NFL Game Picks: Week 10
Danny Murray and Zac Kaye make their picks for every NFL game in Week 10:
We’re inching closer and closer to total parity. One of our unbeatens finally fell, as New England lost to Baltimore on Sunday night, and one of our winless teams finally got its first win, as the Dolphins knocked off the Jets in Week 9. That leaves San Francisco and Cincinnati as our only undefeated and winless teams, respectively. Will that last another week? And what is the playoff picture going to look like by the time Week 10 is finished? In the latest edition of the NFL game picks, we answer those questions.
Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (4-4)
To kick off the week, the Chargers and Raiders battle for second place in the AFC West. Everything finally came together for the Chargers last week, as they took care of a good Green Bay team, 26-11. If they can continue to get production from the backfield duo of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, then perhaps the Chargers are not out of the playoff race yet. The Raiders have been one of the league’s more surprising stories, as they have cast aside all offseason controversy to reach a respectable 4-4. Both team’s fortunes are looking up for now, but only one can win this game. The slight edge goes to the home team.
Prediction: Oakland 26, LA Chargers 23
Atlanta Falcons (1-7) at New Orleans Saints (7-1)
Typically, Falcons-Saints games make for must-watch spectacles, but that couldn’t be further from the truth this time. New Orleans is one of the top five teams in the league thanks to a bruising defense and a loaded offense, headed by a now-healthy Drew Brees. Matt Ryan’s status is questionable for Week 10, but it shouldn’t matter anyway. The Falcons defense can’t stop anyone, allowing 31.3 points per game, which ranks 30th in the NFL. That means the Atlanta offense will need to keep up with the New Orleans offense, and that just doesn’t seem possible, with or without Matt Ryan. The Saints should win this one with ease.
Prediction: New Orleans 38, Atlanta 18
Buffalo Bills (6-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-6)
It’s another matchup between two sophomore quarterbacks (Josh Allen for the Bills and Baker Mayfield for the Browns), but that’s hardly the difference maker in this game. After all, both Cleveland and Buffalo field middle-of-the-road offenses. The key difference here is defense. Buffalo is legit, landing at No. 3 in both total defense and scoring defense. Cleveland hasn’t had the same fortune, as the Browns rank in the bottom half of the league in both categories. Throw in some lackluster performances by Mayfield and the offense, and it’s clear to see why the Browns have struggled. They’ll struggle again against Buffalo’s stout defense.
Prediction: Buffalo 23, Cleveland 13
Detroit Lions (3-4-1) at Chicago Bears (3-5)
Matt Patricia needs to figure it out on defense. The former Patriots defensive coordinator possesses the fifth-best offense in the league, yet his team is 3-4-1, simply because his defense can’t make a stop. Detroit’s playoff hopes are fading quickly because of it. Fortunately for the Lions, their next game is against the Mitchell Trubisky-led Bears, which can’t do a thing on offense. The Chicago defense continues to play at a high level, but offensive woes have led to a four-game skid for the Bears. The real battle will take place when Matthew Stafford is commanding the field. He’ll do just enough to get his team a much-needed road victory.
Prediction: Detroit 20, Chicago 13
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
If it wasn’t clear before Baltimore’s big Sunday night victory over the Patriots, it’s clear now: Lamar Jackson is an MVP candidate. Not only has Jackson been an elite passer, but he’s also been a threat on the ground, leading the Ravens in rushing yards through eight games. This dominance creates a mismatch in Week 10, as the league’s highest-scoring offense travels to Cincinnati to take on the No. 32 overall defense. Even out of the bye week, the Bengals won’t stand a chance against Baltimore. That’s without mentioning that Cincinnati will try Ryan Finley at quarterback for the first time. Different guy, same result. Cincinnati falls to 0-9.
Prediction: Baltimore 33, Cincinnati 15
Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-5)
Week 9 serves as evidence that the Chiefs are still a good team without Patrick Mahomes. Against the red-hot Vikings, the Matt Moore-led Chiefs rose to the occasion and escaped with a 26-23 win. Regardless of whether or not Mahomes returns for Week 10, Kansas City is in good shape. Tennessee’s offense has finally found a pulse with Ryan Tannehill under center, but it wasn’t enough last week, as the Titans fell to the Panthers, 30-20. The defense won’t have to deal with the one-man wrecking crew Christian McCaffrey again in Week 10, but it will have to deal with a more well-rounded offense. In a close battle, Kansas City pulls away late to take the W.
Prediction: Kansas City 30, Tennessee 21
New York Giants (2-7) at New York Jets (1-7)
The battle for New York only happens once every four years, so it’s a shame that neither team is especially watchable this year. The Giants haven’t found a win since Week 4 due to defensive miscues aplenty, yet it’s the Jets that are deeper in the cellar. Just eight games into his tenure, head coach Adam Gase’s seat has become boiling following the Jets’ downright disgusting performance in their loss to previously winless Miami. A season filled with hope has come crashing down due to Gase’s ineptitude. The Giants are rightfully favored heading into Sunday. If it’s another ugly Jets loss in Week 10, expect Gase to be without a job on Monday morning.
Prediction: NY Giants 24, NY Jets 13
Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
The Dr. Jekyll version of Jameis Winston showed up last week, tossing two touchdowns and zero interceptions in Seattle, but the defense didn’t provide any support, allowing Russell Wilson 378 yards through the air and five passing touchdowns to boot, as the Buccaneers fell in overtime. Can Tampa Bay keep up the offensive luck against Arizona? Perhaps, but let’s not forget that the Kyler Murray-led Cardinals gave undefeated San Francisco a late-game scare last Thursday night. The Cardinals are learning to walk again under new management, and it may not be too long before they’re competing for real. That growth continues with a close road win in Week 10.
Prediction: Arizona 27, Tampa Bay 26
Miami Dolphins (1-7) at Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
Miami’s fear of a winless season is no more after a Week 9 victory over the slumping Jets. Although the Dolphins are still in tank mode, it’s clear that they’re getting better and better every week. It probably won’t be enough to knock off the Colts, though, which are still vying for the AFC South crown despite a hiccup last week in Pittsburgh. The question here is the health of Jacoby Brissett, who left last Sunday’s game with a knee sprain. At the moment, he’s questionable to return to action in Week 10. Still, Brian Hoyer looked fine in relief, tossing three touchdowns in the loss. It looks like Indianapolis is in line for a win on Sunday.
Prediction: Indianapolis 32, Miami 17
Carolina Panthers (5-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)
Green Bay’s loss to the Chargers last week has to be one of the most surprising outcomes of the year. After a strong performance against Kansas City in Week 8, the Packers followed it up with a stinker in Los Angeles. It’s unclear exactly where the issues lie, though allowing four field goals from Mike Badgley was certainly part of the harm. It’s time for Aaron Rodgers and company to rebound in Week 10 against an inferior Carolina team. Although MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey will undoubtedly give the Green Bay defense his all, it won’t be enough to pull off the road upset. The home team wins.
Prediction: Green Bay 29, Carolina 20
Los Angeles Rams (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
Everyone who wrote off the Steelers after a 1-3 start is looking awfully foolish right now. A 3-1 run has put Pittsburgh right back into the heart of the playoff race. But there’s still work to do. In Week 10, the Steelers host a 5-3 Rams team that is also looking to sneak back into the playoff picture. The Rams will be fresh coming out of the bye week, but Pittsburgh has momentum (and the home crowd) on its side. With Mason Rudolph continuing to improve and James Conner likely to return to the field on Sunday after missing a week, the Steelers are poised to pull off the home upset. Don’t be shocked if Pittsburgh ends up 5-4 after the conclusion of this one.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 25, LA Rams 22
Minnesota Vikings (6-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
Sunday night games are at their best when playoff implications are on the line, and we’re beginning to see that trend arise in Week 10. Minnesota is doing its best to play catchup in the NFC North, as the Vikings currently trail Green Bay by a game, while Dallas is trying to fend off the Eagles from stealing the NFC East title. With the NFC looking very strong this year, both of these teams might need to win their respective divisions in order to reach the postseason. With playoff implications aplenty, both teams give it their all on Sunday night. But the win goes to the Vikings, which shut down Dak Prescott and company for a huge road victory.
Prediction: Minnesota 21, Dallas 16
Seattle Seahawks (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (8-0)
For all the lousy Monday night games we’ve had this year, we finally get a certified classic in Week 10. The Seahawks and 49ers are both among the NFL’s top five teams, and it just so happens that they’re in the same division. The real spectacle will take place when the Seahawks offense is on the field. Russell Wilson is almost always electric, but how will he fare against one of the top defenses in the NFL in San Francisco? Wilson is hardly one to shy away from the spotlight, so expect him to put on his typical outstanding performance on Monday night. In a game with major playoff implications, the Seahawks steal a win in Santa Clara.
Prediction: Seattle 32, San Francisco 26
Byes: Denver Broncos (3-6), New England Patriots (8-1), Philadelphia Eagles (5-4), Washington Redskins (5-4), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5), Houston Texans (6-3)
DJ Bauer is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Junior / Broadcast Journalism