NFL Week 10 Picks: Predicting Biggest Matchups on the Schedule

Jesse ReedCorrespondent INovember 4, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Colin Kaepernick #7 congratulates Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers after he scored a touchdown at Candlestick Park on October 13, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After bye weeks, a few of the NFL's heavyweights are back in action in Week 10, and there are a few excellent matchups on the schedule.

It feels like the 2013 season began just yesterday, but this season is already more than halfway over, with playoff contenders emerging as Super Bowl favorites in both conferences.

However, nothing in this league is stationary. One injury can derail a team's chances of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February, just as one big loss often means the difference between making it into the playoffs and watching the tournament from home. 

Here's a look at the full schedule of games for Week 10, followed by a closer examination of a few games that have serious playoff implications. 

NFL Week 10 Picks
Washington RedskinsMinnesota VikingsRedskins
Oakland RaidersNew York GiantsRaiders
Seattle SeahawksAtlanta FalconsSeahawks
Detroit LionsChicago BearsLions
Philadelphia EaglesGreen Bay PackersPackers
Jacksonville JaguarsTennessee TitansTitans
St. Louis RamsIndianapolis ColtsColts
Buffalo BillsPittsburgh SteelersSteelers
Cincinnati BengalsBaltimore RavensBengals
Carolina PanthersSan Francisco 49ers49ers
Houston TexansArizona CardinalsTexans
Denver BroncosSan Diego ChargersBroncos
Dallas CowboysNew Orleans SaintsSaints
Miami DolphinsTampa Bay BuccaneersDolphins


Detroit at Chicago

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Reggie Bush #21 of the Detroit Lions looks for an opening in the Chicago Bears' defense at Ford Field on September 29, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions pulled off a spectacular last-minute comeback against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8 to improve to 5-3 heading into their bye to match Green Bay in the win column. 

Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have been dealt a tough hand of late, losing Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs to short-term injuries. They have lost three of their last four games. 

Detroit won 40-32 earlier this year at home against these Bears.

Chicago turned the ball over four times and Reggie Bush went off for 173 total yards and a touchdown. Given the Bears depleted linebacking corps, it's hard to imagine Bush not having another huge game.

Combined with the Bears pitiful pass rush, this is a matchup that favors Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Detroit's passing game—especially if Jay Cutler is still out with his groin injury. 

Final Score: Lions win 38-28.


Cincinnati at Baltimore

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals congratulates Giovani Bernard #25 on his touchdown during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by T
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

After rattling off four straight wins (and six wins in the last seven), Cincinnati must be sick about losing to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football in Week 9.

Andy Dalton was atrocious in that game. He turned the ball over four times (three interceptions and one lost fumble), killing his team's chances of winning a winnable game. However, before this game, he'd been on an incredible three-game stretch, having thrown 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Meanwhile, Baltimore fell to 3-5 on the season with a loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. 

Joe Flacco desperately needs a running game, but the Ravens can't get Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce going at all this year, which has turned Baltimore's offense stagnant. 

Even without Geno Atkins, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL, Cincinnati's defense is more than capable of shutting down Baltimore's pitiful offense (No. 21 in the NFL, averaging 21.4 points per game). 

Provided Dalton returns to the form we saw during the Bengals' recent four-game winning streak, Cincy should be able to knock off its divisional rival on the road. 

Final Score: Bengals win 27-21.


Carolina at San Francisco

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after a touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 24, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Carolina won 31 - 13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Get
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Since opening up the season with three losses in the first four weeks, Carolina has transformed into a playoff contender. 

Despite two interceptions by Cam Newton on Sunday, the Panthers easily dispatched the Atlanta Falcons and head into the second half of the season with an impressive 5-3 record.

However, until the Panthers knock off an NFC heavyweight like the San Francisco 49ers on the road, they'll be considered a lower-echelon team in the NFC playoff race.

On paper, the 49ers appear ready to make another run at the Super Bowl.

Before the Week 9 bye, San Francisco had won five games in a row, scoring at least 31 points in all five games. The best part is that this team is still getting healthy, with Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and others still yet to suit up this season. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Vernon Davis (R) #85 and Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrate Gore's touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Candlestick Park on September 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Carolina's defense will surely make things tough for the 49ers on offense, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many experts who expect the home team to lose.

Final Score: 49ers win 35-20.


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