Coming next Monday night: The Chicago Bears at the San Francisco 49ers.
NFC powerhouse versus NFC powerhouse.
Elite defense vs. elite defense.
Jay Cutler vs. Alex Smith.
On second thought, on that last part, maybe not.
Cutler and Smith were knocked out of their games because of concussions Sunday and their status is uncertain. The game could be Jason Campbell vs. Colin Kaepernick.
Cutler did not do his regular radio show Monday, and the Bears say his status is uncertain for the 49ers game. The Bears allowed him to take seven snaps against Houston immediately after the concussion-causing hit, but an NFL official said Monday that Chicago followed the correct procedure.
"Our medical advisors follow up on any significant injury," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote Monday in an email. "On this one, we learned that the team properly handled the injury and removed him from the game as soon as he showed symptoms and was diagnosed with a concussion."
Smith's status for Monday's game is uncertain too, but 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday the quarterback was "doing much better, had a good night sleep, and his symptoms were positive today."
To return to practice or a game after a concussion, a player must be cleared by an independent neurologist.
Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick also suffered a concussion Sunday and was replaced by rookie Nick Foles.
Eagles Coach Andy Reid said Monday that Vick's concussion was "pretty significant" and that the player was "a little foggy" Sunday night.
Reid reiterated that Vick is "our quarterback" but said he's excited to see Foles play. That sounds as if the rookie will start Sunday at Washington.
In the NFL, nothing says dominance like a division sweep. And the Week 11 schedule is filled with sweepers and sweepees.
The slate features seven division games — one from each division but the NFC West — and in six of those rivalries, one of the teams swept the other last season.
Miami plays at Buffalo. The Dolphins swept the Bills in 2011.
Philadelphia plays at Washington. Eagles swept.
Tampa Bay plays at Carolina. Panthers swept.
Jacksonville plays at Houston. Texans swept.
Baltimore plays at Pittsburgh. Ravens swept.
Green Bay plays at Detroit. Packers swept.
Of the Week 11 division games, the only split from last season was between Denver and San Diego. That said, the Broncos have a chance to pull off the sweep Sunday when they play host to the up-and-down Chargers.
In a jaw-dropping game a month ago, the Broncos overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit in San Diego by outscoring the Chargers 35-0 in the second half. San Diego's Philip Rivers threw four interceptions — three in the fourth quarter — and lost two fumbles. A powder-blue disaster.
Since, Denver has been on a roll, beating New Orleans, Cincinnati and Carolina. The Chargers have been an erratic mess, losing at Cleveland — they generated two field goals in that 7-6 debacle — beating Kansas City, then losing at Tampa Bay.
More and more, it feels like the end of the road for Chargers Coach Norv Turner, and the once-elite Rivers hasn't been the same over the last 11/2 seasons and is now prone to dumb turnovers.
Like old times
The greatest non-divisional rivalry of the last decade, Colts vs. Patriots, begins its next chapter Sunday when Indianapolis plays at New England.
This version, without Peyton Manning, was projected to be something of a lopsided dud — at least for a few years — until the Colts got rookie quarterback Andrew Luck up to speed. Turns out, Luck caught on much faster than most people expected, and the Colts are a playoff contender.
The Patriots have their vulnerabilities too, and got a scare Sunday at Buffalo before winning, 37-31.
So it won't be the familiar Colts-Patriots — the "Battle of 1812" in reference to Manning (No. 18) and Tom Brady (No. 12) — but the battle of 1212 might be just as good.