NFL Week 10: 6 Teams That Need a Win
Entering NFL Week 10, these six teams need to pick up a victory to avoid falling out of contention and keep playoff hopes alive.
As NFL Week 10 is already underway following Thursday night, we’re officially in the second half of the 2016 NFL season. At this point, now teams have to start seriously considering their postseason chances and what it’ll take to make it in. For some teams, that means needing a big win this week.
This weekend features a really interesting matchup on Monday Night Football where the Cincinnati Bengals play on the road at the New York Giants. Both of those teams can ill afford to lose this week and, barring a tie, one of them will be hurting in the standings of their respective divisions.
There is also a team who is in first place in the NFC North—the Minnesota Vikings—who are on a three-game skid. A fourth consecutive loss would most likely end any momentum they’ve obtained this season. Also, there are teams playing this week where a win would make things a lot easier from here on out. But remember, the season is far from being complete.
Outside of the AFC East, the rest of the divisions are still within one game of each other in the standings. In the NFC, three of the four divisions have two-win leads, with the NFC North having the Vikings at 5-3, while the Detroit Lions are 5-4 and the Green Bay Packers are at 4-4.
Though every team would like and could use a victory, here are the teams that need to pick up a win in NFL Week 10.
New York Giants
If the Dallas Cowboys win their eighth-straight game this Sunday when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants are unable to win on Monday Night Football, a three-game deficit in November isn’t what the G-Men had in mind for this season.
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The Giants are 5-3 overall and are the lone team this season that handed the Cowboys a loss. This week, the Giants host the Bengals, another team that can’t realistically lose another game at 3-4-1 overall to keep playoff hopes alive.
In this matchup, it could come down to Cincinnati’s rushing attack against New York’s run defense. The Bengals are seventh in rushing, averaging 120.2 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Giants are ninth in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 93.9 yards per game. Offensively, the Giants average 271.6 passing yards per game with Eli Manning, while the Bengals pass defense allows 262.4 yards per game, 21st in the NFL.
Between the two teams this season, I believe the Giants need this win more than Cincinnati because of who they face in their division and how the rest of the NFC plays out. The Bengals aren’t that far behind the Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North. And though the Giants aren’t in a must-win situation, a win would really help their cause in a tough NFC East.
The Texans have a good opportunity to extend their AFC South lead over the idle Indianapolis Colts with a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Houston is in first place in the AFC South, despite being the 30th-ranked offense in scoring at 17.1 points per game. They are also 30th in the league with 199.2 passing yards per game with Brock Osweiler leading the way at quarterback. The problem for the Texans will be the Jaguars are fifth in the NFL in passing defense, allowing 217.6 yards per game.
For the Texans to gain the win against their 2-6 division counterpart, they must throw the football better, especially with Johnathan Cyprien and Jalen Ramsey roaming in the Jaguars secondary.
Houston’s problem is they are inconsistent defensively too, allowing 125.8 yards per game rushing (28th), but being second in the league in pass defense, giving up 190.5 yards per contest.
This is a very winnable game for the Texans this weekend, and they have no reason not to move to 6-3 overall. Though they aren’t in a spot where a loss will hurt them, a win would really make the next few weeks a little easier if something were to go off track for a couple weeks.
The Vikings have lost three-straight games, their offensive coordinator resigned and they have played this season mostly without their best running back and starting quarterback. That said, along with a three-game losing streak, the Vikings are still holding on to first place in the NFC North with a 5-3 record, while the Lions are right there with them at 5-4.
Remember, the Vikings began the season with five-straight wins and then had their bye week. But since then, they’ve begun to fall apart with losses to the Lions, Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. Each of their losses have been by at least six points, and a total of 27 points.
How many teams can stay in first place with a four-game losing streak? That is why the Vikings need this win. If they gain the victory, they stay in first place, but a loss would be a tough blow to their season.
Minnesota can avoid seeing their season crumble by fending off the Washington Redskins on Sunday. A win this Sunday won’t be extremely easy, but to stay where they are in the standings, they need to start playing like they were earlier in the season.
The reigning Super Bowl champions lost last Sunday night to the Oakland Raiders. With Oakland on bye this week, this weekend is a good chance for the Denver Broncos to get closer to first place in the standings.
Denver is playing on the road against the New Orleans Saints and, if the Broncos get into an offensive shootout with the Saints, they will not win this. The Broncos aren’t playing well enough on the offensive side of the ball to get into a shootout with any team, but their defense will be the key to gaining the win.
The Broncos (6-3) not only have to keep Drew Brees from taking control of this game, but their own offense can’t be lackluster against a defense that allows 300 passing yards per game this season. This is an excellent chance for Trevor Siemian to show he’s the right choice at being the starter for the Broncos from here on out.
Siemian didn’t play that well last Sunday night in the loss to the Raiders (7-2). But in this game against the Saints, there are and can’t be any excuses for him if the offense underperforms yet again. He’s the quarterback of the Broncos for a reason. And if he can’t show it against a defense like the Saints, maybe John Elway and Company have a decision to make.
Green Bay Packers
Could the Packers, a team that is always in preseason talk as Super Bowl contenders, fall to under .500 bye losing their third consecutive game? With Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback of the Packers, how often has that occurred?
The Packers sit at 4-4 through their first eight games and will be on the road in Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans, looking to avoid that aforementioned third-straight loss. Green Bay is 1-2 on the road, with their latest road loss being in Atlanta against the Falcons by a 33-32 score.
In this current two-game skid the Packers have lost by a combined seven points. Last Sunday, they lost to the Indianapolis Colts, 31-26, at Lambeau Field. With this game on the road against a Titans team who is also coming off a loss, the Packers need to regain their old magic—and it wouldn’t hurt to slow down the Tennessee rushing game, either.
The Titans have enjoyed a resurgent DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry running the football well this season, combining for over 1,000 yards rushing so far this season. Both Murray and Henry are averaging over four yards per carry.
Needing to stop the run is good news for the Packers on paper with them being the No. 1 run defense, conceding just 75.8 yards per game. But on the other hand, they are 17th in stopping the pass. Some teams have been able to run the ball against them and the Titans might be another team to do so.
Green Bay needs this win, if not for confidence and placement in the standings, but at least to start being a team that puts a little fear in their opponents when they see them on the schedule. Because right now the Packers are average and they should be better than that.
Out in the NFC West, the Arizona Cardinals are in a bit of danger of letting the Seattle Seahawks silently start pulling away with the division if they don’t get their act together quickly. The Cardinals at 3-5 are the most disappointing team in the NFL because they were not only projected to play in the Super Bowl by many (myself included), but some had them winning the championship.
The Cardinals never recovered from losing in the playoffs as devastatingly as they did to the Carolina Panthers. But winning just three times in eight tries isn’t what was expected from this group. Not much has gone right for the Cardinals and part of that is the quarterback play of Carson Palmer. He’s not the player he was last season and who knows if he can ever get back to that level.
This Sunday, the Cardinals face the San Francisco 49ers in a game they should win. But given their inconsistency this season, it isn’t a guarantee at all. Arizona is coming off a bye, so maybe they’ve got their issues ironed out. If they haven’t, well, losing to the 49ers all but seals their fate as a team who’ll be missing the playoffs this season.