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Another big AFC North showdown highlights Week 11

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The bye weeks are nearly behind us. Just one more week to go, with the Steelers, Saints, Texans and Colts taking Week 11 off.

The bye week comes at a good time for the Steelers and Texans; Houston loses Matt Schaub and Ben Roethlisberger is running around with a fractured thumb. This league is never boring.

This is also a true put up or shut up time for some of the NFL's upstart franchises. The Bengals, who are trying to avoid a losing streak, have a daunting road game in Baltimore. The Bills are probably already cooked, but anything other than a win at Miami and it's lights out. The Lions cannot afford a slip up against the Panthers, with the Bears now hot. And the Eagles ... well, who are we kidding, it's over there, dare I say.

Overall, plenty of divisional games. Oh, and one other thing: I can guarantee you Curtis Painter and the Colts will continue their perfect losing record. They're on the bye as well. Remember, games here are rated as either a footlong, a six-inch, a pita or a finger sandwich.

    • Buffalo at Miami

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      Could this be Buffalo's last stand? A loss here and they might well be out of it with tough AFC East games remaining. Miami is suddenly on a winning streak having won two straight, and could be climbing out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Matt Moore is continuing his efficient play as well.
    • Inside slant:

      Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled since signing his deal with the Bills, which could be worth up to $60 million. The Bills are still lacking pass rush and now injuries are seeping in on an offensive line that was playing above expectations. Don't look now, but Reggie Bush is contributing regularly for the Dolphins.
    • Rating:

      Six-inch
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • New York at Denver

      Thur 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL NETWORK Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      Rex Ryan gets a crack at the Broncos' option looks with Tim Tebow under center, as the Jets find themselves in a must-win type game if they're going to finally win the AFC East. Can Tebow win this week with just one completion?
    • Inside slant:

      With Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno hurt, Denver is down to Lance Bell rushing the ball. However, with Tebow under center Denver is averaging 220 rushing yards per game. The Broncos' offensive and defensive lines have come a long way. Some defense will adjust to Denver's look, but no one will be worrying about who is on Revis Island this week.
    • Rating:

      Six-inch
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Carolina at Detroit

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      Two of the last three quarterbacks taken first overall in the draft meet up, both coming off their roughest weeks of the season thus far. The Panthers' train-wreck special teams make every punt or kickoff an adventure. The Lions must avoid falling into a losing streak.
    • Inside slant:

      The Titans were boasting a bit about limiting Cam Newton's effectiveness and thought they got in his head some. The Titans sacked him five times, forced a fumble, picked him, and had Carolina going three and out all game. Lions coach Jim Schwartz spent the bulk of his career as a defensive coach in Tennessee, and still knows the scheme and players there. No one is better positioned to copy cat that film, especially with his defensive line.
    • Rating:

      Six-inch
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Tampa Bay at Green Bay

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      The ol' "Bay of Pigs" game, as Chris Berman used to call it, features teams trending in opposite directions. Josh Freeman's difficult season figures to keep going in that direction. The Packers continue their pursuit of perfection.
    • Inside slant:

      The Bucs are pretty much running out of defensive linemen, and what they hoped would be a deep, young position of strength is now crippling them every week. How will Albert Haynesworth hold up after actually playing a full football game just a week before? Green Bay might be able to pound them on the ground and rest Aaron Rodgers. The Bucs are allowing 4.75 yards per carry.
    • Rating:

      Pita
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Arizona at San Francisco

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      San Francisco continues to march toward what looks like it will be a bye week during the wild-card playoff round. Could there be a letdown game at some point?
    • Inside slant:

      Some are clamoring for John Skelton to start for the Cardinals over a healing Kevin Kolb, with Arizona winning twice with Skelton under center. Larry Fitzgerald is making more big plays with Skelton, but Kolb is likely to start if healthy. Of course, against one of the NFL's top defenses, Kolb might not make it through the game.
    • Rating:

      Pita
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Kansas City at New England

      Mon 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      The Patriots win the games they're supposed to win, and this looks like another division-title season. The Chiefs lose the games they're likely to lose, and it could be uncomfortable come end-of-the-season review time. The Chiefs might not have an answer for New England's tight ends.
    • Inside slant:

      This was supposed to be a homecoming game for Matt Cassel, coming back to New England where he earned that big contract from the Chiefs in the first place. Now, you just have to wonder if Bill Belichick decides to show some mercy on his old front-office pupil, Scott Pioli, and former coordinator, Romeo Crennel, if this games starts getting lopsided as many Chiefs games tend to do.
    • Rating:

      Finger sandwich
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Dallas at Washington

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      This is still a rivalry game, for what that's worth. There is a Rex Grossman turnover drinking game out there somewhere. His meltdown in Dallas earlier this year began a slide that led to John Beck starting, which led back to Grossman. Dallas is in position to push the Giants in the NFC East.
    • Inside slant:

      DeMarcus Ware will need a few more big games to break Michael Strahan's sack record, and this could be one right here. Ware has 10 sacks and four forced fumbles in 13 games against Washington, and this offensive line can be exploited. Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been calling pass plays 75 percent of the time the last five weeks. That has to be music to Ware's ears.
    • Rating:

      Finger sandwich
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Seattle at St. Louis

      Sun 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      Both these teams come in off wins. How often do we get to say that about this matchup in recent years? And the NFC West went 4-0 last week, while the AFC North went 1-3.
    • Inside slant:

      Seattle's offensive line is finally coming together, and recent draft picks are starting to play to the level expected. The Seahawks have stymied the Cowboys and Ravens pass rushes in successive weeks and are determined to pound the ball on the ground.
    • Rating:

      Finger sandwich
    • Watch: Game Preview
    • Jacksonville at Cleveland

      Sun 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS Get Tickets
    • Why to watch:

      This is a tough game. Hmm ... do you like field goals? Phil Dawson has attempted four or more in two of the Browns' last four games.
    • Inside slant:

      This could be another Browns game in which neither team scores a touchdown. Both of these teams are improved on defense, however, moreso than they're probably given credit for. Browns cornerback Joe Haden is an emerging shutdown corner, not that there is anyone he necessarily needs to shut down on the other side of the ball in this one.
    • Rating:

      Finger sandwich
    • Watch: Game Preview

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @jasonlacanfora.

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