By: Jordan Green
Week 10 of the 2015 NFL season is upon us. There has been a lot to talk about thus far regarding injuries, breakout players, and undefeated seasons, and we are only halfway through the year.
The 2015 season has been filled with dynamic finishes and storylines, some of which have caused wild excitement for football fans, while other parts have made them cringe. Some things have changed—the Raiders have shed the label of being the laughing stock of the league as their young talent has helped Oakland already eclipse their win total from last season. However, some things remain the same—we are still debating the role of domestic violence in football, particularly with Greg Hardy and the Dallas Cowboys, and the New England Patriots are still the team to beat.
All of the drama that has played out over the first half of the season has been both entertaining and shocking, and it looks like things will only escalate as the season progresses. But, it is time to focus on the action on the field. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Week 10 slate of games to see what will be worth following on Sunday.
Lions (1-7) @ Packers (6-2), 1:00 PM ET
Green Bay is looking to snap a 2 game losing streak that came at the hands of two of the top teams in football—Carolina and Denver. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Pack should be able to bounce back against the lowly Lions. Detroit has been abysmal this season, ranking 27th in total offense and 24th in total defense. Head coach Jim Caldwell is one of the few remaining members of the coaching staff that started the season, and could use a victory on Sunday to secure his job position for the rest of the year and heading into next season.
Prediction: Packers 38, Lions 17
Cowboys (2-6) @ Buccaneers (3-5), 1:00 PM ET
The Cowboys have gone winless since Tony Romo broke his collarbone in Week 2. Dallas did play their best game since then last week in an overtime loss to Philadelphia, but the offensive struggles still need to be addressed. Meanwhile, the Bucs have surprisingly been awful at home since Lovie Smith has taken over, and they are 1-3 at Raymond James this season. Look for Tampa Bay to feed the ball to running back Doug Martin to help rookie QB Jameis Winston. In the end, Tampa should be able to pull this one out at home.
Prediction: Buccaneers 21, Cowboys 17
Panthers (8-0) @ Titans (2-6), 1:00 PM E
The Panthers defense has been stellar all year long, and even with Titans’ rookie QB Marcus Mariota coming off his best game yet, Carolina should shut down Tennessee’s offense. The Titans are overmatched on the outside, and we could possibly see Mariota move outside the pocket more to get the Panthers D on their heels. Cam Newton will continue to be Superman, and the Panthers’ D will continue to be solid, as the Panthers look to continue their undefeated season.
Prediction: Panthers 34, Titans 21
Bears (3-5) @ Rams (4-4), 1:00 PM ET
Although Jay Cutler has taken care of the football and played well this season, it will be hard for the Bears to win without injured RB Matt Forte. Jeremy Langford played above expectations in his first start on Monday night against San Diego, but the Rams defense is top ten in the league in yards per carry allowed. The Rams are also 3-1 at home this season, and the turf may be play to their advantage in the return game with speedster return man Tavon Austin. This should be a close game, but St. Louis’ homefield will help in the kicking and return game, ultimately giving the Rams the edge.
Prediction: Rams 27, Bears 24
Saints (4-5) @ Redskins (3-5), 1:00 PM ET
Like most Saints games, this one should be a shootout. New Orleans’ defense ranks 31st in points allowed, and this weekend should continue the trend. You know it is bad when Kirk Cousins is being ranked as a top ten fantasy quarterback on ESPN’s weekly rankings. Despite their offensive firepower, the Saints are not the same team on the road as they are at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Washington all but needs to win this week to keep their hopes of an NFC East title alive, and they should be able to pull it out at home.
Prediction: Redskins 34, Saints 31
Dolphins (3-5) @ Eagles (4-4) 1:00 PM ET
The Dolphins have played much better under interim head coach Dan Campbell than they did under Joe Philbin. One of the Dolphins strengths since Campbell took over has been establishing the running game with Lamar Miller. However, Philadelphia’s defense has improved and is slowly becoming a takeaway machine. If the Sam Bradford can minimize his mistakes and Chip Kelly allows Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to run free on the Dolphins’ D, then Philadelphia should be able to hold on at home.
Prediction: Eagles 23, Dolphins 20
Browns (2-7) @ Steelers (5-4), 1:00 PM ET
With Ben Roethlisberger and Le’veon Bell both out for the Steelers, this game has more intrigue to it than one may think. But, the Browns are still the Browns, and DeAngelo Williams hasn’t missed a beat filling in for Bell. With a solid running game, all Landry Jones has to do is get the ball to the league’s leading receiver, Antonio Brown, and watch Brown rack up the YAC. The Steelers should beat Cleveland in this AFC North rivalry matchup.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Browns 13
Jaguars (2-6) @ Ravens (2-6), 1:00 PM ET
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Barring a late season winning streak, the Ravens are on pace to have a losing record and miss the playoffs for the first time in the Jim Harbaugh-Joe Flacco era. One of Baltimore’s glaring weaknesses has been their secondary. Blake Bortles has exceeded expectations this season and has thrown 17 touchdowns this season. Much of his success has to do with the emergence of receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns as deep threats in the vertical passing game. Bortles may be poised to have his best game of the year, and even though it will be in frigid Baltimore, the Jags can pull out a win on the road.
Prediction: Jaguars 31, Ravens 28
Vikings (6-2) @ Raiders (4-4), 4:05 PM ET
Despite suffering a concussion last week, it appears that Teddy Bridgewater will suit up for the Vikings when they play at the Black Hole. Bridgewater hasn’t exactly been impressive, but he has done enough to win games with Adrian Peterson and the Vikings’ strong defense behind him. On the other side, there is the upstart Raiders led by breakthrough young stars Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. If the season ended today, Cooper would be offensive rookie of the year, and Carr would have a case for most improved. The Raiders aerial attack should be able to outscore the Vikings, as Oakland will be back above .500.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Vikings 16
Chiefs (3-5) @ Broncos (7-1), 4:25 PM ET
The last time these two teams met, Denver pulled off an incredible late game come back, capped by a game-winning fumble return for a touchdown. Peyton Manning has struggled all season, but the Broncos defense is the best in the NFL. Denver has found ways to win by mixing in the run game and scoring off of turnovers. At home, Denver’s D should be able to limit Alex Smith and the Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs.
Prediction: Broncos 29, Chiefs 26
Patriots (8-0) @ Giants (5-4), 4:25 PM ET
This is shaping up to be the game of the week. Once again, New England will put their undefeated season on the line against the Giants. The last time it happened, it was one of the greatest games in NFL history. Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin is 5-1 in his career against Bill Belichick. However, this year is different. The Giants have played to their opponents’ level of competition, so expect it to be a close game. The New York run game is too inconsistent, putting more pressure on Eli Manning to keep up with Tom Brady. Although Manning has kept up with Brady in the biggest of moments, he may not be able to on Sunday. New England’s offense is rolling, and the Giants defense is a hot mess to be fair. This game may resemble the Giants-Saints game a few weeks ago, a game the Giants lost 52-49. Expect a similar result on Sunday.
Prediction: Patriots 33, Giants 28
Cardinals (6-2) @ Seahawks (4-4), 8:30 PM ET
The Seahawks have a chance to gain ground in the NFC West with a home win on Sunday night. Seattle is almost unbeatable at home, even though the Cardinals have recently won at The Link. In order to win, the Seahawks must get Marshawn Lynch going on the ground. This will also keep Carson Palmer off the field and keep the Seattle D rested. If Russell Wilson can establish a connction with underutilized tight end Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks may be able to run away with this. If Seattle plays to its potential, this game can be a turning point in their season.
Prediction: Seahawks 20, Cardinals 14
Texans (3-5) @ Bengals (8-0), Monday Night, 8:30 PM ET
With the exception of New England, the Bengals have played like the best team in the NFL this season. Their offense is well-balanced with Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill running the ball, while Andy Dalton has a variety of weapons to choose from between A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Mohamed Sanu. Houston has played hard under Bill O’Brien, but they haven’t been able to get the results they’ve been looking for. The Bengals, like the Panthers and the Patriots should stay unbeaten in 2015.
Prediction: Bengals 35, Texans 20