From this point forward, it seems as though the games just continue to get better in the NFL. After some solid weeks of action, Week 10 features a number of excellent matchups certain to please fans.
Obviously, there will always be close games at this level. However, the upcoming slate features a number of battles between winning teams and many more searching for playoff spots. This will create some competitive showdowns throughout the weekend.
Here is an early look at some of those early matchups with predictions for each.
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
After three games, it seemed as though the 49ers could be ready for a down year. However, they won five games in a row heading into their bye.
With the way Frank Gore is running to set up the passing attack with Colin Kaepernick, the offense looks as good as ever. As they start to get healthy with receivers Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree eventually coming back, this unit could be scary.
Of course, one team who can stop them is the Panthers. The squad has arguably the top defensive line in the NFL, and the unit does a great job of both stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. This helps the unit rank in the top three in both points and yards allowed.
The only question mark is Cam Newton, who has generally played well recently. Unfortunately, he tends to struggle against teams who can rush the passer, which the 49ers do very well.
San Francisco should cause some turnovers and do enough to get a close win.
Prediction: 49ers 27, Panthers 24
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
After losing to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, the Cincinnati Bengals left the door wide open for the rest of the AFC North. To make matters worse, they lost All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
All of a sudden, a division that seemed to belong to the Bengals is still very much a race. Even the Ravens' loss to the Browns does not truly eliminate them from the conversation.
While the defending Super Bowl champions have not been great offensively throughout the year, Joe Flacco should be able to put up big numbers against a banged-up defense.
Additionally, Andy Dalton can be forced into making mistakes when he sees pressure. He has at least one interception in seven of nine games this year, including three in his last game. With Terrell Suggs and others coming down at him, he could end up throwing the game away as Baltimore pulls the upset.
Prediction: Ravens 21, Bengals 17
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
Even with the overtime loss to the Washington Redskins, the Chargers remain in contention for a playoff spot in the AFC. One way they can be taken seriously would be to come out with a strong performance against the Broncos.
As good as Denver has been this year, especially offensively where it leads the NFL with 42.9 points per game, there are still question marks going forward on the defensive end.
In the last two road games, the Broncos have allowed 87 points. Thanks to Peyton Manning and an incredible 51 points against the Dallas Cowboys, one of those turned out to be a win. Still, it is not easy to keep overcoming these issues.
Philip Rivers and the efficient passing attack will certainly be able to move the football against this struggling unit.
Unfortunately, it might still not be enough to outscore the high-powered Broncos offense against a terrible San Diego defense in this shootout.
Prediction: Broncos 41, Chargers 31
|Full NFL Week 10 Picks|
|Washington Redskins||Minnesota Vikings||Redskins|
|Seattle Seahawks||Atlanta Falcons||Seahawks|
|Detroit Lions||Chicago Bears||Lions|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Green Bay Packers||Packers|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Tennessee Titans||Titans|
|St. Louis Rams||Indianapolis Colts||Colts|
|Oakland Raiders||New York Giants||Giants|
|Buffalo Bills||Pittsburgh Steelers||Steelers|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens|
|Houston Texans||Arizona Cardinals||Cardinals|
|Denver Broncos||San Diego Chargers||Broncos|
|Carolina Panthers||San Francisco 49ers||49ers|
|Dallas Cowboys||New Orleans Saints||Saints|
|Miami Dolphins||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Buccaneers|
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!