The Detroit Lions are now in sole possession of first place in the NFC North, and they are set to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Aside from the Lions, which teams should you be rooting for this week? Here's our Week 11 rooting guide:
The Bears are without Jay Cutler again this week, and they are coming off a tough loss to the Lions. Another loss this week would be fantastic for the Lions' lead in the NFC North, so this is an easy one: Go Ravens.
Root for: Ravens
Philadelphia did Detroit a solid last week by beating Green Bay, but the Eagles improved to 5-5 in the process. They are now on the verge of getting back in the mix for a wild-card spot, and they're already back in the mix in the NFC East title race. The wild card isn't the Lions' primary concern right now, but I'd prefer if Philadelphia didn't become a real threat in that race.
Root for: Redskins
Now at 5-4, the Cardinals have become a real player in the wild-card race. Considering they own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Lions, it'd be nice if Arizona started to fade going forward. Here's to Jacksonville winning its second game in a row.
Root for: Jaguars
Another loss for San Francisco would be great for the wild-card race, but I'm going to be greedy and set my sights on the No. 2 seed. The Lions are just a game behind the Saints in the standings, but New Orleans is currently 5-0 in the NFC. The Lions are only 5-2, meaning they need the Saints to start losing, especially in games against NFC foes. With that in mind, let's hope for a 49ers win that would help open the door to the possibility of the Lions getting a first-round bye.
Root for: 49ers
This is another easy one. I want to see New York win its fourth straight game because it would mean that they handed the Scott Tolzien-led Packers another loss. Go Giants.
Root for: Giants
The chances of Seattle not finishing with the top seed in the NFC are looking slimmer and slimmer each week. The Seahawks are 9-1 overall and 6-0 in the NFC, so a shocking Minnesota upset would be big for all of the teams chasing Seattle at the top of the standings.
Root for: Vikings
Thanks to five straight wins, the Panthers are currently the No. 5 seed in the NFC. Carolina might get in the way if the Lions need to fall back on a wild-card spot by season's end, so a Patriots win would be helpful just in case a division title doesn't happen for Detroit.
Root for: Patriots
If the Lions beat the Steelers on Sunday and everything else goes according to plan, the NFC playoff picture will look like this going into Week 12:
- Seattle Seahawks (9-2)
- New Orleans Saints (7-3)
- Detroit Lions (7-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
- San Francisco 49ers (7-3)
- Carolina Panthers (6-4)
- Arizona Cardinals (5-5)
- Chicago Bears (5-5)
- Green Bay Packers (5-5)
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
Despite having the same record, the Lions would remain behind the Saints because of the conference record tiebreaker (5-1 for New Orleans, 5-2 for Detroit). However, with a two-game lead in the NFC North and a 7-3 record overall, life would be pretty good for the Lions if the standings look like this next week.