The New Orleans Saints just suffered through one of the more stunning and demoralizing losses you will see all year. The opportunity for victory was well at hand until the defending champs took advantage of some referee oversight to escape New Orleans with a win. Unfortunately, it was a historic loss for the Saints that will be remembered for years to come. Despite what the Saints players, coaches, or fans may feel about last week, the time to regroup and attack even harder is now at hand.
Standing in the Saints' path of returning to .500 is the Carolina Panthers, who just had their own crushing loss last week as well. The Saints may have won four of their last six games, including a win over these very Panthers, but this is no time for complacency or dismissal of Carolina. The short week won't be good for the Saints' bodies but it may just be the best thing for their minds. It's time to move forward, right through the Panthers.
Now lets take a look at this pivotal divisional game and all of the NFL action in Week 11.
Last week I went 7-7
I told you so: Chiefs over Panthers!
What do I know: Bears over Bucs?
Thursday, November 17th - Thursday Night Football
Saints(4-5) at Panthers(3-6)
This game will come down to Drew Brees and the NFL's top-ranked passing attack as usual, as Mark Ingram and the running game will be rendered ineffective against the Carolina front seven. Both Brees and Cam Newton are likely to throw a pick in this game but neither team can afford to give up much more than that. Unsurprisingly, Greg Olsen and Brandin Cooks will be the biggest keys to success for both teams. The player with the bigger game will likely be on the winning team.
Both of these teams were stunned last week, but one will turn this around while the other will potentially spiral for the remainder of the season. There is a lot on the line here, and the Saints need to be the more aggressive, determined team. Instead of a blocked kick to seal the game, this one will end with a Wil Lutz winner going through the uprights. Saints win 27-24.
Sunday, November 20th - Early Games
Pittsburgh will take out their frustrations from a week ago on poor, defenseless Cleveland. Pittsburgh wins 29-10.
Ravens(5-4) at Cowboys(8-1) - Game of the Week
The matchup of the NFL's #1 defense (Ravens) against the NFL's #1 rushing attack (Cowboys) will make for a very interesting game. Baltimore's defense will keep things tight all game long, but Dallas' offensive line and relentless rushing attack will wear down Baltimore in the late stages. Dallas wins 23-21.
This game will be much closer than most think, thanks to Jacksonville's better than average defense. The Jags defense will keep them around until Matthew Stafford leads Detroit to a score in the final moments to rip their hopes away. Detroit wins 23-21.
Despite Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray having big games, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton will respond with monster performances in this one. Indianapolis wins 33-28.
Cincinnati has suffered through some tough, close losses as of late but will rebound with a home win over Buffalo. Cincy will take away the run game from Buffalo, forcing them to throw the ball, and the Bengals must be ready to take advantage. Cincinnati wins 28-22.
Buccaneers(4-5) at Chiefs(7-2)
Kansas City will control the clock on offense and force turnovers on defense, leading to a very long afternoon for Tampa. Kansas City wins 28-14.
The Giants will punish the Chicago defense with a surprisingly big game on the ground, as the Bears will overcompensate to slow down Odell Beckham, jr. Giants win 27-13.
Cardinals(4-4-1) at Vikings(5-4)
The top two defenses in the NFC go to battle in this one, but the edge clearly goes to Arizona, as their defense gets to face the worst offense in the NFL. Despite having the most un-clutch quarterback in the league, Arizona will make enough plays to win a pivotal NFC road game here. The freefall in Minnesota continues. Arizona wins 25-19.
Sunday, November 20th - Late Games
There won't be much offense to watch in this game. Miami wins 17-13.
San Francisco should have last rites administered during their pregame speech. New England wins 41-13.
Eagles(5-4) at Seahawks(6-2-1)
This should be a great defensive matchup, but the advantage will go to Seattle in this one. The Seahawks will win by shutting down the Philly running game, putting pressure on Carson Wentz, and feeding off the home crowd. Seattle wins 27-14.
Sunday Night Football
Packers(4-5) at Redskins(5-3-1)
Kirk Cousins and the Washington passing game will obliterate the bewildered Packers through the air in this one. Green Bay's disappointing season meanders on, as Washington wins 30-16.
Monday, November 21st - Monday Night Football
Texans(6-3) at Raiders(7-2) - Estadio Azteca - Mexico City
The NFL returns to Mexico for the first time since 2005 as the Raiders "host" the Texans at Mexico City's historic Estadio Azteca. Oakland's dynamic and balanced offense will test the NFL's 4th ranked defense in ways they haven't really been tested so far this season. On the other side, Oakland will key in on stopping the Houston running game, forcing the NFL's worst passing game to challenge them, which Houston won't. Oakland wins 27-25.
There we go, Week 11 is shaping up to be pretty interesting. The Saints have no time to lament, as the opportunity to get back to .500 is here. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below.