NFL Week 10 schedule: Broncos need to be fighters, Falcons must find offensive spark
Here are 10 things to watch during a Week 10 slate packed with plenty of intrigue
Here's the schedule for the rest of Week 10, as well as 10 things about it that intrigue me:
Chargers at Jaguars, 1 p.m. on CBS (GameTracker)
Steelers at Colts, 1 p.m. on CBS (GameTracker)
Browns at Lions, 1 p.m. on CBS (GameTracker)
Jets at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. on CBS (GameTracker)
Saints at Bills, 1 p.m. on FOX (GameTracker)
Bengals at Titans, 1 p.m. on FOX (GameTracker)
Vikings at Redskins, 1 p.m. on FOX (GameTracker)
Packers at Bears, 1 p.m. on FOX (GameTracker)
Texans at Rams, 4:05 p.m. on CBS (GameTracker)
Cowboys at Falcons, 4:25 p.m. on FOX (GameTracker)
Giants at 49ers, 4:25 p.m. on FOX (GameTracker)
Patriots at Broncos, 8:30 p.m. on NBC (GameTracker)
Can Saints defense play at a high level for seventh straight week?
During their six-game winning streak, the defense has given up 12.6 points per game. That's why they are winning games. They are tied with the Los Angeles Rams for ninth in scoring defense at 19.4 points per game, which is almost 10 points per game better than last season. They face a Bills offense that will want to run the ball with LeSean McCoy. The Saints are 19th against the run, which will make slowing McCoy a challenge. If they do that, they should win the game.
Will Broncos show any fight against Patriots?
The poor play by the offense seemed to get to the defense last week at Philadelphia when they were blown out of the building. The defense looked like a shell of itself against the Eagles, but that can happen when the burden of carrying a team gets too great. I think the Denver defense will bounce back against Tom Brady and company in prime time and play a much better game. It's too bad they still won't get much help from the offense.
Have Giants completely quit?
It sure looked that way last week in the blowout loss to the Rams at home. Guys didn't seem to want to be there. And now comes word that the players are pretty much over coach Ben McAdoo and his ways. He's already suspended top corners Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for a game. This thing is getting out of hand, but they have a chance to get a victory against the 49ers on the road. If they lose that one to the winless 49ers, look out.
Can Falcons turn around their season vs. Cowboys?
It helps that they are home for the first time after three road games. They play four of the next five at home, so it's time to get it going if they are to be a playoff team. The offense still isn't playing like it did a year ago, and that's not all the fault of new coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Players have to step up. What they should do is go to more no-huddle stuff to allow Matt Ryan to make the calls at the line of scrimmage. That will get them going. If they don't show improvement this week, their season could be done.
Can banged-up Redskins line handle Vikings' ferocious pass rush?
The Vikings have 24 sacks to rank eighth in the league, and end Everson Griffen is third in the league with 10 sacks. He has at least one in every game. The Washington line, which started four backups last week at Seattle, will again face a stiff challenge here if they don't get some of the injured back. If it's the same five as last week, which resulted in six Seattle sacks, it could be a long day for Kirk Cousins.
How will A.J. Green respond to being thrown out last week?
The Bengals receiver faces a defense that has had problems at times covering the pass this season, ranking 18th in the league. The fight and ejection are not who Green is as a player. I think he bounces back in a big way against the Titans.
Will Rams continue amazing scoring pace vs. Texans?
The Rams are the No. 1 scoring team in the league, averaging 32.9 points per game. That's amazing for a team that couldn't do much of anything on offense last year. That's what new coach Sean McVay and an influx of talent has done for the offense. This week, they face a Texans team that is struggling in a big way on defense. That unit is ranked 30th in scoring, which means it could be another big day for Jared Goff and company.
Corners Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin vs. Philip Rivers
The Chargers quarterback has been sensational against the Jaguars in his career. In seven starts, including four in Jacksonville, he has 19 touchdown passes and four picks. He has four touchdown passes in each of the past two games against the Jaguars, including four last season in a blowout in San Diego. In the last three games in Jacksonville, he has 10 touchdown passes and no picks. But this Jaguars team is first in yards passing and yards per pass play. Rivers hasn't been as good this year, but the way he plays the Jaguars, that might not matter.
Edge rusher Von Miller vs. right tackle Marcus Cannon
When the Broncos beat the Patriots in the playoffs after the 2015 season, Miller had 2.5 sacks and dominated the game against Cannon and the rest of the Pats line. But during the regular season in 2016 last December, Cannon held Miller without a sack while matched up in a lot of one-on-one situations. Miller will need to come up big with his pass rush against Tom Brady if the Broncos are to have a chance at an upset.
Can Todd Bowles get the Jets to .500 this week?
There were many, myself included, who saw the Jets going 0-16. If they can beat the Bucs this week in Tampa – the Jets are 10-1 all time against Tampa Bay – they will be 5-5 heading down the stretch. Dare we say playoffs? The Bucs will be without Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, which should help the Jets. They will face Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. He was the Jets' starter the previous two seasons. This is certainly a winnable game for the Jets.