Last-Minute Predictions for NFL Week 10
We've officially entered the second half of the NFL season, which means an already zany 2013 campaign is about to get even more unpredictable.
Despite the volatile, week-to-week nature of the National Football League, I do my best each and every Sunday to offer up bold predictions that will stick.
Here are my last-minute predictions for Week 10.
C.J. Spiller Will Amass over 150 Total Yards
Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller came into the season with high expectations, but a nagging ankle injury sapped him of much of his explosiveness and left him a shell of his former self for most of the campaign.
Things started to turn last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, when Spiller rushed for 116 yards on only 12 carries. Further, Spiller has not been listed on Buffalo's injury report for this week.
Bills coach Doug Marrone added, "When they're off the injury report, then I feel they're fine," per a report by Mike Rodak of ESPN.
That's good news for the Bills and bad news for their Week 10 opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have the 31st-ranked rush defense in the NFL.
Spiller will gain over 150 yards of total offense and bust out a touchdown run of over 20 yards as the Bills take down the Steelers.
The Titans Will Rush for over 200 Yards
Last week in St. Louis, the Titans rushing attack exploded. The team gained 198 yards on 35 carries, 150 of them coming from running back Chris Johnson.
This week, the team should break the 200-yard plateau when it hosts the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jacksonville has the worst rush defense in the NFL, and it's allowing 4.8 yards per carry, an astonishing number. There's no way they'll be able to hold down Johnson and his battery mate, Shonn Greene.
Johnson will go well over 100 yards rushing, Greene will contribute at least 50 and quarterback Jake Locker will scramble for yardage as well, as the Titans ride their ground game to victory.
Victor Cruz Will Be Week 10's Leading Receiver
Last week, the Oakland Raiders defense was eviscerated by the Philadelphia Eagles to the tune of seven (seven!) touchdown passes allowed.
That game film likely had New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and receiver Victor Cruz salivating, as Big Blue gets set to host Oakland Sunday afternoon.
The Giants had a nightmare start to their season, dropping their first six games, but they have an opportunity to improve to 3-6 with a win over the Silver and Black. Manning and Cruz will make sure that happens.
With Raiders rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden set to miss the game with a groin injury, their reeling defense is even riper for the picking.
Cruz will go over 150 yards receiving and score at least one touchdown in a Giants win. In fact, he'll be the NFL's leading receiver in Week 10.
The Seahawks Will Hold the Falcons to 14 Points or Fewer
This past January, the Atlanta Falcons knocked the Seattle Seahawks out of the playoffs in a thrilling, divisional-round contest in the Georgia Dome.
Sunday, Seattle will be out for revenge, and its defense will make sure the dish is served ice cold.
It doesn't matter that receiver Roddy White is returning to the Falcons lineup. Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary will hold him in check, and the pass rush will harass Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan all game.
Expect Seattle's offense to score early and often, giving its defense ample opportunity to turn Atlanta over. Worth noting is that the Seahawks have already forced 21 takeaways on the season.
The Seahawks will get their revenge, beating the Falcons by double digits and holding them to 14 points or under in the process.
The Bears and Lions Will Go over 70 Total Points Once Again
When the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions met in Week 4, Detroit claimed a 40-32 victory in a wild, high-scoring affair.
While it might seem unlikely for the teams to light up the scoreboard like a Christmas tree a second time, they will do just that.
The Bears are getting starting quarterback Jay Cutler back, and there's little doubt he'll connect early and often with wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Plus, running back Matt Forte is playing at an elite level and should be able to slice and dice the Lions defense.
Meanwhile, the Lions will meet little resistance as well. Wideout Calvin Johnson had the bye week to rest his injured knee, and he looked pretty damn good two weeks ago when he had 329 yards receiving against Dallas. Running back Reggie Bush destroyed the Bears defense in Week 4 and should have similar success Sunday.
Look for Cutler and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to have big games and Forte and Bush to each go over 100 yards rushing as the teams combine for over 70 points yet again.
Andy Dalton Will Lead a Late, Game-Winning Drive for the Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a tough overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, a game in which quarterback Andy Dalton threw three interceptions.
This week, Dalton will get back on track and lead the Bengals to a huge road victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Simply put, the Ravens are a disaster. They can't run the football, can't throw the football and the defense isn't playing with its usual swagger. But at 3-5, they're also desperate and should come out and play an inspired football game.
It won't be enough.
The Ravens will hold a late lead, but Dalton will lead his team down the field in the waning moments, and Bengals kicker Mike Nugent will boot a game-winning field goal as time expires.
Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball Will Combine for 150 Rushing Yards
When you think about the 2013 Denver Broncos, you think about quarterback Peyton Manning, and with good reason: He's had a majestic campaign that has him in pole position to win his record fifth MVP award.
But Sunday, it's going to be running backs Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball leading the Broncos to victory over the Chargers in San Diego.
The Chargers are giving up 4.9 yards per carry on the season and will need to sell out to stop Manning and the Broncos' high-octane aerial assault. That should lead to plenty of running lanes for Moreno and Ball.
While Moreno has been a force all season, it's been a tougher haul for Ball, the team's second-round pick. But with fellow running back Ronnie Hillman in the doghouse for his fumbling issues, Ball will get plenty of opportunities, and he's too talented to not take advantage of them.
Moreno and Ball will combine for 150 rushing yards, and Manning will take care of the rest as the Broncos improve to 8-1.
Colin Kaepernick Will Outplay Cam Newton
Sunday's matchup at Candlestick between the 5-3 Panthers and 6-2 San Francisco 49ers is one of the most anticipated of the season.
Carolina is riding a four-game winning streak, while San Francisco has captured five in a row. Both squads are red-hot, and both quarterbacks are operating at a high level.
In Sunday's matchup, Colin Kaepernick will play the better game and lead his team to victory.
The 49ers are coming off their bye week, and you never want to give head coach Jim Harbaugh extra time to prepare. Plus, the team represents a major step-up in class from the dregs of the NFL the Panthers have recently feasted on.
The return of receiver Mario Manningham will help the 49ers offense, and the home crowd will buoy Kaepernick.
Cam Newton will play well, but going against an elite team on the road does not often lead to success. The Panthers' offensive weapons just don't stack up against a loaded 49ers defense.
Kaepernick will account for no fewer than three total touchdowns as the 49ers improve to 7-2 and hand the Panthers their first loss in over a month.
Jason Witten Will Have More Receiving Yards Than Jimmy Graham
Sunday night's showdown in the Superdome between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints features two of the best tight ends in football: Jason Witten and Jimmy Graham.
While Graham is currently the better player and puts up gaudier numbers, it's going to be Witten who has the bigger game.
The Saints are going to put up a ton of points on Dallas' overmatched defense, meaning the Cowboys will be in catch-up mode for the majority of the game. Look for quarterback Tony Romo to have well over 40 passing attempts in the contest.
Witten is coming off an eight-catch, 102-yard performance last week, detailed here by ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon, and he should have another big game Sunday night.
While Graham will get his numbers, Witten will go for over 100 yards and score at least one touchdown.
Tampa Bay Will Outlast Miami in the NFL's Version of Dysfunction Junction
Monday night, the Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play in what's the biggest confluence of disasters since Dennis Rodman married Carmen Electra.
Remember when the Dolphins beat the Bengals in Week 9? It was only 10 days ago, but it feels like it was 10 years ago. Miami desperately needs a win to move the spotlight off the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal that's dominated headlines this past week.
As for the Bucs, they're still winless but have been competitive in most of their games. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has played well, tossing eight touchdown passes against only three interceptions.
Tampa Bay has too much talent to not break through with a win. The Dolphins are reeling, and the Bucs will take advantage.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis will record an interception of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and Glennon will connect with receiver Vincent Jackson on at least one touchdown as Tampa pulls off the upset, 17-16.