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2011 NFL Schedule Set Up For Divisional Rivalries To Decide Playoffs

After loading up latter end of the 2010 schedule with divisional rivalry games produced plenty of pre-playoffs drama, the NFL has decided to keep the practice going in its 2011 schedule. Every team plays a divisional opponent in Week 17, meaning we could get to enjoy another NFC West championship game between two sub-.500 teams.

While some are likely to end up as duds (Bills-Patriots, Steelers-Browns, Lions-Packers) based on 2010 and common sense, there are still a few that any NFL fan should go ahead and circle.

The Atlanta Falcons may need a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to defend their 2010 NFC South crown. The Bucs, you'll recall, should've also made the playoffs last season, but were forced out due to that aforementioned NFC West.

The potentially wide-open AFC West could see its champ crowned in the game between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, while the equally unpredictable NFC East could come down to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.

Keep an eye on the Indianapolis Colts' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars as well. You'll recall that until late in the 2010 season, it looked like the Jags might be able to hang on and end the Colts reign of terror in the AFC South.

Of course this is the NFL, so the biggest game will probably end up being Titans-Texans somehow.

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