Week 10 NFL Picks Reflect the Bigger Pictures


Nov 12, 2009

Week 10 NFL Picks Reflect the Bigger Pictures When NFL players say they can only take things one week at a time, they're not lying. The season is a grind, and if a player spends one minute looking ahead to the next week, he could end up on a stretcher.

Fortunately, spectators don't have the same limitations.

We can all take a step back, avoid the week-to-week hustle and take a look at the big picture. Part of that picture includes some noticeable trends:

  • The Saints seem to be able to find a way to win, no matter what. However, Sean Payton's decision to pass on third down with 4:48 left in the game and a three-point lead, then pass again on third down with 2:33 left and the same three-point lead doesn't bode well for any decisions he'll be making in the postseason. If you're playing Madden, pass away. If you're trying to win in the NFL, you run the ball. Fortunately for the Saints, they were only playing the Panthers.
  • The Patriots are finding a serious groove, and they've become the most dangerous 6-2 team in the league.
  • Aaron Rodgers will continue to get sacked. Consequently, you can never trust the Packers.
  • The Cowboys are perfecting their ascent to the top of the standings, which will almost certainly be followed by their plummet in December/January. Figuring out when exactly that will take place is really the only hard part.

Now, let's get to those picks.

(Home team in caps.)

SAN FRANCISCO (-3) over Chicago
Every week, Chicago continues to underwhelm me. Jay Cutler had his best game of the season last week, and the Niners might have played their worst, but there's just not been enough this season to have me believe in the Bears.

Buffalo (+6.5) over TENNESSEE
With or without Terrell Owens, it's unlikely Trent Edwards — making his first start since suffering a concussion in Week 6 — will be able to exploit the league's worst pass defense. Still, when a team loses a game 59-0, it's just about impossible to pick them to win a game by a touchdown.

New Orleans (-13.5) over ST. LOUIS
The Saints are due for a letdown game. This one, unfortunately for the Rams, is not that game.

MIAMI (-10) over Tampa Bay
Of the Dolphins' three wins, just one — a 38-10 decision over the Bills — was a blowout.

The Buccaneers, however, have seven losses, with the average margin of defeat just above 14 points. Last week, they sported the throwbacks and beat the Pack. This week, they won't have the creamsicles to save them.

Detroit (+16.5) over MINNESOTA
The last time these two teams met, Detroit held its own. Minnesota dominated the second half, but still only won by 14. As good as the Vikings are, they're not the blowout team that you can count on (they've won their seven games by an average of 10.9 points).

NEW YORK JETS (-7) over Jacksonville
If the Jets don't win this game coming off their bye week against an extraordinarily mediocre Jaguars team by at least 10 points, the season is over. I don't think the Jets are ready to fold just yet.

Cincinatti (+7) over PITTSBURGH

The Steelers looked pretty spectacular on Monday night. Ben Roethlisberger looked unflappable, and Rashard Mendenhall found plenty of open field to work with.

But with the short week and the consistency with which the Bengals have played all year (one stinker in Houston notwithstanding), it's hard to imagine Cincy won't at least keep this one within a field goal.

Denver (-3.5) over WASHINGTON
Denver was the exact opposite of the Steelers on Monday night. Kyle Orton, at long last, resembled Kyle Orton, and there was no running attack. This game against the Redskins is just what the Broncos need to end their two-game skid. And if there was any hesitation on this one, consider that Washington has won two games this year by a combined five points, and that the Skins are 1-6-1 against the spread this year and 2-11-3 in their last 16 games.

Atlanta (-1.5) over CAROLINA
Michael Turner started to heat up last week, and facing a Carolina defense that surrenders 4.4 yards per carry doesn't bode well for the Panthers.

Kansas City  (+1.5) over OAKLAND
You're better off spending $200 in scratch tickets than you would be betting on this game. The Raiders give up the 25th-most points in the league per game. The Chiefs give up the 27th-most.

The only number I like in this one is that even though the Chiefs rank 27th in points scored per game (15.8), they can at least manage double-digits. The Raiders' 9.8 points per game is just too pathetic.

Dallas (-3) over GREEN BAY
The midseason ascent continues, as the sack-happy Cowboys will have a field day with the Packers' inept offensive line.

ARIZONA (-8.5) over Seattle
I picked correctly on Seattle last week for the first time in 47 years. I also picked Arizona correctly for the first time in 53 years. Despite the fact that the two teams are impossible to predict (a combined 8-8 against the spread this season), Arizona seems like the safe pick, given its 27-3 win on Oct. 18.

If the Cards can win handily at Qwest Field, a win in the desert should be easy.

Philadelphia (+2.5) over SAN DIEGO
The Chargers have been thoroughly average all season long. Why would they stop now?

New England (+3) over INDIANAPOLIS

The Patriots are dangerous right now. Their offense is clicking and their defense is showing the first signs of life since 2004. Also working in the Pats' favor is the history of the series, which says the underdog has gone 11-3-1 against the spread in the last 15 meetings between the Colts and Pats.

Plus, with the Colts flirting with perfection, you don't think the Patriots want to do something about it?

Baltimore (-11) over CLEVELAND

Football fans, rejoice. You will be able to get a good night's sleep on Monday night as arguably the least exciting possible matchup takes place.

Last week: 6-7
Season:  68-60-1

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