Everything you need to know about NFL Week 11: Key games with playoff implications, stats that stand out
Week 11 of the NFL will go a long way in deciding the playoff picture and a lot more
The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers got Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season off to a heck of a start. The game was not exceedingly well played, but there were some fireworks toward the end, what with Myles Garrett making the absolutely inexplicable decision to rip Mason Rudolph's helmet off of Rudolph's head and then , which ignited a brawl between the AFC North rivals.
We'd obviously prefer that nothing quite as dangerous as that happens this weekend, but if we can get close games between solid teams, that'd be nice. With that in mind, we're going to take a zoomed-out look at how the upcoming week's games will affect what really matters in the NFL: the race for the Super Bowl.
In the space below, we'll tell you who's in, who's out, and which of this weekend's games have direct playoff implications. Then, we'll give you one big stat to know that could help decided every Week 11 game.
Let's dig in.
Week 11 Games With Playoff Implications
Week 11 features just one game where both teams currently occupy playoff spots.
- Texans at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
The AFC South-leading Texans travel to Baltimore to take on the AFC North-leading Ravens. Each of these teams is looking up at the Patriots in the standings, but whoever comes away with a win here will have a leg up in the race for a first-round bye in the playoffs. Baltimore is currently a game ahead of Houston, but that lead would be erased if the Texans take this game and thus, the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Week 11 also features two games where both teams are within one game of a playoff spot.
- Jaguars at Colts, 1 p.m. ET
- Patriots at Eagles, 4:25 p.m. ET
Nick Foles returns to the lineup for the 4-5 Jaguars, who take on the 5-4 division rival Colts. Indy is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in right now thanks to having lost to the Raiders earlier this season, while Jacksonville is a game back in the wild card race.
The Patriots currently have control of the AFC's No. 1 seed, while the Eagles are tied with the Cowboys at 5-4, but currently outside of the playoffs due to the head-to-head tiebreaker. Dallas has a weak matchup against the Lions on Sunday afternoon, and the Eagles will likely need to pull off an upset over New England in order to keep pace in the NFC East.
Stats to Know
- Jets at Washington, 1 p.m. ET
Since Bill Callahan took over as the interim coach, Adrian Peterson has carried the ball 75 times for 383 yards. That's a 5.11 yards per carry average. Granted, it's only been four games. But this man is 34 years old! There have only been 16 individual seasons since the AFL-NFL merger back in 1970 where a running back aged 34 or older carried the ball at least 100 times. Peterson's 4.27 yards per carry average ranks third among that group of 16, and his 61.4 yards per game ranks fourth. It seems obvious that Callahan will want to lean on Peterson (and the returning Derrius Guice) this Sunday, but it should be noted that the Jets have the NFL's No. 2 ranked run defense by DVOA. If Peterson gets shut down, does Dwayne Haskins have what it takes to beat New York through the air?
- Jaguars at Colts, 1 p.m. ET
Nick Foles has not played since Week 1. Lucky for the Jaguars, they are about to come upon what is typically his best stretch of the season. Throughout his career, Foles has an 84.8 passer rating in September, 85.6 in October, 88.1 in November, and 93.2 in December. Foles has actually played more games in November and December (31) than September and October (23), as well, so it's not as though he's benefitting from a few spike games in a smaller sample size. The Jags are on the outside of the playoff picture right now, but if Foles can create chemistry with D.J. Chark and Chris Conley, perhaps they can go on a run down the stretch.
- Bills at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET
Josh Allen has been more consistent during his sophomore season than he was as a rookie. His completion percentage, yards per attempt average, touchdown rate, interception rate, and sack rate are all improved from where they were a year ago. But Allen has not created the same volume of splash plays this season, and that was supposed to be his trademark. Last season, nearly 20 percent of Allen's pass attempts traveled at least 20 yards in the air, per Pro Football Focus. This year that number is down to 14 percent. Allen had seven touchdown passes on those throws last season, and has just one this year. The Dolphins have given up 39 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season, though, so perhaps Allen can make some big plays downfield on Sunday.
- Cowboys at Lions, 1 p.m. ET
Matthew Stafford's probable absence from this game makes it a tough one for the Lions, but the defense's backslide over the past several weeks should be more concerning to Matt Patricia. Detroit now ranks 24 in points allowed, 30th in yards allowed, and 25th in defensive DVOA. The secondary is falling apart and the front four apart from Trey Flowers get almost no pressure on the opposing quarterback, meaning QBs can just sit in the pocket and pick them apart. Against a team that protects its quarterback as well as any in the NFL, and a quarterback who is playing at an extraordinarily high level, that's a recipe for disaster.
- Texans at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
At The Athletic's Aaron Reiss and Jeff Zrebiec noted, the last game that featured Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson as the two quarterbacks saw their teams combine for 1,075 total yards of offense, while the two quarterbacks accounted for eight combined touchdowns. These two guys are among the and it'll be fascinating to watch them go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon. It's worth noting that Watson (104.6 passer rating) and Jackson (108.5) are among the league's best passers at creating late in the play, excelling on plays where they throw the ball at least 2.5 seconds after it's snapped. That means these secondaries will have to maintain their coverage for a bit longer than they're typically used to.
- Falcons at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET
Christian McCaffrey now leads the NFL in rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns, and total touchdowns. He's on pace to set the all-time record in yards from scrimmage. His exploits have overshadowed what sure looks like a breakout season from second-year receiver D.J. Moore. In Year 2, Moore has 54 catches for 684 yards in nine games, putting him on pace for 96 grabs and 1,216 yards. The full list of players to reach those totals in their first or second year in the NFL: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham, A.J, Green, Jimmy Graham, Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Isaac Bruce. That's it. With the decrepit Falcons secondary on tap this week, perhaps Moore can finally find the end zone for the first time since Week 3.
- Saints at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET
Speaking of really, really good NFC South wide receivers: Michael Thomas. This guy is incredible. After leading the NFL with 125 receptions last season, Thomas leads the NFL with 86 catches and 1,027 receiving yards this season. That puts him on pace for 153 catches (that's not a typo) and 1,826 receiving yards. This guy just keeps getting better every single year, and he is almost sure to see his catch and yardage totals increase again, which has happened every season of his career. Oh, and he spent half the year playing with a backup quarterback. If his first four years are any indication, Thomas is on his way to being one of the all-time greats. By the way, he averages 9.7 catches and 119.5 yards per game in six career contests against the Bucs.
- Broncos at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET
With Brandon Allen under center, the Broncos will presumably want to center their offense around the running game. Phillip Lindsay (4.9 yards per carry and five touchdowns) and Royce Freeman (4.0 per carry and two scores) have formed a solid one-two punch this season, but the Minnesota run defense is incredibly strong. They just held Ezekiel Elliott to 47 yards on 20 carries in a game where it was clear that their sole objective was to stop the run. That seems likely to be the case this weekend as well. The Broncos might not want to turn the game over to Allen, but they might have to.
- Cardinals at 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET
The Cardinals were essentially the first team to have any degree of offensive success against the 49ers this season. The Seahawks replicated some of that on Monday night, but they also turned the ball over four times and that's why it took overtime for them to come away with a win. If there's anything the Cardinals have been good at this season, it's avoiding turnovers. Only 5.4 percent of Arizona drives have resulted in a turnover this season, per Pro-Football-Reference, and that's the second-lowest rate in the NFL. If they can continue avoiding turnovers against the Niners, who are entering this game banged up on offense, maybe they can get a different result in the game this time around.
- Patriots at Eagles, 4:25 p.m. ET
The New England defense has finally shown vulnerability in its last two games, with teams finding ways to run the ball against them. The strength of the New England defense is the secondary, particularly on the perimeter, so working the ball to tight ends and running backs in the passing game is the best option there. That actually sets up pretty well for the Eagles, whose perimeter receivers are all injured anyway. Jordan Howard popped up on the injury report earlier this week so that's something to watch out for, but Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Miles Sanders should all have opportunities here. If they can take advantage, perhaps the Eagles can find a way to move the ball against what has been one of the NFL's best units.
- Bengals at Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET
The Bengals have one of the worst run defenses in recent memory. They have allowed opponents 302 carries for 1,557 yards and 12 touchdowns in just nine games. That's gross. They're somehow only 29th in run defense DVOA, but even that is not ideal when you're about to run into Josh Jacobs, who is an absolute tackle-breaking machine. Jacobs has broken 54 tackles this year -- only Chris Carson has broken more. And among 60 running backs with at least 30 carries, Jacobs ranks second in PFF's elusive rating, behind only the Cowboys' Tony Pollard.
- Bears at Rams, 8:20 p.m. ET
Remember the atrocious night game between the Bears and Rams from late last season? In case you've forgotten, here are the numbers: Mitchell Trubisky went 16 of 30 for 110 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Jared Goff went 20 of 44 for 180 yards and four interceptions. Each player has seemingly regressed this season. This game has the potential to be really ugly.
- Chiefs at Chargers, 8:15 p.m. ET -- Monday in (Mexico City)
Patrick Mahomes in his first game back from a dislocated knee: 36 of 50 for 446 yards and three touchdowns. Is it his fault that his defense couldn't stop Ryan Tannehill? I feel like it's probably not. The Chargers have a below-average pass defense this season, and it doesn't seem like their offense is well set up to win a shootout. LA has reached 30 points only twice in 10 games, and they got to exactly 30 each of those times. Meanwhile, there have been four games where the Chargers have scored 17 points or fewer. The Chiefs have only done that once.
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