NFL Week 11: Kelce Brothers to Play in First Matchup Since Super Bowl
Ravens dominate Bengals, Kelce brothers face off, Watson out for season, and Vikings aim to extend winning streak against Broncos.
Week 11 of the NFL season began with a dominant win by the Baltimore Ravens over the Cincinnati Bengals. This win kept the Ravens at the top of the AFC North, but the major story of the day was the injury to Bengals' quarterback Joe Burrow.
On Sunday, six more divisional matchups will be played across the league. The Week 11 action concludes with a Kelce vs. Kelce Super Bowl rematch.
The highly-anticipated game will take place on Monday night, as the Kelce brothers face off for the first time since their epic "Kelce Bowl" showdown. Jason Kelce's Philadelphia Eagles will travel to Kansas City to take on Travis Kelce's Chiefs, in a game that is a Super Bowl LVII rematch and a potential Super Bowl LVIII preview.
Despite both Kelce brothers not playing football last week, they still managed to make headlines. Travis traveled to Buenos Aires to attend Taylor Swift's "Eras Tour," and Jason was named one of People Magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive." The brothers also released a Christmas song, "The Fairytale of Philadelphia," from "A Philly Special Christmas Special," a holiday album created to benefit local charities in Philadelphia.
Reflecting on the whirlwind of events, Jason told reporters, "It's been a whirlwind. It kind of started last year with the podcast and it's continually built up more and more from the Super Bowl and my brother's love life and People magazine."
With the bye week behind them, the Kelce brothers are ready to focus on football once again.
The brothers described how it feels to compete against each other on the most recent episode of the New Heights podcast. Travis said, "I just enjoy being in the NFL with you, let alone when we actually get to share the field. It brings all of our family, all of our friends, together to watch one game. Outside of the score at the end, I know all the family, and I know I definitely have fun in every single game that we've ever played."
Nine months have passed since they last faced off, in a game that ended in elation for Kansas City and heartbreak for Philadelphia. The pain of that Super Bowl loss still lingers heading into Monday's game. Jason, however, isn't motivated by the past. "I don't need the Super Bowl to motivate me to beat my brother, or Andy Reid. I've never beat them in my career, so maybe I'm more motivated by that. I don't buy into Super Bowl revenge games," he told reporters.
Sunday afternoon features the second AFC North battle of the week - the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Deshaun Watson-less Cleveland Browns.
Watson suffered a "displaced fracture" in his right shoulder during last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens, and the team announced on Wednesday that he would receive season-ending shoulder surgery, a devastating outcome for the quarterback.
In his absence, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson will make his second career start at quarterback. The 24-year-old signal-caller made his first career start against the Ravens back in Week 4. He threw three interceptions and was sacked four times during the 28-3 loss.
Earlier this week, Thompson-Robsinson described how he learned from that experience. "I've gotten that first one under my belt. I know what it takes now to be an NFL quarterback and not just be a college quarterback being in the NFL," Thompson-Robinson told reporters.
On Sunday night, one of the league's longest active win streaks will come to an end as the Minnesota Vikings face the Denver Broncos.
Despite each losing their first three games of the season, Minnesota have won their last five games and Denver their last three, including a win over the AFC-leading Chiefs.
Broncos head coach Sean Payton discussed the teams' similar starts to the season earlier this week. "Both teams battled back. [The Vikings] pulled off, I think, five wins in a row. Especially with some of the injuries and when you look at losing a guy like [Vikings QB] Kirk Cousins and then another quarterback - it's really impressive," Payton told reporters.
While the Vikings are favored to win on Sunday, extending their winning-streak to six games won't be easy as they haven't won in Denver since 1999.
"We're very much aware of the challenge it's going to be [playing in] one of the more difficult environments in the league," Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell said.
Whichever team can win the turnover battle on Sunday will have a major edge in what is expected to be a very tight game.