NFL Instant Reactions: Week 10 Edition

Now that we are in the home stretch of the NFL season, it’s time to look at where each of the teams are headed. Much like last week’s article, I have separated the teams into four different categories: True Contenders, Playoff Bound Material, Mediocre at Best, and Dead in the Water.

True Contenders: Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings.

The Eagles (8-1) benefited from a bye this week, and look forward to their second half of their season with several key divisional games on their horizon, including Dallas twice. The Steelers (7-2) had me worried for a bit against the hapless Colts, but they did what good teams do: Find a way to win. The Patriots (7-2) remain in control of their playoff destiny as they took care of the Broncos in a blowout victory last evening. The Rams (7-2) also destroyed the Texans, while the Saints (7-2) have now won seven games in a row. Rounding out the group is the Minnesota Vikings (7-2) who put on an amazing offensive display over the Redskins, further complicating their quarterback conundrum.

Playoff Bound Material: Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions.

Kansas City (6-3) benefited from a bye week at the right time to prepare for the second half of their season, as Oakland remains just two games back from the division lead. Seattle won another key divisional match-up, but the loss of star cornerback Richard Sherman for the year complicates their “true contender” status for now. Jacksonville (6-3) and Tennessee (6-3) remain neck and neck for the divisional lead, and seem to be on a collision course for their Week 17 match-up which will likely decide who ends up winning the AFC South. Dallas (5-4) and Buffalo (5-4) both got beat up by their Week 10 opponents, but I’m not ready to give up on their playoff aspirations yet. The Falcons (5-4) and Detroit (5-4) both improved their playoff chances with key wins this week, but both teams need to improve all phases of the game  if they hope to qualify for a seeding in the tourney. The last team I will likely get flack for leaving in this category is the Washington Redskins (4-5). However, looking at their upcoming schedule shows a ton of teams with losing records on their slate. If they can find a way to beat New Orleans, this Redskins team has the potential for a late season playoff push.

Mediocre at Best:  NY Jets, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers.
The NY Jets (4-6) lost to a bad Tampa Bay squad, but this team continues to fight for their head coach, Todd Bowles. The Dolphins (4-4) have a very important game tonight against the Panthers to determine which direction their season will turn. The Ravens (4-5) look to regroup after this week’s bye week, and hope to rally off some key wins to get back into the playoff picture. Green Bay (5-4) looked better this week against Chicago, but they will have to keep improving if they want to even sniff a playoff spot.
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Dead in the Water: Cleveland Browns, NY Giants, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers.

This is the time of the year for head coaches to begin worrying about their job security, especially if they see their team in this category. Rumors are swirling about NY Giants coach, Ben McAdoo, being fired as early as today, and I have long been alluding to the potential dismissal of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.  Look for at least one of these coaches to be gone sooner rather than later.

Be sure to check back next week to see the movement in these categories, which teams should start to be taken seriously, and the others we wish would just get off our TV screens for good.

Photo Credit: SBNation.com

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