Week 11 Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
That Thursday night game was a dud. Nothing to add regarding the Bengals. You do have to be mad though, or not if you were expecting that sort of thing to happen. You have to be glad Cleveland has made it this far with six wins and leading the division. Hopefully they can continue with the good feelings. Other than that, some games could have gone either way while others you didn't expect (Really, Steelers??). Anyway, enjoy those games (basketball or football) on Thursday and later in the week and good luck to your team. Three more months and it's over. Enjoy it while you can.
Bye: Ravens, Cowboys, Jaguars, Jets
Bills @ Dolphins: Both of these teams have the same record at 5-4 and are in the playoff hunt. A loss for either team will considerably hamper their shot later on in the season (The December schedule for Miami is going to be tough though). Looking at stats, the Bills defensive line did well against Kansas City (6 sacks), the previous team that left tackle Branden Albert was with for six seasons before he went to Miami this past off-season. Unfortunately, the Dolphins will be without Albert for the season after injuring his knee against Detroit on Sunday. Defensively, I'm thinking that the Bills will have a better day because of Albert's absence.
Vikings @ Bears: There is nothing that can be said about what happened to Chicago on Sunday night. Just an awful performance all around. Especially coming off of a bye week. I think we all know that the Bears defense is bad, but the performance by Jay Culter on offense pretty much hinges on how the game will be decided. He doesn't look into it anymore and maybe should be benched later on in the season. On the other side, the Vikings have been holding their own defensively with the play by the defensive line and through the play by Teddy Bridgewater.
Texans @ Browns: Cleveland is coming off a pretty surprising win (at least for me) and will be at home against a Houston squad who will throw in Ryan Mallett at quarterback for his first start of his career. At least he will have Arian Foster to hand the ball to who has been having his share of good games as of yet. Both defenses are not great when it comes to the run and Houston is statistically worse when it comes to defending the pass. However, I think the lack of game tape on Mallett will have Cleveland's staff scouring through film on his days at Arkansas which won't be too helpful.
Falcons @ Panthers: Cam Newton and the Panthers are coming off a somewhat short week after getting beat up on Monday night. They will be at home this week and face fellow divisional opponent Atlanta Falcons. Both teams have a chance in the weak NFC South but there will have to be some strikes of luck. This is going to be a tough one to decide just because both defenses are terrible at defending the pass. Either team has a chance, but I think the Falcons will win because they have more reliable weapons at receiver with Julio Jones and Roddy White.
Bengals @ Saints: Two teams coming off a bad loss the previous week will meet up in New Orleans in what would be a big game for both teams. Before the loss to the 49ers last week, the Saints haven't lost a home game since the 2010 season (excluding the 2012 season during bounty gate). It's very well expected that both teams are in a bit of a desperation mode and will give their all. However, I don't see the Saints losing two home games in a row and we all know how the Bengals do in big games. Cincinnati's run defense hasn't been great either.
Buccaneers @ Redskins: The bye week for Washington should help Robert Griffin III. He had a pretty good showing against Minnesota a couple of weeks ago but I think he will be even better for this game. After a few long bombs to DeSean Jackson, Tampa will look at focusing more on the deep pass attack which will allow RG3 to run for some big gains. It will be a close one as the Buccaneers will have some long pass completions themselves.
Broncos @ Rams: The Rams defense have finally woken up and started to click. The past two games the Rams have 11 sacks of their 17 sacks total for the season. The Rams, despite giving up 124.2 rushing yards per game, haven't allowed 100 yards rushing to opponents for two straight games. I expect it to continue as Denver hasn't been great running the ball for a big portion of the season. The Rams also allow a fairly reasonable (13th fewest) 234.3 yards per game through the air. However, they are leagues worst when it comes to percentage of completed passes (69.6%). The Rams have found something on defense, so I think there won't be any plays that goes for 20+ yards for the Broncos. It's going to be defensive battle overall and it will be a close game for a longer time than what happened when Denver faced Oakland last week. Broncos get the nod for the win though because their defense will force some turnovers late in the game.
49ers @ Giants: San Francisco's season is still alive with a win over New Orleans. With two games against Seattle and another at home against Arizona, it will get interesting down the stretch. As we saw the Giants give up 350 total yards on the ground to Seattle, expect the 49ers to do the same thing. After all, the Giants are giving up the most rushing yards per game this season.
Seahawks @ Chiefs: Speaking of Seattle, they head over to Kansas City in what could be known as the battle of loud stadiums. After having much success running the ball last week, it won't be that easy against the Chiefs who have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season. The loss of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane for the season won't help either as the Seahawks defensive line is now stretched thin.
Raiders @ Chargers: The last win San Diego had was a month ago at Oakland in a close battle. It's pretty amazing how the Chargers were on a hot streak early in the season and that Philip Rivers was playing at a MVP-type level. And then they lost three games in a row punctuated by that shutout loss against Miami two weeks ago. The bye week is probably the best thing to happen for San Diego after that loss.
Lions @ Cardinals: Your NFC game of the week, ladies and gentleman. It won't disappoint. Detroit and Arizona rank second and third, respectively, in rushing yards allowed per game. So running the ball will most likely not be an option. Passing the ball will be a must between Matt Stafford and Drew Stanton, but Stanton in particular will have to look out for the Lions' defensive pass rush. They are ranked 8th in the league in sacks. What will be interesting to watch is how Arizona's secondary will hold up against Detroit's receivers. You can say the same thing for the opposite match-up. Much like last week against Miami, Stafford will have another game winning drive that will put the Lions up in first in the NFC.
Eagles @ Packers: You can look at this game as the second best NFC game of the week which might sound strange for some just by looking at the quarterback contest between these two teams. It is plain to see that Mark Sanchez has revived his career in the NFL. He looks and sounds rejuvenated compared to the past few years at New York. Back to the plan, I think Green Bay will find a way defensively to neutralize Jordan Matthews, who has started to get Sanchez's attention. I also think the Packers won't allow any big plays on special teams that can give the Eagles momentum.
Patriots @ Colts: We would have to go all the way to week 2 to not find a double digit loss by a team on Sunday night. The nine-week stretch of confusion and mediocrity has to come to an end. Moving on, this game will be decided by passing defense. Indianapolis leads the league in passing offense with 337.4 yards per game. New England is 8th under the same category with 265.8 yards per game. I don't think New England wants to fall out of the standings and give up that number one position to Denver.
Steelers @ Titans: Just like Chicago's performance, I have no words for the Steelers losing to the Jets. Is there a chance they can lose again against Tennessee? I'm not sure. You would hope Pittsburgh can bounce back after an embarrassing loss. I'm banking on that statement that they will in what is a wide open AFC North. The Titans, giving up 136.6 yards per game on the ground, will see a heavy dose of Pittsburgh's ground attack.
Bonus: Alabama over Mississippi State, Auburn over Georgia, Wisconsin over Nebraska, and Texas A&M over Missouri