Top 10 Things To Look Out For: Week 10

Coldplay in action. What a show!

To the fans who follow us, we’re truly sorry for not posting more regularly. It’s been a hectic week for Will and I. Will broke his ankle and that “obviously” debilitated his writing ability. He’ll have a post coming soon. As for me? Work, work, and COLDPLAY CONCERT. They’re my favorite band of all-time and they put on the greatest concert I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

But, we’re not here for the concert details. If you are, check out @aceing82 for another show picture.

We’re here for football! And we’ve got some crazy playoff story lines heading into Week 10. The Eagles are slipping away, Leon Washington is facing his old team in the New York Jets, and the Bears are forming a new-look, ferocious takeaway defense. Let’s delve into the events that await us:

1) Houston vs. Bears could be a potential Super Bowl preview. If you have NFL GamePass, keep this in the corner of your screen while you watch anything else. If there’s one thing every NFL fan knows, it’s that despite the power of offenses in the NFL, defense is still what makes champions in this league. Almost all of the Super Bowl contenders this year have D’s that keep them in games and these two juggernauts are no exception. Lovie Smith’s unit has the Bears winning consistently, with just one loss the Packers before their emergence. They will definitely win the next match-up and be in control of the division for the rest of the season. And the Texans, no matter how good Andrew Luck’s Colts are looking, have a dominant all-around team that can pulverize even the best. Whom ever comes out with the win here can be sure that they’ll have to up their level of play and disguise their schemes more thoughtfully if they face off again. With two Defensive Player of the Year candidates on both sides of the ball (J.J. Watt for Houston, Charles Tillman for  Chicago) this has the look a really exciting game.

2) The Colts are going to the playoffs behind Andrew Luck’s historic rookie season. Luck keeps them in games and is proving all the preseason predictions of him right. He’s a game operator who can change the course of his team’s fortunes at any point of the game. Yes, he’s still a rookie, so I don’t expect a deep playoff run (although I wouldn’t be surprised by a wild-card win). But the guy is amazing, and will be for a long time in the league. If there’s a team in the league that is already getting hot at the right time, it’s these guys, and the fact that were able to handily dismantle a Jaguars team that has been a perennial confidence-builder for opposing teams is a huge positive. #IndyIsLegit

3) The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming back, and another win can only re-emphasize that. With an easily winnable game against the dismal Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers are on a road that could make them a strong candidate to win the AFC North, after a slow start to their season and a possible hole they could have dug themselves in with Baltimore taking over in the driver’s seat of the division. Ben Roethlisberger is running the short passing game effectively in OC Todd Haley’s new scheme in Pittsburgh and can ride on this scheme along with their annoyingly-consistent defense into the playoffs.

4) The Giants are slowing down drastically on offense. And in Cincinnati, they need to get back to their driving ways. Eli Manning has been held without a TD pass in two of their last three games, and as the pilot of the offense, he needs to start revving the engine a little more. The Bengals are on a four-game losing streak, and their defense is not winning anything for them. This will be a huge opportunity for New York to prove that they can efficiently exploit bad defenses and win on both sides of the ball. Jason Pierre-Paul is still a dominant force on the other side along with Justin Tuck, Osi Umeniyora, and Mathias Kiwanuka. But this team is built to win late in games, and last week’s lost to Pittsburgh was a huge disappointment. This will be their first chance to regain some momentum before they start to slip into the middle of the divisional pack in the NFC East.

5) Tampa Bay has a chance to firmly establish their new-found explosiveness in San Diego. Head Coach Greg Schiano was looking like a first-year bust with the Buccaneers through Week 6, with the team at 2-4 in a lost NFC South. But lately, rookie RB Doug Martin and QB Josh Freeman have the team winning tight games with a lot of points on the board. Martin had a historic game in Oakland with 262 yards rushing, 4 TD’s, and a new entrance into the talks for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Their defensive secondary is also making some noise with takeaways in the fourth quarters of games to solidify some much needed wins. All of a sudden, they could be in the thick of the NFC wild-card race. San Diego hasn’t been outstanding, and the Bucs could have a big win coming for them if they play a solid, 60-minute game in all three phases.

6) Dallas vs. Philadelphia will prove which team sucks more. Both Michael Vick and Tony Romo are at about a level 6 V/FPG (Vick-Caliber Fails Per Game). Romo, for his ability to make his team tease their fans into thinking they can win tight games. And Vick…well, the damn scale is named after him, isn’t it? Both teams are heading into NFL oblivion this season and the loser will, for all intents and purposes, be out of the NFC wild-card race. It’s a game that really isn’t going to play a huge factor in January, but will surely affirm which team will need more work. As of now, Philly HC Andy Reid looks like he’ll lose his job and Vick might be on the bench as well. For the ‘Boys, HC Jason Garrett may be replaced with an outside candidate (far-fetched possibilities include Sean Payton and Jon Gruden). Will all due respect, these teams can be playoff contenders will obvious talent and unlocked potential. But it’s not like they’re losing for no reason.

7) Oakland may actually have a winnable game in Baltimore. I’m not saying I would pick them with even $10 dollars on the line, but certainly with the injuries on the Ravens’ D, Carson Palmer has a chance to shred them the way he did Tampa Bay’s last week. Palmer showed that he can still play at an elite level, minus the turnovers, and can lead this team. But he’ll really have to show up with Darren McFadden likely not playing this week with an injury. Baltimore is still going to the favorite, but I wouldn’t call them heavy favorites. If Oakland can generate pressure on Joe Flacco and not give him a chance to shoot the deep ball to Torrey Smith, and hold Ray Rice at the line, then it opens up a chance for Palmer to be the hero. There’s cracks in Baltimore’s shield, and the Raiders could take advantage.

8) Denver will be unstoppable this week. I couldn’t care less about what any remaining critics might have to say about Peyton Manning’s neck, the guy is back, and in a big way. In Carolina, with a struggling all-around team, they’ll be primed to drop a few dozen points on the black-and-blue jerseys and start a clean record in November. The offense looks like the one the Colts had in 2009 with Manning still in Indy blue: young, raw, but with respect for authority. The authority? It’s still the sheriff. Manning, playing with perhaps a little less zing to his throws than in years’ past, is on his way to one of his best statistical seasons, heading towards 4,808 yards and 40 TD’s. With the Panthers’ defense less than intimidating look, look for heavily one-sided games.

9) Speaking of one-sided games, Matty Ice vs. New Orleans’ defense is going to be ugly. New Orleans’ defense is being rolled flat by opposing offenses (with the exception of the lackluster Eagles) and that doesn’t look like it’ll stop with Atlanta on the menu. Matt Ryan (a potential MVP), Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Michael Turner form a unit that will stop at nothing the crush their rivals into the ground so far down that they’ll be in Beijing by January, asking little Chinese women where the playoffs are. Drew Brees will really have to keep pace with Atlanta, which won’t be a monumental task for an elite quarterback like himself. But it’s do-or-die for the Saints right here, and if they can’t match the Falcons point-for-point, then they can greet 2013 a little early with open arms.

10) New England put up 52 against Buffalo last time, so how much will it be this time? I love me some points. Points make the NFL go ’round, they make people’s heads spin in the clutch and in one-sided affairs. The Patriots are skilled at both. Tommy Brady will be out to ramp up the speed and ferocity of an offense that also ran up the score in London to 45 against a declining St. Louis defense. I think I might know a prediction here…62-7. No, wait…62-3. NOPE, hold on here…the score is 62-0 with about 1:30 left on the clock, and Brian Hoyer, the Pats’ backup QB, feels so bad for the Bills that he simply runs backwards and “accidentally” steps out of bounds in his own end zone and feigns disgust with himself, while Mario Williams and the defense all rally around their hero for allowing them half a fantasy point for their “dedicated” owners who couldn’t unload the unit in time for this week.

Yep, some wacky story lines here. Enjoy Week 10, and we’ll be back with some Quick Hits on Sunday Night!

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