Week 10 in the NFL is upon us, meaning every team in the league has played at least half its slate.
So, what do we know? Well, not a whole lot just yet. But as the weather gets downright cold — and even snowy — we’re really about to learn who’s for real and whose season is about to fall apart like the general psyche and wellbeing of us all as days become shorter and shorter and shorter.
On that bright note, NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian are back with their weekly against-the-spread picks.
Here’s how they fared last week.
Mike Cole: 8-5-1 (69-64-2 overall)
Ricky Doyle: 4-9-1 (73-60-2)
Andre Khatchaturian: 7-6-1 (66-67-2)
Here are their Week 10 picks.
THURSDAY, NOV. 7
(-1) Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders, 8:20 p.m. ET
Mike: Raiders. I think the Raiders are maybe actually good? Either way, I’ll take the point at home on a Thursday night in the division when everyone thinks the Chargers have all of a sudden completely turned things around.
Ricky: Raiders. Oakland still has issues defensively, but the offense looks legit, ranking third in the NFL in yards per play (6.2), behind only the Cowboys (6.7) and Chiefs (6.6). Expect Josh Jacobs to feast against Los Angeles’ run defense.
Andre: Chargers. Oakland has allowed the most air yards, third-most YAC and second-most yards per pass attempt. The Chargers’ weakness this season has been their rushing game, but that won’t matter this week with Philip Rivers, who will take advantage of the Raiders’ terrible pass defense.
SUNDAY, NOV. 10
Arizona Cardinals at (-4.5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Cardinals. Arizona has been very careful with the football — the fewest turnovers in the league — while only the Giants have turned it over more than Tampa. The Cardinals also have a considerable rest advantage after playing Thursday, while the Bucs played an overtime slugfest in Seattle.
Ricky: Cardinals. Starting to love the Cardinals as an underdog pick each week, as they’re simply a pain in the buttocks. The Bucs’ stout run defense will make life difficult for the Cardinals’ offense, but Kliff Kingsbury will be creative enough in his playcalling to exploit Tampa Bay’s deficiencies in coverage.
Andre: Cardinals. Protecting the football will be a huge key in this one. Arizona has the fewest giveaways this season with just four (including zero fumbles), while Tampa Bay has coughed up the ball 18 times as Jameis Winston leads the league in picks.
Atlanta Falcons at (-13) New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Mike: Saints. There’s literally no reason to pick the Falcons other than the fact there’s no reason to pick the Falcons. But whatever. They stink.
Ricky: Saints. The Falcons stink on the road, going 4-16 ATS in their last 20 away games. The Saints, meanwhile, are a solid home bet. Plus, Atlanta is just plain awful defensively, making this an easy choice in favor of New Orleans.
Andre: Saints. Dirty bird can’t fly with a broken wing. Atlanta has no pass rush (last in sacks) and the Saints do a pretty good job of protecting the quarterback. The Falcons also have just four takeaways this season. Not good news when going up against Drew Brees.
(-10) Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. I think Baltimore is good. If Baltimore is good, it should blow out a hapless Bengals team with a quarterback making his first career start and a run defense that’s allowed 200-plus rushing yards four times this season and allowing an average of 212 yards over the last four games.
Ricky: Ravens. At first glance, this seems like a letdown spot for the Ravens after their win over the Patriots. But it’s hard to back a rookie quarterback, Ryan Finley, who doesn’t have much to work with on an overall crappy team.
Andre: Ravens. The league’s best rushing team takes on the NFL’s worst rush defense in terms of rushing yards allowed. Cincinnati has allowed 45 explosive rush plays, according to Sharp Football — 11 more than any other team.
Buffalo Bills at (-3) Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
Mike: Browns. The Browns aren’t particularly good, they’re bad even, but they should find some rushing success against a Buffalo team giving up nearly 5 yards per carry the last three weeks, especially with Kareem Hunt returning from suspension.
Ricky: Bills. Still not comfortable laying points with the Browns, whose knack for shooting themselves in the foot is kinda impressive.
Andre: Bills. Buffalo might struggle slowing down Cleveland’s running attack, but it’s difficult to establish the run game when you’re turning the ball over all the time. Cleveland has a minus-8 turnover differential and if they fall behind they’re in trouble because opposing quarterbacks have a 74.8 passer rating against the Bills this season.
Detroit Lions at (-2.5) Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bears. Call me crazy, but I think the Chicago offense finally gets right here against a Detroit defense that is allowing 442 yards per game since Week 4. And as good as Matthew Stafford has been, the Bears ate his lunch last year (71.4 passer rating, eight sacks) in their two meetings.
Ricky: Bears. Chicago will bench Mitchell Trubisky and ride Chase Daniel (and its defense) to victory. Book it.
Andre: Bears. The Lions have allowed more than 100 rushing yards in seven of their eight games this season. If the Bears establish a run game and take pressure off Trubisky, they’ll be able to win this one easily. Their defense is elite. No quarterback has had a 300-yard game against Chicago this season.
(-6) Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.
Mike: Titans. It looks like Patrick Mahomes will be back, but he’s still less than a month removed from dislocating his dang knee. He’s probably not going to be up to full speed just yet, and I can’t help but think KC’s stout run defense last week was an aberration. The Titans will run on them and at least keep it close.
Ricky: Chiefs. Kansas City’s pass rush looks vastly improved, thanks in large to the return of Chris Jones. That’s a huge development for a team that didn’t show many strengths on the defensive side early in the season, and Mahomes and Co. should rack up enough points offensively against a Titans defense that will be without Malcolm Butler moving forward.
Andre: Chiefs. The Chiefs are seventh in sacks and the Titans offensive line has allowed a league-high 38 sacks this season. Kansas City’s biggest weakness is their run defense, but the Titans average fewer than four yards per carry.
(-2.5) New York Giants at New York Jets, 1 p.m.
Mike: Giants. While the Giants have turned it over more than anyone else, the Jets are bad in the red zone, bad on third down, don’t protect the quarterback, can’t really rush the passer and have the NFL’s worst touchdown efficiency rate. Also, Adam Gase is their head coach.
Ricky: Jets. If losing to the Dolphins last week isn’t a wake-up call, then what are we even doing here?
Andre: Jets. As Mike highlighted, the Jets are bad at a lot of things, but their rush defense is strong, holding opponents to a league-best 3.1 yards per carry. The Giants pass defense is also awful as they allow a league-high 8.9 yards per pass attempt.
Miami Dolphins at (-10) Indianapolis Colts, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Colts. The Dolphins have been friskier lately, but the Colts have a chance to dominate up front on both sides of the ball here. Also not gonna focus too much on the Colts’ QB situation because, really, how much worse is Brian Hoyer than Jacoby Brissett? Probably less than we’re acknowledging.
Ricky: Dolphins. Speaking of those Dolphins, they fight hard, if nothing else. So I’ll take the points against a team still trying to figure out who will be playing quarterback come kickoff.
Andre: Dolphins. Every Colts game this year has been decided by one possession. They likely win, but a banged-up (or absent) Brissett will be the reason why this game is close.
Carolina Panthers at (-5.5) Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Panthers. The Packers’ defensive issues won’t seem to go away, especially when it comes to stopping the run in any situation but especially short-yardage. Now, they have to stop the most talented back in the league. Also, the public still seems to be on the Packers here, but the line is shifting in favor of the Panthers.
Ricky: Panthers. Only four teams (Texans, Titans, Redskins, Bears) have allowed more receptions to running backs than the Packers this season. Green Bay also ranks 26th in DVOA against the run, per Football Outsiders. So, Christian McCaffrey should have a day. Again.
Andre: Panthers. Ricky made a lot of cogent arguments. Also, don’t forget about the Panthers’ pass rush. They lead the league in sacks and even though Aaron Rodgers is good under pressure, it’s better that he is pressured than not, right?
(-3.5) Los Angeles Rams at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. Minkah Fitzpatrick has revived the Steelers, as opposing QBs have just a 74.6 in the six games since he’s been acquired. Could be a tough one for Jared Goff, especially if Brandin Cooks (concussion) can’t go.
Ricky: Steelers. Of 30 quarterbacks with at least 200 dropbacks, Jared Goff ranks 26th in completion percentage, 25th in adjusted completion percentage and 21st in passer rating when facing pressure. The Steelers just so happen to have the NFL’s best pass rush, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades, while the Rams rank 29th in pass blocking. It could be a long day for Los Angeles’ offense if Pittsburgh stands tall against the run early.
Andre: Steelers. Pittsburgh has allowed the fewest yards per play since Week 4. The Steelers also lead the league in pressures and are second in takeaways. As Ricky highlighted, Goff has struggled this year and going on the road in a hostile environment should spell trouble for the young quarterback. I’m confident enough to take the Steelers outright in this one.
Minnesota Vikings at (-3) Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Cowboys. Dallas has the NFL’s No. 3 third-down defense at home, so this could be a good matchup for them, given the Vikings’ 18th-ranked early-down success rate. The Cowboys also proved Monday night they’re capable of bottling up running backs, holding Saquon Barkley to 28 yards.
Ricky: Cowboys. This is where we remind you that Kirk Cousins is 6-28 SU vs. teams with winning records and 0-10-1 SU as the Vikings’ quarterback when trailing at any point in fourth quarter. The Cowboys will control the line of scrimmage and grind out a win against a team that always seems to disappoint in pressure-packed situations.
Andre: Cowboys. Since Week 6, the Vikings have allowed 5.5 yards per carry — the most in the league. The Cowboys are 5-1 with Tyron Smith in the lineup with their only loss being a road game at New Orleans. Ezekiel Elliott should be able to eat apart the Vikings defense.
MONDAY, NOV. 11
Seattle Seahawks at (-6) San Francisco 49ers, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: 49ers. Russell Wilson has shredded defenses this year, but those defenses keep making the same mistake by blitzing him. Wilson’s 118.2 passer rating vs. the blitz is among the best in the league, but San Francisco has been able to get to the QB without sending extra guys — the Niners’ blitz rate is the NFL’s third-lowest.
Ricky: Seahawks. Not to take anything away from the 49ers’ pass defense, but San Francisco has faced a soft slate of quarterbacks to this point, and Russell Wilson is on a whole other level right now. That said, Seattle should lean on its ground game, with San Francisco ranking 29th against the run, per Pro Football Focus’ grades. The ‘Hawks also take care of the football, sitting third in the league in turnover differential (+7).
Andre: 49ers. Seattle ranks 28th in pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus, and the 49ers have 30 sacks this year. The Seahawks are essentially a one-man show with Russell Wilson, who should be the MVP this season, but even he won’t be able to overcome the stingy San Francisco defense. The Seahawks have also allowed the third-most receiving yards to tight ends, so watch out for George Kittle.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images