What We Learned In Week 10 Of The NFL

Week 10 was easily the best weekend of football we’ve had this season.  5/8 early games went down to the wire, and all of the late games were close, followed by a great Sunday night game.  Its about time we got some good football.  Anyways, here’s what we learned and saw this weekend.

The NFC North is a mess

Who would have ever thought the Lions would hold the top spot at any point this season? Let alone Week 10…

Its not really due to how good the Lions have been.  They haven’t really been that good.  Its about the crappiness of the other teams.

The Bears are the Bears, but the Vikings and Packers are both in serious trouble.  Green Bay has had issues since Week 1.  They’ve been up and down, with lows being really low.  But Sunday was a whole different story.

The Titans had 35 points at halftime.  When was the last time the Titans had that many in a game?

Its like the Packers weren’t even trying defensively.  I get they’re banged up still, but this is the Titans offense we’re talking about.  Its not that hard to stop.

Green Bay was playing like they were trying to get Mike McCarthy fired, which leads me into…

He has to be the issue, right?  There is no rushing attack, but Aaron Rodgers was pretty good.  The receivers played their part for once.  Packers fans were blaming Aaron freaking Rodgers and the talent offensively before McCarthy.  And a good amount of them still won’t blame McCarthy.

He’s reluctant to change, like most Packer fans.  Green Bay doesn’t like to make big moves in the middle of the season, and doesn’t like to fire coaches in the first place.  But what they have to realize is that he’s the one holding them back.  And things won’t get better if he’s still there.

The Vikings have plethora of issues.  The defense all the sudden can’t stop anyone.  The offense is about as stable as Jerry Jones’ mannequin challenge video.  And Blair Walsh still can’t kick.

The offensive line is where the heart of the issue is.  Its just a really bad bunch of lineman, and Jake Long, who was recently signed, is now done for the year with an Achilles injury.  T.J. Clemmings was a train wreck to add to the misery.

The Vikings just couldn’t finish drives.  They didn’t score the whole second half.  And there’s no real solution either.  Norv Turner gave up on it.  How long will it be until the offense gives up on itself?

The difference with this team was supposed to be the defense, but they’re in an extremely rough patch right now.

So that leaves the Lions at the top of the NFC North.  Yup, welcome to the NFL in 2016.

Rams-Jets was just terrible

This was probably the worst game of a very good slate of games in Week 10 (about time!).   The quarterback matchup was Case Keenum vs. Bryce Petty, which wouldn’t excite most people, but, for someone like me, who’s been on the Bryce Petty bandwagon ever since he’s been drafted, Sunday was a big day.

It would have been a lot more interesting had Jared Goff been starting for the Rams, but in the end, it didn’t matter.  The Rams won, and Case Keenum was average for once instead of being terrible.

The only good thing about this game for the Jets was that Bryce Petty wasn’t the reason they lost.  Sure, the offense wasn’t great, but thats expected with a guy making his first career start.  The Jets defense blew the game.

The decline of this Jets defense over the past year or so has been astonishing.  Its why they’ve been so atrocious.  The bad offense wouldn’t mean nearly as much if this defense could stop people.  Instead, Darrelle Revis is a mess.  Sheldon Richardson and Muhammed Wilkerson aren’t behaving.  Besides that, there’s not a lot else here.  And its showing big time.

On the Rams, Jared Goff must be really bad if they haven’t considered making him the starter.  Los Angeles could make the case of “Well, we are in the playoff race right now.”, but you aren’t getting any farther with Keenum, and you’ve also pulled a lot of games out of your butt.  Plus, its not like Keenum is single-handly winning games for you.  Make the change guys!

Defense stood tall

So many games Sunday came down to defense.  The Eagles held the mighty Falcons offense to only 16 points.  The Chiefs defense halted Cam Newton in the 2nd half.  The Broncos got a huge play on special teams, and some help from the refs, but they don’t win if their defense doesn’t slow down Drew Brees.

At the same time, most of these teams that have good defenses aren’t gonna get rewarded for it, at least like Denver did last year.  That gets me into the next topic.

There’s really only three good teams

And two of them played each other in Week 10.  You could make the case that the top four all played each other, with Dallas beating Pittsburgh.  But the Steelers’ defensive issues are too much of a problem right now, so they get the boot.

Really, the Steelers defense lost them the game, and though they were pitted against one of the best offenses in the league, it was still atrocious.  Ben Rothlisberger proved to us that he came back just one week too early, as he threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns.  But its frustrating to see this Steelers team be 4-5.  They have the potential to be much better, but defense is letting them down, and is making or breaking many team’s seasons so far this year.  We can add Pittsburgh to that list.

That was just a spectacle the Cowboys put on Sunday.  Dak Prescott was impeccable, Ezekiel Elliot was a beast, and Dez Bryant played his heart out.  The Cowboys are super scary, and should have the Seahawks on their heels in the NFC.

Sunday night was an excellent game.  There were so many “Oh my God” throws made between Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.  Those two are the best two quarterbacks in the league right now, and its not close.  That game was proof.

The Patriots defense is still extremely reckless and can’t generate any pass rush.  It killed them Sunday night, as they blew a couple coverages and let Wilson do what he wanted.

New England played well offensively, I mean, they have Tom Brady.  Its kinda hard to play bad when you have him.  But there are concerns.  Gronk got hurt, and after a scare with his lung, its now being reported that he’ll be fine.  The defense is banged up, but can’t generate any pass rush or seem to cover anybody.

The irony of Sunday night was hilarious.  The way New England had the chance to win the game was identical to the set-up at the end of the Super Bowl a year and a half ago.  And yet again, it came down to bad play calling.

I just didn’t understand Bill Belicheck’s call to throw a fade route when you only have one shot at a play.  The Seahawks attempted the same thing two weeks ago against New Orleans and failed at it.  I don’t care how good your receivers are, or whether you’re throwing to Gronk or not.  Fade routes rarely work in general.  Why attempt one when its the one chance you have?

I thought the no-call was correct.  If anything, you could’ve flagged Gronk for offensive pass interference.

But seriously, Sunday night’s game was amazing, and could very well be a Super Bowl preview.

Quick hits on the rest of the games:

  • The Browns are bad and that is all.
  • Carolina’s season is basically over with the killer loss against Kansas City.  The Chiefs scored 17 points in the 4th quarter to come back from a deficit of the same number.  It was an epic collapse by the Panthers defense, which has been bad in the secondary and mediocre up front all year.  Cam Newton took a beating again, which wasn’t surprising considering his offensive line and the good Chiefs defense.
  • The Bears are bad and that is all.
  • EXCEPT: Oh my God, that scramble and throw by Jamies Winston was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  Thats like Michael Vick in Madden 04 type stuff.
  • The 49ers-Cardinals game was way more stressful than it should’ve been.
  • What a meltdown from Philip Rivers against the Dolphins.  Everyone has a bad game, but that was extremely shocking to see from a guy like Rivers.
  • Pretty crappy Monday night game.  Neither offense could really get anything going, though I do credit the Bengals defense.  That was their best game this season, pressuring Eli Manning and forcing him to make bad throws.
  • It was a weird game because, when you evaluate what happened, it adds up to the Bengals winning.
  • But this is a Andy Dalton-led team, so something has to wrong.  And it did.  They just cannot seem to win games at the end, and its the reason they’re 3-5-1.
  • The Bears are bad and now Alshon Jeffrey is suspended for four games.  This has more of a fantasy impact than anything, but now the Bears are down their top playmaker.  Its a big blow, but yay for draft position, I guess.
  • Today is the day Vikings fans have coveted all year.  Blair Walsh is a free agent and no longer kicking for Minnesota.  The move had to be made.  Do the math: Walsh has cost them three games in the year 2016 alone: The playoff game vs. Seattle, the Bears game this year, and the overtime game vs. Detroit.  You can’t deal with that as an NFL team, especially one thats struggling like Minnesota is right now.