WEEK 10 MATCHUPS
NEW ORLEANS (7-1) AT CINCINNATI (5-3)
Are the New Orleans Saints too hot to stop or ripe for a letdown? Since dropping their season opener, 48-40 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have won seven in a row, with the past three especially notable: 24-23 over the Baltimore Ravens, 30-20 over the Minnesota Vikings and 45-35 over the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams. A meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champions, awaits the Saints next week — and the Bengals, coming off their open date, have the advantage of rest. But it might be difficult for New Orleans to find a way to lose this one. In the past three games, the Bengals have given up 481 yards to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 551 to the Kansas City Chiefs and 576 to the Bucs. Granted, those are three of the NFL’s top attacks. But the Saints are up there, too, and if Cincinnati gives up 500 yards today, it will become the first NFL team to allow that many in three consecutive games.
DALLAS (3-5) AT PHILADELPHIA (4-4)
For the Cowboys to stay real in the NFC East, they need a quick reversal of fortune. With four of their five losses coming on the road, visiting the Eagles — who are 17-5 at home under coach Doug Pederson — isn’t all that enticing. These division rivals meet in a Sunday night game for the 10th consecutive season and 12th time overall. Philadelphia comes off a 24-18 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars but has yet to win back-to-back games this season. Neither have the Cowboys, who are just six days removed from a 28-14 home loss to the Tennessee Titans.
SEATTLE (4-4) AT L.A. RAMS (8-1)
Coming off their first defeat, the Rams will remember they struggled to beat the Seahawks 33-31 in Seattle last month. A victory would give the Rams a 4 1/2-game edge in the NFC West and pretty much shut down the division title race. Both teams boast potent ground games, with the big star being L.A.’s Todd Gurley, who has rushed for 868 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. The Seahawks have concentrated on their ground game after starting 0-2 and have averaged 159.8 rushing yards per game since then.
ARIZONA (2-6) AT KANSAS CITY (8-1)
The Cardinals are 0-4-1 at Kansas City, and this isn’t exactly the best time to be visiting. Arizona has the NFL’s worst offense and ranks 31st in pass defense. All the Chiefs do, with QB Patrick Mahomes and Co., is score, score and score some more. Mahomes has 29 touchdowns passes, seven interceptions and 2,901 yards through the air this season, his first as the starter.
L.A. CHARGERS (6-2) AT OAKLAND (1-7)
Mahomes deserves the headlines he gets, but he’s not the only AFC West quarterback worthy of recognition for a superb passing season. The Chargers’ Philip Rivers, 36, just keeps producing — and facing the woeful Raiders shouldn’t hurt his résumé. He has completed 75 of 100 passes for 994 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in his past three outings against Oakland for a 126.0 rating. The Chargers have won five straight for their best record at the season’s midpoint since 2006; the Raiders are such a mess that they have been outscored 55-3 over the past five quarters.
DETROIT (3-5) AT CHICAGO (5-3)
Detroit has taken nine of the past 10 in this series, and Chicago hasn’t won an NFC North game in its past 10 attempts. But the Lions allowed 10 sacks — yes, 10 — to Minnesota last week, and Chicago has an even better defense than the Vikings. The Bears’ defense scored twice while stomping the Buffalo Bills 41-9 last week, with Eddie Jackson returning a fumble 65 yards and Leonard Floyd taking an interception 19 yards.
WASHINGTON (5-3) AT TAMPA BAY (3-5)
The Redskins were routed at home by the Atlanta Falcons last weekend and lost three key players, including both starting offensive guards. Can running back Adrian Peterson find room to roam behind a makeshift offensive line? Tampa Bay can pass and score with little trouble, but it often falls so far behind that it can’t catch up.
MIAMI (5-4) AT GREEN BAY (3-4-1)
Miami is an AFC wild-card contender despite being outgained by 704 yards and outscored by 38 points this season. On the bright side, the Dolphins rank first in the league with 15 interceptions, including four last week against the New York Jets. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown just one of those this season and has 15 touchdowns, leading the league with a 0.3 percent interception rate.
JACKSONVILLE (3-5) AT INDIANAPOLIS (3-5)
Jacksonville has dropped four in a row and is among the most disappointing teams of 2018. The Colts are giving a decent accounting of themselves despite a lack of talent. There’s plenty of skill at quarterback, however. Andrew Luck, who missed 2017 with a shoulder injury, is back in fine form, having completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,187 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
BUFFALO (2-6) AT N.Y. JETS (3-6)
Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold has regressed behind center and has an injured foot. Last year’s starter, veteran Josh McCown, steps in now, but there’s little offensive support with versatile running back Bilal Powell on injured reserve. As for Buffalo, well, maybe getting rid of quarterback Tyrod Taylor wasn’t such a wise move.
N.Y. GIANTS (1-7) AT SAN FRANCISCO (2-7)
Not much to see in this Monday night meeting, though at least a national TV audience gets to watch running back Saquon Barkley, the most dynamic rookie to hit New York since receiver Odell Beckham Jr. — and without all the baggage.