NFL Week 10 Winners & Losers
By Lee Wakefield & Peter Mann
Winners and losers from week 10 of the NFL season could have gone several ways, we had plenty of candidates for each half of this so apologies if we missed some, but we simply didn’t have enough space.
Redemption stories and rising stars but also a number of teams who really just need to be put out of their misery.
And lord knows there’s a good number of those… But first, the bright stuff.
Winners - Lee Wakefield
Chase Young and the 49ers Defensive Line
Truth be told, I have wanted to get Chase Young in this column for pretty much the whole season. For one reason or another, it’s taken ten weeks but the time finally came after the 49ers crushed the Jaguars.
Chase Young was traded to San Fransisco at the deadline and reunited with his former Ohio State teammate, Nick Bosa. This was a move that makes the 49ers defensive line even more ridiculous than it was before. Bosa and Javon Hargrave are the bonafide stars, but then they have a bunch of high-upside reclamation projects, of which Young is the prettiest diamond that they could polish up. Young is the one who could really vault himself into superstardom once again with a positive second half of the year.
Young played like a star on Sunday as he made things easier for Bosa, who racked up 1.5 sacks on the day. As did Hargrave, who collapsed the pocket from the middle time and again. As a trio, these three would be a collective nightmare for offensive lines the rest of the season as they can’t all be double-teamed.
Young has 5.5 sacks on the year and had a pressure rate of 14.1% through six games in Washington, which would be the best mark of his career if maintained over the rest of the year.
The Texans are here to stay. They have a quarterback who is playing like a top-10 guy, who is elevating those around him. They seemingly also have one of the better, young Head Coaches in the game, and moving into 2024, they have around $73m in cap space to spend.
Stroud is a legit guy who we are going to be discussing for a long time – So, sorry if you’re a Jags, Colts, or Titans fan and you don’t want to hear it.
What a division of young QBs the AFC South has become, by the way!
I feel like we can trust Stroud and the offense now, 10 weeks is a big enough sample size to know that he and they are the real deal. Plus, I feel like DeMeco Ryans can squeeze enough out of his defense too. It feels like a unit that’s sort of made out of spare parts but Ryan’s scheming and play-calling are good enough until they continue to add young talent via the draft.
What’s more impressive this week is that they beat a fellow playoff contender – Yes, the Texans are well in the mix for a wildcard spot – and they also did so without Stroud’s favourite target, Nico Collins.
I’m pleased for Houston’s fans that they have some genuinely good times on the horizon.
Josh Dobbs is such a great story this season. Amid a slew of QB injuries that have either hampered or downright derailed several team’s seasons, Dobbs has played admirably for two teams and probably (hopefully) made himself a bunch of money in the process.
Dobbs played well enough for the Cardinals without actually winning many games. Which is probably absolutely what Arizona wanted from him and his play earned him a shot as Kirk Cousins’s replacement in Minnesota.
With Cousins potentially done in Minneapolis due to a mixture of injury, age, and an expiring contract, Dobbs could see this as an eight-week audition for a more permanent role at U.S. Bank Stadium.
If the passtronaut continues to win games, surely GM, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could do worse than at least handing Dobbs a high-end backup contract, whilst perhaps drafting the Vikings’ potential long-term QB in the 2024 draft.
Not bad at all for someone whose career earnings to date total just over $6.5m across 6 accrued seasons. Dobbs’ play this year could land him a contract north of that figure per season from 2024.
Losers - Peter Mann
The Biggest Losers… Starting with the Giants
Poor seasons for the Carolina Panthers (1-8), alongside Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, and surprisingly, New England Patriots (all 2-8).
This followed another, disastrous weekend on the field for two of the four franchises.
The Panthers had a bye week, and the Cardinals, well they won for just the second time this regular season (25-23 over the Atlanta Falcons), so it’s down to Brian Daboll’s Giants, and Bill Belichick’s ailing Patriots.
The Giants continue to flounder and, for the second time this season, came up deafeningly short against the Dallas Cowboys when having suffered a shut-out in week one (Cowboys won 40-0 at the MetLife Stadium), they didn’t fare much better this time around either.
In a game that actually saw them score this time, the Giants shipped near fifty at the other end to register a 49-17 loss, totalling an 89-17 score in favour of the Cowboys, and the biggest differential between two franchises in over fifteen years (Patriots 77-points over the Bills in ’07).
It’s not just on the field the Giants are suffering, but on the side-lines also, and it was not a pretty sight when Coach Daboll is getting over-enthused, and his players, well they also seemed to be at a loss as the New York side continue to fall apart having suffered a third straight loss.
It’s a long way to the 6-11 floor that was predicted here before the season started.
And then the Patriots
What is there to do with Belichick’s Patriots this regular season?
At 2-8, they are, very much so, down-and-out at the foot of the AFC East, even the New York Jets, yes the Jets, have a better record than the Pats as they sit on 4-5.
In the second of the two, Germany games, the Patriots, well, did nothing, against the Indianapolis Colts, going down 10-6 in a low-scoring game at the Deutsche Bank Park – if fans were elated the previous week, they were perhaps left deflated this time around.
The Pats were restricted to two field goal attempts, one on the first and one in the fourth quarter, and that’s all they could muster, through Chad Ryland – mind, the sixteen points the game offered up as a whole, landed in the first and fourth quarter as well.
Throw onto the ailing, flailing, pretty much non-existent QB situation, and the Pats are in a quandary – Mac Jones? Mac Jones who? Was on the lips of pretty much most after he was benched late on in Germany.
He’s been their starting QB all season long, but replacing him with Bailey Zappe, was nothing short of desperate, and a move that didn’t work, despite him only having a few minutes in which to make an impression.
Coincidentally, next time out, on 26 November, New England’s next outing is at the MetLife Stadium, against the New York Giants – something has to break there, surely?
The Falcons Defense
The spluttering, Atlanta Falcons defense, limping their way through recent outings following a mixed start to the regular season. G
Arthur Smith’s franchise (4-6), was actually a 4-3 until mid-October, then stuttered, badly. They went down against Tennessee Titans (28-23), Minnesota Vikings (31-28), and, in this past weekend’s Battle-of-the-Birds, lost to Arizona Cardinals (25-23).
The Falcons it seems can’t close a game out of late and they, like several other franchises of late, have problems in the QB department, Coach Smith, over their bye week, needing to choose between Desmond Ridder, and the returning Taylor Heinicke (suffered a hamstring against the Vikings).
That defense though, after a somewhat promising start through most of the early games this season, has faltered against that of Will Levis, Joshua Dobbs, and Kyler Murray, a trio who’d registered firsts against the Falcons – Levis’ career start, Dobbs’ Vikings debut less than a week after joining, and Murray’s season debut in his return from ACL injury, near a year ago.
Feature Image Credit: 49ers News
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Lee Wakefield IS A defensive line enthusiast, Chargers Sufferer, and LONG-TIME writer and podcaster with a number of publications. @Wakefield90 on twitter