Predicting the MVP for Each Week 11 NFL Game
Week 11 started off with the Buffalo Bills outlasting the Miami Dolphins in a low-scoring AFC East matchup.
As the season trudges on, the playoff picture is supposed to clear up. This season seems to get foggier.
The next seven weeks bring a ton of division games which will hopefully help sort this mess out. But with so many teams still in the playoff hunt, every fan feels as if their team has a shot.
With six division games on the docket for Week 11 (not including Thursday Night Football), the best teams should start to separate from the also-rans. Here is a list of the MVP for each contest who will lead his team to victory.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons: Falcons DE John Abraham
John Abraham has seven sacks on the season and is playing against the worst pass-blocking offensive line in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals have given up a league-leading 41 sacks entering the game versus the Falcons.
Abraham will be lining up against rookie left tackle Nate Potter. Without help from the tight end or running back on chip blocks, Potter will struggle to contain Abraham.
Look for Abraham to have a monster game and at least two sacks.
Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys QB Tony Romo
Tony Romo has his share of critics, but when the former Eastern Illinois star is on his game, he is one of the best in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns are 22nd in the NFL in passing defense and give up 247.9 yards per game through the air.
Cornerback Joe Haden is expected to be a game-time decision after getting injured in practice on Wednesday. Romo will take advantage of the beat-up Browns secondary and throw for over 300 yards.
Romo threw for two touchdowns last week in a huge win versus the Philadelphia Eagles. At home this week, Romo will throw for at least two more scores and lead the Dallas Cowboys to an easy win.
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL right now. Not only is he tied for the league lead in touchdowns with 25, but 18 of those have come in the last five games.
Coming off a bye week, Rodgers has a healthy corps and is facing a Detroit Lions defense that has allowed 24.7 points per game. With both starting safeties for the Lions likely out, look for Rodgers to tear the deep middle of the field up.
Rodgers will throw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns as the Green Bay Packers win a tough NFC North game on the road.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Bengals QB Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton only threw for 199 yards in last week’s win versus the New York Giants, but his four touchdown passes were his highest total of the year. Dalton is tied for fifth in the NFL in touchdown passes, and he will add to that total versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs played hard versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football, but their defense is no match for Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. The Chiefs defense has given up 18 touchdowns through the air.
Look for Dalton to throw for at least two touchdowns and over 275 yards as the Cincinnati Bengals get a big AFC road win.
New York Jets vs. St. Louis Rams: Rams RB Daryl Richardson
Though St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson is still listed as the starter, Daryl Richardson is a game-breaker who has speed to burn. The New York Jets have given up three runs over 40 yards this season; on Sunday, Richardson will add No. 4.
The Jets are 30th in the NFL in rushing defense and give up 145 yards per game to the opposing team. Jackson will pound the football inside the tackles, and Richardson will take advantage on the flanks.
Look for Richardson to score his first NFL touchdown versus the Jets and be the catalyst to a huge Rams win at home.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots: Patriots WR Wes Welker
Wes Welker has not had over 100 yards receiving in the last three games and has not found the end zone in any of those contests. That will all change versus an Indianapolis Colts secondary that has given up 15 touchdowns on the year, assuming he is healthy enough to play.
He has been limited in practice this week, but Welker said, "I’m just looking forward to getting better and trying to contribute on Sunday" (via the Boston Globe).
Though cornerback Darius Butler had a career game last week versus Jacksonville, Blaine Gabbert is no Tom Brady. Look for Welker to top the 100-yard receiving mark and find the end zone at least twice.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins: Redskins WR Pierre Garcon
Pierre Garcon was brought into Washington as a huge free-agent signing, but he has not played since Oct. 7 due to a foot injury. Look for Garcon to make an emphatic return versus the Eagles, as he is expected to play (via the Washington Post).
The Eagles defense gives up 24.6 points per game and has allowed 28 passes over 20 yards. Garcon is the deep threat the Redskins have been missing, and he will add a major threat to the Redskins offense.
Look for Garcon to find the end zone at least once and be the difference in the Redskins' win versus NFC East foe Philadelphia.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers: Bucs QB Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman is 4-1 in his last five games and has thrown 13 touchdowns to one interception during that span.
While the Carolina Panthers have a solid pass defense, Freeman is clicking with wide receiver Vincent Jackson and will put up good numbers as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Panthers for a second time this season.
Freeman has been efficient as a passer, and with rookie running back Doug Martin dominating in recent weeks, Freeman has not had to carry the team. That will change versus the Panthers. Look for the Panthers to put eight defenders in the tackle box to stop the run.
This will force Freeman to win the game with his arm, and he will answer the call.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans: Texans CB Kareem Jackson
Kareem Jackson has four interceptions on the season, and versus one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, Jackson could pick up No. 5. Blaine Gabbert is listed as probable with a shoulder injury, and he will struggle versus one of the best defenses he may ever face.
Jackson did not record a statistic in the first Houston Texans win versus the Jacksonville Jaguars this season, but as the unheralded member of the Texans secondary, Jackson’s emergence of late has only made the defense more impressive.
New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders: Saints QB Drew Brees
The Oakland Raiders defense, or lack thereof, helped Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco win the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week in Week 10. Imagine what Drew Brees can do to that same defense?
Brees is tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes with 25, and he is the sole leader in passing yards with 2,847. The Raiders give up the most points in the NFL with over 31 points per game, and Brees has a chance to make that statistic worse.
Look for Brees to throw for over 300 yards for the first time in four games and throw for at least three touchdowns. Brees will be the best player on the field in Oakland Sunday.
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos: Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas
Demaryius Thomas is coming off one of his best receiving games as an NFL player, and he will use that momentum to take advantage of the San Diego Chargers secondary. Thomas has gained quarterback Peyton Manning’s trust, and he has become the quarterback’s favorite target.
In the last three games, Thomas has at least one catch over 40 yards. The Chargers defense is susceptible to the deep ball, giving up seven passes of over 40 yards.
Look for Manning and Thomas to keep up the hot connection and torch the Chargers for Thomas’ sixth 100-yard receiving game of the year. A game like that versus a fierce AFC West opponent is worthy of MVP honors.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ravens SS Bernard Pollard
Bernard Pollard leads the Ravens in tackles and has hit the double-digit tackle mark in three games this season. Versus the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, Pollard will get ample opportunities to make plays.
With backup quarterback Byron Leftwich getting the nod at the helm of the Steelers offense, look for the Steelers to be run-heavy on offense. Pollard will be playing close to the line of scrimmage most of the game, and if the former Chief and Texan can bottle up the Steelers runners, Leftwich will be forced to pass.
Pollard will have over 10 tackles, force a turnover and get a sack as the Ravens beat up Pittsburgh in the Steel City.
Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers: 49ers OLB Aldon Smith
Only four other NFL offensive lines have given up more sacks than the 28 allowed by the Chicago Bears. Aldon Smith is tied for third in the NFL with 9.5 sacks on the season.
The Bears enter the game with backup quarterback Jason Campbell running the offense and facing the third-best defense in the NFL. Smith has recorded five sacks in the past three games and will be looking to add to that total.
Look for Smith to get at least two more sacks as the San Francisco 49ers get a huge win at home versus a very good Bears team.