Five quick takes on Week 10 in the NFL:
1. The New Orleans Saints have to avoid a letdown against Cincinnati after their big victory over the Los Angeles Rams last week and avoid looking ahead to next week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a sandwich game for the Saints, who are now in pole position in the battle for NFC homefield advantage in the playoffs. They don’t figure to get careless enough to lose to the 5-3 Bengals.
2. The New England Patriots are on a roll after their slow start and figure to go to 8-2 with a victory over the 4-4 Tennessee Titans. There are two interesting aspects of this game. Malcolm Butler, mysteriously benched by Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl, is playing for the Titans, and Belichick figures to target him. And Mike Vrabel coaches for the first time against his former head coach.
3. Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia is the latest member of the Belichick coaching tree to struggle. He got the job because Jim Caldwell was fired for going 9-7, but Patricia has them at just 3-5 and lectured a reporter for not sitting up straight at a press conference a week ago. The Lions have won nine of the last 10 meetings with the Chicago Bears, but the Bears figure to win this one, the first of two games the two teams will play in the next three games. The Lions’ season appears to be unraveling.
4. The Kansas City Chiefs figure to have an easy one against the Arizona Cardinals as long as they don’t get caught looking ahead to next week’s games against the Rams in Mexico City. The Chiefs are two-touchdown favorites, and Patrick Mahomes figures to have another big game against the 2-6 Cardinals. And Kareem Hunt figures to put up big numbers against the Cardinals’ shaky run defense.
5. The Packers are struggling at 3-4-1 after being victims of a critical fourth-quarter fumble two weeks in a row. Their season would look a lot better if they were 5-2-1. But they figure to get back to .500 with a home game against Miami because Aaron Rodgers vs. Brock Osweiler is a mismatch in the Packers’ favor.