NFL Week 10 Picks
Week Ten kicks off with an NFC South Division matchup between the Atlanta Falcons at the Carolina Panthers. Not much is expected from either team. The Falcons are beginning life without star quarterback Matt Ryan. At the same time, the Panthers are in a fish or cut bait season with head coach Matt Rhule.
Sam Darnold was acquired with great fanfare last year from the New York Jets. Darnold had a faster start but flamed out shortly after that. In his defense, he was often injured and missed five games. Most importantly, he did not have a lot of support on the roster. Darnold was also missing his top offensive weapon. Running back Christian McCaffrey is coming off his second consecutive injury-filled season. In 2020 McCaffrey played in only three games. Last year he was able to take the field only seven times.
Matt Rhule was celebrated as the Carolina savior when he arrived from Baylor University, where he was, indeed, a savior. Rhule inherited a roster that was in a full rebuild. He was seen as the coach that would take Carolina to the future. Instead, the Panthers are not moving the needle under Rhule. Carolina went 5-11 in 2020 and 5-12 in 2021. Fans are already out of patience. And Rhule is now just another NFL coach on the hot seat.
BYE WEEK: Ravens, Bengals, Patriots, Jets
NBC Sunday Night Football has an attractive interconference matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers at the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams are expected to be top playoff contenders for 2022.
San Francisco has a fascinating quarterback story heating up. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected Trey Lance in the first round. Part of the rationale for the selection was frustration with oft-injured quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G missed large portions of two seasons but also had a Super Bowl championship in hand before the 49ers imploded in the final minutes in a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last year the 49ers made the NFC Championship Game with Garoppolo as the quarterback. That was not supposed to happen. While Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford outclassed Jimmy G in the NFC Championship Game, he showed tremendous grit and courage. His teammates sang his praises profusely. And Garoppolo did produce playoff wins at Dallas and Green Bay. Yet he found himself second on the depth chart to Lance at the start of camp. But will he stay there by Week Ten?
ESPN Monday Night Football offers an ancient rivalry from the NFC East as the Philadelphia Eagles host the Washington Commanders.
Whatever is said about Washington owner Dan Snyder, it is never quite bad enough. Earlier this spring, it was reported that Snyder was allegedly shortchanging his fellow owners on their cut of the gate for games played at Washington. Yet nothing has been done about it. Snyder has presided over a toxic work culture and failed football franchise. Yet nothing is done about it. It seems as if Snyder may have something on his fellow owners and commissioner Roger Goodell. Why else would he be allowed to continue to own what was once a marquee franchise?
Speaking of toxic work environments, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is also known for running one. But the Eagles to find ways to win and took full advantage of the NFL’s expanded playoff format to get a wild card berth last year. Second year head coach Nick Sirianni survived his rookie campaign in that role and must now figure out if Jalen Hurts is the long-term answer at quarterback for the Eagles.
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