NFL Schedule Week 11: Highlighting Best Matchups This Week

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent INovember 15, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 4:   Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks for an open man against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

This is a make-or-break week for many NFL teams that still have a small chance to make the playoffs this season.

The outcome of Week 11 will help show us which teams are contenders and which teams are pretenders. This is the time of the year when the pressure on teams and certain players really starts to increase.

Let's highlight the best matchups of what promises to be a fantastic week of NFL action.


Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

A new quarterback rivalry could be born on Sunday when Andrew Luck leads his Indianapolis Colts into Foxboro to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Brady probably isn't going to play for another decade, but he could certainly be a main rival of Luck's for five or six more years since both teams will be contenders in the AFC while these two quarterbacks are on their rosters.

If you had told me before the season that in Week 11, the Colts and Patriots would have the same record, I would have laughed, but both teams are 6-3.

Indianapolis probably needs three or four more wins to earn a wild-card playoff berth, and a win against the Patriots would be extremely helpful in the team's playoff quest.

The Colts are 2-2 on the road, and the Patriots are 3-1 at Gillette Stadium this season. If Luck can beat Brady on the road, his teammates will have even more confidence in him than they do now.

This is a matchup between playoff contenders that all football fans cannot afford to miss.

When: Sunday, November 18 at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.


Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

One of the NFL's fiercest rivalries will begin a new chapter on Sunday night in Pittsburgh, but the Steelers' chances of beating the Baltimore Ravens and gaining ground on them in the AFC North Division aren't good without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Here's the latest on Big Ben's injury, according to ESPN:

BREAKING: @steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger officially out Sunday. Byron Leftwich to start vs. Ravens (last started NFL game in 2009).

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 14, 2012

As you can imagine, the Steelers are a very tough team to beat when Roethlisberger plays.

Though their starting QB did not finish the game, the Steelers improved to 86-36 in games in which Ben Roethlisberger started.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 13, 2012

Without their starting quarterback, veteran backup Byron Leftwich will get an opportunity to prove himself. When he replaced Roethlisberger in last week's Monday night win over the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, Leftwich completed seven of his 14 passes for 73 yards.

He won't have to put up incredible stats if the Steelers defense, which is ranked No. 1 against the pass and No. 6 against the run, stops quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense. Pittsburgh has given up over 20 points in just three of its nine games thus far.

Expect a close, physical battle between division foes in Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

When: Sunday, November 18 at 8:20 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA


Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers

This is the only matchup in Week 11 between two division leaders, and for both teams to take a step closer to a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, they need a victory on Monday night.

Both teams might have to rely on their backup quarterbacks in this matchup. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is listed as doubtful and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is listed as questionable, according to ESPN.

The outcome of this game will probably be decided by the defenses. Take a look at where they rank among the league's 32 teams.

Team 49ers Bears
Pass Defense 5th 10th
Run Defense 7th 4th


This could be the best Monday night matchup of the season, and a possible playoff preview too.

When: Monday, November 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN and Watch ESPN mobile app

Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco



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