NFL Week 10 Predictions: Projecting Matchups with Biggest Playoff Implications

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NFL Week 10 Predictions: Projecting Matchups with Biggest Playoff Implications
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

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. 

Week 10 NFL Schedule + Predictions
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

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

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.

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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

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

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. 

Tony Romo has led a resurgent Dallas offense that has scorched opponents this season, but he'll be no match for Drew Brees, who will tear apart the Cowboys' 31st-ranked pass defense. 

Prediction: Saints 38, Cowboys 27

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