AFC South v NFC North, Houston at Chicago on NFL Sunday

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Updated: November 10, 2012

Week 10 continues on NFL Sunday with all eyes on Chicago as the NFC North leaders, host the AFC South leaders, Houston in the big match up of the day. In other big games, the Rams and the Patriots are back in town following their game in London. The Rams, bottom of the NFC West, travel to Division rivals San Francisco who are top and also well rested from a week off last week. Winners in London, New England are at home this week in another top v bottom clash, when they host Buffalo. The Giants will be looking to bounce back at Cincinnati, San Diego take on Tampa who are on a roll, Detroit are at Minnesota in an NFC North clash while Atlanta look to  Matt Ryan again in hope of going 9-0 against New Orleans in the NFC South. In other games, Denver, Oakland, the Jets and Dallas are all on the road against, Carolina, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia.

The opportunistic Chicago Bears defense will face its toughest test in weeks when AFC heavyweight Houston invades the Windy City. The Texans, who are the top dogs in the AFC, will visit a Bears team which leads the NFL with a mind-blowing plus-16 turnover ratio and will be aiming to win seven straight games for the first time since opening the 2006 season at 7-0. Houston, on the other hand, will be shooting for the first 8-1 start in team history and a 4-0 mark away from South Texas. Chicago also leads the NFL with a plus-116 point differential (236 points scored, 120 points allowed) and Houston is second with a plus-100 mark (237, 137).

Two teams moving in opposite directions will meet in an NFC North matchup at Mall of America Field on Sunday when the struggling Minnesota Vikings play host to the resurgent Detroit Lions. Ponder has been out of form in recent weeks and needs to up his game this week.

Eli Manning and New York kicked off November with a 24-20 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the Giants’ fell apart in the fourth quarter and allowed two touchdowns to blow a 10-point lead. The Steelers grinded out 158 rushing yards against New York’s defense, which is 19th against the run (118.0 ypg). Isaac Redman ran for 147 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, while his counterpart, Ahmad Bradshaw, was held to 48 yards on 15 touches. They face a Bengals team that are on a 4 game losing run, hoping to pile more misery on the home team.

The Bills have the task of an away fixture against the Patriots. The last time they achieved a win against their AFC East rivals, was way back in 2000. With Brady in the sort of form he is, one would think that it is going to be another year before they could achieve this.

The Ravens have won six of eight games to place themselves atop the AFC North at the midway point of the 2012 regular season. They welcome Oakland this weekend knowing that Pittsburgh are breathing down their necks, and need a win to keep the pressure on the Steelers, who don’t play until Monday night.

Both Tennessee and Miami are on losing runs, that will change either way this weekend when the Titans travel to the Dolphins, San Diego 4-4, travel to a resurgent Tampa, also 4-4. Doug Martin has been in inspired form for the Bucs, another big day full of running could prove the difference.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has pretty much thumbed his nose at anyone who has criticized him for not putting up astronomical numbers like Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. A 6-2 record and a first-place tag in the NFC West is more than proof. Smith will try to build off one his most efficient performances Sunday versus the division-rival St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park. He had plenty of time to think about his latest game because the 49ers just had their bye week.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are halfway home to a perfect regular season. Ryan and the Falcons will start the second half of their campaign with an NFC South matchup in the Big Easy against the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta is 8-0 for the first time in franchise history after taking care of business in a 19-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. Matt Bryant made two of his four field goals in the fourth quarter of that one as the Falcons remained unbeaten and became just the 15th team to start a season with eight consecutive wins since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978.

Philadelphia will try to stop a four-game losing streak Sunday, when the despised NFC East-rival Dallas Cowboys pay a visit to Lincoln Financial Field.

New York has dropped four of five games since a 2-1 start and finds itself alongside the Buffalo Bills in the basement of the AFC’s East Division. The final pre-bye game was a competitive disaster and ended in a 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins before a predictably disgusted home crowd at MetLife Stadium. The Seahawks, ominously for New York, are 4-0 at home this season — their best home start since they were 8-0 at home en route to an appearance in Super Bowl XL against the Steelers. Seattle beat Minnesota, 30-20, last week to improve to 5-4 and remain 1 1/2 games behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.

Peton Manning and Denver look to extend their winning run to 4 at Carolina, who are struggling. Manning has settled in well with the Broncos, another win will consolidate their position at the top of the AFC West.