NFL Radio Power 12, Week 11: Vikings jump past ice-cold Pack

Each week, SiriusXM NFL Radio’s hosts vote on the top six teams in both the NFC and AFC. This week’s voters include James Lofton, Bruce Murray, Alex Marvez, Bill Polian, Maurice Jones-Drew, Gil Brandt, Jim Miller, Pat Kirwan, The Opening Drive, other NFL Radio hosts, Brian Lauvray, Bobby Bonett, and you, the fans! (To participate in the fan vote, visit

All channel listings subject to change.


1. Carolina Panthers (9-0)

Week 11 opponent: vs. Washington Redskins, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 232, Sirius channel 146, Internet channel 804)

A week after “Dab-bing” their way into the hearts of so many Tennessee fans, the Panthers return home to Charlotte to take on the not awful Washington defense. If Carolina has a concern, it is that their offense is a little one-dimensional and lacking in firepower. While “just let Cam do this” can work in most games, and it should work fine again this weekend, the Panthers could use a little bit more “explosivo” in their game before the playoffs. Still, they’re undefeated and it’s only Week 10 and that Carolina defense is still there and we’re already talking about the playoffs as an assurance. That’s how good things are going for the Panthers.


2. Arizona Cardinals (7-2)

Week 11 opponent: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 225, Sirius channel 83, Internet channel 800)

If it weren’t for the aura of invincibility that comes with the “undefeated” label, the Arizona Cardinals could make the case for being No. 1 in the NFC this week. Despite their two losses, no team in the conference comes anywhere close to the red birds in point differential, and no team, save for New England, has a larger point differential in the league than Arizona. After taking apart the Seahawks in the increasingly less daunting C-Link last week, the Cardinals face the Cincinnati Bengals at home in what’s on paper at least the most intriguing game of the week.


3. Minnesota Vikings (7-2)

Week 11 opponent: vs. Green Bay Packers, Sunday 4:25 pm ET (XM channel 227, Sirius channel 82, Internet channel 817)

With Green Bay’s shocking home loss to Detroit, the Minnesota Vikings are all alone atop the NFC North. Having won five straight and with the reeling Packers visiting the Twin Cities this weekend, Minnesota can help its own case directly with a victory over Aaron Rodgers and Co. It won’t be easy — it never is in this fierce divisional rivalry — but Minnesota could push the divisional lead to two games with the win.


4. Green Bay Packers (6-3)

Week 11 opponent: at Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 4:25 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 811)

It’s hard to describe how inept Green Bay has looked on both sides of the ball the past three weeks. Against Denver’s ferocious defense and Carolina’s fearsome defense and Cam doing Cam stuff it’s a little easier to grasp the underlying reasons for those losses. Against the Lions? At home? In a game that they led all statistical categories in, save for actual points? Baffling. With or without Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay’s defense will have to be ready to slow down Adrian Peterson and force Teddy Bridgewater to beat them through the air. Offensively, there’s nothing all that easy to pin down from a problem standpoint. Aaron Rodgers has earned the reputation as a great QB and he should be able to figure out how to score points against Minnesota. Mind you, he should have been able to do this against Detroit at home, so, stay tuned.


5. Atlanta Falcons (6-3)

Week 11 opponent: vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 227, Sirius channel 82, Internet channel 801)

Here as much by default and the fact that there’s not a single other team better than .500 in the NFC, the Falcons, in spite of themselves, are in great shape to “earn” a wild card. Hosting an Andrew Luck-less Indy squad this week should get the Falcons a much-needed win after two losses in a row.


6. New York Giants (5-5)

Week 11 opponent: BYE

The banana republic that the NFC East has morphed into, what with the power vacuum left after injuries sunk the Dallas Cowboys, is a roulette game that no one wants to win. The Giants lost a last-minute, heartbreaker at home to the Patriots last week, and now have the bye to consider steps they can take to holding onto leads late in games. Of their five losses, four of them have been games wherein they’ve held the lead in the final five minutes of regulation. Luckily, New York has already swept the season series against Dallas, just in case Tony Romo and Dez Bryant lead some sort of Zombie Dallas insurrection to close the season and make a playoff push.


NFC fantasy football spotlight: Tony Romo (QB, Dallas)

2015 stats: 54-for-72, 551 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Seven weeks after suffering a broken collarbone, Romo returns against a very burnable Miami defense. With Dez Bryant having returned a few weeks ago and with Darren McFadden humming along on all cylinders, Romo’s return marks the Dallas offense’s formation into Voltron. The ‘Boys likely won’t make the playoffs this season, but this offense is potent as hell, and with Romo, your fantasy team likely will be making the playoffs. Ride the Cowboys QB until the wheels fall of.



1. New England Patriots (9-0)

Week 11 opponent: vs. Buffalo Bills, Monday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 818)

The loss of Julian Edelman and the subsequent flip to Danny Amendola as a primary receiving option not named “Gronkowski” bears monitoring. Still, this is New England that we’re talking about, and despite the losses of both Dion Lewis and Edelman to injury, the Pats are fine and dandy with Tom Brady as their quarterback and Bill Belichick stalking the sidelines.


2. Cincinnati Bengals (8-1)

Week 11 opponent: at Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 806)

One loss does not make or break a season, but Cincy’s loss to Houston could not have come at a worse time. In the next two weeks, the Bengals visit Arizona and host St Louis. A win against Houston, arguably a much more “easy” win to acquire than, say, beating the Cardinals on the road, would have kept the Bengals on level with New England in the hunt for the AFC’s top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. In any case, while the games against ‘Zona and St Louis are not “must-wins,” thanks to the home loss to the Texans, Cincinnati has less wiggle room than one might think.


3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)

Week 11 opponent: BYE

Pittsburgh continues to manufacture points at a ridiculous pace. They’re no New England, or Arizona, but man, the Steelers at times seem to get points at will. After checking in for an injured Landry Jones, Ben Roethlisberger proceeded to dominate Cleveland’s lacking defense, and now he and the whole team get a week to recover on their bye before traveling to Seattle in Week 12.


4. Denver Broncos (7-2)

Week 11 opponent: at Chicago Bears, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 228, Sirius channel 81, Internet channel 809)

With Peyton Manning out for an indefinite stretch and, let’s face it, with his performance leaving much to be desired all season long, we now have entered an uncertain era with Brock Osweiler running the Denver offense. The Broncos’ defense (and their record) are too good at this point to consider the potential of Denver relinquishing the divisional crown, but the Broncos cannot be expected to make much noise come January with a retread such as Osweiler under center. Tough break, too, because that Denver defense is mighty fierce.


5. Buffalo Bills (5-4)

Week 11 opponent: at New England Patriots, Monday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 225, Sirius channel 83, Internet channel 803)

A week after beating the New York Jets, the Bills travel to Foxboro to face off with divisional overlord, New England. Following the likely loss to the Pats, Buffalo faces an extremely easy stretch of games to close out the season, and should be right there with Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Oakland, et al in the wild-card conversation come the last week of the regular season.


6. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5)

Week 11 opponent: at San Diego Chargers, Sunday 4:05 pm ET (XM channel 229, Sirius channel 126, Internet channel 815)

Left for dead following a four-game losing streak and Jamaal Charles‘ season-ending ligament tear, the Chiefs have gone on a tear of their own with three straight wins, including the spiritual de-pantsing of the Broncos in Denver. Primed for a playoff push, Kansas City has exactly one game left on its schedule against a team with a winning record: Buffalo, at home.


AFC fantasy football spotlight: Charcandrick West (RB, Kansas City)

2015 stats: 357 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 4.1 yards per carry, 12 receptions, 24 targets, 151 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

Facing a San Diego defense that ranks bottom of the barrel in points and rushing, Charcandrick West of KC should feast much like Chicago’s Jeremy Langford did in the Monday Night game against the Chargers. Fire up West as an RB1 with confidence this week.




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