Drama abounds in Redskins-Titans duel, plus more Week 11 storylines
The NFL's most undeniable truth, year after year, is that headliners and big brands always draw the most interest.
Which leads us directly to the NFL's Week 11 storylines. Stars, stories and flagship rivalries are everywhere.
There's the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady rivalry, which is so good it should be punctuated with Roman numerals. There's the sudden Immaculate Resuscitation of Raiders-Steelers. Then there are the Cowboys, who may not be playoff-bound, but certainly appear to be interesting again.
Brett Favre most likely will play in his final Packers-Vikings brawl. The two best players at their respective positions literally will go toe-to-toe in the Meadowlands. And even what should be a ho-hum Monday nighter between losing teams has added flavor, with the rival Chargers and Broncos exchanging blows and maybe playing for their coaches' jobs.
But we begin in Nashville, cradle of country music and stories of broken hearts and dreams. With deference to Toby Keith, the Redskins and Titans are not as good as they once were. But all they're hoping to be is as good once as they ever were. One last-gasp run at something special could be riding on it.
• Randy Moss plays his first game at LP Field for the 5-4 Titans, who looked like they could be the team to beat in the division, but have lost two straight. Moss said he's happy and loving life with the fun-loving Titans, but he caught just one of four balls thrown his way in his debut. Things could sour in a hurry for Moss, who's in the midst of his last chance in the NFL, is looking for one more big payday and is key to the Titans' playoff chances in place of the injured Kenny Britt.
• The Redskins, meanwhile, are coming off a humiliating defensive performance against the Eagles. The good news is the 'Skins won't be facing Michael Vick, whose laundry list of scintillating plays against the Redskins included everything but Martinizing. The bad news is they will face Vince Young, not quite as electric as Vick, but no slouch when it comes to chunking long balls and carving up defenses with unpredictable improvised throws and mad scrambling. The Redskins are the league's worst defense, and second-worst pass defense, giving up 286.6 yards per game. Moss figures to be a big part of the game plan this week.
• Then again, could VY be losing the locker room? And could there be yet another quarterback controversy/meltdown on the way in Tennessee? According to various reports, Young's commitment and leadership was questioned by some teammates during the Titans' bye week, when he failed to work as hard as some had hoped rehabbing an ankle injury he suffered against the Chargers. Also, questions arose when Young did not start against the Dolphins, playing only after Kerry Collins suffered a calf injury. Young's ego has proved to be fragile in the past and already there's grumbling that when healthy Collins should be the starter. How will VY respond?
• The VY intrigue, however, pales in comparison to the Daniel Snyder-Mike Shanahan relationship already seemingly on the rocks and the new dance that should become all the rage in The District. It's called the Haynesworth and it's easy. Basically, all you do is lay face-first on the floor, doing nothing, until the song is over. The 'Skins could be on the brink of full-blown implosion, again. Sunday at LP Field is huge for a number of Redskins players and coaches.
Moving on in Week 11, intrigue abounds: