A look back at Week 11 in the NFL with five observations:
1. The Minnesota-Los Angeles Rams game was supposed to be an interesting game between two 7-2 teams pitting quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams against the quarterback who backed him up last year, Case Keenum. Instead, it was a rout with the Vikings winning 24-7 as Keenum, the NFL’s best bargain with a $2 million salary, threw for 280 yards and the Vikings ran for 171 yards. The Vikings have now won six in a row and Keenum is keeping Teddy Bridgewater on the bench. The Vikings are tied with the Saints at 8-2 for the second seed and first round bye behind 9-1 Philadelphia.
2. The Dallas Cowboys are in danger of missing the playoffs after suffering their second consecutive loss with Ezekiel Elliott suspended and Tyron Smith injured to drop to 5-5. They were no match for the Eagles despite leading 9-7 at halftime. The Cowboys gave up 30 points in second half and lost 37-9 as Carson Wentz started the half by directing drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards for the Eagles. The Eagles gashed the Cowboys run defense with 215 yards rushing.
3. The Patriots and Steelers remained tied for the best record in the AFC at 8-2 by posting easy victories. The Patriots beat the Raiders, 33-8, in Mexico City after the Steelers routed the Titans 40-7 last Thursday night. The two teams are scheduled to play on Dec. 17 in what may be a battle for the top seed. The Steeler offense has been sputtering much of the season, but clicked against the Titans as they scored over 30 points for the first time this year as Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdown passes. Brandin Cooks was Tom Brady’s top target as he caught six passes for 149 yards and a touchdown on a 64-yard play in the Patriots victory.
4. The Saints won their eighth game in a row to boost their mark to 8-2. They Saints have been winning with a running game and defense, but they needed Drew Brees to bring them back from a 15 point fourth period deficit in the final three minutes and they won in overtime, 34-31. Brees completed 11 of 11 for 164 yards in those final two regulation drives. The Saints will give hope in future to teams starting off 0-2, which is a hole most teams don’t climb out of.
5. The Kansas City Chiefs continued to struggle after their 5-0 start. They were figured to easily beat the New York Giants coming off a bye week. Chiefs coach Andy Reid is 16-2 after byes. The Chiefs can’t get their offense untracked and lost in overtime, 12-9, for their fourth loss in the last five games. It was only the Giants’ second win in the season. The Chiefs have dropped to fourth seed and still have a two game lead in the AFC West but are no longer a lock to win the division. If Alex Smith doesn’t get on track the rest of the season, this will likely be his last season in Kansas City and he will hit the free agent market next year with rookie Patrick Mahomes taking over at quarterback in his second year. But the Chiefs; last six games are against losing teams, and they have four at home, so they may rebound.