NFL week ten round-up
Week 10 of the NFL saw some teams get back into the playoff hunt with big wins and certain games brought us unexpected upsets. In this review, we look at three divisional matchups from the NFC South, NFC East and the AFC East as well as Sunday night’s big game between two 7-1 teams who were looking to stamp their authority on their respective conferences.
Atlanta Falcons (8-1-0) 27-31 New Orleans Saints (4-5-0)
Despite being 8-0 going into this game, the Atlanta Falcons had come under criticism from many. They’ve been branded as over-achieving and losing a big divisional game did little to silence those doubters..
Luckily for the Falcons, this loss did little in harming their season as they still look comfortable at the top of the NFC South, but the win for the Saints gives them hope of making the post-season despite a difficult schedule ahead for Drew Brees and co.
It is Atlanta’s schedule that fuelled the fire for criticism around the league as the Denver Broncos were the only team that they’ve played and beaten who have a winning record this season. Despite that, this is the NFL and as we know on any given Sunday anything can happen so this Falcons team is due credit.
Although saying that, this Sunday presented them with an opportunity to quieten the smack talk but it turned out that two stops by the New Orleans defense in the final few minutes of Sunday’s game would give the Saints the 31-27 win and shock the previously unbeaten Falcons.
Down by 4, Matt Ryan led Atlanta down the field and on to the New Orleans 1 yard line with two minutes to play. However, over the next four plays the Saints managed to stay clutch on defense and hold out, which enabled them to run the rest of the clock out and savour a sweet win in front of their home fans at the Superdome.
The game was an exciting one as well as tense with Saints quarterback Drew Brees completing 21 of 32 passing attempts for 298 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. New Orleans have now won two in a row as they moved to 4-5 ahead of a week 11 game on the road against the Raiders as they look to tie their record up at 5 wins and 5 losses.
A win for the Saints next week would get them back in the playoff hunt, especially as the Falcons face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week in another NFC South divisional battle. Drew Brees has carried this team in what has been a difficult season for all those involved with the franchise but there could be light at the end of the tunnel with a shot at the playoffs now a slight possibility.
As for the Falcons, well they go back to the drawing board after their hopes of a perfect season were ended at the halfway stage. Matty ice was still efficient at quarterback on Sunday night as he threw for 411 yards by completing 34/52 attempts which included three passing touchdowns and an interception.
The Falcons will go back to the drawing board and look to clear up the few mistakes they made in this loss as they know they are going to the playoffs. The one thorn in their side is the fact that they haven’t won a playoff game in so long, but with so much time to focus on the post-season head coach Mike Smith will make the most of this opportunity and look to prove the Falcons’ doubters wrong.
Houston Texans (8-1-0) 13-6 Chicago Bears (7-2-0)
The most eagerly anticipated game from week 10 saw two of the best sides from either conference lock horns at Soldier Field in Chicago with the home town’s Bears facing off against the Houston Texans.
With both teams possessing talented defences, this game turned out to be one massive defensive slugfest in which Texan’s quarterback Matt Schaub threw the game’s lone touchdown to Arian Foster which helped Houston prevail 13-6.
Running back Foster had 102 yard rushing yards on 29 carries and added 15 yards on five receptions, including his score. With the win it was the Texans who moved on to 8-1 on the season and they tied a franchise record by winning their fourth consecutive road game.
Chicago was not helped by the fact that quarterback Jay Cutler left the game at halftime after suffering a concussion which meant backup Jason Campbell stepped in but didn’t step up to the challenge.
When he stepped in to the game, the Bears were down 10-3 at the half and a late third quarter field goal by Robbie Gould took Chicago to within 4 points going into the fourth, but it wasn’t to be for Chicago.
They will now look to bounce back from this defeat when they take on the 49ers in a huge NFC clash in what looks set to be the battle of the backup quarterbacks as San Francisco’s Alex Smith also suffered an injury this week.
With Shayne Graham’s 42 yard field goal with just under 5 minutes left in this, on going through the posts the Texans went on to post the 7 point victory as they look to push on and try to claim the number one seed in the AFC for the playoffs.
It’ll be tough for Houston as the Colts are still sniffing around behind them in their division and they also have to take on AFC rivals the New England Patriots, but after regaining some of their early season momentum following a defeat to the Green Bay Packers the Texans will be hopeful of ending the regular season on a high note.
Buffalo Bills (3-6-0) 31-37 New England Patriots (6-3-0)