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The Denver Broncos (who opted-out of some tackles last week) and Los Angeles Rams (whose coach got schooled by his old boss) are the only two teams on (much-needed) byes this week. Every other team is full go as the 2021 season careens down the back of the mountain. That means there are many games to pick from on the NFL Week 11 slate that should be fascinating. 

The Cincinnati Bengals vs. Las Vegas Raiders, Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Football Team vs. Carolina Panthers games are all interesting. Still, they don’t have the storylines, the mystery, or the compelling intrigue of these three most intriguing matchups of NFL Week 11.

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings – Sunday, November 21, 1:00 p.m. EST, FOX

In this old-school NFC Central battle, one QB has a 68.1% completion rate, passes for 270.4 yards per game, has 18 touchdowns, and just two picks. The other QB is at a 66.4% completion rate, 242.9 yards per game, and has 17 TD and 4 INTs.

While you’d think the former was the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and the latter was the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins, you’d be wrong. 

Statistically, Cousins has outplayed Rodgers this season. But, the “immunized” QB has outshined the straight-up unvaccinated signal-caller where it matters most. The Pack are 8-2 (8-1 with Rodgers), while Cousins and the Vikes are 4-5. 

This is a must-win game for Minnesota to keep their playoff hopes alive and possibly for head coach Mike Zimmer to keep his job. 

While the implications aren’t as dire for the Packers, the team is tied with the Arizona Cardinals atop the NFC (with Dallas just a half-game behind) for home-field advantage in the playoffs. 

Rodgers and the Packers want the NFC to run through Lambeau Field in January. If they can keep an NFC North rival out of the playoff altogether in this NFL Week 11 battle, all the better.  

Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills – Sunday, November 21, 1:00 p.m. EST, CBS

This is the “are they for real?” bowl on the NFL Week 11 NFL schedule. 

The Buffalo Bills are 6-3 and the betting favorite in Las Vegas to win the Super Bowl. However, they’ve played the weakest schedule in the NFL so far this season. They also have, by far, the worst loss of the year: a 9-6 Jacksonville Jaguars victory. 

The Indianapolis Colts started 0-3 with Carson Wentz limping, but the team is 5-2 since, and both losses were in overtime against the playoff-bound Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. They are currently out of the AFC playoff picture but are only a game back in the loss column from the last spot. 

The Bills offense has struggled at times, but the league’s No. 1 defense has covered for them in most games. The O will need a vintage 2020 performance to win this game, which won’t be easy against a Colts D that comes into the week with the second-most takeaways, behind only Buffalo. 

On the Colts side, Jonathan Taylor will need to cement his place as the best back in the league (with Derrick Henry out) by running through a Bills D that has only given up 755 yards on the ground all year.  

Can the Bills be a Super Bowl contender? Will the Colts be a playoff team? Are either of these teams for real?

These are the questions that will be answered in this NFL Week 11 matchup. 

Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, November 21, 4:25 p.m. EST, FOX

We’ve messed around long enough without talking about the game of the NFL Week 11 schedule. The marquee matchup this week is the 7-2 Dallas Cowboys vs. the suddenly resurgent 6-4 Kansas City Chiefs

The Cowboys are off to their best start since 2016, and the Chiefs are off to their worst start since 2019. 

In 2016, the Cowboys cruised to a 13-3 record but lost in their first playoff game to the Green Bay Packers. In 2019, the Chiefs ran the table after a 6-4 start to not only make the playoffs but win the Super Bowl as well. 

This little history lesson is designed to illustrate that, at just past the halfway point of the 2021 season, there is still a lot of football to play before the champ is crowned in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2022. 

The Cowboys and Chiefs’ 2021 stories will likely be written in the new year, but this should still be an incredibly fun game. 

The ‘Boys will be without star WR Amari Cooper, who will miss both this and the Thanksgiving Day game as an unvaccinated player with COVID-19. The Chiefs will be at more or less full strength, but their defense is still in shambles so, with or without Cooper, they will have their work cut out for them with the high-powered Cowboys offense. 

The most interesting part of this game, though, is the QB matchup. Patrick Mahomes has struggled all year but has shown flashes in the last several games of the MVP QB we all know him as. 

Dak Prescott is having a great year and is a shoo-in for Comeback Player of the Year. However, he is also creeping up MVP boards and is now behind only Josh Allen and Tom Brady in the Las Vegas betting odds at +750, according to OddsShark. If the former Mississippi State Bulldog can put together big performances against Mahomes and then on Turkey Day just four days later without his No. 1 wideout, the award could be his to lose. 

That’s what’s at stake in this intriguing NFL Week 11 game of the week. 

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference


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