Week 10 NFL takeaways – What to make of the Saints’ and Chiefs’ upset losses

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The Saints lost by 17 points to the Falcons. And even with Patrick Mahomes back under center, the Chiefs couldn’t outlast the Titans. The Jets got by the Giants in a Battle of New York, Lamar Jackson piled on offense against an overmatched Cincinnati team and the Browns held off the Bills for their third win.

All that and more in Week 10’s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Jump to a matchup:
KC-TEN | ATL-NO | DET-CHI
ARI-TB | BAL-CIN | BUF-CLE
NYG-NYJ | LAC-OAK


The Titans rediscovered the importance of using Derrick Henry as the focal point of the offense. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s decision to stick to the run despite being down by nine points to Kansas City in the fourth quarter paid off. Henry finished with 23 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Tennessee’s win keeps it in the playoff mix and allows the team to get healthy thanks to the bye week. — Turron Davenport

Next game: vs. Jacksonville (4:05 p.m. ET, Nov. 24)

Even with Patrick Mahomes back in the lineup and on top of his game, the Chiefs won’t be able to outscore all of their opponents. If they don’t clean up their sloppiness on special teams and improve on defending the run, they won’t win the AFC West title for the fourth consecutive season. They’ll get caught by the 5-4 Raiders, who are just a half game behind and come to Arrowhead Stadium to play against the Chiefs in Week 13. — Adam Teicher

Next game: at L.A. Chargers (8:15 p.m. ET, Nov. 18)


The Falcons, who had a league-low seven sacks coming into Sunday, finally generated consistent pressure against Drew Brees with six sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett led the way with 2.5 sacks and five QB hits. The coverage and communication from the defensive backs was solid, and the rushers up front took care of the rest. If the Falcons can rush with such consistency next week at Carolina and the rest of the season, they could be in every game, especially if the offense continues with long scoring drives. — Vaughn McClure

Next game: at Carolina (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

New Orleans needs to figure out how to start better. The Saints’ stunning loss at home to the Falcons feels like a bit of a one-off, since they had won six consecutive games previously. But Brees agreed afterward that the Saints do need to be concerned about their uncharacteristic trend of slow starts on offense this year. They have scored a total of 25 first-quarter points in nine games. They need to start setting the tone more in a critical month with three more division games coming up, starting next week at Tampa Bay. — Mike Triplett

Next game: at Tampa Bay (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Bears head coach Matt Nagy refuses to change. He opened the doors to Club Dub, the Bears postgame locker room dance party, after Sunday’s victory over Detroit, even though the team had lost four straight coming into the game and is a disappointing 4-5 on the year. “I never considered not doing it,” Nagy said. “It’s who we are.” He recalled one year in Kansas City when the Chiefs were 1-5 and found a way to make the playoffs. “I keep reminding myself of that,” Nagy said. The Bears face long odds, but there is no quit in the second-year head coach. — Jeff Dickerson

Next game: at L.A. Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Life without Matthew Stafford, as expected, was not kind to the Lions. While the stats might appear better than one would think in Jeff Driskel‘s first start with Detroit, the reality is it was a much different offense without Stafford playing for the first time since the start of the 2011 season. It will be a long season for Detroit, who is now close to needing to win out to reach the postseason, if Stafford can’t return soon. — Michael Rothstein

Next game: vs. Dallas (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


The Bucs finally found a way to finish. After the Buccaneers surrendered an eight-point lead to the Seahawks last week — their fifth blown lead of the season — and having their secondary called out by coach Bruce Arians for a “disappointing” year, cornerback Jamel Dean made a touchdown-saving interception late in the fourth quarter. “I’m just really elated that we finished,” said quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw two interceptions but delivered three touchdown drives. “That was a really, really ugly win. That was an ugly win. But we found a way to do it.” Arians added, “I can’t be happier for anybody than Jamel Dean. He [won] the game. Last week he [was] the goat. He’s gonna be a hell of a player.” — Jenna Laine

Next game: vs. New Orleans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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Ronald Jones II, O.J. Howard and Peyton Barber all fine the end zone for the Buccaneers in a 30-27 win over the Cardinals.

The Cardinals blew an opportunity to inch closer to .500. Arizona’s offense looked impressive at times, with Kyler Murray setting a new mark for consecutive passes by rookie without an interception (211), per the Elias Sports Bureau. However, too many self-inflicted mistakes — including a pick by Murray late in fourth quarter — cost Arizona a win. After the demoralizing loss, the Cardinals now have to gear up to travel to San Francisco for their fourth road game in five weeks. — Josh Weinfuss

Next game: at San Francisco (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Lamar Jackson made his most complete statement that he’s the MVP in the NFL. He became the third player in the last 30 years to record at least three touchdown passes, one touchdown run and a perfect passer rating in a single game. But what everyone will talk about is his highlight-reel 47-yard touchdown run in which he faked out one defender and spun around another. Coach John Harbaugh remarked, “I said to offensive coaches on the headphones: ‘They’ll be watching that run for decades and decades. That’s one that everyone in the country is going to see by tomorrow afternoon.'” Thanks to Jackson, the Ravens (7-2) won for the fifth consecutive time, closing to within one game of the Patriots (8-1) and the top seed in the AFC. — Jamison Hensley

Next game: vs. Houston (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Almost everything that happened during the Bengals’ blowout loss against the Ravens was part of the bottoming out that comes with the rebuilding process. Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley had some positive moments but also had a couple of costly turnovers that were returned for touchdowns (one fumble lost, one interception). The Bengals went with rookies like Drew Sample and Germaine Pratt in an effort to make progress in their development. And while all of that is necessary to build for the future, it comes at a cost. Cincinnati needed a late field goal to avoid the biggest loss in franchise history. But it was Cincinnati’s 11th straight defeat dating back to last season, which ties the longest in franchise history. The ninth consecutive loss in 2019 makes this the franchise’s worst start since 1993, too. — Ben Baby

Next game: at Oakland (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)


After getting stuffed on goal-to-go on two previous possessions, Cleveland finally broke through in the final two minutes. Cleveland has owned one of the worst red-zone and goal-to-go offenses in the NFL, and those struggles continued Sunday. But with one final opportunity, the Browns kept their season — and faint playoff hopes — alive with a gutsy, 82-yard touchdown drive, concluding with a 7-yard pass from Baker Mayfield to Rashard Higgins. Too often this year, the Browns have found ways to lose. Sunday, they found a way to win. Now, in the span of five days, they have an opportunity to double their season win total, with Pittsburgh coming to town Thursday night. Beat the Steelers, and suddenly Cleveland’s season outlook quickly could begin to change. — Jake Trotter

Next game: vs. Pittsburgh (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

This loss may go down as a pivotal moment in Buffalo’s season. The Bills made things interesting for the AFC’s potential wild-card teams after Sunday’s loss to the Browns, adding fuel to the critique that this team’s record is more a result of a weak schedule than anything else. Unfortunately for Buffalo, that “weak schedule” has come to a screeching halt; its next two games against Miami and Denver can no longer be overlooked before a four-game stretch against Dallas, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New England. Now 10 weeks into the season, the Bills are 1-3 against their four toughest opponents and haven’t created any sort of confidence that they can beat good teams. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Next game: at Miami (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


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