We’ve got ourselves an interesting little sports weekend on tap.
It’s not often the NFL takes a back seat, but that could be the case this week as The Masters is played in November for the first time in its illustrious history.
At the very least, Week 10 of the NFL season will have to share the front seat, maybe with golf wedged in that uncomfortable middle seat you’re really not supposed to use.
Regardless, the golf will give way to a very good late slate this weekend, highlighted by a pivotal NFC West bout between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks as well as a fascinating matchup of upstarts when the Arizona Cardinals host the Buffalo Bills.
NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian are back to make their against-the-spread picks for the entire Week 10 slate.
Here’s how they fared last week.
Mike Cole: 3-11 (61-69-2)
Ricky Doyle: 6-8 (61-69-2)
Andre Khatchaturian: 3-11 (60-70-2)
Now, here are their Week 10 picks, with all lines via consensus data.
THURSDAY, NOV. 12
(-1) Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Colts. Indy has a tremendous defense that should be able to slow down the Titans. Tennessee, meanwhile, can’t generate much of a pass rush and is unlikely to bother Philip Rivers, which is the easiest way to throw the Colts’ inconsistent offense out of whack.
Ricky: Colts. Indianapolis has done a nice job of limiting Derrick Henry in recent head-to-head matchups, and that’ll go a long way toward stalling Tennessee’s offense, which leans heavily on play-action.
Andre: Colts. Indy?s offensive line has allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL and the Titans have minimal pass rush. On the other side, Henry has to go up against a rush defense that has allowed just 3.3 yards per carry this season. The Colts lead the league in interceptions and are seventh in yards allowed per pass attempt.
SUNDAY, NOV. 15
(-5.5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Panthers. There’s not much to like right now about the Bucs, who might be without stud linebacker Lavonte David in what should be a rainy afternoon in Charlotte. Even without Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers should find ways to move the ball against a suddenly leaky Tampa defense and keep it close.
Ricky: Panthers. Sure, I’ll grab a divisional home underdog getting more than a field goal, especially when that team is quarterbacked by Teddy Bridgewater, who is 32-11 ATS as a starter in his career — the best mark of any starting QB since 2000, per CBS Sports.
Andre: Panthers. Despite their record, the Panthers have a positive yards per play differential. Five of their six losses have been by one possession. The Bucs have allowed the sixth-most receiving yards to running backs.
Houston Texans at (-3.5) Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
Mike: Browns. Cleveland might get Nick Chubb back this week, but even if not, Houston’s problems stopping the run and rushing the passer will be an issue against Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt and what’s left of the Cleveland offense.
Ricky: Texans. Mayfield returned to practice Wednesday after a brief stint on the COVID-19 list. So, maybe that quick hiccup — the product of him coming into close contact with a staffer who tested positive for the coronavirus — won’t impact Cleveland all that much. Still, there’s a chance it’ll affect the Browns’ reacclimation period after a Week 9 bye. And beyond that, Texans QB Deshaun Watson has played really well this season in spite of Houston’s losing ways.
Andre: Browns. This is a perfect matchup for Cleveland. Houston allows the second-most yards per carry, and the Browns thrive when they?re able to run the ball. Three of their five wins have come against the Cowboys and Bengals (twice), who are 30th and 32nd, respectively, in yards allowed per carry.
Washington Football Team at (-4.5) Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Mike: Washington. The Football Team turned it over five times last week and still almost beat the Giants. If they can just not do that this week, they’ll have a better chance against the Lions, who don’t force a ton of turnovers. Alex Smith getting a full week’s worth of starter reps will help, too.
Ricky: Washington. Rooting for the story — Smith’s first start since nearly losing his leg — more than anything else, but Washington should lean on its short passing game, most notably dump-offs to Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Detroit ranks 31st in receiving yards allowed to running backs.
Andre: Washington. Washington has a real defense. It ranks fifth in yards per play and its pass rush (second in sack rate) will cause problems for Matthew Stafford. Finally, Washington’s offense cracked the 400-yard mark for the first time with Smith starting last week. He threw three bad interceptions, but give him a break. He suffered a gruesome injury and missed a lot of time. He’ll settle in this week against a Lions team which ranks 30th in coverage on PFF.
Jacksonville Jaguars at (-13.5) Green Bay Packers
Mike: Jaguars. The Packers just haven’t been profitable as massive favorites, failing to cover each time they’ve been favored by 13 or more since 2012. The big reason for that? The defense. Can’t trust them here, either, even against the Jags.
Ricky: Packers. The Jaguars have the NFL’s worst pass defense, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and now have a date with Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. While Green Bay’s defense has been inconsistent, it’ll at least have a week of NFL film on rookie sixth-round quarterback Jake Luton, who’s destined to flop at Lambeau Field after holding his own in his debut against Houston.
Andre: Packers. Jacksonville’s biggest strength is its running attack against the mediocre Packers rush defense. Too bad the Jaguars always are trailing, and as a result have the second-fewest rush attempts. Expect Jacksonville to fall behind early in this one again. The Jags allow the second-most yards per pass attempt — not a good recipe for success when going up against Rodgers.
(-3.5) Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Mike: Eagles. The Giants have been frisky of late, but Philly finally is getting healthy coming out of the bye and looks ready to take full advantage of an atrocious NFC East.
Ricky: Giants. These NFC East matchups, man. Can you blame me for holding my nose and taking the points?
Andre: Eagles. Philly’s pass rush is one of the best in the league (third in sack rate) and the Giants have allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL. Give the Eagles credit, too. They’re coming off back-to-back wins after losing to the Ravens and Steelers by a combined 11 points.
Buffalo Bills at (-2) Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Cardinals. Similar to a few weeks ago against Seattle, expect Arizona to limit Buffalo’s big-play potential (the Cardinals are sixth in explosive pass plays allowed). Arizona should find success on the ground with the Bills’ defense ranking last in early-down success rate, which also is a big reason Buffalo is 23rd in the NFL in third-down defense.
Ricky: Cardinals. Game flow and injuries prevented Seattle from exposing Buffalo’s shoddy run defense last week, but that won’t be the case when the Bills visit the desert. Kyler Murray and Chase Edmonds must be licking their chops.
Andre: Cardinals. The metrics love the Cardinals. They’re fourth in yards per play differential and second in yards per play. They rank second in yards per carry, love to run the ball (fourth in rush attempts) and are going up against a Bills team that ranks 32nd in rush defense on PFF.
Denver Broncos at (-4.5) Las Vegas Raiders, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Broncos. Denver, even without Von Miller, ranks third in pressure rate this season, and Derek Carr has a sub-70 passer rating when under pressure. The Broncos also seem to improve as games go on, and they should have their chances against the Raiders’ defense, which still isn’t very good.
Ricky: Raiders. Jerry Jeudy is hitting his stride in the Broncos’ offense. Maybe this is the week fellow rookie wideout Henry Ruggs III flashes his potential?
Andre: Broncos. This could be a huge trap game for Las Vegas, which plays Kansas City in Week 11. Denver won’t have any trouble moving the ball against the Raiders, who rank 31st in coverage on PFF. On the flip side, the Broncos rank third in that category. Denver’s losses have come against some tough teams: Chiefs, Bucs, Steelers and Titans. The Broncos are better than their record suggests.
Los Angeles Chargers at (-2.5) Miami Dolphins, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Dolphins. Injuries abound for the Chargers, especially on offense and especially on the line, which figures to be a slight issue with how Brian Flores has his Miami defense playing right now.
Ricky: Dolphins. The Fins trail only the Rams in terms of expected points contributed by their pass defense, per Pro Football Reference. And you can bet Tua Tagovailoa will be extremely motivated to prove Miami made the right move by drafting him ahead of Justin Herbert, a decision some started to question amid Herbert’s early-season success.
Andre: Chargers. The Dolphins have allowed the fourth-fewest points, but to say they have a great defense is misleading. They had a shutout against the Jets and held the Jaguars to 13 points. In the last two weeks, their defense has allowed a combined 913 yards against the Rams and Cardinals. The team also ranks 26th in yards per play differential behind Dallas. They limit points by forcing turnovers (fourth-most) and turnovers on downs (third-most). Herbert does a pretty good job of protecting the football. The Chargers either will win or cover the spread in another heartbreaking loss.
Seattle Seahawks at (-1.5) Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Rams. The key to slowing down the Rams is to pressure Jared Goff, who has a 38.9 passer rating under pressure, but Seattle ranks 22nd in pressure rate. LA is very good on early downs and should have plenty of success against an injury-riddled Seahawks defense. Oh, and the Rams’ defense is pretty good itself (first in EPA/play allowed).
Ricky: Rams. Los Angeles’ defense ranks first in net yards allowed per drive (26.5), first in points allowed per drive (1.50) and fourth in plays allowed per drive (5.7). Seattle’s defense ranks dead-last in net yards allowed per drive (40.1), 25th in points allowed per drive (2.67) and 29th in plays allowed per drive (6.7). The Rams’ offense, which is third in yards after catch (YAC) per completion, simply will wear out the Seahawks’ defense, which surrenders the third-most YAC in the NFL.
Andre: Rams. The metrics suggest the Rams will be able to slow down Russell Wilson: They rank fifth in coverage on PFF and fifth in pass rush, and they allow the fewest yards per pass attempt in the NFL. Seattle’s defense is on pace to allow 5,794 passing yards this season, which would shatter the NFL record by about 1,000 yards. Jared Goff should have no problem against Seattle’s woeful secondary.
San Francisco 49ers at (-9) New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Saints. It’s square, the whole world is going to be on it, and the Saints are primed for a letdown. But I’m a man of my convictions, and I do believe New Orleans will stomp all over the Niners here.
Ricky: 49ers. The Saints just peaked, while the Niners just hit rock bottom. That’s obviously going to skew public perception — and in turn the line — so there’s seemingly some value here, especially with San Francisco possibly getting back help on offense (Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk).
Andre: Saints. San Francisco wasn’t able to establish a rushing attack in its last two games and lost both. The 49ers are going to need to be able to run the ball to succeed, but New Orleans ranks third in yards allowed per carry.
Cincinnati Bengals at (-7) Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Bengals. Ben Roethlisberger has a knee injury and has spent at least part of the week on the COVID list, so that’s not great. Pittsburgh is also just 5-8 against the spread when favored by seven or more dating back to 2017.
Ricky: Bengals. The Big Ben situation scares me. As does Joe Burrow’s propensity for covering, either the traditional way or by sneaking in the back door.
Andre: Steelers. The Big Ben situation won’t impact this game. Pittsburgh will win this game easily because of its elite pass rush, which is going up against a Bengals offensive line that has allowed the second-most sacks. The Steelers also are the only NFL team to have held opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage below 60%.
(-7) Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. There was nothing in the Patriots’ win over the Jets that was overly impressive, while Baltimore conversely was extremely impressive against Indianapolis. This is a bad matchup for New England, which certainly will try to take away the running game, but it’s worth wondering whether the Patriots have the horses to do so.
Ricky: Ravens. Baltimore is far more explosive on both sides of the ball. We saw what happened in 2019, when Lamar Jackson and Co. completely changed the trajectory of New England’s season, and the talent gap between the teams is even wider now.
Andre: Ravens. New England barely beat a woeful Jets team because the Patriots just aren’t very good. They allow the most yards per pass attempt in the NFL and are ranked 31st in rush defense on PFF.
MONDAY, NOV. 15
(-2.5) Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Bears. Saw some great stats from VSiN’s Josh Appelbaum, who pointed out divisional underdogs and primetime dogs are covering at a ridiculous rate. Chicago checks both of those boxes, so that’s good enough for me against a Vikings team with exactly one “good” win.
Ricky: Bears. The Vikings have to exorcise too many demons — Kirk Cousins is 0-9 SU on “Monday Night Football” and Minnesota has lost 16 of its last 19 games at Solider Field — to feel good about laying points here. Bank on Chicago’s defense stepping up when it matters.
Andre: Vikings. I’m not buying into the Kirk Cousins “MNF” narrative. So just because it’s a Monday night, Cousins automatically is going to lose? It’s just a coincidence. Cousins actually ranks first in yards per pass attempt. The Vikings, as a whole, are better than their record suggests. They’ve had some tough losses against strong opponents, like the Packers, Colts, Titans and Seahawks. They rank first in yards per play and sixth in yards per play differential. And I still haven’t even mentioned Dalvin Cook.