NFL Week 10 winners, losers: Jets’ season is slipping away

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

In particular, an AFC North battle saw the Baltimore Ravens − again − self-implode and blow a big lead, sustaining what has become a concerning pattern with this team. And, in the process, the rival Cleveland Browns stole a crucial divisional victory.

Elsewhere in the AFC, the Houston Texans had to fend off a late surge from the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals to notch a signature victory for rookie coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud.

In the NFC, there’s no other way to say it: the Derek Carr move just isn’t working right now for the New Orleans Saints.

Here are the winners and losers from Sunday in Week 10.

NFL STATS CENTRAL: The latest NFL scores, schedules, odds, stats and more.


Steelers win … but this is unsustainable

Pittsburgh is 6-3 after eking out a 23-19 win against the Green Bay Packers. The team is a half-game out of first place in the AFC North. The Steelers, however, cannot sustain this level with their current offensive production. The key culprits are coordinator Matt Canada and quarterback Kenny Pickett, who has thrown for 359 yards and a single touchdown in the last three games.

The Steelers are the only team in NFL history to be outgained in total offense in each of their first nine games but still have a winning record. Pittsburgh has been outgained on the season by 865 yards. It has a -26 point differential. The Steelers have recorded 36 fewer first downs than opponents this season and they’ve run 75 fewer offensive plays. Frankly, it’s remarkable Pittsburgh is three games above .500. But it also means that a steep regression could be looming.

Incomplete Cardinals show some life with Kyler

Making his first start after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last year, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was a bit rusty against the Atlanta Falcons. That’s normal. But with his rushing, his ability to extend plays, pocket presence and arm, the incomplete Cardinals (2-8) are far more competitive with him under center. Murray completed 19-of-32 for 249 yards with no touchdowns against one interception in the Cardinals’ 25-23 win. But he picked up a rushing touchdown and 33 yards on the ground on six carries. None was bigger than a winding 13-yard scramble on a third-and-10 with 1:50 in the fourth that set up the game-winning field goal.

Murray has his limitations and is a rather polarizing quarterback. He persistently faces questions about his future in Arizona; with the Cardinals projected to be in the running for a top-10 draft pick, those likely won’t diminish, either. But Murray has a vital stretch in these final eight games to build trust with this front office and coaching staff. This was a great start.

Ben Johnson

The offensive coordinator of the Lions (7-2) has Detroit’s outfit absolutely humming. Granted, the Lions have a tremendous offensive line and speed at the skill positions, but Johnson has shown time and time again this season that he has impeccable feel for calling a game and exploiting another team’s weakness.

In Sunday’s 41-38 win against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Lions ran for 200 yards and threw for another 333. The running back tandem of David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs set the tone, combining for 193 rushing yards and three scores. It was that barrage that helped set up what was a masterful call in the middle of the fourth: with the game tied on a third-and-1, Johnson called for the Lions to line up in a heavy formation and dialed up a play-action that both quarterback Jared Goff and Montgomery sold, allowing tight end Brock Wright to leak past the coverage in the seam for a 25-yard score. It won’t be long before Johnson becomes a head coach.

The Texans are here

It became a little tenuous late, but this goes down as a solid, signature victory for the young Houston Texans. They went into Cincinnati to face a Bengals team that was on fire and winners of four in a row. The two-time defending AFC North champs battled back from a 13-point deficit to eventually tie the Texans late in the fourth, but it shows a great deal that the Texans (5-4), behind Stroud, overcame that adversity.

Houston has now won five of its last seven. Ryans has transformed the culture and Stroud is not only a virtual lock for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, he very well may play his way into MVP consideration. The offensive weapons are not household names yet, but they are winning with effort and discipline, two indicators of good teams. It’s easy to forget that Houston won just three games last season.


The Jaguars are nice – they’re also not quite ready

First, a caveat. The San Francisco 49ers, when healthy, are a legitimate NFC contender. Over the bye week, they got healthier. So the Jacksonville Jaguars’ loss, in many ways, was predictable. But in the 34-3 romp, it was the way the Jaguars offense failed to generate anything against a San Francisco secondary that had shown itself to be vulnerable in previous weeks that proved how much this team still needs to grow to establish itself as a contender. A lot of this is on Trevor Lawrence, who simply has to be better.

In the previous two games, San Francisco had allowed a combined 607 passing yards and five passing touchdowns. Lawrence and Jacksonville (6-3) could muster only 162 passing yards and failed to get in the end zone. The Jaguars committed four turnovers and now are tied for 27th this year with 17 giveaways. Jacksonville has some solid young pieces, and the future is undoubtedly bright. The Jaguars may even win the AFC South again. A deep run in the postseason, though, still seems a ways off.

This is precisely why the Ravens can’t shed front-runners label

At this point, this is a trend. With the Browns erasing a 15-point second-half deficit for a 33-31 win, the Ravens again dropped a game in which they held a significant lead, collapsing late because of turnovers, lazy offensive execution, a lack of urgency and going away from strengths and players who had productive first halves.

Running back Keaton Mitchell starred last week and opened the first quarter against the Browns with a 39-yard touchdown run on his very first touch of the day. He posted a 32-yard reception on his second touch, also in the first. Mitchell would touch the ball just two more times the rest of the game. Quarterback Lamar Jackson recorded his first multi-interception game of the season, with his second turnover coming late in the game and being returned for a touchdown, cutting Baltimore’s lead to 1 point. There were so many other reasons for this loss: drops, a blocked field goal, ineptitude on third downs — all the things keeping the Ravens (7-3) from being truly elite.

The Jets’ season is disintegrating before our eyes

This is what happens when a team has a win-now roster but ignores a clear deficiency – multiple deficiencies, if we’re being honest. It started with the offensive line, which was partly responsible for the constant pressure Aaron Rodgers faced in the opener, when he tore his Achilles. Since, New York has doubled (and tripled) down on Zach Wilson as the backup option.

Wilson is not alone in bearing the blame for the Jets (4-5) dropping two in a row with a 16-12 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. But look at what the Minnesota Vikings did, trading for Joshua Dobbs when Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles. Minnesota (6-4) has won two games with Dobbs at the helm and is on a five-game win streak. The Jets have been stubborn, waiting for Wilson to blossom, or at least string together consistent play. Wilson’s red zone interception with 1:22 left to play cratered the team’s chance to beat the Raiders. So now, New York hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown since the first quarter of Week 8, an active streak of 11 quarters.

The Saints have no viable quarterback

It’s not just that Carr’s numbers have been bad. It’s that New Orleans’ whole offense sputters when he’s behind center. When Carr was knocked out of Sunday’s 27-19 loss against the Vikings in the third quarter, the Saints had scored just three points.

Benching Carr, who was the team’s choice this offseason when they gave him a contract with $100 million in guarantees, signals a failure by the front office. The problem is that Jameis Winston is a contradiction; he’ll fire a pinpoint touchdown in the far corner of the end zone on his third throw of the day and then heave two reckless interceptions late in the game. Coach Dennis Allen confirmed Carr will remain the starter when healthy, but a barometer of how far he has to go in this offense is the lack of production from the team’s top receiver, Chris Olave, who caught five of his six passes (for 79 of his 94 yards and a touchdown) from Winston.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY