Nov 3, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by New England Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher (52) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
A lot of ugly matchups seem to characterize week 10 of the NFL season. With that comes the chances for some extraordinary things to happen. Here are some bold predictions that just might.
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons will beat the Seattle Seahawks
A matchup that looked great in the playoffs back in January suddenly seems like a colossal mismatch. That is how far the Atlanta Falcons have fallen due to injuries and sheer bad luck. It’s hard to believe Matt Ryan can do anything against the Seattle Seahawks defense without Julio Jones. However, it’s also becoming clear the Seahawks are displaying a bad tendency to play down to their competition. Their close call against TampaBay at home was only the latest example. Now they must go into the Georgia Dome against a Falcons team that would love to remind everybody they can still beat the best teams. If Ryan can get adequate protection, they can and will.
Clay Matthews will sack Nick Foles three times
The Green Bay Packers at least get a small silver lining in the wake of hearing the news that Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone and is out at least four weeks. It is the same time that defensive leader and star linebacker Clay Matthews returns from a broken thumb. His addition to the defense should revitalize their lost pass rush and get them playing with more of an edge. His next target is Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles who comes off his epic seven touchdown pass game in Oakland. Rest assured Matthews will be fired up for the contest, hoping to succeed where the Raiders failed. Not only will he get to Foles, he will do so several times for three sacks by the end of the day.
Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick will have more yards rushing than passing
A weird yet intriguing game is shaping up as two red hot teams in the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers meet at CandlestickPark. Nowhere does the game shape up better than at the quarterback spot. Neither Cam Newton nor Colin Kaepernick have lit the world on fire with their passing of late. However they’ve used their superior athleticism to make plays with their legs. Newton has three rushing touchdowns in his last four games. Kaepernick has three in the last two plus 132 yards. Both teams boast strong defenses, and it will come down to which one can corral the others’ quarterback. Stopping the pass shouldn’t be a big issue, almost to the point where fans can expect Newton and Kaepernick to combine for more yards rushing than passing.
Trent Richardson will top 100 yards for the first time
The Indianapolis Colts have waited patiently for Trent Richardson to get acclimated to their offensive system but it has been a difficult process, leaving some to wonder if the NFL trade to get him was worth it. Those doubt should subside some what when the Colts pay a visit to the St. Louis Rams. Considering the strength of their defensive pass rush, Indy is bound to try to expose their 31st ranked run defense. Chris Johnson, who averaged 3.2 yards for the season before last week, gutted the Rams for 150 yards. Richardson has should see some open lanes for the first time this season and he’s proven in the past he can be dangerous once into the second level. That should happen frequently in this game, allowing him to top 100 yards rushing for the first time as a Colt.
Ben Roethlisberger won’t finish the game against the Buffalo Bills
Sometimes it’s not that hard to see a bad NFL matchup in the making and that is the case for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only do they have a weak offensive line that struggles in pass protection, they also have a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who like to hold the football until he sees an open receiver. That usually creates extra time for a defense to apply pressure and the Buffalo Bills know it. They have the third best pass rush in the league with 29 sacks. Mario Williams, Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams will have their sights set squarely on Big Ben. It could get so bad to the point where he might not finish the game.