The second half of the 2021-22 NFL season begins in Week 10, with each game starting to carry a little more weight for playoff contenders.
The Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots, both 5-4, square off on Sunday in one of the most important matchups of the week in terms of ramifications on the standings. On Sunday Night Football, the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders will jostle for AFC West positioning, and earlier in the day, the 4-4 Atlanta Falcons will look to stay hot and hand the Dallas Cowboys their second straight loss.
For other teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and Los Angeles Rams, Week 10 is about staying hot and creating a sizable lead over their competition.
To debate or discuss these picks, be sure to join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
Week 1: 6-10
Week 2: 12-4
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 12-4
Week 5: 13-3
Week 6: 10-4
Week 7: 9-4
Week 8: 9-6
Week 9: 5-9
Overall: 87-49 (64%)
Ouch. My picks record sagged a little last week, but Week 9 handed me my first losing performance since Week 1. There’s not much to be ashamed of though. The only pick I didn’t feel confident on was Chicago over Pittsburgh, so I should’ve went with my gut. I was wrong on a couple toss-up games like Bengals-Browns and Packers-Chiefs, while the Jaguars, Titans, Giants, and Broncos committed straight upsets. I had said I would pick the 49ers if Murray missed the matchup, not foreseeing a win with Colt McCoy under center.
In Week 9, I incorrectly predicted:
- Bengals over Browns
- Cowboys over Broncos
- Raiders over Giants
- Saints over Falcons
- Bills over Jaguars
- Packers over Chiefs
- 49ers over Cardinals
- Rams over Titans
- Bears over Steelers
See Also: 2021-22 NFL Season Predictions
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
- Preseason Playoff Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
- Midseason Predictions and Super Bowl 56 Matchup
Thursday Night Football
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-7)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-7.5)
Thursday Night Football has brought us some good matchups this season, but this week’s meeting between the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins doesn’t exactly jump off the page. Jacoby Brissett and the Dolphins are coming off a 17-9 win over the Texans, but the Ravens are a much, much better team than Houston. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense should roll to an easy win.
Ravens win 31-16, Ravens win ATS
Sak Sports Blog Game of the Week: Cleveland Browns (5-4) at New England Patriots (5-4)
Line: New England Patriots (-1.5)
There’s a few good matchups in Week 10, but I selected this game as my Game of the Week for a few reasons. First off, its a close matchup, with one of the narrowest lines of the week in what is very nearly a pick ’em game. It’s also a key meeting, with the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots both hungry for wins to keep up in their divisional races as well as the AFC Wildcard hunt.
If both teams are playing their best, Cleveland would be the clear pick: but the Browns have exhibited some up-and-down play this year. Mac Jones and the Patriots, on the other hand, are enjoying their most consistent stretch of the season with a three-game win streak. Again, Cleveland is fully capable of outplaying the Patriots, I’m just worried about which Browns team will show up. As such, the Patriots are the safer pick, even if they’re just 1-4 at home on the season.
Patriots win 24-20, Patriots win ATS
Buffalo Bills (5-3) at New York Jets (2-6)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-12.0)
On paper, this should be an easy win for the Buffalo Bills, but after last week’s disappointing 9-6 loss to the Jaguars, anything is possible. I have some reservations about this Buffalo team, but they were at least able to beat up on bad teams: before last week that is. The New York Jets have had a couple of inspiring wins over the Titans and Bengals, but are largely a beatable team. Mike White should be back under center for the Jets after leaving last week’s loss to the Colts early.
I won’t go as far as to pick the Jets, who are 2-1 at MetLife Stadium, but I do think they’ll make it interesting.
Bills win 26-23, Jets win ATS
Atlanta Falcons (4-4) at Dallas Cowboys (6-2)
Line: Dallas Cowboys (-9.0)
The Atlanta Falcons have clawed their way from an 0-2 start to a 4-4 record, and Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are coming off a disappointing loss to Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos at home. Could this be the recipe for an upset?
Not quite. Atlanta is 4-4 with three wins in their last four games, but the wins came against the Jets, Dolphins, and Jameis Winston-less Saints. The Falcons have failed to beat Washington Football Team and the Panthers at home. In other words, Atlanta has had a soft schedule, and can’t even consistently beat bad teams. The Cowboys electric offense will be too much for Matt Ryan and the Falcons to keep up with in Dallas.
Cowboys win 33-20, Cowboys win ATS
New Orleans Saints (5-3) at Tennessee Titans (7-2)
Line: Tennessee Titans (-3.0)
What could have been one of the most interesting meetings of the week has been partially derailed by injuries. The New Orleans Saints are without starting quarterback Jameis Winston after he tore his ACL, and though they threatened in the fourth quarter last week, couldn’t overcome the Falcons with Trevor Siemian under center. The Tennessee Titans lost Derrick Henry for what is likely the season, but didn’t miss a beat in last week’s upset win over the Rams on Sunday Night Football.
I don’t want to count the Saints completely out for the season without Winston, but against a strong Titans defense that just shut down one of the league’s best offenses, New Orleans might struggle.
Titans win 26-17, Titans win ATS
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) at Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-10.5)
Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars are feeling good after a 9-6 upset over the Bills last week, but the party won’t continue in Indianapolis. Carson Wentz and the Colts have won four of six games, with two tight losses to strong Ravens and Titans teams. Indy is better than their 4-5 record would suggest, and with an 8th-ranked offense and 16th-ranked defense, the Colts should be able to handle the Jaguars, even if Jacksonville has been improving slightly.
Colts win 27-17, Jaguars win ATS
Detroit Lions (0-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-8.5)
I don’t see the Pittsburgh Steelers as a particularly great team this season, but my opinion won’t stop them from getting to 6-3. The Detroit Lions are 0-8, but have given some good teams a fight this season. However, with larger losses the last three times Detroit took the field, there’s no reason to think their 29th-ranked offense and 31st-ranked defense will be able to overcome Pittsburgh.
Steelers win 30-20, Steelers win ATS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) at Washington Football Team (2-6)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5)
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Saints their last time out, and after a bye week, they’ll be motivated to get back on track against a weak Washington Football Team. With the week off to focus, I foresee not just a Buccaneers win, but a dominant performance as the defending Super Bowl champions kick off the second half of their season.
Buccaneers win 42-24, Buccaneers win ATS
Carolina Panthers (4-5) at Arizona Cardinals (8-1)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-10.5)
Kyler Murray hopes to return to the field on Sunday after missing last week’s matchup against the 49ers, but his services might not even be necessary if he isn’t feeling 100%. The Arizona Cardinals ere able to take care of the 49ers, handily, with Colt McCoy under center last week, along with a strong rushing attack and solid defensive effort. The Carolina Panthers have been struggling, and now with Sam Darnold out 4-6 weeks, they couldn’t beat the Cardinals whether or not Murray take the field.
Cardinals win 33-16, Cardinals win ATS
Minnesota Vikings (3-5) at Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)
Line: Los Angeles Chargers (-3.0)
One part of me thinks Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers get their second straight to win, but another part sees a 3-5 Minnesota Vikings team that is better than their record suggests: I’m just not sure which part is my gut and which part is my brain.
Kirk Cosuins and the Vikings have lost back-to-back games, but as far as losses go, they were very close losses to good teams. All five of Minnesota’s losses this season have come by one score or less to playoff contenders. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have hesitated to pick the Chargers, but ever since a wild 47-42 win over the Browns, the Chargers have looked a bit off.
In this case, I’ll give the Vikings the win: not because they’re a stronger team per say, I just think they’re playing better at this moment in time. Either way, I expect a close matchup.
Viking win 31-28, Vikings win ATS
Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) at Denver Broncos (5-4)
Line: Denver Broncos (-2.5)
If Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver Broncos play like they did last week against the Cowboys, this would be an easy win for Denver. But assuming the Broncos offense come back to Earth and the Philadelphia Eagles don’t get stifled by the Broncos defense, this should be a much closer matchup. After narrowly falling to the Chargers last week, I think Jalen Hurts and the Eagles can get a win on the board in Denver with an offense increasing in consistency.
Eagles win 27-20, Eagles win ATS
Seattle Seahawks (3-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-3.0)
There’s a little bit of uncertainty as far as who’s playing quarterback in this game: are we getting Geno Smith vs. Jordan Love, or Russell Wilson vs. Aaron Rodgers? Barring any setbacks, it looks like two of the NFCs best signal-callers will go head-to-head in Green Bay.
The Packers struggled mightily last week in Kansas City, putting up just seven points with Love under center, but should fare better against Seattle’s 24th-ranked defense. I would love to see Wilson get the Seahawks back in the win column, but if Rodgers is cleared to play, I don’t see the Packers losing this game.
Packers win 28-20, Packers win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) at Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
The Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders clash on Sunday Night Football in an important AFC West matchup. Derek Carr and the Raiders lead the division, but that could be gone in the blink of an eye with a loss here. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have won back-to-back games, but aren’t tout of the doghouse yet, especially with their offense joining their defense by beginning to struggle this season.
However, the Raiders are coming off a loss to the Giants, and after losing head coach Jon Gruden last month, have been forced to release two 2020 first round picks in November. The Raiders are in an unfortunate situation, and while it might not loom over the heads for the entire rest of the season, it may hamper their ability to beat the Chiefs on Sunday night. I don’t think Mahomes and the Chiefs will snap back to Super Bowl-form, so it will end up a close game.
Chiefs win 24-20, Chiefs win ATS
Monday Night Football
Los Angeles Rams (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-5)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-4.0)
Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams were shocked by the Derrick Henry-less Tennessee Titans in primetime last week, but shouldn’t have as much trouble against a 3-5 San Francisco 49ers team. The 49ers have dropped five of their last six games after a 2-0 start, couldn’t beat the Cardinals when they didn’t have Kyler Murray or DeAndre Hopkins, and are 0-4 at home this season. The Rams should be able to take the trip to Northern California and come away with a win, matching their usually high-powered offense against the 49ers 25th-ranked defense.
UPDATE 11/13: Rams wide receiver Robert Woods is out for the season with a torn ACL, making Los Angeles’ acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. earlier that day even more significant. Woods was a huge part of the Rams passing game, and Beckham will have less than four days to learn the playbook. Expect a slow start perhaps, minor growing pains, a big play or two to OBJ, but at the end of the day, a Rams victory. I originally predicted a 30-17 score, but given the new circumstances, the game will be just a tad tighter.
Rams win 24-17, Rams win ATS
Teams on Bye
- Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears (3-6) head into their bye week on a four-game losing streak. Things don’t get any easier, with the Ravens, Cardinals, and Packers representing three of Chicago’s next four opponents.
- The Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) briefly held the best record in the AFC, but have cooled off with back-to-back losses heading into their week off.
- Coming off a win over the Raiders, the New York Giants (3-6) have an outside shot of making some noise in the second half of the season, but have to face Tom Brady and the Buccaneeers next Monday night.
- Getting Tyrod Taylor back wasn’t enough for the Houston Texans (1-8) last week, as the team suffered their eighth straight loss.
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Header Photo: Raiders Beat