NFL Week 10 Picks: Game by Game Predictions & More
Arian Foster and the Houston Texans take their show on the road to face the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Week 10—the biggest game of the week and the toughest one to predict.
More than halfway through the 2012 NFL season, the contenders and pretenders are emerging with vivid clarity, but as we all know, anything can happen on any given Sunday. Even the best teams are capable of laying an egg every now and then—a fact that makes contests like the Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers more interesting than you might think.
This week's slate of games will provide us with some blowouts, some nail-biters and at least one epic upset.
Follow along as we pick every game on the schedule, along with a bold prediction for each contest.
Colts at Jaguars
Prediction: Colts win 23-17
The road team has only won two games thus far on Thursday Night Football, but I'm not betting against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts this week against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.
If Maurice Jones-Drew were available, I'd be singing a different tune.
Rashad Jennings has proven to be a poor replacement, and the Jags' rushing attack has only produced two touchdowns all season long. As a result, Blaine Gabbert has been forced to be the focal point of the offense—not a winning game plan.
Something extra: Vick Ballard will rush for 100-plus yards and a touchdown.
Giants at Bengals
Prediction: Giants win 31-21
It's not fair that the Cincinnati Bengals have to face both Manning brothers in consecutive weeks, but that's what happened.
The Bengals have lost four straight games, and the streak won't be broken in this contest.
After Eli Manning's struggles against the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers—two of the best teams at defending against the pass—the Bengals' questionable secondary will provide the proper balm to heal his wounds.
On the other side, Andy Dalton has yet to have an interception-free outing so far in 2012, and I don't expect that to change against the New York Giants (No. 1 in the NFL with 17 interceptions).
Something extra: Domenik Hixon will catch five-plus passes for 80-plus yards and a touchdown as Hakeem Nick continues to struggle with his health.
Titans at Dolphins
Prediction: Dolphins win 27-21
After getting burned by the Indianapolis Colts last week, the Miami Dolphins are ready for a little redemption.
The Tennessee Titans were hammered by the Chicago Bears, but that wasn't exactly a big surprise. This team can't defend against the run or the pass, and a team without defense and a sub-par offense isn't going to win much in the NFL.
Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas will run wild at home, and the Titans defense will surrender a few big plays to Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins receivers.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, have one of the league's best run defenses, and Chris Johnson will be stymied all game long.
Something extra: Bush will have 150-plus all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Lions at Vikings
Prediction: Lions win 31-17
This game brings together two teams heading in opposite directions.
The Detroit Lions have won three of their last four games, while the Minnesota Vikings have lost three of their last four.
The Lions defense will feast on Christian Ponder, who has regressed badly since starting out the season on fire.
As we've seen lately from the Lions, Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell will get plenty of carries in this game, and they'll soften up the Vikings defense for Matthew Stafford and company to dominate through the air.
Something extra: Calvin Johnson will bust out of his slump and catch two touchdowns.
Bills at Patriots
Prediction: Patriots win 41-17
After watching the Buffalo Bills suffer miserably against the Houston Texans, it's clear that this team is heading in the wrong direction.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown zero touchdowns in three of his last four games—his only decent game coming against the Tennessee Titans. All three of those games were against teams with excellent defenses, and the New England Patriots feature an up-and-coming front seven that will smother the Bills.
On the other side, Tom Brady and company will have no trouble carving up the Bills defense like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Something extra: Stevan Ridley will run for 130-plus yards and two touchdowns.
Falcons at Saints
Prediction: Falcons win 38-33
Fans of the New Orleans Saints need to come down to earth and realize that their team's latest victory came against the Philadelphia Eagles—one of the most inept teams in the NFL.
Atlanta's defense will force Drew Brees into one or two crucial turnovers that will give the Falcons the upper hand.
Something extra: Tony Gonzalez will catch 10-plus passes for 110-plus yards and one touchdown.
Chargers at Buccaneers
Prediction: Buccaneers win 31-21
Don't let last week's victory over the Kansas City Chiefs fool you—the San Diego Chargers have some serious flaws, as their 2-4 record over the past six games clearly illustrates.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on the other hand, have won three of their last four games, and quarterback Josh Freeman has turned into the player many thought he'd become last year. During this four-game stretch, Freeman has thrown 11 touchdowns and just one interception.
Even more encouraging for the Bucs is the fact that rookie running back Doug Martin has exploded for 386 rushing yards, 99 receiving yards and six touchdowns the past two weeks.
The Chargers are doomed.
Something extra: Philip Rivers will throw three interceptions.
Broncos at Panthers
Prediction: Panthers win 27-24
Before you scoff, take a gander at this: Before last week's victory at Washington, the Carolina Panthers were beaten by the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons by a combined total of 12 points.
This team is on the verge of breaking through in a big way, and I predict it'll happen in Week 10 against the red-hot Denver Broncos.
One of the biggest reasons the Panthers have been so competitive of late is that their defense has improved by leaps and bounds. Rookie Luke Kuechly has been all over the field making plays from sideline to sideline, and his teammates have rallied around him.
If Cam Newton can minimize his mistakes, the Panthers have an excellent chance to steal this game at home.
Something extra: Newton will pass and run for at least three touchdowns.
Raiders at Ravens
Prediction: Ravens win 35-31
Neither team plays defense, and both quarterbacks throw the ball a ton. This game should be fun to watch if you like shootouts.
The only game the Raiders have won on the road thus far in 2012 came against the Kansas City Chiefs. This team isn't good enough to beat the Baltimore Ravens on the road, even though the Ravens are one of the most overrated teams in the NFL.
The Ravens have too many weapons on offense, and despite Joe Flacco's tendency to lose control of his accuracy for quarters at a time, the Ravens will prevail.
Something extra: Ray Rice will run for 100-plus yards and two touchdowns.
Jets at Seahawks
Prediction: Seahawks win 24-13
The Seattle Seahawks have already beaten the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots at CenturyLink Field this season, and the New York Jets aren't about to break the mold and beat the 'Hawks on their home turf.
The Jets haven't been able to stop the run this season, allowing over 141 yards per game (No. 29 in the NFL). Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin will churn out the yards to an easy home victory for the Seahawks, while their defensive teammates take care of Mark Sanchez and the anemic Jets offense.
Something extra: Russell Wilson will throw two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Cowboys at Eagles
Prediction: Cowboys win 24-23
If I'm honest, I have no idea which team will win this game, but I have to pick one of them.
The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are competing right now to determine which franchise is the most dysfunctional in the NFL, and neither team is doing much to cast off that distinction.
The Cowboys win by virtue of their stifling pass defense, which will force Vick into making a few crucial mistakes.
Something extra: DeMarcus Ware will sack Vick at least three times.
Rams at 49ers
Prediction: 49ers win 31-9
Barring the game the San Francisco 49ers lost to the New York Giants in Week 6, this team has allowed their last four opponents to score a total of 12 points. For the season, the 49ers have allowed 12.9 points per game—easily the best in the NFL.
Combined with the NFL's leading rushing attack, the 49ers are a ferocious opponent—especially at home.
Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams are in for a long, long afternoon at Candlestick Park.
Something extra: Vernon Davis will bust out of his mini-slump for 80-plus yards and a touchdown.
Texans at Bears
Prediction: Bears win 27-23
There isn't a hotter team right now than the Chicago Bears except the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. The Bears defense has turned back the clock to 2007 and is creating turnovers at an unbelievable rate.
The Houston Texans have only lost one game, just like the Bears, and both teams lost to the same team on their home turf—the Green Bay Packers.
That said, I trust the Bears to make more plays when it matters—especially on defense—and I expect Arian Foster to struggle against the Bears' front seven.
Something extra: Matt Forte will outplay Foster, totaling 140-plus all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Chiefs at Steelers
Prediction: Steelers win 31-12
Do I really need to explain why the Pittsburgh Steelers will crush the Kansas City Chiefs?
How about this: The Steelers have the No. 1 defense in the NFL, Ben Roethlisberger as their quarterback, a three-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the worst record in the league.
Something extra: Jamaal Charles will be held to under 50 total yards.