NFL Radio Power 12, Week 10: Falcons out, Seahawks in

Each week, SiriusXM NFL Radio’s hosts vote on the top six teams in both the NFC and AFC. This week’s voters include James Lofton, Bruce Murray, Alex Marvez, Bill Polian, Maurice Jones-Drew, Gil Brandt, Jim Miller, Pat Kirwan, other NFL Radio hosts, Brian Lauvray, Bobby Bonett, and you, the fans! (To participate in the fan vote, visit siriusxm.com/power12poll.)

All channel listings subject to change.


NFC

1. Carolina Panthers (8-0)

Week 10 opponent: at Tennessee Titans, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 231, Sirius channel 138, Internet channel 804)

Still sporting an unblemished record and, more importantly, a vicious, fast defense that has beaten both Green Bay and Seattle in the past month, Carolina is in the pole position for homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With a de facto three-game lead over Green Bay for that No. 1 seed and with only two teams (the New York Giants and two games with rapidly fading Atlanta) that are better than .500 on their remaining schedule, Cam Newton and company have, crazy as it sounds, a legit shot at going 16-0.

 

2. Arizona Cardinals (6-2)

Week 10 opponent: at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 225, Sirius channel 83, Internet channel 800)

Back in action after their bye, the Cardinals face off against their avian divisional rivals, the Seahawks, in Seattle. Sans Carson Palmer for both of the Seattle games last season, and promptly owned in both, ‘Zona should need no motivation on Sunday. Not only would a victory serve as a “proved it, haterz”-type statement, a win obviously pushes the Cardinals further ahead of Seattle in the divisional and playoff races, which could be crucial considering both teams have lost to the lurking St Louis Rams.

 

3. Green Bay Packers (6-2)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Detroit Lions, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 230, Sirius channel 146, Internet channel 811)

Good news: You’re tied for first in your division, have arguably the best quarterback in the league on your roster and you’re facing the lowly Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Bad news: You’ve lost two games in a row to the exact type of high-caliber defenses that you’ll have to defeat to win a Super Bowl. Save for the point orgy in the final 18 minutes against Carolina on Sunday, your offense has looked downright pedestrian and the defense has looked downright bad for long stretches of the season

Good news: You still have two games against Detroit, one against Chicago and two against Minnesota, so it’s not like the divisional title (and playoff berth) is going away any time soon.

 

4. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

Week 10 opponent: at Oakland Raiders, Sunday 4:05 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 112, Internet channel 817)

Minnesota, with Green Bay’s loss to Carolina and with their own victory over St Louis, find themselves surprisingly tied for first in the NFC North. While it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that the Vikes defeat Green Bay head-to-head in their two games this season, it’s probably more likely to consider a split, or even, gulp, a pair of losses to the Packers. Still, with Adrian Peterson humming along, Stefon Diggs emerging as a go-to receiver and with that nasty defense slowing down EVERYONE it has faced, anything is possible.

 

5. Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 826)

Back in the Power 12 and back in the saddle following their bye, Seattle faces Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, all at home, and then a road game against the Vikings in the next four weeks. To be obvious about it: these next four games will make or break Seattle’s season. Winning all four would of course be ideal, but even a split, if the wins are against, say, Arizona and Minnesota, would help keep the defending NFC champs on track for another playoff berth. Plainly speaking, this is as healthy as the Seahawks’ offense and defense have been all season, and the team is running out of excuses for poor play and bad losses.

 

6. St. Louis Rams (4-4)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 828)

Falling to that Minnesota defense, on the road and in overtime, when Nick Foles is your quarterback, is nothing to be ashamed of. Still, this loss has to sting what with all signs pointing to the NFC playoff picture resembling a Gordian Knot come Week 17. With a victory on Sunday, St. Louis would have had the inside, inside track to a wild-card berth. Now, with the overtime loss to the Vikings, the Rams likely will be doing this the hard way and duking it out with Arizona and Seattle in the cage match that is the NFC West right now. The good news is that the Rams face Chicago and Baltimore the next two weeks, and still have tiebreakers against the Seahawks and Cardinals.

 

NFC fantasy football spotlight: Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans)

2015 stats: 238-for-342, 2,763 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions

Breesus season approachin’! After a by-his-lofty-standards “meh” 2014 campaign and some early season injury struggles this year, fantasy types were quick to toss Brees aside. Yet the Purdue product has set the clock back to 2009 the past few weeks against the Giants and Titans. Look for the air raid to continue against Washington this week.

 

AFC

1. New England Patriots (8-0)

Week 10 opponent: at New York Giants, Sunday 4:25 pm ET (XM channel 82, Sirius channel 126, Internet channel 818)

If there’s a team that will shock the football world and knock off the seemingly invincible Pats this year, New England’s Super Bowl nemesis, the New York Giants, will be the team. In all likelihood the Dion Lewis injury will just mean more jumbo packages and power run schemes built around LeGarrette Blount and the Giants will be suffocated by a points blizzard, but again, the very same points blizzard never showed up in either of the Super Bowl losses, and logic never exists with these two teams. (And Tom Coughlin is some type of voodoo priest who keeps Robert Kraft’s soul in a mason jar on a shelf in his basement.)

 

2. Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Houston Texans, Monday 8:30 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 806)

A week after outlasting and out-executing the Cleveland Browns in a snoozer of a Thursday Night game, the Bengals have an extra day’s rest this week before facing the Houston Texans on the Monday Nighter. Cincinnati remains the deepest and most complete roster this side of New England, and should outlast and out-execute another inferior opponent this week.

 

3. Denver Broncos (7-1)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 4:25 pm ET (XM channel 225, Sirius channel 83, Internet channel 809)

Denver’s disappointing loss at Indianapolis has to be chalked up as a mere hangover after throttling Green Bay the week before. The defense looked wholly uncharacteristic versus what they’ve shown in every other game this year. Many of Peyton Manning’s struggles and issues manifested all at once, and the defense was not able, for once this season, to cover up the offense’s lack of punch. Look for both units to lick their wounds and sharpen their claws against a very average Chiefs team this week.

 

4. New York Jets (5-3)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Buffalo Bills, Thursday 8:25 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 821)Jets Color Rush jersey

Thursday night games are always a bit of a mixed bag. The short week takes a toll typically: injuries have less time to heal and offenses in particular are not as a snappy as typical. (See: Cleveland’s performance last week, Miami’s the week before against New England and San Francisco’s offensive “output” the week before that.) Offensive fireworks should be in even shorter supply than typical this Thursday, as defensive juggernaut Buffalo faces defensive juggernaut the New York Jets.

Far from a snooze-fest, however, this game potentially could be a shot in the arm for the Thursday night games. While neither team will be catching the Patriots (unless something drastic and bad happens to Tom Brady), both New York and Buffalo are in the midst of the wild-card chase, and this game’s loser will be on the outside looking in – particularly if it’s New York thanks to their defeat to the Raiders. Further spicing up the prescription-strength sedative that Thursday Nighters have been will be Nike’s debut of the “Color Rush” uniforms. While most outlets have panned the monochromatic unis, and derided them as something of a money grab, I feel as though they add a certain collegiate appeal to what is serving as a quasi-elimination game. At the very least, the bright Buffalo reds and Jets’ green togs will serve as a distraction if the game itself, like so many Thursday games, gets too out of hand.

 

5. Oakland Raiders (4-4)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 4:05 pm ET (XM channel 226, Sirius channel 93, Internet channel 822)

Proving to be match-up proof against the best of defenses (see: New York Jets, torching of) David Carr’s Oakland Raiders should have no trouble putting points up against the Minnesota Vikings at home in the Black Hole. What should be more interesting to watch is Adrian Peterson and the Vikings offensive line against a Raiders defense that’d been fairly stout against the run all season until DeAngelo Williams exploded last week in Pittsburgh’s victory against the Silver and Black. While Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a concussion on Sunday against the Rams, is claiming he’ll play in Oakland, it’s unclear how useful he’ll be (or if he will play) – and Peterson may be asked to carry the offensive burden himself regardless of Bridgewater’s status.

 

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)

Week 10 opponent: vs. Cleveland Browns, Sunday 1 pm ET (XM channel 228, Sirius channel 112, Internet channel 824)

The broken bodies continue to mount in the Steel City as Ben Roethlisberger was injured for the second time this season and will likely miss at least Week 10. The good news is that Pittsburgh has the bye in Week 11, and face the toothless Cleveland Browns at home this week. Without Le’Veon Bell and Roethlisberger, look for Landry Jones to be more of a game manager, and anticipate the ageless DeAngelo Williams to go off for a second straight week.

 

AFC fantasy football spotlight: DeAngelo Williams (RB, Pittsburgh)

2015 stats: 480 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 5.3 yards per carry, 12 receptions, 16 targets, 122 receiving yards

The Cleveland Browns sport one of the worst run defenses in the league and Pittsburgh’s offensive line, in spite of the many injuries to the roster at large, is relatively healthy. DeAngelo Williams should have a field day in what should be a game where Mike Tomlin leans on ball control and hopes that his Steeler defense can contain the Browns’ highly inconsistent offense.

 

Week 10 Power 12 tracker

 


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