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And Down the Stretch They Come

Nov. 11, 2013
Nov. 11, 2013

Table of Contents
Nov. 11, 2013

SI.com
LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
BIG PAPI
  • David Ortiz is brute October force, inarguably one of the greatest postseason sluggers ever, but there is a Tao of Papi that goes beyond the raw power and three rings. As a study in resilience and in seizing big moments, his story is the story of Boston itself

NFL SECOND HALF PREVIEW
Departments

And Down the Stretch They Come

The must-see matchups in the second half of the 2013 NFL season

WEEK 10

This is an article from the Nov. 11, 2013 issue

Cowboys at Saints

The only game of the week matching up division leaders. Plus, there will be a story to watch on the sidelines: Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will try to thump the team that dumped him after last season.

Under Ryan, the Saints' D has gone from 28th to fourth in points per game.

WEEK 11

Chiefs at Broncos

Kansas City is undefeated; Denver has one loss. Kansas City has allowed the league's fewest points; Denver leads the league in scoring. Kansas City wants to show that its record is more than a reflection of a weak schedule; Denver wants to reaffirm that it's the team to beat for the title.

THE CHIEFS ARE 56--49 AGAINST DENVER—THEIR MOST WINS AGAINST ANY TEAM.

WEEK 12

Broncos at Patriots

While the quarterback matchup doesn't have the luster it once did—Peyton Manning is enjoying his best season while Tom Brady is having one of his worst—this will be one of the few remaining chances to see these iconic figures go head-to-head.

Manning is on pace to throw for 5,838 yards, 362 more than the record.

WEEK 13

Saints at Seahawks

New Orleans QB Drew Brees vs. Seattle CB Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom. Running back Marshawn Lynch vs. a Saints defense he "beasted" two years ago with a legendary playoff touchdown run. And most important, the battle for home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

WEEK 14

Colts at Bengals

This game could go a long way toward deciding the AFC's No. 2 seed—and the first-round playoff bye that comes with it. Both clubs are in first place and except for this matchup will, between them, play just one second-half game against an opponent with a winning record.

WEEK 15

Jets at Panthers

A game for aficionados of attacking, physical defenses. The linemen aren't household names yet, but they will be. New York's Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are capable of destroying blockers, and Carolina's Star Lotulelei and Charles Johnson are human migraines.

WEEK 16

Cowboys at Redskins

In a division no one seems to want—none of the four teams have been more than a game over .500 this season—this could decide not only who will represent the NFC East but also whether Washington coach Mike Shanahan will be brought back in 2014.

WEEK 17

Bucs at Saints

Do you rubberneck when driving by car wrecks? If so, pull over and watch, because Tampa Bay could be concluding the second 0--16 season ever in what might be Greg Schiano's finale as an NFL coach. It won't be pretty, but it'll be interesting.

THE BUCS' 0--8 START WAS THE FIFTH IN FRANCHISE HISTORY.

PHOTOGREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (RYAN)PHOTOROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MANNING)SIXTEEN PHOTOS