Week 11 in the NFL is riddled with must-win games for teams with playoff ambitions.
Wins for these teams in Week 11 could push them over the top and into the playoffs with wins in the following weeks.
Losses, though, could spell the end of playoffs hopes and coaching jobs.
San Diego at Denver
San Diego must win in Denver on Sunday if they have any chance of making the playoffs this season.
The Chargers melted down in the second half of their loss to Denver in Week 6.
This game is also a must win for Charger’s head coach Norv Turner personally. Turner has come under massive scrutiny this season due to another disappointing record from a talented Chargers team.
Being swept by the Broncos, the Chargers’ biggest AFC West rivals, is unacceptable and could lead to the end of the road for Norv.
The Chargers are going to have to slow down Peyton Manning to win this game. This will be tough, as Manning has caught fire recently with seven touchdowns in the last three weeks.
Phillip Rivers will have a tough day against the impressive Broncos defense on Sunday. Denver’s staunch run defense will force Rivers to throw more than he is comfortable with and he will likely throw a couple picks as a result.
Prediction: San Diego: 17 Denver: 31
New Orleans at Oakland
After a disappointing 0-4 start, the Saints have won four of their last five, and they now have a very real shot at making the playoffs.
At 4-5, the Saints are in play for a wild card spot in the NFC, and a win this Sunday against the Raiders would certainly help them move closer to claiming a playoff spot.
Drew Brees leads the NFL’s second-best pass offense and has already thrown for 2,847 yards and 25 touchdowns. Oakland allows an average of 255.9 yards per game. Look for Brees to torch Oakland to the tune of three or four touchdowns.
Oakland will have a hard time getting those points back with their horrendous problems with turnovers. Their three turnovers against Baltimore last week were just embarrassing and such a performance this week would guarantee a loss.
Prediction: New Orleans 35 Oakland 10
Eagles at Redskins
This is a play out game for both of these NFC East teams.
Both teams are 3-6, and without a win, they have no shot at the playoffs this year.
Sunday’s game will be a rookie showdown between Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles.
Griffin was on fire as the season started, but as defenses have begun to figure him out, his stat line has fallen back to a more realistic rookie reality.
Foles was called to replace an injured Michael Vick last week, and he had marginal success against the Cowboys’ defense. He ended up throwing for 219 yards, one touchdown and one interception. A good performance against Washington could make the starting position his to lose for the rest of the season.
With rookie quarterbacks leading both offenses, this game will really come down to each defense’s ability to stop the run.
The Redskins have one of the premier run defenses in the NFL. They only allow 96.2 yards per game.
If the Redskins can indeed shut down LeSean McCoy and the Eagles run game, Nick Foles and the Eagles offense will be forced into a pass heavy scheme that does not suit them.
Prediction: Philadelphia 17 Redskins 24