Week 11 should deliver clarity to the league's ever-changing and jumbled playoff picture. The outcome of several contests will have a profound impact on the current standings. The Indianapolis Colts will clash with the Buffalo Bills in what's sure to be an intriguing showdown. The (potentially) returning Ben Roethlisberger and his Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the Los Angeles Chargers in a crucial inner-conference matchup on SNF. Old rivalries will be renewed when the Arizona Cardinals travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. Elsewhere, the Washington Football Team will square off with the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints will face the Philadelphia Eagles in a pair of contests that will help sort through the NFC’s wildly unpredictable playoff standings.
Week 11 should be less wacky than Week 10 was, but we've still compiled three bold predictions for this weekend's action.
VIKINGS UPSET PACKERS
The Green Bay Packers put forth a dominant performance in their shocking Week 10 shutout of the Seahawks. On Sunday, they'll encounter a high-flying Vikings offense and team that is better than their 4-5 record indicates. Vikings starting quarterback Kirk Cousins has been in sharp form as of late, accounting for five total touchdowns in his last two appearances. The Vikings are averaging 24.6 points per contest this season, which is surprisingly a full three points more per game than Green Bay's weekly offensive output of 21.6.
Matt LaFleur's Packers are in pole position in an NFC North that appears to have already been decided. The Vikings, meanwhile, continue to battle for a wild-card spot in the ever-competitive conference. Mike Zimmer's squad will be hungry and plenty motivated in front of a rambunctious and boisterous home crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium. Look for the Vikings to reign victorious over their popular division rivals.
CAM NEWTON STEALS THE SHOW AT HOME
One of the more intriguing storylines to follow throughout Week 11 will materialize in Charlotte, where quarterback Cam Newton will make his first start and home appearance as a Carolina Panther since September of 2019. Superman is back where he belongs and Bank of America Stadium will be especially uproarious on Sunday afternoon.
To add further fascination, Newton and his surging Panthers will compete against Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team. Newton and Rivera spent a largely successful nine seasons together in Carolina and will now square off from opposite sidelines for the first time in their respective careers. The former MVP made the most of a specially designed package a week ago, rushing for a touchdown and throwing for another in Carolina's shocking and dominant victory over the Cardinals.
Newton should receive every opportunity to attack an underwhelming Washington defense that will be without star pass rusher Chase Young. Jack Del Rio's defense has been all out of sorts for the majority of the 2021 campaign and is currently allowing 376.4 yards of offense per contest. Newton will be beyond motivated to please an exuberant home crowd that will give their returning star a standing ovation. Look for Newton to account for multiple scores while championing the Panthers to victory.
COWBOYS BRING CHIEFS BACK DOWN TO EARTH
Analysts are back on the Kansas City Chiefs’ bandwagon. Winners of three consecutive contests, Andy Reid's Chiefs appear to be recapturing their usual red-hot form at the opportune moment. Pump those brakes.
Yes, the Chiefs absolutely pummeled a decent Las Vegas Raiders squad to the embarrassing tune of 41-14 on primetime in Week 10. When analyzing their other two victories in their active three-game winning stretch, the other two triumphs are hardly impressive. Kansas City narrowly escaped a bad New York Giants team and was beyond fortunate to encounter the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers in Week 9.
The Dallas Cowboys are a different animal. A true powerhouse in the NFC, the 7-2 Cowboys are averaging a league-leading 433.9 yards of offense and 31.6 points per contest. We are hesitant to buy into Kansas City's recent defensive improvements, as a relatively weak schedule has allowed them to improve some of their truly awful numbers. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo may be in for a long day at the office as Kansas City's underwhelming paper-thin defense attempts to deal with Dallas' plethora of offensive weapons. We believe in Patrick Mahomes and this offense, but the defense will continue to serve as this team's Achilles heel.