Week 10 NFL Predictions

“Who downloaded All-Saints onto my iPod?”

I’m back with my picks for tonight’s NFL games having already missed the target on Thursday nights Redskins – Vikings match-up. Hopefully I’ll have better luck this evening, but with some evenly matched teams taking each other on there could a few close scores. I’m still working on an article regarding the Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin scandal, but with fresh news on the story breaking daily I’m holding fire until the details become a little less murky. Back to football, though, and here are my slightly less than expert predictions.

Seattle @ Atlanta

Sitting pretty at 8-1 the Seahawks are heavy favourites as they take on the underwhelming Falcons, whose season for all intents and purposes was ended when they were routed by Carolina last week. Even though Seattle aren’t quite as dominant away from home they should be able to take care of business, with the Falcons offense minus Roddy White and Julio Jones likely to struggle putting up points against the NFC’s top defense. Seahawks 24, Falcons 17

Cincinnati @ Baltimore

Like Atlanta, Baltimore has played well below expectations in 2013. However while the Ravens demise on defense could have been foreseen having lost stalwarts such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed the offensive struggles have come as a surprise with the Ray Rice led running game especially disappointing. The Bengals look to be the class of a weak AFC north, and they should reassert their authority in the division here although this could be a tricky road test. Having been upset in Miami, losing on a walk-off safety, it’s a test they’ll have to pass if they want to convince people they’re a team to be feared in January. Bengals 31, Ravens 21

Detroit @ Chicago

Aaron Rodgers broken collarbone immediately opened things up in the NFC north, and both the Lions and Bears have a chance to put some daylight between them and the Packers while one of the leagues top quarterbacks is on the treatment table. Jay Cutler is back for Chicago, whose win over Green Bay in the “Back-Up QB” bowl was mightily impressive. Chicago have the ability on defense to quieten the explosive Detroit offense, and that could be the difference at Soldier Field. Lions 24, Bears 30

Philadelphia @ Green Bay

Want to know the value of having a good reserve at quarterback? Watch this game, and observe the difference in quality between Nick Foles, who tied the NFL record by throwing seven touchdown passes last week, and Seneca Wallace. Wallace has good mobility but I’m afraid that’s not quite enough to get it done in the pass happy NFL and despite the Packers having a multitude of weapons at wide receiver and running back they should struggle to score on a vastly improved Philly D. Very rarely are the Packers underdogs at Lambeau Field, but sans #12 it certainly would be a surprise (to me at least) if they could pull of the upset here. Expect Philly to keep Dallas looking over their shoulder. Eagles 28, Packers 20

St. Louis @ Indianapolis

As bad as Seneca Wallace is, the Rams might actually have a worse understudy signal caller in Kellen Clemens. The Colts have had a fantastic season thus far and they shouldn’t be unduly troubled here. Andrew Luck led yet another fourth quarter comeback last week in Houston, but he shouldn’t have to produce those sort of heroics in what will likely be a one sided game as the Colts continue their march towards the AFC south division title. Rams 17, Colts 30

Oakland @ New York Giants

Coming off a bye last week New York will be aware that the NFC east is still up for grabs even though all three teams won in week nine. However following the Redskins surprise loss against the Vikings there will be renewed optimism in the Giants camp, and they couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to face coming out of the bye than the stumbling Raiders, who allowed 49 points to the Eagles last Sunday. I don’t necessarily think the Giants are a good team, but at home with a real incentive they should manage to scrape past Oakland. Raiders 18, Giants 21

Buffalo @ Pittsburgh

Bills QB E.J Manuel returns just in time to face the porous Steelers defence (didn’t think I’d be writing that sentence) in a battle between two struggling east coast teams. Both sit bottom of their respective divisions and are heavily flawed, but the key battle could come between the astonishingly poor Pittsburgh offensive line and the Bills pass rush led by former first overall pick Mario Williams. I expect the Bills to come out on top in that department, and as a result I’m stumping for them in a close encounter. Bills 27, Steelers 26

Jacksonville @ Tennessee

Will the Jaguars ever win another game? It doesn’t look like it right now, but the Titans represent a window of opportunity for coach Gus Bradley to earn his first NFL win. Yet as much as I love an underdog I still can’t see a road win here, and following a solid win against St. Louis last week the Titans led by running back Chris Johnson should move to 5-4, and in the process keep their slim play-off hopes alive. Jaguars 14, Titans 24

Carolina @ San Francisco

A mouth watering tie, the Panthers recent good performances have placed them just a game back of New Orleans in the NFC south while the niners sit a game and a half behind Seattle in the west. Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton are both from the new breed of quarterback, meaning both defenses, each one excellent, will have to account for their dual threat abilities. While San Fran are favourites I have a sneaky feeling that the Luke Kuechly led Panthers D will be able to shut down the 49ers read option attack in the same way Seattle did early on in the season. Road win. Panthers 28, 49ers 17

Houston @ Arizona

Case Keenum has impressed in his two starts for the Texans and deserved to pick up his first win against the Colts on Sunday night. However the Houston defenses inability to stop Andrew Luck leading a comeback dashed that notion, so this weekends trip to the desert represents another chance for the formerly undrafted rookie to get in the win column. Wade Phillips takes charge of Houston with Gary Kubiak recovering from collapsing during that ill-fated game against Indy, and I’m predicting the Texans will rally in the absence of their leader, as those same Colts did in similar circumstances last year. Texans 24, Cardinals 21

Denver @ San Diego

Another team who were on a bye last week, the Broncos rest may have come at a good time as they face the Chargers tonight before facing Kansas City twice and New England in the next three weeks. San Diego have really fallen off after a promising start despite the stellar play of Phillip Rivers, a run of form that is unlikely to be reversed in this one. Sadly for Chargers fans even if Rivers and co can lay 30 points on Denver and interim head coach Jack Del Rio it probably won’t be enough. Broncos 35, Chargers 24

Dallas @ New Orleans

Two teams who currently occupy play-off spots square off in the big easy, but after scrapping a win against Minnesota last week it’ll prove anything but easy for Dallas to pick up a road win tonight. The Saints were also below par last week as they were upset in New York by the Jets. However with one of the best home field advantages in football they should be capable of bouncing back with a win here, condemning Dallas to a 5-5 record. Cowboys 30, Saints 33

Miami @ Tampa Bay

What I really want to know is, who decided this game was worthy of a prime time audience? The Bucs are yet to win a game while the Dolphins are a picture of mediocrity at 4-4. Engulfed in the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin scandal it’ll be difficult for Miami to focus on football, and playing at home the Buccaneers should be motivated enough to win behind Mike Glennon’s arm, even with running back Doug Martin heading to injured reserve. Dolphins 14, Buccaneers 21

So there you are, take my picks as you will and let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments or on twitter @fredjstanley. Stay tuned for my article on the Miami Dolphins rookie hazing saga along with the weekly AFF podcast.

Teams on bye weeks: Patriots, Jets, Browns, Chiefs

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