First of all, how can it already be week 11! That blows my mind. Secondly, I'm a little underwhelmed with the games this week. However, these are the games to watch outside of your hometown favorites ...
Packers at Lions 1:00PM ET
This game is important for the NFC North battle. Chicago is 7-2, Green Bay 6-3, Vikings 6-4, and the Lions are 4-5. Green Bay needs the win to keep up with Chicago (who plays the 49ers. This game should be interesting if both starting quarterbacks are out due to concussions.)
The Lions have been playing inconsistent, terrible football. Yet, they still pose a significant danger to the Pack, because the Lions have the potential to play well. Another factor is Green Bay has a tendency to lose leads and get lazy. The Lions, on the other hand, seem to only have the desire to play well in the fourth quarter. Those idiosyncrasies could prove to be an interesting match-up.
Chargers at the Broncos 4:25PM ET
This is an AFC West battle between the 6-3 Denver
Broncos and the 4-5 Chargers. I'm always completely underwhelmed by the Chargers, even more so by Rivers. The Broncos have a nice thing going with Manning. I love the shots of Manning, crouched down, explaining schemes to players or giving a motivational speech. Manning has proven, once again, that he is an elite quarterback. Maybe he's not the same Peyton from the Colts, but he is what we all hope to be as we get older -- wiser, calmer, and more appreciative.
Ravens at Steelers 8:20PM ET
This is an AFC North battle between the 7-2 Ravens and the 6-3 Steelers. Normally, this would be a game of the week. However, if Big Ben can't play due to his shoulder injury/rib injury pressing on his aorta, then this game will be a dud.
GO ... RAVENS?
Bears at 49ers 8:30PM ET (Monday)
I might break my tradition of not going to see a game at Candlestick Park (it's a terrible, terrible stadium) just to see Jay Cutler get his ass handed to him. Maybe the Bears would still win in that scenario, but I would truly enjoy seeing Jay Cutler face down, back down -- however he winds up from a sack. Yet, my joy is taken away that Jay Cutler probably won't play -- due to a concussion. On top of that, Alex Smith might not even play for the same reason. Jeez ... talk about a huge game let down. Yet, I did see Colin Kaepernick play last week and he looked pretty good. I don't care who is in the starting position for the Niners -- I just need Chicago to lose for my Pack.
(BTW, I adore finding stupid pictures of Jay Cutler. I'm also pleasantly surprised by how many of them there are!)
Other than that, there are some seriously underwhelming games this week. Even the ones above are a little underwhelming due to various reasons. I mean, the 2-7 Browns versus the 4-5 Cowboys? The 3-6 Jets versus the 3-5-1 Rams? Or maybe the worthless 4-5 Bengals versus the 1-8 Chiefs? Those are all losing records playing losing records. Then, on the other hand, you could watch the exiting game of the 1-8 Jaguars versus the 8-1 Texans. Yikes.
Good luck football teams, and as always, GO PACK!
Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com.