Week 10 NFL Picks: Chicago Bears and 5 Teams with Something to Prove
The Chicago Bears may be the team with the most to prove in Week 10 of the NFL season.
Despite a 7-1 record—the second best in football and the NFC behind 8-0 Atlanta—the Bears may be the team most forgotten about in terms of the elite teams in 2012. Chicago has an opportunity to change that mind set this Sunday.
The 7-1 (and also somewhat quiet) Houston Texans arrive in Chicago for a nationally televised, primetime game, which gives the Bears an opportunity to present their case as a top team. It also gives them a chance to prove the doubters right.
In the following slides, we discuss the Bears-Texans and some of other teams and games with the most to prove.
Chicago Bears (7-1) vs. Houston Texans (7-1)
For whatever reason, the Bears may be the least talked about 7-1 team in some time.
That reality will change in a hurry if Chicago can send Houston to its second loss on a national stage Sunday night at Solider Field.
The Bears would seem to have the perfect recipe for beating a balanced Texans team: The ability to stop the run (sixth in NFL, 88.0 yards/game), a big-play quarterback-receiver combination (seven touchdowns from Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall this season) and the potential for game-changing plays from either the special teams (Devin Hester) or defense (NFL-leading eight non-offensive touchdowns in 2012).
If the three come together Sunday night, the Bears will improve to 8-1—and people will be talking plenty about that.
Pick: Bears 24, Texans 20
Tennessee Titans (3-6) vs. Miami Dolphins (4-4)
Tennessee and Miami both have something to prove Sunday, but for very different reasons.
We'll start with the team in a more dire situation. Of course, that's the sinking Titans.
Following a 51-20 loss at home to Chicago Sunday, each member of the Titans—from coaches to players to the front office—were put on notice by owner Bud Adams, according to Tennessean.
The Titans' reclamation project—and frankly, a lot of job-saving—must begin in Miami Sunday.
The Dolphins have their own rebounding to do, especially following a road loss to the Indianapolis Colts that sent Miami back to .500. A surprising team, but a better team overall than Tennessee, the Dolphins need a win at home to get back in the AFC playoff hunt.
Expect a lot of points, but more from Miami, who rides Reggie Bush against the NFL's third-worst run defense (141.6 yards/game) and worst scoring defense (34.2 points/game).
Pick: Dolphins 31, Titans 20
Dallas Cowboys (3-5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
Will there be a game the rest of the season between two teams with more to prove? One could argue Eagles-Cowboys in Week 10 is the epicenter of backs-against-the-wall, prove-to-me-something football games.
First, the backstories.
Dallas has lost four of its last five, falling to teams (Chicago, Baltimore, New York and Atlanta) with a combined record of 27-6 through nine weeks. Three of those four losses were one-score games.
The Eagles have done one better, losing four straight games and five of six overall after a 2-0 start. The heat has never been hotter on head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Michael Vick and the rest of the Eagles.
Nothing less than a playoff push over the final eight games will be accepted in Philadelphia.
One would think the Eagles have the edge at home, but without an offensive line capable of blocking anyone (including the Saints, who came into Week 9 as one of the worst teams in sack percentage), Philadelphia will struggle to beat a Cowboys team that has been competitive with the NFL's best teams.
Defense gives Dallas the edge it needs to continue Philly's tailspin.
Pick: Cowboys 27, Eagles 17
Atlanta Falcons (8-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (3-5)
There are still doubters of the Falcons despite the NFL's only perfect 8-0 record.
The Saints, playoff hopes still alive, will have to prove capable of beating a good football team down the stretch to make the postseason.
Yes, there's still plenty in this NFC South matchup to prove, despite a five-game disparity in wins and losses between the two teams.
That said, Ryan has a defense he can lean on when times get rough, especially on the road. There may not be a ton of stops in this game, but the Falcons will get more than a still-struggling Saints defense.
Remember, the Eagles extended the Saints' current eight-game streak of allowing 400 or more yards (NFL record). Ryan will make it nine in Week 10.
Pick: Falcons 34, Saints 27