Week 11 (November 16):
- Tentative game: Dallas @ Washington
- Prospects: The Cowboys (5-4) lost to the Giants, making the game less appealing, but will get Tony Romo back for Sunday night after a Week 10 bye, so NBC would get his return. A 5-4 team should greatly concern NBC, but it’s the Cowboys, “America’s Team”. The Redskins are 6-2 and also entering the bye.
- Likely protections: Ravens (5-3)-Giants (7-1), Titans (8-0)-Jaguars (3-5), or nothing (CBS) and Bears-Packers (FOX)
- Other possible games mentioned on Wednesday’s Watch and their records: Chargers (3-5)-Steelers (5-2), Broncos (4-4)-Falcons (5-3)
- Impact of Monday Night Football: Immense. A Washington win might appear to help Cowboys-Redskins keep its spot, and a Steelers win might help Chargers-Steelers, but in fact both games might be more positively affected by losses, to keep from getting lopsided.
- Analysis: Cowboys-Redskins can never be counted out entirely, and the only game that appears to have much of a chance to challenge at the moment is Ravens-Giants. It almost looks like a no-brainer, especially if the Redskins lose tonight: both teams have one more loss than their equivalents in Ravens-Giants. But you have to consider the marquee name value of the Cowboys and especially the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry, and also factor in the return of Tony Romo. If Ravens-Giants is protected, Broncos-Falcons becomes the best alternative (especially if the Steelers lose but even if they win), which is a closer contest, but pretty much averages out the same. It probably needs the Redskins to lose to even have a shot. Then the 6-3 Redskins compare about the same with the 5-3 Falcons, and the 5-4 Cowboys compare about the same as the 4-4 Broncos, and Broncos-Falcons probably still loses, partly because of the name value of the game and partly because it has the advantage of already being the tentative game. If Ravens-Giants is protected, there’s no way Cowboys-Redskins is losing its spot – and even if it isn’t, it would be far from surprising to see it on Sunday night anyway. Ravens-Giants is the only other game I wouldn’t be surprised by. Analysis of the pick itself on Wednesday.
- Final prediction: Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (no change).