NFL Week 10 Rumors: Updates on Injuries, Position Battles and Key Storylines
One of the NFL's Week 10 games is already in the books, thanks to the onset of Thursday Night Football, but there are still plenty of major stories worth discussing and monitoring heading into Sunday's action.
Thirteen games remain on the Week 10 docket, and here, you'll get a thorough run down of everything to pay attention to in this weekend's NFL action.
There are new faces in new places across the league, some key positional developments and injuries that need to be discussed.
You'll find the biggest storylines to watch across the league as we get ready for the heart of the Week 10 schedule.
Will Jason Garrett Have a Positive Impact in Dallas?
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
The ax finally fell on embattled Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips this week after another embarrassing loss on national television last Sunday night in Green Bay. The 1-7 Cowboys have now been put in the hands of Jason Garrett, the team's offensive coordinator under Phillips long considered the heir apparent to the Dallas head coaching gig.
Garrett first made headlines this week by having his team practicing in full pads during their first practice under his watch. He'll lead the team into the Meadowlands to take on the NFC East leading New York Giants, hoping to spark a team that has looked undisciplined, disorganized and generally hapless.
Will the change at the top make a difference? Phillips was seen as a player's coach, and Garrett has immediately tried to toughen up a largely veteran team by having them going all out in a mid-week practice. The Giants are banged up, as they'll be without two offensive lineman and wide receiver Steve Smith, so this is a great chance for Dallas to save face and get a big road win under a new coach.
Randy Moss Heads to Tennessee, but Titans' Quarterback Situation Cloudy
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Wide receiver Randy Moss and his extremely refined palette is expected to make his first start for the Tennessee Titans this week against the Miami Dolphins. Moss, claimed off waivers by the Titans after his prompt dismissal from the dysfunctional Minnesota Vikings, will step in to the Titans' passing game and be asked to step up in the absence of injured wide receiver Kenny Britt, out with a hamstring injury.
A bigger injury question swirls around the Titans' quarterback position. Vince Young has been batting ankle injuries since he was knocked out of the Titans' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6. Kerry Collins took a large chunk of the starter reps during Tennessee's practices throughout the week, and coach Jeff Fisher has said that Young's status will be decided around game time.
Whoever starts for Tennessee will be tasked with integrating Moss into the passing attack, and it will be interesting to see how the mercurial receiver reacts to being on his third team this year.
Buffalo Bills Could Be Facing 0-16 Unless They Beat the Detroit Lions
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
It's only Week 10, but the Buffalo Bills remain winless and desperately need a win, as their schedule down the stretch is a tough one.
Yes, the NFL is a league of parity and the axiom of "any given Sunday" has legitimacy, but the Bills could have an extremely hard time pulling out a win if they can't get one at home this week against the Detroit Lions. Detroit will be without quarterback Matthew Stafford who is yet again dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder, and they've yet to win a game on the road this season.
Of the Bills' final seven games, four are on the road against tough opponents like the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings to name just two. Their most winnable game appears to be at home against the Cleveland Browns, but Cleveland has been much improved. Buffalo has played close in almost all of their games, but this week it's of the utmost importance they actually pull out a win.
As Yogi Berra put it, it's getting late early for the Bills, and the weight of "chasing" 0-16 is nothing to mess with.
Carson Palmer Is Banged Up, Do the Bengals Have a Chance in Indianapolis?
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Cincinnati's passing attack was supposed to be much improved after the signing of Terrell Owens and the drafting of Jordan Shipley, giving quarterback Carson Palmer more targets in the passing game beyond Chad Ochocinco. Instead, Palmer has been a big issue for the Bengals, playing oftentimes erratic and ineffective games plagued by turnovers and inaccurate passes.
Now he's dealing with an injury and a particularly troubling one for a quarterback—a sore passing shoulder, an injury he picked up on a sack suffered during the Bengals' loss to Pittsburgh in Week 9. He's been limited throughout the week but is expected to start, but the question is, will it make a difference?
The Bengals are already fighting uphill as they're heading into Lucas Oil Stadium to take on the Indianapolis Colts, who are coming off a loss and are a dominant home team to boot. The Colts haven't lost at home during the month of November in quite some time, and Palmer's status certainly doesn't help the Bengals' chances.
Running Back Mike Goodson Steps into Starting Role for Carolina Panthers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Carolina has suffered through a brutal season. Their strength on offense was supposed to be their running game, led by the dual threats of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Yet neither rusher was able to muster a game of over 100 yards on the ground, and now here in Week 10, both are out with injuries.
Enter Mike Goodson, a 2009 draftee taken in the fourth round out of Texas A&M. He steps in to a team that desperately needs a boost on offense and is expected to shoulder much of the load for the Panthers as they look to get a big in-conference win on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Panthers have Jimmy Clausen forced into quarterback duty, thanks to Matt Moore's torn labrum that sent him to the IR, and the Bucs have struggled against the run this year. So things point to a busy day for Godson, who has a golden opportunity to make a mark in the NFL in his second year.
The NFC West Needs To Be Sorted Out
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
The NFC West has been a bit of a train wreck, with no team boasting of a record above .500.
The San Francisco 49ers are 2-6 on the year but still have realistic dreams of capturing a division title. St. Louis has started rookie No. 1 pick Sam Bradford in all their games and have improved dramatically, posting an impressive-for-them 4-4 mark. Arizona has gotten nothing from the quarterback position on the year, yet have managed to win three games, thanks in large part to an extremely opportunistic defense that has caused a number of key turnovers. Seattle has been blown out in their last two games and have been dreadful on the road.
All four teams play fellow division opponents this week, and the four teams all have opportunities to make different sorts of statements in the division.
Hatred of Brad Childress Seems To Be Motivating Minnesota Vikings
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
It has been mostly negative for Brad Childress during the 2010 season. His in-game decisions have been questioned, he has openly ripped his legendary yet under-performing quarterback and totally whiffed on re-acquiring receiver Randy Moss, reversing course only three weeks after the move and waiving the problematic receiver.
Players were quoted this week saying they are performing in spite of their coach and want to win even though they dislike the leader of the team. It's created a bizarre vibe and environment in Minnesota, and yet it worked last week, as the Vikings rallied for a season-saving win over the lowly Arizona Cardinals.
Minnesota has a real chance of forcing itself back into wild card competition with a win over division foe Chicago this Sunday, and it would be remarkable considering the controversy and negativity that's swirled around their head coach this season.
Questions of Leadership Inside the Denver Broncos
Larry French/Getty Images
The Josh McDaniels era seems to be unraveling for the Denver Broncos, and another bad chapter in the increasingly negative regime of the young coach can be found in the story of linebacker D.J. Williams.
Williams is a co-captain on defense for Denver, a distinction that's now been stripped, thanks to his second DUI arrest since going pro. The team instituted a designated driver program for players to use when going out at night, yet Williams chose not to utilize this and instead put his life and those of others in danger.
Discipline has not been there for the Broncos, who were humiliated at home by long time foes the Oakland Raiders and have been generally inept as a team since starting the 2009 season 6-0. On and off the field, things have gone wrong for Denver, and it's hard to see much improvement on the horizon for the Broncos.
New York Giants Coping with Numerous Injuries
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Injuries are always huge factors for all NFL teams, and it's rare for a season to go by without a team losing one of its key players for long stretches. Even the best teams in the league have to withstand crippling setbacks to starters, and in Week 10, the New York Giants will have to make do without some key contributors.
Most notable is wide receiver Steve Smith, who suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle during a practice during the week and is out for Week 10 and possibly more. He was one of Eli Manning's most reliable passing targets.
Also key losses have been suffered along the offensive line, as center Shaun O'Hara is dealing with a Lisfranc sprain in his foot, and guard David Diehl partially tore his hamstring during the Giants' romp over the Seattle Seahawks.
Week 10 should prove a big test for the Giants as they deal with an amped-up Dallas Cowboys team looking to get off on the right foot under a new coach. Can they cope with these key players missing?
The Ryan Brothers Square Off, Cleveland Looks To Knock Off Another AFC Power
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Rex Ryan's New York Jets survived a rough game against the Detroit Lions in Week 9, and Rex and co. will now head into Cleveland to face a few familiar faces among the Browns' coaching staff.
Rex's brother Rob is the Browns' defensive coordinator, and the Browns are led by Eric Mangini, the man that Ryan replaced as the Jets' head coach. It makes for a little extra juice in a game of teams from different divisions, but the bigger issue is how the Browns will follow up their stunning dominance of the New England Patriots.
Cleveland has thrived with rookie Colt McCoy at quarterback, although running back Peyton Hillis has been their most dynamic threat on offense throughout the season. Their defense has been improved and imposing, especially at home, so this is a tough test for a Jets team that has struggled a bit since their five-game winning streak started in Week 2.
Which Ryan brother will reign supreme in Week 10?
Sunday Night Offers a Marquee AFC Showdown
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Each team is 6-2 with dreams of representing the AFC in the Super Bowl in Dallas, and a prime time meeting between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers should prove to be one of Week 10's best games.
New England usually performs extremely well directly following a loss, but Pittsburgh is usually extremely tough to beat at home. The Patriots offense has sputtered since the departure of Randy Moss, and they'll be up against one of the league's best defensive units in the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has been turning the ball over quite a bit in recent games, but their offense has been stabilized by the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. While their offensive line is banged up, the Steelers still boast numerous weapons with the ball, and the Patriots' defense has struggled mightily at times this year.
History favors New England, as Tom Brady is 5-1 in his career against the Steelers, and New England rarely loses after a loss. However, Sunday night should promise plenty of excitement.
Drama City Shifts to Washington D.C. in Week 10
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Seemingly tired of Brad Childress hogging all the head coaching headlines over the first nine weeks of the NFL season, Mike Shanahan stirred up some controversy by benching Donovan McNabb during the Redskins' last drive during their loss to the Detroit Lions.
Shanahan claimed that McNabb was not physically fit to run the two-minute offense, instead opting for back up Rex Grossman, who promptly fumbled away the ball and lost the Redskins the game.
McNabb and Shanahan have since tried to downplay the benching, but it will be a huge topic of conversation heading into McNabb's second meeting with his former team the Philadelphia Eagles in a huge NFC East meeting. McNabb has struggled in recent weeks with his accuracy, but he's also playing behind a rough offensive line, and for an offense without a true No. 1 running back.
McNabb is the key to Washington's attack if they are to knock off a hot Eagles team coming off the high of beating the Indianapolis Colts at home.
Will he and Shanahan co-exist on Monday night? Or will more quarterback controversy emerge?