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Week 10 of the NFL season provided the moment of the year as Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray launched a prayer to offseason acquisition DeAndre Hopkins, who caught the ball in triple coverage to give the Cardinals a 32-20 win over the Buffalo Bills. With this action and a lot more, here are my four takeaways from this past weekend’s slate of games.
- The Titans are in big trouble
The Titans have struggled ever since their impressive 42-16 victory on Tuesday Night Football over the Bills. The Titans have lost three of their last five games and looked unimpressive in the two they won as they narrowly defeated the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans. To make matters worse, five of their last six games were at home, resulting in only two more games at Nissan Stadium the rest of the regular season.
Their third-down defense continues to plague the team with a 53.23% opponent conversion rate, ranking 31st in the NFL. In their 34-17 lost to the Colts, punter Trevor Daniel shanked a punt to set up the Colts at the Titans’ 27-yard line. He also got a punt blocked one possession later. They have the eighth-worst total defense and continue to suffer injuries on the offensive line. The way it is looking, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Ryan Tannehill will need to carry the team, which is not a recipe for success.
Their schedule is not favorable either with matchups against the Colts, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers on the horizon. Without a bye week to get healthier and issues defensively, the Titans are in danger of being on the outside looking in come playoff time.
2. The Dolphins are a team no one wants to play right now
The Miami Dolphins have gone to rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa the past three games, a decision which has elevated this team to an instant playoff and division contender. They defeated legitimate playoff teams in the Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams before taking care of business against the Los Angeles Chargers.
What was especially encouraging about their win over the Chargers was the emergence of rookie running back Salvon Ahmed, who rushed for 85 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. His performance helped yield the second-highest rushing total of the season for the Dolphins. The special teams is one of the league’s best as Andrew Van Ginkel blocked a punt to set up Miami’s first touchdown in Sunday’s win.
With Tua making enough plays with his arm and legs, an emerging running game and a great special teams/defensive unit, Miami will be a tough out for any team going forward. 9-3 is a distinct possibility as their next three games are against the Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets. Winning those three games will go a long way to help Miami solidify a playoff spot in the loaded AFC conference.
3. The Bears need to move on from GM Ryan Pace
The Bears are on a huge skid as after losing Monday night to the Minnesota Vikings 19-13, Chicago picked up their fourth loss in a row. Their offense was the main culprit as they gained a lackluster 149 total yards and did not score an offensive touchdown. A kickoff return for a touchdown from Cordarrelle Patterson and two field goals were all the Bears could muster against a Vikings team which has ranked in the bottom 10 in total defense all season long.
General manager Ryan Pace will go down in infamy for drafting Mitchell Trubisky over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, trading for QB Nick Foles, who only has found success in Philadelphia, was a huge mistake as well. They took on Foles’ four-year $88 million contract for a fourth-round pick over Cam Newton, who signed with the New England Patriots on a minimum deal. Only the Jets have a worse offense than the Bears and it is time for new leadership to take over the franchise so the team can stop wasting the prime years of their top defenders.
4. The Cardinals are now THE must-watch team in the NFL
The Arizona Cardinals have been at the forefront of some of the best games of the 2020 season. They defeated the Seattle Seahawks 37-34 in an overtime epic, they lost 34-31 to the Dolphins in a duel between two young QBs and this week, they beat the Bills 32-30 on the play of the year. They have an exciting offense with Murray continuing to prove he is a special talent in this league and a game changer in DeAndre Hopkins. Defensively, Budda Baker is always exciting to watch and rookie Isaiah Simmons is developing as a centerpiece on the defense.
With the tough competition they have faced this season combined with the structure of their roster, their games have provided some of the most entertaining action this season. While the Kansas City Chiefs are still the kings of the NFL and all eyes will be on them come January, the Cardinals have shown that watching their games is a must for NFL fans. They look to engage in another shootout as they face the Seattle Seahawks this Thursday.