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NFL's Week 10 highlighted by four grudge matches

The NFL ultimately is a small community. On any given weekend, there are players facing off against friends, former teammates and former coaches.

Week 10 is an especially good one for reunions, with no fewer than four quality matchups, all facing off for the first time.

Mark Sanchez vs. Pete Carroll

We've heard some suggestions than Mark Sanchez's struggles at the pro level validate Carroll's concerns about the quarterback going pro too quickly out of USC. That's ridiculous. Sanchez was a top-five pick. The problems that have shown up in the NFL might have shown up in another season at USC under Carroll. (Matt Barkley, anyone?) Plus Sanchez would have missed out on an AFC title game run with the New York Jets.

Carroll knows better than anyone that Sanchez is a limited NFL quarterback without great weapons. The teacher should school his former pupil Sunday in Seattle.

Vincent Jackson vs. San Diego Chargers

This one has been overlooked nationally, but there definitely are hard feelings between the sides. Jackson wouldn't talk with San Diego Chargers beat reporters this week. His agents had a contentious relationship with Chargers general manager A.J. Smith throughout his stay in San Diego.

Jackson has lived up to his big contract in Tampa Bay. He leads the NFL in yards per catch and is on pace to set a career high in receiving yards and touchdowns by a big margin. The Chargers' offense has lacked the big play. Jackson has twice as many plays over 40 yards as Philip Rivers.

Todd Haley vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Ben Roethlisberger has sensed something a little different around Haley this week. There's no doubt Haley would love nothing more than to stick it to his former boss, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.

Haley's exit from the Chiefs was messy. Haley believed Pioli used the media to distort his image and paint him as the problem in Kansas City. It got very personal. Pioli now is overseeing the worst team in the league, and his job is in jeopardy.

It has been a good two months for Haley, whose coaching stock is up. Don't expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to let up with a big lead on "Monday Night Football."

John Fox vs. Carolina Panthers

Fox publicly said this was a big game, because it's the next one. Right. Former Carolina Panthers beat writer and current ProFootballTalk.com scribe Darin Gantt notes that Fox is a "grudge-holder" and badly will want to beat the Panthers after they fired him two years ago.

This looks like a mismatch on paper, but the Panthers' defense has played better in recent weeks. Cam Newton also has played well since the team veered away from its zone option attack. It wouldn't surprise me if the Panthers pulled off the upset over the Denver Broncos.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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