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NFL Match-Up Mania: Week 11

It seems to me that Week 10 should be known as the Sunday of “Any Given Sunday” for this season.  We saw the Jacksonville Jaguars win their first game of the year, QB Kellen Clemens won his first 2013 contest as a starter when the St. Louis Rams upset the Indianapolis Colts, and the Tampa Bay Bucs finally have a ‘1’ in the ‘W’ column (I know that was technically a Monday, but it still counts).  However, the games in this showing of the Student of the Game’s NFL Week 11 Match-Up Mania have the big picture in mind.  We aren’t just talking about winning a game, we’re talking about playoffs . . . And somewhere Former NFL Head Coach Jim Mora Sr. is smiling.


Chiefs v. Broncos

The top of the most improved division in the league features the still undefeated Kansas City Chiefs facing off against the Denver Broncos.  Denver hopes to topple the last no-loss team of 2013 and inspire the remnants of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins to toast their continued position as the only team in  history to win all their games through the regular and post season.


Heading into Mile High at 9-0, KC has shown us exactly how valuable a new coach’s impact can be.  Since the arrival of Head Coach Andy Reid, the offense went from disaster to virtually mistake free.  New QB Alex Smith continues to manage the squad well keeping them from losing games through turnovers while most of the offensive production comes from RB Jamaal Charles.  OTs Brandon Albert and Eric Fisher have also been key in this squad’s success.  But when we attempt to gauge the Chiefs and their 2013 victories, none of them are possible with out their defense.  Several pieces including LB Tamba Hali, DT Dontari Poe and LB Derrick Johnson lead to a puzzle that many play callers have yet to solve.

The make-up of Kansas City’s crew makes them the complete opposite of the Broncos in how they’re built.  A high flying offense commanded by future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning, Denver has weapons in WRs Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Wes “the Weapon” Welker.  In combination with Knowshon Moreno at RB and America’s favorite new TE Julius Thomas they’ve an offensive roster that has a larger arsenal than the military of a small nation.  However, on defense, they are pretty thin in their pass rush and the ability to cover which allows teams to stay in games and remain a pain in Manning’s surgically repaired neck.

In comparing the 2 forces, the key to the game is the protection of a banged up Manning by a patch work Denver O-line against Kansas City’s fearsome front 7.  Even with the Broncos subpar defense and KC’s ability to keep the football, I don’t think the Chiefs can put up enough points on the scoreboard to go 10-0.


Niners v. Saints

This edition of the Battle of the Golden Helmet may not be as exciting as the previous 2 installments.  The earliest being a 2011 season playoff game and the other being the 1st big win for 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick as a starter, the medical status WR Michael Crabtree plays will be a determining factor in the current contest’s outcome.  The 400+ passing yard performance the Niners put up in the season opener seems an anomaly after throwing only 91 yards against the Panthers in Week 10’s 10-9 loss.  But the another truth is the weakness of the Saints defense.  Can New Orleans pull off covering WR Anquan Boldin and TE Vernon Davis while also stopping Frank “the Tank” Gore as Carolina did?  If not, the “Who Dat Nation” could be in for a disappointment.


Should San Francisco not get Crabtree back, it’ll be on the Golden Gate Gridiron defense to prevent QB Drew Brees from  bringing the “Big Easy” big numbers offensively.  The key to stopping the Saints is silencing TE Jimmy Graham and WR Marques Colston while neutralizing RB Darren Sporles underneath, on the ground, and on special teams.  With the odds stacked against the 49ers as they appear to be, I see the the Saints staying atop the NFC South with a victory in the contest.


Honorable Mention


Jets v. Bills

The Rookie Starter Rematch is upon us. QB EJ Manuel and the Bills not only have a chance to help their hopes for a Wild Card spot, but they can hurt the chances of New York Jets QB Geno Smith in being voted Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2013.


Both Manuel and Smith have had both solid and sad performances at various times in the season, but it comes down to run support. The team with better production on the ground asks their QB to do less, meaning a lower likelihood of turnovers.  Fewer turnovers leads to wins as we all know.  I see RBs Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller circling the wagons to cool the Jets.


Written By:

Kyle Nash — @TheSoTG on Twitter

Founder and host of The Student of the Game show

VP of Operations and Editor for The National Gridiron Network

COO and NFL Contributor for The Sports Chronicles

Special Contributor for Pro Player Insiders


photo by: CraigInDenver

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Kyle NashThe Student of the Game
Host of the Student of The Game Podcast Monday @ 7:30pm EST
Writer for NGSC Sports
Narrator of Sport Symposium on NGSC Sports YouTube Channel.

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