Week 10 of the NFL season brought little change in fortunes for most teams in both conferences. In the AFC, the Browns found yet more ways to lose a winnable game, while in the NFC the Saints continued their winning ways.
With regard to the NFL Africa Zone, the week saw a return to form of the African running backs, as well as solid play by the pass rushers, while the receivers and cornerbacks had fairly unimpressive games.
Player of the week
Emmanuel Ogbah (Cleveland Browns #90) - Defensive End
Last week we wrote about Ogbah as a player to watch in week 10. The Nigerian-American defensive end had gone sackless in his previous four games and was facing a Lions team with a problem at left tackle. Add in the return of rookie defensive end Myles Garrett on the other end of the defensive line from Ogbah, and Sunday's game was tailor-made for Ogbah to feast upon.
And feast he did, as Ogbah got to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford multiple times. Ogbah ended up with three tackles, two sacks, two quarterback hits, and three tackles for a loss as he helped the Browns stay in the game defensively. Unfortunately for Ogbah, the Lions rallied and pulled off a 38-24 victory and Browns remained winless on the season.
Alvin Kamara (New Orleans Saints #41) - Running back
Kamara has secured an almost permanent spot in the NFL Africa Zone with his performances each week. The Sierra-Leonean rookie continues to grow in confidence with the Saints every time he steps on the field. In week 10, Kamara received 12 carries and ran for 106 yards and one touchdown in the Saints' 47-10 beatdown of the Buffalo Bills.
Not done with producing an 8.8 yards per carry average on the ground, Kamara also caught every pass thrown to him by Saints quarterback Drew Brees, as the rookie running back caught five passes for 32 yards. The combination of Kamara and veteran running back Mark Ingram is proving to be a lethal weapon for the Saints as they march towards a division title.
Tevin Coleman (Atlanta Falcons #26) - Running back
Coleman returns to the list after running for 83 yards on 20 carries in the Falcons' 27-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Coleman had a 19-yard run in the second quarter which extended a Falcons drive that eventually ended with him scoring his second rushing touchdown of the season.
Coleman's backfield partner Devonta Freeman is dealing with an injury and there is a reasonable chance Freeman will miss the Falcons' next game against the Seattle Seahawks. Without Freeman in the backfield, expect Coleman to carry a heavier workload and possibly increase his production in week 11.
Jahleel Addae (San Diego Chargers #37) - Safety
Addae continues to play hard in the secondary for the Chargers and is one of the best safeties in the league in terms of run support. The Ghanaian-American excels when he moves closer to the line of scrimmage and helps stuff the running game of opposing teams. Addae ended up with eight tackles and two tackles for a loss in the Chargers' 20-17 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Addae is still prone to some coverage mistakes and missteps but he remains one of the better run stopping safeties in his fifth season in the league.
Extra special mentions
Week 10 had several players who made important contributions to their teams' performances, and it would be remiss of us to ignore them.
Samson Ebukam (LA Rams) - The rookie linebacker for the Rams got the first sack of his NFL career, as well as two QB hits, when he got to play toward the end of the Rams' victory over the Texans. Mostly a special teams contributor, Ebukam showed Rams coaches what he is able of if given more opportunities.
Orleans Darkwa (NY Giants) ran for 70 yards on 14 carries despite running behind the unimpressive Giants offensive line.
Sam Acho (Chicago Bears) picked up his first sack of the season and four tackles in the Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Yannick Ngakoue (Jacksonville Jaguars) didn't register a sack on Sunday but he was a constant thorn in the LA Chargers' offensive line as he caused havoc in the pocket with seven QB pressures in the game.
Brian Orakpo (Tennessee Titans) had a sack (the 60th of his career) and a forced fumble in the Titans' victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Players to watch in Week 11
Patrick Onwuasor (Baltimore Ravens #48) - Inside Linebacker
"Peanut" has quietly been a productive piece of the Ravens linebacking core and has seized the weak-side inside linebacker position. With 40 tackles on the season already, Onwuasor will be facing a Green Bay Packers team without its two top running backs. Green Bay should find it difficult to run the ball against Onwuasor and his Ravens defensive teammates in Week 11.
David DeCastro (Pittsburgh Steelers #66) - Right guard
Consistently one of the highest-rated offensive linemen in the league, DeCastro (whose heritage is South African) and his Steelers offensive line will be going up against a Tennessee Titans defense that has been quite stout during the Titans' four-game winning streak. De Castro is nimble when it comes to opening up the running game for All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell. Tennessee will be a solid test for De Castro and the Steelers' line in opening lanes for Bell, which in turn will force the Titans to bring an additional defender into the box and thereby open up the Titans secondary for the Steelers' excellent receivers to make deep plays.