As the playoff picture comes into focus, Week 10 brings some critical conference matchups that may carry implications for wild-card tiebreakers.
The Washington Redskins defense proved worthy in limiting a passing offense coming off a peak performance in Week 9. Can the group shut down a lesser quarterback in the upcoming matchup?
Will Kirk Cousins elevate his game against another stingy defense and show why he's a franchise quarterback? He'll match up against the Minnesota Vikings, who spent an extra week preparing for the contest during a bye week.
After the Denver Broncos' embarrassing 51-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the fanbase may wonder, could the outlook worsen in the coming weeks?
The New England Patriots, equipped with a high-powered offense, will travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Colorado. Another crushing defeat may have executive vice president of football operations John Elway thinking about the draft five months away.
We'll go through predictions for each Week 10 contest with further analysis on a few matchups.
Week 10 Matchups and Score Predictions
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals: Seahawks 27-10
New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jets 28-24
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers: Giants 31-9
New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills: Saints 24-20
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears: Bears 20-17
Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions: Lions 34-13
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts: Steelers 38-10
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaguars 27-13
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans: Titans 27-23
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins: Redskins 20-14
Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 34-10
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons: Cowboys 31-24
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos: Patriots 41-13
Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers: Panthers 27-7
New York Jets Improve to .500 Record
All the jokes about the New York Jets tanking for a high-profile college quarterback have faded after a 4-5 start. Head coach Todd Bowles pushed his group toward mediocrity, which exceeds outside expectations for Gang Green.
Once viewed as a team destined for a top-five draft pick, New York can win games against stiff competition. Don't take your optimism too far and consider the Jets a playoff contender, but they're good enough to beat the floundering Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who've lost five consecutive games.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Buccaneers will shut down quarterback Jameis Winston for multiple weeks due to an injured throwing shoulder:
As a result, we'll see a revenge game for Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Bucs backup signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick. Josh McCown also started 11 games under center for Tampa Bay during the 2014 campaign.
Regardless of who's seeking revenge in this contest, the Jets should leave Raymond James Stadium with a 5-5 record.
Washington Redskins Win Another Defensive Slugfest
After the Seattle Seahawks' offensive showcase in Week 8, the letdown at home against the Redskins came as a surprise.
Despite all the injuries, Washington continues to field a competitive secondary that intercepted signal-caller Russell Wilson twice in Week 9.
Right now, the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback situation keeps the team from rising to an elite level. Quarterback Case Keenum will help the club win games, but can you trust him against tougher defensive units?
According to Pro Football Outsiders, Washington allows fewer than 40 yards to No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers. Keenum will have to turn toward his third and fourth reads to move the ball downfield. Running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon won't have enough to keep pace with the Redskins' aerial attack.
Expect Cousins to throw a pair of touchdowns in a close Redskins victory.
Denver Lays Another Egg, Looks Toward the Future
After another loss, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph decided not to immediately commit to a quarterback before taking a hard look at the film, per Denver Post reporter Nicki Jhabvala:
Ultimately, Joseph will give quarterback Brock Osweiler another tryout in Week 10, per Rapoport:
At the moment, signal-caller Paxton Lynch continues to recover from a shoulder injury, but there's uncertainty surrounding his progress. Nonetheless, there's no rest for the slumping Broncos with a Sunday Night Football contest with the Patriots up ahead.
As Denver's offense struggles the defense surrenders more points, as witnessed in Week 9 against the Eagles. With a week of preparation, it's fair to anticipate the Patriots defense forcing bad throws to give the offense good field position on most drives.
Denver may flirt with disaster with another embarrassing loss—this time at home. Whenever Lynch clears the hurdles to take the field, the 2016 first-rounder will take over the reins.