11/16/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak
Week 11 in the NFL has some big matchups as we hit the final third of the 2014 season. Let's take a peak at some of this weeks biggest games:
Cincinnati at New Orleans
Despite both teams struggling, the Bengals and the Saints remain near or in the lead of their respective divisions. Cincinnati is 1/2 game behind AFC North leading Cleveland, while at 4 and 5, New Orleans is in first place in the NFC South. Blown leads and turnovers have hurt the Saints this year. In 4 of their 5 losses, New Orleans has lost a game they led in the 4th quarter. The Saints also lead the NFL with 18 turnovers. After starting 3 and 0, the Bengals have lost 3 and tied one of their past six games. Two of those losses have come on the road, while the Saints are 3 and 1 at home after suffering their first home loss last week to San Francisco. Prior to last weeks loss, the Saints last home defeat was in 2012. After winning their first road game of the season, the Bengals have lost their last two away games by the average score of 35 to 8. Cincinnati's run defense has struggled this season as well, giving up an average of 143 yards per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL. That might be an issue this week as the Saints rank 6th in the league in rushing yards per game (130.2 yards per game average). New Orleans won the last meeting between these teams in 2010, but Cincinnati won the last time they played in New Orleans back in 2006.
Seattle at Kansas City
These two 6 and 3 squads meet in an inter conference matchup between teams still in the hunt for first place in their respective divisions. The Seahawks bring the NFL's top rushing attack into Kansas City for this one, averaging 170.9 yards per game. Seattle rushed for 350 yards in last weeks win over the NY Giants. Kansas City has the 20th ranked rushing defense in the league. The Chiefs are 3 and 1 at home on the season, while Seattle has split its 4 road games. Through 9 games, Kansas City has not had a touchdown pass thrown to a wide receiver, the longest such streak since Philadelphia back in 1998. Kansas City has won the last two meetings between these teams played in 2010 and 2006.
Detroit at Arizona
Despite being the surprise of the NFL and leading the NFC West, Arizona will try to carry on this seasons success without QB Carson Palmer. Drew Stanton, who was drafted by Detroit in 2007, will make his 4th start of the season in place of Palmer, who tore his ACL last week and is out for the rest of the season. Stanton is 2 and 1 in his three starts so far this season. Stanton will have a tough matchup this week against the Lions, who rank 3rd in the NFL in passing yards against, and 2nd against the rush. Detroit has won 4 games in a row and their past 3 road games as well. The Cardinals are perfect in their 5 home games this season. The Cardinals defense will have to contend with the receiver duo of Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Tate is 2nd in the NFL with 66 receptions, while Johnson returned last week after missing 3 games due to injury, and caught 7 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Stafford has passed for nearly 2,500 yards and thrown 13 TD passes so far this season as well. Arizona is looking to go to 9 and 1 for the first time since 1948. At 7 and 2, Detroit remains one game ahead of Green Bay in the NFC Central. Arizona has dominated the series between these teams, winning 5 games in a row and the past 7 games versus Detroit at home. The Lions last win at Arizona was in 1993.
Philadelphia at Green Bay
The NFC East leading Eagles will visit a Packers team that's trying to stay within a game of Detroit for the NFC Central lead. At 7 and 2, the Eagles remain 1/2 game ahead of Dallas. This game features two of the top scoring offenses in the NFL. The Eagles rank 4th, averaging 31 points per game. That's slightly better than the Packers, who rank 5th averaging 30.8 points per game. Green Bay has won all 4 games played at Lambeau Field, while Philadelphia has split their 4 road games in 2014. Making his first start since 2012, Mark Sanchez passed for 332 yards and 2 TD's in the Eagles win over Carolina last week. Aaron Rodgers comes in off of a record performance, passing for 315 yards and 6 TD's in last weeks win over Chicago. Green Bay has won 2 of the past 3 meetings between these teams, but the Eagles won last years game at Green Bay, although the Packers played without Rodgers in the loss.
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