NFL Picks Week 10: Breaking Down Marquee Matchups of Weekend Slate

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 6, 2013

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 27:  Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown with running back Knowshon Moreno #27 against the Washington Redskins at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on October 27, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Redskins 45-21.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

With the 2013 NFL season passing the halfway point, the playoff race is starting to heat up, and teams are positioning themselves for late-season pushes that will begin in Week 10.

Many teams are stuck at, or near, the .500 mark, with very few getting out to blazing starts while a handful of other clubs are already squandering playoff positioning. With that said, plenty is on the line for more than half of the league heading down the stretch.

Let's take a look at who will win each of the following Week 10 matchups and break down the most enticing games on the slate.

NFL Week 10 Schedule + Picks
Away TeamHome TeamPrediction
Washington RedskinsMinnesota VikingsRedskins
Seattle SeahawksAtlanta FalconsSeahawks
Detroit LionsChicago BearsBears
Philadelphia EaglesGreen Bay PackersPackers
Jacksonville JaguarsTennessee TitansTitans
St. Louis RamsIndianapolis ColtsColts
Oakland RaidersNew York GiantsGiants
Buffalo BillsPittsburgh SteelersBills
Cincinnati BengalsBaltimore RavensBengals
Carolina PanthersSan Francisco 49ers49ers
Houston TexansArizona CardinalsTexans
Denver BroncosSan Diego ChargersBroncos
Dallas CowboysNew Orleans SaintsSaints
Miami DolphinsTampa Bay BuccaneersDolphins
Steven Cook's predictions

 

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to pass in the first quarter against the Washington Redskins at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos enjoyed a much-needed bye to rest Peyton Manning's sprained ankles in Week 9, but will face a surprisingly tough Chargers team on the road this weekend.

The Chargers have enjoyed a resurgent season from Philip Rivers, who led San Diego to within one yard of a victory on Sunday at Washington before losing in overtime. Despite the loss, the Chargers sit at a respectable 4-4. 

Rivers and Co. are 2-1 at home this season, but must still face both Denver and Kansas City twice down the stretch.

I like them to win at least one of those games, but it won't be against a well-rested Broncos team that is motivated by the fact that it is still trailing the Chiefs in the AFC West race.

Prediction: Broncos 38, Chargers 30

 

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

Nov 4, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA;   Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) tries to break a tackle by Green Bay Packers linebacker Jamari Lattimore (57) in the 4th quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit is also coming off a bye entering a tough Week 10 matchup. The Lions are tied atop the NFC North with Chicago and Green Bay after the Bears' win on Monday Night Football.

Without Jay Cutler, backup quarterback Josh McCown has thrived, having not thrown a touchdown in his two appearances. He was asked to throw 41 passes on Monday night, and turned those into 272 yards and two touchdowns. 

Matt Forte was a beast against the Packers as well, rushing 24 times for 125 yards and a touchdown.

As long as big wideouts Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery keep making things easy for McCown, and the Bears give him help on the ground, even the surging Lions won't be a match for Chicago at Soldier Field

Prediction: Bears 31, Lions 28

 

Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers

Led by Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers are suddenly a force in the NFC, sitting at 5-3 heading into an all-important road contest with San Francisco.

Sunday's game will feature the clash of the NFL's top run offense in the 49ers against the league's second-best run defense in Carolina. 

The Panthers have done a good job on the road in that aspect, not allowing a 100-yard rusher in a road game since the Bills' C.J. Spiller ran over Carolina in Week 2. That span for the Panthers included holding Adrian Peterson to just 62 yards rushing in a Week 6 win. 

The Niners, however, haven't needed 100-yard rushing games from running back Frank Gore to win games. He has only reached the century mark in two of San Francisco's six wins.

The impact of mobile quarterback Colin Kaepernick is an additional element that the Panthers haven't had to deal with this season. I expect Kaepernick and Gore to have success early and set up some big plays off the passing game.

Prediction: 49ers 30, Panthers 20