The Playoff Race Is On: NFL Week Ten Recap

With only eight weeks left in this season of the NFL, it’s amazing how close the playoff picture continues to be. With only seven spots slated for the playoffs in each conference, teams continue to drop in and out of those reserved spots. Three of the league’s top four teams also sat out this weekend, allowing others to continue their clasp for the top.

As the playoff picture begins to heat up, here’s everything that went down during week ten of the NFL:

Thursday Night Football

Carolina Panthers 13 – Chicago Bears 16

The chances of a number one draft pick in 2024 all but increased for the Chicago Bears in beating the Carolina Panthers. Chicago currently holds Carolina’s draft rights, who they helped cement as the current worst team in the league. The Panthers led one point at halftime but failed to score a touchdown in the second half. Meanwhile the Bears did not score a touchdown until the second half, as kicker Cairo Santos scored all of his three field goals in the first half. Running back D’onta Foreman was finally able to  get his team into the end zone, while Chicago conceded just a field goal after scoring its touchdown. 

The Panthers were held to just 12 first downs and only completed 43 rushing yards. Quarterback Bryce Young did toss 185 yards for Carolina, more than Chicago, however his team only completed three of 15 third downs. Carolina’s final drive concluded with a missed field goal from Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro, which could have tied the game late. If the Panthers remain in last place all season, the Bears will earn the number one draft pick in the coming selection.


Indianapolis Colts 10 – New England Patriots 6

Only one touchdown came in the NFL’s final international game of the season while frustration continued for New England. The first quarter saw Patriot’s kicker Chad Ryland complete his first of two field goals and Colt’s running back Jonathan Taylor score his second rushing touchdown this season. As this remained the only scoring at halftime, the third quarter saw Ryland miss a field goal, while Colt’s quarterback Gardner Minshew tossed an interception. 

Patriot’s quarterback Mac Jones was also guilty of an interception in the fourth quarter, while kicker Matt Gay earned redemption after an earlier missed kick for the Colts On New England’s final drive, Jones was replaced by quarterback Bailey Zappe who tossed an interception with 36 seconds remaining. Despite winning, the Colts had 14 first downs to New England’s 21, while also earning less yardage. The Patriots exited Frankfurt, Germany with their worst record since 2000 and will get next week off to reevaluate.

Cleveland Browns 33 – Baltimore Ravens 31 

These two sides added another exciting chapter to their history together while the Browns were able to split the season series. The Ravens led 17-3 after the first quarter and by eight points at halftime. Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson tossed an interception on his team’s first drive which led to a Ravens returned touchdown. The first half saw Brown’s kicker Dustin Hopkins complete three of his four kicks and his side without a touchdown. Big names stepped up in the second half, beginning with running back Kareem Hunt finding the end zone in the third quarter.

 After Cleveland completed a two point conversion, the Ravens led by only a touchdown entering the final quarter. After Watson completed a touchdown pass,  Raven’s quarterback Lamar Jackson threw a pick-six in his second interception of the game. His team still led by one point however, due to Hopkins missing the extra point for Cleveland. He redeemed himself, as his final field goal was scored with the clock counting down to zero. In completing the comeback, the Browns now stand just one game back from Baltimore in the AFC North. Week eleven will offer them the chance to move up further in the division by defeating the Steelers.

Houston Texans 30 – Cincinnati Bengals 27

In defeating the Bengals, the Texans seized control of the playoff spot once held by Cincinnati. Despite failing to score in the first quarter, Houston earned 10 points in each remaining frame. The team also had three turnovers, losing the ball twice to fumbles in the first half. Its quarterback CJ Stroud tossed a late interception, but earned a passing and rushing touchdown. Meanwhile, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow gave up the ball twice on interceptions, both in the final quarter. 

The game was won for the Texans with five seconds left, when kicker Matt Ammendola stepped up to score the game’s winning field goal. Brown’s kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn was placed on injured reserve leading Ammendola to play his 16th NFL game in three years. Houston was only able to convert four first downs but earned 28 first downs to the Bengals 20. Texan’s wide receiver Noah Brown looked unstoppable, catching for 172 yards across seven receptions Cincinnati are not currently in the playoffs after failing to take back its spot. It will look to shake up the AFC playoff picture further against the Ravens next week.

San Francisco 49ers 34 – Jacksonville Jaguars 3

Even though 49er’s running back Christian McCaffrey was unable to score a touchdown for the first time in 17 games, his team put on a dominant display. The Jaguars had a rough day with four turnovers, as quarterback Trevor Lawrence contributed to them with two touchdowns and a fumble. He lost 28 yards over five sacks. The Jaguars also completed 12 first downs to the 49er’s 20. As for the 49er’s they were out to prove losing would no longer be an option.

 Quarterback Brock Purdy looked to be his old self after completing three touchdown passes and nearly 300 yards. San Francisco has now defeated Jacksonville five times in a row, dating back to 2009, as it returns to its winning ways. Perhaps a bye last week was just what this team needed to demonstrate another perpetual win streak. McCaffrey’s streak may have ended, but he still takes great honor in tying Hall of Famer Lenny Moore. He will look to start a new one against the Buccaneers next week

New Orleans Saints 19 – Minnesota Vikings 27

The “passtronaut” Joshua Dobbs is beginning to make a name for himself already during his time in Minnesota. He tossed 268 yards while completing a passing and rushing touchdown in the first half. His team struggled to score much in the second half, with kicker Greg Joseph scoring and missing a field goal. Joseph ended the day making two of his three attempts. This allowed the Saints room to creep up and attempt stealing victory. Saint’s quarterback Jameis Winston appeared to come to life in the second half, tossing two touchdowns.

 He was able to increase the heat of the game for awhile but squandered his solid performance with two fourth quarter interceptions. With not enough time remaining, the Saints could not produce another scoring drive. They only converted four third downs throughout and received nine penalties, which led to a loss of 84 yards. Minnesota has now won five straight and will attempt to continue its climb next week in Denver.

Green Bay Packers 19 – Pittsburgh Steelers 23

Although these two sides have been facing one another for 90 years, they have only played 37 times. The Steelers picked up their 17th win over Green Bay in a game that each side played well. Both quarterbacks were only sacked once while neither team had a turnover. All three fourth downs in the game were also completed. There were also less than 60 combined penalty yards, as each team achieved over 300 yards on offense. The difference may not have come until the later stages in the game.

 The Steeler’s already led by one when their kicker Chris Boswell scored his third field goal of the game with five minutes remaining. As plenty of time was left on the clock, Packer’s quarterback Jordan Love tossed two interceptions in the game’s final minutes. Although Love tossed two earlier touchdowns he squandered his team’s chances of victory twice in the last five minutes. Green Bay falls to 3-6 for the second year in a row, while they will try to recover as they host the Chargers in the near future.

Tennessee Titans 6 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

After losing four  games straight, the Buccaneers overcame a struggling Titans team. Tennessee was unable to score a touchdown, as quarterback Will Levis instead tossed an interception during the final frame. Its kicker Nick Folk also missed a field goal during the second quarter, while Buccaneers kicker Chase McLaughlin made both of his attempts. Baker Mayfield tossed an interception on his first drive for Tampa Bay, but proceeded to improve throughout. 

He finished the game with two touchdown passes and 278 passing yards. Wide receiver Mike Evans dominated for the Buccaneers, as he earned 143 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Titans also struggled to convert, only completing 14 first downs and failing both fourth down attempts. They have now lost two games in a row after facing their first loss to Tampa Bay since 2007.

Atlanta Falcons 23 – Arizona Cardinals 25

It had been 335 days since Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray touched the field during an NFL game, but that changed on Sunday. He made somewhat of a statement during his return, but tossed an interception in the process. With that in mind, he scored a rushing touchdown and his 249 passing yards were still far greater than the 70 yards put up by Atlanta. Two quarterbacks played for Atlanta throughout the day as Taylor Heinicke tossed a touchdown but just 55 yards and Desmond Ridder only 39 yards.

 Each team finished the game with 20 first downs, however, Atlanta completed seven third down conversions to a measly three by Arizona. The Cardinals also received 112 penalty yards across 11 flags, but were somehow capable of snagging the win. Cardinal’s kicker Matt Prater also played a key role, completing all four of his attempted field goals. Prater’s final kick came with the clock counting down to zero, and handed his team its first win in seven weeks.

Detroit Lions 41 – Los Angeles Chargers 38

The highest scoring game of the weekend finished with the Lions earning their best record since 1993. Each side played impeccable offense, with the only turnover coming from Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in the first quarter. After he tossed an interception, Herbert went on to score four touchdown passes throughout the game, along with a healthy 323 passing yards. Detroit had numerous players contribute on offense, with a variety of passing and rushing touchdowns. Its quarterback, Jared Goff, threw two touchdowns and 333 yards while running back Jahmyr Gibbs earned two rushing touchdowns.

 Another rushing touchdown was scored by running back David Montgomery who continues to lead the league in rushing yards per game. The game was played down to the wire with three touchdowns in the final quarter. It was decided with a field goal from Lion’s kicker Riley Patterson who thread the needle in the dying seconds. The Chargers failed once again to win more than two consecutive games this season. With their best record in 30 years, the Lions will also be looking to trump their streak of longest time without a postseason win. That is one that dates back to 1991.

New York Giants 17 – Dallas Cowboys 49

The Cowboys have now outscored the Giants 89-17 this season, after another large victory against their division rivals. They already had four touchdowns by halftime while rendering New York scoreless. Their quarterback Dak Prescott played remarkably, completing four touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown, and 26 of 35 attempts. He did toss an interception in the first quarter, but the Giants could not make anything of it. Rushing touchdowns were also scored by running back Rico Dowdle and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Wide receiver Brandon Cooks led the Cowboys in yards, averaging 17 yards across 10 receptions with a touchdown. 

New York was forced to play quarterback Tommy DeVito for the third week straight in Daniel Jones’ absence. He tossed two touchdowns, both too late to be significant, and also threw an interception. The Giants failed to convert a single third down, blundering all 12 earned. They only achieved half as many first downs as Dallas who had 32 total. The Cowboys earned more turnovers than the Giants despite their large victory, as quarterback Copper Rush tossed an interception late in the game. As they are still on the cusp of losing their playoff spot, the Cowboys should have an easy game next week as they visit Carolina.

Washington Commanders 26 – Seattle Seahawks 29

Only one turnover occurred in this back and forth game that was ultimately decided by a field goal. Washington scored a touchdown on its first drive authorized by quarterback Sam Howell. He finished the day with three passing touchdowns and 312 passing yards, another solid performance. Seahawk’s quarterback Geno Smith looked just as good with two touchdown passes and 369 passing yards. The final quarter saw three back and forth touchdowns with the Commanders tying the game as 52 seconds remained. 

Smith did enough offensive work in the final seconds to put his team in field goal position. The final seconds saw Seattle kicker Jason Meyers hitting home the winning field goal. Meyers finished the day completing all five field goal attempts taken. Howell leads the league in passing yards and also for most times sacked. His offensive line will need to do a better job protecting him in week eleven against the Giants.

New York Jets 12 – Las Vegas Raiders 16

The Jets were defeated by the Raiders for the fourth time in five games at the conclusion of Sunday night. The game was full of field goals, as a touchdown was not offered until the final quarter. Each team’s kicker was flawless as Greg Zurlein knocked back all four of his field goal attempts for the Jets while Daniel Carlson did the same for his three Las Vegas kicks. Raider’s quarterback Aidan O’Connell tossed an interception during the first quarter but found tight end Michael Meyer in the end zone during the final quarter.

 Two turnovers occurred in the fourth quarter. Jet’s quarterback Zac Wilson tossed his sixth interception of the season just moments after Raiders running back Josh Jacobs fumbled the ball. Wilson’s interception came just 15 yards away from the end zone and with a minute and a half remaining. With not enough time left to receive the ball again, the Jet’s second loss in a row was complete. They also lost 83 yards across eight flags, hurting their game further.

Monday Night Football

Denver Broncos 24 vs. Buffalo Bills 22

After six years of losing to the Buffalo Bills, the Broncos achieved an extremely important victory during Monday night. A fumble by Bill’s running back James Cook on the first drive of the game seemed to tell the story for Buffalo throughout the evening. It finished the night with four turnovers, which in a two point game played extremely detrimental. Quarterback Josh Allen tossed two interceptions and only one touchdown pass, while fumbling the ball late in the third quarter. Allen has now tossed an interception in six consecutive games. Meanwhile, his team only converted three third downs and failed to complete a fourth down.

 The Bronco’s also made mistakes as a fumble by wide receiver Courtland Sutton led to a Bill’s touchdown during the third quarter. Quarterback Russell Wilson played excellent, completing 24 of 29 attempts along with two touchdown passes. Bronco’s kicker Will Lutz sealed the deal for his team after knocking back a field goal in the last seconds of the game. Lutz completed all four field goal attempts taken throughout the evening, as his team has reached its peak confidence. The Bills have lost twice in a row and continue to drop in the standings. They will look for redemption in week eleven as they host the Jets.

Teams on Bye:

  • Miami Dolphins
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Philadelphia Eagles
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