NFL Week 10 overreactions and reality checks: Can Kirk Cousins reach the Super Bowl? Is Josh Allen regressing?


Week 10 of the NFL delivered us the game of the year between the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills. The mid-November matchup in Buffalo had it all with awkward plays, insane blunders, and incredible wide receiver play from Justin Jefferson and Stefon Diggs. Two of the NFL‘s best teams delivered in a wild game that will be discussed throughout the week. 

The Sunday slate saw some interesting developments as the second half of the season is underway — a perfect time for overreactions and reality checks from the Sunday afternoon slate of games. 

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

The Vikings are a Super Bowl contender and one of the best teams in the league, yet it’s fair to question if Cousins can get them to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII. Cousins finished 30 of 50 for 357 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the crucial win over the Bills, but failed to win the game on his own merit. 

Cousins was bailed out of a failed fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak where he didn’t get in, thanks to a Bills fumble at their own 1-yard line on the very next play. The fumble led to a touchdown and gave Minnesota the lead. After the Vikings got the ball first in overtime, Cousins had an opportunity to win the game with a first-and-goal at the Bills’ 2-yard line with a touchdown. Instead, he was sacked for a 10-yard loss and threw an incomplete pass — leading to a field goal and giving Buffalo an opportunity to win the game. 

The Vikings won because of Bills errors, not because of Cousins and his play. They’re a Super Bowl contender, but Cousins has to play better to get them that first title the franchise has been seeking. 

Josh Allen has regressed this season

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Allen isn’t in his best stretch of football right now. In his last three games, Allen has seven giveaways with six interceptions — three in the red zone. In his first six games, Allen had just four interceptions and six giveaways. 

Allen has completed 58.8% of his passes for 753 yards with three touchdowns to six interceptions over his last three games (67.2 rating). The Bills are 1-2 in those starts, relying on Allen’s play to bail them out of trouble. 

Leading the league with 10 interceptions and having 13 giveaways, Allen isn’t his typical MVP self. While this is a bad stretch of football, the Bills quarterback hasn’t regressed. It’s too short of a stretch to make that declaration. 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

There hasn’t been one pass catcher on the Packers who has been able to accomplish what Watson did Sunday, make a difference in the offense. Watson was able to be that difference maker for the Packers, catching four passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns in Green Bay’s overtime win over Dallas. 

Watson caught both touchdown passes in the Packers’ 14-point fourth-quarter comeback against Dallas. He already has as many touchdowns as Romeo Doubs and as many 100-yard recieving games as Allan Lazard. 

Watson can get Green Bay’s offense clicking, which may be enough to get the Packers to the playoffs. 

The Cowboys are out of the NFC East race

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Dallas blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead against Green Bay in Sunday’s loss, the largest fourth-quarter collapse in franchise history. The collapse also significantly damaged any hope Dallas had of winning the NFC East. 

The Cowboys are 2.5 games behind the Eagles with eight games to play (the Eagles play Monday night). If Philadelphia wins, the Eagles will have a three-game lead over the Cowboys with eight games left — and the head-to-head tiebreaker in hand. 

The Cowboys have the Vikings next Sunday and the Giants on Thanksgiving. Good luck catching Philadelphia. 

Josh McDaniels should be fired this week 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

The Raiders‘ last three weeks have gone like this: Shut out by Saints, blew 17-point lead to Jaguars, lost to a head coach in his first game coaching with no professional or college experience. This is a 2-7 Raiders team that has given up 20-plus points in every game this season, has a quarterback upset over the team’s performance, and has no sense of direction on either side of the ball. 

This is a bad football team that isn’t getting better. Remember, the Raiders made the playoffs last season and added Chandler Jones and Davante Adams to their roster. McDaniels needs to be let go — he’s not an NFL head coach. 

Overreaction or reality: Reality 

We can say this now, right? Tagovailoa completed 78.1% of his passes for 285 yards with three touchdowns to zero interceptions in Sunday’s win over the Browns, the third consecutive game he’s thrown for three touchdowns to zero interceptions. He’s the only quarterback in Dolphins history to accomplish that feat (three straight games with three touchdowns and zero interceptions) — not even Marino did that.

In the seven games Tagovailoa has started and finished, the Dolphins are 7-0. Tagovailoa completed 71.8% of his passes, and has thrown for 2,155 yards with 18 touchdowns to two interceptions in those games (122.4 rating). He’s the best quarterback the Dolphins have had since Marino retired — bar none. 

The Giants are going to make the playoffs

Overreaction or reality: Reality 

At this rate, the wins don’t need to be pretty. The Giants have earned their 6-2 start and have to just keep earning victories as they set themselves up for a playoff spot. To win 10 games, the Giants have to go just 3-5 the rest of the way. 

After Sunday’s win over the Texans, the playoffs appear to be a real possibility based on the current state of the NFC. The Giants are up three games over the Commanders and 3.5 games over the Falcons for the final playoff spot in the conference. 

As the weeks tick away and the wins rack up, the playoffs become more of a reality in New York. Having the Lions and Colts on the schedule definitely help. 

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

First things first: it’s hard not to vote for Mahomes as the MVP through 10 weeks. The Chiefs quarterback went 26 of 35 for 331 yards with four touchdowns to one interception (129.6 rating) in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars. For the season, Mahomes has completed 66.9% of his passes for 2,936 yards with 25 touchdowns to seven interceptions and a 106.1 passer rating as the Chiefs are 7-2 on the year. 

Mahomes is on pace for 5,546 yards and 47 touchdowns — certainly MVP numbers. Why isn’t he MVP? Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa have impressive cases themselves, as the Eagles are the lone unbeaten in the league and the Dolphins are 7-0 in games Tagovailoa starts and finishes. Both are putting up insane numbers in the process. 

Mahomes is the leader in the clubhouse, but he’s not a clear frontrunner. 

The Buccaneers are Super Bowl contenders in the NFC 

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Tampa Bay has a lot more to prove after getting back to .500 with a win over NFC West-leading Seattle in Germany. The Buccaneers have won two straight games and have a newfound commitment to the run game thanks to the emergence of Rachaad White

Are the Buccaneers better than the Eagles, Vikings, and Cowboys right now? That’s to be determined, but any team with Tom Brady at quarterback can’t be ruled out. The Buccaneers have taken control of a bad NFC South, so a playoff berth seems inevitable. 

How far can Tampa Bay go in January? They’ll have an opportunity to boost their odds over the final seven games, but we can’t call them Super Bowl contenders yet. 

Justin Fields is going to break the rushing yards record for QBs 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

What Fields has accomplished over the last two games is unlike anything we’ve seen in NFL history. After rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s loss to the Lions, Fields has 325 rushing yards over the last two games — the most by any quarterback in a two-game stretch in NFL history. 

Fields has 602 rushing yards in the last six games, the most ever by a quarterback in a six-game span. He has 749 rushing yards on the year and is on pace for 1,273 on the season — the most by a quarterback in NFL history. 

Lamar Jackson has the record with 1,206. Fields appears set to rewrite the history books. 

Alex Highsmith will make the Pro Bowl this year

Overreaction or reality: Reality 

The Steelers defense badly missed T.J. Watt over the last two months, yet discovered a player in Highsmith. Finishing with three pressures and two sacks in Sunday’s win over the Saints, Highsmith has 29 pressures and his tied for third in in the NFL with 8.5 sacks. He only has 10 quarterback hits and 20 hurries, but those numbers should go up with Watt back in the fold. 

If the sack numbers stay in the top-10 in the league, Highsmith will be in the Pro Bowl. He makes an impact on the Steelers defense, which will be significantly better with Watt back. 

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