While Week 10 of the 2014 NFL Schedule didn’t bring up a lot of matchups that we felt were worthy of a review, week 11 is a complete bounce back all the way around. There are many games across he NFL landscape this week to keep an eye on as the NFL playoffs begin to take shape.
Also, keep in mind that later this month, we will begin the NFL predictions & team-by-team breakdowns for the upcoming season, so keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime, check out the games we are watching for Week 11.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears – Sunday, 1:00 on FOX
The Minnesota Vikings & Chicago Bears meet up for the first time in the season in Week 11. This game is going to be focused on the quarterbacks, especially if Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is starting against Bears QB Jay Cutler.
The game will also be the first time that longtime DE Jared Allen plays against his old team, the Vikings. Allen was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, but then signed with the Bears in the offseason. Allen is the new heart of the Bears defense, a heart that was lost when Brian Urlacher retired two seasons ago. He will have a field day getting strong pressure on Cutler, who has a slightly better offensive line, but no one on the level of being able to block Allen one-on-one without a double-team.
On offense, the Bears & Vikings are polar opposite in their philsophies, which about 5 years ago, would have been unthinkable. The Bears are an air-it-out team with having Jeffery & Marshall on the outside & Matt Forte being able to catch out of the backfield, while the Vikings are going to pound & ground with Adrian Peterson & occasionally get the ball deep to emerging receiver/special teams specialist returner Cordelle Patterson.
This will be a typical NFC North game in the sense of it will be cold, the game will be physical & it will come down to the final few minutes of the game to decide a winner, no question.
Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns – 1:00 – CBS
This game is going to be one of the most intriguing games on the schedule, as long as there are no injuries, regardless of the records.
For Clowney, by this point in the season, we will either be saying that the Texans have their defensive anchor for years to come & he is absolutely everything that the hype said that he was & is, or people will say that Clowney is a complete bust & the Texans were stupid for not doing more to trade out of the spot & gain more draft picks later in the first round or later rounds.
On Manziel, the Cleveland Browns faithful are all in on Johnny Football. Even though as we speak, the Browns organization is talking about having Manziel be a backup during the season, we know good & well if there are 60,000 people with Manziel #2 jerseys all over the place, it will be extremely difficult, bordering on stupid to not play him. This will be the game to really show off what he can do. The Texans are not the 2-14 team they showed last season. They have an elite defensive unit, led by J.J. Watt & Brian Cushing & if Clowney is even 3/4 of what he is projected to be, Manziel will face a major test in how far along he is in his NFL development as a franchise quarterback.
Cincinnati Bengals @ New Orleans Saints – 1:00 p.m – CBS
This game is a great look at the present & the future of the NFL at the quarterback position with Drew Brees from the Saints going up against Andy Dalton from the Bengals. Both teams have explosive offensive units, both have defensive units that are on the rise & both are hungry to show their worth in the playoffs. We include the Saints in that playoff talk because since their SuperBowl win in 2006, the team has been mediocre for the last few seasons.
If the team is going to make a run at any point, this season has to be the year for it, as Brees & the Saints window is slowly starting to close.
New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts – NBC Sunday Night Football
The New England Patriots will go into Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Andrew Luck & the Indianapolis Colts. Both of these teams should be playoff teams this year, quite possibly Superbowl contenders down the line, but this will be a fun game because it is a rematch of the AFC divisional playoff game from last year & a fun matchup between Pats QB Tom Brady & Colts QB Andrew Luck.
Last season, Sunday Night Football gave us a game of the future with Peyton Manning coming into Indianapolis, a team that he made great again, & lost to Luck. This time around, Luck will be looking to do the same, on his home turf, on the big stage. This will be a great game to test out the playoff temperature in the AFC & who might have home-field advantage later on.