By Jason Bryden
Assistant Sports Info Director
Chicago (6-3) at Miami (5-4)
Week 11 kicks off on Thursday night with a key interconference matchup between two teams hoping to make the playoffs down in South Florida.
Chicago enters the game on having a two-game winning streak after downing Minnesota 27-13 on Sunday in the Windy City. The Bears forced four turnovers and got three touchdown passes from quarterback Jay Cutler. Wide receiver Devin Hester had 147 yards on punt and kickoff returns. Miami finally won at home on Sunday with a 29-17 win over Tennessee. The Dolphins got 107 yards receiving and a touchdown from tight end Anthony Fasano. Who will be Miami’s quarterback as the Dolphins lost both Chad Pennington and Chad Henne in the win? Right now it looks like Tyler Thigpen will be the signal caller.
Miami leads the all-time series 7-3. The Dolphins handed the Bears their lone defeat in 1985 by a 38-24 score.
Green Bay (6-3) at Minnesota (3-6)
Two teams moving in different directions, but can the Vikings spoil the Packers division title hopes on Sunday at the Metrodome?
The Packers enter the game coming off of a bye in Week 10 and have won their last three. In Week 9, Green Bay humiliated Dallas with a 45-7 score. The Packers, who topped the Vikings 28-24 in Week 7, are hoping to get their first win in Minnesota since 2007. The Vikings fell to 3-6 with a 27-13 setback in Chicago in Week 10. Running back Adrian Peterson was held to 51 rushing yards and just three points after halftime. Minnesota has won the last two at home versus Green Bay after losing three of the prior four to the Packers at home.
The Packers lead the all-time series 50-48-1 as the two squads will meet for the 100th time on Sunday.
Oakland (5-4) at Pittsburgh (6-3)
In the 1970s, this was one of the NFL’s finest and most vicious rivalries as the two sides met in the playoffs in five consecutive years between 1972 and 1976. On Sunday, the two teams meet again in the Steel City.
Oakland, who had a bye in Week 10, is coming into the game on a three-game winning streak, its first since 2002. In Week 9, the Raiders topped Kansas City in overtime, 23-20, as Oakland rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit. Pittsburgh dropped a 39-26 decision to New England this past Sunday night. The Steelers got 387 yards passing and three touchdowns from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the loss.
Oakland leads the all-time series 13-11, while both teams have split six playoff meetings (the other being in 1983). The Raiders have won the prior two, including a 27-24 last second win last year in Pittsburgh.
Indianapolis (6-3) at New England (7-2)
From the rivalry of the 70s to the rivalry of the prior decade the Colts travel to Foxboro to play the Patriots. In the last decade the two teams met three times in the playoffs with the winner of the game going on to win the Super Bowl on all three occasions. New England won in 2003 and 2004, while Indianapolis prevailed in 2006. Ironically, this did not become a hot rivalry until the Colts left the AFC East for the AFC South following the 2001 season.
Indianapolis topped Cincinnati, 23-17, on Sunday. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden returned an interception for a touchdown in the win. New England improved to 7-2 with a 39-26 win at Pittsburgh. Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns, while running also for a touchdown.
The Patriots lead the all-time series 44-29, including 2-1 in the playoffs. The Colts however have won five of the last six meetings.
New York Giants (6-3) at Philadelphia (6-3)
First place in the NFC East is on the line Sunday night in Philadelphia as the Giants square off against the Eagles. The loser of this game will have two divisional losses in the NFC East.
The Giants had their five-game winning streak come to a crashing halt in a 33-20 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday at home. New York had three turnovers in the loss, including an interception that was returned 101 yards for a touchdown. Philadelphia had a record setting night in a 59-28 win over Washington on Monday. Quarterback Michael Vick had 333 yards passing and 80 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two running touchdowns in the win. The 28-0 lead was the biggest lead for a road team after one quarter in over 60 years.
New York leads the all-time series 81-71-2 and both sides have split four playoff meetings. The Giants have won four of the prior five regular season meetings in Philadelphia, but the Eagles won 40-17 at home last year en route to a season sweep.