We’re heading down the home stretch of the 2018 NFL regular season, as the playoff race continues to heat up. Last week, some teams brought themselves closer to their postseason ambitions, while others took another step back. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the key matchups for Week 11.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons: Two struggling teams will try to keep their playoff hopes alive this week. Dallas, who is coming off a huge road win in Philadelphia, heads to Atlanta to face a Falcons squad that suffered an inexplicable loss to Cleveland a week ago. Can QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliot replicate their performance from last week, or will Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons’skilled players outduel them? I trust Atlanta’s playmakers more and for them to get off the snide. Falcons win 27-24.
Houston Texans vs. Washington Redskins: In a battle of division leaders, Houston brings their six-game winning streak into the nation’s capital this week. Following a Week 10 win over Tampa Bay, defensive back Josh Norman called out Redskins fans for the lack of a home-field advantage they provided. I expect a rejuvenated crowd this week, to go along with Alex Smith and a defense that’s allowed less than 21 points in three of its last four games. Redskins win 20-16.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears: This game could determine who represents the NFC North, as both teams feature nearly identical records. One team has a stingy defense and one of the best WRs in football in Adam Thielen and Minnesota, whereas the other contains an innovative offense behind a budding QB with Mitch Trubisky and Chicago. On paper, it looks like the defense will be the deciding factor in this one. With it the game being at Soldier Field, the advantage goes to the Bears. I expect this to be a rock fight and ultimately decided from the play of Khalil Mack and the rest of Chicago’s pass rush. Bears win 13-10.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams: This is by far the most anticipated game of the year, with two of the best offenses going at it head-to-head. Initially, this game was supposed to be played in Mexico City, but unplayable field conditions moved it back to Los Angeles. With that said, I expect this game to be very high scoring considering both defenses have had issues generating stops consistently. Ultimately, this game will be determined by who will get to 40 first, and I believe that it will be the Kansas City Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes and his collection of weapons. Chiefs win 45-40.
Game to Avoid
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Giants: The tank bowl is in full swing as both teams have nothing to play for in this mid-November matchup. I find this game to be very tricky as both teams can find themselves struggling so much on offense.
Lock of the Week
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints: The Saints have been playing remarkable football recently, outscoring their opponents 150-92 in its last four games. I expect this to continue this week against an Eagles squad that is experiencing too many issues right now.