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As we head into week eleven, there are some unexpected injuries that incurred during week ten that are going to be crucial as the season plays out.
In addition, the weather is getting colder and there are must-win games for a few teams that are hanging on the edge of a playoff hope.
This week’s byes are the Colts, Saints, Steelers and Texans.
Jets (5-4) at Broncos (4-5) An interesting Thursday night match-up between two teams struggling to stay afloat in their division. One thing has been established in Denver: Tim Tebow is not a passer, as he only threw eight times in last week's win against the Chiefs. The Jets defense is much better than Kansas City’s and Tebow won’t find much room to maneuver, as the Jets stop the run game. In addition, the Jets secondary is one of the best in the league, and this is going to be a long, defeating day for Tim Tebow and co. Winner - Jets
Raiders (5-4) at Vikings (2-7) Raiders QB Carson Palmer looked way more comfortable wearing silver and black last week against the Chargers. He just keeps playing better with each passing week, and as long as that is the case, the Raiders should have no problem this week against a Viking defense that struggles against the pass. Oakland’s defense is going to put so much pressure on Vikes QB Christian Ponder, that he will make mistakes and they will be costly. Winner - Raiders
Bills (5-4) at Dolphins (2-7) Miami is favored by two, and I admit, I am quite surprised by this. One thing I do know, is that Dolphins QB Matt Moore and WR Brandon Marshall have connected on several occasions, and it has been successful. The success won’t stop this week against a struggling Buffalo defensive secondary. Also, Miami RB Reggie Bush has found himself again, and with his help pulling the Bills offense forward, should allow more of the Moore-to-Marshall game plan. I was going to call this game an upset, but since Miami is favored, I’ll call it win number three. Winner - Dolphins
Bengals (6-3) at Ravens (6-3) Sorry Baltimore fans, but after losing to Seattle last week, I just cannot fathom picking your team to win this week. I don’t care that they are favored by seven points. The Ravens offense is quite possibly the most inconsistent offense in the league, and the majority of the blame goes to QB Joe Flacco. The Bengals defense is top-notch at rushing the passer and this is going to prove to be a long, dreadful day for Flacco. Winner - Bengals
Jaguars (3-6) at Browns (3-6) Cleveland’s offense is struggling too much to get enough points on the board to beat the Jaguars, especially against the very talented Jaguar defense. Additionally, Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew will gain enough yards throughout the game to keep the Jags in control of the clock. Winner - Jaguars
Cowboys (5-4) at Redskins (3-6) Defensively, this game is almost evenly matched, with Dallas having a slight edge on talent. The Redskins defense, specifically their secondary, are going to keep Tony Romo and co. on their toes, and will need to not make mistakes. Unfortunately, for Washington, their offense is no match for the Boys defense and therefore, will not out-score Dallas. Winner - Cowboys
Buccaneers (4-5) at Packers (9-0) Who will give the Pack their first loss? Sorry, Tampa fans, not the Bucs. The Packer defense is going to make the Bucs offense struggle early, and often. As for the Green Bay offense, there’s not much to be said, except it doesn’t get much better than them, so far this season. Winner - Packers
Panthers (2-7) at Lions (6-3) This is going to be a good match-up, as the key in this game is how Panthers QB Cam Newton responds to Detroit’s fast and aggressive defense. Carolina’s offense will be able to keep up with Detroit’s struggling offense, but in the end, the Lions defense will prevent the Panthers from out-scoring them. Winner - Lions
Cardinals (3-6) at 49ers (8-1) The 49ers defense is going to own this game, as they are going against a very untalented Arizona offensive line. Whoever the Cardinal’s quarterback is, he’s going to feel like he’s gasping for air as he is nearly sacked on almost every down. Stacked with talent in the running and passing game, the 49ers will control most of the game Winner – 49ers
Seahawks (3-6) at Rams (2-7) This is going to be a good, close, game that most people could care less about. The Rams offense is going to exploit the weakness of Seattle’s defensive line by continuously giving the ball to RB Steven Jackson. This will be the edge that St. Louis needs in order to win, and it will be successful. Winner - Rams
Chargers (4-5) at Bears (6-3) San Diego QB Philip Rivers is going to have a long, unproductive day in Chicago, as the Bears defense brings on the pressure for the entire game. Offensively, the Bears run game is going to be the key factor in scoring, and trust me, they will score often. Winner - Bears
Titans (5-4) at Falcons (5-4) Atlanta suffered a tough over-time loss last week at home and will be looking to redeem themselves in front of their fan base. Offensively, the Falcons have too much talent for the Titans to defend and this will wear them down. Defensively, the Falcons offensive line may give up a few big runs to Titans RB Chris Johnson, but it won’t be enough for Tennessee to win. Winner – Falcons
Eagles (3-6) at Giants (6-3) Philadelphia’s struggles just got worse as QB Michael Vick might be out this week with broken ribs. They just cannot seem to get it together this season, specifically on offense. This week, they are taking on a very talented New York defense that is going to force turnovers, and monopolize on these offensively. The Giants defense is going to win this game for them. Winner - Giants
Chiefs (4-5) at Patriots (6-3) Another boring Monday night match-up. This game may stay close through half-time, but after that, the Pats will kick into destroy mode and heavily outscore Kansas City. Pats QB Tom Brady is going to have another great performance, in addition to controlling just about the whole game. Winner - Patriots
For Jana's thoughts on last week, further analysis on this week's match-ups, the complete Week 11 schedule, or to read anything else she feels like tossing out regarding the NFL, go to the dirty cleats blog.
Jana Newman lives in San Diego and has been an NFL fan for over 25 years (her not-so-secret obsession is still No. 13 Dan Marino). She has her bachelor of arts degree in English, and loves to write. To combine these passions, Jana created dirtycleats.com. It’s an NFL blog with a fresh look and a fun attitude. You can also follow dirtycleats on Facebook. To reach Jana, email her at email@example.com.