|Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 12 touchdown passes over his past two games|
The tenth Sunday of the NFL season is upon us, which means it’s time for American Football Focus to make our predictions for the upcoming action over the next two days. Play-off races are in full swing, making each game as crucial as ever as teams gear up for the stretch run as they jockey for position heading into December. To find out what we think will transpire this weekend keep it right here.
Tennessee @ Baltimore
The two-win Titans travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens, who have slipped recently in recent weeks as they’ve been overtaken in the AFC North by the surging Steelers. However they should be able to achieve victory against Tennessee, who appear to be in rebuilding mode for what feels like the tenth season in a row. Expect Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett and Steve Smith to put more than enough points on the board as the Ravens move to 6-4 and keep their play-off hopes alive.
Titans 14, Ravens 28
Kansas City @ Buffalo
The Chiefs travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills in a match-up between two surprisingly competitive teams. Kansas City have rebounded from a disastrous start to the season to the point where they may be one of the best six teams in the AFC, while Buffalo’s decision to move from E.J Manuel to Kyle Orton at quarterback may have saved their season from nose diving. However without Fred Jackson and Sammy Watkins the Bills will find it difficult to score points on offense, especially with the KC defensive front wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines. Road win. Chiefs 21, Bills 13
Miami @ Detroit
The Lions are fresh off their bye following an unconvincing win in London over the Falcons, while Miami comes in hot after destroying San Diego 37-0. The Dolphins are probably better than most people realise, particularly on offense where offensive co-ordinator Bill Lazor has helped Ryan Tannehill develop into a reliable and potentially game-changing double threat quarterback. Detroit, on the other hand, are perhaps slightly overrated and could have, or even should have, lost to Atlanta two weeks ago. However they welcome Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush back into the fold this evening, and their defensive front matches up well with the Dolphins offensive line, so I’m plumping for a home win. Dolphins 21, Lions 27
Dallas @ Jacksonville
The Cowboys travel to London for the third Wembley game of the season, and fortunately for the ‘boys they should welcome star quarterback Tony Romo back to the starting lineup. The Jaguars have been occasionally competitive this season and perhaps the trip across the pond will inspire them to cause an unlikely upset – although it’s far more likely that DeMarco Murray and Romo will lead Dallas to a bounce-back victory after they were defeated in big D by Arizona last week.
Cowboys 30, Jaguars 14
San Francisco @ New Orleans
The 49ers are 4-4 halfway through their schedule, and unfortunately for niners fans their record is justified as they’ve produced a string of mediocre performances. Good defensive co-ordinators have game planned for Colin Kaepernick effectively, keeping San Frans #7 in the pocket and forcing him to throw the ball. Whether or not Rob Ryan and the Saints D have that kind of performance in them remains to be seen, but they’re near enough unbeatable in the Superdome as they showed last week against Green Bay, and the 49ers defense will have its work cut out to stop Drew Brees, Mark Ingram and the Saints high octane offense. 49ers 24, Saints 33
Pittsburgh @ New York Jets
Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 12 touchdown passes in the past two weeks, and he’ll fancy adding significantly to that total this evening versus the Jets porous secondary. The change at QB made by Rex Ryan made little impact to the Jets fortunes last week, and while Michael Vick is a better bet than Geno Smith he can’t play defense. New York are 1-8 for a reason; equally Pittsburgh are top of the tough AFC North for a reason. It could get ugly in MetLife Stadium as Big Ben hammers another nail in Ryan’s coffin. Steelers 31, Jets 16
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
The last time these two teams met Atlanta dropped 56 points on Love Smith’s defense, and while the Falcons haven’t won since then they’ll still fancy their chances against the one win Buccaneers. Smith has turned back to Josh McCown at QB at the expense of Mike Glennon, but the lack of a serviceable running game has hurt Tampa Bay all season as they home in on a top five pick in next April’s draft.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 13
Denver @ Oakland
This might be the biggest mismatch of the NFL season, with Peyton Manning and the Broncos taking on the lowly Raiders in Oakland. The Raiders have little going for them on either side of the ball and they’re yet to win this season, although they have fought valiantly since Tony Sparano took over as the teams temporary head coach. It’s unlikely to matter how hard they fight this week, however, as Manning looks to extend his all-time touchdown passing record.
Broncos 35, Raiders 14
St. Louis @ Arizona
Having already beaten Seattle and San Francisco, the Rams seek the NFC West trifecta in the desert as they take on the 7-1 Cardinals. At 3-5 St. Louis’s season is as good as over, although they still have pride to play for and are well within touching distance of the 49ers and Seahawks in the division. The upstart Cardinals should have too much for St. Louis in this encounter, however, particularly with Carson Palmer excelling in their vertical offense. Rams 17, Cardinals 24
New York Giants @ Seattle
The Giants visit Seattle in a game that could go a long way towards determining head coach Tom Coughlin’s future. Win and his team maintains a chance of making the play-offs; lose and their season is as good as over and the G-men will have missed the post-season for the fifth time in six years. Seattle don’t have the weapons on offense to unduly trouble the Giants defense, although Marshawn Lynch looked back to his best last week versus Oakland. It promises to be a low scoring tussle in the north west, and with Seattle banged up and New York on their last chance I smell an upset in the offering. Giants 17, Seahawks 16
Chicago @ Green Bay
Chicago have been one of the more disappointing teams in the NFL this season, with rumours of infighting plaguing them on their way to a mediocre 3-5 record. Things don’t get any easier for them this week as they attempt to beat their great rival Packers in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers looks to have overcome the hamstring strain he sustained last week in New Orleans, which is ominous for the talent-challenged Bears D. Bears 21, Packers 34
Carolina @ Philadelphia
Cam Newton leads the Panthers into Philadelphia for Monday Night Football, with the Eagles now turning to Mark Sanchez under centre after Nick Foles broke his collarbone in Houston last week. The drop off from Foles to Sanchez was minimal last week and if the same is true tomorrow night the Eagles should come out on top in this NFC battle. More notably, the Panthers run defense has been one of the NFL’s worst this season and LeSean McCoy has looked better and better as the season has worn on, which doesn’t bode well for Ron Rivera’s men. Panthers 24, Eagles 28
What do you think will happen in week 10 of the NFL season? Leave a comment or tweet @fredjstanley to have your say.