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Thursday, December 14 2017

NFL predictions 2013: Week 10

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I would love to know what in the world went wrong for me last week so I can fix it immediately. Unfortunately it might not be so simple. I was just 8-5 straight up (88-45 overall) although that did move me up to 19 in the compiled pick’em so maybe it was just one of those rough weeks to project. It wasn’t impossible to expect the Jets beating the Saints who seem to blow games outdoors frequently against seemingly inferior opposition. Their fans better not expect to win the Super Bowl this year by the way.

 

 

The week started off on a bummer when the Dolphins upset the Bengals, but honestly I wasn’t stunned by that result either. I simply took the team on a roll over the team a skid. The Eagles rolling the Raiders though, with Nick Foles throwing 7 touchdowns after Philly mustered barely that many POINTS (10) the previous two games? Ouch. I can live with the Browns over the Ravens because I’m not going to pick a guy like Flacco to lose against a team he has beaten all 11 times he has played them. The icing on the cake was Aaron Rodgers going down on MNF to ruin my last pick.

 

It was really worse than this though because I went 4-9 against the spread (63-68-1 overall) to dip into the red. This makes me mad. All of those picks and more went wrong for me. The Steelers showed no heart against the Patriots whatsoever. The Bucs, on the other hand, played like it was the Super Bowl in Seattle for some reason to cover the points. I was burned by defensive scores when the Bills failed to cover against the Chiefs, and the Cowboys will only put teams away when I least expect it.

 

The only bright spot was the over/under at 7-5-1 (76-58-1 overall) but what a bad break I started off with the TNF game went to overtime tied at 20. Calling over 42.5 looked great at that point, only a tie or a safety would ruin it for me. Um, yeah, then the latter happened. This is why I do this for fun and entertainment. Some weeks it all makes sense and other weeks not so much.

 

Washington (3-5) @ Minnesota (1-7): What do the Vikings have left? No, really, is there anything in the tank? Two of the worst defenses in the league are getting together here, and while the Redskins at least have a fighting chance, their opponent is four games back of three division foes for even a wild card bid. They are done. It’s only pride on the line in front of the NFLN audience on TNF. Minnesota did show up last week in Dallas before blowing it at the end. Their defense has allowed 27-plus in all but one game, a 23-7 loss at the Giants. At least their offense has picked up scoring 54 over the past two weeks.

 

This figures to be a high scoring game. Washington has likewise allowed 24-plus in every game save a win in Oakland over Matt Flynn who was later cut by the Raiders. If these teams don’t both get into the twenties it will be a surprise. They are both allowing just shy of 400 yards per game, and just over 31 points on average. Most of the damage has come through the air. The Vikings actually can slow down the run a bit, and that’s key here because the visitors would love to run them right over. It’s unlikely to go down that way.

 

Instead I’m looking for an aerial show. Robert Griffin III will pick his spots to scramble. He might flash some speed on the turf too. Christian Ponder is fighting for his NFL future, at least as a starter, and just lost his safety valve in tight end Kyle Rudolph. I’m not sure he has the targets to compete in a high-scoring tilt although Adrian Peterson certainly helps. I just see points here, and a close game. Flip a coin really and I’m going against the home team because the visitors need it. Plus, Griffin is due for a primetime big win to regain some of his swagger: Washington 28, Minnesota 27 (MIN +3/over 49)

 

Philadelphia (4-5) @ Green Bay (5-3): The dynamic of this game shifted dramatically from what I would have predicted this past Saturday. Nick Foles slicing up the Raiders for 7 touchdowns and Aaron Rodgers breaking his collarbone has totally flipped the script on how this game is going to go. I’m usually really hard on backup quarterbacks, but this might be an exception. Seneca Wallace almost pulled out the MNF game against Chicago, a better team than Philadelphia. He’s at home against an awful defense, and has a running game to help him out.

 

It might surprise you to know Green Bay is second in the league running the ball (5.0, 148.6) and with James Starks healthy they have a 1-2 punch pairing him with rookie Eddie Lacy. Philadelphia has an average run defense, and their offense is predicated on a lot of possessions and getting into a rhythm. I expect the game plan for the home team to be playing keepaway. Wallace is a savvy vet and he can throw for a short third-down conversion or run to move the chains. Most of the time he will be handing off and having success.

 

The Packers can contain the run, and while their pass defense isn’t great I’m not that worried about an offense hoping Riley Cooper stays hot to keep the aerial attack going. DeSean Jackson is a problem, and so is LeSean McCoy, but they tend to be successful when the offense is pouring it on. It’s not like McCoy is going to run for 200 yards here and dominate, or Jackson is going to get deep for multiple scores. I’m on a bit of a limb here liking the Packers to man up for their fallen star and get this done: Green Bay 24, Philadelphia 20 (GB +0/under 47)

 

Jacksonville (0-8) @ Tennessee (4-4): I don’t read a lot of other prediction sources, but I do glance now and then. Someone who will remain nameless mentioned the Jaguars will be “all in” here with this being their best chance at a win this season. Um, what? Better than the currently 3-5 Bills at home in mid-December? Or when they play this same team on their home field a few days before Christmas when they might be out of the playoff hunt? Some people just don’t think. I’m not even sure this team wants to win any games. There is no “Suck for Luck” slogan, but they are battling with Tampa Bay for the right to draft quarterback Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville. Yeah, I know teams don’t lose on purpose. Sure they don’t.

 

The Titans aren’t losing this game. The only hard part for them is coming off a somewhat emotional road win last week against their former head coach Jeff Fisher, and getting an opponent rested off a bye week. It’s not enough. Tennessee has Jake Locker back at quarterback and is on the upswing. Jacksonville is without Justin Blackmon at wide receiver, and even with him for a few games is the league’s worst offense. This really isn’t that tough to figure out.

 

At one time Maurice Jones-Drew and Chris Johnson on the same field made for fantasy magic. Now it’s just not the case, although the runner formerly known as CJ2K might have a little left in the tank if last week is any indication, and partially as a result of being behind every week he’s facing the league’s (by far) worst run defense. I look at this as a walk. It’s true that Tennessee has a fairly soft run defense as well, but they can load the box. Their pass defense has only allowed 7 scores all year, and I don’t expect that number to grow by much if at all here.

 

On the season the Titans have given up some points, but they also played a string of good teams (Kansas City, Seattle, San Francisco – all losses). Coming back from London somewhat offsets the bye week break for the Jags, and they were hammered by the 49ers 42-10. It was the fifth time they have allowed 34-plus points and twice more they allowed 24-plus. I don’t see them doing too much on defense here, and very little on offense so this is pretty simple to call for me: Tennessee 24, Jacksonville 10 (TEN -11.5/under 41)

 

Buffalo (3-6) @ Pittsburgh (2-6): Well, the Steelers are pretty much finished now. I mean really done. It’s all over but the spoiling for both of these teams actually. The Bills might have had a chance to stay in the hunt longer if not for their quarterback and running back issues. As it stands we get two average offenses and two average defenses trying to decide which team is going to have the desire to win a meaningless game with nobody watching.

 

I like to look at run defense when making a decision like this. Pittsburgh has allowed the second most yards per game in the league, but the average per carry (4.2) isn’t as atrocious. Buffalo is in the middle of the pack with a number that isn’t dramatically better on each tote (3.9). The Steelers have their rookie Bell running hard, but as a team this year their rushing offense is bottom five (3.5, 73.6) while the Bills are seventh (4.3, 145.8) and seem to have C.J. Spiller healthy. They also appear to have E.J. Manuel ready to start at quarterback. I know I usually feel that Dick LeBeau is going to beat any rookie, but this might be an exception.

 

I really don’t know how to call this game. The Bills were feisty last week at home against the Chiefs, and quite frankly have been a thorn is pretty much every team’s side they have played all year. They are probably a bit worn down without a bye week thus far though, and this is their third road game in the past four weeks. The Steelers just endured three road games in four weeks, but two of them were east coast visits (Jets, Patriots) and they got the bye week to prepare for the stretch.

 

Still, they are coming off a thrashing at New England. Teams that give up a ton of points tend to play inspired the following week so I’m torn here. Pittsburgh is getting just their fourth home game and second since September 22. They were stunned in the opener by Tennessee, bombarded by Chicago and slugged past rival Baltimore in a squeaker. Not exactly a dominating history. Buffalo lost by double digits twice on the road, but they were in the game at Cleveland, and there’s no shame in losing 35-17 at New Orleans. It’s a tight game, and I’m rolling home team in a close one: Pittsburgh 21, Buffalo 20 (BUF +3/under 43.5)

 

Oakland (3-5) @ NY Giants (2-6): This should be an easy game to call. The Raiders can’t travel east and win a physical game against the Giants right? Considering the shape of their offensive line, probably not. Their defense has been terrific up until last week, but the confidence has to be shaken and if Nick Foles can throw 7 touchdowns against them what will two-time Super Bowl champ Eli Manning do? Oakland has already lost 37-21 to his brother in Denver, and speaking of the road they are now 0-3 although all of the opponents thus far will be in the playoffs.

 

I’m concerned about Oakland’s tackling and game plan here on defense. Do they have the personnel to take away everything Eli will do? They have been pretty uneven on defense with some bright spots like containing Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, also from the 2004 QB class, but the low spots are always what worry me. Plus, offensively they are still a mess. The backup tackle situation on both sides have ruined any chance of them putting up a lot of points. Their only trip past 21 all season was a 27-17 late night MNF tilt against the Bolts.

 

New York’s offense, come to think of it, has been just as flat since their opening 36-31 loss at Dallas. They have failed to post over 23 points in any game since themselves. Could this be a low scoring snoozer? On defense the Giants have certainly played much better over the past two games, holding Minnesota and Philadelphia to just 7 points each, on the heels of allowing 27-plus in all games of their 0-6 start. They also had a bye week to prepare for this one. Neither team is totally out of the race, but the Giants have a much better coaching staff and base of veteran talent. Combined with home field (and weather) advantage it’s too much to ask Terrelle Pryor to do here although for what it’s worth the offense is probably better with Rashad Jennings full-time and Darren McFadden out of the picture: NY Giants 23, Oakland 17 (OAK +9/under 43.5)

 

St. Louis (3-6) @ Indianapolis (6-2): I’m not sure what to make of the Rams at this point. They had a pretty good chance to be 5-4 by winning the past two games, but it was a lot to ask of Kellen Clemens to get that done. Now the danger is their season really spiraling downward. They are looking at going into the bye week 3-7 with a brutal final stretch of games including all of their division foes on the road, and all of those teams have strong defenses. They have to deal with Chicago and New Orleans at home, leaving the only weak opponent as Tampa Bay. At that, in week 16 the Bucs might be trying to get their first win. This could be a deceiving 4-12 campaign for these guys, and look for them to rebound in 2014 if they can find a quarterback in the draft. There are several available.

 

The Colts don’t have that problem. Andrew Luck is their guy for a while. It was an uneasy transition on offense without Reggie Wayne, but they took advantage of Houston losing their head coach at halftime and stole a win last week. That win was crucial because it effectively eliminated the Texans in their division, and kept them two games clear of the Titans who they have to deal with twice over a three game span coming up.

 

Can you tell the outcome here is a foregone conclusion? Jeff Fisher knows this division and he wants to win every game, but his offense is inept and it’s worse with Clemens. On the road in this environment against a very good team I don’t see them staying in the mix. His defense can get after it when they want to, but as I mentioned their season is pretty much lost. It’s tough to get going under these circumstances. Monday Night Football against the hated Seahawks at home is one thing, and this is quite another.

 

Indy is statistically a mediocre team, so let’s not get carried away calling for a blowout here. All they do is win. Their past two home victories were over Denver and Seattle in high-scoring thrillers. I see them getting into the twenties here, but on defense they are susceptible. I don’t know if the Rams have the firepower to hurt them though, other than Zac Stacy running hard: Indianapolis 28, St. Louis 17 (IND -9.5/over 44)

 

Seattle (8-1) @ Atlanta (2-6): Technically this is a revenge game for the Seahawks, who had their season ended here in the divisional playoffs. In my eyes that removes what would normally be a trap scenario. They want to beat these guys down. The Falcons are done. Two weeks outdoors was all they needed to experience to put a nail in their season’s coffin losing at Arizona and Carolina by a combined 61-23. At home, however, it’s not like they have been invincible this year. They had to squeeze by St. Louis and Tampa Bay by effectively a touchdown and those teams are a combined 3-14.  They lost to New England and the Jets.

 

Overall, Atlanta’s defense has been a disaster. Every team has scored 23 points on them. Russell Wilson has a makeshift offensive line in front of him, and no Sidney Rice, but I still like them getting high twenties in this spot. Seattle has had some tough games on offense on the road scoring a total of 26 in Carolina and St. Louis, but those teams play defense. They put up 23, 28 and 34 in their other road games with only Indianapolis being a shaky defensive unit among those three (Houston, Arizona).

 

On paper these offenses are equal, but in reality the Falcons can’t run the ball a lick and the Seahawks can straight up cover receiving options. Without Julio Jones or a powerful lead rusher I don’t see this offense doing much, and by much I mean anything. Matt Ryan better hope this team has a perfect 2014 draft because replacing Tony Gonzalez is impossible and they also need a starting tailback. His window might have shut. If you can’t balance the offense with rushing, as the Bucs did last week with Mike James, there is no hope: Seattle 27, Atlanta 17 (SEA -6/under 44.5)

 

Cincinnati (6-3) @ Baltimore (3-5): It’s gut check time for both of these teams. I keep waiting for the Ravens to snap out of their funk and play like the champions that they are, but after three straight losses I’m not sure it’s going to happen in this spot. Maybe the leadership of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed on defense is more important than we thought. I knew Lewis was big, and that’s why the Super Bowl run once he got back in the lineup didn’t surprise me even if his physical playing ability was in rapid decline.

 

Offense has been the issue for Baltimore, and it wasn’t supposed to be. They paid Joe Flacco like a guy who just had the best playoff run ever, and expected him to extend it to the regular season. He hasn’t. They have failed to reach 20 points in three straight and Ray Rice has his fantasy owners pulling their hair out. Just three times have they scored more than 20 points all season, and in today’s NFL that’s a huge problem. Teams generally need to score 24 if they expect to win.

 

Speaking of which, back to the defense, they have not allowed more than 24 points since the opener when Denver thrashed them 49-27. They are not bad, they just aren’t dominant, and the scales haven’t quite tipped for the team on both sides of the ball. Just a little more offense or defense and they could easily be sitting at 6-2 right now. Instead, they came out of their bye week and lost at Cleveland, a team Flacco had never lost to in his career.

 

Oh, and about those Bengals. This is a huge game for them. They are on a mini-bye having choked at Miami on TNF. Those are the games division champions generally pull out, but instead their four-game winning streak was snapped. In fairness, it was their third road game played in a span of just 18 days on the calendar so I should have seen it coming. The schedule makers weren’t really fair in that regard. Now they are rested and hungry to take the AFC North by force. Their offense is good for 20-plus on the road (four of five), but not too much more (27 high). Unfortunately the defense has been shaky in those spots allowing exactly 24 points in three of five games.

 

It’s a tight game in the low twenties I think, played with a lot of emotion. These defenses are both stingy (top-10) on the stat sheet and while Cincinnati has the better offense sometimes home field can offset that edge. Baltimore really struggles to run the ball, but the injury to rookie Gio Bernard levels that off too, and at some point Ray Rice is going to have a big game I would think. Let’s flip a coin and I think it’s time for the Bungles to be no more: Cincinnati 21, Baltimore 19 (CIN +0/under 44.5)

 

Detroit (5-3) @ Chicago (5-3): Last time the Lions really put it on the Bears in a game that wasn’t as close as the 40-32 final would indicate. They put up 27 in the second quarter and led 40-16 with five minutes to play before Jay Cutler threw a pair of touchdown passes while tacking on the two-point plays to make it look close. I don’t know if Cutler is going to return for this one, and I don’t think it matters because I’m looking for a revenge play here. It feels like this series is always a split.

 

Reggie Bush went off in the first meeting, but he’s better in a dome. Matt Forte seems to rise to the occasion in a key spot like this. Chicago can take the lead in the NFC North with a win here, and with Aaron Rodgers out indefinitely most believe Green Bay is done (I don’t) so this is a huge matchup. Detroit could effectively go ahead two games by winning this because they would have a season sweep. It’s a pair of top-10 offenses against bottom-8 defenses so another shootout is very possible.

 

The Bears haven’t been home in a month, and are going to get a huge boost from their fans in this critical matchup. They are 3-1 here having lost only to New Orleans, but all of the games have been tight and in three of those games both teams made it to 21 points. The other was the 26-18 loss to the Saints. So yes, there should be some points scored. The Lions aren’t as good outdoors on a natural surface we know this. They were swamped 22-9 at Green Bay, but managed wins at Washington (27-20) and Cleveland (31-17). Their defense has given up 21 points per game on the road, and that’s not bad.

 

I could go either way here. I like Matthew Stafford’s grit these days. His team is rested off the bye week and he goes up against a team on short week coming off MNF. The schedule makers shouldn’t do this, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker because of the home field advantage. I see the Bears fired up for this one. They just got a huge road win and resurrected their season after the disappointing 45-41 loss at Washington that included their quarterback being sidelined. I think they work the running game and grind this out: Chicago 24, Detroit 21 (CHI +2.5/under 53)

 

Carolina (5-3) @ San Francisco (6-2): The term “fool’s gold” comes to mind here. The Panthers are hot right now, there’s no doubt about it. Winning by wide margins is no easy task in the NFL no matter what team you’re playing. Just ask Seattle, who had to survive a 27-24 OT battle with winless Tampa Bay. Those same Bucs were just destroyed 31-13 on their home field by Cam Newton’s club. Over the past four games these guys have posted 30-plus points and won by at least two touchdowns, winning by an average of 33.5-12. They laid a egg in Arizona, and choked in Buffalo but otherwise have played very well all season.

 

Now they draw the 49ers, and that’s a huge step up in competition. Making matters worse, their opponent is off a bye week following a vacation in London where they thrashed Jacksonville. There is a mild distraction with the Aldon Smith situation, but I don’t see it as much of a problem. The only issue here is if San Francisco can score on this defense. Thus far, no dynamic offenses have stood in their way. It’s not like they are shutting down Denver, San Diego, Detroit, Green Bay and the like so let’s be realistic. However, it seems like Colin Kaepernick is manufacturing more points than yardage. Eventually that catches up to you.

 

It’s true that the 49ers have scored 31-plus points six times, but the stat sheet puts their offense in the middle of the pack. If they can’t generate yards here, their scoring opportunities will be limited. They also aren’t a great finishing offense against stout defenses. This concerns me a little. On defense they are a couple months separated from facing the good quarterbacks. For five straight weeks they played teams with lesser quarterbacks, and when they went against Rodgers, Wilson and Luck they allowed 28, 29 and 27 points respectively.

 

I’m not saying Newton is elite, but he’s closer to that than the bottom. Plus, Carolina has their full stable of running backs in tow with Jonathan Stewart joining DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert. With the middle of San Francisco’s defensive line vulnerable, this could be a problem. I see both teams wanting to run here, and physically dominate. Traveling and not being off the bye week really hurts the visitors in that case. They are worn down. I’m iffy on this pick because I remember what the Colts did here earlier in the season, but I think the 49ers are ready to turn in one of their elite performances in this spot: San Francisco 27, Carolina 20 (SF -6/over 43)

 

Houston (2-6) @ Arizona (4-4): Guys like Case Keenum remind us that the NFL should be fun. He would have been awesome in the old AFL playing for the Gamblers. Eventually, reality is going to set in and this could be the week. The Cardinals have a set of dynamic corners ready to test Keenum’s ability to fit the ball in tight windows. He has to be smart and take advantage of the week safety play, but that’s going to be difficult because his running game is in shambles. Arian Foster is done, and Ben Tate has busted ribs. Making matters worse, head coach Gary Kubiak is out leaving Wade Phillips at the helm, a guy who recently lost his father.

 

It doesn’t add up for the Texans here. They played a couple of good games with top teams (Kansas City, Indianapolis) but now there is tape on Keenum and they are hitting the road with virtually no hope of the playoffs. Enter the Cardinals, rested off their bye week and revved up for the second half as they push for a sneaky wild card bid. In their last month they beat red-hot Carolina 22-6, lost to San Francisco and Seattle, and smoked Atlanta 27-13. That’s not bad. They also have a win over Detroit, a team now tied atop the NFC North. These guys can play.

 

The key for Arizona is having Andre Ellington run hard. They have missed that element in their offense. This isn’t the type of team to be looking ahead, but Jacksonville (road) is next and they play Philadelphia (road) and St. Louis (home) later in the season. Seven wins is well within reach, and they have shown the ability to compete with the better teams in the league so anything is possible. Of course, Carson Palmer is their quarterback so maybe not, and this is that stat sheet’s favorite defense they are up against here.

 

I think Houston finally lets down here on defense though, as a continuation to their second half against the Colts last week. They have given up plenty of points this year because the offense put them in bad spots and I see that happening here. Once they fall behind, Keenum has to throw them back into it and in this hostile environment I don’t see it. I know he dealt with it at Kansas City, but with all due respect this might be a tougher place to play. I like the Cards here just a little because I see them running the ball and letting the other team make the mistakes: Arizona 23, Houston 20 (AZ -1/over 41)

 

Denver (7-1) @ San Diego (4-4): This is a much bigger showdown than people think. The Broncos come in without their head coach, and there is a reason Jack Del Rio is an assistant. The reason is that he was fired. His defense hasn’t been very good this year, and while he says Peyton Manning can handle the offense, his focus is going to be split. Plus, he has the tough calls to make over the course of the game if Peyton doesn’t take that over too. Heck, he might.

 

The Chargers have a serious offense, ranked sixth, and Philip Rivers is resurgent. He loves these spots and he’s got the home crowd at his back. It’s hard to say how much of an edge the Broncos have coming off their bye week because it kills their offensive momentum I would think. They roared in the second half to torch Washington 45-21 when last seen. San Diego got the Redskins last week, across the country, and lost 30-24 in OT thanks to a goal-line stand at the end of regulation that has offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt scratching his head.

 

Consistency always wins out for me, and San Diego’s offense has had some tougher spots relatively speaking in terms of scoring. They were held below 20 on three occasions including on this field against Indianapolis. I’m not sure if the defense that held those Colts and the Jags to 15 total points is going to arrive again, or the unit that has given up 27-plus points four other times this season. It’s nearly impossible to stop Denver, and they will be setting an NFL record for scoring this season. Their lowest output on the season is 33, and while it’s conceivable they go below that here I wouldn’t count on it.

 

Conversely, the Broncos give up plenty of points. Their low mark is 19 against the winless Jaguars. I also like the Bolts a bit because this is really their last stand. If they can win this game, a surprise wild card run might be within reach. Maybe it sounds crazy, but they would be two back of Peyton’s team that is without their head coach indefinitely and Denver has to play Kansas City twice in the next three weeks sandwiched around a trip to New England. Anything can happen. I still like Peyton too much, and he might feel as if this is “his team” even more with John Fox out. It’s his calls to make and he makes all the right ones: Denver 34, San Diego 31 (SD +7.5/over 58)

 

Dallas (5-4) @ New Orleans (6-2): It’s surprising for me to see the Cowboys in the middle of the pack offensively on the stat sheet until I remember they can’t run the ball a lick. These are obviously two very good passing teams, but neither has moved the meter on the ground. I’m not as worried about the Saints in that regard though because I feel like Pierre Thomas is ready when called upon. Not so much with the ailing DeMarco Murray who is really only a factor out of the backfield.

 

The Cowboys rest atop the NFC East, but by just a game over Philadelphia and with the Eagles playing the Packers without Aaron Rodgers it’s possible a loss here could see them in a virtual (they hold the tiebreaker head-to-head) tie after this week. Heading into their bye week all of their energy is focused here, as if it would be anywhere else with the SNF lights shining against an elite opponent. At times, it brings out their best. They nearly knocked off Denver last month, for example. However, they just struggled to beat Minnesota, a team with nothing to play for.

 

The Saints are upset. The Jets stunned them last week in Jersey. Rob Ryan lost to his twin brother (again) and now he faces off against the team that fired him. He knows the Dallas personnel and is going to relay that information to Sean Payton and Drew Brees. Think about the Super Bowl when Jon Gruden knew all the offensive calls, forcing Rich Gannon into five interceptions. It’s not like New Orleans needs any help. He says revenge won’t motivate him, but he’s lying.

 

This year New Orleans hasn’t lit it up offensively, but they have been steady in scoring 26-plus in five straight before last week. Their defense has held six foes to no more than 18 points and Dez Bryant is banged up. Dallas has scored 27-plus six times, but they have also given up 23-plus five times. If this one goes high scoring do you take Tony Romo? I don’t think so. He’s just not a finisher, especially on the road. I don’t think it even gets to that point. The ‘Boys enter their bye week with a thud, and quite frankly better hope the Giants don’t win two games they could (Oakland, Green Bay) because facing them with a 5-5 record while New York is 4-6 could get ugly in the Meadowlands: New Orleans 28, Dallas 20 (NO -6.5/under 54)

 

Miami (4-4) @ Tampa Bay (0-8): If you take away the records and look at stats, you might not know which team is winless. Both are in the bottom-5 for total offense. The Dolphins are actually below average on defense while the Bucs are right in the middle. Ryan Tannehill provides experience at quarterback, and it looks like Lamar Miller is ready to be unleashed, but rookie Mike Glennon has nothing to lose and Mike James is running hard. Anything is possible here.

 

There is also the matter of Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin and the bullying scandal looming over the team. The MNF spotlight will heighten it, which is purely a coincidence and an unfortunate one for the Dolphins. It had just broke when they played on TNF and squeezed out a huge 22-20 OT win over a good Cincinnati team. Now it has exploded and has to be a distraction. Or maybe they will band together, and I think that’s very possible. This is a short road trip and they are well rested. Tampa Bay just went up to Seattle an had their hearts broken after a great start to the game going up 21-0. They are spent as the losses pile up.

 

The Dolphins have given up 20-plus points every week since the opener when they beat Cleveland 23-10. The offense has scored 17-27 points in all of their games, and that’s mediocre consistency. In one respect it seems like their record should be worse, but it could also be better with some breaks. The Bucs have a head coach who will be fired any day now, and have allowed 27-plus points in four straight games. I have said it many times, the defense starts to quit on losing teams.

 

On offense, Tampa Bay has scored 20-plus in three of their past four, but is that really enough here? I’m not sure they can really stay with a Miami team with a lot to play for in this spot. The Dolphins aren’t going to a hostile environment and won’t be intimidated by any stretch. Yes, their head coach could also be in trouble as details of this bullying/hazing situation continue to come out, but on the field they are the more talented, better team. I think they should win this game: Miami 21, Tampa Bay 17 (MIA -1/under 41.5)

 

 

 

NFL predictions 2013: Week 10 | 22 comments | Create New Account
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NFL predictions 2013: Week 10
Authored by: dbsmall onThursday, November 07 2013

Thanks to a 9-4 week last week in straight-up picks, I am actually TIED with norcalfella at 88-45.

My picks for this week:

 

WAS - Minnesota looks bad.
 
BAL - I'm nervous about this pick.  But I'm thinking Cincy's offense will have a tougher go than you'd think.
DET - Also risky
GB - It's a system, not a QB
IND
SEA
NYG
TEN
BUF - I liked what I saw in the new QB for the 1st bit of last week.
CAR - Carolina is 5-3, and better than most folks think.
ARI
DEN
NO
 
MIA
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NFL predictions 2013: Week 10
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