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Colin Kaepernick, Mark Ingram poised for huge Week 11 efforts

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In the spirit of the Salute to Service campaign, former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks spotlights players who are poised to have hero-like performances for their respective teams in Week 11:

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Matchup: vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

The former Super Bowl MVP could make this list every week based on his consistently excellent production. Considering how spectacularly Rodgers has played at Lambeau Field over the past two seasons, though, this week could be extra special. The all-everything passer has compiled a 26:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last 10 regular-season home starts, with a 9-1 record and a 130.2 passer rating. Against an Eagles secondary that's been susceptible to the deep ball, Rodgers could come out throwing to help the Packers jump out to a big lead in this battle of NFC heavyweights.

If the Packers are able to muster a running game with Eddie Lacy out of their traditional two-back sets, look for Rodgers to ring up big numbers on an assortment of drop-back and play-action passes from under center. The veteran passer has completed 76.6 percent of his passes and compiled a 156.8 passer rating when taking the snap from under center this season. These numbers show Rodgers is playing at an all-time level, so it's hard to bet against him in this favorable matchup.

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Matchup: at Carolina Panthers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The veteran playmaker is no longer the focal point of the Falcons' passing game, but that doesn't mean White isn't capable of delivering in key moments, particularly against NFC South foes. In his last six games against the Panthers, White has scored six touchdowns and averaged nearly 91 yards per game. Thus, he has a tremendous feel for finding the open areas in Ron Rivera's defense.

With the Panthers' DBs coming off Monday night's disappointing performance against the Eagles, in which they allowed pass-catchers Jordan Matthews and Brent Celek to both surpass the 100-yard mark, White could enjoy a banner night against a familiar division rival.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Matchup: at New York Giants, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The fourth-year pro has been a bit erratic as a passer this season, but he remains one of the most dangerous offensive talents in the NFL due to his considerable athleticism and playmaking ability on the perimeter. Kaepernick is at his best when operating on the edges as a dual-threat option; Harbaugh could turn him loose against a Giants defense that failed to contain a similar running threat in Russell Wilson last week. The Seahawks rolled up 350 rushing yards against the G-Men behind Wilson's spectacular execution of the zone-read, which could prompt Harbaugh to use Kaepernick on a variety of option plays and designed runs to test the discipline of New York's defensive line and linebackers at the point of attack.

If Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is unable to get his front seven to understand and execute the principles of a sound defensive scheme, look for Kaepernick to become the latest mobile quarterback to run wild against New York this season.

Everson Griffen, DE, Minnesota Vikings

Matchup: at Chicago Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

After toiling in Jared Allen's shadow the past few years, Griffen is on the verge of becoming a household name as one of the NFL's most formidable pass rushers. The fifth-year pro leads Minnesota with nine sacks and enters the game riding a five-game streak with at least one quarterback takedown. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has incorporated more five-man pressures, with rookie linebacker Anthony Barr attacking from a variety of angles to help Griffen get more one-on-one chances at the line.

Facing a Bears offense that has struggled finding a rhythm in the passing game, Zimmer could unleash Griffen off the edges to make Jay Cutler uncomfortable in the pocket. Given the quarterback's propensity to turn the ball over when under duress, an ultra-aggressive game plan could enable Griffen to notch a few more disruptive plays and push the Vikings back into playoff contention.

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Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

Matchup: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Despite the presence of one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, the Saints' offense is at its best when leaning on a punishing running attack that allows the unit to control the tempo of the game. Ingram has emerged as New Orleans' workhorse back, posting three straight 100-yard games while exhibiting a hard-nosed running style that sets the tone for the offense.

Sean Payton will lean heavily on his young thoroughbred against the Bengals' defense, which couldn't stop the run in Week 10 and looks nothing like the unit that finished third in total defense in 2013. If Ingram can get it going early against Cincinnati on a variety of downhill runs, he will not only open up the field for Drew Brees and Co., but he could notch his fourth 100-yard game of the season for the NFC South's top team.

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Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo Bills

Matchup: at Miami Dolphins, Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

COWBOYS AT BEARS
Thursday, Dec. 4, 8 p.m. ET
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Pregame show starts at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network.


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The Bills' defensive line has accounted for 31 of the team's 34 sacks this season, and Williams has played a major role in the unit's dominance at the point of attack. The former first overall pick has recorded 6.5 sacks through the team's first nine games, joining Marcell Dareus (10 sacks) and Jerry Hughes (7.5) to form the NFL's most prolific sack trio.

Facing Ja'Wuan James, a rookie making his first start at left tackle, Williams could break out his best dance moves to harass Ryan Tannehill relentlessly off the edge and disrupt the Dolphins' rhythm in the passing game. With defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz prone to attacking and exploiting the biggest mismatch along the line, the Bills could direct the bulk of their pressures from the defensive right, allowing Williams to work one-on-one against an overmatched rookie in this AFC East showdown.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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