Following a great, 11-3 finish in Week 9, I had a solid, 10-4 Week 10. If it hadn’t been for a Mason Crosby missed field goal with 30 seconds left in the game against Minnesota, I would have matched my Week 9 mark. But, as a Bears fan, who can argue with a Packers loss?
Here’s a look at this week’s matchups and how I think they’ll play out.
Last Week: 10-4
This Week: 10-5
New York Jets (6-3) at New England (6-3)
I was unable to get my prediction published in time for this Thursday game.
Prediction: No pick.
Denver (5-4) at Atlanta (6-3)
There are two things going against the Broncos this season that will hurt them in this game. First, they don’t play with any consistency. They’re the Chiefs’ lone victory this season and yet they can look unstoppable at other times. Secondly, they have no defense. They’re giving up nearly 28 points per game — fifth worst — and they’re the only team in the bottom nine of that category with a winning record. I think Atlanta’s run game wears them down and keeps the offense off the field.
Prediction: Atlanta 24, Denver 22
Actual Score: Denver 24, Atlanta 20
Detroit (0-9) at Carolina (7-2)
I don’t see how the Lions can win this game. This is going to be a physical matchup and the Panthers should have a great deal of success running the ball and controlling the clock. It’d be a major upset to say the least if the Lions walked out of Carolina with the victory.
Prediction: Carolina 26, Detroit 10
Actual Score: Carolina 31, Detroit 22
Philadelphia (5-4) at Cincinnati (1-8)
This really should be a game in which the Eagles get in, dominate, and get out. Philly’s blitz schemes should hound Ryan Fitzpatrick all game and their run defense will make it hard on the Bengals to move the ball on the ground.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Cincinnati 16
Actual Score: Philadelphia 13, Cincinnati 13
New Orleans (4-5) at Kansas City (1-8)
This is my upset of the week. The Saints have one of the top offenses in the league and the best passing attack. The Chiefs have the worst run defense in the league on top of it. But the Chiefs have hung tough the past three weeks, losing by an average of 2.6 points against three of the tougher teams in the league: the Jets, the Buccaneers, and the Chargers. New Orleans is a very similar team to San Diego, in that they can throw the ball but have difficulty stopping it.
Prediction: Kansas City 24, New Orleans 20
Actual Score: New Orleans 30, Kansas City 20
Baltimore (6-3) at New York Giants (8-1)
Picking a game to watch opposite the Bears game will be difficult this week, but I might have to go with this one. The Giants are playing as well as any team in the league and only have one loss to their credit. The Ravens enter the picture with a solid defense and an offense that has been playing surprisingly well. In the end, though, I think the Giants’ home field advantage and their edge on offense gives them the victory.
Prediction: New York Giants 23, Baltimore 20
Actual Score: New York Giants 30, Baltimore 10
Minnesota (5-4) at Tampa Bay (6-3)
This will be another great game to keep an eye on this week. The Bucs are coming off their bye week and should be well rested, but they have to guard against being rusty. Their defense is 11th against the run and 5th against the pass, so it could be a long day for the Vikings’ offense.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Minnesota 17
Actual Score: Tampa Bay 19, Minnesota 13
Oakland (2-7) at Miami (5-4)
Miami has a very favorable schedule the rest of the way and some pundits are talking a playoff push for them. But that’d be difficult in the tough AFC East. But this will be a step in the right direction against a discombobulated Raiders team.
Prediction: Miami 23, Oakland 14
Actual Score: Miami 17, Oakland 15
Chicago (5-4) at Green Bay (4-5)
This may be the toughest Bears game to predict to date. In reality, the Bears should continue their recent dominance at Lambeau Field, but it’s their pass defense that scares me. So, here’s the prediction I offer: if the pass defense plays well, the Bears win. If it lets Aaron Rodgers torch them, then not even Kyle Orton and the Bears’ passing attack can save them. Since I have to make a prediction, I regrettably go with history, which has shown through 9 weeks that the Bears can’t defend the pass. May the Bears prove me wrong.
Prediction: Green Bay 27, Chicago 23
Actual Score: Green Bay 37, Chicago 3
Houston (3-6) at Indianapolis (5-4)
I think Indianapolis, while still having certain deficiencies, has begun to find a groove and are playing a lot better as of late. The Texans come in with a top-notch passing attack — fourth in the league in yards per game — but the Colts are 7th in the league at stopping the pass and always seem to play better defense at home.
Prediction: Indianapolis 24, Houston 16
Actual Score: Indianapolis 33, Houston 27
St. Louis (2-7) at San Francisco (2-7)
Mike Martz against one of his former teams. Who doesn’t like a good story line? But an even better story line is the way Mike Singletary had this team playing in their Monday night loss to the Cardinals. I like them to continue that hard work into this game.
Prediction: San Francisco 27, St. Louis 21
Actual Score: San Francisco 35, St. Louis 16
Arizona (6-3) at Seattle (2-7)
Here’s something to chew on: it seems like poetic justice that the official changing of the guard can take place this week between these NFC West opponents. The Cardinals clearly appear to be headed for a division title, and taking it away from the Seahawks in Seattle would be the perfect way to do it.
Prediction: Arizona 30, Seattle 23
Actual Score: Arizona 26, Seattle 20
Tennessee (9-0) at Jacksonville (4-5)
I’ve seen a lot of people predict this is the week the Titans lose their first game. And the Jaguars are definitely talented enough to make it happen in this AFC South matchup. But Jacksonville has been so shaky this season, which, unfortunately, makes them a difficult team to predict. So, this game depends on which end of the spectrum the Jaguars perform on. If they play well, they will get the upset and do it in convincing fashion. If they play average or worse, the Titans will move to 10-0. I’m placing my chips on the latter.
Prediction: Tennessee 20, Jacksonville 17
Actual Score: Tennessee 24, Jacksonville 14
San Diego (4-5) at Pittsburgh (6-3)
The Steelers were beat last week by the Colts because they were without Willie Parker and Ben Roethlisberger was banged up. Parker is supposed to return and Roethlisberger will likely play more efficient against the worst pass defense in the league. The Steelers’ defense removes all doubt with a solid performance.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, San Diego 16
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 11, San Diego 10
Dallas (5-4) at Washington (6-3)
I want to commend the NFL on their choice of Sunday night games through this point in the season. They’ve all been solid picks and if this continues, there’ll be no need for the flexible scheduling. Anyway, in this game, Tony Romo’s return makes it more difficult to predict this game. However, I think this game comes down to who stops the run and Washington is currently fifth in that department.
Prediction: Washington 24, Dallas 21
Actual Score: Dallas 14, Washington 10
Cleveland (3-6) at Buffalo (5-4)
I was burned last week when I put my faith in Cleveland and they blew a big lead in the fourth quarter. So, I should just continue to go with my mantra that the Browns — who, for whatever reason, were given 5 prime time games this year — are the biggest poser team in the league. Chances are, they’ll probably win this game because I’m picking against them, but I just can’t put any more faith in them. Even though they’ve lost 3 in a row, I’m going with the Bills.
Prediction: Buffalo 23, Cleveland 20
Actual Score: Cleveland 29, Buffalo 27