10 things to know from NFL Week 10
Kirk Cousins shined, Peyton Manning made history in two ways, and more of what you need to know about Week 10.
10 things to know from NFL Week 10
Didn’t catch every moment of NFL Week 10? PFF has you covered with the top 10 things you need to know based on our grades and data.
1. Peyton Manning earned the worst PFF game grade for a QB—ever.
Knowing now that Manning was playing through a foot injury, it may be somewhat unfair to come down on the future Hall-of-Famer too hard. However, as Sam Monson explained in great detail on Monday, Manning’s performance was historically awful.
In fact, the Denver QB’s four-interception, no touchdown game earned the lowest QB game grade ever (keep in mind that the PFF era stretches back to 2007).
Against the Chiefs—a team Manning has not lost to since 2004—he was 5-for-20 for 35 yards (NFL QB rating of 0.0) before being yanked in favor of backup QB Brock Osweiler. Since the benching, news broke that Manning has a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.
Oddly enough, Manning broke the NFL’s career passing yards record early in the contest, something that has been largely overshadowed by the dismal overall performance.
2. Carson Palmer reestablished himself as the best NFL QB this season.
Just when it seemed Tom Brady was ready to overtake the Cardinals’ quarterback for PFF’s No. 1 overall QB grade, Palmer put on a show against the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football.
Throwing for 363 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, Palmer teamed up with Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald to pick apart the Seattle secondary (both receivers made Khaled Elsayed’s Team of the Week).
As has been the trend for Palmer this year, he continued to shine on deep passes (attempts targeted 20 yards or more downfield in the air). On eight of these bombs, he completed five, and was the victim of one dropped pass, for a league-high accuracy percentage of 75.0. (Second was Ben Roethlisberger some distance behind him at 57.1 percent.)
3. The Vikings might be the best team in the NFC North.
Yes, you read that correctly. With a dominant showing from Adrian Peterson (more on that later) and a solid performance by the defense against a rolling Raiders’ offense, the Vikings move into sole possession of the NFC North lead.
Green Bay, the division-favorite heading into the season, has now dropped three games in a row, most recently to the Lions. Aaron Rodgers graded at 0.0 on Sunday, a very average performance from a historically well-above average QB.
Minnesota, on the other hand, flexed its muscles on the road—especially DT Linval Joseph and CB Terence Newman. Joseph tied Miami’s Ndamukong Suh for the most solo stops on Sunday (five), also notching a sack on Derek Carr.
Newman earned the best grade of any cornerback in Week 10, allowing only three receptions on 10 throws into his coverage.
At 7-2, the Vikings have a critical game at home against the Packers in Week 11 that could separate the pack—or give Green Bay the division lead.
4. Adrian Peterson was the top RB in Week 10.
We can’t mention the Vikings’ big win without breaking down the incredible performance by Adrian Peterson. The 30-year-old running back racked up 203 yards on the ground against the Raiders—123 coming after contact. He had another 13 yards on two receptions.
This was Peterson’s highest-graded game since Week 13 of 2013 against the Bears (remember he missed all of the 2014 season).
This year, Peterson owns the league’s third-best breakaway percentage (41.2), and leads the NFL in total yardage (961 yards).
5. Kirk Cousins and Matt Jones gave Washington fans a cause for optimism.
In the NFC East, the Washington Redskins are now just one win behind the division-leading New York Giants, coming off a huge victory against the Saints.
For anyone watching the game, the stars of the show were quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Matt Jones. Cousins tied his season-high game grade with four passing touchdowns and a league-high accuracy percentage of 90.9.
Cousins was a major benefactor of the performance of Matt Jones, who made some big receiving plays out of the backfield. Against the Saints, he recorded three catches on a trio of targets for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also forced three missed tackles on his receptions.
In addition, Jones earned 56 yards on the ground on 11 carries.
While it seems the Redskins’ offense is clicking, Cousins and company face the undefeated Panthers in Charlotte in Week 11. Carolina currently owns PFF’s second-ranked pass coverage defense, led by No. 1 CB Josh Norman.
6. Cam Newton earned the top QB grade in Week 10.
While the performances of Palmer and Cousins were good, they didn’t match the caliber of the Cam Newton show in Week 10.
Newton earned his highest overall grade of the season, posting his most accurate performance by a long shot. (In Weeks 1–9, Newton had an overall accuracy percentage 69.4, 28th out of 34 QBs. In Week 10, his accuracy percentage was 88.0, third-highest in the NFL.)
The question remains, however, of whether or not Newton has earned a spot atop the MVP race. He’s certainly a unique weapon and is definitely carrying the Carolina offense—but Sam Monson explained on Monday how his season, as a whole, still doesn’t match those of Carson Palmer’s and Tom Brady’s.
7. The injury bug continued to bite New England.
In what has been an unfortunate streak of injuries for New England, the Patriots’ top receiver went down on Sunday with a broken foot. Julian Edelman may miss the remainder of the regular season, adding to a list of key players hurt on the team’s roster, including LT Nate Solder and RG Ryan Wendell.
Edelman’s injury also comes only a week after running back Dion Lewis suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
This season, Edelman is PFF’s 12th-ranked receiver, tied for the second-most touchdowns at the position (seven). He also has seven dropped passes this season, however, tied for third-most in the league.
8. Big Ben excelled in his “backup role.”
Speaking of injuries, wasn’t Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger supposed to be sidelined this week?
That was the initial plan heading into Sunday’s home game against the Browns, but an early injury to starter Landry Jones forced the former Miami RedHawk back into action.
Bad news for the Steelers, right?
Wrong. Roethlisberger, who has played through injuries before, threw for a league-high 379 yards, as well as three touchdowns. His mobility was certainly hampered with his ankle heavily taped, but he made the most of his surprise appearance, finishing with our fifth-highest QB grade of the week.
He made sure to take care of himself, however, posting the shortest average time to throw of any QB in Week 10 (2.19 seconds).
9. Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins soared to the No. 1 spot in our safety rankings.
Despite a losing effort to the Dolphins, one bright spot on the Eagles’ roster came from the play of safety Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins earned the second-highest overall grade of the week at the position (behind only Green Bay’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix), posting nine tackles and a pass defense.
While Jenkins did surrender a touchdown, he only allowed 19 total yards on five receptions in his coverage, containing receivers immediately.
Jenkins now owns the top spot in our safety rankings this season, with an incredible 99.1 grade (scale of 1–100). Fellow Eagles safety Walter Thurmond isn’t far behind at No. 5, tied with the Ravens’ Will Hill with a grade of 90.6.
10. DeAndre Hopkins leads the league in targets.
There’s an over-used phrase that claims, “Big players show up in big games.” For the low-scoring affair in Cincinnati on Monday, that was true for Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, who made a huge catch to pull in the game’s only touchdown—one that would ultimately seal the win for Houston, and deliver the Bengals their first defeat.
Hopkins has been the focal point of the Texans’ offense this season, evident by the frequency by which Houston’s quarterback (whether it Brian Hoyer or T.J. Yates, at this point in the year) turn to him to make a play. Hopkins has been targeted 122 times this season, more than any other player in the league. (Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are the closest to Hopkins, with 113 targets each.)
The Texans now sit at 4-5 in the AFC South, tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the division lead (Indianapolis defeated Houston earlier this season, however).
Chase Howell | General Editor
Chase is a General Editor at PFF, focusing on the site’s NFL content strategy. His work has been featured in ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.