Week 10 Matchup Predictions
Colts @ Jaguars: Even though the game is in Jacksonville, I'm not sure if there is any team in the league that I could pick to lose to the Jaguars. They have the worst offense in the league, along with one of the league's worst defenses. When you put that up against Andrew Luck, who's coming off a rookie record 433-yard performance, I just can't see Blaine Gabbert doing half as much as he needs to do to get the win for his Jaguars.
Colts win 27-13.
Giants @ Bengals: Eli Manning is definitely in a slump, throwing for under 200 yards in three of his last four games, but he'll have a chance to break out of it against the league's 19th ranked pass defense that has only five interceptions on the year. The Giants defense also forces a ton of turnovers (2nd most in league), while the Bengals' offense is prone to giving away the football. The Giants are 3-1 on the road (their lone loss being by two points in Philadelphia), and they'll continue their road success in Cincinnati.
Giants win 30-21.
Titans @ Dolphins: The Titans are coming off one of their most embarrassing losses in franchise history, albeit to the 7-1 Chicago Bears. Even so, you don't see teams get smashed 51-20 at home very often. The Dolphins, on the other hand, have not really played any bad football this season. Three of their four losses have come by three points - two of which were in overtime - and the other loss was in Houston against the 7-1 Texans. The Dolphins' defense can completely shut down the run, so the TItans will likely be forced to rely on Jake Locker, who hasn't played since September. The Dolphins will score enough points on the Titans' 30th ranked defense to put the game out of Locker and company's reach.
Dolphins win 24-20.
Lions @ Vikings: These teams faced off six weeks ago in a game that the Vikings took by a score of 20-13. However, they didn't score an offensive touchdown in that game, and with Percy Harvin "very doubtful" for this week's game, they won't have their return specialist to save the day. The Lions are 3-1 since the game against the Vikings, with their only loss coming by six points to the Bears. The Vikings, on the other hand, have regressed since their first bout with the Lions, going 2-3 since the that game. Christian Ponder has failed to top 65 yards in two of his last three starts, while Matthew Stafford has been playing great football the past two weeks. I expect Stafford to at least match his 319 passing yards from his first game against the Vikings - only this time, it will result in a win.
Lions win 28-23.
Bills @ Patriots: Remember what happened the first time these teams played each other? The Patriots gashed the Bills for 247 yards rushing in Buffalo. I know that it's difficult to beat a team twice in one year, but the Patriots have been on a roll ever since halftime of their first game against the Bills - their only loss has come by one point against the Seahawks in Seattle, one of the toughest places to play. Coming off their bye week, Bill Belichick has had two full weeks to prepare his 1st ranked offense to face the Bills' 31st ranked defense.
Patriots win 41-24.
Falcons @ Saints: Despite the Saints' 3-5 record, this will be no cakewalk for the undefeated Falcons. The Saints have won their last two home games, beating the Eagles and Chargers, and have won three of their last four games overall. Their 5th ranked offense has been consistent all year with the exception of one game, and they can keep pace with Matt Ryan and his boys. However, Matt Ryan will be going up against one of the worst defenses in NFL history, and Drew Brees is going up against a defense with the 4th most takeaways in the NFL. Remember when the Saints put up 62 points on the Colts last year? If the Saints offense continually throws counter punches on Sunday, we may see the Falcons close in on that number.
Falcons win 48-35.
Chargers @ Buccaneers: The Bucs' offense has quietly crept up to 9th in the league in total yards, and they're ranked 5th in scoring. Josh Freeman has learned how to use his aerial weapons, throwing for 247+ yards in each of his last five games. He's also boasting an 11:1 touchdown to interception ratio over his past four games. With Doug Martin blossoming in a big way (averaging 241 total yards over his past two games), this offense has become dynamic and dangerous. The Bucs have a very vulnerable pass defense, but the Chargers offense - with the 5th most turnovers and 22nd ranked pass attack - won't be able to top Freeman and the Bucs.
Buccaneers win 28-20.
Broncos @ Panthers: Cam Newton finally put together a winning performance last Sunday for the first time since Week 2, and it was his first game with a quarterback rating higher than 73.4 since Week 4. However, Cam won't get to go up against the Redskins' 31st ranked pass defense this week. Cam will face the Broncos, who allow only 5.5 yards per pass attempt (6th in the league) and 3.7 yards per rushing attempt (also 6th). With Peyton Manning playing like Peyton Manning, I don't see how Cam could possibly outdo the Hall of Famer against that defense.
Broncos win 30-20.
Jets @ Seahawks: No need to worry in the Meadowlands, Jets fans. Antonio Cromartie recently stated the Jets would, in fact, make the playoffs. On the other hand, head coach Rex Ryan recently said "We're not even sniffing the playoffs." If Rex Ryan's not predicting a Super Bowl, the Jets are in serious trouble. Ringmaster Ryan will take his 3-5 circus to Seattle, where Marshawn Lynch will feast on the league's 29th ranked run defense, and the Jets' 27th ranked offense will be stonewalled by the Seahawks' 4th ranked defense.
Seahawks win 20-9.
Cowboys @ Eagles: And here we have the battle of disappointments that I alluded to at the top of this article. The Cowboys, always in the spotlight thanks to Jerry Jones, are 3-5 and will face off against the Eagles, who despite Michael Vick's talk of becoming a "dynasty," are also 3-5. Despite poor execution, underperformance, and bad play calling for both teams, I believe the Eagles are in a deeper hole right now. The Cowboys' last three losses have all been by less than a touchdown, while the Eagles have been dominated by the Saints and Falcons in the past two games, and self-destructed late against the Lions the week before. Andy Reid's shocking reluctance to run the football was part of the reason the Eagles put up only 13 points against the league's worst defense on Monday, and now they'll face the Cowboys' 5th ranked defense. DeMarcus Ware will tee off on Michael Vick after waltzing through one of the league's worst offensive lines, and Tony Romo will lead his 3rd ranked passing attack to a victory.
Cowboys win 27-20.
Rams @ 49ers: The bye week served the 49ers well last week, as their injury report is now squeaky clean. With their 2nd ranked defense (ranked 1st in scoring) facing off against the Rams' 28th ranked offense, the 49ers won't have to do much in the way of scoring to get the win at home.
49ers win 24-10.
Texans @ Bears: This is the toughest pick of the week for me, and it was rightfully scheduled for prime time on Sunday night (unlike the Monday night game). The Bears' defense is playing about as well as I can ever remember a defense playing. Their defense is averaging 3.5 takeaways per game, is scoring almost as many touchdowns as they give up, and is completely embarrassing almost every offense they face. The one thing you can do against the Bears, however, is run the ball. They allow a modest 4.3 yards per carry, and the Texans happen to have an exceptional running back by the name of Arian Foster to take advantage of that. If the Texans want to win this game, they're going to have to control the ball, keep possessions to a minimum, and most of all, not turn the ball over. I think this game will come down to defense, and while the Texans have an exceptional defense as well, I'm counting on the Bears' defensive playmakers to come up bigger than those of the Texans.
Bears win 20-14.
Chiefs @ Steelers: You may be looking for other plans on Monday night right now, but don't sweep this game under the rug just yet. The 8-3 Steelers traveled to Kansas City for a prime time matchup last year, and that was to face the ever electrifying Tyler Palko and his 4-7 Chiefs. I was probably one of the only non-gamblers who wasn't a fan of either team to watch the game, but it ended up being a 13-9 affair. There's more incentive to watch this year, with Matt Cassel - always exciting, whether it be good or bad for his team - and Jamaal Charles - who is genuinely a joy to watch when the coaches actually let him touch the ball - will be playing for the Chiefs. Let's be honest, I'm not picking the Chiefs. They haven't had a lead in regulation all season. I'm just saying, it may not be as boring of a game as you think, but I'm still going to predict that it will be.
Steelers win 27-10.