A jam-packed Week 9 lived up to the hype and brought some interesting results, and the intriguing matchups keep on coming in Week 10. The theme this week seems to be teams looking to create some distance in their division leads versus teams eager to get in to the race.
The Tennessee Titans lead the AFC South, but the Indianapolis Colts can create a tie at the top of the division with a win on Thursday Night Football. On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles can create some breathing room in the NFC East: or the New York Giants could win and essentially make the division a wide-open race. In a similar vein, a Seattle Seahawks loss to the Los Angeles Rams could open the door for a crowded NFC West fight.
Week 1: 10-6
Week 2: 11-5
Week 3: 8-7-1
Week 4: 10-5
Week 5: 7-7
Week 6: 10-4
Week 7: 10-4
Week 8: 7-7
Week 9: 7-7
Overall: 80-52-1 (61% correct)
For the second straight week, I failed to break positive. Some incorrect toss-up picks as well as a couple outright upsets threw me off this week.
Last week I incorrectly predicted:
- Broncos over Falcons (Predicted a one-score game in the other direction, but Atlanta exceeded my expectations)
- Seahawks over Bills (Had Seattle’s 34 point total spot-on, but did not anticipate Buffalo putting up 44)
- Bears over Titans (Once again, Chicago’s point total of 17 was spot-on, but Tennessee scored eight more points than I predicted)
- Lions over Vikings (Thought the Lions would stay competitive, but it’s Minnesota trending upwards now)
- Chargers over Raiders (Los Angeles just keeps losing in the final seconds. Maybe I should just stop picking them, even though I think they’re a good team)
- Cardinals over Dolphins (I still think Arizona wins two out of three times over Miami, but the Dolphins put together a great game and earned this Week 9 win)
- Buccaneers over Saints (As so many people also predicted… but no one expected a Saints 38-3 blowout win)
Thursday Night Football
Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at Tennessee Titans (6-2)
There is no clear favorite for this all-important AFC South clash that kicks off Week 10. With a victory, the Philip Rivers and the Colts can tie and technically lead the division for the time being at 6-3. Likewise, the Titans could create a semi-comfortable lead and reach 7-2 with a home victory.
Neither team is red-hot, with both going 2-2 in their last four games. For the Titans, that meant back-to-back losses to the Steelers and Bengals. They got back on track with a win over the Bears last week, but the offense hasn’t been the same since an early season four game streak of scoring 30 points or more.
The Colts victories this season have been relatively weaker. Indianapolis isn’t a bad team, just not an elite one.
With all this being said, I think Tennessee should win this game. But with the unexpected nature of the NFL these days, I think we could see a surprising showing from Rivers and the Colts on Thursday night.
Colts win 31-20
Sunday Day Games
Houston Texans (2-6) at Cleveland Browns (5-3)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-3.0)
Could this be a correction game in terms of records? Since the beginning of the season, the Texans have been better than their record suggested, and for the past few weeks, the Browns have been a bit better than their record suggested. Cleveland was 4-1 heading in to a matchup with the Steelers, but has obviously cooled off since then.
I see why the Browns are favored, and wouldn’t fault you for picking them. But after dropping their last game 16-6 to the Raiders, a bye week won’t be enough to rejuvenate Cleveland’s offense.
Texans win 25-16, Texans win ATS
Washington Football Team (2-6) at Detroit Lions (3-5)
Line: No Line
Washington hasn’t been abysmal since shifting away from Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, but I still don’t see them getting wins outside of the NFC East this season. The Lions are no world-beaters, and they won’t win handily, but they’ll get it done in the fourth quarter.
Lions win 27-23
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) at Green Bay Packers (6-2)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-13.5)
The Jaguars were surprisingly competitive against the Texans in Jake Luton’s NFL debut, losing by just two points. But with a “fluke loss” against the the Vikings already behind them, I don’t expect the Packers to slip up again. Jacksonville could cover the two-score spread, however.
Packers win 34-23, Jaguars win ATS
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1) at New York Giants (2-7)
Line: Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)
Despite these teams combining for just five wins this season (which you could say is the minimum amount of wins that one team should have right now to be considered good,) this is one of the most important games of the week. If Philadelphia wins as expected, they create a comfortable NFC East lead. They would have four wins, and with their tie, a team would need five wins in order to gain the division lead. Philadelphia could likely qualify for the playoffs with as few as six wins.
But if Daniel Jones and the Giants, who have been playing gritty, one-score games lately, can pull off a win, they go from 1-7 a week ago to suddenly in the thick of a playoff race.
I’d love to pick the Giants (I’ll be honest, they are my team) but on paper, Philadelphia should win this game. I think the outcome will be close once again, as the Eagles beat the Giants 22-21 two weeks ago in a game New York easily could have stole.
Eagles win 24-18, Eagles win ATS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-6)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5)
Tampa Bay’s red-hot scoring streak came to an end last week, with a shocking 38-3 loss to the Saints. I don’t think we should expect another low-scoring output from Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense, but the result certainly proved they’re far from a perfect team.
Teddy Bridgewater’s Panthers have been a fun, high-scoring team so far this season. They narrowly lost to the defending Super Bowl champions last week, proving they can play with anyone.
Put these two storylines together, and I think this game will be a lot closer than people think. It would certainly be even juicer if Carolina pulls off the upset, but on paper I’m seeing a narrow Buccaneers win.
Buccaneers win 27-26, Panthers win ATS
Denver Broncos (3-5) at Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
Line: No Line
A classic AFC West showdown that’s too close for Vegas to call on Thursday: the 3-5 Broncos taking on the 5-3 Raiders. Denver is 3-2 since starting 0-3, while Las Vegas has also won three of their last five after a 2-1 start.
My mantra on the Raiders is they can beat anyone (literally, ask the Chiefs) but aren’t consistent enough to beat everyone (see the Patriots and Bills.)
If a favorite emerges, it will be the Raiders, the better overall team. But kind of like my Colts over Titans pick, I’m going with my gut against my brains: Denver etches out an important road victory.
Broncos win 24-20
Los Angeles Chargers (2-6) at Miami Dolphins (5-3)
Line: Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
Miami-Arizona shaped up to be a fun and exciting game last week, just as expected in my Week 9 picks. This shapes up to be another fun one, with rookies Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa facing off for the first time. I’d love to give you a nuanced pick, filled with statistics about the Chargers one-score losses or how the Dolphins last two wins have been super solid but not built on a consistent enough framework.
But honestly this one is easy for me: the Chargers always seem to lose at the last minute, and Miami continues to outperform expectations. I’ll take both trends continuing on Sunday.
Dolphins win 30-27 on fourth quarter comeback, Dolphins win ATS
GAME OF THE WEEK: Buffalo Bills (7-2) at Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
Line: No Line
There’s a handful of games this week that me (and apparently, the oddsmakers) are having a hard time deciding. Bills-Cardinals takes the cake. Will the Arizona team that beat Seattle show up, or the one that lost to the Lions and Dolphins? Will the Bills team that (coincidentally) also had a signature win over the Seahawks put up another 44-pont game? Or a dude like they did against the Titans and Chiefs?
This should be a close, fun one, with MVP candidates Josh Allen and Kyler Murray duking it out. The scoring could reach the 30’s once again here, and it really is a toss-up. Give me the Cardinals in a bounce-back win.
Cardinals win 35-30
Seattle Seahawks (6-2) at Los Angeles Rams (5-3)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-1.5)
Seattle has faltered after a 5-0 start, losing two of their last three games. In reality, no much has changed: they still scored 34 points in each of their losses. But their defense has now given up a whopping 274 points. For comparison, after playing the same number of games, Los Angeles has allowed just 193 points.
The Rams are no pushover, with a strong defense and better than average offense. I still like Seattle to take this game and extend their NFC West lead, but it will be a lower scoring affair than they’re used to.
Seahawks win 24-22, Seahawks win ATS
San Francisco 49ers (4-5) at New Orleans Saints (6-2)
Line: New Orleans Saints (-9.5)
Last year, the Saints and 49ers treated us to the most exciting game of the regular season as the teams vied for top playoff positioning. This year, the defending NFC champions are experiencing an up-and-down season, and against a Saints team that just beat the Buccaneers by 35 points, I’d expect a down week for San Francisco.
Saints win 30-20, Saints win ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
Line: No Line
The last time the Bengals took the field, they stunned the Titans with an 11-point win. Last week, the 7-0 Steelers needed to come back to beat the Cowboys, who were on their fourth-string quarterback.
Still, I think these results were more anomalies than a sign of things to come. The Steelers are the second-best team in the NFL in my book, so they should be able to handle this two-win Bengals team.
Steelers win 27-20
Sunday Night Football
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at New England Patriots (3-5)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-7.0)
There’s been concerns about Lamar Jackson and the Ravens not being as dominant this season, but the fact of the matter is, Baltimore is beating anyone the play not named the Chiefs or Steelers. Cam Newton and the Patriots are coming off a win, but you shouldn’t need a fourth quarter comeback to beat the winless Jets.
Ravens win 41-17, Ravens win ATS
Monday Night Football
Minnesota Vikings (3-5) at Chicago Bears (5-4)
Line: No Line
The brief spark Nick Foles provided for Chicago’s offense is gone, and the Bears are exactly who we thought they were: capable of scoring 15-20 points most games, and with a strong defense, sometimes that’s enough. But for three straight weeks, it hasn’t been.
With the Vikings offense heating up and the defense improving over the course of the season, I think Minnesota comes in to this matchup with more positive momentum.
Vikings win 24-20
Teams on Bye
- Atlanta Falcons (3-5)
- Dallas Cowboys (2-6)
- Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
- New York Jets (0-8)
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