NFL Week 10: Early-Week Betting Lines and Picks

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 3, 2008



Denver Broncos @ Cleveland Browns (-3)


Denver has all the tools to win this game, and it should clearly go over the 48-point total, considering just how badly these two defenses play. Neither one can stop the run, and while Cleveland is slowly putting together a pretty solid secondary, they’re still prone to mental mistakes, which Shanahan and Cutler should capitalize on.


Cleveland’s defense as a whole really should be better than this, considering the pieces that are in place, but they don’t seem to be getting enough pressure up front. If Shaun Rogers continues what he’s done his whole career, and we’ve seen flashes of that the past few weeks, Cleveland can win.


However, the Broncos should be able to mark up enough QB pressures and sacks to get into the head of Anderson and the extremely soft receiving corps of the Cleveland Browns.


Denver Wins Outright 31-24.



Jacksonville Jaguars (-6) @ Detroit Lions


Let the Daunte Culpepper experiment begin. Calvin Johnson is good enough to just go up and get it, much like Moss did in Minnesota, but unless Detroit can find a running game, they wont be able to hang in many games.


Jacksonville looks lost, and the frustration is starting to show through. Jack Del Rio is a solid coach, and he should be able to motivate the guys in the trenches well enough to tear off a nice little win streak at some point during the season. While Cleveland gave Jacksonville fits, and Detroit is just a slightly lesser version of Cleveland’s predictable pass attack, Jacksonville was still in that game until the last play.


The Jaguars will come together and win this game by the halfway point of the third quarter.


Jacksonville covers the six and wins 27 – 17



Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Chicago Bears

To beat the Titans, you’re going to require a squad that has a smart QB, a smart LB corps, and a half-decent running game. Right now, it's up in the air as to who will start for the Bears at QB (it looks like Orton’s out for four weeks, so it’ll be Grossman), but it doesn’t particularly matter.


Neither Grossman nor Orton have the patience or the ability to progress through their reads at supersonic speed without making the big mistakes. Chicago’s run game and defense will keep this close, and with their LBs, they may be able to at test the patience of the Titans.


So far, there hasn’t been a team thats really made Kerry Collins make the tough decisions, and the Bears could be that team. If L. White and C. Johnson can be contained, then a few chinks in the Titans' armor may end up becoming visible cracks. The Bears' D will win this game, and then whoever is manning the QB spot will lose it.


Tennessee wins 17 – 10.



Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-4.5)

The Bills are downright impossible to understand. The defense is sound and often has the potential to be great, so long as Williams and Stroud keep guards from getting to their smallish LB crew, which shouldn’t be a problem against New England’s undersized line.

Posluszny and Mitchell shouldn’t have to spend all day fighting through blocks, which ends up giving the entire Bills’ defense trouble. The Bills' secondary, like their LB crew, is smallish but quick-fast. L. McKelvin has produced as expected for a first-year uber-athletic CB/PR.

Ashton Youboty, who came out a year too early is proving that he’s going to be a damn good corner, or even FS, sometime very soon. Whitner will never live up to his high first-round selection, as he was taken about five to 10 picks too early, but he’s still very reliable.

With all this said, if Cassel can find Moss, the Bills might have some issues, otherwise, even with a healthy Brady, the Bills matchup pretty well, at least on paper. I’m not sure how the Patriots win this game unless their defense does it for them. A steady dose of Lynch and Jackson should keep that defense from getting too aggressive.

Buffalo takes it outright: 24-21.


New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons (-1)

In a situation like this, where a great running game is facing a great passing game, I’d almost always go for the running game. The NFC South is a bit wacky though, and I’m tempted to just take the home team. However, they’re playing in a dome, and New Orleans is just too good to really blow this game.

New Orleans needs this game, and they’ll make Matt Ryan beat them. They’re coming off a bye week, and a big W over SD the week before; so, assuming everyone plays (W. Smith & McAllister), they should be fine.

Grant, Ellis, and Smith should cause more than enough problems for the Falcons, with Vilma cleaning up the mess. This is going to say a lot about M. Ryan: He should be able to put up a 300-yard game, and he’ll have to if the Falcons have a shot.

New Orleans takes it 31 – 27.


St Louis Rams @ New York Jets (-7.5)

Haslett has the Rams playing football, unfortunately “football” doesn’t include pass defense. It might come down to whether or not S. Jackson is finally 100 percent or not, but I don't believe that to be the case.

I like the Jets' defense this year, and particularly the additions. They should be coming together by about this point, and they’re only going to get better. Favre should approach 300 yards and the new comers, K. Jenkins, and C. Pace, should really have a field day.

The Jets should cover, and cover easily. However, this is a Jets team that will give up the late scores, which could cause issues if the spread gets too large. Obviously, check the game-day weather but:

Jets 31 – STL 17


Seattle Seahawks @ Miami Dolphins (-9)

I’m not certain how Miami is going to win this game, and nine points is a lot to give a team that doesn’t have a clear-cut advantage on either offense or defense. Basically, it comes down to whether or not the merely passable secondary of Seattle is going to get too frustrated by Miami’s dinking and dunking.

Seattle should be able to move the ball, at least for few extended periods of time, and Seneca Wallace should provide the mobility required to get away from Jerry Porter, et. al.

What Seneca Wallace does after he escapes the initial pressure is the deciding factor in this game. If he starts throwing picks, Miami will cover the nine points and more. If he allows himself to work within Holmgren’s system, the ‘Hawks have a shot for a pretty big upset.

How much impact did Jason Ferguson’s departure have on the Dallas Cowboys?

Miami’s become respectable and have beat some darn good teams. Porter is once again a rush linebacker, and Channing Crowder is racking up the tackles.

The Seahawks have started looking like Holmgren’s Seahawks and can win the game outright, or at least have a chance to at the end.

Miami 20 – Seattle 24


Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)

Well, if this game were played on a neutral site, I’d have to go with Green Bay, and with the three points they’re giving the home team, I’ve gotta assume they’re saying GB and MIN are equally matched.

Minnesota can run the ball and stop the run with the best of them. Green Bay cannot run the ball at all this year, and I haven’t the slightest idea why. If this game were in early November and was at Lambeau, I’d be tempted to take the Vikings, but the domed confines of Minnesota almost favor Green Bay.

Green Bay wins a close one, for absolutely no justifiable reason: 22 – 21


Carolina Panthers (-8.5) @ Oakland Raiders

Oakland cannot score points. They’ve yet to find a reliable means by which they can drive the field and then put points on the board, and to top that off, they’ve got no stability, none. Carolina has the ability to put together perfect drives between Williams, Stewart, and Steve Smith.

They can go 100 yards and have 50 rushing and 50 passing. They’re balanced on offense and have a good, fundamentally-sound defense with tackle-machine Beason, and quick-fast converted safety T. Davis. Oakland doesn’t have an answer for Carolina’s offense or their defense.

Carolina 32 – Oakland 10


Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers (-13.5)

Will the real L.T. please stand up. San Diego is pissed off, real pissed off. They’re still soft, but they’re pissed off. They should have no problem dismissing with Kansas City and Tyler Thigpen. Kansas City blew their load against Tampa and came away with a L. San Diego now knows to expect these things and should be fired up after that bad loss to NO.

Will the Chargers look past the Chiefs to Pittsburgh, though? Kansas City is bad enough to just assume your O will take care of itself. If San Diego is looking ahead they might get caught and only win by 10 or so.

However, San Diego takes it and covers: San Diego 31 – Kansas City 13


Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)

Peyton Manning looks hurt. Two weeks ago, I figured they had all of the ingredients to beat up on Tennessee, but Manning was just missing throws. Bob Sanders should be around 100 percent coming into this week, which makes the Colts' defense a lot better. They instantly become a top-10 defense with the addition of one player, assuming the injuries to the other DBs don’t linger.

However, Pittsburgh got Parker back and shouldn’t have any problem dismissing with the Colts. They would have taken care of the Giants if Parker were healthy and should cover against the Colts.

Pittsburgh 24 – Indy 17


New York Giants @ Philadelphia (-3)

The Giants are good, real good. Eli has matured into a first-rate quarterback, but there are still times where he pulls an I Am Sam . The Giants should be able to get some serious pressure on McNabb, but assuming Westbrook’s fully healthy, I’m taking the Eagles for a few reasons.

  1. Jim Johnson is going to come up with some pretty unique blitzes to seriously screw with Eli. The Eagles are going to have to score early to really give Johnson some leeway, but it's possible.
  2. Bunkley and Patterson, two first-round picks that underachieved for a season or two are finally starting to come into their own.
  3. The linebackers can fill holes and know how to tackle. The Giants' running game is predicated on a lack of defensive fundamentals. These guys will wrap up, drag down, and gang tackle B. Jacobs.
  4. Their secondary is damn good, and the weather is getting pretty bad. The DBs that Philly has back there are all ballhawks, and a Manning mistake could easily result in a pick six.
  5. Unlike previous years, there is no vertical threat from a non-WR spot from the Giants. They’re throwing to K. Boss and A. Bradshaw, and Philly doesn’t have to be scared of them, allowing them to focus very heavily on the run support from their LB and S spots.

Philly takes this one 20 – 17


Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans (-2)

This really depends on the health of Rolle and McAllister. Baltimore will take this game if even one of the two plays. Sage apparently told Matt Schaub that Andre Johnson still exists, and for the past month, Johnson’s been the league’s best wideout, which could cause some issues for the Ravens.

The Texans' defense is wildly underrated, and they can keep them in games when they have no place being there. Houston’s defense should stop the run well enough to make Flacco beat them, and like last, week Flacco might just do that with a solid 200-250 yards and a couple timely scoring drives.

Baltimore barely covers, and the offense scores 17, with the defense making up the rest. As a general rule, betting with or against Baltimore is a terrible idea. They are the one team in the league that just does not seem to care: They play when they want to play and quit when they want to quit.

Baltimore 24 - Houston 21


San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals (-9.5)

San Francisco is free falling after their loss to Seattle. Arizona should at least get another couple points by the time the weeks out, and regardless of whether or not they end up with a run game, they should win this one easily.

Why is this on Monday Night Football ?

Frank Gore will try his darndest to keep the 49ers in the game, but one turnover means disaster for the 49ers.

Arizona 38 – San Francisco 17! Buy Some Baseball Art or Autographs