What to look for: NFL Week 11

A look ahead to Week 11 in the NFL’s 2017 season:

1. The NFL schedule makers gambled that the Eagles would have a good team when they matched them against the Cowboys in the Sunday night prime game in Week 11. Sure enough, the Eagles did their part. They are 8-1 and have the best record in the league. But the Cowboys are a disappointing 5-4 and are playing their second game in a row without suspended Ezekiel Elliott and injured tackle Tyron Smith. It no longer looks like a great prime time matchup because the Cowboys aren’t the team they were last year and the Eagles should win easily.

2. The Monday night matchup between the Falcons and Seahawks brings back bad Super Bowl memories for both teams. They both were on the cusp of beating New England in the Super Bowl the last three years. Seattle was a yard away from back to back Super Bowl wins three years ago and the Falcons led New England 28-3 late in the third period last year and we know how that worked out. Neither the 6-3 Seahawks nor 5-4 Falcons figure to be in the Super Bowl this year. Seattle has lost two key memories of its secondary, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, and its Super Bowl window seems to be closing. Atlanta has been inconsistent all year. Although Seattle is only a game behind the Rams and the Falcons are two games behind the Saints, neither team figures to win a division title. They are both trying to make the playoffs as a wild card team so both teams need this game.

3. The NFL has enough problems in the U.S. but it still keeps trying to enhance its brand in foreign countries, which is why the Patriots and Raiders will play in Mexico City. These teams have a history. The Raiders beat the Patriots in a 1976 playoff game with the help of a controversial roughing the passer penalty on the Raiders. Fifteen years later, the Patriots beat the Raiders in the snow in a playoff game and went on to win the Super Bowl with the help of the infamous tuck rule. This matchup would seem to favor the Patriots, who are 7-2 and trying to keep pace with the Steelers in the battle for the top seed. The Raiders are 4-5 and figure to miss the playoffs.

4. The Saints started out 0-2 and have won seven in a row, a feat managed only by the 1993 Cowboys when Emmitt Smith held out the first two games. The Cowboys lost their bid for an eighth straight win that year when they lost to Atlanta so the Saints can become the first team to win eight in a row after an 0-2 start by beating Washington.

5. Case Keenum was backing up Jared Goff last year with the Rams as they struggled through a losing season. Now they will duel each other in a good matchup as the 7-2 Vikings host the 7-2 Rams. The winner figures to stay in the battle for the second seed along with the Saints. Goff now is the Rams’ franchise quarterback while Keenum may have to move on now that Teddy Bridgewater seems to be healthy again. Keenum has to keep winning to keep the job.

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