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NFL Picks Week 10: These Underdogs Will Win Outright

Adam SalazarContributor IIINovember 9, 2011

NFL Picks Week 10: These Underdogs Will Win Outright

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    Any given Sunday, an upset can happen. Last week it was the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants staging heroic upsets.

    Despite conventional wisdom, this week's matchups are teeming with even more underdog potential.

    Find out inside why as many as three unlikely teams could be smelling victory in Week 10.

Seattle Seahawks > Baltimore Ravens

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    Don't look so appalled. Yes, the Seattle Seahawks are a bad team, and no, they have no business beating the mighty Baltimore Ravens.

    But Seattle has had trouble remembering its place before.

    Remember when they went toe-to-toe with the New York Giants in Week 5 and showed everyone just what kind of rebellious punks they can be? They overwhelmed New York 36-25 on the road in a very hostile environment.

    They are at home next week, at the newly renamed CenturyLink Field—still one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL, against a Baltimore team riding high after another marquee victory over the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens seemed to put it all together last week, holding off Pittsburgh, 23-20.

    But this Ravens team has shown glimpses of greatness before—only to fall to earth the following week. That happened after their Week 1 dismantling of the very same Pittsburgh team—losing at the Tennessee Titans, 26-13.

    And lest we forget, they lost an absolute stinker to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 12-7, in Week 7.

    For this wildly inconsistent Ravens team, the only sure thing is that you never know what you're going to get. If they look past Seattle even slightly, they could find themselves in a big hole early.

    Funny things can happen on a football field. After all, the Seahawks beat the Giants, and then the Giants beat the New England Patriots. Does this mean that Seattle is better than New England?

    Hardly.

    All it means is that on any given Sunday, it pays to respect and fear the underdog. Especially at home.

Carolina Panthers > Tennessee Titans

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    The Carolina Panthers are due to break out against a quality opponent. Unfortunately for the Tennessee Titans, that day should come Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

    The Panthers' schedule has actually obscured just how good their team really is; four of their six losses have come against elite opponents—the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

    In fact, the Panthers have managed to keep games close all season. Only their Week 6 loss to the Falcons was by more than a single score. Their average margin of defeat on the season is just 6.5 points.

    And their offense has been electric—averaging over 23 points per game with a balanced attack that includes 129.6 yards rushing and 285.5 yards passing per game.

    The only hope Tennessee has of slowing down Carolina at home is to run the ball—something Chris Johnson and company have done effectively only once this season (112 yards against the Cleveland Browns).

    Carolina is allowing opponents just 225.5 yards passing per game, while Matt Hasselbeck has thrown for less than 220 yards just once this season—a 104-yard effort in an ugly 41-7 loss to the Houston Texans.

    Something has to give.

    Don't expect it to be Carolina.

Arizona Cardinals > Philadelphia Eagles

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    Speaking of teams that have remained competitive even when falling short, the Arizona Cardinals should finally be able to take advantage of a struggling team in the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

    A win for Arizona likely puts a giant nail in Philadelphia's coffin.

    Aside from one garish 34-10 loss against Minnesota, the Cardinals' average margin of defeat is a paltry 3.8 points per game. They've also played some good teams in the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, not to mention the dangerous Carolina Panthers and the mercurial Seattle Seahawks.

    Philadelphia has struggled to stop the run, while the Cardinals' Beanie Wells is in the midst of a Pro-Bowl caliber season, with 526 yards and seven touchdowns. If he can give Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald enough wiggle room to connect the dots, it could be a long day in Philadelphia.

    The Eagles are back on their heels—one surprise uppercut from the Cards, and we may finally be able to put the Dream Team to bed.

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