NFL Week 10 PicksPosted: November 7, 2014
We are not gamblers. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Some of these choices have actual thought put into them. More of these choices were made with gut, intuition, and a little thing called grit.
Employ these recommendations at your own peril. Gambling is ungentlemanly.
[Home team in caps. Lines, team rankings, and standings as of 11/6/14 (before the Thursday night game). All lines per VegasInsider.com consensus. Bye: Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, San Diego, Washington]
Dallas (-6.5) vs. Jacksonville (in London)
Dallas: 6-3, 2nd NFC East, #7 total offense, #10 scoring offense, #13 total defense, #9 scoring defense
Jacksonville: 1-8, 4th AFC South #30 total offense, #32 scoring offense, #26 total defense, #30 scoring defense
Derek: If we were an actual gambling website and I was under the impression that people were actually going to use these picks, I’d naturally recommend you wait until Tony Romo’s status is more clear. The line would undoubtedly change if we get another viewing of The Brandon Weeden Experience. Who would have thought three weeks ago that the Jaguars could potentially have an advantage at quarterback in this game?
Well, I’m going to assume Romo plays. Even if Jerry Jones has to enlist the help of Bud Kilmer, he’ll be out there. The Cowboys put their swoon on hold this week.
Will: Tony Romo is likely to play Sunday, at least according to noted medical expert and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. If he’s in and the Cowboys don’t trade Brandon Weeden to the Jaguars before the game, then I struggle to imagine the Jaguars keeping this one close. Their defense is frisky, but so are three-legged puppies. We’ve wondered when the Cowboys’ collapse will come, but I don’t see it happening this week. Dallas wins handily.
DETROIT (-3) vs. Miami
Detroit: 6-2, 1st NFC North, #20 total offense, #24 scoring offense, #1 total defense, #1 scoring defense
Miami: 5-3, 3rd AFC East, #11 total offense, #9 scoring offense, #3 total defense, #3 scoring defense
Derek: Lots of history in this Lions – Dolphins feud! The three games they’ve played since 2002 have been super interesting, probably!
This is a tough one for me. I can’t decide if these teams are overrated, underrated, or properly rated. I could be talked into all three.
It’s easy to overreact to Miami’s drubbing of San Diego, just as it’s easy to overreact to Detroit barely beating Atlanta two weeks ago. I’m going to try to resist the urge to do so. My unscientific reaction to the various opinions I’ve read or listened to is that everyone suddenly loves the Dolphins now. Well, not me. This same team got outplayed by Jacksonville two weeks ago and got shut out in Buffalo earlier this year. I’m going to need more than one impressive win over a team that seems to consider offensive line play optional. Plus, Megatron is back. Give me the Lions.
Will: The -3 line tells us that Vegas thinks these two teams are evenly matched, which seems about right given their comparable records and overall performance. This one is tough for me (though they’ve all been; I’m awful at picking games), and I would keep my money away from this matchup.
But we are gentlemen, and gentlemen pick ’em all. Calvin Johnson says he’ll be back this week, and that’s reason enough for me to go with the Lions.
Kansas City (-2) at BUFFALO
Kansas City: 5-3, 2nd AFC West, #21 total offense, #12 scoring offense, #2 total defense, #3 scoring defense
Buffalo: 5-3, 2nd AFC East, #24 total offense, T-#20 scoring offense, #8 total defense, #6 scoring defense
Derek: I don’t know. These teams seem like carbon copies of each other. I considered flipping a coin, but then I learned the Chiefs are 6-2 ATS this season. Yeah, okay, Chiefs it is.
Will: You inspired me to literally flip a coin. It came up heads. That means I’m taking the Bills. This is science.
NEW ORLEANS (-5) vs. San Francisco
New Orleans: 4-4, 1st NFC South, #5 total offense, #9 scoring offense, #20 total defense, #21 scoring defense
San Francisco: 4-4, 3rd NFC West, #23 total offense, #19 scoring offense, #2 total defense, #15 scoring defense
Derek: If memory serves, I predicted the 49ers would thrash the Rams last week. They proceeded to lose in hilarious (to a Seahawks fan) fashion. The Saints have been playing really well lately, and the 49ers seems to be imploding. The game is in the Superdome, and I only have to lay five points. Seems like a good bargain to me. I’ll take the Saints.
Will: I love that 4-4 is good enough to lead the NFC South. The Saints have won big each of the past two weeks, and San Francisco has looked awful the past two weeks. The Niners are flying east and playing an early game. Colin Kaepernick fumbled at the goal line, may be on the way to losing his mojo, and still looks like a douche nozzle. I too back the men of New Orleans.
BALTIMORE (-9.5) vs. Tennessee
Baltimore: 5-4, 4th AFC North, #8 total offense, #7 scoring offense, #12 total defense, #4 scoring defense
Tennessee: 2-6, 3rd AFC South, #29 total offense, #28 scoring offense, #23 total defense, #22 scoring defense
Derek: The Titans aren’t really getting lumped into the “this team is a dumpster fire” zone with the Raiders, Jaguars, Bucs and Jets. Maybe they should, though. They have three wins, and two are against Jacksonville.
The Ravens are coming off two division losses on the road. I think they’re going to look to make a statement in this game. I shall confidently select them to cover.
Will: I really, really, really want to take the Titans. Alas, Baltimore has taken care of business against bad teams. They beat Carolina 38-10, Tampa Bay 48-17, and Atlanta 29-7. They’re 3-1 against the spread at home, and have the best point differential in the AFC North. The Titans are 2-6-1 against the spread overall and have Zach Mettenberger at quarterback. Despite Zach’s swag, I’m taking Baltimore.
Pittsburgh (-4.5) at NEW YORK JETS
Pittsburgh: 6-3, 1st AFC North, #3 total offense, #7 scoring offense, #14 total defense, #20 scoring defense
New York: 1-8, 4th AFC East, #25 total offense, #30 scoring offense, #6 total defense, #31 scoring defense
Derek: Did you know the Jets have the worst turnover margin in the league at -15? And it’s not even close! Oakland and Jacksonville are tied for second worst with -10. We all know Pittsburgh has the capability to lay an egg, as they somehow lost to Tampa at home. That game also cost me money in a pick ’em pool, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway, Pittsburgh is on fire and the Jets suck. Somehow, the line is only Steelers by 4.5. I guess the odds-makers think the Jets will be inspired by all of their fans booing them. I disagree. Steelers roll.
Will: These apparent mismatches are making me nervous. Four and a half seems way too low. The Jets are 0-5 against the spread at home this season. They’ve lost eight straight, and their one win was against Oakland at home. They’ve lost by a touchdown or less just once in the past five games. The stadium will be calling for their heads. There is no reason to think that they can win this game, or even make it close.
But you know, if I’ve learned anything about life in the National Football League, it’s that you should expect the unexpected. There’s always one team that shocks everyone. Against all better judgment, and all judgment period, I’m going with the Jets.
Atlanta (-2.5) at TAMPA BAY
Atlanta: 2-6, 3rd NFC South, #8 total offense, T-#14 scoring offense, #32 total defense, #28 scoring defense
Tampa Bay: 1-7, 4th NFC South, #31 total offense, #26 scoring offense, #31 total defense, #32 scoring defense
Derek: If you place a wager on this game, you have a gambling problem. These teams are not good.
The Bucs are 0-4 at home (both straight-up and ATS).
The Falcons, on the other hand, are 0-4 on the road (both straight-up and ATS). They did cover in London, though that was a “home” game.
I guess … Matt Ryan is better than Josh McCown? Whatever. I’ll take the Falcons.
Will: Ew this game is gross. I like the Bucs here, though — their defense is kinda frisky, their 56-14 loss to the Falcons and 48-17 loss to Baltimore notwithstanding. Gerald McCoy is a beast inside, Lavonte David was All-Pro last year, and Atlanta’s offensive line is made of stale Play-Doh. Odds are I will regret this pick by the end of the first quarter, but I choose Tampa Bay.
Denver (-11.5) at OAKLAND
Denver: 6-2, 1st AFC West, #5 total offense, #3 scoring offense, #7 total defense, #16 scoring defense
Oakland: 0-8, 4th AFC West, #32 total offense, #31 scoring offense, #16 total defense, #26 scoring defense
Derek: The Broncos are coming off an embarrassing loss, so I’m sure they’ll want to right the ship in this one. The Raiders have faced three double-digit spreads this year, and covered two of them. The Broncos are 1-1 ATS when they are favored by 10 or more.
I certainly think the Broncos will win this game, but 11.5 points is too much. The Broncos haven’t looked as good outside of Denver. The Raiders seem to be trying harder since Dennis Allen got axed. I think Oakland covers.
Will: You’re right; the Raiders have been kinda perky since Allen got canned over the bye week! Sure, they’ve lost every game, but four of them have been decided by a touchdown or less. Khalil Mack is a wrecking ball who happens to play outside linebacker:
There’s nothing more dangerous than a team backed into a corner, except for nuclear weapons and airborne diseases and stuff like that. I back the silver and black.
ARIZONA (-7) vs. St. Louis
Arizona: 7-1, 1st NFC West, #23 total offense, #T-14 scoring offense, #19 total defense, #5 scoring defense
St. Louis: 3-5, 4th NFC West, #28 total offense, #28 scoring offense, #17 total defense, #27 scoring defense
Derek: The Cardinals should beat the Rams easily. Then again, the 49ers should have beaten them easily, too. It’s tough to pick this one because we don’t know which Rams team will show up. They seem to randomly transition between being competitive and getting embarrassed.
I’m betting we get the Crappy Rams because this is their third straight road game. I don’t feel good about it, but I’ll take the Cardinals.
Will: Hmmm. This is a good line. The Rams’ pass rush seems like their best chance to stay in this one, but the Cardinals have allowed only 13 sacks in eight games. Arizona’s defense has stifled opposing running backs, which could put the game in the hands of Rams QB Austin Davis. If those are the circumstances, I like Arizona.
SEATTLE (-9) vs. New York Giants
Seattle: 5-3, 2nd NFC West, #15 total offense, #11 scoring offense, #4 total defense, #10 scoring defense
New York: 3-5, 3rd NFC East, #18 total offense, T-#20 scoring offense, T-#28 total defense, #24 scoring defense
Derek: The Giants have to travel across the country on a short week, and have looked horrible in two of their last three games. Also, in last week’s pick for the Giants – Colts game, I wrote this: “(the Giants) haven’t done well against good teams. They’ve played four teams over .500, with four double-digit losses to show for it.” This was before the Giants fifth double-digit loss to a team over .500, in a game that was 40-10 in the fourth quarter.
Hey … the Seahawks are over .500! And the spread is less than 10! Add in my blatant Seahawks bias, and I can’t think of a solid reason to pick the Giants. I unsurprisingly pick Seattle.
Will: The Giants have been a warm pustule lately. Their only wins came against Houston, Washington, and Atlanta. Seattle’s homefield advantage is usually worth an extra point. Even when the Seahawks have lost, the games were decided by nine points or less.
GREEN BAY (-7) vs. Chicago
Green Bay: 5-3, 2nd NFC North, #17 total offense, #6 scoring offense, #25 total defense, #19 scoring defense
Chicago: 3-5, 4th NFC North, #13 total offense, #19 scoring offense, #21 total defense, #29 scoring defense
Derek: The Bears beat the 49ers in Week 2. That was pretty cool. They also beat the Jets and Falcons on the road. Hey, good on them for that.
Other than that, the Bears have alternated between “losses” and “terrible losses.” They’re 3-5 ATS and lost by 21 hosting the Packers earlier this year. Aaron Rodgers is coming off a loss, and the game is in Lambeau. Lots of reasons to take the Packers. I think I will!
Will: Absolutely no research from me here. Chicago’s defense has been bad, and Aaron Rodgers has had Prince’s aura around him lately.
PHILADELPHIA (-6) vs. Carolina
Philadelphia: 6-2, 2nd NFC East, #4 total offense, #4 scoring offense, #22 total defense, #14 scoring defense
Carolina: 3-5-1, 2nd NFC South, #26 total offense, #25 scoring offense, #24 total defense, #25 scoring defense
Derek: Woo boy, Cam Newton has not looked good recently. The Panthers have had lots of extra time to get ready for this game since they had the Week 9 Thursday game, but they’ve looked so bad that it’s tough to pick them.
To counter: I think it’s fair to say that Mark Sanchez could very well give us a Brandon Weeden Memorial “Hey, Remember How Bad I Am?” performance.
The Eagles have just looked so much more competent than the Panthers over the last few weeks. I may rue the day I stood with the Sanchize, but I’ll let Future Derek deal with that. Give me the Eagles.
Will: Six points, with the Sanchize? SIX points, with the Sanchize? Six points, with the SANCHIZE? SIX POINTS, WITH THE SANCHIZE?!
Too much for me to take if I ever want to have a chance at not hating myself. Go Panthers.