdown situation for San Francisco. Don’t be surprised if Arizona keeps it close this weekend.

Chiefs @ Patriots, 8:30PM ET, Monday
The last time the Patriots played a backup quarterback on national television, Matt Flynn nearly led the Packers to an upset victory on Sunday night football last year. I don’t envision Tyler Palko beating the Patriots but you never know. Sometimes a new guy takes the controls and all of a sudden things start coming together. I’m assuming New England will run away with it on Monday night but crazier things have happened.

Raiders @ Vikings, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
This is a little early to say this but technically the Raiders do control their own destiny in the AFC West. They hold a one game lead over the hapless Chargers, the red-hot, Tim Tebow-led Broncos, and the pitiful Chiefs. But lose this weekend in Minnesota and Oakland opens the door for one, if not all of those teams to sneak back through. The Vikings are coming off a short week in which Green Bay blasted them 45-7, but it’s not like they don’t have talent. Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen can still make life miserable for teams if opponents aren’t careful. This is a game the Raiders need to have.

Bills @ Dolphins, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
At 5-4 the Bills certainly aren’t on life support but if the Jets win tonight in Denver and New England mops the floor with Kansas City on Monday night like everyone presumes, then Buffalo could be in real trouble if it loses this Sunday. Miami is coming off back-to-back wins but it’s not like Matt Moore is keeping defensive coordinators up at night. The Bills are still the better team in this matchup but nobody doubts that they could lose. Especially not with the way they’ve played the past two weeks. Chan Gailey’s team is being smacked in the face with adversity. Let’s see how the Bills respond.

Panthers @ Lions, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
The Lions can’t lose this game. The Panthers are a competitive 2-7 but they’re 2-7 nonetheless. Cam Newton has kept Carolina in most games but the defense is overmatched every week. Hopefully for Detroit’s sake Matthew Stafford sheds those Kurt Warner-esq gloves that he was wearing last week and doesn’t turn the ball over like he did versus Chicago. (Four times to be exact.) With the Packers sitting at 9-0, the Bears sitting at 6-3, and a loss to the 5-4 Falcons already on their record, the Lions can ill-afford to lose a home game to an inferior Carolina team.

Jaguars @ Browns, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
The offensive explosion that comes from this game might be too much for people to handle. Best to wear a lot of sunscreen and protect your eyes if you’ll be attending this major conference battle. Also, bring an umbrella. Because Colt McCoy and Blaine Gabbert will be making it rain all day…

Seahawks @ Rams, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Imagine if the Seattle team that beat the Giants, the Ravens and nearly beat the Falcons showed up every week. Then maybe the 49ers wouldn’t be able to clinch the NFC West in Week freaking 11. Ah, well. I completely expect Seattle to lose this week in St. Louis and that statement has nothing to do with the Rams (who are just plain bad). I just don’t expect Pete Carroll’s squad to get up for a game against a 2-7 opponent when it just beat the Ravens at home. And that’s ridiculous when you consider the Seahawks are only 3-6 themselves.

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