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What Week 10 means for the 2021 NFL playoff picture

The NFL is into the back half of the 2021 season. We break down what to look for in Week 10 as the playoff picture sharpens.

Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks greets Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after the Packers defeated the Seahawks 28-23 in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 12, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The past two weeks have provided sizable upsets, including a pair of double digit dogs shocking playoff contenders. In Week 8, the Jets upended the Bengals as 11-point dogs and in Week 9, the Jaguars stunned the Bills as 14.5-point dogs. Week 10 brings some matchups featuring critical playoff implications, but there are also the double digit dogs to consider against contenders.

It’s hard to pin down “the most important” matchup this weekend. The Patriots and Browns face off in New England with both teams sitting at 5-4. Neither is out of the playoff picture with a loss, but neither can really afford a loss at the moment. Sunday wraps up with a huge game for the Chiefs and Raiders on Sunday Night Football. Kansas City is 5-4 while Las Vegas is 5-3, and both are behind the Chargers in the AFC West.

The NFC features a pair of games that are more important for one team than the other. The 3-5 Seahawks travel to face the 7-2 Packers on Sunday and the 7-2 Rams travel to face the 3-5 49ers on Monday. Green Bay wants to move closer to a division title and LA wants to hang around with the Cardinals, but both are at least in a comfortable spot to be playing after the regular season ends. Meanwhile, the Seahawks and 49ers are tied for last in the NFC West and a game back of the final playoff spot. Neither is out of the playoff race with a loss, but both badly need a win.

AFC playoff picture

1. Tennessee Titans, 7-2
2. Baltimore Ravens, 6-3
3. Los Angeles Chargers, 5-3
4. Buffalo Bills, 5-3

5. Las Vegas Raiders, 5-3
6. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-3
7. New England Patriots, 5-4

Outside looking in: Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), Cleveland Browns (5-4), Denver Broncos (5-4), Kansas City Chiefs (5-4), Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

Week 10 schedule

Saints (5-3) @ Titans (7-2)
Jaguars (2-6) @ Colts (4-5)
Browns (5-4) @ Patriots (5-4)
Bills (5-3) @ Jets (2-6)
Lions (0-8) @ Steelers (5-3)
Vikings (3-5) @ Chargers (5-3)
Eagles (3-6) @ Broncos (5-4)
Chiefs (5-4) @ Raiders (5-3)

NFC playoff picture

1. Arizona Cardinals, 8-1
2. Green Bay Packers, 7-2
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6-2
4. Dallas Cowboys, 6-2

5. Los Angeles Rams, 7-2
6. New Orleans Saints, 5-3
7. Atlanta Falcons, 4-4

Outside looking in: Carolina Panthers (4-5), San Francisco 49ers (3-5), Minnesota Vikings (3-5), Seattle Seahawks (3-5), Chicago Bears (3-6)

Week 10 schedule

Falcons (4-4) @ Cowboys (6-2)
Saints (5-3) @ Titans (7-2)
Bucs (6-2) @ Washington (2-6)
Panthers (4-5) @ Cardinals (8-1)
Vikings (3-5) @ Chargers (5-3)
Seahawks (3-5) @ Packers (7-2)
Rams (7-2) @ 49ers (3-5)