Week 10 of the 2014 NFL season proved just how unpredictable the NFL can be. The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking like Super Bowl contenders after two straight dominating wins in Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts and Week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 862 yards and 12 touchdown passes in those two games and was looking like a serious NFL MVP candidate. Roethlisberger and the Steelers responded by going to New York and laying an egg against the then 1-8 New York Jets, losing 20-13. This type of uncertainty is a big part of what keeps fans worldwide interested in (and obsessed with) NFL football. Week 10 was full of action, movement in the standings and several big-time individual performances. Here’s a look at five significant takeaways from Week 10 of the 2014 NFL season.
1. The last place AFC North team may end up with a better record than the NFC South champion
As it stands now, the New Orleans Saints are leading the NFC South with a sub-.500, 4-5 record. Their record would be good for last place in the deep AFC North division. It is entirely possible that the Saints, or one of the other NFC South members, will win the division with a winning percentage below .500. Likewise, it is also possible – and likely – that every member of the AFC North will finish the regular season with a winning record. To make this situation a little more interesting, the Saints have remaining games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers; all members of the NFC North.
2. The San Francisco 49ers are not dead
Just when people began to write off the 49ers in 2014, they go into New Orleans and upset the Saints in overtime in the Superdome. A win against the Saints with Drew Brees at quarterback is an impressive win regardless of location. But to go into the Superdome, which is one of the toughest places to play in the league and beat them is even more impressive. If the 49ers can build off of this victory and string a few wins together to close out the season, they will again be contenders in the NFC.
3. The Cleveland Browns could be division champions in 2014
The Browns, to the surprise of many, are currently leading the AFC North division with a 6-3 record. They thoroughly dominated the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football in Week 10, and will only get better when All-Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon returns from his suspension in Week 12. The Browns have proven that they belong, and their AFC North counterparts have proven to be both inconsistent and beatable.
4. There’s no such thing as a lock in the NFL
Every week, there are significant upsets throughout the league that nobody saw coming. In Week 10, the New York Jets pounded the red-hot Pittsburgh Steelers, and the San Francisco 49ers, who have looked like a train wreck at times in 2014, went into New Orleans and upset the Saints. Upsets like these happen every week, but Week 10 truly reaffirmed that there really is no such thing as a lock in the NFL.
5. The Detroit Lions are Super Bowl contenders
The Lions’ Week 10 win over the Miami Dolphins bumped their 2014 record up to 7-2 and keeps them in the race for the top seed in the NFC playoffs. More importantly, the win continued to prove that the Lions are capable of winning close games. The Lions keep finding ways to get the job done, and things will only get easier with All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson nearing full-health. With arguably the best defense in the NFL, and a battle-tested group offensively, the Lions are looking like they will be well prepared for a deep playoff run in 2014.
Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.