Even though it's only Week 10, the NFL slate for the upcoming weekend is littered with matchups that feature playoff implications.
Whether it's a team that desperately needs a win to stay alive or one that is simply trying to stay atop its respective division, stakes are high across the board as teams jockey for position.
Let's break down the games that will be remembered most come January, when the playoff picture is all set.
|Away Team||Home Team||Prediction|
|Washington Redskins||Minnesota Vikings||Redskins|
|Seattle Seahawks||Atlanta Falcons||Seahawks|
|Detroit Lions||Chicago Bears||Bears|
|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||Bills|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Baltimore Ravens||Bengals|
|Carolina Panthers||San Francisco 49ers||49ers|
|Houston Texans||Arizona Cardinals||Texans|
|Denver Broncos||San Diego Chargers||Broncos|
|Dallas Cowboys||New Orleans Saints||Saints|
|Miami Dolphins||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Dolphins|
Steven Cook's predictions
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Even throughout injuries to its best wideouts, the Green Bay Packers entered Week 9 as the obvious NFC North favorite. Then, Aaron Rodgers went down, and that all changed in a heartbeat.
Now the Lions and Bears join the Pack atop the division at 5-3 as the former two squads battle for supremacy in Week 10.
Chicago has done just fine without Jay Cutler, as backup Josh McCown has avoided turnovers and led the Bears to an all-important road win against Green Bay on Monday Night Football. However, Cutler is expecting to return against the Lions, per CBS Sports.
Matthew Stafford and the Lions have been rolling offensively, but as long as Bears wideouts Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery continue to play at an unguardable level, Chicago will be near impossible to beat.
Prediction: Bears 31, Lions 28
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
Before the season, this matchup seemed like just another game for the 49ers as they cruised to the top of the NFC and put the struggling Panthers back in their bottom-dwelling place.
Are the 49ers a lock to beat Carolina?
Instead, the Panthers are 5-3 and just one game back of the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints. San Francisco comes in at 6-2 after sputtering early on.
Carolina takes a four-game win streak into San Francisco, but the Niners have them one-upped in that category as well with five straight victories.
The backfield duo of Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams has scorched opponents on the ground, but the Niners defense is a whole different beast. After shutting down Newton's aerial attack, San Francisco will throw eight in the box and allow Colin Kaepernick to get out to an early lead that he won't relinquish.
Prediction: 49ers 30, Panthers 20
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints
Don't look now, but the often hapless Cowboys have won three of four heading into a road test against one of the NFC's elite.
The Cowboys' 5-4 record won't blow anyone away, but it's good enough to lead the NFC East by a game heading into Week 10. With seemingly every divisional opponent starting to improve across the board, the pressure is certainly on.
However, the Saints aren't alone in that department as they lead Carolina by just one game in the NFC South.
Prediction: Saints 38, Cowboys 27