Ten highlights and ten lowlights from NFL Week 10, along with some betting thoughts
This is Part 1.
(1) The Tennessee Titans just keep on winning. With the victory over New Orleans on Sunday, that's six in a row. Superstar RB Travis Henry's season was done two weeks ago, and yet the Titans (8-2) rolled over the LA Rams on the road last week and won impressively at home against the Saints. Tennessee doesn't get nearly enough credit. This team is a serious Super Bowl contender and could end up with the AFC's best record given their weak schedule the rest of the way. Although the Titans missed the cover by a points versus the Saints, they're still 7-3 against the spread this season.
(2) The New England Patriots are back! The Patriots (6-4) are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and are suddenly a scoring machine. They were given up for dead as a rebuilding team back in early October but are now a playoff contender and improving each week on both sides of the ball. New England destroyed Cleveland on Sunday and made a statement that the dynasty might not be over just yet. Perhaps we're seeing Generation 2.
(3) Cam Newton is back! Last week, much maligned quarterback Cam Newton, who was totally out of football, was at home "eating a bowl of cereal." Then, the phone rang and Carolina announced they had a uniform with his number on it. A few days later, Newton was on the 2-yard line taking snaps with his old team and running into the end zone with the ball. Oh, and Carolina (5-5) beat the NFL's hottest team with the best record. Just--wow!
(4) Gutsy Performance of the Week #1--Miami Dolphins. Did anyone see Miami (3-7) beating, no wait, thumping first-place Baltimore on Thursday night? What an ass kicking! Miami even lost their starting QB late in the second quarter, inserted Tua, who blossomed from a caterpillar into a monarch butterfly in the span of 35 minutes. The Ravens were a stinker, but credit the Dolphins for a shocking upset, and what's now a two-game win streak.
(5) Gutsy Performance of the Week #2--Washington Football Team. Did anyone expect Washington to pull off this week's WTF moment in beating the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers? What a showing by both the offense and defense on a team that's been counted out as a serious contender for anything other than perhaps last place in the NFC East. This win showed that Washington is capable of playing much better. We can also surmise that Tampa Bay may be complacent, at least until the playoffs begin – then, it's time to step up.
(6) The Buffalo Bills own the NFL's best point differential. One average, the Bills are outscoring opponents by 14 points per game. If this continues, that would be a record pace. Even with 3 losses, Buffalo is 280-135 in points, a differential likely to widen as they get some real softballs on the schedule. However, look out for the Patriots. Buffalo plays their rivals twice in December. By that time, the Patriots might even be better than they are now, setting up what could be an epic series (2 games within a 21-day stretch).
(7) Dallas is for real. After the Cowboy's miserable performance in Week 9 against Denver (down 30-0 at one point), suspicions were Dallas might not be as good as their first-place record. Those doubts were erased on Sunday as (7-2) Dallas thrashed Atlanta by 40 points in a game that wasn't even that close. Lock up the NFC East for the Cowboys and perhaps a first round bye given they have the easier schedule the rest of the way.
(8) Green Bay might be the all-around best team in the NFL. The Packers' 17-0 win against Seattle (Russell Wilson played the full game) was more impressive than many observers might realize. While QB Aaron Rodgers got most of the attention for his bonehead comments and actions these past two weeks, the Green Bay defense silently has showed they're capable to shutting down any opponent. Last week, the Packers' D allowed just 13 points to Kansas City, then on Sunday they shut out Seattle. So long as Green Bay's defense plays at this level, Rodgers and the offense won't have to score 30+ points per game. At 8-2, Green Bay's game against the (7-2) LA Rams two weeks from now looms huge as the possible NFC home field advantage match.
(9) Indianapolis remains one of the NFL's hottest teams. The Colts sloppy win against Jacksonville won't impress anyone, but let's credit them for seven straight wins (or close losses). Unfortunately, the Colts face a brutal schedule the rest of the way – Buffalo next week, then Tampa Bay. They must also play New England and Arizona. The way the offense is playing (5th in rushing, 7th in scoring), Indianapolis poses a threat to every opponent.
(10) Don't write off Kansas City just yet. Nearing the end of October, Kansas City was 3-4 and in last place. Now, they're 6-4 and in first place in the AFC West. The Chiefs' demolition of the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night was a stark reminder that Kansas City, even with some shortcomings and poor performances, remains the dangerous team we expected, capable of going all the way so long as they stay healthy. The Kanas City-Dallas game in Week 11 should be a treat.
Pointspreads.ca Top Ten (Week 10)
- Tennessee Titans
- Green Bay Packers
- Arizona Cardinals
- Los Angeles Rams
- Dallas Cowboys
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Buffalo Bills
- New England Patriots
- Baltimore Ravens
- Indianapolis Colts