Time flies when you're having fun. Or when you're watching your team suffer through a painstakingly poor season. One way or another, the 2013 NFL regular season is moving rapidly, and Week 11 is nearly upon us.
As the final stretch of the season commences, every team has officially entered desperation mode. The postseason picture is taking shape, and every squad is in a position of uncertainty when it comes to securing postseason berths or home-field advantage.
The question is, which teams will win the games with the most significant long-term impact in Week 11?
|Date||Road Team||Prediction||Home Team|
|Thursday, Nov. 14||Indianapolis Colts||23-14||Tennessee Titans|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||New York Jets||24-16||Buffalo Bills|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Baltimore Ravens||17-21||Chicago Bears|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Washington Redskins||31-35||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Cleveland Browns||14-20||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Detroit Lions||28-20||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Atlanta Falcons||17-13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Arizona Cardinals||31-21||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Oakland Raiders||16-20||Houston Texans|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||San Diego Chargers||28-24||Miami Dolphins|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||San Francisco 49ers||27-31||New Orleans Saints|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Green Bay Packers||21-30||New York Giants|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Minnesota Vikings||13-26||Seattle Seahawks|
|Sunday, Nov. 17||Kansas City Chiefs||20-28||Denver Broncos|
|Monday, Nov. 18||New England Patriots||16-14||Carolina Panthers|
Week 10: 7-6, Season: 82-50
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Date: Thursday, Nov. 14
Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network
Prediction: 23-14, Colts
The Indianapolis Colts own the lead in the AFC South at 6-3 with just seven games remaining on the schedule. The Tennessee Titans are the closest team to Indianapolis at 4-5 with that same number of outings left to play.
The two sides will meet in Week 11 and Week 13, and the winner of those two games may just win the division.
This game would've featured two top-10 draft picks at quarterback with Jake Locker of the Titans going toe-to-toe with Andrew Luck of the Colts. Locker was the No. 8 selection in the 2011 NFL draft, while Luck went No. 1 overall in 2012.
Unfortunately for Tennessee, Locker could be out for the season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and that's why Indianapolis wins.
Titans believe QB Jake Locker suffered a Lisfranc injury that could require season-ending surgery.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 11, 2013
It's a harsh reality, but the Titans' postseason dreams just took a fatal blow.
Which team will win?
On the ground, Chris Johnson seems to have found his rhythm for the Titans, and Trent Richardson is still searching for answers with the Colts. Johnson erupted for 150 yards during Week 9 and had 73 yards of total offense during Week 10, while Richardson is averaging just 2.98 yards per carry for the season.
All in all, this is a game between two sides that grind out games with little flash about it.
The Colts were embarrassed 38-8 by the St. Louis Rams, while the Titans lost 29-27 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Neither team has momentum, but when it comes down to it, Indianapolis lost its leading wide receiver, and Jacksonville is without its quarterback.
Indianapolis wins an ugly one.
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints
Date: Sunday, Nov. 17
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Prediction: 31-27, Saints
The San Francisco 49ers are 6-3 and within striking distance of the Seattle Seahawks for home-field advantage in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints are 7-2 and in that same position with a slim lead in the NFC South.
One way or another, the postseason picture will be altered in a major way during Week 10.
The Niners and Saints are polar opposites on offense, and the results of their respective seasons have been just as different. New Orleans likes to air it out and moved to 5-0 before losing two of four, while San Francisco pounds the rock and started at 1-2 before winning five of six.
Which team will win?
Regardless of how it got done, both teams are in similar positions entering Week 11.
Drew Brees has dominated opposing defenses for the Saints, registering 3,064 yards and 25 touchdowns through the air. Colin Kaepernick hasn't been as dominant, picking up 1,675 yards and nine touchdowns, but Frank Gore has led a balanced ground-and-pound attack with 700 rushing yards and seven scores.
Unfortunately for San Francisco, it will need Kaepernick to throw the football in this game. And he'll need to throw it often.
He's topped 200 passing yards just twice in nine games.
Brees routinely torches elite defenses for high yardage totals and at least two touchdowns, and there's no reason to believe he'll do anything different in this one. San Francisco will keep things close, but playing at home, New Orleans will earn the victory.
Keep a close eye on this game, as the race for home-field advantage will run straight through the Superdome.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Date: Sunday, Nov. 17
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: 27-20, Broncos
Believe it or not, either the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs or 8-1 Denver Broncos will be the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs. Fair or foul, that's the way that the postseason system is currently set up, as only one of these two squads can win the division.
One team will temporarily hold the advantage after this game.
The Chiefs have the best defense in the NFL, and that's becoming less and less of an opinion-based statement. Kansas City ranks No. 1 in scoring defense, sacks, takeaways and defensive touchdowns.
Which team will win?
With running back Jamaal Charles averaging 123.8 yards of total offense per game, the Chiefs have the balance to do something special in 2013.
The Broncos have been led by the historically productive Peyton Manning, who has 3,249 yards, 33 touchdowns and six interceptions through the air. He's on pace for a 59-touchdown season, and with the way he's moving the ball around, that isn't so much of an unrealistic expectation.
Manning had 16 touchdowns in his first four games, has 17 in his previous five and has thrown scores to seven different players.
The Chiefs are a legitimate force in the NFL, but the Broncos are playing this game at home. Since signing Manning, Denver is 12-1 at Mile High Stadium during regular-season games.
Both teams are genuine Super Bowl contenders, but playing in Denver bodes poorly for every team. The Broncos win a good one.