Vikings, Lions on pace to obtain rare road victories

  • By Jason Feller
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It takes a lot to win on the road in the NFL, but there are four teams that possess the ingredients necessary to pull off the difficult feat in Week 10. These four are in a unique position to get a difficult road win based on trends, past history and surrounding circumstances entering this weekend's action.

Game: Minnesota at Chicago (1 p.m. ET)

Venue: Soldier Field

Last time at site: Jay Cutler connected with Devin Aromashodu on a 39-yard touchdown pass in overtime to give the Bears a 36-30 overtime victory in Week 16 last season.

Reason for road optimism: The Vikings saved their season for the time being last week with a dramatic rally against the Cardinals. That kind of rousing victory can spark a team, and Minnesota possesses the talent to get on a winning streak. Adrian Peterson has rushed for 437 yards and seven touchdowns in three career games at Soldier Field, and if he can have that kind of production again, the Vikings could find themselves right back in the playoff race at 4-5.

The Bears are just a 1/2 game out of first place in the NFC North and control their own destiny halfway through the season by virtue of their win over the Packers earlier this year. Despite that success, there are warning signs for Chicago. It has lost two consecutive games at home and allowed Cutler to get sacked a combined 10 times in those contests. If the Bears don't protect Cutler against Minnesota, it could result in a third straight defeat in front of their fans.

Game: Tennessee at Miami (1 p.m. ET)

Venue: Sun Life Stadium

Last time at site: The Dolphins picked off Kerry Collins twice and won a defensive battle with the Titans, 13-10, in Week 3 of the 2006 season.

Reason for road optimism: The Titans have traditionally played better at home over the years, but they have fared better on the road so far this season. They are 3-1 in enemy territory and have outscored their opponents by 45 points in those games. Then there is the matter of Tennessee's six-game winning streak in the month of November and its 13-8 mark after a bye, and it becomes clear the trends favor the Titans to get this road victory.

There is a lot going on down in Miami. The Dolphins replaced starting quarterback Chad Henne with backup Chad Pennington this week, and cut starting cornerback Jason Allen, and signed ex-Packer Al Harris, who hasn't played in a year. Clearly, coach Tony Sparano is looking to energize his team, which has started 0-3 at home. It might not be enough, however, against the Titans, who now have Randy Moss. Miami is just 3-6 all-time against Moss.

Game: Detroit at Buffalo (1 p.m. ET)

Venue: Ralph Wilson Stadium

Last time at site: Drew Bledsoe passed for 302 yards and a touchdown to deliver the Bills a 24-17 victory in Week 8 of the 2002 season.

Reason for road optimism: The Lions have lost 24 consecutive games on the road. That incredible skid has to end at some point, right? This might be Detroit's best opportunity over that entire span to finally send an opposing crowd out of the stadium with a frown. They have a powerful defensive front that should control the line of scrimmage and slow down the Bills' offense, and they have enough firepower to exploit Buffalo's 26th-ranked defense.

The Bills are the NFL's only winless team so far this year at 0-8. Odds are they will win at some point in 2010 (the Lions are the only 0-16 team in league history), but this might not be that week. They have come their closest to winning on the road, losing tight overtime games at Baltimore and Kansas City, while faltering down the stretch at New England. The pressure to win in front of the home fans could be too much for the Bills to bear.

Game: Philadelphia at Washington (8:20 p.m. ET)

Venue: FedEdx Field

Last time at site: DeSean Jackson had 136 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles past the Redskins, 27-17, in Week 7 of last season.

Reason for road optimism: Michael Vick is back, and that's good news for the Eagles. In the three games in which he has played from start to finish, Philadelphia is 3-0 and has averaged 29.6 points. When the Eagles lost to the Redskins earlier this year in Philadelphia, Vick was knocked out in the first half and the Eagles were held to just 12 points. With Vick, the Eagles will likely get into the end zone a lot more often.

At 4-4, the Redskins still control their own destiny in the NFC East race. For a team with such possibilities, however, the mood is one of desperation. Mike Shanahan's decision to bench Donovan McNabb for the final two minutes in a loss at Detroit has enveloped the franchise in drama. The distraction created by that decision could be big enough that it will affect Washington in this emotional matchup against McNabb's former team.



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