Kind of a weird week, in that there aren’t a ton of intriguing games on the surface. Still, here are five that stand out…
(Team rankings are based on our latest power rankings.)
1. No. 16 Chargers at No. 8 Bears (Sunday, 4:15 ET on CBS)
Two teams going in completely opposite directions, with the home squad hot and the road squad cold. Seems simple on the surface, which is why Chicago is a 3.5-point favorite. But the Chargers are desperate and some might argue that the Bears are due for a letdown performance. I mean, does anyone really expect the Bolts to lose five straight games? And while we’re at it, does anyone really expect the Bears to win five straight games?
2. No. 11 Jets at No. 21 Broncos (Thursday, 8:20 ET on NFL Network)
Two playoff contenders battle in the Thursday nighter, but what makes this one particularly interesting is that it’s Tim Tebow’s debut on national television. It’ll be fun to watch Tebow and that unique Denver offense against one of the best defenses in football, especially after the Jets dropped a tough game to the Patriots only four days prior. Surprised to see New York giving up six points against a team that has won three of its last four games.
3. No. 20 Eagles at No. 14 Giants (Sunday, 8:20 ET on NBC)
I hate to say it, but the Eagles still aren’t done. A win Sunday night would put Philadelphia just two games back of the Giants in the NFC East. Plus, the Giants’ schedule only gets more difficult and it’s impossible to tell what the Cowboys are going to do. The problem for the Eagles is that they aren’t likely to have Michael Vick Sunday night, which is probably why they’re a 4.5-point underdog at MetLife.
4. No. 15 Bengals at No. 4 Ravens (Sunday, 1:00 ET on CBS)
The Bengals put up a valiant effort in Week 10 against Pittsburgh, only to fall to their division rival and allow naysayers to continue to insist that they aren’t a contender in the AFC North. But Cincinnati gets another kick at the can with another top-tier division rival on the schedule this week. Problem: it’s on the road again, and the Ravens are probably pissed off after another loss to an inferior team on the road. Baltimore has been lights-out at home this year, so I don’t like Cincy’s chances. That said, the Ravens and Bengals have actually split the last four games in Maryland.
5. No. 27 Panthers at No. 10 Lions (Sunday, 1:00 ET on Fox)
Two teams coming off arguably their worst performances of the year. The Panthers were crushed in Tennessee, while the Lions were hammered in Chicago. Detroit still has quite a lot to play for in the NFC playoff race, but the Lions are sliding quickly after a fast start. The Panthers, on the other hand, are just trying to play spoiler as Cam Newton works toward an offensive rookie of the year award. I expect Carolina to put up a nice fight on the road.