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NFL Week 10 bold predictions: Cowboys dominate, NFC QB benched

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Week 10 is here, meaning we’ve reached the double-digit mark on the NFL schedule. We’re beginning to see a clear pecking order for the best and worst teams, which should be on full display throughout Sunday’s action.

Fortunately for football fans, the bye week won’t impact the viewing experience much. The Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals are off, with the latter the only one that will really be missed. On a Sunday with so many great teams in action, we could see some phenomenal performances.

Considering all the wild things that happened in Week 9, this upcoming Sunday will either provide a return to normalcy or more chaos. Of course, we’ll hope for the latter.

Let’s dive into our bold predictions for NFL Week 10.

Dallas Cowboys hit 35 points, 500-plus yards vs. Atlanta Falcons

NFL: Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys
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The Dallas Cowboys were embarrassed in Week 8, there’s no other way around it. Dak Prescott had one of the worst games in his NFL career, Ezekiel Elliott got hurt and drops crushed the Cowboys’ receivers. It was a wake-up call and it absolutely not a true representation of this unit. Prescott is an elite quarterback, playing behind one of the best pass-blocking offensive lines in the NFL and he’s surrounded by fantastic weapons. Now, they’ll be playing with new fire in NFL Week 10.

Line that team up against the Atlanta Falcons. Heading into November, Atlanta’s defense held the third-lowest pressure rate (19.1%), allowed the 12th-highest net yards per pass attempt (6.9) and given up the eighth-most rushing yards per game (125.1). This is the kind of matchup where Dallas can do whatever it wants offensively and the Falcons’ offense is good enough to put up some points. As long as the Cowboys keep their foot on the gas, 35 points and 500 total yards are possible.

Jared Goff gets benched

NFL: Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams
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The winless Detroit Lions realized months ago that Jared Goff wasn’t their long-term quarterback. They acquired him to get a better draft pick from the Los Angeles Rams. With that said, Detroit’s expectations were still a lot higher than the level Goff is performing at right now.

Goff’s standard stats are awful, but there are specific numbers that are alarming before this NFL Week 10 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Goff entered November ranked 29th in passer rating (51.6) under pressure with the second-most interceptions (four) and zero touchdowns. On Sunday, he faces a defensive front with an elite pressure rate and 40-plus quarterback hurries.

This matchup will be a living nightmare for Goff. It’s very possible, after multiple sacks and giveaways, Detroit throws in the towel on the Goff experiment and just lets David Blough run around until backup Tim Boyle is healthy.

Taysom Hill takes steals the show in NFL Week 10

NFL: New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
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The New Orleans Saints made Trevor Siemian the starter in Week 9, but that’s unlikely to last. While Sean Payton would love to maintain a semblance of his original offense, he needs to think about the quarterback who gives him the best chance to win. While Taysom Hill has plenty of deficiencies, he is the Saints’ best QB.

The Saints rushing attack could find success. Hill averaged 5.3 yards per carry on 39 attempts as a starter last season and New Orleans dominated on the ground. Payton could use a mix of RPOs and designed runs for Hill, incorporating a lot of motion to keep Tennessee off balance. By the end of it, Hill might find the end zone three times and the Saints could stun Tennessee.

Carolina Panthers stun the Cardinals

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is an MVP candidate when healthy. But for the second year in a row, we’ve seen how everything breaks down when he isn’t able to move as effectively and his throwing mechanisms suffer because of it. That’s important to consider with a looming matchup against Carolina.

The Panthers went into Week 9 with the fourth-highest pressure rate (28.2%) and the fourth-lowest yards per attempt (6.5) allowed. They also just welcomed Stephon Gilmore into the secondary, who proves he matches up perfectly with physical wide receivers. Carolina already matched up nicely against Arizona’s offense to begin with, but the matchup is even more favorable with Murray and DeAndre Hopkins hobbled.

Carolina’s defense gives them an opportunity to keep this game close. It’s the Panthers’ rushing attack that will determine if we get an NFL Week 10 upset. Christian McCaffrey is back, facing a Cardinals’ defense that has allowed four teams to rush for 150-plus yards this season and allows the second-highest yards per carry (4.9). Put the Cards on upset watch.

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Buccaneers, Bills deliver shutouts

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense hasn’t lived up to its prestigious reputation this season. But there’s reason to believe that’s about to change. The most blitz-heavy defense in the NFL is likely getting cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting. It couldn’t come at a better time.

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke isn’t a starting-caliber player, but his numbers against the blitz are even more troubling. Entering November, he had the third-worst completion rate (54.7%) when facing extra rushers. Now that the Buca have corners they can trust in coverage and with this defense stuffing the run, Tampa Bay could shut out Washington.

Click here for our latest 2021 NFL defensive rankings

A few states over, we could see the Buffalo Bills also deliver a shutout. What makes this matchup particularly intriguing, New York Jets rookie Zach Wilson could return in NFL Week 10. Even if he doesn’t, the Bills’ pass rush can get home with four defensive linemen and that allows a great secondary to lock down the Jets’ underwhelming receiving corps. With some big turnovers, Buffalo could nab its third shutout before December.

Stats via Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference