Week 9 saw one of the only two undefeated teams remaining fall, as the Patriots lost a tough road game at Baltimore thanks to an opportunistic Ravens defense creating points of thineir own and Lamar Jackson and the offense doing just enough. Now, the 49ers have the only unblemished record, but face stiff competition themselves as they get ready to host Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, who sport a 4-0 road record so far this season.
The NFC is loaded at the top, with four teams having won at least seven games. The entire NFC North division lost last week, but the Saints are still breathing down the 49ers’ necks, having only lost one of their first eight contests. In the AFC, the Patriots loss put less distance between them and the four AFC teams that have won six games to this point in the season.
Needless to say, we’ve reached the point in the season where added attention is to be paid to the standings, and a single loss can serve as a major speed bump in the quest to be playing playoff football come January. With that in mind, here are a few of the week’s biggest contest that will play a significant role in the playoff picture.
Raiders @ Chargers: Two four-win teams on Thursday Night Football doesn’t sound like an appetizing affair on the surface, but both the Raiders and Chargers have found their stride as of late, and sit just two games behind the Chiefs in the win column in the AFC West. The winner of this game will increase their chances of catching Kansas City, while the loser will take a huge blow to their playoff chances.
Panthers @ Packers: Carolina looks to be more of a threat to grab a wildcard than the NFC South, given the way the Saints have looked all season. But the playoff picture in the NFC is going to be crowded, and another loss for the Panthers could put them on the outside, looking in for the time being. The Packers stumbled on the road at the Chargers, but remain the leaders in the NFC North after the Vikings, Bears, and Lions all lost as well. Can Green Bay bounce back and maintain their one-game division lead over Minnesota?
Vikings @ Cowboys: As mentioned above, the Vikings are just a game behind the Packers for the NFC North lead. The 5-3 Cowboys are still atop the NFC East, but only by a half-game over the 5-4 Eagles, who have strung together back-to-back wins to put their season back on track. The Cowboys’ 4-0 division record to this point has them in the driver’s seat but a loss to Minnesota would make things even more interesting.
Seahawks @ 49ers: Seattle is hoping that they can be the first team to knock off the unbeaten 49ers, and if they can pull that off, they will put their hopes of eventually chasing down San Francisco for the NFC West division title within grasp. Another win for the 49ers, and it would be hard to question their claim as the top team in the NFC and a legitimate Super Bowl contender, despite the doubts surrounding their passing offense. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense against the 49ers dynamic defense sounds like must-see television come Monday night.
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- Gametime: Thursday, Nov. 7, 8:20 p.m. EST
Two straight wins for the Chargers have put them back into the thick of things in terms of trying to chase down the Chiefs in the AFC West. The style in which Los Angeles won last Sunday looked remarkably similar to what made them a 12-win team a year ago. The dynamic pass-rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III combined for three sacks of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as they would go on to put relentless pressure on the two-time MVP and hold the red-hot Packers’ offense to just 11 points in a 26-11 win.
The Raiders also beat an NFC North opponent, but in much closer fashion. Derek Carr threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with 2:04 remaining in the fourth quarter to beat the Lions 31-24 and pull their record to .500 on the season at 4-4. While it would take some real faltering from the Chiefs, who will soon have the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes II back under center, the Raiders and Chargers are hopeful to continue their recent solid play and try and make the AFC West title a closer race.
If the Chargers' fifth-ranked pass defense can continue to apply the type of pressure that they are capable of on opposing quarterbacks, then it will be a rough go for Carr and company on Thursday night. On a short week, they enter as slim road favorites and it’s hard to look past just how convincing they were on Sunday afternoon against the Super Bowl hopeful Packers.
Insiders predicts are based on the team that is favored to win, which is based on consensus betting odds and spread on Vegas Insider as of Nov. 6, 2019. Team stats were gathered from NFL.com. Check out live odds for the NFL at MSN.com.
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- Favored to win: Los Angeles Chargers
- Spread: -1
- Odds: -120
- Los Angeles Chargers team stats:
- Offense: 360.8 yards per game (#16 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 281.3 ypg (#6)
--- Rushing offense: 79.4 ypg (#28)
- Defense: 322.8 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 208.7 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing defense: 114.1 ypg (#20)
- Oakland Raiders team stats:
- Offense: 381.6 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 245.2 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing offense: 136.4 ypg (#6)
- Defense: 390.0 yards per game (#27 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 297.5 ypg (#32)
--- Rushing defense: 92.5 ypg (#7)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. EST
The Lions being outgunned by the Raiders 31-24 and four straight losses from the Bears have put both of these teams in bleak standing in terms of the NFC North chase, which is appearing more and more to be a two-team race between the Packers and Vikings.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Lions, as Matthew Stafford and the offense got the ball back trailing by a touchdown with 2:01 to play. Stafford led an impressive nine-play, 76-yard drive that concluded with a chance to tie the game on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. Interestingly enough, the Lions would run a play-action pass to tight Logan Thomas, which fell incomplete. The team’s website broke down what went wrong on the play, as there has been some questioning why both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones were left off of the field on a game-deciding call. They combined for 258 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
The Bears 22-14 loss to the Eagles on Sunday was likely painful for Chicago fans to watch, particularly in the first half where they were held scoreless and had a net total of nine yards of offense. They would muster two David Montgomery rushing touchdowns in the second half but quarterback Mitchell Trubisky still could not get anything going in the passing game, finishing with 10 completions and 125 yards against an Eagles secondary that has allowed more perimeter passing yards than any team in the league. Trubisky and wideout Allen Robinson II never capitalized on that, linking up for just one completion for six yards.
The loser of this game will all but see their playoff chances disappear. The wildcard chase in the NFC is extremely competitive, and catching both the Vikings and Packers in the NFC North division seems like it would take a significant collapse from both of them. Being at home, the Bears have the slight edge. Their defense should be able to limit Stafford and the Lions offense, but given their ineptitude on offense, just limiting them may not be enough to prevent Detroit from pulling off a road upset.
- Favored to win: Chicago Bears
- Spread: -2.5
- Odds: -141
- Detroit Lions team stats:
- Offense: 391.2 yards per game (#5 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 295.2 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing offense: 96.0 ypg (#21)
- Defense: 424.1 yards per game (#31 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 288.4 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing defense: 135.8 ypg (#27)
- Chicago Bears team stats:
- Offense: 266.8 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 186.2 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing offense: 80.5 ypg (#27)
- Defense: 323.6 yards per game (#9 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 230.1 ypg (#14)
--- Rushing defense: 93.5 ypg (#8)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. EST
After the Dolphins got their first win of the season against the Jets, the Bengals are now the only winless team in the NFL. All they would need to do to change that is beat a Ravens team that just handed the then-undefeated Patriots their first loss of the season by a 17-point margin. This game could get ugly.
Baltimore’s defense held the Patriots to just a single score in the second half of their Sunday Night Football showdown while intercepting Tom Brady once and returning a Julian Edelman fumble for a touchdown. Those types of takeaways are exactly what they needed in order to beat New England. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram II were effective enough on the ground against the Patriots' dominant defense. As a team, Baltimore racked up 210 yards on the ground with three touchdowns. Considering that Bill Belichick is often able to neutralize the most dangerous weapon of almost any opponent’s offense, this was impressive.
It would take a monumental effort from the Bengals to knock off the Ravens this week. Cincinnati has turned to their backup quarterback Ryan Finley in the wake of Andy Dalton’s struggles. Though if you’re searching for positive, the team is finally getting healthier, and is expected to have star receiver A.J. Green active and playing for the first time this season come Sunday.
The return of Green may not be enough to make a difference between a win and a loss, given the fact that they have the worst defense in the league in terms of yards-per-game. And in their first meeting this season, they held the Ravens to 23 points in a 23-17 loss, but Jackson’s dual-threat ability was still on full display as he racked up 236 passing yards and 152 rushing yards.
Clearly, the Ravens being 10-point road favorites would suggest that Green’s return is nothing that could actually swing this game in favor of the Bengals in the eyes of the oddsmakers. At this point, Bengals fans may actually hope to just see competitive football while maintaining their position as the holders of the first-overall draft choice come April.
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- Favored to win: Baltimore Ravens
- Spread: -10
- Odds: -500
- Baltimore Ravens team stats:
- Offense: 427.0 yards per game (#2 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 222.1 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing offense: 204.9 ypg (#1)
- Defense: 348.8 yards per game (#15 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 265.8 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing defense: 83.0 ypg (#2)
- Cincinnati Bengals team stats:
- Offense: 317.2 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 257.8 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing offense: 59.5 ypg (#32)
- Defense: 435.8 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 258.1 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing defense: 177.6 ypg (#32)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. EST
Being one game out of first place behind the Patriots in the AFC East halfway through the season is something almost any Bills fan would have signed up for prior to the start of the 2019 season. That’s the reality, now that the Pats suffered their first loss of the year. Buffalo rebounded from their Week 8 loss to the Eagles by beating Washington 24-9 in Week 9. The defense continues to impress, ranking third in the league and surrendering 296.3 yards-per-game.
Things aren’t quite as positive in Cleveland, where the Browns' losing streak was extending to four games on Sunday after a late comeback attempt by quarterback Baker Mayfield was stopped by the Broncos' defense, resulting in a 24-19 loss to Denver. An 8-play, 60-yard drive ended with an incompletion from Mayfield intended for Jarvis Landry, even though Odell Beckham Jr. appeared to be open on the opposite side of the field, beating his man on a double-move and allegedly causing him to return to the sideline frustrated. All of the optimism surrounding the Browns entering the season seems to have dissipated, and now the spotlight is fixated on coach Freddie Kitchens and his inability to produce results with the offense that doesn’t seem short on talent.
Though the Bills are relatively healthy and sporting a 6-2 record, they still enter this game as underdogs. This is likely due to the fact that their offense has been far from convincing. They’ve played three straight games at home, and go back on the road where they are yet to lose a game, though their road opponents (Jets, Giants, and Titans) have a winning record this season.
If ever a chance for Kitchens to silence doubters of his ability to call an offense, it would be this week against the Buffalo defense. Though it won’t be easy and growing frustration amongst star players certainly isn’t beneficial.
- Favored to win: Cleveland Browns
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -150
- Buffalo Bills team stats:
- Offense: 336.0 yards per game (#23 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 206.6 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing offense: 129.4 ypg (#11)
- Defense: 296.2 yards per game (#3 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 184.6 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing defense: 111.6 ypg (#19)
- Cleveland Browns team stats:
- Offense: 346.0 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 225.0 ypg (#17)
--- Rushing offense: 121.0 ypg (#13)
- Defense: 357.5 yards per game (#18 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 216.2 ypg (#6)
--- Rushing defense: 141.2 ypg (#30)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. EST
The Chiefs got back on the winning track last Sunday, beating the Vikings 26-23 at the buzzer, courtesy of a Harrison Butker 44-yard field goal as time expired. It was the second straight game that MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes II missed due to a knee injury, though Matt Moore filled in admirably with a 275 yard and one-touchdown performance, despite being under relentless pressure and getting sacked five times by the Vikings' vaunted defensive front. Having Tyreek Hill back in the lineup has certainly helped, and Moore hooked up with him six times for 140 yards and a score.
Head coach Andy Reid suggested that Mahomes is close to returning, leading one to believe that is all goes according to plan this week in practice, he may be the one that the Titans end up having to try and stop.
Tennessee has been down to their backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill, not due to injury but rather by choice. Tannehill led the Titans to two straight wins in his two starts since replacing Marcus Mariota but the streak ended with a 30-20 loss to the Panthers in which the Tennessee defense could not stop running back Christian McCaffrey. Given the speed that the Chiefs possess, and their ability to create mismatches much like the challenge McCaffrey presents, you can bet that studying the Week 9 film will present coach Reid with some further ideas of how to exploit the Titans.
If the Titans want to pull off an upset, they will need to do better in keeping Tannehill clean (four sacks, two interceptions against the Panthers) and limiting turnovers. This should be an interesting matchup with importance in the standings for both the Chiefs as they try to maintain their AFC West lead and the Titans as they try and get back to .500 and give themselves a chance in the second half of the season.
- Favored to win: Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -200
- Kansas City Chiefs team stats:
- Offense: 390.8 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 300.7 ypg (#2)
--- Rushing offense: 90.1 ypg (#24)
- Defense: 369.3 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 229.8 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing defense: 139.6 ypg (#29)
- Tennessee Titans team stats:
- Offense: 313.7 yards per game (#26 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 212.9 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing offense: 100.8 ypg (#18)
- Defense: 339.4 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 236.3 ypg (#17)
--- Rushing defense: 103.1 ypg (#15)
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- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. EST
If you were to try and spin this positively for the Falcons, you would say that they are coming off a bye week and could have starting quarterback Matt Ryan back under center this week, despite the fact that he was held out of Monday’s practice. But the Saints are also fresh off of a bye week: They already have their starting quarterback Drew Brees back from injury and they have looked like one of the league’s most unstoppable teams with or without him.
Other than the undefeated 49ers, the Saints have the league’s longest winning streak, having strung together six straight victories despite turning to Teddy Bridgewater when Brees injured his thumb on his throwing hand. Head coach Sean Payton has put together a convincing campaign for NFL Coach of the Year so far; the team has been able to utilize all of its weapons without Brees at the helm, and they are now healthier and facing a Falcons defense that ranks toward the bottom of the league in yards allowed per game (379.5, ranked 24th) and points allowed per game (31.3, ranked 30th).
Despite their 1-7 record, the Atlanta offense has continued to produce high yardage totals throughout the year, and if it turns into a shootout on Sunday against the Saints, they’re equipped to keep themselves in the game, so long as they can protect the ball. If there is a chance of them winning said shootout, it would be to create a crucial turnover or two. But the line set by Las Vegas suggests that would be extremely unlikely, and the Saints may very well be on to their seventh straight victory, keeping the pressure on the top-ranked 49ers in the chase for the top seed in the NFC.
- Favored to win: New Orleans Saints
- Spread: -13
- Odds: -700
- Atlanta Falcons team stats:
- Offense: 385.2 yards per game (#9 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 316.8 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing offense: 68.5 ypg (#29)
- Defense: 379.5 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 261.1 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing defense: 118.4 ypg (#21)
- New Orleans Saints team stats:
- Offense: 375.2 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 261.0 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing offense: 114.2 ypg (#15)
- Defense: 316.5 yards per game (#5 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 232.2 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing defense: 84.2 ypg (#4)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. EST
It’s not like the Subway Series in Major League Baseball between the Yankees and Mets, as the Jets and Giants both technically play in New Jersey. It’s not any type of rivalry; the Jets and Giants play only once every four years and have competed just 13 times total. And it certainly won’t be a game with any meaningful stakes attached —the Jets and Giants reside near the bottom of their respective conferences. But nonetheless, these New York football teams will face off for a battle this Sunday.
The Jets are making a strong case for the worst team in football, with their 24-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys Week 6 looking like more of an aberration than an indication that they can do anything meaningful this season. Their 12 points per game average is tied for the worst in the NFL. The Jets average 223.5 yards per game, which is solidly last in the NFL, too. Last week, they gave the Miami Dolphins their first victory of the season after a 28-18 loss.
The Giants, if not as bad as the Jets, are dangerously close. Losers of five straight, the G-Men are looking for answers anywhere they can get them. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who looked like the savior for a week or two, has thrown eight interceptions in as many starts and has been average at best. The major problem is the defense, which ranks #29 in points allowed per game at 28.3.
- Favored to win: New York Giants
- Spread: -2.5
- Odds: -140
- New York Giants team stats:
- Offense: 326.8 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 224.7 ypg (#18)
--- Rushing offense: 102.1 ypg (#17)
- Defense: 391.4 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 263.6 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing defense: 127.9 ypg (#25)
- New York Jets team stats:
- Offense: 223.5 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 157.2 ypg (#32)
--- Rushing offense: 66.2 ypg (#30)
- Defense: 352.2 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 263.0 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing defense: 89.2 ypg (#6)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. EST
If either team has any real hope of salvaging their season, it has to happen this week. Both the Buccaneers and the Cardinals have been on the wrong side of some close games in the first half of this season. Last week specifically, Tampa Bay took the 7-2 Seattle Seahawks into overtime before losing 40-34 while Arizona brought its contest with the league’s only undefeated team, the 49ers, to within three points in the fourth quarter, eventually succumbing 28-25.
The Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both have adequate firepower on offense. The Bucs rank #7 in passing offense and the Cards crank the top half of the NFL in rushing defense at #14, but both teams rank in the league’s bottom five in points per game allowed. Arizona is also #29 against the pass, which is welcomed news for Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay offense.
It’s no secret Tampa Bay can score, as evidenced by the 55 points Winston and company put up on the Los Angeles Rams earlier this season. It’s turnovers, though, that have plagued the Bucs this season. Tampa ranks next-to-last in turnovers this season with 18 total turnovers, 16 of which Winston is responsible for (12 interceptions, four fumbles).
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- Favored to win: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: -4.5
- Odds: -220
- Arizona Cardinals team stats:
- Offense: 344.4 yards per game (#20 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 223.9 ypg (#19)
--- Rushing offense: 120.6 ypg (#14)
- Defense: 407.6 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 280.7 ypg (#29)
--- Rushing defense: 126.9 ypg (#23)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers team stats:
- Offense: 376.6 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 277.4 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing offense: 99.2 ypg (#19)
- Defense: 371.6 yards per game (#23 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 293.5 ypg (#31)
--- Rushing defense: 78.1 ypg (#1)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 4:05 p.m. EST
The imperfect season is no more. One of the only teams who can make the atrocious Miami Dolphins look competent—the New York Jets—did exactly that. Miami now trails the winless Bengals and the Jets for the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft and a shot at Alabama standout Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins’ 26-18 victory came behind a three-touchdown performance from journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick who has now earned a victory as the starting quarterback in his seventh different NFL jersey. Fitzpatrick also led a come-from-behind, late-game victory in 2005, his rookie season with the St. Louis Rams, but did not start the game.
While a second-straight victory for the Phins feels unlikely, what they have done as of late is cover the spread. Miami is 4-0 in its last four games against the spread, and with Indianapolis Colts starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s chances of playing in limbo after he suffered an MCL sprain last week, that could be the case once more. Expect the line to fluctuate once a determination is made on Brissett, but the Colts will likely remain heavy home favorites regardless.
While it’s not technically a must-win game for Indy, it would be a bad loss in a tightly contested AFC where the majority of the teams are still in the mix.
- Favored to win: Indianapolis Colts
- Spread: -10.5
- Odds: -550
- Miami Dolphins team stats:
- Offense: 262.2 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 198.5 ypg (#29)
--- Rushing offense: 63.8 ypg (#31)
- Defense: 402.4 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 251.6 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing defense: 150.8 ypg (#31)
- Indianapolis Colts team stats:
- Offense: 343.6 yards per game (#21 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 213.9 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing offense: 129.8 ypg (#9)
- Defense: 339.9 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 231.2 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing defense: 108.6 ypg (#18)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 4:25 p.m. EST
The Green Bay Packers watched their four-game winning streak come to a screeching halt Sunday as Aaron Rodgers and the offense could get nothing going in a 26-11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The defeat looked even more lopsided than the score indicates. Green Bay did most of its damage in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand—Rodgers was held to just 61 yards passing through three quarters: a career low. The Packers offense accumulated just 184 yards while surrendering 442 to the Bolts.
Minus one hiccup, a 51-13 beatdown doled out by the San Francisco 49ers, Kyle Allen has helped breathe new life into the Panthers. They’ll need to keep riding the backup QB through the remainder of the regular season as the team announced Tuesday that Cam Newton will be placed on injured reserve. Newton started the season 0-2 before he was sidelined with a foot injury. MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey continues to be the workhorse for Carolina—his three touchdown and 166 yards from scrimmage Sunday in a 30-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans added to his league-leading 13 total touchdowns (rushing and receiving) and 1,244 yards from scrimmage.
Prior to Week 9, the Packers were in the conversation for one of the best in football. Now, with a sputtering offense and a defense that looks prone to giving up the big play—there have been 13 times the D has given up 40 or more yards on one crack—Green Bay’s validity is called into question. Meanwhile, Carolina is hanging around in the NFC and well within the playoff picture. Will it be a bounce-back game for the Packers, or will the Panthers assert themselves as a real contender in the NFC?
- Favored to win: Green Bay Packers
- Spread: -5
- Odds: -230
- Carolina Panthers team stats:
- Offense: 339.8 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 206.9 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing offense: 132.9 ypg (#7)
- Defense: 360.4 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 227.0 ypg (#9)
--- Rushing defense: 133.4 ypg (#26)
- Green Bay Packers team stats:
- Offense: 352.4 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 257.1 ypg (#12)
--- Rushing offense: 95.3 ypg (#22)
- Defense: 382.9 yards per game (#26 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 255.2 ypg (#21)
--- Rushing defense: 127.7 ypg (#24)
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- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 4:25 p.m. EST
If things ended today, both of these squads are on the outside of the playoffs looking in, but just barely. After digging themselves into holes in the first half of the 2019 regular season, both the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers are on track and riding winning streaks. Something has to give in Pittsburgh.
All of a sudden, after an 0-3 start, the Pittsburgh Steelers are winners of three straight and are 4-1 with their only loss in that stretch coming in overtime to the AFC North leading Baltimore Ravens. Last week’s 26-24 victory over Indianapolis could pay major dividends later this season as the Colts are currently standing between the Steelers and a Wild Card berth.
The Rams suffered a three-game losing streak earlier this season as well, it just came a little later. After starting 3-0, L.A. dropped three in a row and fell to .500. Now after consecutive victories over the Falcons and the Bengals—two of the league’s worst teams—competition gets tougher.
Los Angeles’ 2018 season which resulted in a Super Bowl appearance has not been built upon the way the team hoped. The Rams will be fresh off of a bye week, though, and head coach Sean McVay will try to advance his unblemished record against AFC opponents in the regular season (10-0). On the other side, the Steelers are making their surge with Mason Rudolph under center and trying to avoid missing the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2012–2013. Rudolph, who has been a decent game manager since stepping into the role when future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger went down with a season-ending elbow injury, will need to do more than simply manage the game if he can help take down the Rams.
- Favored to win: Los Angeles Rams
- Spread: -3.5
- Odds: -185
- Los Angeles Rams team stats:
- Offense: 384.5 yards per game (#10 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 287.2 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing offense: 97.2 ypg (#20)
- Defense: 338.2 yards per game (#12 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 241.4 ypg (#19)
--- Rushing defense: 96.9 ypg (#10)
- Pittsburgh Steelers team stats:
- Offense: 290.8 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 202.4 ypg (#27)
--- Rushing offense: 88.4 ypg (#26)
- Defense: 335.5 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 228.0 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing defense: 107.5 ypg (#16)
- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 10, 8:20 p.m. EST
A potential playoff preview in Dallas this Sunday night will be one of Week 10’s marquee matchups. The Dallas Cowboys took care of business on Monday night with a 37-18 victory over the New York Giants after trailing for most of the first half. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott recovered from an interception thrown on his first pass of the game to toss three touchdowns, and superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for a season-high 139 yards. Dallas now holds a half-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles in the division and has gone 4-0 against the NFC East this season.
The Minnesota Vikings failed to capitalize on a Green Bay Packers loss last week, falling 26-23 to the Kansas City Chiefs on a last-second field goal from kicker Harrison Butker, and remain a game back in the NFC North. The Vikings still sit in the second and final Wild Card position after their four-game winning streak ended, but the Rams, Panthers, and Eagles are all creeping closely. It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for quarterback Kirk Cousins who has ranged anywhere from the MVP conversation to being booed out of Minneapolis. Last week Cousins threw for three touchdowns but just 220 yards, and managed to find #1 receiver Stefon Diggs just one time for four yards. Diggs has had his frustrations this season, stating “There’s truth to all rumors” when asked about the potential of him wanting out of Minnesota back in October.
This game means a great deal to both squads as things shift quickly—both teams are in danger of falling out of the playoffs (as things currently sit) with a loss.
- Favored to win: Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -155
- Minnesota Vikings team stats:
- Offense: 386.7 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 233.7 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing offense: 153.0 ypg (#3)
- Defense: 320.9 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 225.1 ypg (#8)
--- Rushing defense: 95.8 ypg (#9)
- Dallas Cowboys team stats:
- Offense: 436.8 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 287.5 ypg (#4)
--- Rushing offense: 149.2 ypg (#4)
- Defense: 318.1 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 220.9 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing defense: 97.2 ypg (#11)
- Gametime: Monday, Nov. 11, 8:15 p.m. EST
Week 10 is punctuated with an exclamation point—the only remaining undefeated team in the league welcomes a common foe in what will be the Niners’ toughest test of the 2019 season to date. The reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams were the popular pick to capture the West again this season, but it’s San Francisco and Seattle who currently sit at #1 and #2 in the division, respectively. One road victory for the Seahawks and they are within a game of the 49ers, while a loss makes the division gap seem insurmountable with less than half of the regular season to make up ground.
Both teams eked out narrow victories last week: The Niners won by their narrowest margin of the season after staving off a comeback attempt by the Cardinals and holding on 28-25, while the Seahawks needed overtime in a back-and-forth bout with the Buccaneers, eventually escaping with a 40-34 home victory on a walk-off touchdown connection between MVP candidate Russell Wilson and tight end Jacob Hollister.
Wilson had maybe his best game of what has been a superb season, throwing for five touchdowns and 378 yards in total. Wilson has tossed 22 touchdowns compared to just one interception—he leads all qualifying quarterbacks in touchdown passes and in passer rating (118.2). Jimmy Garoppolo seems to have found his stride after a four-touchdown, 317-yard performance last week in what was his best showcase of the season, too. The recent addition of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has made an instant impact—Sanders has quickly become a top target for Garoppolo and hauled seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown last week.
Both of the NFC West rivals look for real, and this matchup will have major late-season implications. How real are these undefeated 49ers? The back half of their season, which kicks off Monday night, is loaded with tough opponents.
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- Favored to win: San Francisco 49ers
- Spread: -6
- Odds: -260
- Seattle Seahawks team stats:
- Offense: 395.0 yards per game (#4 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 263.3 ypg (#9)
--- Rushing offense: 131.7 ypg (#8)
- Defense: 380.8 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 278.1 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing defense: 102.7 ypg (#13)
- San Francisco 49ers team stats:
- Offense: 390.2 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 219.1 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing offense: 171.1 ypg (#2)
- Defense: 241.0 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 138.1 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing defense: 102.9 ypg (#14)
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