NFL 2012 Season — Week 11 Preview
A new chapter in the Patriots-Colts rivalry highlights the NFL schedule for Week 11 of the 2012 season. Here’s a preview of this week’s games:
Thursday, Nov. 15
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills — 8:20 P.M.
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.
Miami (4-5) rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has just five touchdown passes on the year. The Bills’ defense allows an NFC-high 31.7 points per game and an AFC-high 410 yards per contest. Averaging 143.1 yards per game on the ground, Buffalo (3-6) has the league’s sixth-best running game. The Dolphins’ run defense must improve on the 177 rushing yards it allowed to the Titans last week.
Sunday, Nov. 18
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons — 1 P.M.
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Arizona (4-5) has an anemic offense that averages 16 points and 295.4 yards per game, both NFC-worst totals. The Cardinals’ 76.2 rushing yards per game are the lowest in the NFL. The Falcons’ defense is tied for fourth in the league with 11 interceptions. Atlanta (8-1) sends quarterback Matt Ryan and the league’s fourth-ranked passing offense against the Cardinals’ second-ranked passing defense.
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys — 1 P.M.
Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Tex.
Cleveland (2-7) will rely on rookie running back Trent Richardson to lead the attack against the Cowboys’ run defense. Dallas (4-5) has the league’s seventh-best pass defense, allowing just 213.6 yards per game. Cowboys’ running back Felix Jones will get another start in place of injured DeMarco Murray. The Browns have the NFL’s 27th-ranked run defense, giving up 132.2 yards per game.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions — 1 P.M.
Ford Field, Detroit
Green Bay (6-3) counts on quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the bulk of its offense. Rodgers’ 25 touchdown passes tie him with Drew Brees for the league lead, but the Packers’ QB has been sacked a league-high 29 times. Lions’ pass rushers Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril hope to add to that sack total. Detroit (4-5) has been victimized by big plays and mental mistakes, yet it still has the NFC’s top-ranked total offense. The Packers’ defense is tied for second in the NFL with 28 sacks. They’ll look to keep quarterback Matthew Stafford from finding Calvin Johnson, the league’s leading receiver with 974 yards.
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs — 1 P.M.
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
Cincinnati (4-5) has the league’s 10th-ranked passing offense. Bengals’ receiver A.J. Green leads the NFL with nine touchdown catches. The Chiefs have the league’s eighth-ranked pass defense. With weapons like Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City (1-8) has managed 350 total yards of offense per game, but their turnovers have helped limit the team to a scoring average of just 16.2 points per game. The Bengals are tied for fourth in the league with 27 sacks.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins — 1 P.M.
FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
Philadelphia (3-6) has lost five games in a row for the first time under coach Andy Reid. The Eagles will start rookie quarterback Nick Foles in place of Michael Vick, who sustained a concussion in last week’s loss to the Cowboys. The Redskins are 30th in the league in pass defense, giving up 301.7 yards per game. Washington (3-6) averages 381.8 yards per game on offense thanks to quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris. Philadelphia has struggled to get pressure on the quarterback this season, recording just 14 sacks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers — 1 P.M.
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
Tampa Bay (5-4) is scoring an NFC-best 28.9 points per game thanks to the running of Doug Martin and the play of quarterback Josh Freeman, who has 13 touchdowns and only one interception in his last five games. The Panthers have just six interceptions on the season. Carolina (2-7) has been inconsistent on offense. Quarterback Cam Newton may need to pass often as the Buccaneers allow just 80.1 yards per game on the ground, the NFL’s lowest total.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans — 1 P.M.
Reliant Stadium, Houston
Jacksonville (1-8) averages a league-low 14.1 points and 263.6 yards per game on offense. The Jaguars will stick with quarterback Blaine Gabbert despite his 76.9 passer rating. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is not likely to play, as he is still recovering from a foot injury. The Texans have the NFL’s second-ranked total defense, giving up an AFC-low 15.9 points per game. Houston (8-1) will rely on Arian Foster, the league’s third-leading rusher with 872 yards, to lead its offense against Jacksonville’s 29th-ranked run defense. Foster ran for 110 yards and a score in the Texans’ 27-7 win over the Jaguars in Week 2.
N.Y. Jets at St. Louis Rams — 1 P.M.
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
New York (3-6) has the NFL’s 30th-ranked offense, gaining just 302.7 yards per game. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has completed just 52 percent of his passes. The Rams will try to get pressure on Sanchez with defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long. St. Louis (3-5-1) hopes that running back Steven Jackson can attack a Jets’ defense that ranks 30th in the league against the run.
New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders — 4:05 P.M.
O.co Coliseum, Oakland
NFL-passing yardage leader Drew Brees leads New Orleans (4-5) and the NFL’s second-best passing offense against a Raiders’ defense that hasn’t stopped teams often in the past two weeks. Oakland (3-6) gives up 31.6 points per game and gets little pressure on the quarterback. The Raiders have the AFC’s weakest rushing attack, averaging just 76.7 yards per game, but quarterback Carson Palmer has thrown for an AFC-best 2,723 yards. The Saints yield an NFC-high 28.4 points per game.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos — 4:25 P.M.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
The last time San Diego (4-5) played Denver (6-3), Peyton Manning rallied the Broncos from a 24-point halftime deficit to beat the Chargers, 35-24, in Week 6. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown 12 interceptions on the season. He’ll need to avoid a Denver pass rush that has registered a league-high 31 sacks. Manning is expected to pass frequently against a Chargers’ defense that allows an AFC-low 82.9 rushing yards per game.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots — 4:25 PM
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Indianapolis (6-3) is in playoff contention thanks to rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts will use receiver Reggie Wayne to test a Patriots’ pass defense that ranks 29th in the NFL, giving up 285.3 yards per game. New England (6-3) is still explosive on offense, averaging a league-high 33.2 points and 430.2 yards per game under quarterback Tom Brady. The Colts have just four interceptions on the season.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers — 8:20 P.M.
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Two AFC North rivals with playoff aspirations battle at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh (6-3) is expected to start Byron Leftwich in place of Ben Roethlisberger, who suffered a sprained right shoulder in Monday night’s win over the Chiefs. The Steelers could get running back Rashard Mendenhall back from injury against the Ravens’ defense. Baltimore (7-2) has put up 28.2 points per game, the fourth-highest average in the league, behind a dynamic offensive attack led by quarterback Joe Flacco. The Steelers rank first in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 265.7 yards per game.
Monday, Nov. 19
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers — 8:30 P.M.
Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Chicago (7-2) visits San Francisco (6-2-1) in a battle featuring two of the NFL’s best defenses. Quarterback Jason Campbell is expected to start for the Bears in place of Jay Cutler, who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Texans. Campbell needs running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush to help put pressure on a 49ers defense that allows an NFL-low 14.1 points per game. Thanks to running back Frank Gore, San Francisco has the league’s best rushing offense, rolling up 170.2 yards per game. The 49ers could be without quarterback Alex Smith, who suffered a concussion against the Rams last Sunday. If Smith isn’t cleared to play, Colin Kaepernick will start against a Chicago defense that leads the league in interceptions with 19.
Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, N.Y. Giants, Seattle Seahawks
[Stats via NFL.com]