After benching myself for a few weeks due to ineffectiveness in picking NFL games, I am handing the reigns back over to myself for Week 10. So far this season, no team has yet to emerge as the front runner to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, meaning that seemingly any team can beat any other at any time.
With that said, let's jump right into the picks of Week 10. And as always, if you decide to take my picks to Las Vegas with you, I wish you nothing but good luck.
Baltimore @ Atlanta
The Thursday night game features two of the NFL's six teams tied with the best record, at 6-2. Both teams are coming off home victories as well. The Ravens snapped the Dolphin's road winning streak, while the Falcons were pushed to the limit against NFC South rival Tampa Bay.
This game definitely has the potential to be a low scoring defensive struggle, as both teams are ranked in the top 10 in points allowed, each allowing under 20 points per game.
Offensively, both teams are fairly evenly matched, although Atlanta does rank slightly higher than Baltimore in total offense and points per game, but the differences are not that wide. So, in a close game, I am inclined to lean toward the team with the slightly stronger defense. Even if they are on the road.
Detroit @ Buffalo
I find it hard to imagine that too many people will have their DVR's set for this showdown. The Lions are one of the more improved teams this season, and while their record is only 2-6, they have had chances in most of their games.
The Bills on the other hand are 0-8, but have lost heart breakers each of the last three weeks. This game features two defenses ranking in the bottom 10 in both yardage and points allowed. So, while it won't be the game of the year by any stretch, it has a chance to be somewhat entertaining. Maybe. I think.
Can the Bills follow in the Lions footsteps and go 0-16? I don't think they can.
Minnesota @ Chicago
The Vikings are coming off a comeback win over the Cardinals, while the Bears survived their trip north of the border and beat the Bills by three. This is a game in which I am not sure which team I actually have less faith in.
Both defenses rank in the top 10 in yards, and the Bears come in giving up the fourth least points per game. Minnesota is mid pack in that department.
This game also features two strong armed, turnover prone quarterbacks, in Brett Favre and Jay Cutler. While the Bears come in with a better record, and are playing at home, I think as long as the Vikings continue to hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson, they still have a chance to turn their season around. But they can't afford too many more losses.
NY Jets @ Cleveland
A week ago, I would have looked at this game and said it was the biggest mismatch of the week. Now, I am not so sure.
Last week, the Jets needed overtime, and a beautiful throw and catch by Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes to beat the Lions. And that was after trailing by 10 points with three minutes to go.
Meanwhile, the Browns absolutely beat up on the Patriots 34-14. Peyton Hillis rushed for a career high 184 yards and added two touchdowns in the win.
This game should be all about the Jets running backs.
Led by LaDainian Tomlinson, the Jets are the fourth best run team in the league. Up against a mediocre Browns defense, he and Shonn Greene should be able to carry the Jets to a more convincing win than last weeks. And if the Jets truly are this great team that they call themselves, these are the games that they need to win big.
NY Jets 28-13
Cincinnati @ Indianapolis
Both teams are coming off tough losses. The Colts comeback attempt against the Eagles fell just short, as Peyton Manning was intercepted on fourth down with Indianapolis driving for an attempt at a game winning field goal.
Meanwhile, for the Bengals, Carson Palmer had his fourth down pass knocked away from Jordan Shipley inside the Steelers 20, as they were driving for the potential game winning touchdown. They ultimately lost 27-21.
This game has the potential to be high scoring. The Colts, behind Manning, rank second in pass offense, while Palmer and his new favorite target, Terrell Owens, have lead the Bengals to a ranking of sixth in passing yardage. The Colts are right in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC, while the Bengals postseason hopes took a major hit with their Monday night loss.
The hunt for the postseason should be enough inspiration for the Colts. This game will be fun.
Tennessee @ Miami
All eyes will be on Randy Moss as he makes his Titans debut. Coming off a bye, Tennessee, at 5-3, finds themselves tied atop the AFC South.
The Dolphins suffered their first road loss of the season last week and now find themselves at 4-4, and in a fight to stay alive for perhaps a wild card spot in the playoffs.
While Titans running back, Chris Johnson, will no doubt be the focal point of the Dolphins defense, everyone else is interested to see what kind of impact Randy Moss will make. He is sure to improve a pass offense that ranks near the bottom of the league, and once he and his new quarterback, Vince Young, have some time to get on the same page, this could quickly become a very dangerous team. It is going to be hard for Miami to get their first home win of the season this week.
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
This game features one exceptionally bad team, and a very surprising team. I thought that Carolina had a chance to be a surprise team this season with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart being the best one-two punch at running back in the league. But it has been Tampa Bay that has been the surprise team.
Last year's first round pick, Josh Freeman, has blossomed into a very promising quarterback. There really isn't much else to say about this game. Carolina does have a respectable defense, but at no point this season has the offense shown any signs of life. The misery continues for the Panthers.
Tampa Bay 17-13.
Houston @ Jacksonville
This game features two teams at 4-4. A lot of people thought that this would finally be the season that the Texans broke out of their shell of mediocrity and went to the playoffs. That notion was further driven home after their Week 1 victory over the Colts.
Since that time, Houston has been an inconsistent team, but they do boast the leagues top rusher, Arian Foster. Going against a Jacksonville defense that ranks 22nd in rushing, and gives up nearly 30 points per game, expect a big day out of Foster. The Jaguars are coming off a bye, so the extra week off could make this one closer than I would have originally thought.
Kansas City @ Denver
The Chiefs are coming off a tough loss to the suddenly red-hot Raiders, while the Broncos are coming off a bye after returning home from a loss to the 49ers in London, England.
Along with the Buccaneers, and now the Raiders, the Chiefs are one of the NFL's best surprises of the season. Denver, on the other hand, would have to join Dallas as one of the leagues biggest disappointments.
Kansas City comes in with the leagues top ranked rushing offense, while Denver comes in ranked last in that category. Conversely, Denver has the third ranked passing offense, while the Chiefs are ranked third from the bottom. With two mediocre defenses, expect big days out of Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones and Kyle Orton. So who wins?
Kansas City 27-21
Dallas @ NY Giants
Wow! Talk about two teams going in polar opposite directions. The Giants are coming off a thrashing of the Seahawks, while the Cowboys are coming off a blow out loss to the Packers.
The biggest news of the NFL over the last two days, is the firing of Dallas head coach Wade Phillips. Everyone knew it was coming, now the question is, will it help?
The Giants come in with the No. 2 ranked offense, and the leagues top ranked defense. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have shown some flashes on offense, not as much recently since Tony Romo's injury. The defense, though, has been problematic.
They are mid pack in yardage, rank sixth from the bottom in takeaways, and give up the second most points per game. Playing against the Giants prolific offense, the new Cowboy coaching staff will be tested right out of the gates.
NY Giants 38-20
Seattle @ Arizona
Another game on the schedule that probably won't attract a whole lot of national attention. The Seahawks are coming off a thumping at the hands of the Giants, and the Cardinals are coming off an extremely disappointing loss to the Vikings.
These two offenses come in ranked 30th and 31st respectively, and their defenses are ranked 27th and 30th respectively. Put all that together and you have the makings of a sloppy and ugly game. Just a hunch, but I don't think this game gets a lot of coverage time on the late night recap shows.
St. Louis @ San Francisco
The other two members of the NFC West square off in yet another low profile game. Both teams are coming off bye weeks, so if nothing else, they should be relatively healthy coming into this one.
At 4-4, the Rams have already exceeded many people's expectations, and are showing signs that they could be a very good team with another year or two.
Sam Bradford has quickly become the new face of the franchise, and if he continues his steady play, he could lead the Rams to a division title. San Francisco has been one of the big disappointments this season. At 2-6, they are far below everyone's early expectations.
The quarterback play in San Francisco has been atrocious, and now a home game against the Rams doesn't even look as easy as it once did. I seemed to be on a roll earlier this year, when I picked the Rams, so here goes nothing.
St. Louis 24-21
New England @ Pittsburgh
On paper, this looks like the game of the week. Both teams come in at 6-2 and are tied atop their respective divisions. New England is coming off an ugly loss to Cleveland, while Pittsburgh had to hold on against Cincinnati, after almost blowing a 20 point lead.
The Patriots will have their hands full while the Steelers offense is on the field. The Patriots, surprisingly, have a defense that ranks fourth from the bottom in total yardage.
Expect a big day out of both Ben Roethlisberger, as the Pats really struggle against the pass, and Rashard Mendenhall should have a big day on the ground. The Patriot offense is only mid pack, and without Randy Moss, their big play capabilities are severely limited.
The Steelers defense ranks fourth in the league in yards allowed, and gives up the fewest points per game. So, I would only expect an average day out of Tom Brady. Being in Pittsburgh, I don't think this one will even be all that close.
Philadelphia @ Washington
In Week 4, Donovan McNabb made a triumphant return to Philadelphia, as the Eagles were upset by the Redskins 17-12. Now, there are questions going around about McNabb and his playing status with the Redskins.
The last time the Redskins were on the field, McNabb was pulled with 2:00 to go in the game in favor of Rex Grossman, while down by only eight points.
The Eagles are coming off a big win over the Colts, and currently sit at 5-3. With Mike Vick back to full health, Philadelphia appears to be a team that is capable of beating just about anyone. With so much turmoil in Washington, this game almost appears to be too easy. So, that probably means I will get it completely wrong.