What would an NFL week be without game picks just before kickoff?
Not nearly as exciting, because the anticipation of kickoff can be satisfied with a new slate of predicted winners.
The prime-time game between the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears is the obvious must-see matchup of Week 10. Both teams sit at 7-1 and field great defenses. We're getting a legitimate potential Super Bowl preview at Soldier Field on Sunday night.
Prior to kickoff in the Windy City, though, there are plenty of great games throughout the afternoon. To that end, let's pick a winner for every contest. And be sure to check back, as final scores will be added with the completion of each game.
We know Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense will move the ball. It's simply what they do, and the Carolina Panthers don't present a defense capable of completely shutting Manning down.
On the flip side, the Broncos defense will get to Cam Newton with Von Miller and blanket him in coverage.
Let's put it this way: Denver held Drew Brees to 213 yards passing, so limiting Newton is certainly expected.
Broncos 34, Panthers 17
Final Score: Broncos 36, Panthers 14
Eli Manning and the offense present solid balance and the Cincinnati Bengals simply aren't the Steelers. Aside from a stellar passing attack, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green haven't gotten much help from the ground game or defense.
Giants 30, Bengals 20
Final Score: Bengals 31, Giants 13
Although the Tennessee Titans' best chance to win is by throwing against the Miami Dolphins, this AFC South team isn't as well-versed as the Colts.
The Titans' strength is running the ball, but unfortunately, that is also Miami's defensive strength. So something obviously has to give.
The Dolphins offense will control the tempo with its balance, because Tennessee lacks versus the run and pass defensively.
Dolphins 28, Titans 17
Final Score: Titans 37, Dolphins 3
Harvin will not play against the Detroit Lions because of a sprained left ankle, a source familiar with the injury told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
That said, don't expect the Minnesota Vikings to just roll over. The Detroit Lions don't have anyone who can match up with Kyle Rudolph one-on-one, and Adrian Peterson is more than capable of steamrolling on the ground.
Unless the Lions offense can push the pace, Detroit will struggle because the defense must slow Peterson down.
Vikings 21, Lions 20
Final Score: Vikings 34, Lions 24
The concern here is whether or not the Buffalo Bills can keep pace with the New England Patriots offense. With Tom Brady and his array of receiving targets, the Bills can't afford to get down early.
To avoid such a situation, Buffalo must move the ball for 60 minutes.
That's obviously easier said than done, because the Pats are solid versus the run.
And despite being suspect against the pass, New England faces Ryan Fitzpatrick, who still needs to prove reliable consistency at limiting turnovers.
Patriots 41, Bills 23
Final Score: Patriots 37, Bills 31
Turnovers, turnovers and turnovers. That will be the story of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
Not because either team will give the ball up or take it away, but because each defense has been solid at forcing turnovers all season.
The notable difference is how many yards the Saints allow compared to Atlanta, although the Falcons are more vulnerable against the run than expected.
Whether there are numerous turnovers or lack thereof, whichever defense provides additional possessions to its high-powered offense will be the victor.
Falcons 31, Saints 30
Final Score: Saints 31, Falcons 27
Just like the previous matchup between the Falcons and Saints, turnovers will be vital here.
The San Diego Chargers have been too inconsistent regarding giveaways and takeaways. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Buccaneers just know how to get extra possessions and capitalize with efficient ball control.
Buccaneers 28, Chargers 20
Final Score: Buccaneers 34, Chargers 24
Ed Reed will be the main difference-maker of this matchup, The Oakland Raiders present a solid passing game, and the Baltimore Ravens remain uncharacteristically vulnerable on defense.
Still, Reed's ability to create turnovers and patrol the field back deep will limit Carson Palmer's big-play opportunities. As a result, the Ravens offense can take over and control the tempo. The Raiders' suspect defense versus the run will set up play-action for Joe Flacco.
Ravens 24, Raiders 14
Final Score: Ravens 55, Raiders 20
As long as the Seattle Seahawks stay true to their run-first and play-defense approach, the New York Jets don't have a chance.
Marshawn Lynch will slam between the tackles, and the Jets have yet to play dominant run defense.
Russell Wilson should have nice pass protection from play-action, and Gang Green's offense will be stifled by Seattle's tough defense.
Seahawks 23, Jets 7
Final Score: Seahawks 28, Jets 7
Before we get all cynical about the Philadelphia Eagles offense and turnovers, the Dallas Cowboys haven't proven much better.
Tony Romo can be just as turnover-prone as Michael Vick, so the better ground game determines this winner. Neither defense is stellar versus the run, despite being lockdown in coverage, which is to Philadelphia's advantage.
In other words, LeSean McCoy becomes the Eagles' competitive advantage.
Eagles 23, Cowboys 17 (OT)
Final Score: Cowboys 38, Eagles 23
Interestingly enough, the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers are two eerily similar teams.
Both present a balanced offense that works off the rushing attack and tough defenses.
Factor in the head coaches, and this is shaping up to be one appealing rivalry for the immediate future.
Unfortunately for the Rams, San Francisco is the better team, with a more explosive passing game and a reliable offensive line.
Alex Smith is still a sound decision-maker, and Frank Gore remains a stud in the trenches. Not to mention, Patrick Willis and the 'Niners defensive front.
49ers 21, Rams 10
Finals Score: 49ers 24, Rams 24
In the must-watch game of Week 10, the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears will battle for the right to be 8-1.
Both sitting at 7-1, the two teams field superior defenses that can rush the passer and stuff the run consistently. In addition, both create turnovers quite often and change the field position for the offenses in the process.
The offenses will be the decider. Houston and Chicago both possess impressive ground games, so pass protection will the key. That is where the Texans have the slight edge.
Texans 13, Bears 10 (OT)
Final Score: Texans 13, Bears 6
Don't expect much from the Kansas City Chiefs this week. Regardless of how much or how little Jamaal Charles and Co. move the rock, the Pittsburgh Steelers will force turnovers because K.C. lacks ball control.
Add in a Chiefs defense that can't stop anyone, even with a decent pass rush, and Ben Roethlisberger will have no issues on Monday night. The Steelers are too balanced, and Kansas City has trouble controlling the line of scrimmage as well.
Steelers 42, Chiefs 7
Final Score: Steelers 16, Chiefs 13 (OT)
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