NFL Week 10 Picks Against Spread: A Florida Double-Dipper
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Week 7 in the NFL featured a slew of close games as 11 of the 13 were decided by a touchdown or less. That theme did not continue in the two weeks that followed, as eight and nine games resulted in double-digit outcomes, respectively.
Keeping with the double-digit victory theme, Tampa Bay continued to build momentum with its second such performance, while the Titans were on the other end of the spectrum and suffered their ugliest home loss since moving to Nashville.
This week's selections will feature both of those teams. One is favored by a field goal and hosting a West coast team in the early time slot, while the other team is a six point underdog and is looking to bounce back.
With 55 prediction articles in the books and an overall record of 35-17 and three ties, I'll put these two games from the sunshine state to the test and look for a better chance of going 2-0 than 0-2 in lieu of a boring split.
Read on for the reasons why, and good luck!
Tampa Bay (-3) vs. San Diego: Early East Coast Start Will Benefit Tampa Bay
The Chargers have lost their last seven Sunday games on the East coast
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After a 10-game losing streak to end the 2011 season, the Buccaneers looked to be in rebuilding mode.
But with a win on Sunday, they could be sending the Chargers, a promising contender to start the season, on their way to the same category.
And it will be a long flight home.
But at least they'll pick up three hours on the time change, because they'll lose it coming east.
And if recent history is any indication, they'll lose the game too.
San Diego got a win at Jacksonville and rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert on a Monday night last season, but 9 p.m. Eastern time with an extra day is a bit different than 1 o'clock the day before.
Just as well, the Chargers have lost their last seven Sunday games east of the Mississippi River.
And they're coming to play their eighth against a red hot Bucs team coming off consecutive road wins, and more impressively, both by double digits.
The last time the Bucs did that, they won the Super Bowl later that year.
It's hard to win two consecutive road games in the NFL, but when a team can achieve that, especially when they out-gain both opponents, things are going pretty good.
The Chargers halted a three-game losing streak and a touchdown drought that spanned six quarters with a convincing win over the Chiefs where Phillip Rivers completed 18-of-20 passes.
The 31-13 win included a pair of scores by the Chargers defense.
Meanwhile the Buccaneers' Doug Martin broke a franchise record by rushing for 251 yards at Oakland as the offensive line executed effective blocking schemes and opened up holes all day for the rookie out of Boise State.
Martin probably won't get 251 yards again, but Rivers won't complete 90 percent of his passes either.
He might have to come close.
The Buccaneers are the best in the league against the run, but last in the league against the pass, so Phillip Rivers will likely need to have another big passing game for the best chance to win.
For Tampa Bay, it's a good thing Rivers is coming off an 18-of-20 game after going 18-of-23 the first time he played the Chiefs, so Tampa Bay might know exactly what not to do on defense simply by looking at film of the Chargers-Chiefs.
After all, you wouldn't want him to go 18-of-20 against you, and he can't do that every game, so if he's going to do it, from Tampa Bay's standpoint, go ahead and do it to the prior opponent.
If Greg Shiano and the Bucs' coaching staff have some extra time to study while the Chargers are on the plane, perhaps he can look at what the Falcons and Browns did with their defensive schemes, holding Rivers to his two worst performances of the season.
Tampa Bay is listed as a three-point favorite over the Chargers, who are making their second East Coast road in three weeks, and both have a 1 p.m. start.
Coming off a two-game road winning streak and keeping in mind such teams win 70 percent of the time when that next game is at home, look for the Bucs to continue the trend against a jet lagged Chargers team on West coast time.
Take Tampa Bay to cover three points
Tennessee (+6) at Miami: Titans Look to Bounce Back
The Titans were up-ended at home, but look for a bounce back on the road
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The score wasn't as bad as the 59-0 loss at New England in 2009.
But the feeling was worse.
To some people, like Titans' owner Bud Adams, it was the worst ever.
After all, it was a home game.
"In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans" said Adams.
He probably got the feeling early.
Tennessee fumbled the ball on the first play of the game, went three-and-out on its next two possessions, had its second punt of the game blocked for a touchdown and went three-and-out on their two possessions after that.
Finally after picking up a first-down, the first of the day, Matt Hasselbeck threw a pick-six on the next play. Then on the first play of the next drive, Chris Johnson fumbled which led to another Bears touchdown, followed by another three-and-out by the Titans.
And this was all in the first quarter.
Just as fans settled into their seats for the day, the score was 28-2 before they could finish the first hot dog.
And the Titans turned the ball over four times in the first half.
But after such a sloppy performance, there's nowhere to go but up, so look for the Titans to clean up the turnovers and put forth a much better effort at Miami this week.
Jobs depend on it.
The starters better shape up, or ship out.
Meanwhile the Dolphins are 4-4 and Ryan Tannehill has been solid thus far. The rookie has good pocket presence; he stays in the pocket and waits for his receivers to get open, moving effectively and all the while delivering the ball before the defensive line can get their hands on him.
The Dolphins as a team are playing well enough to win but they had the benefit of an extremely easy schedule after the season opener at Houston, and aren't as good as their 3-1 record over the last four games. They were out-gained by 270 yards in the 17-14 win over the Rams and by 121 yards in the 30-9 win at the New York Jets.
The only other decisive win came over Oakland, who had to fly east for an early start.
So with an upcoming game at Miami, what can one assume when predicting the Titans this weekend after such a sloppy performance?
The game looked over after the first quarter and certainly by halftime, but don't forget the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 who were down 34-0 at the Jets and committed seven turnovers en route to a 56-35 loss.
They won the next game by 25 points.
There's an old saying on The Sopranos: "You're only as good as your last envelope."
But don't tell that to the Titans.
They make a bad performance short lived, and recent history proves it.
But the most recent example is almost as short term as the memory of last week.
Tennessee already suffered a 28-point loss earlier this season, and after the 38-10 loss at San Diego, they rebounded to score 44 points and knock off the Detroit Lions at home in overtime.
It wasn't the first time, or even the ninth.
Last season the Titans lost 41-7 at home to the Texans, but came back to win the following game by 17 points.
But nothing was as dramatic as the time before that.
In 2009, the Titans looked down and out, staring the season with an 0-5 record before suffering a 59-0 loss at New England to fall to 0-6.
They won the next five games, starting with a 17-point win over Jacksonville.
As a matter of fact, the last 10 times the Titans lost a game by 25 or more points, they either won or failed to lose the next game by a field goal, all ten times.
The Dolphins are favored by six points.
In that case, look for the Titans to make it 11 in a row and bring home the bacon after their embarrassing loss so they can go into the bye week with momentum and the starters can entertain the extra week off with better job security.
After all, at 89 years old, Bud Adams doesn't need another memory like last week.
Take Tennessee to cover six points
Follow Mark all season at www.TheFallMiracle.com