Week 11 (November 18):
- Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
- Prospects: In big trouble. Seattle is 4-4 and Da Bears are 3-5.
- Other possible games mentioned in Wednesday’s Watch and their records: Redskins (5-3) v. Cowboys (7-1); Panthers (4-4) v. Packers (7-1); Chargers (4-4) v. Jaguars (5-3); Chiefs (4-4) v. Colts (7-1); Giants (6-2) v. Lions (6-2).
- Impact of Monday Night Football: None.
- Analysis: Packers win to keep Panthers game alive, but the Panthers fail to hold up their end of the bargain. Chargers and Jaguars both lose to eliminate that game; had they both won, they got what they wanted from the Packers and Panthers as well. In any case, the Lions defeated the Broncos to set up a matchup of two 6-2 teams. There is no way for either team to be below .500 on game day.
- Final prediction: New York Giants @ Detroit Lions.
- Actual selection: New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills. Huh? Do I need to throw out my “lopsided” criterion? Are the Patriots that big a draw that people are willing to watch them play a sucky Bills team? Eagles-Patriots is currently listed for Week 12; why does NBC need to subject us to the Patriots in consecutive weeks? I’ve seen rumors of restrictions on the number of times a team can be in primetime; why would NBC restrict their ability to pick a far more appealing Steelers-Patriots matchup? Among the other rumors I’ve seen is the continued existence of protection; FOX protecting Giants-Lions or restrictions on Giants appearances on primetime national television are the only two logical explanations. (The Giants have primetime appearances Weeks 15 and 17 still to come, and have already had three primetime games already played. But the Cowboys have six primetime appearances on the schedule and no other Giants games look very flex-able. NFL Network is counted in these figures.) But even with that, wouldn’t Panthers-Packers or Chiefs-Colts be better than this lopsided mess – the former a Fox game (thus unprotected) with the very draw-worthy Packers?