Veterans’ Day Weekend brings with it the tenth week of the NFL season, the official start of the second half of the schedule. As the action on the field continues to surprise and confuse fans and pundits, teams prepare for their playoff push as postseason berths and bye weeks are still up for grabs in both conferences. Here now is our picks and predictions of all the Week 10 action around the NFL.
Atlanta -2.5 (4-5) at Carolina (2-7): Duces are wild for the host of Thursday Night Football this week since the Panthers have two wins on the season, enter the game on a two-game losing streak, but are still only two losses behind the NFC South leading Buccaneers and Falcons. Carolina will host Atlanta to start Week Ten in a game even Amazon wishes they could use the return label on. Atlanta is liked by most early bettors as money line and the point spread players are supporting the Falcons by a 4-to-1 margin despite the computers calling this a field goal game. The Dirty Birds are eighth in the NFL in scored at 24 points per game but are also allowing 25 points per game on defense, explaining their nearly .500 record to date. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has likely reinforced the notion that he is a solid backup, but an inconsistent NFL starter without a solid supporting cast, something Atlanta is years away from having. With the Panthers unable to stop the run or the pass on defense, their 25 points per game average is likely to be reached by the Falcons, and Carolina inability to run or pass the ball well on offensive makes this appear to be an easy game to pick, at least on paper. Falcons -2.0 to win, cover and get back to .500 on the year.
Seattle (6-3) vs. Tampa Bay -3.0 (4-5): The Sunday morning game from Germany features the other co-leader of the NFC South as the favored (???) Buccaneers take on one of the surprise teams in the league in the Seahawks. Seattle takes their trip halfway around the world with a four-game winning streak which has propelled them from below .500 to the leaders of the NFC West; all of which appears to mean nothing to oddsmakers who have labeled them a field goal underdog. Oddsmakers are, perhaps, trying to bait Seattle fans into taking the points this week, and if that is the case, they have succeeded since money line and point spread layers are all over the three points the Seahawks are being given on a neutral field, shunning the inconsistent Tampa Bay offense. Seattle will need to prove they are score close to their 27 points per game average if they want to win this game … that’s because Tampa Bay only allows 18 points, the same low amount the Bucs’ offense has been producing on average so far this year. This will likely be a race to 21 or 24 points, which has me worried for those betting the over with a 44.5 sitting on the board. As for the game, I think the Buccaneers needed to get away for a while, and they will show up in a big way this week, and with their defensive likely chipping in with a big turnover, its Tampa Bay -3 for me.
Minnesota (7-1) at Buffalo -3.5 (6-2): If not for the Jets knocking off the Bills and handing them their second AFC East defeat, this would have been a matchup of 7-1 teams with “Super Bowl Preview” written all over the marquee. Nevertheless, this could very well be who we see playing in the final game of the season since falling short of the Super Bowl would be a disappointment for both of these teams. Bettors are grabbing points here, maybe victims of the “what have you done for me lately” pitfall after watching Buffalo come up short last week. On paper the Bills have a better defense than the Vikings with a slightly better offense, which is why the computers made this a 3 or 4 point game. Buffalo is also likely to be more focused after suffering a surprised loss to the Jets, turning what could have been a two-game divisional lead into just a half game. Minnesota has defeated all comers this season not named Philadelphia, but there is likely no team closer to how the Eagles play than the Bills. That’s why Buffalo -3.5 is the play here for me.
Detroit (2-6) at Chicago -3.0 (3-6): With the Packers down and out this year, the NFC North is a one-team division this season, and the Lions and Bears are not that team. The Bears have allowed 84 points in their last two games, both losses, while the Lions were able to add to Green Bay’s misery by holding them to nine points last week, giving Detroit win number two on the year. Lions’ QB Jared Goff is ahead of Bears’ QB Justin Fields on yards even if you add the rushing yards the Chicago signal caller has so far this season. Both of these teams are trying to find their way, with at least one of them looking for a new quarterback as soon as possible … with this season maybe showing fans of the Bears that Fields may not be the best choice for QB of the future. I like how the Lions play, and last week’s win will boost their confidence heading into another NFC North battle, that’s why, for me, it will be Detroit +3 for the outright win here.
Denver (3-5) at Tennessee -2.5 (5-3): WOW, an NFL game where the over/under is 36.5 points. Well, they must be expecting bad weather in Nashville this weekend (sunny and 45 degrees). Clearly it won’t be raining points either in this game since Denver only averages 15 points a game while the run-heavy hosts from Tennessee only average 18.5. If the Broncos feel like there’s still life in their season, this could be a great place for them to pick up a win. After all, the Titans only average 155 passing yards per game while Denver only yields 166.75, best in the NFL. So, unless Derrick Henry can pave the way to the end zone and field goals, the Broncos might be able to find one or two big plays on offense to take a lead and maybe even hold it. The Titans are at the Broncos’ mercy in this contest, so taking the points works well for me. Denver -2.5 for the win.
Jacksonville (3-6) at Kansas City -9.5 (6-2): I have tried to support the grown and potential of the Jaguars this season, perhaps thinking too highly of them at times. This week, however, won’t be one of those weeks as Jacksonville heads to the Midwest to take on Kansas City. The Jags needed a visit from the Raiders to break their losing streak last week while only a loss to Buffalo put a blemish on KC’s October record which was added to by a win against Tennessee last week. With the Bills losing last week and facing a tough test this week, KC might be the team with the best record in the AFC by the end of play Sunday … perhaps giving them something to focus on and play for during the middle part of their schedule, a time of year in recent seasons they have struggled to find their A-Game. Unless Jacksonville and run for 200 yards and control the game for 35-plus minutes, this is Kansas City’s game to lose. KC -9.5 to win and cover.
Cleveland (3-5) at -3.5 Miami (6-3): Without having their bye week yet, the Dolphins have fallen into third place in the mighty AFC East while the Browns are closer to last place in the AFC North than they are to first place. Cleveland hasn’t played since Halloween when they manhandled the Bengals while Miami hasn’t been home since October 23rd when the defeated the Steelers to start their current three-game winning streak. The Browns are three weeks away from seeing the debut of Deshawn Watson as their QB, but without winning some games between now and then, they may be out of the playoff hunt which is currently a chase of the AFC North leading Baltimore Ravens. Sadly, for the Dawg Pound, facing the Dolphins is not likely to be a place where they can find a win. Miami is the better team, and they should win going away. Dolphins -3.5 easy.
Houston (1-6-1) at NY Giants -5.0 (6-2): The Giants take one week off for their bye and lose a spot in the NFC East standings and they are now (based upon head-to-head) behind the second-place Dallas Cowboys. Houston is seeing their plan come together and they continue to be in the lead for the worst record this season, giving them first pick of next year’s QB Draft Class. Giants fans must be both happy and confused by only seeing their team favored by five points at home off a bye week against a Texans’ team with the league’s worst record. That’s because New York hasn’t had too much comfortable wins and have needed to come back late in many of them, and in those games where they had leads, they never blow anyone out as they rely on their running game to seal the victory. The Texans can be competitive, and unless the Giants drop the hammer early and often on them with TDs, Houston will keep this game close, so I am taking the five points and expecting the Giants to play as they have all season, with late game miracle ball for a close win.
New Orleans (3-6) at Pittsburgh -1.5 (2-6): These are two teams who are proving without a Pro-Bowl level quarterback, you cannot win in the NFL. These teams are so closely matched up in their ineptitude that the Steelers are only getting half of the normal three-points afforded to home teams by oddsmakers. Pittsburgh has only scored 15 points per game on average this year and have only broken 21 points in an opening week overtime against Cincinnati, which they won. On the other hand, the Saints have been able to score in most of their wins and losses this year, making them dangerous for a team that struggles to put two TDs on the scoreboard. Yeah, Pittsburgh is at home, but these are not the same Steelers fans are used to anymore. Saints +1.5 to win outright.
Indianapolis (3-5-1) at Las Vegas -6.0 (2-6): If it wasn’t for the fact that former ESPN commentator Jeff Saturday has returned to the Colts to be their head coach, this game would have zero meaning. The fact that Saturday, a former Colts lineman tweeted out how much the Raiders suck just days before taking over the Colts for this game, the fact that someone with zero NFL coaching experience is the head coach for this game would be the dominate news. Not sure how the numbers work out to make home team a six-point favorite especially considering the Raiders’ QB Derek Carr has fewer passing yards then Matt Ryan, who has been benched by the Colts. Las Vegas did win their two home games in October over Denver and Houston while the Indy has won on the road since a 12-9 victory at Denver over a month ago. The Raiders might win, but I can’t see them defeating anyone by more than a touchdown, so I am taking Indianapolis +6 to cover.
Dallas (6-2) at Green Bay (3-6): With the Eagles and Vikings playing so well, this game, believe it or not, could have NFC Wild-Card tiebreaker written all over it come January. That may be hard to believe for some living on the frozen tundra, however, the Packers are likely playing for a Wild-Card and the Cowboys are two games behind the Eagles, making this a someone important game, especially if the Packers win. Green Bay is only posting 17 points per game and during their five-game skid of never surpassed 22 points in a game. Dallas is looking to catch lightning in a bottle the way the Rams did last year when they traded for WR Odell Beckham, Jr, with the free agent only needing to be signed coming off an injury this year. Even without OBJ, the Cowboys are playing better with head coach Mike McCarthy calling plays that work best for his players on the field, not from his days as the Packers head coach. I would like to see the Packers get back into the playoff hunt, but just can’t see them getting better here. Dallas -5 to win/cover.
Arizona (3-6) at LA Rams -1.5 (3-5): The bottom half of the NFC West due battle in this mostly meaningly game. Both of these teams have struggled this season with talk of Kliff Kingsbury being on the hot seat in Arizona and, perhaps, coaching for his job on a week-to-week basis. The Rams are a shadow of themselves compared to last year as the whole team recovers from their Super Bowl hangover in 2022. Arizona is giving up nearly 27 points per game on defense, setting things up for a Rams offense that is scoring ten points less every sixty minutes. The Air Raid offense of the Cardinals can’t average more than 22.6 points, only one point more than what the Rams yield, making this a contest of the Cards’ D and the Rams’ O. With late word on Wednesday that Matthew Stafford is in concussion protocol, this betting line will change quickly, which makes Arizona +1.5 the play now since they will likely be favored by kick off late Sunday afternoon.
LA Chargers (5-3) at San Francisco -7.0 (4-4): People love the 49ers nowadays, even favoriting them over the Seattle Seahawks in weekly rankings despite their .500 record. The Chargers know they have a showdown with the AFC West leaders from Kansas City coming up in primetime next week, but this primetime game will prove to make that game more or less important. Perhaps the oddsmakers know San Francisco’s defense is better than their offense in allowing only 18.4 points per game, and the fewest rushing yards and 8th fewest passing yards, making this a game of field position as much as scoring on Sunday night. LA relies on the passing game, which may make them one dimensional in this contest, but also will give them a chance to break a few long plays to stay in the game and score some points. The spread, for me, looks too high in this game, so, on that basis, I am taking the Chargers (+7) to keep in close even if they don’t win.
Washington (4-5) at Philadelphia -11.0 (8.0): This #1 hosting #4 in the NFC East is how Week Ten will end, with the Eagles flying high as an 11-point favorite. This will be the Eagles’ third division game. They defeated Washington on the road in late September for their third win of the year and knocked off Dallas before their bye week on October 16th. Commanders’ fans might be getting their wish as word has it that ownership (Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Snyder) have hired a first to look into selling at least a portion of the team if not all if it. If true, the team may be able to come out from the dark cloud it has played under for years and maybe, just maybe, return to some of their past glory. As for this week, the glory may all belong to the Eagles as they are the favorite of bettors on the money line and point spread, even with the double-digit spread. Washington has proven they can beat teams not playing their best, while the Eagles have just defeated all comers. Laying 11 points isn’t easy, but under the light, Philly and thrived this year. Eagles -11 to cover.
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