Green Bay Packers (4-4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
This week’s Thursday night game features two teams with dwindling playoff-aspirations in the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, as both teams find themselves falling behind in the race for the postseason to other NFC teams such as the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers—who are primed to secure Wildcard spots at the very least.
Green Bay is coming off an impressive win over the Miami Dolphins. Led by Aaron Jones—who rushed for 145 yards and 2 scores—the Packers dismantled a lesser team and earned their 4th victory of the season. Davante Adams continued his impressive 2018 campaign by adding 2 touchdowns to his resume, and the Green Bay defense racked up their league-leading 31st sack of the season.
The Seahawks are coming off a 36-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, having won three straight prior to losing to their division foes. Rashaad Penny had his best game as a pro—rushing for 108 yards and 1 touchdown on just 12 carries in Chris Carson’s absence. Even at 4-5, it’s too soon to close the door on Seattle making a late-season playoff push.
A win for the Packers keeps them very much alive in the NFC North—which will likely feature two playoff teams this season. A loss coupled with a Vikings win over the Bears makes it that much harder for the Packers to reach the postseason. Seattle is in a must-win position at home against the Packers. Although Green Bay has won the past three contests between these two teams, Seattle is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL.
Tennessee Titans (5-4) at Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
This AFC South matchup may not seem glamourous on paper, but it’s a game that could make it more clear who will sit atop the AFC South at season’s end. The Titans are coming off a surprising blowout win over the New England Patriots, and find themselves just one game behind the first place Houston Texans. The Colts, on the other hand, are fresh off a win against the Jaguars and have an easy slate of games to close out the season.
The Titans’ recipe for success in this game revolves around three players: Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis and Dion Lewis. Lewis was very active against his former team, as was Corey Davis, who caught 7 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Mariota played a clean game, passing for 225 yards and 2 scores. The Colts’ pass rush has cooled off after a hot start, and will need to keep Mariota in the pocket as he is so effective running the football.
Andrew Luck is on pace to pass for over 40 touchdowns after not playing football in two years. Luck should be able to take advantage of the Titan’s secondary, and with Marlon Mack healthy again—the Colts’ offense can reach levels that many didn’t expect it to.
Chicago Bears (6-3) at Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1)
Last week against the Detroit Lions, Bears second-year quarterback completed 23 of 30 passes for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding 18 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Under Matt Nagy’s guidance, the Chicago Bears have gone from an offensive afterthought to a big-play, explosive offense that has many similarities to the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense—which Nagy coordinated last season. Allen Robinson had his best game as a Chicago Bear, catching 6 passes for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. On defense, Khalil Mack made a successful return from a two-game absence with 5 tackles and 2 sacks on the day. Rookie Roquan Smith is slowly coming into his own as well, with a 10-tackle performance against Detroit.
The Minnesota Vikings—fresh off their week-10 bye—will look to take the division lead from the Bears with a win on Sunday. Kirk Cousins is quietly having a very solid season, and the Vikings defense looked phenomenal in week 9 against the Lions. In that game, Danielle Hunter recorded 3.5 sacks, Tom Johnson added 2.5 and Everson Griffin had 1.5 as well. The Vikings will need to apply consistent pressure on Trubisky if they want to win this game.
In what’s essentially a must-win game for both teams, we should get a better picture of who’s for real in the competitive NFC North after this matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) at Los Angeles Rams (9-1)
Last but certainly not least, we have possibly the best matchup of the season. The 9-1 Chiefs will travel to Los Angeles—after this game was originally scheduled to be played in Mexico City—to take on the Rams in a battle of the best offenses and offensive minds in the NFL in Andy Reid and Sean McVay.
Patrick Mahomes feels like a lock to win the MVP, and it’s only week 11. The first-year starter is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, something we haven’t seen since Peyton Manning did it in 2013. Jared Goff is also having a tremendous season, proving last season’s success was not a fluke.
In addition to the head coaches and quarterbacks, each team’s running back has been extremely productive this season. Todd Gurley is the favorite to be named the NFL’s offensive player of the year, while Kareem Hunt has been hurdling his way toward an All-Pro selection since week 1.
Its extremely hard to predict the outcome of this game, but this is a potential Super Bowl matchup featuring two of the best offenses of the past decade. Enjoy.