Winning on the road in the NFL is no easy task.
A hostile environment makes life difficult for the visiting offense in what is a mentally demanding experience outside of the obvious physical toll.
However, not all hope is lost for NFL teams on the road in Week 11. Half of the road teams were able to escape unfriendly surroundings the week prior with major victories.
While the ratio may not be as even this week, a few teams are locks to win despite the hurdle of a road game. Here's a look at the full schedule, followed by the lucky three.
|Away Team||Home Team||Predicted Winner|
|NY Jets||Buffalo Bills||New York|
|Baltimore Ravens||Chicago Bears||Chicago|
|Cleveland Browns||Cincinnati Bengals||Cincinnati|
|Washington Redskins||Philadelphia Eagles||Philadelphia|
|Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||Detroit|
|Atlanta Falcons||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tampa Bay|
|Arizona Cardinals||Jacksonville Jaguars||Arizona|
|Oakland Raiders||Houston Texans||Houston|
|San Diego Chargers||Miami Dolphins||San Diego|
|San Francisco 49ers||New Orleans Saints||New Orleans|
|Green Bay Packers||New York Giants||Green Bay|
|Minnesota Vikings||Seattle Seahawks||Seattle|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Denver Broncos||Denver|
|New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers||Carolina|
Chris Roling's predictions.
New York Jets Outlast Buffalo Bills
The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills have had this dance before. The result was a 27-20 victory for the Jets in Week 3 as New York's rookie quarterback Geno Smith was able to outperform Buffalo's rookie EJ Manuel.
Manuel had no answer for the stout Rex Ryan defense, as is evidenced by his horrific 19-of-42 passing for 243 yards and a score.
The Florida State product was clearly shaken by the hostile environment, and the same could be predicted for Smith in Week 11 when New York makes the trip to Buffalo.
While Smith will likely struggle, Ryan's defense will not. The unit ranks No. 1 in the NFL against the run, with just 73.8 yards allowed per game. Manuel led the Bills to less than 300 total yards last week in his return from injury.
Don't expect things to get better for the Bills. Manuel was forced to the air for 42 attempts in Week 4, and the team ran it just 25 times—six of those came from Manuel.
New York's defense will be unaffected by the environment. It will be Manuel who pays the price.
Prediction: Jets 17, Bills 10
Detroit Lions Stun Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the team to beat the aforementioned Bills in Week 10. While the 23-10 victory was impressive, it is hard to forget the over 600 yards of offense and 55 points allowed to New England in Week 9.
Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions could replicate those numbers.
The Lions average well over 300 passing yards per game and score over 26 points per game for good measure.
The Lions are hardly known for sound defense, but Detroit ranks in the top 10 at just 100.7 rushing yards allowed per game. Mike O'Hara, a contributing columnist for the team's official website, provided a strong stat to reinforce how impressive Detroit has been:
Unreal stat for Lions' run D: allowed 5 first downs in last 3 games -- 1 to Bengals, 3 to Cowboys, 1 to Bears. Steelers rank 27th in rushing— Mike O'Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) November 12, 2013
Heck, the Lions have even been impressive in the red zone, as Tim Twentyman of the team's site illustrates:
Lions defense has allowed 10 TDs in the redzone in 24 poss. Percentage of 41.7. Only KC (23.1), Balt. (33.3) and Carolina (36.8) lower.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) November 12, 2013
Detroit will force Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers into a one-dimensional attack and quickly take advantage. Roethlisberger has been sacked 35 times (second-most in the league) behind a porous line. He'll have no choice but to drop back for extended periods with his team in catch-up mode.
This one might get ugly.
Prediction: Lions 33, Steelers 24
San Diego Chargers Shock Miami Dolphins
The San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins are still very much in the thick of things in terms of a playoff berth.
In fact, this contest is an elimination game, as ESPN's James Walker points out:
We'll ride the hot hand here—San Diego wins big.
The Dolphins are an absolute mess. Miami has lost five of its last six, allows over 23 points per game and ranks in the bottom 10 against the rush and in terms of its own rushing production (last week was a real treat, as starting running back Lamar Miller took seven carries for two yards).
San Diego is by no means an elite team when it comes to rushing the passer, but it will have little issue against a Miami offensive line that ranks worst in the NFL, as Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 37 times.
All of this goes without mention of Philip Rivers and a top-five aerial attack. Coach Mike McCoy has Rivers playing at a high level, and the veteran is surely accustomed to playing on the road.
An early lead becomes insurmountable for the home team, and Tannehill will be on his back as playoff hopes fade.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Dolphins 17