NFL Picks and Predictions: Week 10

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2016

aaron-rodgers-green-bay-packers-chicago-bears1
You can’t ask for a better game at this time of year. One team is the
best in its conference. The other? The best desperate club, with
another loss pushing hopes of the division crown and/or a playoff bye
further away. The NFL’s top-shelf wide receiver will face a secondary
missing two of its starters. Antonio Brown’s quarterback also has much
making up to do after last week. Across the field is the growing saga
of Dak Prescott, with the help of the premier rookie in pro football.
But Zeke and his quarterback are really ancillary parts to the
dominance of the premier offensive line in pro football. Finally, take
a stage dive into the legacy of Cowboys-Steelers and, well, now you
have the headliner on the Week 10 card.
I know you guys are feeling this game, too …Now, let’s get to it!
(Elliot Harrison went 11-2 on his predictions for Week 9, giving him a
record of 86-45-2)

Cleveland (0-9) at Baltimore (4-4)
Thursday, 7:30 PM NFLN
Line: Ravens -10 / 45
The Browns might win this game. Don’t laugh that away. No
cackling either, numbnuts. While realizing Cleveland got run over by
Zeke and the fellas last Sunday, Baltimore couldn’t buy a 2-yard run
versus the Steelers. So don’t look for Kenneth Dixon to put up two
hundy on “Thursday Night Football.” In theory, Jamie Collins has
enjoyed additional time to pick up the defense, albeit in a short
week. That said, the second-ranked Ravens defense will prevail easily
if the Browns can’t get Isaiah Crowell rolling (17 carries for 33
yards combined the last two weeks). Somebody besides Terrelle Pryor
has to help out Cody Kessler. Barnyard Dog, where art thou?
Pick: Ravens 25 Browns 17

Houston (5-3) at Jacksonville (2-6)
Sunday, Noon CBS
Line: Texans -1.5 / 42.5
You know, people have talked and talked and talked and talked
about the NFL TV ratings being down this year. But now that the
election is over, I think fans across this great blue/red nation of
ours are geeked out of their minds for some Texans-Jags!!
Actually, this really is a very important game with major AFC
South implications. Houston can put a stranglehold on the South with a
win, moving to 3-0 in the division. One small issue: The Texans are
0-3 on the road this season, with Brock Lobster posting some
distasteful figures away from NRG Stadium (4.12 yards per attempt,
58.9 passer rating). Jacksonville, on the other hand, might be playing
for the current regime’s job security. The Jags inexplicably have been
outscored by 85 points through the first three quarters of games this
year, and are plus-23 in the fourth quarter. Actually, I’ll explain it
in fancy terms: GAR-bazzzhhhh time.
Pick:  Texans 23 Jaguars 16

Denver (6-3) at New Orleans (4-4)
Sunday, Noon CBS
Line: Saints -2.5 / 49.5
Denver’s offense will come to play this weekend. I trust Gary
Kubiak to make the proper adjustments against a defense that struggles
early and often. This Saints group just allowed Colin Kaepernick to
throw for 398 yards and post a 102.3 passer rating. Trevor Siemian has
shown flashes (though, notlast week) of being more than a mere bus
driver for a defense-centric team. Rookie RB Devontae Booker has yet
to come close to being an RB1, averaging 2.6 yards per carry in his
two starts. (Even Ronnie Hillman is offended by that figure.) I’d love
to see Aqib Talib on Michael Thomas, but a back injury might sideline
the veteran corner for a third straight week. Drew Brees gets the ball
out faster than Derek Carr, so this should be a helluva match between
a great offense and a stout defense. Again, strength on strength.
Pick: Broncos 29 Saints 26

LA Rams (3-5) at NY Jets (3-6)
Sunday, Noon FOX
Line: Jets -2 / 39.5
Always will remember Rams-Jets as the matchup that saw Hall of
Famer Eric Dickerson truly introduce himself to the NFL. He and his
glorious Jheri curl took a handoff off the left side, and ripped off
an 85-yard score. It was awesome. The dude ran even more upright than
Todd Gurley, who has found as many holes this season as Ryan
Fitzpatrick has supporters at Jets sports bars. Do dudes with Al Toon
jerseys howl for Bryce Petty? Because one gets the feeling the Jets
really don’t want to play the second-year man outta Baylor. On the
other side of this deal lies Case Keenum, with a New York secondary
ripe for the picking. (It’s a positive idiom, folks — not talkin’
Keenum interceptions here.) Kenny Britt vs. Buster Skrine whets the
football appetite, doesn’t it? Maybe not.
Pick: Jets 20 Rams 17

Atlanta (6-3) at Philadelphia (4-4)
Sunday, Noon FOX
Line: Pick / 50
The Birds of Prey Battle goes down in Philadelphia this weekend.
Oh wait, the Bird of Prey is from “Star Trek.” You see, originally it
was a Romulan ship that … Wait! Don’t go to the next blurb! I lost
you. Come back! You see, the Eagles are like the Romulans in that they
are not the main concern of the Federation (the first-placed Cowboys).
That was always the ugly Klingons, who, of course, are the Giants in
this scenario. True in the NFC East, too. Unless … Can Carson Wentz
can match Matt Ryan in vertical plays sans the negative plays? Wentz
finally hit a few deep balls in New York, after throwing 30-something
5-yard ins and none-yard outs against the Cowboys the previous Sunday
night. Key matchup: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman (if he’s a go)
vs. Jordan Hicks and the rest of the Eagles LB crew.
Pick: Falcons 29 Eagles 24

Kansas City (6-2) at Carolina (3-5)
Sunday, Noon CBS
Line: Panthers -3 / 44
The Chiefs should get both Alex Smithand Spencer Ware back this
week, which is wonderful for #ChiefsKingdom. (Yes, that’s a thing.)
After all, Kansas City beat the Jags last week with the nucleus of an
0-13 fantasy team. Meanwhile, Cam Newton went to the Commissioner with
his complaints about a low hit from the Cardinals. His reward? Two
headshots from the Rams. How will the refs call the game if the
Chiefs’ pass rush can get pressure on him? Hurries are important —
and underrated, in terms of analytics. My sense is that this is a
Jonathan Stewart game. If he goes off, Panthers win. If not …
Pick: Chiefs 23 Panthers 21

Chicago (2-6) at Tampa Bay (3-5)
Sunday, Noon FOX
Line: Bucs -4 / 42
Last we saw Jay Cutler, he was making quality throws, moving
around the pocket briskly and leading theBears to their biggest win of
the season. Can he be as effective against the Bucs? Tampa has allowed
quarterbacks 513 (Derek Carr) and 344 (Matt Ryan) passing yards over
the last two weeks. Yuck. The passer ratings in those games? 117.4,
followed by 144.7. (144.7!!!) Can Jameis Winston keep pace if Cutler,
and especially Alshon Jeffery, get rollin’? Winston’s cut down on his
picks, but Chicago has allowed just 53 points over the last three
games.
Pick: Bears 30 Bucs 20

Minnesota (5-3) at Washington (4-3-1)
Sunday, Noon Fox
Line: Redskins -2.5 / 44
Another of Week 10’s challenging matchups to decode. The
Vikings’ offense showed signs of life in the second half versus the
Lions, after sputtering its way through the first couple of quarters
under Pat Shurmur. How will Sam Bradford fare without the benefit of
the home crowd? The Stefon Diggs-Josh Norman matchup is intriguing,
given that Diggs has caught 5 billion none-yard outs and 5-yard ins,
and Norman certainly has the loving attention of the officials.
Thinking Norman wins that battle, which means the likes of Adam
Thielen and Kyle Rudolph are going to have to win this deal for
Minnesota. (Or Matt Asiata?) The other key is how much time the
Redskins’ offensive line — sans Trent Williams — provides Kirk
Cousins. Everson Griffen often plays like a man possessed (see: the
Week 8 game footage).
Pick: Redskins 24 Vikings 22

Green Bay (4-4) at Tennessee (4-5)
Sunday, Noon FOX
Line: Packers -2.5 / 50
The Packers’ run defense has been stout all season — well,
minus getting road-graded by the Cowboys a few weeks back. How will
the unit fare againstDeMarco Murray — and potentially a
hope-he-stays-out-of-harms-way-in-pregame-warmups Derrick Henry?
Tennessee struggled to unwind Murray on those north-south runs he
thrives on out of the dot last week. It’s strength on strength, as
Green Bay still boasts the top run defense in the league, while the
Titans’ rushing offense has been top shelf, as well (144.2 rush yards
per game, third in NFL). Think Aaron Rodgers will take advantage of
this Tennessee secondary, provided he has time to throw. He leads the
league in touchdown throws on third down. The Titans’ offense on third
down? 47.9 conversion rate, third-best in the NFL. But that’s with the
strong ground game. Don’t count on Marcus Mariota routinely winning
third-and-8s.
Pick: Packers 28 Titans 20

Miami (4-4) at San Diego (4-5)
Sunday, 3:05 CBS
Line: Chargers -4 / 48
It’s damn-near impossible to think about this matchup without
harkening back to a top-five game in NFL history: the 1981 AFC
divisional playoff bout. If you are not familiar, Dolphins at Chargers
was an all-timer. It featured overtime, a Hall of Fame tight end
catching 13 balls and also blocking a game-winning field goal attempt,
a hook-and-lateral to Tony Nathan to help Miami come back from a 24-0
first-quarter deficit and way more than I can cover in this brief
blurb. How well the modern-day Chargers cover Sunday could be the
deciding factor, as the run defense has been stout in recent weeks
against the likes of DeMarco Murray, Devontae Booker, Devonta Freeman
and C.J. Anderson. Ryan Tannehill can’t provide San Diego with three
turnovers à la Marcus Mariota.
Pick: Chargers 27 Dolphins 24

San Francisco (1-7) at Arizona (3-4-1)
Sunday, 3:25 FOX
Line: Cardinals -13.5 / 48
Pick: Cardinals 34 49ers 10

Dallas (7-1) at Pittsburgh (4-4)
Sunday, 3:25 FOX
Line: Steelers -2.5 / 50
These two franchises have faced each other in three Super Bowls
(X, XIII, andXXX), while their recent history has been stellar, too.
In 2004, Ben Roethlisberger delivered in the fourth quarter, besting
the Parcells Cowboys as a rookie. The Steelers prevailed again in 2008
when Deshea Townsend pick-sixed Tony Romolate. That close call came en
route to theSteelers sixth Super Bowl title. In 2012, Tony Romo played
lights out in an OT win at JerryWorld. I am having a hard time going
against Dak Prescott and a balanced attack versus Pittsburgh’s
24th-ranked defense (13th in scoring, though). That said, Le’Veon Bell
must be tired of hearing about how lovelyEzekiel Elliott is. The key
matchup? Big Ben vs. a depleted Dallas secondary.
Pick: Cowboys 28 Steelers 24

Seattle (5-2-1) at New England (7-1)
Sunday, 7:30 NBC
Line: Patriots -7.5 / 48.5
Supposedly the Patriots didn’t have full-time plans for Jamie
Collins. OK, cool. So who performs his various duties? Who is going to
check Jimmy Graham, or occasionally rush the passer in his stead? The
reason I ask is because Graham is heating up, while Russell Wilson
still seems not as mobile as we’re used to. I trust New England here,
though. The Pats, after all, are 96-24 in weeks 9-16 since 2001. Good
grief. Before we get too far from the Collins trade … Do you think
Bill Belichick offered Malcolm Butler in a trade with the Seahawks?
That’s just mean.
Pick: Patriots 30 Seahawks 20

Cincinnatti (3-4-1) at NY Giants (5-3)
Monday, 7:30 ESPN
Line: Giants -2 / 47
To put it bluntly, this is the Bengals’ season. So Adam Jones and
the rest of the secondary must be on point. Dre Kirkpatrick will have
to win his one-on-one battles, especially if the Giants move Odell
Beckham Jr. around to get him loose. The attention the Eagles paid to
OBJ last week allowed Sterling Shepard and crew to get going. Somewhat
under the radar, New York’s defense has acquitted itself well this
year. Andy Dalton can’t hold the ball for 18 seconds looking for 18
downfield. Despite the Bengals’ (regular-season) success during
Dalton’s career, in prime-time games, the Red Rifle has fired as
accurately as Dick Cheney.
Pick: Giants 34 Bengals 24

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