As crazy as it seems, Week 10 of the 2013 NFL season is already upon us. Certain teams are jockeying for playoff position as the season has officially passed its halfway point.
With so many mediocre teams and very few elite clubs in the league, picking sides in predictions has been much harder than usual. However, these picks are sure to hold up and are worth taking to the bank.
Let's take a look at the biggest locks for teams to cover the spread this weekend.
|Washington at Minnesota||WAS -3||-|
|Jacksonville at Tennessee||TEN -12||Titans|
|Philadelphia at Green Bay||GB -1||Packers|
|Buffalo at Pittsburgh||PIT -3.5||Steelers|
|Oakland at New York Giants||NYG -7||Giants|
|St. Louis at Indianapolis||IND -10||Colts|
|Seattle at Atlanta||SEA -6||Seahawks|
|Cincinnati at Baltimore||CIN -1||Bengals|
|Detroit at Chicago||DET -3||Bears|
|Carolina at San Francisco||SF -6||49ers|
|Houston at Arizona||ARI -3||Texans|
|Denver at San Diego||DEN -7||Broncos|
|Dallas at New Orleans||NO -7||Cowboys|
|Miami at Tampa Bay||MIA -3||Dolphins|
Spreads via Bovada.lv and VegasInsider.com
Note: WAS/MIN, CAR/SF, DEN/SD, DAL/NO and MIA/TB spreads via Bovada.lv. OAK/NYG, SEA/ATL, DET/CHI and HOU/ARI spreads via VegasInsider.com
Denver Broncos (-7) over San Diego Chargers
Denver's laughable secondary has posed problems this season, but the Chargers' isn't much better. San Diego ranks 27th in the league in pass defense, and Peyton Manning's historic season doesn't even have to be put into statistics—OK, he has 2,919 yards and 29 touchdowns through half of the season.
Coming off a bye, you can bet that Jack Del Rio has been working night and day with his defense to get things figured out. It's hard to see Manning and company missing a beat after having a week off to perfect their craft.
Prediction: Broncos 44, Chargers 30
Seattle Seahawks (-6) over Atlanta Falcons
Although Seattle came into the season as a Super Bowl favorite, it was hard to argue against the notion that the Falcons could be its biggest competition with a refueled Matt Ryan, two of the best wideouts in the league and a revamped run game.
It's panned out well for the 8-1 Seahawks, but the Falcons have sputtered to a hapless 2-6 record after two lopsided losses to Arizona and Carolina (yes, Arizona and Carolina). Ryan threw a whopping seven picks in those two games.
With seven of Ryan's 10 interceptions on the season coming in the last two weeks, he couldn't face Seattle at a worse time. The secondary of Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner is a turnover machine.
The Falcons (32nd-ranked run offense) can't run the ball to save their lives, and that will cause Pete Carroll's defense to sag back and wait for footballs to fall in its lap.
Prediction: Seahawks 30, Falcons 14
San Francisco 49ers (-6) over Carolina Panthers
Since Week 3, Jim Harbaugh's squad has won five straight games by a combined score of 174-61. That level of success is unreal for a five-game span in a league as parity-ridden and even as the NFL—even if none of those teams were above .500.
The Niners depend on running the ball, but the versatility they pose with Colin Kaepernick's dual-threat abilities and the reliability of backs like Kendall Hunter and Frank Gore will help them neutralize Carolina's advantage.
The Panthers haven't let up a 100-yard rusher since early in the season, but Gore hasn't needed to get to the century mark for wins this season. He's only surpassed 100 yards in two of the 49ers' six wins.
Expect the Panthers to have to commit a little too much to stop this efficient rushing attack. In turn, that will leave lanes open for Vernon Davis to gash the middle.
Prediction: 49ers 34, Panthers 24