Football is considered the ultimate team sport because on every single play there are eleven different players that need to carry out their assignment in order for their team's overall mission to be accomplished. I'll take a look at those individual or positional matchups that are going to have the biggest impact on the outcome of the most important games each weekend. Here's what to watch out for in Week 11.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson vs. Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith
These teams are similar. Eerily similar. Both have very solid defenses (the Seahawks and Chiefs are third and seventh in the league respectively when it comes to surrendering the least yards per game). They also lean heavily on the running game on offense and have conservative passing attacks that leave a lot to be desired.
Smith and Wilson both do such a good job minimizing mistakes that you have to think the one that is actually able to make a couple key plays for his team, whether with their arm or legs, will ultimately be the guy whose team comes out victorious.
Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line vs. Detroit Lions Defensive Line
Drew Stanton is taking over under center again for the Cardinals after starter Carson Palmer tore his ACL on Sunday against the Rams, but it isn't exactly an ideal time for Stanton to be getting the keys to the car again. Detroit's defensive line has been utterly dominant all season. Impending free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is having a career year while defensive end Ziggy Ansah is enjoying a breakout campaign.
If the Cards offensive line can neutralize those two in particular, Stanton will have a chance to make some plays to his trio of receivers -- but that's a big "if" based on how the Lions front has played.
Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett vs. Cleveland Browns Defensive Coordinator Jim O'Neil
It's always interesting to see how a team chooses to defend a quarterback making their first start in the NFL, which is exactly what Sunday will be for Mallett. Most coordinators like O'Neil will choose to pressure the inexperienced signal caller to see how he responds to being under constant duress.
Mallett and Texans head coach Bill O'Brien are well aware of that fact and expecting to be heated up in that way and have likely designed a gameplan to counteract O'Neil's blitz packages. It's an interesting cat and mouse game that will be fun to watch.