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NFL Week 11: 15 Players Who Need To Step Up

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15 NFL Players Who Need Big Games in Week 11

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Week 11 of the NFL season is upon us. The Colts and Titans will do battle on TNF to kick things off, in what will be a key AFC South battle. The Colts are in the driver's seat to win the division, but the Titans aren't quite dead yet. It's hard to buy them making a run at the playoffs after their week 10 loss at home to the Jaguars and with Jake Locker being ruled out for the season, but technically, Tennessee is still alive.

The action on Sunday will kick off with an AFC East showdown between the Jets and Bills. Buffalo is likely done in 2013, but the Jets are alive and well at 5-4. If New York can win on the road, they're going to take a big step forward towards an AFC Wild Card spot.

The thing with the AFC this season is that there's really only one Wild Card spot available at this point. One of the spots is almost guaranteed to go to a team in the AFC West, so it's going to be really tough to make the playoffs if you're in another division and not in the lead.

The big game everyone is looking forward to is the SNF showdown between the Chiefs and Broncos. Control of the AFC West and the number one spot in the conference are both on the line in Denver. Peyton Manning is banged up with a high ankle sprain and the Chiefs are coming off a bye week. I believe the game will boil down to the battle up front. The Denver o-line isn't great and KC d-line is great, so something has to give.

So with all the matchups and key battles across the league, comes players that need to step up. Here's a look at 15 players that could make the difference for their teams if they play extremely well:

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Trent Richardson

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Richardson had two yards on five carries in week 10. So far in his tenure with with Colts, he hasn't done much. It's time he steps up and becomes a real ground threat for the Colts, who are in need of weapons without Reggie Wayne.

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Santonio Holmes

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USA Today Sports

Holmes is set to return to the Jets in week 11 against Buffalo and no one is happier about it than Geno Smith. If New York can get a consistent passing game going in the second half of the season, that Wild Card spot could become a reality.

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Joe Haden

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USA Today Sports

Haden has a date with A.J. Green on Sunday afternoon. If he can shut down the elite WR, the Browns have a solid chance of winning and getting back to .500 on the year.

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Robert Griffin III

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USA Today Sports

It's clear that the Redskins' defense and special teams are not going to make the difference in DC this year. It's pretty much up to RG3 to go out and win games like he did a season ago. He'll be facing an Eagles defense that ranks second-worst in the league, so the stage is set for the QB.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick

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USA Today Sports

Can Fitzpatrick step up and lead this Titans team back to .500? That's the big question in Tennessee right now. It won't be easy on TNF though, as the QB will face a tough Colts team.

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Martellus Bennett

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USA Today Sports

The Bears find themselves in tough matchup at home this week against the Ravens. Jay Cutler is out, so it will be up to Josh McCown to spread the ball around on offense. If Bennett can have a big day along with Marshall and Jeffery, the Bears will be in good shape.

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Colin Kaepernick

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USA Today Sports

Kaepernick is coming off a bad game in week 10. You can talk all you want about the lack of playmakers he has on offense, but it's time for the QB to make some plays himself. The 49ers have to do something different, as they've got an extremely tough game upcoming against the Saints.

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Justin Tuck

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USA Today Sports

So far, Tuck has only amassed 1.5 sacks on the season. The Giants will be looking for a big game from the DE as the Packers and their new quarterbacks roll into town.

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Ike Taylor

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USA Today Sports

Taylor has a date with Megatron on Sunday. If the Steelers are going to pull the upset, they'll need their veteran cornerback to have a good day. When you're up against Calvin Johnson, a good day means that you limited him. He's simply a guy that can't be completely stopped.

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Reggie Bush

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USA Today Sports

The Steelers are not good against the run and Bush has been running real well as of late. Look for the speedster to eclipse the 100-yard mark for the second straight week, while making an impact in the passing game.

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Rashard Mendenhall/Andre Ellington

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USA Today Sports

The Cardinals have the league's 24th ranked rushing attack (93.6 YPG). It's time one of these backs steps up and gives Arizona a reliable ball carrier the rest of the way.

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Matt Flynn

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USA Today Sports

Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien will be under center for the Packers on Sunday. If you're a Green Bay fan, you can't feel great about either guy. But if the Packers don't get a good game from their signal caller, it will likely spell a third straight loss.

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Dwayne Bowe

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USA Today Sports

Bowe has been blowing it this season and he really blew it over the weekend by getting arrested. It's time the WR steps up and has a great game. If he doesn't, I don't like the Chiefs' chances of outscoring the Broncos.

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Corey Liuget

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USA Today Sports

Liuget is going to be matched up against a bad Dolphins' offensive line. If he can get constant pressure on Ryan Tannehill, the Chargers will likely leave South Beach with another win.

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Stevan Ridley

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USA Today Sports

Ridley has been on fire as of late, but he'll be matched up against the NFL's second best rush defense on MNF. If the Patriots are going to win on the road, Ridley needs to have a big night.