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2017 Season: Week 10 Preview

Back at it again for the tenth installment of the 2017 NFL campaign.  There are a lot of intriguing matchups this week that will prove to be paramount in helping develop the playoff picture this year with a lot of teams at the brink.  Who will come out on top?  Here are my picks.

Last Week: 9-4

Season: 83-49

Locks: 3-6

Upsets: 2-7

Thursday, November 9th, 8:26 e.t.

Seattle Seahawks (5-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

The Seahawks were stunned at home by a desperate Redskins team last week and look to bounce back on a short week against an Arizona team that has been trading losses and wins this year.  Seattle should throttle the Cards here, even on the road.  Their defense should smother the Drew Stanton attack as long as they can weather the Adrian Peterson storm.

Seattle 36, Arizona 16 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, November 12th, 1:00 e.t.

Green Bay Packers (4-4) @ Chicago Bears (3-5)

The Packers were bullied by the Lions last week and I don’t like their odds going on the road against a very solid defense in Chicago.  As long as the Bears can convert on third downs here they should not have any problem disposing of the Brett Hundley led Packers.

Chicago 23, Green Bay 16

New York Jets (4-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)

It is hard to watch Tampa Bay these days since they are a mess on both sides of the ball.  Meanwhile the Jets have a little something going now with their defense and running game.  The Bucs sans Jameis Winston and Mike Evans are in trouble at home against Gang Green.

New York 24, Tampa Bay 12

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-6)

The Colts have been competitive lately which is the best that the team can hope for, but unfortunately they draw the Steelers who are coming off of a BYE and have been on a roll lately.  Mike Tomlin’s team should have no trouble taking care of business on the road here.

Pittsburgh 32, Indianapolis 7

Cleveland Browns (0-8) @ Detroit Lions (4-4)

This game presents a good opportunity for the Lions to get back over .500.  Their offense has been sound in every area outside of short-yardage situations.  That is a problem for them in the future, but not so much at home against one of the two winless teams in the league.

Detroit 30, Cleveland 13

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)

I feel like the Jaguars are due to disappoint their fan-base at some point here but this might not prove to be the week.  I love their defense and I do not like Philip Rivers’ chances at standing in the pocket against the leading sack unit in the NFL.  I’ll take the Jags in a thriller.

Jacksonville 24, Los Angeles 21

New Orleans Saints (6-2) @ Buffalo Bills (5-3)

This is probably my favorite game of the week.  The Bills are one of just two teams left that are unbeaten at home this year and the Saints come into town riding a six game winning streak.  One of these trends will come to an end and I say it is Buffalo’s home record.  The Saints are clicking in all phases of the game and I like that to continue.

New Orleans 27, Buffalo 22

Minnesota Vikings (6-2) @ Washington Redskins (4-4)

The Redskins have been one of those teams that is hard to figure each week but their offense has been solid behind Kirk Cousins.  On the road, I think the Vikes are prime to drop one.  I love that defense, but the ‘Skins are a frisky team and can stand toe-to-toe with almost anybody when they are on their game.

Washington 28, Minnesota 23 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) @ Tennessee Titans (5-3)

The Titans took care of business last week against the Ravens and should do so again this week against a Cincy team that has really faltered on the defensive side of the ball lately.  There are certainly air yards to be had against them and at this point in the season, that is the strength of this Titan team.

Tennessee 35, Cincinnati 20

Sunday, November 12th, 4:05 e.t.

Houston Texans (3-5) @ Los Angeles Rams (6-2)

If this game had been played two weeks ago it would have been a potential game of the week with two of the most exciting offenses in the league.  As it stands we get Tom Savage’s Texans instead and that lacks serious firepower.  The Rams should grab their seventh win of the year rather easily with their offense being on fire as it is now.

Los Angeles 34. Houston 17

Sunday, November 12th, 4:25 e.t.

Dallas Cowboys (5-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Here is another game that is tough to pick.  Will Ezekiel Elliot be eligible to play here?  That will make the difference yet again.  The Falcons need a win in the worst way and they are playing at home here, so I think they will find a way to get it done.  They will need an effort from the team like they got in Week 2 against Green Bay, however.

Atlanta 31, Dallas 30

New York Giants (1-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-9)

Will this be the week that Jimmy Garoppolo starts for the Niners?  I’m not so sure, they may want to wait until after the BYE to make that call.  That said, the Giants will be motivated to play well after getting caught with their pants down at home versus the Rams.  They’ve already made a trek across country and won once this year, I say they do it again in Week 10.

New York 20, San Francisco 16

Sunday, November 12th, 8:30 e.t.

New England Patriots (6-2) @ Denver Broncos (3-5)

The Broncos had a house dropped on them last week in Philly and will look to rebound this week.  Unfortunately they draw the number one offense in football and plan on sending Brock Oswieler out there to answer.  That spells trouble.  I think Denver’s defense will keep the team in it, but I have no confidence whatsoever in their offense to get the job done.

New England 23, Denver 17

Monday, November 13th, 8:30 e.t.

Miami Dolphins (4-4) @ Carolina Panthers (6-3)

The Panthers rushing game re-emerged last week against the Falcons and now they will face the Dolphins who have not been all that terrible on defense.  Their offense finally looked competent last week, but against one of the finer “D’s” in the league, I do not think they will fare so well.  Especially not on the road.

Carolina 20, Miami 17

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Week 10 Recap: Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz dropping back to pass on 11/13/16 against Atlanta.

Final: Philadelphia 24, Atlanta 15

The Eagles attained a much needed win over the high-octane Atlanta Falcons and their offense at home on Sunday.  They came into the game desperate to snap a two-game losing streak and played inspired football on both sides en route to yet another multiple score win at home.  This game was within one score for almost its entirety, however, before the Falcons failed to convert on a 4th down late in the fourth quarter in their own territory, turning the ball over to the Eagles allowing them to kick a field goal bringing their lead to nine points.  They sealed the win with a Leodis McKelvin pick on the following drive.  Let’s take a look at some specifics from this contest.

To start, the Philly defense was solid yet again at home.  In their four home games, Jim Schwartz’s unit has allowed a total of 38 points.  The 15 they yielded today was actually the most an opponent has scored on them at the Linc by far this season.  The D was able to stay fresh as the offense helped them out by staying on the field for 38:10.  When they were on the field, they were impressive.  Julio Jones had his looks for sure, but when he was in the game Nolan Carroll was excellent shadowing him.  Jalen Mills drew Julio in certain occasions as well and did a fine job.  After Carroll left with a concussion he was replaced by a hobbled Leodis McKelvin who was certainly a liability on the back end.  He surrendered a 76-yard touchdown to Taylor Gabriel early in the fourth and was beaten by Jones almost every time he was matched up with him.  The Philly front four was not too bad in this game, but they did not get as much pressure on Matt Ryan as they would have liked in this game.  Luckily the coverage on the back end was good enough to hold the Atlanta offense at bay.  Most importantly for the Eagles, their entire team tackled.  Mychal Kendricks had his best game of the year by far and was peeling off of blocks left and right to make plays.  Malcolm Jenkins played at an all-pro level in this contest making multiple open field take-downs and plastering to his receivers showing some good coverage skills.  Bennie Logan returned from injury for his first time in a couple of weeks and his presence was a huge positive for Fletcher Cox, who had been pretty silent over the past month.  Having another disruptive force on the inside next to him created more one-on-one opportunities and he was able to bull rush Matt Ryan.  Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin notched sacks in this game as well showing that the Eagles got enough pressure on Ryan to affect his play in the contest.

Julio Jones
Julio Jones had 10 catches for 135 yards Sunday versus Philadelphia, but dropped two passes late contributing to a loss for his team.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Atlanta defense was not very good.  They did not necessarily have a tough time tackling, but they were picked apart underneath by Carson Wentz.  Darren Sproles was a nightmare out of the backfield crossing the face of many linebackers en route to eight catches for 57 yards.  Highly touted Keanu Neal was around the line of scrimmage and tackled pretty well.  He was defeated in coverage a couple of times, however, and that is probably his biggest weakness that is detectable through his first ten games.  Vic Beasley forced a fumble in the second quarter on Wentz and was by far Atlanta’s most effective pass rusher.  The Falcons really struggled to get any kind of pressure on the Eagles’ rookie QB and a lot of that was due to them being able to run the ball.  Atlanta was physically dominated on the inside and their players really had trouble getting off of their blocks.  They best defender for them had to be nickel-corner Brian Poole.  The rookie was great in coverage and was able to defend a pass and blanket most of his assignments.  He has really stood out in the absence of Atlanta’s true number one cover corner in Desmond Trufant.

The Eagles offense was good between the twenties today as they were able to run the ball at will towards the interior of the Atlanta defense.  Ryan Mathews ran angry and did not account for any negative plays.  Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles were sprinkled in as excellent change-of-pace backs and that helped Philly control the clock.  The team had struggled in recent weeks with long third down conversion tries, and this time around they kept the down in distance manageable throughout.  This kept the Falcons explosive offense off the field and helped them create passing opportunities for Carson Wentz.  Wentz made very few mistakes and was generally accurate throwing the ball.  Once again, drops really hurt the Eagles in this game, but one encouraging thing for them was the fact that Jordan Matthews was able to get open.  He ran some nice routes and finished the game with six catches for 73 yards.  Zach Ertz became more of an option for his rookie QB for the second straight week and seems poised for a potential breakout.  He did, however, have a negative impact with a couple of false starts.  On the offensive line, Jason Peters had his best game of the season and was constantly getting to the second level on his blocks.  The Eagles primarily ran the ball inside, but when they did go outside it was on the left behind #71.  Bryce Treggs and Dorial Green-Beckham did not receive targets in the offense.

Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan in action against the Eagles from 11/13/16.

The Atlanta offense was not bad by any means; they just were not on the field all that much.  Matt Ryan not bad at all in the contest.  He floated a couple of beautiful rainbow passes in the face of pressure and showed enough pocket movement to frustrate Philly.  Being unable to break any big runs really hurt the Falcons, however.  They were a one-dimensional offense that became predictable as the game wore on.  Surprisingly, the Falcons wide receivers were not able to get open very much.  The Atlanta wide-outs versus the Philadelphia corners was looked at as one of the biggest mis-matches in this game, but the Eagles DBs played well enough and the Falcon receivers could not get open for a good part of this one.  Julio Jones was, as he usually is, the top target and most explosive player.  He finished his day with ten catches for 135 yards, but did have a couple of critical drops later in the fourth quarter that came one a third down and fourth down killing potential scoring drives for his team.  Taylor Gabriel got loose for a 76 yard touchdown, but that was really the only explosive play that Atlanta mustered all game.  Their defensive line, which has been very underrated all year had a sneaky good performance in pass protection here.  They weren’t perfect by any means, but they did provide Ryan with all the time he could ask for against a very good Philly front-four.  Tevin Coleman was a scratch in this game and he was very much missed in this game.  He could have been a match-up headache against a Philadelphia team that has not been very good in coverage against outlets out of the back field.

Special teams are worth mentioning here as well.  The Eagles continue to have the best special teams unit in the sport and they received a couple of huge run-backs from Kenjon Barner.  Matt Bryant missed a field goal in the second quarter and Caleb Sturgis missed two.  He did hit the game-sealing 48 yarder with less than two minutes to go.  Punter Matt Bosher left the contest in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and Bryant had to punt the ball for the remainder.  He did a nice job in that department.

Kenjon Barner
Kenjon Barner had a couple of big run backs versus the Falcons on this afternoon’s game.

The Eagles needed a win over the Falcons to save their season and they got it.  This was largely due to their ability to run the ball and play some complimentary defense.  They tackled well and were able to win the battle up front with their offensive line.  Atlanta simply was not on the field enough to have a significant impact in this one.  The Falcons hit the BYE at 6-4 and up in the NFC South by a two and a half games over the Buccaneers and Saints.  They are still in good shape.  The Eagles are still at the bottom of a very competitive NFC East division with a 5-4 record and they will head to Seattle.  This was an important win for them to keep them in the mix.  With three home games against their division looming in December, this team is far from out of it if they can continue to play well at home and stay in games on the road.

The Skinny:

  • A couple of Julio Jones drops in the fourth quarter bogged the Falcons down late in this game.  The receivers did not have much luck getting open and/or creating separation from the Philadelphia defensive backs all game.
  • The Atlanta defense was pushed around quite a bit and their defensive line was very quiet throughout the duration of this game.  This was a weakness coming into the contest and it was exposed on Sunday.
  • Matt Ryan delivered some very nice passes under pressure and did all that he could to bring his team a victory in south Philly.  The weapons around him failed to create splash plays.
  • Carson Wentz was on target for a majority of the game and was helped out by a very effective running game starting with Ryan Mathews who finished the game with two touchdowns and 109 yards.
  • The Philly defense was outstanding in this contest.  They stopped the run and missed hardly any tackles .  Simply put, they made the plays that were in front of them and the Falcons did not always do that.
  • Philadelphia’s special teams had a huge impact on the game.  They continue to cover kicks very well and their return game is tops in the NFL.  Caleb Stugis was 3/5 kicking field goals on the afternoon.

2016 Season: Week 10 Preview

The tenth week of the 2016 campaign is upon us and there are some big games to discuss.  Typically the playoff picture comes way more into focus after this wave of games, so this could be the last chance for some tweener teams to make a push for relevance in December and January.  Desperate teams combine for good games and I think we will see quite a few this week.  Speaking of good games, I thought I would take the time to count down the top 10 best games of the season so far as we are pretty much at the exact halfway point of the season.  As per usual, following the list will be my prognostication of this week’s games.

10) San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (Week 5)

This was a game filled with big plays and back and forth action.  It also doesn’t hurt that it pitted two long time rivals and some last second drama.  The botched hold will be what this contest is remembered for.

9) Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks (Week 6)

Seattle looked like they were going to run away with this game until the Falcons mounted a huge third quarter comeback setting up for a wild fourth quarter that saw a questionable no-call for a Richard Sherman PI in the closing minutes.

8) Baltimore Ravens @ New York Giants (Week 6)

This game featured a couple of late scores and plenty of offense.  Odell Beckham Jr. broke the internet again with a long touchdown in the final minutes.  Baltimore got the ball back with a chance to win it late and made a surge but were eventually shut down due to the time running out.

7) Washington Redskins @ Detroit Lions (Week 7)

The Redskins took the lead with under two minutes, but that did not stop Matthew Stafford from marching his team down the field and re-taking the lead with only :16 left for a great win in a well-played game.

6) Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (Week 6)

Who doesn’t love a good shootout.  A field goal as time expired didn’t hurt either as the Saints win a game that saw 79 points scored (as well as a nice comeback from Carolina).  Big plays littered the field.

5) Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (Week 9)

This game saw a go-ahead touchdown from Minnesota with seconds left, a last second 58 yard field goal at the end of regulation sending it to overtime and a perfect drive put together by Matthew Stafford and friends for the best game U.S. Bank Stadium has seen so far.

4) San Diego Chargers @ Atlanta Falcons (Week 7)

A big comeback in regulation from San Diego sent this contest into OT where the Falcons made a gutsy call in their own territory on a fourth and one before getting stuffed.  It was a very gritty decision that backfired on Dan Quinn unlike the next game’s bold move.

3) Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints (Week 1)

Jack Del-Rio deciding to go for the win with a two point conversion with less than a minute left made this one an instant classic.  There was plenty of offense too which helped, but the decision was Mike Shanahan-esq from a game in ’08.  I love these kinds of contests.

2) Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints (Week 8)

This one came down to the last second in a well played battle between the Saints and Seahawks.  Big throws were made in a great quarterback duel.  Whenever a game comes down to a last play in the red zone it is going to be great and this one was.

1) Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons (Week 8)

This was an instant classic that was literally back and forth throughout and it came at a perfect time for the NFL after it had received so much criticism for having lousy games.  This one was the best quarterback duel of the season and it ended with a one point spread following a last minute touchdown from Matt Ryan.  The quality of play and timing lead to this one being selected as the top game of the year thus far.

Here’s to hoping that this week provides more classics like the ones listed above.  Let’s dive into said contests!

Last Week: 7-6

Season: 69-64

Thursday, November 10th, 8:25 e.t.

Cleveland Browns (0-9) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-4)

So we kick Week 10 off with a bang in Baltimore when the Ravens host the winless Browns.  Dawg Pound FailIt would seem as if we are getting our weekly Cleveland loss right off the rip here, or are we?  The Browns have not been awful offensively and they showed some flashes last week against Dallas with the return of wide receiver Corey Coleman.  Partner him with the already impressive Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnidge, a halfway decent running game behind Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson helping out a promising rookie Cody Kessler and there really is something brewing for the Brownies.  The problem, as it has been over the last couple of years, is the defense.  They cannot stop the run and tackling is shoddy at best.  There are too many gaffs in coverage and they are letting wide-outs run free in the secondary.  It happened a couple of times last week against the Cowboys and it will happen again this week if nobody can keep pace with the speedy Mike Wallace.  If the Raves proved one thing a week ago in an impressive win at home over the Steelers (besides the fact that they own Pittsburgh as of late) is that if you cannot tackle them, they are going to burn you.  The former Steeler had his career best 95 yard touchdown reception coming off of some awful tackling and the Browns are going to have to rally to the ball if they hope to slow plays such as this.  Christian Kirksey can’t do it all himself.  He did gain some help with Jamie Collins coming over from New England, but the secondary is dreadful.  Joe Flacco is not taking the amount of shots we have become accustomed to, but you can bet that he will be going long a few times in this one.  It sets up nicely for a win for Baltimore, but I feel like being a bit froggy out of the gates here.  Cleveland has to pick up a victory at some point, right?  Why not on the road against the Ravens?  If the offense performs, which I think it may, and the defense can hold its water I can see them pulling an upset.  This is asking for a lot, but hey, I get bored taking the favorites in each game.

Cleveland 24, Baltimore 20

Sunday, November 13th, 1:00 e.t.

Los Angeles Rams (3-5) @ New York Jets (3-6)

This could end up being the Bryce Petty versus Jared Goff bowl.  Okay, the ladder might not make it in there, but all early indications point towards Petty getting the nod with an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick to deal with.  This game is pretty much do or die for two floundering teams and these things tend to get wild.  Could we see a good game between two below-average squads?  I think so.  One of the better matchups to keep your eye on this entire week is the Los Angeles front four versus a very good New York Jets offensive line, top five in my opinion.  Aaron Donald, who was a beast yet again last week will be hooking horns with center Nick Mangold giving football junkies like myself all we could want to see in the trenches. Aaron Donald Todd Gurley was smothered yet again last week against Carolina and will likely not see much daylight against the leagues fourth ranked run defense.  If the Rams are to win they will have to go after the suspect secondary of New York.  Luckily Case Keenum isn’t afraid to take shots down the field.  Whether or not he can be accurate with them is a different story as I anticipate there being opportunities given the opponent.  That said, even if it is Petty out there I can see the Jets taking this one at home.  I would not be surprised to see Fitzpatrick playing since he is probable and will be available for this one.  Getting a running game going will be important to help whoever is under center going forward, but for this game against the Rams I think Gang Green will be fine as long as they contain Los Angeles’ offense, which is should be easier done than said.

New York 20, Los Angeles 17

Houston Texans (5-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)

This is a sneaky hard game to call for me because I think I got sucked into sipping some of the Kool-Aid that the Jags were stirring in Kansas City a week ago.  Yes, they blew their fair share of chances, having a comical missed interception deep down the field early on, fumbling the ball away at the goal line midway through the fourth quarter, and dropping deep passes from the (currently) broken Blake Bortles.

Mistakes notwithstanding, the Jags were actually able to move the ball.  Chris Ivory had a great game on the ground, before fumbling at the goal line that is, and brought a physical presence to this Jacksonville offense that they desperately needed.  Bortles was making better passes through a majority of the game and the Jaguars had a chance to win one in Kansas City against a quality team late.  So, I was inclined to pick them to steal a win at home against the Texans who have not found victory on the road yet this season but Houston is coming off of a BYE and really should play well.  Brock Osweiler has no excuses to not perform this week.  He should have some opportunities to improve upon his dismal 5.8 yards per pass attempt (which puts him dead last among passers who have thrown the ball at least 100 times).  Teams are picking on Prince Amukamara this year opting to target him over Jalen Ramsey.  Will Fuller could turn on the afterburners and blast right by him.  If I were a fantasy football specialist I’d tell you to start him this week, but anyways…  Teams are running the ball on the Jags this year and Lamar Miller is the keystone to this Houston offense.  Look for him to touch the ball almost 30 times here as the Texans feed the man well.  Don’t expect this game to be a fun watch, though.

Houston 20, Jacksonville 12

Chicago Bears (2-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

Bears vs. Bucs

Remember when this was the Lovie Smith bowl?  Okay, sure we forget about those days but Smith did leave a big carbon footprint on the Bucs, especially defensively.  They have been playing a lot of (surprise, surprise) Tampa-2 coverage this season which has typically given Jay Cutler headaches over the past few seasons.  However, the last time these Bears were on the field, they were whipping the Vikings on Halloween and Cutler was not faring badly at all against zone coverage.  The question here is if he can carry his team on the road against a Buccaneer team, who like Chicago, is also coming off of a BYE and can score some points.  Jameis Winston and friends sometimes have no problems lighting up scoreboards.  Mike Evans is out here dropping jaws making crazy one-handed catches on the sidelines and this team is actually a fun watch.

The winner of this game will be the team that can get their ground game going first.  Jordan Howard has been balling lately and has given the Bears something to get behind on an otherwise eclectic offense.  Doug Martin should be hitting the field in this contest and that will be a very welcome sight for the Bucs who are leaning on guys like Peyton Barber and Antone Smith to git’r’done.  I’m thinking that Tampa Bay can win this contest if it turns into a shootout since I have more faith in their offense that I do the Bears.  Against a secondary that is bad I see Winston having a nice afternoon.  Don’t let their last performance against Sam Bradford’s Vikings fool you.  Those guys will make just about any back seven look elite.  I’ll take the Buccaneers to win at home which is something that really does not happen every day.

Tampa Bay 27, Chicago 17

Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) @ Carolina Panthers (3-5)

Just when you thought that the Panthers were going to blow out the Rams and get all the way back to where they were last year, they get involved in a dogfight and barely achieve victory in a 13-10 win on the road.  The offense was not consistent and the running game did not look overly dominant like we have become used to seeing.  The defense did play much better, but we do have to consider the opponent with this one.  The Rams try to play and win 17-13 games every week and their offense shows it.  But, we aren’t talking about the Rams here, we are discussing the teams involved.  Yes, the Chiefs are 6-2 after a home win against Jacksonville, but they did not look very impressive either.  Nick Foles went out and proved that he should not be the starter over Alex Smith.  He was really out of sync with all of his receivers (besides Albert Wilson).  His throws were inaccurate at times and he is nowhere near as mobile as Smith is.  Alex should be a go for this game, but even if he isn’t I’m taking the Panthers at home.  I’ve never really believed that Carolina was a horrible team this season and I think they are primed to break out at any time and begin romping teams like they did last year.  Of course the defense is not playing at the same level as they did in their championship run last season, but they do still have playmakers who can capitalize on teams like the Chiefs who don’t exactly stretch the field.  The best chance Kansas City has at a win on the road is if their defense steps up in a big way.  Dee Ford has been playing with his hair on fire lately and will now have Justin Houston playing opposite of him.  St Louis Rams v Kansas City ChiefsIt will be fun to see what this pair can do together rushing the passer.  Cam Newton has been under duress this season and it could continue here.  Even still, I think that the Panthers will run the ball well enough and overwhelm the K.C. defense.  Also worth mentioning: Jeremy Maclin is probably going to miss this game with a groin injury.  Death by 1000 paper clips is the only thing the Chiefs have as a tactic in this game and I don’t think that gets it done.

Power Pick of the Week: Carolina 33, Kansas City 15

Green Bay Packers (4-4) @ Tennessee Titans (4-5)

Here is a matchup between two third place teams.  You probably aren’t surprised that the Titans are in third, but Green Bay might come as a shock.  We all expected them to take care of business against the Colts last week at home, but instead the entire team was outplayed and Aaron Rodgers was flatter than week old Coke.  Jordy NelsonThe Titans engaged in a shootout at the same time and lost to San Diego despite scoring 35 points.  Of course, two of the touchdowns that the Titans let up were defensive scores, but that doesn’t change that fact that Tennessee was horrible across the boards and could not stop Melvin Gordon when they absolutely had to on a third and seven in the fourth quarter.  The Titans are a fun team to watch and the offense can be electric when Marcus Mariota is on.  He has been playing much better lately, but is still susceptible to making bad throws.  Green Bay has played the option very well ever since getting absolutely destroyed by it at the hands of Colin Kaepernick in the 2012 playoffs.  In fact, the Packers have the #1 run defense in the league, and I like their odds to slow down DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.  We will find out if Mariota can beat the Pack all by himself.  I doubt it will happen.  I am also picking Green Bay to get back to where they were two weeks ago when Aaron Rodgers played his best game of the year on the road against Atlanta.  This pick is a reflection of how I believe that last week against Indy was a bump in the road.  Also, the Titans don’t exactly crack down on their opponents that are not the Jaguars at home.

Green Bay 41, Tennessee 20

Denver Broncos (6-3) @ New Orleans Saints (4-4)

So the Saints have scratched and clawed their way back to .500 despite having an atrocious defense.  They have done so by absolutely torching teams with their offense and doing all they can to keep that horrible D off the field.  Drew Brees is having one of his finer years with a renaissance of weapons like Willie Snead, Mike Thomas, and Brandin Cooks.  This team can score some points.  Denver, on the other hand, can struggle on that side of the ball.  They just got done getting stomped by the Raiders in Oakland a week ago.  Their defensive line was absolutely trashed by a more physical Raider offensive line.  The Broncos also could not get much offense going themselves against a defense that is not very good.  I don’t have confidence in Trevor Seimian keeping pace with Drew Brees in a track meet.  Denver’s defense makes life tough on opposing quarterbacks and it has been a very long time since they have allowed a passer to post a rating north of 100 against them, but that streak should come to an end this week.  Unless their defensive line can completely carry the team in this contest (which they are fully capable of doing) then Drew Brees will pick them apart with his new favorite toys.  The New Orleans offensive line is mauling opponents right now and this team is playing some great offensive football because of it.  There is no way the Broncos hang with them in the Superdome.  This could end up being a blowout.NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints

New Orleans 31, Denver 10

Atlanta Falcons (6-3) @ Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

The schedule makers haven’t been doing those Iggles any favors this year.  They faced three straight teams coming off of a BYE, and now they get the Falcons who aren’t in that boat but have had some extra rest following a Thursday night bashing of the Buccaneers.  The Atlanta offense is elite and Matt Ryan is playing at an MVP level at this point in time.  Matt RyanPhilly has been incredible in its three home games this season as they are letting teams score an average of under eight points per game.  It is highly doubtful that they are going to hold the Falcons to that clip, but I’m not expecting Atlanta to throw up 30+ points again this week.  We’ll say 24.  The biggest deciding factor in this game is the Eagles defensive front against the Falcons offensive line.  If they can get pressure on Matt Ryan and force him into errant throws then they should take this game.  If they fail to harass the Philly native then he will do what Eli Manning and the Giants did to them last week; pick them apart and expose the flimsy secondary.  Carson Wentz needs to avoid the early turnovers that have plagued him lately.  The Eagles are a front-running team this season.  They are 3-0 when scoring first and 1-4 when allowing their opponents to draw first blood.  So getting out to a quick start is extremely important for them.  Ultimately I think they can get some pressure on Ryan and force some mistakes.  The Eagles have a very rough schedule ahead of them, so they will need to win all the contests they can while at the Linc where that defense is special.

Philadelphia 29, Atlanta 24

Minnesota Vikings (5-3) @ Washington Redskins (4-3-1)

Stefon Diggs

This is probably the toughest game to call this week.  The Vikings have been in an obvious skid since exiting their BYE.  The ineptitude of their offense has started to wear off on their defense.  It is hard for teams to win in this NFL with defense alone.  Minnesota needs to begin scoring points.  Sam Bradford turned in two of his better efforts last year against these Redskins and he actually might have better receivers this season than last.  The Vikings troubles offensively start with their running game.  They have been by far the worst team in the league running the ball and I think getting that ground attack going will be a priority against a Washington team that has had issues stopping it at times this year, although they have been better lately.  If the Vikings can play some keep-away and sustain drives then that defense can take it over from that point forward.  I see Kirk Cousins making a couple of mistakes in this game that haunt him and his team here.  Yes, they are in the midst of a three game losing streak but two of those losses were in their division.  As we all know, anything can happen inside your own division.  Their other loss came on the road against a great defense.  Washington does not have one of those.  Stefon Diggs will be matched up with Josh Norman all game which should be a fun one to watch, so it will be up to the other supporting cast to make plays.  Kyle Rudolph could have a big game as the Redskins have trouble stopping tight ends.  Jordan Reed presents a potential matchup problem for Washington, but I think we will see Harrison Smith on him a bit.  Good stuff.  Anyways, it is a close one to call, but in the end I think that the Vikes will play much better and take one on the road in a tough spot.  The bottomline is that I don’t trust Cousins to deliver in a big spot and this pick hinges on that fact.

Minnesota 21, Washington 17

Sunday, November 13th, 4:05 e.t.

Miami Dolphins (4-4) @ San Diego Chargers (4-5)

Here we have the makings of what should be a good game.  The Chargers, who play dramatic games every week, are coming off of a nice win in a shootout over Tennessee while the Dolphins ride a three game winning streak into this game largely due to Jay Ajayi’s legs.  He has had the best three game stretch of any running back in the league since Adrian Peterson in 2012 when he won the MVP.  That is crazy.  However, if you take away what Ajayi has done on the ground and look at the rest of Miami’s offense, then it is not very impressive.  Ryan Tannehill still has huge question marks surrounding him and whether or not he is competent enough to run an offense.  San Diego should capitalize on this.  The Chargers’ defense is opportunistic and very underrated and have been this way for many years under John Pagano.  They should stack the box and force Tannehill to beat them.  If he can, there is still no guarantee that they will defeat the Bolts.  Philip Rivers is playing very well and he finally has the help of a solid running game.  Melvin Gordon is ripping through defenses with tough runs and punishing tacklers on a consistent basis.  He is a very strong comeback player of the year nominee and has been the Chargers best offensive weapon outside of Rivers by far.  Melvin GordonOverall I like what San Diego has altogether and I think they are the better team here.  They were losing a lot of heartbreakers early on, but it would appear that they have figured out how to win those contests.  They will need to beat up on teams like the Dolphins if they want any hope of getting in the playoffs.  Right now it looks like three playoff teams will come from the AFC West so they need to do everything they can to win games they are favored in.  Playing at home I see them doing this and winning it via a total team effort.  In this game Melvin Gordon > Jay Ajayi and Philip Rivers > Ryan Tannehill always.

San Diego 26, Miami 23

Sunday, November 13th, 4:25 e.t.

San Francisco 49ers (1-7) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

Okay, I want to start this section out by stating that I think the 49ers are the worst team in football.  Their defense hasn’t even begun to stop anybody ever since Navorro Bowman was lost for the year in their Week 4 game against Dallas, and the offense hasn’t done it much favors by looking hapless at times.  They did play very well last week against the Saints, but this was a home game against one of the only defenses in the league that might be even worse than theirs.  Otherwise, there isn’t much that scares you out of them.  With that being said, is there any way they pull off an upset on the road against a Cardinals team that has had its own struggles but is still head and shoulders better?  I can’t see it.  Arizona is fresh off of a BYE and needs to put a winning streak together to make themselves relevant in the NFC again.  I honestly am not sure if this is a great team due to their offensive line problems and aging arm of Carson Palmer, but I do know that they are better than the Niners.  David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald dominated San Fran the last time these two faced off and I don’t think anything else will change here.  The Cardinals should win big and enforce their will with a heavy running game early.NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Arizona 36, San Francisco 7

Dallas Cowboys (7-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)

Here is a great looking matchup between the streaking Cowboys and the explosive Steelers.  Sure, Pittsburgh looked awful on offense a week ago on the road against the Ravens, but as we all know this is a different team at home.  Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell don’t always play in the same game, but that will be happening this week.  Ben, Bell, BrownPoints should be scored in bunches in the Steel City.  The Cowboys continued their dominance on the road last week against the Browns in a 35-10 route.  Their defense did their average job and the offensive line dominated Cleveland.  Dak Prescott got to sit in the rocking chair and find wide open receivers, namely Jason Witten.  He was huge in that game a week ago both blocking and receiving.  Dez Bryant, however, was almost silent.  He made just one catch for 17 yards and was guarded by Joe Haden almost exclusively.  Ezekiel Elliot continued to rumble, but he did not have a ton of 10+ yard runs (not that he played a bad game at all).  Dallas is fully capable of hanging with the Steelers on offense if they they can make plays in the passing game.  This defense boasted by Pittsburgh is fast which could prove to be problematic for Dak Prescott.  The Cowboys love crossing routes and those tend to work against zone defenses such as the ones that the Steelers commonly apply however, because of the speed of their linebackers and safeties I think they will give Prescott problems.  His passing lanes won’t be as wide open as he is used to and that could be the X-factor here.  Pittsburgh has played much better defense at home than on the road lately and that should serve well for them in this one.  I like Ben Roethlisberger to have one of his signature 365 yard, 3 touchdown games here and the Steelers bounce back with a big win at home over a quality team.  This could be a shootout.

Pittsburgh 38, Dallas 34

Sunday, November 13th, 8:30 e.t.

Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1) @ New England Patriots (7-1)

Super Bowl 49

This is the marquee matchup of week and it is happening at Gillette Stadium and is a rematch of Super Bowl 49.  The Patriots are well rested having just emerged from a BYE while the Seahawks will have to travel all the way across the country on a short week since they just finished up a thrilling home win over the Bills on Monday night.  This spot certainly does not bode well for them, especially when you look at their last two games defensively.  They are not stopping teams like we are used to seeing and I think it starts with the offense’s inability to sustain drives.  The running game for Seattle has been non-existent which is something that we are not used to seeing.  The Seahawks finished their game against Buffalo with a total of 33 rushing yards.  Christine Michael finished the game with one yard on five carries.  One yard!  Seattle only ran the ball twelve times, and two of those were Russell Wilson scrambles.  The Patriots should not have much trouble slowing this already stagnant running game.  Their real test is going to be taking away Jimmy Graham who was explosive with a pair of one handed touchdown grabs last week.  The only time Graham was opposed by the New England defense, he was completely shut out.  While I don’t think he will be completely blanked this time around, I do see him struggling to get open for a majority of this game.  Doug Baldwin will likely be blanketed in this one as well.  That will mean it comes down to guys like Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett.  I think both will have big games but in the end it won’t be enough.  The ‘Hawks offense is severely handicapped right now without a running game and it is asking too much for Russell Wilson to carry his team against the best bunch in football.  I haven’t even talked about what the Patriots can do on offense themselves (which is a lot), but that is because I don’t think their offense will win them the game.  Their defense should.  I like the Pats to really take it to the Seahawks and expose them on a national stage.

New England 38, Seattle 18

Monday, November 14th, 8:30 e.t.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) @ New York Giants (5-3)

Quietly, the Giants have pieced together a three game winning streak.  This has not been the most impressive streak, but New York is winning these games nonetheless.  Their offense woke up just a bit last week, but still was not all that great.  14 of their 28 points came directly off of Carson Wentz turnovers and short fields.  Justin Pugh did leave the game with an injury, but the Giants were luckily able to mask that by sending help to that side of the line and neutralizing the Philly pass-rush.  Victor Cruz also left the game after making one big catch.  Neither of these players will be in versus the Bengals.  I think this will severely hinder the New York offense unlike it did last week as Cincy will know going in they won’t have these guys and they can gameplan around it.  The matchup to watch will be A.J. Green versus Janoris Jenkins.  Jenkins is much smaller and not as physical as Josh Norman was when he lined up across from Green.  This has to be a clear edge for the Bengals but if the Giants are smart they will double him a lot or at least bracket him.  What will the running game do against the above-average New York rush defense?  That is the real key to this game.  I’m guessing not a whole lot.  At this point it is almost a given that the Giants will struggle to run the rock, so their plays on offense will come from the passing game.  The Bengals have had a nightmare of a time stopping quick passes and tackling.  Both do not bode well for them in a game where I’m sure Ben McAdoo will have Odell Beckham Jr. released in the middle of the field quite a bit.  Odell Beckham Jr.

There are no Cincy corners who can run with him and I think he has a huge game.  In the end, playing at home against a bad tackling defense, I like the Giants to win their fourth straight on Monday night.

New York 27, Cincinnati 17

Week 10 Bonus Predictions

Sure Bet of the Week (6-2): Arizona over San Francisco

Upset of the Week: Cleveland over Baltimore

Offensive Player of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

Defensive Player of the Week: Tyrann Mathieu, S, Cardinals

Rookie of the Week: Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

Best Quarterback: Roethlisberger

Best Running Back: Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers

Week 10: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos Recap

Sean Smith returning an interception against the Broncos from 11/15/15.
Sean Smith returning an interception against the Broncos from 11/15/15.

Final: Kansas City 29, Denver 13

It was a bitter-sweet day for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, although, admittedly, mainly bitter, as the Chiefs come into Sports Authority Field at Mile High and demolish Denver.  Of course, Manning entered the game only needing three yards to break Brett Favre’s passing yardage record, so one had to figure that he was going to hit that mark on his very first completion.  He did so on a four yard out route to C.J. Anderson on his second drive in the first quarter.  He finished the day with 71,871 total passing yards in his career, and there is a chance that this might be the final tally forever; but more on that later.

Peyton Manning Struggled on the afternoon, completing only five passes against the Chiefs secondary. He was also picked off four times and sacked twice.
Peyton Manning Struggled on the afternoon, completing only five passes against the Chiefs secondary. He was also picked off four times and sacked twice.

Manning was intercepted four times in this game and benched in favor of Brock Osweiler in the third quarter of this contest.  In fact, he actually completed fewer passes to his own team beyond the line of scrimmage (3) than he did the defense (4).  That’s right, the Chiefs got the “sheriff” a total of four times in this one.  Manning finished the game a dismal 5/20 for 35 yards with that handful of thrown interceptions.  His quarterback rating for the game?  A 0.0.  This has not happened in the league since 2004 when Jeff Garcia did it.  So clearly, besides the historic achievement of breaking Brett Farve’s passing record, this was a truly forgettable day for Mr. Manning.

Let’s not forget to hand out credit where credit is due, however.  The Kansas City Chiefs played a heck of a game on both sides of the ball.  They thrived in the passing game much more so than they did against Denver in Week 2.  Of course, the absence of cornerback Aqib Talib from this one helped.  Nevertheless, they were able to find success throwing the ball as well as running it.  Charcandrick West compiled 152 total yards from scrimmage and scored twice, including an 80 yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to seal the game.  Cairo Santos connected on five of his six attempted field goals on the afternoon as well.  He is an underrated kicker in this league, if there is such a thing.

As solid as the Chiefs offense looked, it was the defense that became the story of the game.  The secondary put out one of the best performances out of any team on the season.  Denver receivers struggled to get open and their running game got almost no traction whatsoever.  Demaryius Thomas was a no-factor while Peyton Manning was in the game.  When Brock Osweiler came in, he was a bit more noticeable, but was still not making great separation.  The tight ends were completely wiped out by the linebackers and the Denver offensive line was absolutely manhandled by the Kansas City pass rush.  It was an all-around dominant effort by the Chiefs on the road.

Charcandrick West in action from 11/15/15
Charcandrick West in action from 11/15/15

Reports have surfaced after the game stating that Peyton Manning has suffered from Plantar Fasciitis.  Obviously he won’t admit that the injury affected his play, but one has to think that it did not help the cause at all.  Because of the injury, Manning may have to sit out next week against Chicago.  Plantar Fasciitis is an injury that takes quite a long time to heal.  He may not be able to shake this one for a bit.  Also, Brock Osweiler needs to accumulate some real game action for some experience.  Sitting Peyton seems like the best move at this point.  It is widely believed that this could be Manning’s final season as well.  If Osweiler can come in and produce immediately, there may be no need to go back to the future hall of famer.  With that being said, there is an outside chance that this could have been Peyton’s last start in the NFL.  They may return to him later in the year if the Arizona State product struggles.  After all, he did not look overly impressive in this game against the Chiefs.

Denver could be fading fast here if the defense doesn’t get back to its old ways.  Furthermore, let’s not count out the Chiefs just yet.  They have split the season series with the Broncos and are climbing back to .500 with a manageable back-end to their schedule.  If the defense can continue to play like they did in this contest, and Alex Smith can keep on playing mistake-free football, this could be a sleeper team to pay attention to in the AFC come playoff time.

The Skinny:

  • Even though he was awful on the day, Peyton Manning did manage to break Brett Favre’s passing record in this
    The Chiefs held Peyton Manning to a passer rating of 0.0 on Sunday.
    The Chiefs held Peyton Manning to a passer rating of 0.0 on Sunday.

    game.  He now is the NFL’s all-time leading passer with 71,871 yards

  • The Kansas City defense recorded five interceptions in this game and allowed only 152 yards through the air
  • Cairo Santos kicked at least five field goals for the second time in a game this season
  • Peyton Manning was benched in favor of Brock Osweiler in the third quarter.  The youngster did not look any more impressive in relief
  • Marcus Peters intercepted Manning for the second time this year and continues to build a strong case for the rookie of the year award
  • Even after this game, Alex Smith has not thrown an interception since Week 2 at Green Bay

2015 Season: Week 10 Predictions

Last Week: 8-5

Season: 77-55

Thursday, November 12th, 8:30 e.t.

Buffalo Bills (4-4) @ New York Jets (5-3)

Buffalo 27, New York 21

Sunday, November 15th, 1:00

Carolina Panthers (8-0) vs. Tennessee Titans (2-6)

Carolina 17, Tennessee 14

Miami Dolphins (3-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

Philadelphia 35, Miami 24

Cleveland Browns (2-7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)

Pittsburgh 23, Cleveland 19

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (2-6)

Baltimore 24, Jacksonville 22

Dallas Cowboys (2-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

Tampa Bay 26, Dallas 20

Chicago Bears (3-5) @ St. Louis Rams (4-4)

Chicago 23, St. Louis 17

New Orleans Saints (4-5) @ Washington Redskins (3-5)

New Orleans 33, Washington 31

Detroit Lions (1-7) @ Green Bay Packers  (6-2)

Green Bay 35, Detroit 18

Sunday, November 15th, 4:05 e.t.

Minnesota Vikings (6-2) @ Oakland Raiders (4-4)

Oakland 30, Minnesota 24

Sunday, November 15th, 4:25 e.t.

New England Patriots (8-0) @ New York Giants (5-4)

New England 27, New York 20

Kansas City Chiefs (3-5) @ Denver Broncos (7-1)

Denver 21, Kansas City 14

Sunday, November 15th, 8:30 e.t.

Arizona Cardinals (5-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

Seattle 29, Arizona 24

Monday, October 16th, 8:30 e.t.

Houston Texans (3-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)

Cincinnati 40, Houston 20

Week 10 Bonus Predictions

Upset of the Week: Chicago over St. Louis

Sure Bet of the Week (8-1): Cincinnati over Houston

Rookie of the Week: Todd Gurley, RB, Rams

Offensive Player of the Week: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals

Defensive Player of the Week: Kiko Alonso, LB, Eagles

Best Overall Offense: Cincinnati Bengals

Best Overall Defense: Carolina Panthers

Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!

2014 Season: Week 10 Predictions

It’s Week 10, and we’ve got quite a few juicy match-ups to look forward to.  The Bengals and Browns clash in Cincy to determine the champion of Ohio, as well as first place (potentially) in the AFC North.  Two playoff teams from a year ago in San Francisco and New Orleans square off in the Big Easy with each squad looking to rescue their season in a pivotal tilt.  Miami’s suddenly high-octane offense will be put to the test on the road in the Motor City against 6-2 Detroit.  Also, there is a sneaky good battle that will take place in Buffalo as the Bills and Chiefs will each face off looking to improve to 6-3 and keep pace in their respective division races.  All of this action and more will take place this week.  Below are my predictions.

Last Week: 8-5

Thursday, November 6th, 8:25 e.t.

Cleveland Browns (5-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1)

The Browns haven’t been playing their best football as of late, but they are getting the job done having won four out of their last five contests.  That said, since the injury to Alex Mack, it has been tougher for them to run the ball, and that is putting the onus on Brian Hoyer to carry the team.  Hoyer the destroyer was able to notch a “W” last year against these Bengals, but that was in Cleveland.  In the Jungle, during prime time, I see the Browns struggling to keep up.  Cincinnati, despite struggling on defense a week ago, is looking like it is on the upswing and this would be a good game for them to impose their will.  I like the cats at home to light up the Cleveland defense.

Cincinnati 42, Cleveland 21

Sunday, November 9th, 1:00 e.t.

San Francisco 49ers (4-4) @ New Orleans Saints (4-4)

This one is going to have the feel of a playoff game, as it pits two teams that really do not wish to fall below .500.  New Orleans, coming off healthy 28-10 win in Carolina, is in better shape this season given the division they are playing in.  Their 4-4 record is good enough to claim first place in the NFC South.  For San Fran, 4-4 places them third in a very competitive division which is paced by the 7-1 Cardinals.  Simply put, the Niners need this win.  Unfortunately I don’t think they will get it.  It is hard for any team to win in New Orleans and I think the Saints are about ready to turn things around and make a run here.  Seeing how the 49er offense struggled at home coming off of their BYE, I don’t have much confidence that they will be able to piece together enough firepower to run with the home team here.

New Orleans 35, San Francisco 22

Atlanta Falcons (2-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7)

This is a do or die game for both teams.  Although playoff hopes for each are slim, they do play in the NFC South and with a Falcon win and a New Orleans loss, Atlanta would be only one game out of first place (if you can believe that).  Likewise, the Buccaneers could begin to rattle the cage if they were able to pick up the divisional win.  I did like what I saw from Mike Evans last week, but with the quarterback situation up in the air down in Tampa, I’m going to put my money on Matt Ryan, who lit the Bucs up the last time these two teams played in Week 3.  Sure, that was in Atlanta, but on this Sunday I see Ryan hooking up with Julio Jones for a couple of scores en route to a nice win.

Atlanta 27, Tampa Bay 19

Tennessee Titans (2-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (5-4)

The Ravens were flat out destroyed by the Steelers on Sunday Night a week ago, as they were outscored 43-16 over the final three quarters.  They will likely rebound at home against a feeble Tennessee squad that is coming off of their BYE.  Joe Flacco has been pretty good this season and the Baltimore running game has gotten the job done.  Their defense hasn’t been too bad either (especially at home).  As the Ravens are the superior team, I am picking them to win.  Plus, they cannot afford to fall any further behind in the competitive AFC North.

Baltimore 31, Tennessee 15

Dallas Cowboys (6-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) (London)

Whether or not Tony Romo plays in this game still remains to be seen, but either way I predict a Dallas win.  They fell behind in the second quarter last week to 7-1 Arizona and had to stray from the running game.  DeMarco Murray only had 79 yards in that game.  I think we will see a re-commitment to the running game in an attempt to limit the action of whatever quarterback lines up behind Travis Frederick in this one.  Jacksonville’s run defense is pretty porous so the ‘Boys should have no trouble exploiting them for a momentous win.

Dallas 38, Jacksonville 13

Miami Dolphins (5-3) @ Detroit Lions (6-2)

The Dolphins, fresh off of a huge shutout win at home over San Diego, are going to be tested this week against the Detroit Lions (a team that hasn’t played since Week 8 in London).  The Lion defense has really carried the team thus far and they will do so again in this game.  Although Ryan Tannehill has played great over the last month, there is still some uncertainty in his game.  Until he can prove that he is a consistent player, he does not earn the benefit of the doubt when going up against top-ranked defenses such as the one in Detroit.  I like the Lions to get’r’ done at home.

Detroit 24, Miami 20

Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) @ Buffalo Bills (5-3)

It might shock some people to see that both of these teams are two games above even this season, but that is the case.  The Chiefs have gotten it done on the strength of a balanced and mistake-free offense while the Bills have rode their stingy defense to this point in the campaign.  I see a low scoring affair that will feature at least eight combined sacks and four combined turnovers.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the Chiefs’ offensive line matches up against the Bills’ front seven.  I predict that they do just enough to get the win.  This is a team that has played very tough on the road this year, so I have confidence that they can do it again in a game where they will have to grind hard to come away with the victory.  Give Jamaal Charles 104 rushing yards and Dwayne Bowe his first receiving touchdown of the year.

Kansas City 16, Buffalo 13

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) @ New York Jets (1-8)

Ben Roethlisberger has been playing out of his mind over the past two weeks.  He has tossed an NFL record 12 touchdowns over the course of two games and has lead his team to 94 points during that time.  Meanwhile, the Jets are going nowhere fast as the team is averaging only 17.1 points per game this season.  Their running game has not been great and their quarterbacks have left much to be desired.  At least Jets fans can enjoy watching Percy Harvin do big things.  I see him getting a long touchdown of some sort this week and I also have a feeling that Gang Green will play tough on defense.  While I don’t expect the Steelers to roll the Jets over, I do see them picking up a nice win.  They are too hot right now to lose to one of the worst teams in football, even on the road.

Pittsburgh 21, New York 17

Sunday, November 9th, 4:05 e.t.

Denver Broncos (6-2) @ Oakland Raiders (0-8)

I almost feel bad for the Raiders.  They continue to fight hard and are not earning a win to show their good efforts.  Now they will be hosting a pissed off Peyton Manning and a Denver Bronco team that got it handed to them last week in Foxboro.  It should be bombs away for Denver as they look to pick themselves up in a big way.  Derek Carr will make a couple of mistakes as well and Aqib Talib will score on a pick-six.  Get ready for a long day Oakland.

Denver 45, Oakland 17

Sunday, November 9th, 4:25 e.t.

New York Giants (3-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (5-3)

Seattle just has not been itself since Week 6, and part of this has been because of inconsistent play on both sides of the ball.  Of course, the Giants know a little something about inconsistent play as they have been the most streaky team in the league over the past two seasons.  Even though the Seahawks have not been nearly as good at home this year as they were last, I like them to crank the volume up and make it awfully tough on New York.  Eli Manning will eat the turf at least four times and will commit two turnovers.  Marshawn Lynch rolls for 142 yards while Russell Wilson gets to relax and not have to worry about doing much.  That’s right, I’m predicting a signature Seahawk win this week.

Seattle 37, New York 18

St. Louis Rams (3-5) @ Arizona Cardinals(7-1)

Even though the Cardinals have been playing great football this season and have been a tough out at home, I feel like picking the Rams here for no reason other than the fact that I need to go with an upset this week.  Now, I should probably justify this pick.  St. Louis has always (since Jeff Fisher took over) played its division rivals tough and they already have wins over Seattle and San Francisco this season.  They used special teams to beat the Seahawks, defense to trump the Niners, and will complete the triangle by winning on the road with their offense.  The Cardinals have been shaky against the pass, especially at home.  Austin Davis will throw for three touchdowns and the Rams will close out the game by stuffing Arizona at the goal-line.  Yup, two weeks in a row; how is that for a bold prediction?

St. Louis 27, Arizona 22

Sunday, November 9th, 8:30 e.t.

Chicago Bears (3-5) @ Green Bay Packers (5-3)

The Bears are in trouble if they cannot get out of the NFC North cellar.  Unfortunately they have a tall task ahead of them, going on the road to Lambeau to take on a Green Bay team that is still chewing on a tough loss suffered at the hands of the Saints two weeks ago.  Chicago’s offense has taken two steps back from the beginning of the year and Jay Cutler has struggled.  I think the Bears will have to score at least 30 on the road to have a chance here.  That probably does not happen.  Plus, its Sunday Night Football, aka the blowout of the week.  All things point to a big Green Bay victory.

Green Bay 44, Chicago 17

Monday, November 10th, 8:30 e.t.

Carolina Panthers (3-5-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (6-2)

It is the beginning of the Mark Sanchez era in Philadelphia.  With Nick Foles likely out for the remainder of the regular season, it will be up to the former Jet to get things done for the birds.  Philly’s defense has been pretty good over the past few weeks save a couple of big plays.  Luckily for them they are taking on the Panthers, a team that really struggles to make big plays.  Carolina will have to try and play a little ball-control if they hope to win on the road.  It’s too bad their ground game has not been all that strong.  I do think Cam Newton can have a productive day with his legs though since DeMeco Ryans will be gone and Mychal Kendricks banged up.  That said, it may not be enough.  I don’t think that the Panther defense can slow down the Philly offense and they do not have the same amount of firepower to keep up on offense.

Philadelphia 29, Carolina 20

Week 10 Bonus Predictions

Upset of the Week: St. Louis over Arizona

Sure Bet of the Week: Dallas over Jacksonville

Rookie of the Week: Tre Mason

Offensive Player of the Week: LeSean McCoy

Defensive Player of the Week: Robert Quinn

Best Overall Offense: Green Bay Packers

Best Overall Defense: Buffalo Bills

Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!

Week 10: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22, Miami Dolphins 19- Post Game Thoughts

Not to be outdone by their friends from northern Florida (talking about the Jaguars), Tampa Bay also achieves their first win of the season, albeit against a Miami Dolphin team that has been the focal point of all of the media attention over the past week.  The Buccaneers were able to run the ball and stop the run.  They allowed just two yards on the ground to the Dolphins while they picked up 140 themselves; most of it coming with their backups in Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey (Mike James left with an injury early in the game).  The domination at the line of scrimmage really tells the story of this game.  Of course, the Miami offensive line is in shambles at the moment, but they didn’t really have a meltdown in pass protection until late in the contest when the team was trying to drive for a game-tying field goal or a go ahead touchdown.  Immediately following the two minute warning, Ryan Tannehill took two successive sacks and was forced to throw the ball down the field on a 4th and 28 situation with just one timeout remaining.  Darrelle Revis picked Tannehill’s pass off, thus ending the game.  So the Bucs do find their first win, but they had a 15-0 lead early in this game.  If they did not win this one, I would have been willing to bet that Greg Schiano would not still be with the team.  But, the team pulled through and they did just enough down the stretch to preserve the teams first win of the season.  On the other sideline, things could not be any harder.  They will be accused of having a lack of focus on this game and probably deservingly so.  However, you will not win too many games when you cannot run the ball and/or stop the run.  Miami got beat up front, it is as simple as that.  Until they can find a consistent offensive line to put in front of Ryan Tannehill, he is never going to develop into the quarterback that the team hopes he can be.  The one good thing that came out of this game was the emergence of slot receiver Rishard Matthews.  11 catches for 120 yards and two scores ain’t all that bad.  The team should dial up passing plays that are specifically designed to go to him.  They may have a diamond in the rough at wide-out.