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NFL Week 11 Predictions: Teams with a Lot to Prove This Weekend

Justin PedersenCorrespondent IINovember 17, 2011

NFL Week 11 Predictions: Teams with a Lot to Prove This Weekend

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    It is getting to the point in the NFL season where most things are pretty clear cut.

    We know the Green Bay Packers are virtually unstoppable and that Indianapolis might as well stay in the locker room come game time. We also recognize the fact the Philadelphia Eagles are purely hype and that the San Francisco 49ers might just be for real after all.

    But for the majority of others, there is still a lot to play for and, more specifically, a lot still to prove. Nothing is certain though and many teams will be looking to validate themselves as they prepare for another crucial weekend of football.

    The following teams have a lot to prove in Week 11 and will be looking to get the best result.

1. Chicago Bears

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    After convincingly exploiting the flaws of the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears have skyrocketed in most NFL rankings and are currently riding a wave of success.

    Yet even with all the plaudits, they still aren't taken as seriously as they should be. Most of the questioning still lies with quarterback Jay Cutler, who has done just about everything he could to dispel any speculation regarding his toughness.

    The Bears play a depleted San Diego Chargers squad that is looking to get anything positive going, so I expect the Bears to prove themselves once again that they are the real deal. Besides, you can’t question a team that has won five in a row can you?

2. New York Jets

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    If wins correlated with the smack a team talks, Rex Ryan’s team would be on the same level as Green Bay.

    Unfortunately the Jets do a lot more jawing than they do winning, and they have a monumental task ahead of them going into Week 11. With a record of 5-4, Ryan’s club never anticipated being in such a predicament, and anything short of a victory against Denver tonight would be detrimental.

    Mark Sanchez has the most to prove out of anybody, as his shaky play seems to be the biggest plight the team has faced. Let's hope the prepared extensively for this weekend because there is a lot on the line.

3. Detroit Lions

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    Everyone has come around to join in on the Detroit bandwagon, and I understand why. The Lions have a talented team for once and have a legitimate shot at ending a playoff drought.

    But as last Sunday’s loss against Chicago demonstrated, they still have a long ways to go. Their inexperience and immaturity can come back to haunt them at times, and if Jim Schwartz does not control his men, they will ruin all of the hard work and dedication they have put in up to this point.

    A meeting with the lowly Carolina Panthers should help boost their confidence, but Cam Newton and company are content with playing the spoiler role. If the Lions come out and act more like their age in this game, things could get ugly again. They must show they have what it takes in Week 11.

4. New York Giants

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    I must admit, I’ve never referred to Eli Manning more than just “Peyton’s younger brother,” but this season he is making a lot of people eat their words.

    The Giants lead a division that was supposed to be won by the Philadelphia Eagles, and Eli is a massive reason why they have shaken things up. And with a marquee matchup against the Eagles coming up Sunday night, this could be the icing on the cake for Manning and company.

    The Eagles certainly have talent but the Giants have a stellar defense that is looking to continue playing well. With a win, Tom Coughlin’s men can prove that they are the favorites to win the division, even with the Dallas Cowboys breathing down their backs.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Marvin Lewis’ team has blown away any expectations they had going into this season, and the play of young and unproven talent has Cincinnati pushing for a division title.

    The Bengals face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11 and this is going to be an explosive affair. Andy Dalton has been superb all year, and he is hoping the status of fellow rookie A.J. Green gets better as Sunday approaches.

    This game is a massive test for the young Bengals, because if they handle the Ravens then it reassures the fact they have the capabilities to beat just about anybody. Proving you can hang with the big boys is vitally important for a squad like Cincy, which has gone through dramatic changes lately and can establish some longevity with a result in Week 11.

6. New England Patriots

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    A team led by Bill Belichick usually has little to prove, but that isn’t the case any more with the New England Patriots.

    Tom Brady, Wes Welker and the rest of the Pats offense have been their usually self but the defense has been asked a lot of questions lately. New England always has a huge target on its back, and Monday night clash against the Kansas City Chiefs could put a lot of tension to rest.

    The division is in their control at the moment but with the Jets and Buffalo Bills both refusing to lay down, the Patriots will need to be razor sharp the rest of the way. Week 11 can be used as a platform for the defense to show their true mettle and disperse any doubts others have regarding the team.

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