This week things start to really get serious because up until now it was anyone’s game but starting now every game becomes crucial, especially in conferences such as the NFC East and West. For some teams they’re seasons are already over and for others their seasons are on the verge of ending and for some their seasons are just beginning. So who needs to pick up the play? Who needs to start looking towards the draft? And who needs to keep doing what they’re doing? I’ll try to help and clear things up in my Week 10 NFL Preview.
Week 10 Match-ups
New Orleans Saints(4-4) @ Atlanta Falcons(5-3): This is a very important game for the Saints because they are on the verge of putting themselves out of the playoffs. At 4-4 they have already won a game over Tampa Bay and lost to Carolina making them 1-1 in the division making a lost to Atlanta this weekend very bad for their season. Now for the Falcons on the other side they enter this game at 5-3 but have loses to both Carolina and Tampa Bay making them 0-2 in the division but the difference is they have a better record than the Saints and are more poised to get a wildcard spot but winning this game could still serve as a statement game. Either way you look at it, this is a big game for both teams, and the victors will have a new outlook on their season.
My Pick: New Orleans
Tennessee Titans(8-0) @ Chicago Bears(5-3): The Titans remain the league’s only undefeated team as surprising as it may seem after the escaped a scare at home last week against the Packers in a game that they won by a field goal in overtime. This week a face fairly impressive Bears team that will have to use their backup Quarterback Rex Grossman because of the injury to Kyle Orton. Now obviously this is a much more important for the Bears because one, they could gain momentum in the NFC North title race and two, beating the last undefeated team would provide major bragging rights and respect. Don’t expect this game to be a blow out on the behalf of the Titans because the Bears enter the game with a good looking Grossman, a sensational rookie in Matt Forte and a defense that never disappoints.
My Pick: Tennessee
Jacksonville Jaguars(3-5) @ Detroit Lions(0-8): To say that this has been a disappointing season for the Jaguars would be an understatement. After the end of last season, many people I’m sure thought that the Jaguars would be challenging the Colts for the best team in the AFC South and not trying to avoid being the worst. Right now Jacksonville has five teams ahead of them in the wildcard race and losing to fall to 3-6 would probably all but knock them out of it. Why? Even with regular powerhouses such as Indianapolis and San Diego struggling, I don’t see a 10-6 team making the playoffs in the AFC this season, just ask the Browns about it last year. On the other side of the ball there is the winless Lions who only playing for pride at this point and are trying to avoid going 0-16 this season. The Jags gave the Bengals their first win last week, will they give the Lions their first win this week? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
My Pick: Jacksonville
Baltimore Ravens(5-3) @ Houston Texans(3-5): This game was supposed to have been played awhile back but was postponed due to Hurricane Gustavo. Now the two teams look to play each other, both with playoff hopes on the line. It is much more likely that the Ravens will make it to the post season than the Texans one because of their record and two because they still have a chance to clinch the AFC North. The Ravens are one of the NFL’s better surprises and Joe Flacco is one of the NFL’s better rookies so look for them to be very good down the stretch. The Texans like the Jaguars still have a small shot at a wildcard but it’s very unlikely they’ll continue to have that shot if they suffer a lost to the Ravens at home this week.
My Pick: Baltimore
Seattle Seahawks(2-6) @ Miami Dolphins(4-4): Now if you were to see this game on the schedule when they were first released early last summer many would have thought that it would be Seattle making a playoff push and not Miami. However, that is the situation going into the game this weekend. Seattle is setting at 2-6 and will miss playoffs because they don’t lead the division and there are eight teams in front of them in the race for the wild card . Miami on the other hand is one full game back in their division and is right in the mix for a wild card in the AFC. They have three games left against their division and easy games against Kansas City, Oakland and St. Louis after the game this week. So, if the Dolphins can pull out a win to move to move to 5-4, they will be in a very good position to battle for a wild card spot later on down the road. For Seattle fans, start looking towards next season.
My Pick: Miami
Green Bay Packers(4-4) @ Minnesota Vikings(4-4): Both teams enter this game with records that are disappointing to say the least because many people I’m sure, well me at least, expected the Packers and Vikings to be among the League’s elite and not just the middle of the pack, no pun intended. First you got the Packers, a team who’s off season was surrounded by Brett Favre drama and now Brett is a Jet. The Packers are now 4-4 and Rodgers’ season is going up and down week to week but looked pretty good in a lost to the Titans. This week they face a Vikings team that also has a different QB after making an early season switch from Tavaris Jackson to the veteran Gus Frerotte and the change has worked favorable but the Vikings are still juts 4-4. The two teams are in fight with the Chicago bears (5-3) to win the NFC North crown and at the very least a wild card spot. I guarantee you however that one, if not both of these teams won’t make the playoffs, and if the Packers who come up short, people in Green Bay may start asking where’s Brett?
My Pick: Minnesota
Buffalo Bills(5-3) @ New England Patriots(5-3): This is the first meeting between the two teams who will meet again in week 17. The Bills and Patriots are both 5-3 and are tied for the lead in the AFC along with the Jets and the Dolphins are gaining. Now must years this would just be another game because if you were to try and compare Brady and Edwards you couldn’t do it, but Edwards is facing Matt Cassel and a Patriots secondary that has lost Rodney Harris for the season. So, when you add those fact plus Lee Evans and Marshawn Lynch the Bills have a good shot at winning this game but never count out the Patriots because remember that they have still have Randy Moss and Wes Welker. A loss would not cost either team a playoff spot or even the division title because both teams will face each other again week 17 in Buffalo and each team must face the Dolphins and Jets again but none the less this game is big regardless of what happens to the loser.
My Pick: Buffalo
St. Louis Rams(2-6) @ New York Jets(5-3): The New York Bretts, I mean Jets are in a very good spot to clinch a wildcard spot and perhaps the AFC East title. At 5-3 and Favre playing the way he is the Jets are a legitimate team. Now whether they are better than the Bills and Patriots is yet to be determined but that will all be cleared up by season’s end. For the Rams their season is pretty much over because like the Seahawks they don’t lead the division and won’t get a wildcard. The only real chance the Rams had of making the playoffs was beating Arizona last week and then hoping that the Cardinals lost their last eight games while they won the rest of theirs. Since they did not beat the Cardinals last week their playoff hopes are just about dead. So this game is much more important for New York than it would appear to be for St. Louis and if this game helps the Jets land themselves in the playoffs, Brett Favre may have Green Bay wishing they never let him go.
My Pick: New York Jets
Carolina Panthers(6-2) @ Oakland Raiders(2-6): The Panthers are on roll after beating a good Cardinals teams at home two weeks ago while the Raiders got embarrassed by the Falcons. The Panthers are currently atop the NFC South but a win here would greatly help them because they gave up a lost to the 2nd place Bucs earlier in the season. Now there’s not much to write about with this game because at the moments the Raiders aren’t much at the moment and the Panthers are everything at the moment with stars like Julius Peppers and Steve Smith so to say the Panthers have a shot at winning this game is an understatement but this is the NFL where anything can happen so you can never really count anybody out.
My Pick: Carolina
Indianapolis Colts(4-4) @ Pittsburgh Steelers(6-2): This game will be good but not as good as it would have been last year. Why? Well first you have Peyton Manning who is not playing to his potential and then you have a Steelers team that will be without Willie Parker and perhaps without “Big” Ben Roethlisberger. Both teams would love a win because it would help the Steelers hold their AFC North lead and it would help Indy in the race for the wildcard. So, if both teams can gain so much thought a win, who needs it more? The answer, the Colts because a loss would drop them to 4-5 and would greatly hurt their playoffs hopes where as the Steelers would still be atop the division and only 6-3. Look for this to be a hard fought ball game and a very interesting ball game especially if the Steelers have to start Byron Leftwich and not Big Ben.
My Pick: Indianapolis
Kansas City Chiefs(1-7) @ San Diego Chargers(3-5): Never in a million years would I have thought that this would be a must win game for the Chargers. How can this be? Sure the Chargers lost Shawn Merriman but they still have River, Gates and Tomlinson. Now the Chargers and behind the Broncos in the AFC West and have already gave up a one point lose to the Broncos back in week 2. The Chiefs on the other hand are trying to find themselves. They are 1-7 so their playoff hopes are long gone but they can still play for pride. At this point that’s all they really can play for. Look for LT to have a big day against this Chief’s defense.
My Pick: San Diego
New York Giants(7-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles(5-3): Even though the Titans are undefeated the Giants may very well be the Best team in football and a win over a rejuvenated Eagles team would help that argument. Speaking of the Eagle, they looked to be out of it awhile ago at 2-3 but have since won three straight and a win against the front runner in the NFC would be huge not only for confidence but also for their playoff hopes. Now I don’t think that they can win the NFC East but a wildcard spot is certainly not out of reach which is why the Eagles should play with great intensity Sunday night. The Giants are coming off a huge win over the Cowboys and look to remind people that until they are proven otherwise, they are still the Super Bowl champs. This game should be a fun game to watch as the rivalry between these two teams heats up.
My Pick: Philadelphia
San Francisco 49ers(2-6) @ Arizona Cardinals(5-3): Funny things happen in the desert but don’t expect them to happen Monday night. The Cardinals have already beaten the 49ers once this year when they beat them week one up in the Bay Area and look to sweep the series this season, having been swept last year by the 49ers. Like both the Seahawks and Rams the niners have really no chance at the playoffs so they will look to play spoiler. The Cardinals on the other hand are in complete control of the NFC West and are still looking to prove that they are for real. A win over the 49ers wouldn’t be the biggest win but it’s hard to argue with a 6-3 record. I expect for Warner and the Cardinals offense to have a field day with this 49ers defense.
My Pick: Arizona
Byes: Dallas, Washington, Tampa, Cincinnati
Playoff Contender NFC: New York Giants, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Arizona
Still have a shot NFC: Green Bay, Minnesota, Dallas, and New Orleans
Out of It NFC: Seattle, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Detroit
Playoff Contenders AFC: New England, Buffalo, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Tennessee, Denver
Still have a shot: Miami, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Houston, and San Diego
Out of It AFC: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Oakland