I’m unsure how Week 10 has landed on our plates so quickly, but we’re almost immediately thrown into the business end of a season that we were still warming up for.
That’s the unforgiving nature of this league and this sport – with just 16 chances to win, every one of them is massive. With a ton of divisional games this week too, it takes on extra significance around this time of year.
Conditions also start to change. We could very well see snow, we could very well see heavy rain. It all starts to get a bit blurry from here, so buckle up for this week’s big questions.
Next Best in the AFC West?
Thursday Night Football doesn’t look great at first glance.
Pre-season, I’m sure the networks would have pencilled this in as Jon Gruden looking like an idiot, leading his Raiders into oblivion, coming up against an unstoppable force in the Chargers.
Well, not quite.
The winner of this game will most likely go on to salvage a runner-up spot in the division, so it has some significance in terms of playoff implications. Far from the big-hitting narrative you would presume they had hoped to peddle.
Bruce Arians is ready to host his ex-employers, Arizona. I suspect it’ll go as well as the last time I hosted one of my exes – with them leaving disappointed and counting down the days until they emigrate.
Sorry, I digress.
The Bucs and the Cardinals both need this W in a bad way, too. A loss for either categorically eliminates them from playoff contention, and both will have felt upon season’s beginning that they could have snuck into the final twelve.
Can Miami Win Back-to-Back Games?
Eh, we’ll come back to this one.
Are the Steelers Playoff-Worthy?
I mean, probably not – but winning against the Rams would be a marquee victory that certainly allows the question to be asked in a serious context.
It would be funny, minus Ben Roethlisberger, if Pittsburgh, hardly in a Super Bowl window, managed to sneak into the postseason and make a run at a Vince Lombardi. It’s unlikely, but this week will give us a good answer.
Cowboys v Vikings: A Bad Graphic Novel
Do you know that meme where the Spidermen are pointing at each other? That.
These two teams run very sophisticated, run-heavy offences that throw in play-action concepts and heavy vertical overtop threats to keep defensive backs honest.
Given that they practice against these systems every week, I suspect this one will require something we haven’t seen before to be anything other than a low-scoring, tight affair.
Russell Wilson, for me, has been the MVP thus far. Everything he has touched has turned to gold while committing basically no turnovers whatsoever.
But he comes up against the best coaching performance of the season to date – Robert Saleh’s unbeaten 49ers defence.
Whatever you’re doing this weekend, make sure you keep some time in the diary, Outlook calendar – whatever – for this NFC West showdown.
The Patriots Won’t Record a Win in Back-to-Back Weeks – Crisis?
*insert fishing image*