Wednesday, November 18, 2009
NFL Football- Week 11 Preview
The Game of the Week this Sunday will take place in the Mile High City of Denver when the Broncos host the surging San Diego Chargers with first place in the AFC West on the line.
The Chargers have won four straight while the Broncos have lost three consecutive games after getting out to a 6-0 start this season.
With both teams at 6-3, this game takes on huge proportions not only for the division lead with just six games remaining after this weekend, but also for a possible playoff spot as a "wild card" team.
The loser will sit at 6-4 and having lost to both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, teams that are now vying for wild card spots as well having been swept by the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos face a rugged schedule the final seven games, playing San Diego and then the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Night. In December, the Broncos travel to Kansas City, Indianapolis and Philadelphia while hosting Oakland before finishing the regular season at home against the Chiefs.
Meanwhile, the Chargers will host Kansas City after this weekend's game in Denver. The month of December has the 'Bolts traveling to Cleveland, Dallas and Tennessee (Christmas Day game on NFL Network) while hosting Cincinnati. The Chargers finish the regular season at home against the Washington Redskins.
On paper, San Diego's schedule appears to be less challenging, but as this 2009 NFL season has proved so far, there are NO guarantees each weekend.
Led by quarterback Philip Rivers, the Chargers offense has been flying high most of the season and in particular the last four games. In addition, running back LaDainian Tomlinson enjoyed his most productive game this season (96 yards and two rushing TDs) when San Diego beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-23 last week.
If LT gets it rolling as in year's past, watch out!
The Broncos defense had been dominating teams through the first six games, especially in the second half of those games when opposing teams simply could not score much against the stingy Broncos' defense.
However, in the current three game losing streak, the Broncos defense has been riddled by points in losses to Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington. The Redskins scored 13 unanswered points in the second half last week and won the game, 27-17. It was the first time this season the Redskins scored more than 17 points in a game.
Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton was injured in that loss to Washington and may have to sit out this Sunday's showdown with the Chargers. Orton had been very effective through the first six games and was showing signs of getting back on track (after two terrible games in the losses) until the injury of his ankle knocked him out of action.
Does this mean the Chargers are a lock to go into Denver and take back the division lead?
Of course not, but if Orton cannot play and the Broncos start Chris Simms, the chances are much better for the Chargers. But once again, it seems like whenever there is a sure thing in this year's NFL, then just the opposite will happen.
One thing for sure, this should be an exciting game between these two bitter rivals and the surprising fact that first place is at stake only adds to the drama.
Other showdowns will happen this weekend in the NFL as well... so here goes another shot at picking the winners around the NFL.
(HOME TEAMS are listed in BOLD)
Carolina over Miami
Detroit over Cleveland
Pittsburgh over Kansas City
Jacksonville over Buffalo
NY Giants over Atlanta
Baltimore over Indianapolis
Green Bay over San Francisco
Minnesota over Seattle
New Orleans over Tampa Bay
Dallas over Washington
Arizona over St. Louis
San Diego over Denver
New England over NY Jets
Cincinnati over OaklandPhiladelphia over Chicago
Houston over Tennessee
Last week's record: 9-6
SEASON RECORD: 89-55