The San Francisco 49ers are back to work later this afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. kickoff against the Carolina Panthers. In the meantime, there are plenty of other notable matchups on the schedule. As long as the 49ers keep winning, things will settle in accordingly, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy seeing some other teams lose. Here is a quick rundown of some of the pertinent Week 10 matchups.
Will the Seahawks struggle on the road...again?
The Seattle Seahawks travel in to the Georgia Dome on Sunday to face the Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons are struggling, they might be getting wide receiver Roddy White back in the fold. They have plenty of question marks, but some help on offense would be a nice boost.
The Seahawks sit at 8-1, but they are coming off back-to-back wins that left a little something to be desired. At the end of the day, the win is what matters most, but they are not playing inspiring football. If they can claim home field, road woes will not be as much an issue, but there is a lot of football left to be played.
Rooting interest: Tough call, right?
Lions, Packers and Bears...oh my?
The Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions in a huge NFC North showdown, while the Green Bay Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles in their first game with Seneca Wallace starting at quarterback. Following the Packers loss of Aaron Rodgers, the Bears, Lions and Packers all find themselves sitting at 5-3, and tied for first in the NFC North.
The Lions face a Bears team that will have Jay Cutler back in the lineup. The question is how effective he will be in his relatively quick recovery from what was thought to be a serious groin injury. In Green Bay, the Packers are trying to figure out what to do without Rodgers. The quarterback questions are swirling.
Rooting interest: In the Packers-Eagles game, I'm all for seeing the Packers slip and slide down the NFC North food chain. Go Eagles! In Lions-Bears, I'm pulling for the Bears. I think it's my general distaste for Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. Other than that, it's hard for me to really pull for one side or the other, or root against one side or the other. Who you got?
Can the Cardinals hang around?
The Arizona Cardinals sit at 4-4, two games back of the 49ers, and a game back of the second wild card spot. I really don't know what to make of the Cardinals in the bigger picture. They've got a solid defense, they've got an emerging running back in Andre Ellington, and they've got Larry Fitzgerald. Is it enough to hang around the playoff race?
Arizona's schedule the rest of the way includes this game at home against Houston, @ Jacksonville, home against the Colts, @ Philadelphia, home against the Rams, @ the Titans and Seahawks, and then home against the 49ers. There are some winnable games in there, but a lot of losable games. They are very much a week-to-week team for me.
Rooting interest: Unlike the Seahawks, I'm sticking with the NFC West team. I want to see how long the Cardinals can hang around this playoff race.
First place showdown on Sunday Night Football
The 6-2 New Orleans Saints play host to the 5-4 Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. The two teams sit atop their respective divisions, and this is the third of the really "big games" alongside 49ers-Panthers and Lions-Bears. More importantly, both teams are only one game up on the second place Eagles and Panthers. Neither can put things away, but both second place teams face tough road games, so there is a chance for some breathing room.
Rooting interest: Since we already will be looking for a 49ers win over the Saints next week, we can continue to root against the Cowboys. The chances of a .500 or worse NFC East division remain decent!