NFL games are a lot more fun when a deep history of animosity laces the matchups.
Facing any team twice a year will wear on a team, causing it to gradually hate the other guy's guts. Or maybe just form a friendly feud among communal foes seeking a common goal. This is just football; there's no reason to turn everything into war.
Different achievements are at stake for these teams clashing with division rivals during Week 11. Some are fighting for the division, others will happily settle for a wild-card spot, and two teams teams just want to postpone the Grim Reaper from putting the season to rest.
Here's a look at some Week 11 bouts pitting divisional foes against one another.
|Indianapolis Colts||Tennessee Titans||8:25 p.m. (Thur.)||IND|
|New York Jets||Buffalo Bills||1 p.m.||NYJ|
|Cleveland Browns||Cincinnati Bengals||1 p.m.||CIN|
|Washington Redskins||Philadelphia Eagles||1 p.m.||PHI|
|Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||1 p.m.||DET|
|Atlanta Falcons||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1 p.m.||TB|
|Arizona Cardinals||Jacksonville Jaguars||1 p.m.||ARI|
|Oakland Raiders||Houston Texans||1 p.m.||HOU|
|San Diego Chargers||Miami Dolphins||4:05 p.m.||SD|
|San Francisco 49ers||New Orleans Saints||4:25 p.m.||NO|
|Green Bay Packers||New York Giants||4:25 p,m,||NYG|
|Minnesota Vikings||Seattle Seahawks||4:25 p.m.||SEA|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Denver Broncos||8:30 p.m.||DEN|
|New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers||8:30 p.m. (Mon.)||NE|
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Wins don't come easily for NFC East teams, but someone has to collect one on Sunday.
After starting the season 0-3, Washington gained some steam by winning three of its next five bouts. Suddenly another rally like last year's surge to the postseason entered the realm of possibility.
Who will win?
Then a loss to the Minnesota Vikings delivered a crushing blow on Thursday night.
In a game it needed to have, Washington squandered a late lead despite limiting Minnesota to 307 offensive yards. Now the season is on life support upon traveling to face a Philadelphia team that could easily still win the division.
This sentiment can be copied and pasted between any game with NFC East adversaries, but don't expect too much defense. Both teams reside near the bottom of the league's rank, offsetting any efforts produced by quietly effective offenses.
Oddly enough, the Eagles have scored just 56 combined points in their four home games. Look for that to change as Nick Foles enters Sunday's matchup on fire. With another win, Philadelphia could be positioning itself to be this year's version of Washington.
Prediction: Philadelphia 34, Washington 30
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Rex Ryan's Law tells us that the Jets will lose this game because they won their last. Does the bye week jumble the air-tight formula and create more randomness for Gang Green?
The NFL's most confusing team, the Jets look like a Super Bowl contender one week and the 3-13 squad everyone expected them to be the next. The answer lies somewhere in between, but can they engineer their first two-game winning streak of the season at Buffalo?
Against the one true New York franchise, the Jets can jump to 6-4 and send the Bills stumbling further down the AFC East standings. The matchups stack up right for them to finally win consecutive games.
Entering their bye week, the Jets sported the league's top rushing defense. The Bills offense revolves entirely around a running attack that saw C.J. Spiller run for nine yards during the team's last meeting.
When the Jets won 27-20 in Week 3, Bilal Powell ran for 149 yards on 27 carries. Expect Chris Ivory to carry the load this time in another victory controlled through the ground game.
Prediction: New York 17, Buffalo 10
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
NBC, are you sure you wouldn't rather show the New York Giants take on the Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers?
Enabling flexible scheduling at the perfect time, NBC opted out of a potentially disastrous matchup to instead snatch a huge game that arguably determines which team is the NFL's best.
Which AFC West powerhouse is the better team?
Kansas City holds that honor right now, entering the Sunday night showdown undefeated at 9-0. The Chiefs have not, however, faced a squad of Denver's caliber. What happens when the NFL's best defense squares off against the league's fiercest offense?
As interesting as that battle of titans will be, Alex Smith's ability to expose Denver's secondary could develop as the real story. As good as the Chiefs are, Peyton Manning is not a third-stringer like the opposing quarterbacks they faced in each of their last three contests. They cannot be expected to limit him to 12 points on par with their season average.
If Kansas City can dial up some more takeaways and convert them into points, a massive victory is in order. But it seems more likely that the Chiefs are exposed as mortal against Manning's high-octane passing attack.
Prediction: Denver 27, Kansas City 20