Five quick takes on Week 11 in the NFL:
1. In the biggest game of the regular season, the league’s two 9-1 teams — the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs – will meet at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. The game was moved from Mexico City because of the poor field conditions of the field there. This will be the biggest Monday night game since the series was shifted from ABC to ESPN. Each team has a young franchise quarterback (Jared Goff of the Rams and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs) and a dynamic running back (Todd Gurley of the Rams and Kareem Hunt of the Chiefs). The Rams are slightly favored, but they don’t get a big homefield advantage because the game was moved to LA. It moved the line by only a point because the Los Angeles support for the Rams has been lukewarm and there are likely to be a lot Chiefs fans at the game. This is the fifth game since 1970 to match two teams with one or fewer losses in the 11th week of the season. The Chiefs played in the last one in 2013 when they were 9-0 and Denver was 8-1. The Broncos won that one and went on to make the Super Bowl but were routed by the Seattle Seahawks.
2. When the schedule was announced, the Pittsburgh Steelers-Jacksonville Jaguars game in Jacksonville was expected to be one of the premier matches of the season because the Jaguars beat the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh last year, including a playoff victory. But since the Jaguars are at 3-6, the game has lost much of its luster and was flexed out of the Sunday night spot. Still, it’s a big game for the Jaguars to try to salvage something from this lost season. Although the 6-2-1 Steelers are out to avenge last year’s two losses, they’re still facing a 3-6 team and may not have a lot of motivation. Believe it or not, the Jaguars, despite being on a five-game losing streak, could stay in the running for the second wild card spot with an upset victory.
3. Andrew Luck became the third quarterback to throw three or more touchdown passes in six consecutive games when he threw three in a 29-26 win over the Jaguars last week. Now he goes for No. 7 in another division game against the Tennessee Titans, who are coming off a big win over New England last week. With the Titans at 5-4 and the Colts at 4-5, it’s critical for the two teams chasing the 6-3 Houston Texans, who have won six in a row and are at Washington. Luck is chasing Peyton Manning, who did it eight games in a row in 2004, and record-holder Tom Brady, who did it in 10 games in a row in 2997.
4. The defending champion Philadelphia Eagles are struggling at 4-5 and have a tough task at 8-1 New Orleans. The Eagles are nine-point underdogs and can’t afford another loss if they are to stay within striking distance of the 6-3 Washington Redskins. A defending champion hasn’t repeated since New England did it after the 2003 and 2004 seasons, and the Eagles no longer look like a team with a chance to repeat.
5. The 5-4 Cincinnati Bengals play at the 4-5 Baltimore Ravens in a game between two teams trying to stay within striking distance of 6-2-1 Pittsburgh. They’re also both trying to stay in the wild-card race if they can’t catch the Steelers. The game may feature the debut of rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson because Joe Flacco is ailing and may not play. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is in danger of losing his job if the Ravens fail to make the playoffs.