We are more than halfway through the season, yet almost nothing is certain in the NFL entering Week 10. We've got another new No. 1 team in the power rankings (hello, Arizona) and a whopping 17 teams that are above .500. This is the first time in NFL history we've had that many teams with winning records at this point in the season.
Things are especially unclear in the dominant AFC, where 11 of the 16 teams have at least five wins, each squad fighting for one of six postseason spots. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time since the 1970 merger that 11 teams in one conference have been above .500.
Speaking of firsts, the Cardinals own the best record in the league (7-1), the first time they've held the top spot outright in November or later since 1966. Could we see a Super Bowl involving a host team for the first time in league history? Arizona doesn't have a particularly challenging slate left, with only four of its remaining eight games against teams currently above .500. But given the week-to-week inconsistency in today's NFL and the unpredictability on any given Sunday, I wouldn't run to Vegas quite yet.
NFL, Week 10
NFL, Week 10
The unprecedented parity in the league also means that you can't count any team out of the postseason race during the second week of November, with plenty of football left to be played this season. Since the playoffs expanded to their current format in 1990, there has been at least one team each season with a .500 record or worse at the midpoint that has made the postseason, including five in the last two years. Who will be that surprise team this season that makes a late playoff push down the stretch?
The most likely candidate appears to be the New Orleans Saints, who lead the NFC South with a 4-4 record and are coming off two dominant wins in the last two weeks. Or maybe it's the team they'll be facing this Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers, who are also 4-4 but headed in the wrong direction after suffering back-to-back losses. The 49ers have played the toughest schedule of any team so far, but have the easiest remaining slate of any NFC West team. Could the 4-5 Minnesota Vikings possibly slip into the last wild card spot in the weaker NFC? They've won two in a row and could possibly see the return of one of the league's best running backs before the end of the season.
Week 10 once again gives us a reduced slate of games (six teams on a bye) and lacks a marquee matchup like we had last week with Brady-Manning XVI, but that doesn't mean there aren't a bunch of compelling games to pick. Perhaps the most interesting one is in Buffalo, where the Bills host the Kansas City Chiefs in a battle of two 5-3 teams that are both in the thick of the playoff race. The experts give the advantage to the surging Chiefs, but it's hard to bet against a rejuvenated Bills squad that is on a roll since Kyle Orton took over as the starting quarterback in Week 5.
For the first time this season we are featuring the computer picks at OddsShark.com as part of our expert panel. These unbiased picks are generated purely from statistics, both traditional and advanced, and have been fairly accurate this season.
|Week 10||Ryan Van Bibber||Stephen White||Joel Thorman||David Fucillo||Danny Kelly||PFT Commenter||Matt Ufford||OddsShark Computer|
|CLE vs CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CIN||CLE||CIN||CIN|
|KC vs BUF||BUF||BUF||KC||BUF||KC||KC||KC||KC|
|MIA vs DET||DET||MIA||DET||DET||DET||DET||DET||DET|
|DAL vs JAX||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||JAX||DAL||DAL|
|SF vs NO||NO||NO||NO||SF||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|TEN vs BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL|
|PIT vs NYJ||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT|
|ATL vs TB||ATL||ATL||ATL||TB||ATL||ATL||TB||ATL|
|DEN vs OAK||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN|
|STL vs ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ||ARZ|
|NYG vs SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA|
|CHI vs GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB|
|CAR vs PHI||PHI||CAR||PHI||PHI||PHI||PHI||PHI||PHI|
Our panel consists of: David Fucillo, SB Nation's fantasy guru; Danny Kelly, SB Nation NFL contributor; PFT Commenter, SB Nation's hot takes expert; Joel Thorman, SB Nation NFL blogs manager; Matt Ufford, editorial producer, SB Nation studios; Ryan Van Bibber, SB Nation's NFL editor; and Stephen White, retired NFL defensive end and SB Nation NFL contributor.
Our panel's record last week and for the season: