NFL

NFL Week 10 Features or Bugs

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The NFL’s Week 10 was nothing if not chaotic. Those are the best kind of weekends to be watching football, but the hardest to use to get a read as to where teams in the league stand.

In coding when there is an error or problem, it’s called a bug. If a bug shows up enough, the joke goes that it’s not a bug—clearly it’s a feature.

Looking at this week’s games it’s kind of hard to tell what is a bug and what is a feature, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try.

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Seattle Seahawks and a 2 game win streak – Feature

Their last-minute defensive stand on the goal line gave the Seahawks a 31-24 victory and a second straight win, bringing their record over the last five weeks to 3-1-1.

Seattle is still not the defensive team they used to be, and they are allowing too many yards in the air. Letting the Patriots score three times on the ground was a surprise as well.

However, Russell Wilson has finally regained his health and has thrown for 630 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games. He looks more mobile and more comfortable and the result has been an offense which is finally clicking.

That, coupled with a defense that may be allowing a lot of yards, stepped up big time when it counted Sunday night, tell me this Seattle team is for real.

 


MikeZimmer_2_VikingsVikings defensive collapse – Feature

Four losses in a row is a pretty good indicator that the Vikings are about done.  What’s worse is, you can very easily pin this on what was supposed to be the strength of the team—the defense.

During three of the four losses, the defense has allowed an average of 367 combined yards. Over the four losses the unit gave up a total of 89 points, or 22.25 points a game. Compare that to the previous five games, all wins, when the defense allowed just 63 points (or 12.6 a game).

Turnovers have also declined—12 in the first five games compared to 6 in the last four—four of which came in one week.

A deeper dive into what is wrong with this defense is warranted, but just looking at the numbers and the result makes it clear this is no mere bug.

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Tennessee Titans win over Green Bay – Bug

I actually like the Titans and think they’re on the right path. But one win against a quality opponent does not a good team make.

The AFC South is still a dumpster fire, and the only reason the Titans are in the mix is because every team in that dumpster fire is too inept to climb out. The Titans will battle with the Houston Texans for “least awful team” but if you look at their wins, they were either against teams which are bad or were playing bad football at the time.

The Packers are a team doing the latter. Their last three games have been hard to watch and either their defense or their offense tends to collapse at any given time. Sunday they got off to slow start on both sides of the ball and never truly recovered.

That isn’t to say that Tennessee hasn’t improved, especially in terms of the play of Marcus Mariota.

It’s just to say that reading much into beating a bad and inconsistent Packers team is a mistake.

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Miami Dolphins, fourth win a row – Bug

They almost have me believing—and in truth we won’t really get a good sense of this team until they meet a real test like the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13 or the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14—depending on which version of those teams show up.

The Dolphins are playing better football and beating teams they are supposed to beat. You really can’t ask for more. That said, trying to decide if this team is a legitimately good team requires them to beat legitimately good teams.

So far that hasn’t been the case and before you point to Pittsburgh and Buffalo, remember that the Steelers were without Ben Roethlisberger and LeSean McCoy was hurt and shouldn’t have been playing in the Buffalo game.

This isn’t to say the Dolphins cannot make a run. With games against the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, land the rudderless New York Jets, they can win some games.

The defense is giving up too many points for my taste, though. That puts the game in the hands of Ryan Tannehill too often, and it makes me feel as if the Dolphins could collapse at any moment.

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Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders surging causes shift in AFC West power – Feature

The Chiefs have won five games in a row, while the Raiders have won three and both have beaten some very good teams (including for the Chiefs, an Oakland Raiders team on the road).

While the Chiefs are more impressive overall, the Raiders have come into their own as well. The Chiefs are always a problem in the division, but many thought the Raiders were still a year away. That hasn’t been the case, largely because quarterback Derek Carr has been so good.

Both teams have their flaws—the Raiders defense is uneven, the Chiefs offense can be streaky—but the reason they are seizing control of the division is because the Denver Broncos have issues as well.

Offensively, the Broncos have been poor and while the defense is still good, it’s not playing at the historical rate it was last year.

So the playing field is even, or at least more than it was in the past.

The Raiders and Chiefs are both playing very good football and this is no longer Denver’s division for the taking.


About Andrew Garda

Andrew Garda is a freelance writer primarily covering NFL football, with frequent side trips to everything else. A member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he is a contributing writer for Sports on Earth and Pro Football Weekly. He also covers fantasy for Footballguys.com. Garda is the host of the At the Whistle podcast and has been credentialed for many NFL drafts, Senior Bowls, pro days and various NFL events.