There is a lot of separation in the league now, with eleven teams having three or less wins after ten weeks. On the flip side, eighteen teams had winning records entering the weekend (Buffalo has since lost, falling to 5 - 5). It's now about jockeying for playoff position or trying to secure a first round bye and homefield advantage through the playoffs.
Thursday (from an earlier post):
Buffalo (5 - 4) 21 @ Miami (5 - 4) 27: The Bills took down the
Dolphins in week 2, but this is week 11 and the game is in Miami, where
the Fins dismantled the Chargers before losing a close one at Detroit
last week. Buffalo has lived by their defense all season, allowing more
than 23 points just one time in a 37 - 22 loss to New England, hardly
anything to be embarrassed about. But it's a short week, a long trip and
Miami's defense is as solid as the Bills'. I'll take the home team in
this one, but it has the potential to be close deep into the fourth
Seattle (6 - 3) 17 @ Kansas City (6 - 3) 20: After a rough start, Kansas City has won 6 of their last seven games. The Seahawks have a three game winning streak but haven't been as impressive as last year's Super Bowl winning team. Their defense has still been impressive, as has Kansas City's. Both these run the ball well and defend the pass. I wouldn't expect this to be a high scoring affair, particularly given the weather conditions.
Atlanta (3 - 6) 24 @ Carolina (3 - 6 - 1) 27: Cam Newton has been beaten up and as a result, isn't making quite the best decisions. The defense is also getting shredded, but after four consecutive losses, they should be able to hold off the disappointing Falcons in Charlotte.
Cincinnati (5 - 3 - 1) 23 @ New Orleans (4 - 5) 28: The Saints have been trying to make a comeback and the Bengals are trying to shed their inconsistency. New Orleans is a touchdown and extra point favorite, a little inexplicable given the differences in their records. But New Orleans is usually pretty tough at home, and Cincinnati has suffered their worst defeats on the road.
Tampa Bay (1 - 8) 17 @ Washington (3 - 6) 23: A couple of years ago, the Redskins made an impressive run to get into the playoffs. If they're going to make a similar run, it will need to start today at Fed Ex Field. I don't know if that's possible, but a win over the Bucs is
Denver (7 - 2) 31 @ St. Louis (3 - 6) 20: It's probably a foregone conclusion that the Broncos will be in the playoffs. Now they're playing to make sure the path to the Super Bowl runs through Denver. The Rams can be tough at home, but unless you're Seattle or New England, they're probably not good enough to defeat Manning.
San Francisco (5 - 4) 24 @ New York Giants (3 - 6) 28: Every once in a while the Giants pull off a win you wouldn't expect. I think one of those might be today.
Minnesota (4 - 5) 23 @ Chicago (3 - 6) 20: The Bears really couldn't have looked any worse last week, but I expect a lot better play against the Vikings. But Minnesota's defense is playing pretty well, so I like them to add insult to the Bears' misery.
Houston (4 - 5) 17 @ Cleveland (6 - 3) 24: Ryan Mallett gets his first start for the Texans, replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's been waiting a long time for this chance, but Cleveland will a tough place for his debut.
Oakland (0 - 9) 24 @ San Diego (5 - 4) 30: I don't have a good explanation for how San Diego went from Super Bowl contender to, well, kind of awful. They should still win, but eventually the Raiders will break through.
Detroit (7 - 2) 26 @ Arizona (8 - 1) 23: A great defensive front against a backup QB is not a great matchup in the NFL, at least not for the replacement. I'll go with the Lions in a mild upset. Of course, should the Cardinals' Drew Stanton withstand the pressure, we'll have a good indication if Arizona can continue their winning ways despite the loss of Carson Palmer.
Philadelphia (7 - 2) 27 @ Green Bay (6 - 3) 31: The Eagles are six point underdogs even though they have a better record. But there are a lot of reasons to go with the Packers, particularly the QB's. Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, Philadelphia has a still untested Mark Sanchez, at least with the Eagles. If Sanchez can go mistake free, then he may pull the upset. I say close, but probably no cigar.
New England (7 - 2) 27 @ Indianapolis (6 - 3) 30: After a big loss against Kansas City, the Patriots ran off five impressive wins, four of them at home, before their bye week. Now they head to Indy to begin a tough stretch of games that includes Detroit next week followed by visits to Green Bay and San Diego. The Colts are favored by three, so I'm thinking the wise guys in Vegas know something I don't.
Pittsburgh (6 - 4) 27 @ Tennessee (2 - 7) 17: All of Pittsburgh's losses have come on the road, not a good sign for the Steelers. They'll need to play a much cleaner game they did against the Jets last week, or they'll be looking at a fifth road loss. I think they'll rebound and get Big Ben back on track.