Thank goodness there's football this weekend.
Don't know about you guys out there, but I've heard about all I can stomach regarding locker-room politics and bullying in the schoolyard, er, amongst adults. Enough already. There are some AWESOME games this weekend. The red-hot Panthers take on the Niners at the 'Stick. The Cowboys and Saints lock up Sunday night. And how about the Chargers playing the Broncos in San Diego?
Agreed, Michelle. This season, the Chargers have taken down two division leaders in the Colts and Cowboys, and they also beat the Eagles in Week 2, back when everyone thought Chip Kelly was reinventing football one fast break at a time. Speaking of Philly ...
Now this was an interesting non-Richie Incognito tweet. We do a segment called "Poll Position" every Wednesday on "NFL AM" (around 9:30 a.m. ET) in which we poll fans on various topics based on viewer suggestions like Trevon's. It's obviously too soon to compare Cunningham and Wilson, but here are my off-the-cuff thoughts:
Better career start: Wilson. Running: Cunningham. Accuracy: Wilson. Arm: Cunningham. Leadership: Wilson.
You might have caught "A Football Life: Randall Cunningham" on NFL Network on Tuesday, or this related piece on "The Fog Bowl" earlier this week. Cool stuff. Both of the teams involved in said Fog Bowl -- the Eagles and Bears -- have interesting matchups this week. In fact, we like the Eagles on the road versus the Packers. As for the Bears at home against the Lions, well ...
... see below. As mentioned, it's a fun Week 10 docket. We picked a couple of upsets and, per the usual, your take is welcome ... @Harrison_NFL is the place.
Now, let's get to it.
Elliot Harrison went 8-5 on his predictions for Week 9, giving him a record of 84-49 so far this season. How will he fare in Week 10? His picks are below, with home teams listed second.
Seahawks fans have been pretty upset about a perceived lack of respect in the Power Rankings, and it's understood -- at least with respect to this team's ability to find ways to win games, of which last week's showing against the Bucs is a clear example. Pete Carroll's squad simply does not panic. The Falcons, meanwhile, are another opponent that Seattle should beat. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has been pressing out there, working with Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez and not much else outside. Over his past two games, Ryan has seven interceptions; he must be more careful against the Legion of Boom. We might not be fans of the nickname, but we're certified fans of the players. If the Seahawks refrain from messing around for a half, run Beast Mode 25 times and press those Falcons receivers, game over. #SEAvsATL
This is a big game for both teams. The Ravens need a dubya this week, or they're done for in the AFC North. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, who have been running like Frank Caliendo behind Baltimore's inconsistent line, were unproductive again Sunday, combining for 28 yards on 17 carries against the Browns. (We don't have any numbers on Caliendo.) While the Bengals aren't nearly as desperate for a win as Baltimore, they do need to prove they can beat the Ravens in games that matter (last season's Week 17 victory did not count, as both squads already had clinched playoff spots). How much doubt will creep both in and out of that Cincinnati locker room if the Bengals drop this game? To be one of the best teams in a conference or even a division, you have to take tough games on the road. It's proof-in-the-pudding time. The key to this one is what the Ravens can do on the ground against a unit missing its best player in Geno Atkins. Joe Flacco lacks the firepower to pull this out on his own. #CINvsBAL
Originally thought the Lions could waltz into Soldier Field and pull off a regular-season sweep of the Bears. Problem is, it appears Jay Cutler will return to action Sunday. The other problem is that the Detroit Lions still resemble a football team you might be familiar with ... a team known as "the Detroit Lions." This squad is so hard to figure out. Last season, the Lions weren't as bad as their 4-12 finish indicated; this season, they might not be as good as their 5-3 start would suggest. Calvin Johnson's transcendent ability makes any game winnable for Detroit, but I'm thinking a healthy Peanut Tillman does the job this weekend. Did I mention the Lions have yet to win a game in Chicago during the Jim Schwartz era? #DETvsCHI
If you had a dollar for every fan who responded to seeing Seneca Wallace take the field for Green Bay on Monday night with a "He's still in the league?!", you could buy enough ad space on Fox to keep us from having to sit through any more "Sleepy Hollow" promos. Even if the banged-up Packers' defense can hold Philadelphia (and the suddenly scorching Nick Foles) in check, how effective will 33-year-old Wallace be after a short week of practice? Meanwhile, the Eagles' defense has been playing much better lately, allowing an average of just 17.3 points per game over the past three weeks. Tell you what, though: That group had better bring the wood if it wants to get Eddie Lacy down. Green Bay's D, meanwhile, had better bring healthy versions of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. #PHIvsGB
The Rams have a puncher's chance in this game, as they can run the football and rush the passer. The former ability can reduce the number of possessions for the other team, and the latter makes those possessions a bit more miserable for the opposing quarterback. Of course, we saw Sunday night in Houston that while the Texans' pressure was able to get to Andrew Luck, it didn't rattle him. If Luck notches two early touchdowns, St. Louis will be in trouble. With Kellen Clemens and a group of average receivers, the Rams simply aren't built to come from behind, especially not on the road. This might not be a cakewalk for Luck and the Colts at Lucas Oil, but we're seeing horseshoes. #STLvsIND
Yes, the Giants have won back-to-back games, but we're not completely letting them off the hook. Given that Big Blue has turned over the ball 25 times this season (an NFL high, easily), it's not a stretch to suggest Eli Manning will spot the Raiders' defense a quick six. It shouldn't matter. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has seen tape of how Nick Foles exploited the Oakland secondary to the nth degree Sunday. Of course, on the flip side, Terrelle Pryor will present problems for a Giants defense devoid of speed. But it won't be enough. The key, really, is if the Raiders' pass rush can get to Manning. If it can't, the Giants' receivers -- who are better than the Eagles receivers who toasted Oakland last week -- will go wild. #OAKvsNYG
Don't pity the Tuel, but EJ Manuel is in line to start for the Bills. (All right, we'll stop with the puns.) Still, the Bills just don't have the horses to do what the Patriots did to this Steelers defense last week. Of course, Pittsburgh ranks 30th in the league in takeaways, so don't expect an awful three-interception performance from Manuel. Do expect a heavy dose of Le'Veon Bell again this week (perhaps more than the 20 touches he had in New England) as part of an attempt to keep Ben Roethlisberger from being planted in the Heinz Field grass. Big Ben, who already has been sacked 31 times this season, will face a Bills pass rush with 29 quarterback drops. While it will be nice for Buffalo to get Manuel back in the saddle, he was averaging just 197 passing yards per game with five touchdowns in five games before getting hurt. So start C.J. Spiller on your fantasy team. #BUFvsPIT
Say what you want about the Jaguars, but they didn't lose last week. Nor did the Titans, who beat a slightly stronger opponent than the Byes, walking out of St. Louis with a win. The key for Tennessee in that victory was the 198 rushing yards put up by the offense, 150 of which came from Chris Johnson, who looked like his old self once again. Jacksonville, meanwhile, ranks last in rushing yards allowed with 161.8 per game, and it isn't even close. Thus, expect Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to give CJ the rock while spelling him with Shonn Greene, especially in short-yardage situations. There's no reason for Jake Locker to court danger by dropping back 30 times in this one. That's not to mention the fact that the winless Jags will be playing without Justin Blackmon ... again. Losing him to an indefinite suspension was the last thing this team needed. #JAXvsTEN
Dude. This might be Week 10's best game, featuring two teams with stout defenses and athletic quarterbacks who can run the read option or be pocket passers. The Panthers' defense, which surprisingly has allowed just 106 points through eight games -- for comparison's sake, consider that Carolina allowed 183 points over the last eight games of 2012 -- might be a better unit overall than San Francisco's. That said, we like the 49ers, who will challenge Cam Newton to beat them by throwing downfield. While San Francisco can be had in the secondary, safety Eric Reid has been a solid rookie starter, and Carolina doesn't have the personnel to expose the other defensive backs. Let's also not forget that the 49ers are coming off a bye and playing at home. This is a tough road assignment for Ron Rivera's crew. #CARvsSF
Hey, someone tell Case Keenum he was an undrafted free agent. What's going on with this guy? He's making Matt Schaub look like chopped liver -- or, basically, like what Texans fans already thought Schaub was. We actually feel bad for the former starter, as it seems Schaub merely is having his worst professional season. Many truly great quarterbacks had down years: consider Kurt Warner in 2004, Brett Favre in 2005 or Philip Rivers last year. That said, Keenum really does look like he can handle the game; it's not too much or too fast for him, as his sterling 118.0 passer rating through two starts would seem to confirm. Still, this is a tough road gig against a solid Cardinals defense coming off a bye. Arizona wins, with a little help from Andre Ellington. #HOUvsAZ
All right, if Panthers-49ers isn't the coolest game of Week 10, then Broncos-Chargers is. San Diego is no pushover, and that won't be any different this weekend. Denver's secondary will face a revived Philip Rivers and an athletic rookie receiver in Keenan Allen who can go up and make plays, presenting a matchup problem. We also like Antonio Gates versus those Broncos safeties. Can you believe the veteran Chargers tight end is on pace for an 1,100-yard season? The better question is, can the Bolts slow down Peyton Manning? San Diego must produce a better pass rush than it has thus far. The Chargers' sack total (20) isn't awful, but the pressure has disappeared for prolonged periods this season. They sure will miss Dwight Freeney, especially considering how out of sorts Manning was when Freeney's old compadre, Robert Mathis, got after the quarterback at Lucas Oil a few weeks ago. The Chargers cannot afford to turn the ball over like they did in the thriller these teams played last October (which featured three picks and two fumbles by Rivers in the second half). Let's see how good San Diego is ... I predicted a sixth seed for the Bolts. Maybe I'm loco. #DENvsSD
Is there a cooler game than this? Well, we already said Panthers-49ers and Broncos-Chargers. Ah, forget those blurbs. Two factors make this game special: the fact that these teams could see each other in the playoffs and their recent series history. In 2009, the Cowboys ended the 13-0 Saints' dreams of an undefeated season. In 2010, former Cowboys receiver Roy Williams ruined one of his few productive games with the franchise by fumbling away a chance to clinch what had been a thriller from stem to stern. Dallas needs plus performances from DeMarco Murray and the safeties. Murray has been hit or miss, and quality play from Cowboys safeties has been absent for, oh, just a mere 10 years. The Saints would like to put last week's loss to the Jets behind them, but we're calling for an upset here. The importance of DeMarcus Ware's return cannot be understated. #DALvsNO
I was thinking this could be Tampa Bay's first win of the season, but then I started looking at that offense. Mike James must be as effective as he was Sunday (when he rushed for 158 yards on 28 carries -- and tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass) if the Bucs are to have a chance. They rank last in the league in red-zone drives and are second to last in yards per game (304.3) and points per game (15.5). A huge part of the horror show on offense has been the complete lack of productivity in the passing game. Mike Glennon has not exactly been a problem -- throw out the last five minutes of the loss to the Cardinals, and the rookie has just one pick in five starts. The larger concern is the lack of big plays downfield. Since Glennon took over, Tampa Bay has had just five pass plays go for more than 25 yards. Will the protection hold up on seven-step drops against Cameron Wake and the fellas? Doubt it. Miami needs this game, given the Patriots and Jets won last week and some really great publicity -- or not -- this week. #MIAvsTB
The Redskins have had all sorts of trouble against the pass, although they've fared better of late. Of course, the run defense has struggled mightily as well, allowing 116.6 rushing yards per game at a clip of 4.4 per carry. That should be disconcerting for Washington heading into this matchup, considering Adrian Peterson is a slight upgrade over the Danny Woodheads, Ryan Mathewses and Knowshon Morenos of the world. Ah, but the Vikings' quarterback situation could be the great elixir for the Redskins here. Yes, Christian Ponder can take off and run, but that might not be enough against a team that believes it still has a shot at the NFC East. Remember the huge, outcome-affecting turnovers Ponder coughed up in Dallas on Sunday. Taking Robert Griffin III and the Washington run game in this one. #WASvsMIN
Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @Harrison_NFL.