FOX Sports’ staff of NFL reporters has you covered from top to bottom going into Week 10. We’ll tell you what to expect, who to watch, which numbers to be aware of — and predict the outcome of each game.
Thursday, Nov. 10
Atlanta Falcons (4-5) at Carolina Panthers (2-7) (Amazon Prime, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Overview: I’m not sure anyone knows what to make of the Atlanta Falcons at this point of the season. They own the same record as the division-leading Bucs (nope, not a typo; the Bucs and Falcons lead the NFC South with 4-5 records) and have won games they shouldn’t have while losing games they should have. Their offense, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, is averaging the fourth-most yards on the ground in the league and they rank in the top 10 in third- and fourth-down conversion rate along with red-zone efficiency. They also weirdly lead the league in punt return yards. Are the Falcons good? Probably not, but they’re not bad, either.
Meanwhile, the Panthers don’t seem to know which way is up. Their offense can’t seem to find production, ranking 30th in the league in total yards per game while they average under 20 points each week. Their defense has some good pieces, including defensive end Brian Burns, whom the organization reportedly wouldn’t let go of even for multiple first-round picks. But Carolina is giving up the fourth-most yards on the ground and fifth-most yards overall. The Panthers are also surrendering an average of 25.3 points per game, which is a full six points more than their offense is scoring. They rank 28th in point differential.
Matchup to watch: Panthers DE Brian Burns vs. Falcons QB Marcus Mariota
Burns is tied for 13th in the league with six sacks so far this season. Fair or not, Carolina has placed quite a bit of pressure on him to perform after not trading him at the deadline for a massive return.
Key stats: The Panthers are 2-1 against the NFC South this season — and 0-6 against everyone else. The Falcons are 1-5 in their past six road games, dating back to last season. However, the Falcons defeated the Panthers in Week 8 (37-34 in OT) and are 11-3 in their past 14 games against Carolina.
Prediction: The Falcons are able to exploit the matchup on the ground thanks to the Panthers’ dismal run defense. It allows Atlanta to control the clock, the game and the outcome.
Falcons 23, Panthers 10 –Carmen Vitali
Sunday, Nov. 13
Seattle Seahawks (6-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) (NFL Network, 9:30 a.m. ET)
Overview: Winners of four straight, the sizzling Seahawks hit the road again, this time hopping on a 10-hour flight to Germany, where they will face Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The Sunday morning contest is the league’s first game played in the country, as Germany becomes the fifth nation to host an NFL regular-season game, joining the United States, Mexico, Canada and England.
The last time the Seahawks played overseas was in London, a 27-3 victory over the Raiders four years ago at Wembley Stadium. Tampa Bay is 0-3 in the team’s three previous international games. The game will be held at 75,000-seat Allianz Arena, home of the FC Bayern Munich soccer team.
Matchup to watch: Seahawks RB Ken Walker III vs. Buccaneers defensive front
Tampa Bay has struggled to stop the run this season, allowing 123 rushing yards a contest, No. 23 in the NFL. Walker, a rookie out of Michigan State, has been on a tear since taking over for Rashaad Penny, lost for the season due to an ankle injury. Walker has rushed for more than 100 yards in two of his past three games and averages 5.1 yard per carry. If the Bucs want to slow down a Seattle offense averaging 27 points per game, they must figure out how to bottle up the explosive Walker, who has 17 runs of at least 10 yards this season.
Are Tom Brady and the Bucs contenders again?
The Buccaneers beat the defending Super Bowl-champion Rams in the final seconds in Week 9. Nick Wright, Chris Broussard, Greg Jennings and Kevin Wildes discuss what the win means.
Key stats: Brady has thrown 373 consecutive passes without an interception, the second-longest streak in league history. He needs to throw 30 more passes without a pick to set the all-time record held by Aaron Rodgers (402 consecutive passes without an interception).
With his start on Sunday, Brady will become the first quarterback to start in three different countries outside of the United States (England, Mexico and Germany). Brady is 3-0 in international games, and his 125.2 passer rating is the highest among all quarterbacks who have started multiple games outside the U.S.
Prediction: Geno Smith continues his surprising campaign as one of the best signal-callers in the game, setting a single-season career high with 15 touchdown passes already. The Bucs will need to get consistent pressure on the accurate Smith. Also, the Seahawks have played well late in games, outscoring opponents 68-59 in the fourth quarter. Brady put together an amazing drive to win the game over the Los Angeles Rams last week, but it would be tough for the 45-year-old QB to do that for a second straight week in another country.
Seahawks 25, Buccaneers 19 –Eric D. Williams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings (7-1) at Buffalo Bills (6-2) (FOX, 1 p.m. ET)
Overview: It sure seems like Josh Allen is going to miss this week’s game with a right elbow (UCL) injury. And that will change the complexion of this game. With Allen, the Bills looked poised to bounce back from a pair of subpar performances, including an ugly win over the Packers and a brutal defeat to the Jets in New York. But without Allen, things get complicated. Buffalo already looked like it was short on playmaking talent with Allen in the game. But what happens if Case Keenum enters the mix? Maybe the Bills see their supporting cast step up in a bigger may. Or maybe the Bills, who have seen a handful of stars suffer injuries in recent weeks, will look outclassed by a talented Vikings team.
The Vikings are second in the NFC behind — who else? — the Philadelphia Eagles. The weird thing is, they’re not statistically impressive in any category. Their defense is 12th in points allowed per game (20.1) and eight-worst in yards allowed per game (368.1). Their offense has the 15th-most yards per game and eighth-most points per game. They’re just barely a top-10 team statistically, and yet they have the second-best record in the NFL. Ultimately, the Bills will kick off a slate that proves the Vikings are legit — or shows they’re pretenders. Minnesota plays at Buffalo, vs. the Cowboys, vs. the Patriots and vs. the Jets. It’s not an insane test. But it’s of higher difficulty than the Vikings’ past eight games.
Are the 7-1 Vikings Super Bowl contenders?
Greg Jennings is a believer in Minnesota, which he says has built a very strong team around QB Kirk Cousins. How far can the Vikings go?
Matchup to watch: Vikings CB Patrick Peterson vs. Bills WR Stefon Diggs
There’s little question as to whether Diggs is one of the best receivers in the NFL. There is some question as to whether Peterson remains one of the best cornerbacks in the league. We’ll see whether Peterson can keep pace with Diggs, who has had five or more catches and 90 or more yards in each of the past four games. He has also had a touchdown in three of the past four games.
Key stat: The Bills are 13-3 in their past 16 non-conference games.
Prediction: If Allen doesn’t play, Keenum will inherit an offense that looked surprisingly dysfunctional the past two games. But I’m not totally sure the Vikings are as good as their record suggests. I think Buffalo plays particularly well, motivated by Allen’s potential absence.
Bills 27, Vikings 21 –Henry McKenna
Detroit Lions (2-6) at Chicago Bears (3-6) (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
Overview: The Lions are riding high off a divisional win over the Packers at home, while the Bears are still celebrating the fact they seem to finally have a quarterback. If you walked into any Chicago sports bar immediately following the Bears’ loss to Miami last Sunday, you’d likely have thought the score was flipped. There’s a sense of optimism around the Bears that hasn’t been seen this far into the season in a long time. And now that Justin Fields has what looks like a legitimate weapon to throw to in Chase Claypool, Chicago is … scoring at will?
That’s bad news for the Lions, whose defense is ranked dead last this season. Their pass defense got a bit of a shakeup last weekend after they fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant and made some personnel changes — namely, benching corner Amani Oruwariye in favor of Mike Hughes. It worked against the Packers, as Detroit held them to just nine points and 389 total yards, which was vastly better than the Lions’ per-game average of 417.3 this season.
Detroit will see if that was just a fluke against a Bears offense that is not only putting up yards on the ground and through the air, but is averaging 31.3 points per game the past three weeks. Plus, uh, under coach Dan Campbell, the Lions are 0-11-1 in road games, and the Bears have won seven of their past eight matchups against the Lions.
Matchup to watch: Lions SS Kerby Joseph vs. Bears QB Justin Fields.
Joseph was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for picking off Aaron Rodgers twice in the end zone last Sunday. Whatever the Lions changed about the scheme worked for him more than anyone else, and if Joseph can get a couple picks on a quarterback who is known for taking care of the football, maybe he can get one on Fields, too. Fields, though, has been much improved this season in his decision-making and risk management.
Key stats: Fields recorded 178 rushing yards in Week 9 against the Dolphins, the most by a quarterback in a regular-season game in NFL history, breaking Michael Vick’s record. With 252 rushing yards in Week 9, the Bears joined the 1976 Steelers as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to record more than 225 rushing yards in four straight games.
Prediction: I think the Bears continue their upward trajectory, recognizing the opportunity they have in front of them the next few games. They have a real chance to stack a couple wins before running into the Eagles and Bills in consecutive weeks next month.
Bears 31, Lions 16 –Carmen Vitali
Denver Broncos (3-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-3) (CBS, 1 p.m. ET)
Overview: The Titans and Broncos meet for the fourth time since 2016, the last time these AFC teams squared off in Nashville. These franchises are in very different spots. Tennessee is a contender, but a clear rung below Buffalo and Kansas City. Denver was supposed to be a player in the AFC, too, but its season has gone drastically differently than the expectations.
The Titans had their five-game winning streak ended by the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. While the run game is strong and the defense is elite, Tennessee’s pass-catching is an obvious issue. No Titans receiver posted a catch in last week’s loss. The team’s passing attack ranks second-worst in the league. Tennessee is essentially one-dimensional offensively, though the return of first-round rookie receiver Treylon Burks could begin a shift. He was scheduled to return to practice Wednesday and has a chance to play Sunday.
The Broncos are coming off their bye. In Week 8, they snapped a four-game losing streak en route to their first win since September, topping the Jaguars in London. Quarterback Russell Wilson and Denver’s offense, the crux of the issues, finally showed some life, though it was far from pretty. These Broncos are led by a defense that has star power on all three levels, but this will be their first game since star outside linebacker Bradley Chubb was traded to Miami.
Matchup to watch: Titans RB Derrick Henry vs. Broncos ILBs Alex Singleton, Jonas Griffith, Josey Jewell
No team has stopped Henry since September, and he has a track record for playing better as the season wears on. A candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, Henry has rushed for at least 100 yards in five straight games, including a 219-yard effort against the Texans in Week 8.
The Broncos inside linebackers will have their hands full. As elite as Denver’s front has been, run defense has been a weakness. The Broncos rank 21st in rushing yards allowed per game (122.6) and rushing yards allowed per play (4.91).
Key stat: The Titans have scored a touchdown on 78.9% of their red-zone trips this season, the highest percentage in the NFL.
Prediction: The Broncos are rested and coming off a win, which is a strong recipe coming into Nashville. Denver’s offense has been underwhelming, but it’s still dangerous with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and an ascending Greg Dulcich as weapons. That group has the potential to threaten a Titans pass defense that has been susceptible to explosive plays. And consider this: Six of Tennessee’s seven starters in its elite defensive front are on the injury report this week. We already know the Titans don’t score a lot of points. If they can’t get into Russell Wilson’s face enough defensively, they’ll be in for a long day.
Broncos 28, Titans 24 –Ben Arthur
Cleveland Browns (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (6-3) (CBS, 1 p.m. ET)
Overview: The Dolphins boast one of the best offenses in the NFL, with Tua Tagovailoa humming through his third season with help from receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But on defense, Miami is struggling in a big way. The Dolphins have needed all the points they can get from their offense due to defensive shortcomings — particularly in the secondary, where they’ve struggled with coverage, and the pass-rush, where they’ve struggled to convert pressure to sacks. Enter Bradley Chubb, the outside linebacker and blockbuster trade acquisition who figures to improve Miami’s pass defense. He needs to be one of the team’s solutions on defense as the Dolphins try to right their wrongs.
The Browns, meanwhile, have the second-best running back in the NFL in Nick Chubb and they’ve built their offense around him and an efficient Jacoby Brissett. They’ve done well enough on offense. But their running-focused attack isn’t complementary to a defense that has allowed 24.9 points per game, ninth-most in the NFL. Cleveland isn’t constructed to be a playoff contender without Deshaun Watson, who remains suspended.
Matchup to watch: Browns CB Greg Newsome vs. Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle
It’s one thing to defend Hill, who will likely draw coverage from Denzel Ward. It’s another to defend Waddle, who will likely see Newsome for most of the game. Waddle has the fifth-most receiving yards in the league (812). He is absolutely torching defenses, even if he’s not leading the NFL like Hill (1,104 receiving yards).
Related reading: Is Tyreek Hill on track to be the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year?
Key stat: The Browns are 1-6 in their past seven road games, dating back to last season. The Dolphins are 9-1 in their past 10 home games, dating back to last season.
Prediction: This one is easy. The Dolphins are the superior team in every phase, even with their weak defense. I think Miami walks away with a comfortable win.
Dolphins 31, Browns 24 –Henry McKenna
Houston Texans (1-6-1) at New York Giants (6-2) (CBS, 1 p.m. ET)
Overview: The Texans gave the Philadelphia Eagles all they could handle last Thursday night, which probably should have the Giants worried. Then again, the Giants are used to being pushed to the edge, because all their games are close and come down to the fourth quarter. It’s just who they are. That’s a problem against better teams — like the Seattle Seahawks, who beat New York last week — but it shouldn’t be a huge issue against Houston. That’s especially true since the Texans are generally terrible against the run, and the Giants live off that with both RB Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones. Don’t expect a blowout. Don’t expect a high score. But that’s fine with the Giants, who prefer to grind teams down until the end.
Matchup to watch: Giants RB Saquon Barkley vs. Texans run defense
This is really the whole ballgame. The Texans are giving up an absurd 180.6 rushing yards per game while Barkley is third in the NFL with 779 yards. Together, Barkley and Jones are averaging 142.75 yards per game, and they’ve faced much better defenses than Houston’s. If Barkley really gets rolling … well, then maybe this game won’t come down to the fourth quarter.
Key stat: All six of the Giants’ wins this season have been by one score (8 points or fewer). Make of that what you will. It certainly can be argued they’re living on the edge and that maybe it’s not sustainable. The Giants think it just shows they’re battle-tested and know how to win in the fourth quarter. Battle-tested is definitely good, but living on the edge could prove costly against better teams.
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Saquon Barkley sits down with FOX Sports’ Michael Strahan to talk about his bounce-back season, how the Giants have changed their culture and new coach Brian Daboll’s impact.
Prediction: The Texans are going to approach this game the same way as against the Eagles. They’re going to try to run the ball in the hopes of keeping the score down, taking advantage of a Giants defense that sometimes is suspect. Really, that’s the only way they can win since their passing game isn’t good at all. That ground-game strategy should work — to a point. The Texans will move the ball, they will run the clock, they will even keep the game close. But, just like against the Eagles last week, they will likely lose in the end. The one-two punch of Barkley-Jones is going to be uncontainable for the Texans.
To put it another way, the Giants are better at the grind-it-out, keep-it-close, pull-the-game-out-in-the-end strategy than the Texans are. Houston simply doesn’t have the passing game to make the Giants pay in a close game.
Giants 20, Texans 13 –Ralph Vacchiano
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints (3-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) (FOX 1 p.m. ET)
Overview: Don’t expect a lot of fireworks in this game — at least not from the two quarterbacks. Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is still very much playing like a rookie. The Steelers are 1-3 in his four starts, and they’re averaging just 11.5 points per game. The Saints have fared better since 12-year veteran QB Andy Dalton took over for an injured Jameis Winston, but they’re coming off a dud of a game in which they had just 243 total yards in a loss to Baltimore.
Overall, though, the ceiling for the Saints is just higher, regardless of how erratic they are. Dalton is more advanced and, especially in RB Alvin Kamara, he has more weapons to work with. And Pickett is just too vulnerable to being rattled this early in his career.
Matchup to watch: Saints WR Chris Olave vs. Steelers CBs Ahkello Witherspoon and Cameron Sutton
The Saints have a legitimate star in their rookie receiver, who has 43 catches for 618 yards and two touchdowns. Outside of Kamara, he is the best big-play threat on the Saints’ roster. The Pittsburgh secondary and passing defense haven’t been good at all. If Olave can get going in this game, it could be big for the Saints and far too much for an offense led by Pickett to overcome.
Key stat: The Saints have the worst turnover differential (minus-10) in the NFL. This is really the Steelers’ best hope. If they can pressure Dalton to make a big mistake, come up with a big turnover, they’ll give Pickett a chance. And against the mistake-prone Saints, that definitely could happen.
Prediction: There’s no doubt that Pickett is getting better and possesses the skills to be a decent quarterback in the NFL. He will probably even win a couple of games the rest of the season. And really, beating the Saints wouldn’t be a shock. They are mistake-prone, erratic and hardly a juggernaut, especially with Dalton at the helm. But they still have the superior weapons in Kamara and Olave.
The Saints are capable of playing poorly, but they are also capable of scoring more points than the Steelers seem capable of scoring at this point. It’s always a toss up which Saints team will show up, but it’s hard to bet against them with a rookie quarterback on the other sideline.
Saints 24, Steelers 16 –Ralph Vacchiano
New Orleans Saints
Indianapolis Colts (3-5-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (2-6) (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)
Overview: The biggest storyline in this game is the NFL coaching debut of Jeff Saturday, named the Colts‘ interim head coach in unprecedented fashion. The Indy legend, most recently an ESPN NFL analyst, was pegged for the job despite having no coaching experience at the college or NFL level. Parks Frazier, the Colts’ 30-year-old pass game specialist and assistant quarterbacks coach, will be the team’s offensive playcaller for the remainder of the season. This could be a disaster for Indianapolis, which is desperate to fix its offense. Maybe it won’t be as bad as the optics look. I guess we’ll see.
Colts name Jeff Saturday interim coach after Frank Reich firing
Emmanuel Acho offers several reasons why the Colts’ coaching situation will not lead to success.
An added twist to this matchup: The Colts are facing the Raiders, whose coach, Josh McDaniels, backed out of the Colts’ head-coaching job four years ago to stay with the Patriots as offensive coordinator. You can’t make this up.
On the field, both teams, which had hype-filled offseasons, are scrambling for answers with their seasons gone awry. The Colts had one of their worst offensive performances in franchise history against the Patriots, which cost Frank Reich his job. The Raiders blew a 17-0 lead to fall to the Jaguars 27-20 last Sunday, just a week after getting shut out by the Saints. Five of Las Vegas’ six losses have come by one possession.
Matchup to watch: Raiders WR Davante Adams vs. Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore
Bring your popcorn for this. Adams, one of the NFL’s best receivers, had a monster first half against the Jaguars last week (before his team’s collapse): nine receptions on nine targets for 146 yards and two touchdowns. It was his best game of the season in two quarters. Then there’s Gilmore, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who’s still an elite cornerback. The winner of this battle figures to play a key role in the outcome of this game.
Key stat: The Colts are last in the NFL in scoring offense (14.7 PPG).
Prediction: I think the Colts get the win in Saturday’s coaching debut (call me crazy). Saturday has strong leadership attributes, and for a franchise that’s been in chaos recently, maybe that can be a differentiator. Indianapolis’ coaching experiment will be fascinating, but I can see a situation where the emotions of being counted out drive the Colts in a winnable game.
Colts 18, Raiders 16 –Ben Arthur
Las Vegas Raiders
Dallas Cowboys (6-2) at Green Bay Packers (3-6) (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Overview: Maybe it’s not the clash of titans we envisioned before the season, but there’s always intrigue when this old-school rivalry is renewed — especially when Mike McCarthy is coaching in his first game against the team he led to a Super Bowl championship.
The Cowboys are well-rested and relatively healthy, coming off a bye week with an eye on keeping up with Philadelphia and Minnesota as the class of the NFC. And as sad as the Packers might have looked over the course of this five-game skid, have fun telling anyone in Dallas this is a game to be taken lightly. The Cowboys are 2-7 against the Packers with Aaron Rodgers as their starter, highlighted by two gut-wrenching defeats in the divisional round of the playoffs. Beating Rodgers en route to a seventh win in their last eight games would provide added satisfaction.
Storylines feel irrelevant to the Packers at this point. They desperately need a win if they’re going to dream about piecing together a playoff run. And even if that’s possible, it would likely have to be as a wildcard; catching the Vikings feels like a pipe dream. If it’s going to happen, it’ll be with an even lesser supporting cast than before, as Green Bay lost Rashan Gary and Romeo Doubs to injury during its loss to Detroit last week.
Matchup to watch: Green Bay RBs Aaron Jones & AJ Dillion vs. Cowboys front seven
We know the Cowboys defense is susceptible to the run, and we know running the ball is one of the few things the Green Bay offense can do well. The Packers honestly did a fantastic job running the ball and shortening the game against Buffalo two weeks ago. If they’re going to keep the pressure off Rodgers and an anemic passing game, they need to do that again. It might sound strange to say, but they’re going to have a bad time if they ask Rodgers to drop back 30-plus times against the best pass rush in the league.
Chiefs, Cowboys & Eagles hold top spots in Nick’s NFL Tiers
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Key stats: The Packers have lost five straight games for the first time since 2008, which was Rodgers’ first season as starting QB. Rodgers has never lost six consecutive starts. Just to give you an idea of how rare this type of ineptitude is in Green Bay: The last time the Packers lost six straight games in a single season was 1988.
Prediction: It’s hard to completely let go of the idea that Rodgers is a reigning NFL MVP who has rarely ever lost to the Cowboys. In front of a home crowd with his back against the wall, you can’t help but think he’ll play a much better game than what we’ve seen recently.
Still, the Cowboys are simply a better team. They have a pass rush that can fluster anyone and a ground game that should feast against a terrible Packers run defense. The guess here is that it will take some time, but Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard will pace the Cowboys to a second-half lead. When that happens, Micah Parsons & Co. will do what they’ve done all season and close the door.
Cowboys 27, Packers 17 –David Helman
Green Bay Packers
Arizona Cardinals (3-6) at Los Angeles Rams (3-5) (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Overview: Sean McVay’s Rams have owned this matchup since he took over as the team’s head coach in 2017, as the Rams are 11-1 against the Cardinals (including postseason) during his tenure. The Cardinals are 0-6 in their past six games against the NFC West, including 0-3 this season.
However, the struggling Rams might have a new signal-caller at the helm on Sunday. Starting quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed into concussion protocol this week, opening the door for backup quarterback John Wolford to possibly start against Arizona. The Wake Forest product got his first NFL start against the Cardinals two years ago in the final regular-season game of the 2020 season, with the Rams defeating Arizona 18-7 at SoFi Stadium.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray also missed practice this week with a hamstring injury, so Colt McCoy could get the nod if Murray doesn’t heal up by this weekend.
Matchup to watch: Rams DL Aaron Donald vs. Cardinals center Billy Price
Arizona has struggled to stay healthy up front, with starting center Rodney Hudson missing the past five games with a knee issue. Price has filled in for Hudson, but he has struggled at times in pass protection and consistently getting the ball to Murray on shotgun snaps.
Price will likely face one of the best lineman to ever play the game in Donald. The Pitt product has a career-high 16 sacks against the Cardinals and has five sacks so far this season.
Key stat: The Rams are the eighth defending Super Bowl champion to fall below .500 through eight games the following season and the first since the 2013 Baltimore Ravens.
Prediction: Somebody has to win this one, right? Both teams have lost four of their past five games. While both offenses struggle, the Rams are 2-3 at home this season and have the better defense. Rams by a field goal.
Rams 17, Cardinals 14 –Eric D. Williams
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Chargers (5-3) at San Francisco 49ers (4-4) (NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Overview: The Bolts have taken the past five contests in this California matchup — dating back to 2002 — and lead the all-time series 8-6. However, San Francisco is coming off a bye week, which helped receiver Deebo Samuel and fullback Kyle Juszczyk heal up. Meanwhile, the Chargers will likely be without the team’s top two receivers — Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Mike Williams (ankle)— for a second straight week.
Their bye also gave the 49ers time to get new addition Christian McCaffrey more acclimated in the offense. Through two games for San Francisco, McCaffrey has 211 scrimmage yards and three total touchdowns.
Matchup to watch: 49ers running game vs. Chargers defensive front
Under the direction of offensive guru Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers have a diversity of runs at their disposal, along with playmakers like McCaffrey and Samuel to get the ball to in space. The 49ers face one of the worst run defenses in football in the Bolts, who give up a league-worst 5.71 yards per play. Los Angeles also lost one of its best run stuffers for the season in NT Austin Johnson, who suffered a fractured left knee in his team’s win on the road last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
Are 49ers with Christian McCaffrey more dangerous than the Eagles?
Emmanuel Acho, David Helman, LeSean McCoy and Joy Taylor discuss the 49ers’ acquisition of Pro Bowl RB Christian McCaffrey and whether San Francisco can compete with the unbeaten Eagles in the NFC.
Key stat: The Chargers have trailed by at least 10 points in each of their past four games but are 3-1 in those contests.
Prediction: The 49ers will have to figure out a way to slow down running back Austin Ekeler, who is tied for the league lead with 10 total touchdowns, giving him a league-leading 30 TDs over the past two seasons. Ekeler has scored those 10 touchdowns over the past five games after failing to get into the end zone in the first three games this year. If San Francisco can contain Ekeler and keep Justin Herbert from making big plays down the field, the 49ers have a pretty good shot to earn a win.
49ers 30, Chargers 21 –Eric D. Williams
Los Angeles Chargers
San Francisco 49ers
Monday, Nov. 14
Washington Commanders (4-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (8-0) (ESPN, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Overview: The Commanders did seem to get a bit of a spark when Taylor Heinicke took over at quarterback for the injured Carson Wentz. But really, it was a small one. They won his first two starts and nearly beat the Vikings last week in his third, but he hasn’t exactly jumpstarted the offense. Really, what do the Commanders do well? They’re not producing many passing yards, their run game is spotty, they really can’t protect their quarterback.
They do play defense, but that will really be pushed to the limit by an Eagles offense that might be the most diverse in the NFL. If the Commanders are going to win this game, they’re going to need to score more than they’ve been scoring. That means Heinicke will have to produce more big plays. And that means he’ll need time in the pocket. Good luck with all that.
Matchup to watch: Commanders offensive line vs. Eagles defensive line
In the teams’ first meeting on Sept. 25, the Eagles sacked Wentz nine times. He dropped back to pass 52 times and was sacked on 17% of those. He was also hit 17 times. That’s a big reason why the Commanders had only 240 total yards in a 24-8 loss.
Key stat: The Eagles have the best turnover differential (plus-15) in the NFL. They have the No. 3 offense and the No. 3 defense in the league — and that defense is great at getting the ball back for the offense. That’s a deadly combination, especially against a team that can’t protect its quarterback, and a quarterback who’s usually good for a mistake or two per game.
The Eagles are 8-0. How do they project as a playoff team?
The Eagles remain undefeated but haven’t played a difficult schedule. Emmanuel Acho and Joy Taylor discuss how big a factor that is and whether it could affect them later in the season.
Prediction: Don’t be fooled by the 24-8 score from their first meeting. The Eagles absolutely dominated that game and took their foot off the gas in the second half, when no points were scored by either team. The Eagles are just far better than the Commanders in every aspect of the game.
Maybe Heinicke can get something going in the passing game with receivers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, because they are explosive players. But the Eagles talented secondary is likely ready for that. And after Philly posted nine sacks in the first game, you can bet defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon will dial up the pressure again. Heinicke is more mobile than Wentz and can minimize that damage a little bit. But probably not enough.
Eagles 31, Commanders 17 –Ralph Vacchiano
FOX Sports’ Week 10 NFL preview was compiled by:
AFC South reporter Ben Arthur (@benyarthur)
AFC East reporter Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis)
NFC West reporter Eric D. Williams (@eric_d_williams)
NFC East reporter Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano)
NFC North reporter Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV)
Dallas Cowboys reporter David Helman (@davidhelman_)
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