NFL Week 10 Picks: Division Clashes That Will Come Down to the Wire

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys greets Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles after a game at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  Romo suffered a hand injury during the first quarter of play against the Eagles.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Whether it's that there's so much riding on every game or the fact that these teams simply don't like each other, there's just something about two division rivals going head to head for 60 minutes that really gets us going.

These games are always hard-fought, back-and-forth battles of ball control and quite often come down to who has the ball in their hands last. Rarely, if ever, do these games wind up as blowouts.

Week 10 brings us a slate of divisional games that promises to be full of smash-mouth, in-your-face action that cannot be missed.

Here are the division games that are sure to keep us on the edges of our seats all day long. 


Detroit Lions (4-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-4): Sunday, Nov. 11, 1:00 p.m. ET, Fox

Winners of three of their last four games since losing to the Vikings in Detroit by a score of 20-13, the Lions are looking not only to return the favor on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis, but to move ahead of the Vikings in the NFC North standings.

It doesn't look like Percy Harvin, the NFL's leading receiver entering Week 10 and a major reason the Vikings beat the Lions earlier this season, is going to play, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:

OUT: Darren Sproles, Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson. QUEST: Ahmad Bradshaw, Stevie Johnson, Owen Daniels. DOUBTFUL: Percy Harvin.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 9, 2012

At the same time, the Lions' best receiver, Calvin Johnson, might be dealing with nerve damage and the aftereffects of a concussion suffered at the hands of the Vikings...or maybe not, as he's since contradicted himself in the span of 48 hours this week, per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

Injured or not, Johnson hasn't been nearly as productive in 2012 as he was in 2011:

Calvin Johnson thru 8 games last year: 47 rec, 11 TD.. Johnson thru 8 games this year: 48 rec, 1 TD #nothelpingfantasyteam

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2012

With neither receiving corps entering the game in great shape, this one promises to be close throughout, though the absence of Harvin hurts the Vikings more than a possibly injury-riddled Johnson does the Lions.

Detroit gets their revenge, 24-21. 


Atlanta Falcons (8-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-5): Sunday, Nov. 11, 1:00 p.m. ET, Fox

Things are looking up for the Saints, who have won three of their last four games thanks to Drew Brees and the NFL's most potent passing attack, but there's a major problem in the Big Easy.

New Orleans hasn't been able to stop anyone from putting up points, and that's not going to change against the undefeated Falcons and Matt Ryan.

Between TE Tony Gonzalez and WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones, Atlanta's passing attack is pretty prolific itself, but the Falcons defense is light-years ahead of where the Saints unit finds itself.

Without question, the Saints are going to put points on the board, especially with Brees' ability to avoid pressure, something B/R's NFL draft guru Matt Miller made note of recently:

I could watch Drew Brees move up in the pocket all day. Best in the NFL at maneuvering in the pocket.

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 6, 2012

Brees and the Saints will keep this one close, but New Orleans' defensive issues will result in the Falcons staying undefeated and maintaining their lead over the Saints and the rest of the NFC South. 


Dallas Cowboys (3-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-5): Saturday, Nov. 11, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

This NFC matchup between two teams which are absolutely desperate for wins promises to be dirty, physical and full of guys willing to do anything to get the upper hand.

The two teams will go head to head twice in the next four weeks, but a defeat in Week 10 could prove to be the nail in the coffin for the loser's playoff hopes—if you believe that either team still has a chance to get in as an NFC Wild Card.

Both Tony Romo and Michael Vick have been mediocre in 2012, though Vick's struggles may not be entirely his fault:

No QB has been under duress at a higher rate than Michael Vick this season (1 of every 3 dropbacks) #needoffensivelinehelp

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 6, 2012

That being said, he turns the ball over far too often, and the Cowboys have one of the best pass defenses in the league.

Dallas wins a nail-biter, 28-25.