I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we’ve made it to Week 10. Heading into the season, I thought there was no way we’d make it to Week 3, let alone 10. But here we are, and for the most part, it’s been smooth sailing. At least, as smooth as you can expect. So, as the playoff picture begins to take shape, here are some games you should keep your eye on.
Eagles at Giants
Hear me out — the New York Giants can still win the NFC East. I know, crazy, right? But it’s still a very real possibility. They by no means deserve to be a playoff team, but the division is just so horrible that no matter how badly they try to lose, the door just won’t close. Right now, the Giants are 2-7, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for last place and half a game behind the 2-6 Washington Football Team. The Philadelphia Eagles are in a comfortable first place at 3-4-1, but if the Giants can beat them on Sunday, they keep their playoff hopes alive. A Giants win would put New York at 3-7 and Philly at 3-5-1. The Eagles would still have control of first place and the Giants would clearly need to win a couple more games, but it would make their path to the playoffs a whole lot easier.
Neither team has an easy schedule, but the Eagles do have a slightly harder one. Both teams have to play the Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns and Cowboys — two good teams, one average team and then one dumpster fire. Both teams are expected to lose to Seattle and Arizona, and they need to beat the Cowboys in order to have a chance at the division. The big toss-up game here is Cleveland, which could be huge for a team if they’re able to steal that game and the other isn’t. Aside from those four teams, the Eagles have to still play the Packers, Saints and Football Team, while the Giants have left the Bengals and Ravens. The Giants will lose to Baltimore and the Eagles will lose to Green Bay and New Orleans, but if the Giants can beat Cincinnati and Washington can beat the Eagles, the Giants can come out on top in the NFC East. It’s not an easy path, but it’s there, and it all hinges on Sunday.
Prediction: The Giants should have beat the Eagles the last time they played if Evan Engram knew how to catch a football. This time, I think they’ll get the job done — but it won’t be pretty. 20-16, Giants win.
Chargers at Dolphins
The Chargers have to be the best 2-6 team in the league. They might be the best 2-6 team ever. I don’t have anything to back that up, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that is true. In their six losses, they’ve come up short by the following margins: three, five, seven, three, one and five. They haven’t lost a single one of their games by more than a touchdown. They have just been super, super, super unlucky. As for Miami, after a 1-3 start, they are currently on a four-game winning streak, most recently coming off a statement 34-31 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Now at 5-3, they have become serious playoff contenders.
This is also a matchup between two rookie quarterbacks who have had some noticeable success in their early careers. For Tua Tagovailoa, it’s in the win column, currently 2-0 as a starter. For Justin Herbert, it’s on the stat sheet, currently averaging over 300 yards passing per game with 17 touchdowns and just five picks. For me, as of right now, he’s the MVP frontrunner. I can’t wait to watch the No. 5 and No. 6 2020 draft picks face-off on Sunday and see who comes out on top.
Prediction: I know they’re 2-6 and have burned me too many times before, but I’m going with the Chargers. It’s about time they get a win, they’re not 2-7 bad, and I’m going to bet on Herbert to outduel Tua here. 34-27, Chargers win.
Vikings at Bears
Based on the talent on their rosters, I would think the Vikings are 5-4 and the Bears are 3-5, not the other way around. Things are starting to even out though, with Minnesota on a two-game win streak and Chicago on a three-game losing streak. For the Bears, this is a chance to snap their skid and prove they are a legitimate playoff team. They’ll need Nick Foles to be competent, but what they’ll really need to do is shut down Dalvin Cook. He’s been arguably the best running back in the NFL this season and has been on an absolute warpath lately, so it’s time for the Chicago defense to step up and stop him. They don’t even need to fully contain him, they just can’t let him get over 200 scrimmage yards like he’s been doing. They need to make Kirk Cousins beat them, because if that’s the case, he won’t.
For the Vikings, this is a chance to keep their playoff hopes alive. Yes, they’re 3-5, but playoffs are still not completely out of the picture. They’re not going to win the division, the Packers have that locked up already. But they could still snag a wild card spot, especially with the NFL adding an extra playoff team to the mix. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s all going to hinge on whether or not the Bears defense can stifle Cook. If they can’t, then the Vikings will win, and pull one step closer to a wild card spot.
Prediction: Cook has been on such a roll and the Bears have been in such a free fall that I just don’t see it reversing course. Minnesota just has all the momentum. 35-17, Vikings win.