With the 2013 season passing its halfway point and entering Week 10, action is really starting to heat up across the NFL, with teams aiming their sights toward January and the playoffs.
Some teams are rising to the top and asserting their status as elite squads, while others are quickly kissing their playoff hopes goodbye. That contrast has made for a couple of lopsided spreads entering Week 10.
Here are my predictions against the spread for each game on the slate, and some featured picks.
|Washington at Minnesota||WAS -3||Redskins|
|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, MIA/TB spreads via Bovada.lv. OAK/NYG, SEA/ATL, DET/CHI, HOU/ARI spreads via VegasInsider.com
Notable Picks Against the Spread
Chicago Bears (+3) over Detroit Lions
Whether it's Jay Cutler or Josh McCown taking snaps Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears will come out victorious and beat the spread over the Lions.
Per Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell on Thursday, Cutler is expected to start after being cleared to play. But in relief, McCown has played admirably by nearly leading his Bears to a victory after being thrown into the fire two weeks ago against Washington.
Then, he went into Lambeau Field and notched an elusive Bears road win over the rival Packers, throwing for 272 yards and two scores.
Matt Forte's emergence is a big reason why the Bears have gotten out to a 5-3 record, and he's playing at his best as of late. With four touchdowns and nearly 300 total yards in the last two games, he's a machine at the moment.
Despite the Bears' 40-32 loss to the Lions earlier this season, Forte had a good game with 14 carries for 95 yards and a score. At home, that will only improve.
Detroit's Matthew Stafford has been on point lately, but he's lacked a formidable running game, and that will turn into a big advantage for Chicago.
Prediction: Bears 35, Lions 30
Houston Texans (+3.5) over Arizona Cardinals
At 2-6 and featuring a youngster at starting quarterback, it's hard to argue for Houston beating anyone—much less a .500 team. But signs are pointing to that happening Sunday afternoon.
The Texans have lost six straight, but despite that, are holding teams to an NFL-best 158 passing yards per contest.
Arizona comes in at a surprising 4-4, but are in the bottom half of the league (18th) in pass offense as veteran Carson Palmer hasn't turned into the pocket presence he proved to be in Cincinnati. The rushing attack hasn't been any better, posting a No. 24 ranking in rush yards per game.
Teams have been able to pound Houston on the ground in order to get out to early and late leads, but that won't be the case on Sunday as the Cardinals are still searching for a ground game.
On Houston's side, second-year quarterback Case Keenum has quickly turned into a formidable weapon. In just his second start, he torched one of the league's best defenses in Indianapolis for 350 yards and three touchdowns.
As long as Keenum continues to build chemistry with resurgent receiver Andre Johnson, the Texans should get back to their winning ways against the Cards.