NFL: Week 10 Preview

By Jacob Silverman
Nov. 10, 2016

We are 9 weeks into the NFL season, and they have been 9 weeks that have been both interesting and entertaining. This week we enter having two teams tied atop the league with the best record, the New England Patriots, and Dallas Cowboys, whom are each 7-1, respectively. The Oakland Raiders file in with the second best record in the league behind their quarterback, Derek Carr whom is having a MVP caliber season. There are tight races in each the AFC and NFC for their respective wild card spots, and this week we present to you each matchup, many of them crucial in those races.

Week 10 Matchups (Bye Weeks: Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland)

Thursday Night Football

Cleveland Browns (0-9, 4th AFC North) at Baltimore Ravens (4-4, 1st AFC North)

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The last time these two teams met, Cleveland held the momentum all game and it appeared as though they would grab a victory, however Terrelle Pryor Sr. was called for a deadly 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that ultimately lead to yet another Browns loss. This week the Ravens are fresh off a victory over a hobbled Pittsburgh Steelers team which allowed them to fly into first place, whereas the Browns are off a 35-10 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. Terrell Suggs has already stated that they will not underestimate this winless Browns team. Although the Browns won't pickup a victory, I say they keep it close in Baltimore. Final Score: Ravens 28, Browns 24

Actual Result: Baltimore Ravens 28 (now 5-4), Cleveland Browns 7 (now 0-10)

Sunday Day/Afternoon Games (1:00, 4:05 and 4:25 games)

Green Bay Packers (4-4, 3rd NFC North) @ Tennessee Titans (4-5, 3rd AFC South)

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This matchup features two teams in the hunt for a wildcard. An inter-conference matchup between the Titans who are fresh off a defeat in a shootout against the San Diego Chargers, and the Packers who are off a heartbreaking loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lambeau Field. The Packers have had a surprisingly slow start to the season which is mainly due to injuries. The Packers have a dinged up secondary as Micah Hyde (shoulder), Damarious Randall (groin), Quintin Rollins, and Sam Shields have all been battling injuries for Green Bay this season. Also, running backs have been an issue for the Cheeseheads, as Eddie Lacy and James Starks are both on the IR with long-term injuries. For Tennessee, they have kept it close in most games, many being shootouts, as their young QB Marcus Mariota has had a breakout season, and the devastating combo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry on the ground has kept things balanced offensively for Tennessee. In the end, it will come down to which struggling defensive unit plays harder, and which coach (each on the hot seat) wants his job more. Green Bay pulls out a road win in a must win game. Final Score: Packers 35, Titans 23

Minnesota Vikings (5-3, 1st AFC North) @ Washington Redskins (4-3-1, 3rd NFC East)

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings got off to a surprising 5-0 start without superstar running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but they seem to have slowed down after taking 3 consecutive losses to the Eagles and then two divisional rivals in the Bears and more recently the rival Detroit Lions. The Vikings were fueled by their defense the first 5 weeks, averaging 12.6 points allowed per game, easily the lowest total in the league. However, in the three losses to Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit they have averaged 21 points allowed per game, which is still in the top 10 in the league, but there offense has struggled mightily in the three losses and was performing in the middle of the pack in there 5 opening victories. As for the Redskins, they come in after a bye week where they had a chance to rest. In the week prior, they played a wacky game in London against the Cincinnati Bengals in which both Mike Nugent of Cincinnati and Dustin Hopkins of Washington both missed multiple game winning field goals, until an eventual tie between the two teams. Washington got off to a slow start, but the Redskins have managed to bounce back nicely and put them right back in the wild card race. I think that the Vikings offense and Sam Bradford picks up the slack in a critical game, and is able to outlast Washington and its struggling defense. Final Score: Vikings 27, Redskins 17

Chicago Bears (2-6, 4th NFC North) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5, 3rd NFC South)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This game should be sloppy. The Bears, (2-6) are coming off a surprising upset victory over the once-unbeaten Minnesota Vikings, which came before a bye week. Jay Cutler made his return for Chicago and performed well, while Jordan Howard may have won the starting running back job away from a returning Jeremy Langford with a 100+ yard game against a stingy Minnesota defense. For Tampa Bay, they come off a blow out 43-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, a game in which they lost their star wide receiver in Mike Evans and their QB Jameis Winston to injuries. Both are questionable going into the week for Tampa Bay, while their starting running back Doug Martin will likely return after a 6 week hiatus due to a hamstring injury he suffered at the beginning of the season. However, he will likely be eased into the role and Charles Sims and Mike James should get some touches. This game will likely be very sloppy, due to the injuries for Tampa Bay that will cause them to come unprepared. The Bucaneers are searching for their first home win, and I don't think they get it in Week 10 because of the injuries sustained to their star players. It appears Evans will likely be out for this contest, and if that is the case I say Chicago wins. Keep an eye on this prediction with the injuries as it may change. Final Score (for now): Bears 33, Bucs 27

Kansas City Chiefs (6-2, 2nd AFC West) @ Carolina Panthers (3-5, 4th NFC South)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, the Carolina Panthers. We meet again. Its been quite the wacky season for Carolina, after winning the NFC conference last season, they have failed to compete this season, getting off to a 1-5 start. However, they have managed to pull of 2 consecutive victories, and with a couple more they could be playoff contenders again. This week, however, will not be easy for the Panthers, as they have a date with the 6-2 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have battled injuries all year, and have still managed to pull out with large victories with both backup running backs and a backup QB, last week. Alex Smith makes his return this week, as well as Spencer Ware according to many sources. If that holds true, the Panthers are going to have a hard time keeping up with what has become to be a high powered Chiefs offense. The Chiefs are in a tight divisional race, and the Panthers are fighting hard to keep their playoff hopes alive. I say the Panthers struggle to "Keep Pounding" against the Chiefs this week. Final Score: Chiefs 35, Panthers 24

Atlanta Falcons (6-3, 1st AFC South) @ Philadelphia Eagles (4-4, 4th NFC East)

William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have been a pleasant surprise in many ways this season, as they are off to a 6-3 start, good enough for the 2nd best record in the NFC. They have faced playoff contenders like the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, and Seattle Seahawks. They have pulled off victories against of all those teams but Seattle, which was a 2 point loss at that. They have without a question a top 2 offense in the league, if not the best offense in the league (New England being the other top 2 offense). Also, their defense has performed well above expectations, as they have had an above average pass rush and a serviceable secondary, lead by Desmond Trufant. Meanwhile in Philly, they shocked many by coming out as one of the last remaining undefeated teams starting 3-0, but have sense dropped 4 of their last 5 games. Carson Wentz started the season looking like Superman, but has sense dropped significantly registering the lowest QBR in the league in this rough patch for Philadelphia. With Atlanta coming in with a lot of momentum and a now fully healthy Julio Jones, I say Atlanta rolls, regardless of the feisty Philadelphia crowd. Final Score: Falcons 38, Eagles 21

Los Angeles Rams (3-5, 3rd NFC East) @ New York Jets (3-6, 4th AFC East)

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

This game in my opinion could be one of the more interesting games this week as two teams with struggling QB's and QB controversies developing will slug it out in what should be a gritty, low scoring matchup. Los Angeles, of course, had the first overall pick in the offseason's draft, and with that selection they took QB Jared Goff, who has yet to see the field this season. Instead, the team's head coach Jeff Fisher has insisted on starting QB Case Keenum. Keenum has struggled all season long, as he has a QBR of 41 and a touchdown to interception ratio of 9 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. The team's star running back, Todd Gurley, is in a bit of a sophomore slump, as he has not performed well all season long. In New York, the team has Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, who has struggled since week 1. Fitzpatrick had one week where he threw 6 interceptions in one game. He eventually got injured down the stretch and they turned to Geno Smith who performed around the same level as the Harvard grad. The team's fans are now calling for Bryce Petty to be given the starting job. The bright spots of each team have been their defenses, each within the top 10, especially the run game. With two coaches and two quarterbacks fighting for the jobs, I say the Jets win this battle, and maybe, just maybe, Jeff Fisher finally gives Goff the starting job. Final Score: Jets 16, Rams 9

Denver Broncos (6-3, 3rd AFC West) @ New Orleans Saints (4-4, 2nd AFC South)

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have struggled offensively all season long following their Super Bowl win last season, and this week that offense may be able to break out against a weak Saints defense. The Saints have put up big numbers all season behind the always excellent Drew Brees, who is having yet another top 3 season for New Orleans. Its a battle of two juggernauts in New Orleans this week, and in the end its going to come down to the Saints offensive line, and if they can protect Drew Brees against a strong pass rush for Denver lead by Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. If the Saints can do that, maybe, just maybe, they can pull off an upset at home. A loss for either team could make a run at a wilcard harder. I say this game is really close and an overtime thriller. Final Score: Broncos 31, Saints 28 (OT)

Houston Texans (5-3, 1st AFC South) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6, 4th AFC South)

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

There's nothing like a good divisional matchup. This week we will see the Texans with a struggling Brock Osweiler go up against a Jaguars team that has performed well below expectations this season. Blake Bortles is coming off a couple good performances in garbage time, and if he can ride that momentum the Jags offense may get stuff done this week at home against Houston. Houston is coming off a bye, and the week before they narrowly defeated the Lions, and only managed to get 20 points against that weak defense. The Jags defense has started to perform better in recent weeks, and rookie corner back Jalen Ramsey has started to light it up, shutting down his opponents on the perimeter. If he can shut down this weeks opponent, DeAndre Hopkins, or even limit him, the Jags could have a good chance at winning this game. Final Score: Jaguars 28, Texans 17

Miami Dolphins (4-4, 2nd AFC East) @ San Diego Chargers (4-5, 4th AFC West)

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The Dolphins had low expectations heading into the season, and in many ways they have out played those expectations, with many surprises such as Jay Ajayi rushing for 2 consecutive 200+ yard games, followed by a 100+ yard game on the ground against a stingy Jets defense. The Dolphins pulled off a major upset win against AFC a powerhouse in the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dolphins defense has been top 15 this season, and Ryan Tannehill has performed as a serviceable quarterback. For the Chargers, Phillip Rivers is being his usual self, dealing with the Chargers mediocre team and injuries, as he has performed well this season, but not as well as their second year running back out of Wisconsin, Melvin Gordon. Gordon has played like a MVP candidate all season long. The two defenses have been average at best, this is poised to be a game of 2 running backs, Gordon vs Ajayi. Final Score: Chargers 27 Dolphins 24

Dallas Cowboys (7-1, 1st NFC East) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4, 2nd AFC North)

The Cowboys are tied for the best record in the league. Yes, you read that right. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot and Dez Bryant look like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin right now and they are winning in style. Riding a 7 game hot streak, not much could go wrong for these young studs. (Unless, of course, Jerry Jones puts Tony Romo back in the game for Dallas). Pittsburgh, on the flip side, has struggled as of late, losing to New England, Miami and Baltimore in three straight weeks with Landry Jones in at quarterback in 2 of those three games. Big Ben made his return for the team last week after suffering a torn meniscus, but he clearly wasn't 100%. He struggled against the Ravens defense, and Le'Veon Bell had yet another frustrating week for Pittsburgh, rushing for 32 yards on the ground en route to a 21-14 loss. This week, I see big things for this Steelers team as they have struggled lately, but with a rejuvenated Ben Roethlisberger and a motivated Le'Veon Bell, I say Pittsburgh picks up an upset at home this week in a high-scoring thriller. Final Score: Pittsburgh 37, Dallas 31 (OT)

San Francisco 49ers (1-7, 4th NFC West) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1, 2nd NFC West)

The Cardinals have failed to meet the high expectations given to them at the beginning of this season, as they are below .500 in a shocking start to the season. David Johnson has had a MVP caliber season, but Carson Palmer has struggled mightily and Michael Floyd and John Brown have failed to do their jobs as the compliment to Larry Fitzgerald in the passing game. The Cardinals defense has been a top 5 defense this season but the offense has not been able to bounce off that and produce. As for San Francisco, they haven't done anything right and Colin Kaepernick's protests of the National Anthem has divided both the locker room and the team. Arizona should pick up a much needed win and Carson Palmer should get back on track in a blowout of a game. Final Score: Arizona 42, San Francisco 13

Sunday Night Football

Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1, 1st NFC West) @ New England Patriots (7-1, 1st AFC East)

This is arguably the day's best matchup, with only Dallas @ Pittsburgh coming close to the caliber of this game. The Seahawks will look to get their revenge for Super Bowl XLVI, the championship game famous for Malcolm Butler's interception on the goal line that preserved New England's victory. The Seahawks come fresh off a victory on Monday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills with some controversial officiating and maybe deflated footballs....On the contrary the Pats come off a bye week, and the week before they also beat the Bills in Buffalo in a route of a game as Tom Brady continued his MVP season. In 4 games thus far, the superstar QB has yet to throw an interception. Although they are fresh off the Jamie Collins trade, the defense will have Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long on the pass rush and Devin McCourty and Malcolm Butler in the secondary. The Seahawks starting RB is a mystery, as Thomas Rawls may make his return. If not, Christine Michael and C.J. Prosise will split carries for the team once again. For New England they have RB Dion Lewis expected to make his return from ACL surgery after missing the first 9 weeks of the season. This game should be really, really close, but its too hard to pick against Belichick and the Pats at home. Final Score: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 (Why not the same score???)

Monday Night Football

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1, 3rd AFC North) @ New York Giants (5-3, 2nd NFC East)

These two teams are very similar in many ways in the sense that they both have star WR's and mid-tier QB's. The Bengals are fresh off a tie in London, a dissapointing game because of the fact that Mike Nugent missed mutliple game winning field goals. The Giants, on the other hand, have momentum in their favor as they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles easily at home in a divisional throwdown that was crucial for their playoff hopes. Odell Beckham Jr and A.J. Green both had phenomonal games last week, and have had incredible seasons. Each secondary has its issues and will have problems locking down those dangerous recievers. However, the key to this game will be one matchup: Giants safety Landon Collins vs Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert. If Collins can continue his exceptional play he has enjoyed all season, then the Giants will have the edge because they will have more compliments to their star wideout. If the Giants can stop the run like they have for the most part this season, they will win this game. Final Score: Giants 27, Bengals 20

This concludes this week's preview. Check back for a new post relating to fantasy start/sits, sleepers/busts, NBA news and the latest on the upcoming MLB free agency AND MORE on my blog, Sports Crackle Pop or at!!