NFL – Week 10 Preview
We’ve just inched past the halfway point of the 2021 season and that means a variety of media organisations have been asking me for my awards and potential Super Bowl matchups. I have no idea on the Super Bowl front. In fact, I felt more confident picking teams to play in the game in August than I do now having seen everyone play at least eight games. That is crazy, but true. This race to Super Bowl 56 is wide open. Like, really wide open! Here are three Week 10 games I will be following closely.
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots…
The Browns got back to winning ways in impressive fashion and now I am keen to see how their strong running game fares against an always-stout New England defense.
The Patriots have quietly moved into position for a stealth attack on the rest of the playoff field. Mac Jones is improving each week at quarterback, the running game is solid and the defense seems to come up with a timely plan every Sunday.
Both of these teams look more than capable of securing wild card spots in the AFC. I would say that Cleveland should have higher aspirations and they certainly have the better roster. But New England have Bill Belichick and momentum on their side. That makes this a tough one to call. I give the Browns a slight edge in a close one.
Quick Stats on Browns at Patriots
- Cleveland’s defense is ranked third in the NFL in yards allowed (309.7) and the Browns also have the league’s third-best run defense in the league, giving up just 84.8 yards per game.
- New England’s D has also played well, giving up just 18.9 points per game in 2021 – fourth-best in the NFL. They rank fourth in the NFL with 16 takeaways and lead the league with 13 interceptions.
- Bill Belichick served as Cleveland’s head coach from 1991 to 1995. He is 7-2 against his old team with a perfect 5-0 mark at home.
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans… Trevor or Taysom to take on the Titans?
The Tennessee Titans are red hot as winners of five in a row, beating four playoff teams from last season on the bounce in Buffalo, Kansas City, Indianapolis and the Los Angeles Rams. Head coach Mike Vrabel has done a tremendous job in building a tough and resilient team in his image.
Without Derrick Henry in LA on Sunday evening, the Titans leaned heavily on a rising defense and found another way to win. That is going to have to be the way with their star man sidelined for at least the remainder of the regular season.
The Saints have a conundrum at quarterback now that Taysom Hill has returned from the concussion which has sidelined him for the past three weeks. Will he get another shot at the starting role he occupied for four games in 2020 or will the Saints stick with Trevor Siemian? The answer could impact the Saints’ playoff chances.
Quick Stats on Saints at Titans
- At 7-2, the Titans are off to their best start in the Mike Vrabel era and their best since they opened 9-0 in the 2008 season.
- The Titans have 23 sacks in nine games this season to rank eighth in the NFL. During the whole of the 2020 season, Tennessee recorded just 19 sacks.
- Taysom Hill completed 71.9 percent of his passes in four starts last season, throwing four touchdown strikes and scoring on four runs. He went 3-1 as a starter. Hill has only attempted six passes this season while no Saints QB has topped 300 passing yards in a game in 2021.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Will the superstar quarterbacks return for this big clash in the NFC? Russell Wilson appears to be set for a return from the injury that has kept him out since midway through Week 5. Aaron Rodgers’ status is up in the air as he fights back from Covid-19.
The Seahawks need Wilson back as soon as possible because their season hangs by a thread at 3-5. And when he returns, it’s time to hand the keys to the attack back to their star quarterback; even though head coach Pete Carroll likes to stick with an underwhelming rushing attack.
The Packers will get another look at Jordan Love if Rodgers cannot go. Without Rodgers, Green Bay are a good team. With him, they are a bona fide Super Bowl contender. Love him or hate him, Rodgers is the main man in Green Bay and the key to their success.
Quick Stats on Seahawks at Packers
- Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers have played against each other eight times, with each quarterback winning four games. The home quarterback has won every meeting between these two men.
- Seattle’s offense ranks 29th in the NFL in 2021, gaining just 314 yards per game. On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks’ defense is ranked 31st in the league; giving up 401.5 yards per game.
- Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are the only two quarterbacks in NFL history with a 100+ career passer rating and more than 3,000 pass attempts.