NFL Week 10 Predictions

Last week, I expressed my disappointment in what was a very bland Week 8 and asked for a more exciting and unpredictable Week 9. Well, that was the case. Unfortunately, that meant that I had a losing record last week; I went 5-7, as I wasn’t able to get a single game right after the 10:00 AM Pacific Time games. Oops. Well, let’s hope some improvement this week. It’s time to predict Week 10!

Panthers (6-2) at Steelers (5-2-1) TNF

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For the first time since Week one’s matchup between the Falcons and Eagles, we will finally have a Thursday Night Football matchup between two playoff contenders. The Panthers and Steelers take it up to another notch, however, as this could possible even be a Super Bowl preview. Because both teams are very talented and have been on a roll,(Panthers have won 3 straight, Steelers 4 straight) it’s very difficult for either team to stand out as the clear winner. Therefore, it makes sense to go with the home team and take the Steelers in this game. Pittsburgh has an explosive offense led by one of the league’s best passing attacks, and they should fare well against a vulnerable Carolina secondary. The Panthers rely on the run to get their offense going, but the Steelers ranks 6th stopping the run, so Carolina’s offense may struggle to get off to a fast start. The Panthers have also been much worse on the road (1-2, -9 point differential) compared to at home (5-0, 49 point differential), so they’ll have their backs against the walls trying to take down the Steelers at home in primetime. In the end, this games should be close, but Pittsburgh matches up well to Carolina, and will come out victorious as a result. Prediction: Panthers 27 Steelers 28

Lions (3-5) at Bears (5-3)

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For the first time this season, the Lions and Bears will meet up in an NFC North matchup. They’ll play each other in two of the next three weeks, but it’s hard to get a feel for this matchup. The Lions are a below average team, but have had flashes of excellence this season. They’ve beaten both the Patriots and Packers in games that they were not expected to have any chance of winning, while the Bears have played down to their competition this season. Don’t expect that trend to continue this week. Detroit has had its moments, but they are also 1-3 on the road this season and just got destroyed in Minnesota last week. The Lions allowed ten sacks in that blowout loss, and things could get even worse facing Khalil Mack (who is likely going to play) and Chicago’s lethal pass rush. Furthermore, Matt Stafford tends to be turnover prone, and the Bears are second in takeaways. This is likely going to be yet another long day for Stafford and the Lions. Prediction: Lions 16 Bears 27

Saints (7-1) at Bengals (5-3)

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In the NFL, teams coming off an emotional win tend to fall flat on their faces the next week. When they have to go from playing at home to going on the road, that scenario is even more likely. That is exactly what is going to happen to the Saints this weekend. New Orleans is coming off a big 45-35 win against the previously undefeated Rams, and now have to go on the road to play a tough game against the 5-3 Bengals. To make matters even worse, all the excitement that came from the signing of Dez Bryant faded quickly after Bryant tore his Achilles in his second day of practice. In fact, the Saints are so thin at receiver that they had to promote Keith Kirkwood from the practice squad just to have four capable receivers, and now half of their receiving corps (Kirkwood, Austin Carr) are former undrafted free agents. Even without AJ Green, Cincinnati still has an above average passing attack, and should move the ball with ease against New Orleans’ putrid secondary. They’re a good team who will take advantage if and when the Saints start out slow. The Bengals will get a big win to put themselves in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot in the AFC, while New Orleans will suffer a tough loss. Prediction: Saints 31 Bengals 36

Falcons (4-4) at Browns (2-6-1)

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Here come the Falcons. After three straight wins, Atlanta has gotten back to .500, and with an easy schedule ahead, are in great position to make the playoffs. Part of that easy schedule is this game against the Browns, how started out as a respectable team at 2-2-1, but have lost their last four. These teams are going in opposite directions, and that should continue in this game. Cleveland’s secondary is better than what the stats show, but they still are just 27th in defending the pass. That won’t fly against Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense, who are second in passing yards. Atlanta’s defense has been a liability for most of the season, but they seem to have finally hit their gear in a dominating 38-14 win on the road against the Redskins last week. They constantly pressured Alex Smith last week, and they should be able to pressure Baker Mayfield this week, as Cleveland has given up the most sacks in the NFL. The Falcons are the better team, and should have no problem putting away the inferior Browns. Prediction: Falcons 33 Browns 24

Jaguars (3-5) at Colts (3-5)

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In an AFC South matchup, the Jaguars and Colts will face in a must win game for both teams. The loser will fall to 3-6, which practically wipes out any chance of making the playoffs. The difference between these two teams, though, is that they’ve gotten to this point in completely different ways. Jacksonville came into the year as Super Bowl contenders, and responded with a 3-1 start. Since then, they’ve lost four straight and currently have a lot of dysfunction in the locker room. Indianapolis, on the other hand, has won two straight and are playing much more spirited football at the moment. In these types of games, it always makes sense to go with the team with more momentum over the team with more dysfunction. Therefore, the Colts have the upper hand in this advantage. Indianapolis has struggled on defense, but the miserable Jags offense led by Blake Bortles won’t be able to take advantage of it. Jacksonville’s pass defense is still elite, but their rush defense has been awful. That’s not a good sign considering the Colts ranks 12th in rushing and Marlon Mack has averaged 129 rushing yards to along with 6 yards per carry in his last two games. If this game is close, which it should be, Indianapolis is also at an advantage due to the quarterback mismatch between Andrew Luck and Bortles. At home, the Colts should continue their hot streak, while the Jags should continue to sink. Prediction: Jaguars 20 Colts 24

Cardinals (2-6) at Chiefs (8-1)

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This matchup between the Cardinals and Chiefs will feature two young quarterbacks in Josh Rosen and Patrick Mahomes. That should be able to make this game intriguing, but these two teams are just on two different levels. The Chiefs are averaging 36.3 points per game and have a 11.2 average scoring margin. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are averaging just 13.8 points per game and have a negative 11.1 average scoring margin.  Arizona’s offense is ranked near the bottom in every category, and while the Chiefs are ranked near the bottom in most defensive categories, cannot be trusted to perform on the road in a hostile environment. Meanwhile, Kareem Hunt and the Chiefs rushing attack should dominate against the 31st ranked rushing defense. Add in that Kansas City should win the turnover battle, is better coached, is nearly unbeatable at home, and have the significant quarterback advantage with Mahomes, and this game has the makings of an absolute blowout. Prediction: Cardinals 13 Chiefs 30

Bills (2-7) at Jets (3-6)

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At Met Life Stadium, the Bills and Jets will meet up in a game that no one will watch besides the few fans on either side that can handle to watch. The Bills are starting their FOURTH quarterback of the year in Matt Barkley, while the Jets will start backup Josh McCown in place of the injured Sam Darnold. Both teams are strong on defense, with poor offensive lines and terrible offenses in general. Therefore, this game will come down to which quarterback can make a few more big plays that the other. That would be McCown. The 39-year-old signal caller was serviceable as a starter last season, with a 94.2 quarterback rating and a 18-9 touchdown-interception ratio. Meanwhile, Barkley was signed on October 31st, and has likely had close to zero reps with the first team offense. At home and with less moving parts, the Jets will find a way to win in what should be a very close game. Prediction: Bills 17 Jets 20

Redskins (5-3) at Buccaneers (3-5)

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Heading into last week, the Redskins looked to be in a great position to make the playoffs. All they had to do was defeat the Falcons at home, and they would be 6-2 and two games over anyone else in the division. Instead, they were absolutely humiliated and lost three of their five offensive lineman due to injury on top of that. Now, they have to go on the road to take and the Buccaneers. Washington may no longer be a legitimate playoff contender, but they are still the better team in this matchup. The Redskins defense has been a takeaway machine, while the offense rarely gives the ball away. That gives them a turnover differential of +7, which is tied for 4th best in the league. Tampa Bay is the exact opposite. They have the second fewest takeaways and the second most giveaways. That combination is good for a turnover differential of -15, last in the NFL. Often times, the team that commits the most turnovers ends up losing the game, and that should happen here by a landslide. Considering how awful Tampa Bay’s defense has been all year, it’s tough to imagine them being able to overcome multiple giveaways against a Redskins team that is built to take advantage of other team’s mistakes. Turnovers will once again haunt the Bucs, as Washington will escape out of Tampa with a big road victory. Prediction: Redskins 28 Bucs 23

Patriots (7-2) at Titans (4-4)

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If the Titans ever wanted to change their name “Patriots 2.0” would be a great replacement. The head coach Mike Vrabel is a former Patriots linebacker and their general manager Jon Robinson used to work for the Patriots. Oh, and they have four former Patriots on their roster (Dion Lewis, Josh Kline, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler), and two of them (Lewis and Butler) were added this offseason. They’ll have a chance to take down the Patriots themselves this weekend, but New England should be able to control this game. In this day and age of football, teams need to have solid passing attacks and explosive offenses to compete. New England’s offense, led by Tom Brady, fits the bill; they’re averaging 30 points per game. The Titans offense led by Marcus Mariota, on the other hand, is averaging just 16.8 points per game. Tennessee’s defensive unit is above average, but they aren’t good enough to contain the Patriots offense to the point where the offense can score their typical 17-20 points and actually have a chance to win. The only chance Tennessee has is if Mariota and the offense dominates, but New England just held Aaron Rodgers to 17 points, so the Titans should not get their hopes up in this game. Prediction: Patriots 23 Titans 20

Chargers (6-2) at Raiders (1-7)

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The last time the Chargers and Raiders played this season, Los Angeles controlled the game and won by 16. This time around, the result should once again be a Chargers blowout win. The Raiders seem to have quit on coach Jon Gruden, and their 34-3 loss to a previously one win 49ers team led by third string quarterback Nick Mullens proves it. If they couldn’t beat a one win team led by Mullins, how can they be expected to put up a fight against a six win team led by a seven time Pro Bowler in Phillip Rivers? The Chargers seem to have the advantage in every category. Both their passing attack and their rushing attack should have a field day against one of the league’s worst defense, while their defense should be able to contain Oakland’s lackluster offense. The Chargers also should be able to win the turnover battle, get constant pressure on Derek Carr, and control the time of possession. This game is as one-sided as it gets, and it could be over by halftime. Prediction: Chargers 31 Raiders 17

Dolphins (5-4) at Packers (3-4-1)

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Who would’ve guessed that in a matchup between the Dolphins and Packers, it would be the Dolphins who come in with the above .500 record? Still, Miami is no where close to as good as their record would indicate, which is why they are 9.5 point underdogs in this game. The Dolphins have a negative 38 point differential, and have faded every time they’ve had to face a prolific offense. That will be the case once again against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who were extremely competitive on the road against the Rams and Patriots in consecutive weeks. The quarterback matchup of Brock Osweiler versus Rodgers is enough to declare Green Bay a winner, but the Packers’ superiority in this matchup goes further. Green Bay seems to have finally found their top running back in Aaron Jones, who is averaging 6 yards a carry this season. He should continue to add to his great season against a Dolphins rush defense that is ranked in the bottom five. Miami also has one of the league’s worst pass rushes this season, so they won’t be able to get Rodgers out of sync. The Packers are simply the better team, and should take care of business at home this week. Prediction: Dolphins 16 Packers 24

Seahawks (4-4) at Rams (8-1)

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The last time the Rams and Seahawks faced off, (Week 5) the game came down the wire and Los Angeles ultimately won by two points in an amazing game. Yet, the Rams are favored by double digits in a rematch. It’s hard to see them covering the spread. Los Angeles’ defense has been exposed recently, and the Seahawks have a top ten pass defense that could slow down the Rams explosive passing attack. This game will definitely come down to the wire, so Seattle is a great bet. However, the Rams are still the better team and will find a way to win this game. Los Angeles has the best rushing attack in football and should continue to hold their standing against the Seahawks, who rank just 21st defending the run. The Rams’ secondary has been awful recently, but Seattle is a much more run oriented team that may not be able to adjust their strategy to take advantage. Los Angeles moves to 9-1 and practically clinches the NFC West with a big divisional win. Prediction: Seahawks 24 Rams 29

Cowboys (3-5) at Eagles (4-4) SNF

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In a very important divisional matchup, the Cowboys and Eagles renew their rivalry this season as they’ll meet for the first time. This win in this game would be statement victory for either team, as both teams have yet to play their best football so far this season. Both defenses also matchup well against the opposing offenses. Dallas’ 5th ranked pass defense should contain Carson Wentz and the Eagles passing attack. Meanwhile, Ezekial Elliot will have a hard time running on Philadelphia’s rush defense that ranks 2nd in the NFL. That means that this game will likely be a close, low scoring affair. If that’s the case, the Eagles will definitely have the upper hand. Philadelphia is are a well coached team and is at home. Dallas, on the other hand, is 0-4 on the road and even anonymous players on their team have said that they are the worst coached team in the NFL. Also, it’s a lot easier to trust Carson Wentz in a game winning drive than Dak Prescott. Philadelphia goes back above .500 with a big win in a very close game against their long time rivals. Prediction: Cowboys 17 Eagles 20

Giants (1-7) at 49ers (2-7) MNF

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Are we seeing the beginning of the Nick Mullens era? That may be too premature, but he’s certainly off to a terrific start. The 2017 undrafted free agent threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns last week in first career game against the Raiders, compiling a 151.9 passer rating. He’ll have another chance to feast against a dysfunctional team this week, as he’ll take on the 1-7 Giants. New York has been in nearly every game, but just can’t seem to find a way to win. Their defense looks to be amongst the league’s worst after trading away a couple of their key contributors in Damon Harrison and Eli Apple. They also rank just 23rd in defending the run, and that includes when they had Harrison, one of the league’s best run stuffers. They’ll have a tough time going up against the 49ers offense and their 4th ranked rush offense. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers pass rush finally made noise last week with seven sacks, and they should continue to surge this week against a Giants offensive line that is tied for the third most sacks given up. The 49ers pick up another win against a struggling team, and continue to hurt their draft position as Mullens continues to flourish. Prediction: Giants 23 49ers 31


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