Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) celebrates their go-ahead score against the Pittsburgh Steelers late in the second half of their game at Heinz Field. The Cowboys won the game, 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
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These five teams should be on upset alert heading into NFL Week 11 of the 2016 season.
After four of the five teams on last week’s list ended up losing, it’s safe to say these five teams should be even more worried when it comes to being on upset alert for NFL Week 11. Whether it was the Atlanta Falcons falling to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road or the Green Bay Packers suffering an embarrassing loss to the Tennessee Titans, Week 10 certainly didn’t disappoint from an upset perspective.
With one of the league’s most dynamic duos in Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, the Falcons just couldn’t get anything going on offense against the Eagles after they were limited to scoring just 15 points. All of a sudden, the NFC South is wide-open thanks to Atlanta missing out on this golden opportunity to extend their lead in the division.
As for the Packers, this team continues to find new ways of disappointing after falling behind early 21-0 against the Titans before going on to lose 47-25. Now that Green Bay is below .500 heading into Week 11, it’s no secret this team is in trouble as the frustration continues to pile up each week.
Here’s a look at the five teams that should consider themselves on upset alert heading into NFL Week 11, starting off with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
When looking at all of the talent on offense, who would have thought the Pittsburgh Steelers would be sitting at 4-5 at this point in the season while riding a four-game losing streak? With the way things have been going this season, a matchup against the Cleveland Browns seems like the perfect way for a team like the Steelers to get out of their slump. But even they know this isn’t a game to taken lightly.
The Browns may be winless on the season, but that should motivate this team more than ever when it comes to attempting to earn their first win of 2016. Between Cleveland playing at home and this being a game in the division, Pittsburgh knows this could easily turn into a dogfight when these two teams hit the football field on Sunday.
At the beginning of the season, the Steelers were considered a team capable of setting numerous records on offense thanks to having some of the league’s most dangerous weapons in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Even though these two stars have been putting up big numbers over the last four games, it still hasn’t been enough for Pittsburgh to end up in the win column.
If the Steelers end up dropping their fifth-straight loss against the Browns, the panic button can officially be hit.
Oct 23, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) is introduced prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Even though the Kansas City Chiefs are one of the hottest teams in football with five wins in a row, the last two weeks prove this team should consider themselves lucky after two close calls against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. It was amazing to see the Chiefs outscore the Panthers 17-0 in the fourth quarter. However, they will need to figure out a way to play better over the first three quarters if they’re going to avoid a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Don’t be fooled by the 4-5 record by the Buccaneers as this team seems capable of keeping it a close race in the NFC South with the Atlanta Falcons. For a defense that has faced plenty of criticism throughout the regular season, Tampa Bay did show signs of life in Week 10—even if it was against a struggling team in the Chicago Bears.
When looking at how the Chiefs offense ranks near the bottom of the league overall, there’s every reason to believe the defense of the Buccaneers could give them a run for their money in this one. It seems crazy, but this is the perfect opportunity for Tampa Bay to make a statement against one of the league’s hottest teams.
Nov 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) looks to pass during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
3. Miami Dolphins
All of a sudden, the Miami Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the NFL thanks winning each of their last four games, with the latest coming on the road against the San Diego Chargers. Looking at how this team compares to the Los Angeles Rams on paper, there’s no reason why the Dolphins should end up losing this game as Jeff Fisher‘s squad ranks near the bottom of the league when it comes to offense.
With that being said, there are a few reasons why Miami needs to be cautious against Los Angeles in Week 11, starting with Fisher’s decision to finally play Jared Goff at quarterback. Fans have been pushing to see Goff replace Case Keenum for weeks as Fisher finally decided to make the switch after another disastrous performance against the New York Jets in which the Rams won for the second time this season, despite failing to score a touchdown.
If Goff can figure out a way to provide even the slightest spark to this offense on top of Los Angeles continuing to play well on defense, Miami’s winning streak could end up being in jeopardy. Not to mention, the last three wins by the Dolphins have been decided by seven points or less, which means there’s a good chance their game against the Rams could end up going down to the wire as well.
Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions defeated the Vikings 22-16. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
2. Detroit Lions
Thanks to the recent struggles of the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, the Detroit Lions all of a sudden control their own destiny when it comes to winning the NFC North title. They currently sit on top of the division heading into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville only has two wins on the season and a team like the Lions coming off their bye week normally should have no issues winning at home.
However, the Jaguars are desperate for their first win since Week 6 against the Chicago Bears as Gus Bradley is hanging on by the thread when it comes to keeping his job at head coach. The argument can be made that no coach has seen his name on the hot seat more this year than Bradley. But a win on the road against a red-hot team like Lions would at least help the head coach’s seat cool down a little bit.
Detroit may be well rested, but there’s always the risk of a team coming off their bye week a little rusty, which Jacksonville hopes to see happen on Sunday. Plus, there’s the other main factor of the Lions possibly feeling more pressure to stay ahead of the Packers and Vikings in the division.
Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) gestures at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1. Dallas Cowboys
Every time it seems like the Dallas Cowboys are at risk to seeing their winning streak come to an end, they miraculously find ways to win against all odds. Just look at the final two minutes of last weekend’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and it’s easy to see there truly is something special about this Cowboys squad.
Not only was Dallas fortunate enough to land one of the biggest steals from the 2016 NFL Draft in Dak Prescott, but the decision to select Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth-overall pick has worked wonders for this team. Not only is Elliott a strong favorite to take home Rookie of the Year honors, but the former Ohio State star is finding himself in discussion for MVP as well.
As much as these rookies have been shining, it will be interesting to see if they can continue their success at home on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. With the Ravens sitting at the top of the league when it comes to rushing defense, Elliott better be ready for what could be his toughest challenge to date.
Dallas has already exceeded all expectations in 2016 thanks to an 8-1 start, but now comes the fun of figuring out a way to take down one of the league’s toughest defenses in Baltimore.