NFL Picks Week 10: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions
This NFL season, I tell you...
If anyone outside of the New York-New Jersey area had the New York Jets beating up on (and completely outclassing) the Saints, raise your hand. Our own Ty Schalter did, but he was one of the few. Mike Ditka—you know, the Chicago Bears legend—was the only guy on ESPN's Monday Night Football panel to pick the Bears to beat the Green Bay Packers. Turns out he's a prophet. (Or, just a lucky homer.)
Not only is the season completely topsy-turvy, it also seems as if every single week brings us a new key player who suffers significant injury. This week, it's Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers who will be sitting out with a broken collarbone and won't be able to face off against the mercurial Philadelphia Eagles.
EJ Manuel is back after being cleared to play quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. They face off against the suddenly lowly Pittsburgh Steelers. It's the Bills who come into this game with a solid offense and outstanding defense. If you had that on your preseason scorecards, take a bow.
We'll be picking all these games and more, just a few clicks ahead. Don't like our picks? Make yours in the comments below!
Name: Last Week; Overall
Consensus: 7-6; 73-39 (65%)
Andrea Hangst: 9-4; 91-42
Matt Bowen: 8-5; 90-43
Matt Miller: 7-6; 90-43
Zach Kruse: 7-6; 88-45
Ty Schalter: 8-5; 88-45
Chris Hansen: 7-6; 85-48
Brad Gagnon: 6-7; 84-49
Tyson Langland: 7-6; 84-49
Michael Schottey: 8-5; 84-49
Erik Frenz: 6-7; 82-51
Knox Bardeen: 7-6; 80-53
Mike Freeman: 6-7; 76-57
To see how Bleacher Report's experts are faring against the best at other media outlets, check out Pickwatch.
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings, Thursday Night Football
B/R Consensus Pick: Redskins (12-0)
Schottey: Redskins, 26-16
The Vikings put up a valiant effort in Week 9, but RGIII is looking better and better every game and that Minnesota D is still full of question marks it didn't have in 2012.
Bowen: Redskins, 23-16
RG3 can target and exploit the Vikings secondary off the read-option. Look for tight end Jordan Reed to put up some numbers on Thursday night.
Schalter: Redskins, 35-33
It's tough to get a read on either of these teams lately, and both defenses are giving up points in bunches. I think RG3 and his wideouts get more points than All Day.
Freeman: Redskins, 20-10
I think AP goes off and the Vikings still lose because of Ponder.
Miller: Redskins, 21-13
The Vikings can't find a reliable quarterback, and even against the bad Washington secondary the offense will be handcuffed.
Frenz: Redskins, 23-14
If a 140-yard performance from Adrian Peterson wasn't enough to get the Vikings a win against the Cowboys, they may not win more than one game this year. The Redskins offense has put up 30 points or more in two of its past three games.
Hangst: Redskins, 21-13
The Redskins have struggled on defense all year, but luckily for them, they next face the Vikings. The Vikings have little offense to speak of aside from Adrian Peterson, while the quarterback carousel has spun back to the mostly disappointing Christian Ponder for the time being. Washington should be able to move the ball well and score more than enough points to get a road win Thursday night.
Hansen: Redskins, 27-17
Washington has been playing better and can get back into the NFC East race with a road win. It's a lot easier to trust RG3 than any of the quarterbacks the Vikings can throw out there.
Bardeen: Redskins, 24-13
This could be a get-back-on-track game for RG3 and Washington's offense. Alfred Morris is good enough to gain yards on the ground against a better-than-most Vikings run defense, and RG3 should have no trouble throwing the football.
Gagnon: Redskins, 24-13
I don't know how the Vikings hung around as long as they did in Dallas, but the Redskins are worse than the Cowboys and this is in Minnesota. I still think the 'Skins pull it out because I'm not sure the Vikes can do enough to take advantage of that defense, but this game should be competitive for its duration.
Langland: Redskins, 21-17
Christian Ponder hasn't been able to rejuvenate the Vikings offense, and Adrian Peterson has been stuck in a rut. RG3 will lead Washington to a victory on the road.
Kruse: Redskins, 30-24
On a short week, the Redskins could hurt Minnesota with some big plays off the read-option. I think Christian Ponder continues to settle in, but there's no trusting the Vikings defense late in games.
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers
B/R Consensus Pick: Bills (9-3)
Schottey: Bills, 24-13
The Bills are legit, the Steelers should just quit.
Bowen: Steelers, 27-24
EJ Manuel is back for the Bills and the Steelers secondary is easy to target. But I still like Ben Roethlisberger to make enough plays in the second half to get the win.
Schalter: Bills, 28-17
The Bills almost knocked off the Chiefs with Jeff Tuel at quarterback; they can take the Steelers with EJ Manuel.
Freeman: Steelers, 30-21
Pittsburgh ran into a Gronk buzzsaw. No such thing with the Bills.
Miller: Bills, 17-14
The Buffalo defense is the best squad that no one talks about. It'll get serious pressure on Roethlisberger all day.
Frenz: Bills, 27-24
The Bills have been competitive in their three Manuel-less losses, and the Bills offense should get a boost from the return of his dynamic playmaking ability. The Steelers defense was flat-out confused by the Patriots, and the Bills could have an interesting game plan to take advantage of the Steelers' aggression.
Hangst: Bills, 30-26
It helps the Steelers somewhat that they get to play the Bills at Heinz Field this week, but it will be against an EJ Manuel-led team that should find enough ways to exploit Pittsburgh's struggling defense. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be overcome by Buffalo's physical defense and the run game won't be able to bail him out. All this points to the Steelers dropping yet another game and falling to a dismal 2-7 on the year.
Hansen: Bills, 24-21
The Bills might not have a lot of wins to show for it, but they are a well-coached team with Doug Marrone. With the return of EJ Manuel, the Bills should be better. They nearly knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs with Jeff Tuel at QB last week, so they should be able to beat the shaky Steelers.
Bardeen: Bills, 21-17
The Steelers can't do anything well enough to win this game. Look for the Bills to lean heavily on their run game against a terrible Steelers run defense.
Gagnon: Bills, 24-21
EJ Manuel's back and the Steelers are really sliding. This will be a tough road game, but if you can win in Miami you can win in Pittsburgh.
Langland: Bills, 24-16
The Bills get EJ Manuel back under center. His presence alone will help Buffalo pick up its fourth win of the season.
Kruse: Steelers, 24-20
The Bills' ability to run the football gives Buffalo a real chance at a road win. I just worry EJ Manuel will be shaking off some rookie rust, and that a turnover or two will give Pittsburgh the edge it needs at Heinz Field.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
B/R Consensus Pick: Bengals (10-2)
Schottey: Bengals, 23-10
The Ravens offensive line is a mess, and the Bengals (even without Geno Atkins) are going to win the battle in the trenches all day long.
Bowen: Bengals, 20-17
The Ravens can't run the ball and I don't expect that to change this week. Typical AFC North game here with the Bengals grinding out the win.
Schalter: Bengals, 21-14
Joe Flacco and the Ravens will have to prove they can score points without turning the ball over before I pick them to beat a team like the Bengals, even at home.
Freeman: Bengals, 20-14
They bounce back from their brutal Miami loss.
Miller: Bengals, 24-13
Even without Geno Atkins, the Bengals defense is too good to let the woeful Ravens offense take them down.
Frenz: Bengals, 27-12
If the Bengals are going to be taken seriously this season, they need to deliver the knockout blow to a division rival on the ropes. They especially can't afford to lose two straight, after falling on Thursday to the Dolphins. The extra time to prepare should help.
Hangst: Bengals, 27-14
The Bengals run the ball well, pass it well, stop the run well and defend the pass well. The Ravens only do two of these things—pass the ball, stop the run—and are not as good at them. If there was any question that the Bengals are the new class of the AFC North, it will be answered this week when they defeat the defending Super Bowl champions.
Hansen: Ravens, 27-24
The Ravens have a heck of a home-field advantage and have shown they are occasionally capable of beating quality opponents. Somehow, the Ravens are going to find a way to win this one.
Bardeen: Bengals, 24-20
Both defenses are pretty good, but Cincinnati's is a little better. But where the Bengals pull away is through the air. Cincinnati can move the ball better than Baltimore and will win this game because of it.
Gagnon: Ravens, 17-14
I think the Bengals are the better team, but the veteran Ravens won't fall to 3-6 with a home loss. Ray Rice gets back on track against a defense that is playing its first full game sans Geno Atkins.
Langland: Bengals, 20-14
After a heartbreaking loss on Thursday Night Football, the Bengals defense will get back on track against a hapless Joe Flacco.
Kruse: Bengals, 23-16
Without the ability to run the football, the Ravens will once again ask too much of Joe Flacco. Cincinnati has also had a few extra days to get ready for what should be another physical battle inside the AFC North.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
B/R Consensus Pick: Lions (10-2)
Schottey: Lions, 35-30
This game could easily go the other way if quarterback Jay Cutler steps in and ignites this Bears offense, but the Lions should do what they always do: play the game close and either rise to the victory or falter for the loss.
Bowen: Lions, 30-20
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson should have multiple opportunities to go after the Bears secondary. The Lions score early and hold off the Bears in the fourth quarter.
Schalter: Lions, 28-21
This has been a street fight for the past few seasons, but this Bears defense isn't that tough. Stafford should be able to outduel Josh McCown.
Freeman: Lions, 35-17
Even if Cutler plays, the Bears defense just isn't good enough to slow the Lions.
Miller: Bears, 21-17
Jay Cutler's return could be huge here, and the Bears offense matches up well against a below-average Detroit secondary.
Frenz: Lions, 32-21
The Lions were supposed to be so much more balanced this year, but Matthew Stafford has different plans and is on pace for 5,234 passing yards this season. Against a Bears defense that's struggled both through the air and on the ground, this could be a barnburner.
Hangst: Lions, 35-17
The Lions should come out of their bye week roaring, especially with them being in the middle of a three-way tie atop the NFC North. Probably minus Jay Cutler again and with a defense playing as poorly as it has this year, the Bears don't have a chance.
Hansen: Lions, 30-24
Chicago's defense has struggled and the Lions, with their prolific offense, are coming off a bye week. The Bears will keep it close but the Lions just have too much firepower.
Bardeen: Bears, 28-24
With the possibility of Jay Cutler's return, Chicago's offense will be energized. Neither defense stops the ball through the air well, so the scoring should come quick and often.
Gagnon: Lions, 35-24
Coming off a bye, Detroit catches the banged-up Bears on a short week. The Lions hung with Chicago twice last year, and the gap between the two teams has closed this season.
Langland: Lions, 31-27
Coming off of their bye week, expect Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense to be firing on all cylinders. Despite beating the Packers on Monday night, the Bears defense won't be able to limit the big plays. That, in turn, will cost them in the end.
Kruse: Lions, 34-27
With Aaron Rodgers hurting in Green Bay, the winner of this game might suddenly become the front runner in the NFC North. I like Matthew Stafford to relentlessly attack a shaky defense that the Lions have had two weeks to prepare for.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
B/R Consensus Pick: Pick'em (6-6)
Schottey: Packers, 17-16
Very uncomfortable taking the Packers here not knowing who their QB is going to be. Still, their defense should be able to keep the Eagles from going off like they did against Oakland.
Bowen: Packers, 31-19
Can Nick Foles go into Green Bay and light up the Packers? I don't see it against this secondary. I'm taking the Packers at Lambeau.
Schalter: Packers, 21-20
Even without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are too talented to lose at home to this Eagles team. It's really, really close, but it's a Packers win.
Freeman: Packers, 38-17
No seven TDs in this game for Foles.
Miller: Eagles, 24-13
No Aaron Rodgers? No way the Packers can keep up with the Eagles offense.
Frenz: Packers, 38-24
The Packers offense isn't flawless, but they'll probably look like it against an Eagles defense that is currently last against the pass.
Hangst: Eagles, 21-17
It's not difficult to pass on the Packers D, but that doesn't mean Nick Foles is going to throw seven touchdowns again. However, with Seneca Wallace likely starting in place of Aaron Rodgers, the Eagles won't need seven touchdowns to win.
Hansen: Eagles, 31-20
The Eagles' performance will be discounted because it was against the Raiders, but Oakland actually had a solid defense heading into that game. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Eagles are going to steal a victory at Lambeau.
Bardeen: Eagles, 28-20
Nick Foles figured a few things out last week with seven scoring passes, and Aaron Rodgers should miss some time with a collarbone injury. You don't need to be a novelist to see where this story is going. Add in the fact Green Bay's defense isn't playing well and Philadelphia comes out with an easy win here.
Gagnon: Eagles, 27-23
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. The Eagles are healthy and riding a wave of momentum for a matchup with the injury-riddled Packers, who are also on short rest. Philly takes it.
Langland: Eagles, 35-30
Nick Foles or Seneca Wallace? Take your pick. Even though he won't throw seven TDs this week, Foles is the better player and will prevail in Lambeau.
Kruse: Packers, 23-21
This game suddenly becomes a tossup without Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will need to do a better job of controlling the line of scrimmage on defense to beat an Eagles offense that came back to life on Sunday.
St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts
B/R Consensus Pick: Colts (12-0)
Schottey: Colts, 35-17
Andrew Luck and the offense need to get things tuned up in the absence of Reggie Wayne, but a matchup with the Rams is a pretty good way to accomplish that.
Bowen: Colts, 27-14
The Rams are competing with Kellen Clemens under center, but T.Y. Hilton is the story here. A late deep ball helps the Colts close out the Rams at home.
Schalter: Colts, 24-14
The Rams had their shot at a big upset and blew it. Can't see Kellen Clemens going into Lucas Oil and winning.
Freeman: Colts, 30-0
Rams get destroyed by a QB entering elite status.
Miller: Colts, 38-13
Andrew Luck just keeps doing his thing, while Kellen Clemens and the Rams offense runs into a brick wall.
Frenz: Colts, 24-14
Andrew Luck has as many fourth-quarter comeback wins as he has total losses. It's not always pretty, but it's almost always enough for the win.
Hangst: Colts, 28-13
Andrew Luck may have just harnessed a rare form of quarterbacking magic as evidenced by his fourth-quarter comeback against the Houston Texans last week and the giant-killer reputation his Colts have earned after defeating the 49ers and Broncos. The Rams simply don't stand a chance, no matter how much pressure they put on the second-year passer.
Hansen: Colts, 30-13
The Rams might be able to slow Andrew Luck down a little bit, but can they score enough to make a difference? The Colts' defense has been much better than expected and will clamp down and an inferior squad at home.
Bardeen: Colts, 28-14
These St. Louis Rams should feel like an easy task for the Colts after Indianapolis defeated the Broncos and Texans with a bye week in the middle. Andrew Luck does, however, need to keep an eye on Rams defensive end Robert Quinn at all times. That cat can flat out bring the pain, and Luck wants none of that.
Gagnon: Colts, 30-10
This should be a gimme at home for Indy. The Rams have been crushed in two of their last three road games.
Langland: Colts, 27-10
Andrew Luck and the Colts should make quick work of the Rams. Kellen Clemens has admirably taken the reigns of Brian Schottenheimer's offense, but he doesn't do enough to put them over the top in this one.
Kruse: Colts, 31-17
Zac Stacy gives the Rams a chance in this road game. But the unflappable Andrew Luck will make two or three big throws to give the Colts a comfortable win in Indianapolis.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
B/R Consensus Pick: Titans (12-0)
Schottey: Titans, 27-10
Still the Jaguars? Still the Jaguars.
Bowen: Titans, 19-10
The Titans game plan should be simple: give the ball to Chris Johnson. The veteran running back was playing at a different speed than the Rams in Week 9.
Schalter: Titans, 17-6
I keep looking for that Jaguars win, but they don't have an answer for Jake Locker and a rolling CJ2K.
Freeman: Titans, 24-9
Jaguars headed toward 0-16.
Miller: Titans, 31-13
Jake Locker will be even better now that he's had time to shake off the rust. Don't sleep on the Titans defense, either. They'll give the Jaguars fits in every aspect of the game.
Frenz: Titans, 31-10
The Jaguars continue the march to 0-16, and while the Titans aren't the most dominant team in the NFL, they've been competitive against some of those dominant teams and should be able to keep the positive mojo going.
Hangst: Titans, 21-17
At some point, the Jaguars are going to get a win this year. It just won't be on the road against the Tennessee Titans this Sunday. The Jaguars could be able to keep it close by running the ball against the 26th-ranked Tennessee run defense, but that won't be enough in the end.
Hansen: Titans, 24-16
The Jaguars might win a game, but no one in their right mind is going to project it. The Titans are a solid team, looking to get into the playoffs race and playing at home. Titans win.
Bardeen: Titans, 24-10
Not only are the Jaguars struggling mightily, losing their best player to suspension shortly after his return is heart-breaking. Tennessee running back Chris Johnson should have a big day.
Gagnon: Titans, 27-10
The Titans rediscovered the run last week. With Jake Locker that much healthier this time around, Tennessee should cruise at home against a Jaguars team that hasn't had a single-digit loss this season.
Langland: Titans, 17-0
Gregg Williams' new-look defense in Tennessee will hold the Jaguars scoreless after their bye week. Tanking for Teddy is still in full effect for Jacksonville.
Kruse: Titans, 24-10
Coming off a bye, with the Titans looking a little vulnerable against Kellen Clemens in Week 9? Nope....sorry Jaguars, can't do it. Tennessee rolls.
Oakland Raiders at New York Giants
B/R Consensus Pick: Giants (9-3)
Schottey: Giants, 16-10
Long road trip for the Raiders after the shellacking they just took isn't going to be the recipe for confidence. If the Giants decide to take care of business, this could easily be more lopsided.
Bowen: Giants, 31-20
Schalter: Raiders, 24-20
I know Giants fans are all buzzing on a two-game win streak, and the Raiders are coming off a harsh loss, but these two teams are evenly matched. I like Terrelle Pryor to outscore Eli.
Freeman: Giants, 28-14
Eli has his best game of the year.
Miller: Raiders, 28-24
The Giants have won two straight, but are they for real? The Raiders can expose the New York defense using Terrelle Pryor's dual-threat ability.
Frenz: Giants, 30-19
No one has much faith in the Raiders defense after the beating they took at the hands of Nick Foles and the Eagles. Against Eli Manning and the Giants receivers, this could be another ugly one.
Hangst: Giants, 27-10
Maybe the bye week does a world of difference for the New York Giants, and maybe it doesn't. But the Raiders traveling east for an early game coming off a drubbing last weekend does not sound like a promising situation for Oakland.
Hansen: Raiders, 27-24
Oakland's defense didn't show up against Philadelphia and got a wake-up call. The Giants are coming off a bye and the Raiders are flying across country, so everything says to go with the home team. I'm just skeptical that the Giants can stop Terrelle Pryor on the ground, and think that Oakland's defense is going to bounce back.
Bardeen: Giants, 28-21
As dismal as the Giants' season is, their two wins before the bye week have to mean something. Add that to Tom Coughlin's bye-week preparations and this could be where New York begins to make its stand.
Gagnon: Giants, 38-17
The Giants traditionally struggle in November, but they're coming off the bye, they're at home, and they're fighting for their lives. Oakland's defense was exposed last week. Eli Manning and Co. will dominate this game.
Langland: Giants, 23-21
Who would have ever thought the Giants would be gunning for three wins in a row after their 0-6 start? The Raiders will help usher them to their 3-6 record because of lackluster play on the defensive side of the ball.
Kruse: Giants, 27-17
If New York is going to get back in the NFC East race, this is a must-win game. Oakland is making a long trip and the Giants are coming off a bye.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
B/R Consensus Pick: Seahawks (12-0)
Schottey: Seahawks, 23-20
This game should be more lopsided, but on the road and with Seattle's tendency for slow starts, it could be another nailbiter.
Bowen: Seahawks, 23-14
The wheels are coming off for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. That's not good when you have to match up against the NFL's top secondary.
Schalter: Seahawks, 17-14
The Seahawks are no longer dominating; they're doing just enough to keep winning. The Falcons, however, are falling apart. Even though Seattle will be as far from home as it gets, they win.
Freeman: Seahawks, 28-10
Wheels are falling off of Matt Ryan.
Miller: Seahawks, 24-17
The Seahawks don't play well on the road, but the Falcons haven't played well all year. They're too banged up to compete here.
Frenz: Seahawks, 20-12
The Falcons were losing early this season in heartbreaking fashion. Now, they're not staying competitive long enough to leave any doubt and have lost the last two games by 38 points. This could be the week the Seahawks passing game finally takes flight.
Hangst: Seahawks, 28-17
Struggling on both offense and defense, the Atlanta Falcons won't have an answer for what the Seahawks bring to town on Sunday. Though the Seahawks have let teams hang around this year—the Rams and the Buccaneers come to mind—they continue to find ways to win games. This shouldn't be as close, and even if it is, the Seahawks still win.
Hansen: Sehawks, 24-21
The Seahawks are struggling on the road, so this one could be close. At the end of the game, the Seahawks will have a little more fire in their belly than their opponent.
Bardeen: Seahawks, 30-17
Even at home, the Falcons don't do enough in the trenches to give this team a chance at an upset.
Gagnon: Seahawks, 24-21
The Seahawks have barely been hanging on, and now they're playing all the way across the country again. Good thing they play Atlanta. It won't be the blowout many are expecting, but they'll find a way to beat a defeated Falcons team.
Langland: Seahawks, 34-24
Atlanta is a mess and Seattle is winning any way possible. Can the Seahawks improve to 9-1? Yep.
Kruse: Seahawks, 30-10
Confidence can be built when you don't play your best football but still win games. With the Falcons sinking, Seattle puts together its best overall performance since stomping San Francisco in Week 2.
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
B/R Consensus Pick: 49ers (7-5)
Schottey: 49ers, 21-17
Strength on strength, here. I don't expect either offense to look really good in this one, and the QB that can avoid the most mistakes and make a big play or two should win. At home, I'll go with Kaepernick and the Niners.
Bowen: 49ers, 22-17
Two of the most physical teams in the league. And I'm taking the 49ers because of their power run game. They win this game up front versus the Panthers.
Schalter: Panthers, 24-17
A month ago, I was writing in this space that the Panthers were way better than anyone was giving them credit for. It's still true.
Freeman: Panthers, 19-16
Cam Newton is starting to scare me. His play is off the charts right now.
Miller: 49ers, 28-21
This will be a tough game for San Francisco, but getting back injured players like Eric Wright and Tank Carradine will help in stopping Cam Newton. Adding Aldon Smith back into the lineup will be the difference maker.
Frenz: 49ers, 24-12
It hasn't always been pretty for Colin Kaepernick this season, but the 49ers are still getting the job done on the ground. It's getting hard to pick against the Panthers, but a well-coached 49ers team at home should be able to get the win.
Hangst: Panthers, 17-16
The Panthers have a top-10 rushing offense and a top-two rushing defense. The Niners have the top rushing offense in the league and are in the top 12 in rushing yards allowed. Both teams know how to stop the pass while ranking in the bottom in passing offense. In what could be the best game of the week, the Panthers get the edge despite being on the road. Cam Newton is just passing better than Colin Kaepernick, and that will make the one-point difference.
Hansen: Panthers, 17-13
The Panthers are one of the few teams that can stop the 49ers' rushing attack. Both teams will limit yardage through the air, making this Cam Newton's game to win. I think he makes it happen.
Bardeen: 49ers, 14-13
San Francisco has won its last five games and has the luxury of playing at home coming off a bye week. Carolina has won five of its last six and is headed in the right direction. I'm a little worried about the Panthers offensive line; injuries are starting to take a toll.
Gagnon: Panthers, 20-17
This is one of those "any given Sunday" picks. San Francisco should win at home, because the Niners are red hot and because nobody is ready to give the Panthers any love based on the bad opponents they've been beating up on. But you can't control who you play, and I think Cam Newton and that entire Carolina team is ready to make a statement.
Langland: 49ers, 20-10
Carolina is as hot as it has ever been, but so is San Francisco. 49ers win in front of their home crowd, and Mario Manningham plays a big role in their victory.
Kruse: 49ers, 21-13
Carolina has imposed its will on four mostly soft teams during its winning streak. The physical and well-rested 49ers pack a different kind of punch.
Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
B/R Consensus Pick: Broncos (11-1)
Schottey: Broncos, 35-24
The Chargers are a tougher out than they used to be, but Philip Rivers won't be able to keep pace with Peyton Manning for all four quarters.
Bowen: Broncos, 36-20
I can't figure out the Chargers. But I know Peyton Manning and the Broncos will score points against this San Diego defense.
Schalter: Broncos, 24-21
There have been some cracks in the Denver mystique lately, but they're still better than the Chargers.
Freeman: Broncos, 28-21
Denver doesn't get caught looking ahead to its Chiefs game.
Miller: Broncos, 35-21
The Chargers are closer to the Broncos than you might realize, but on defense I don't see any way San Diego can shut down Peyton Manning.
Frenz: Chargers, 31-28
Very few people are as familiar with the Broncos defense as Mike McCoy. He knows where the weaknesses are—and there are plenty—and how to exploit them. Will it be enough? I think so.
Hangst: Broncos, 37-33
Both Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers are playing well, which has me thinking shootout for this week's meeting between the Broncos and the Chargers. That situation, however, favors the Manning-led Broncos.
Hansen: Broncos, 38-24
San Diego's defense can't stop anyone, so it's hard to expect them to even slow down Peyton Manning coming off a bye week. Von Miller should also shred whoever is playing left tackle for the Chargers and make Philip Rivers look pedestrian.
Bardeen: Broncos, 27-21
Peyton Manning gets a week off because of the bye and then gets to travel to sunny San Diego to whip up on a divisional foe? Doesn't seem like such a rough life. Both Manning and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will get their yards through the air, and San Diego should have some success at slowing Manning's offense. But San Diego doesn't have enough.
Gagnon: Broncos, 30-27
I really want to take Mike McCoy and the Chargers in a bounce-back game here, but I can't pick against Peyton Manning and the Broncos with two weeks to prepare. This could go either way, though, and it should be close.
Langland: Broncos, 31-27
John Fox may not be roaming the sidelines this week, but Jack Del Rio will execute the same exact game plan for the Broncos. San Diego's defense wont be able to stop Peyton Manning through the air, which means Denver will roll on in easy fashion.
Kruse: Broncos, 34-31
San Diego has been a tough out at home, and the Broncos have next Sunday's showdown with Kansas City looming. An upset is tempting here, but Peyton Manning will score enough points to escape.
Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals
B/R Consensus Pick: Cardinals (9-3)
Schottey: Cardinals, 17-13
The Cardinals defense will expose Case Keenum.
Bowen: Texans, 26-23
Carson Palmer struggles to protect the ball as the Texans pick up the win. Turnovers are the story.
Schalter: Cardinals, 21-17
Case Keenum has been impressive, but the Cardinals are a tough matchup. Frankly, it's hard to pick the Texans while head coach Gary Kubiak's health is still an unknown.
Freeman: Cardinals, 21-14
Cards D is the difference here.
Miller: Cardinals, 21-17
Case Keenum has been a bright spot for the Texans, but it will be the strength of the Arizona defense against the pass that shuts down the Houston game plan.
Frenz: Cardinals, 27-20
The Cardinals defense might be one of the unsung groups in the NFL. Against a Texans offense that has yielded a league-high 5.2 points per game to opposing defenses, the Cardinals could have their share of opportunities to make this a landslide.
Hangst: Cardinals, 20-17
Case Keenum will be brought back to earth against the Cardinals defense and their secondary capable of shutting down Andre Johnson. They'll keep it close, however, because Houston's defensive pressure will rattle Carson Palmer.
Hansen: Cardinals, 21-20
The Texans have been keeping games close, but Arizona's defense should be able to force a few Case Keenum mistakes. As long as Keenum makes one more mistake than Carson Palmer, the Cardinals win.
Bardeen: Texans, 21-20
Never underestimate the power of a team rallying behind a fallen comrade. Houston crumbled after head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed at halftime of their Week 9 game against the Colts. Now the stress and worries will be replaced by drive and passion, and Houston will use that to rise to victory.
Gagnon: Cardinals, 24-10
Houston had its big opportunity against Indy, and now the air has been sucked out of that team. Case Keenum could have a lot of trouble against that Arizona defense on the road. Cardinals win handily off the bye.
Langland: Cardinals, 23-21
It's hard not to like Case Keenum after back-to-back starts, yet the Cardinals' aggressive, uptempo scheme will force him to make costly mistakes.
Kruse: Texans, 27-20
I think Houston rallies around the loss of its head coach, and Case Keenum continues his early efficiency. He's already been exposed to a lot in just two NFL starts.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints
B/R Consensus Pick: Saints (11-1)
Schottey: Saints, 37-26
The Saints are going to play angry after their loss to the Jets, and the Cowboys defense is ripe to give up a ton of points.
Bowen: Saints, 33-23
I don't pick against the Saints in the Superdome. Look for New Orleans to play a much better brand of football after the loss to the Jets.
Schalter: Saints, 42-33
The easy take is that Brees wins a shootout in the Superdome. It's also the right one. Subplot: Rob Ryan proving a point against his former employers.
Freeman: Saints, 38-30
Whoever gets the ball last wins.
Miller: Saints, 35-31
This one should feature tons of passing and quite a few sacks, but in the end, Drew Brees has more talent around him and the better head coach.
Frenz: Cowboys, 33-30
Tony Romo is going toe-to-toe with some of the NFL's best quarterbacks but has come up just short. This time, he and the Cowboys come away with the win thanks to his advanced knowledge of Rob Ryan's defense.
Hangst: Saints, 35-30
This game features Dallas on the road, or, conversely, the Saints at home. For both of those reasons, this game favors New Orleans. The Sunday night billing, however, means it will be a thrilling one.
Hansen: Saints, 38-35
Which team has a defense? That team will win, I think. I hear the Saints have a surprisingly good defense and the Cowboys continue to collapse defensively when the game is on the line.
Bardeen: Saints, 33-24
Rob Ryan moved to 0-5 against his brother last week with the Saints' loss to the New York Jets. He's not going to want to take a second loss in a row, especially to his former team. Look for the New Orleans defense to bounce back and really put a hurtin' on Tony Romo.
Gagnon: Saints, 37-31
I feel like this one's going to be wild. Tony Romo and the Cowboys know that Rob Ryan defense, and the Saints are coming back to earth a little. Still, the Cowboys have been inconsistent, and this is a tough prime-time road game. Without much of a running game, it'll be tough to pull it out.
Langland: Saints, 31-28
Despite losing to the New York Jets last week, Drew Brees and Co. will get back in their groove at home. Plus, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be out for vengeance.
Kruse: Saints, 31-24
The Saints haven't lost at home because they play a faster, better brand of football in New Orleans. I'm not sure the Cowboys have enough defensively to force Drew Brees into the one or two mistakes Dallas will need.
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
B/R Consensus Pick: Dolphins (7-5)
Schottey: Dolphins, 20-13
The Dolphins are going through a lot right now, but they're not even close to the trainwreck that is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bowen: Buccaneers, 20-16
Tampa blew an opportunity to upset the Seahawks in Week 9, but I see them getting that first win of the season as Mike Glennon continues to develop.
Schalter: Buccaneers, 28-24
Yup, this is the week Tampa Bay gets off the schneid. Even without the Incognito mess, that Miami defense hasn't been scary for a while.
Freeman: Dolphins, 24-14
Nothing like the Bucs to cure a locker room controversy.
Miller: Dolphins, 21-17
The Dolphins will have to overcome off-field issues, but even with so much controversy surrounding them, they can beat the Bucs.
Frenz: Dolphins, 34-17
With an extra week to prepare for a hapless Buccaneers team, the Dolphins should be able to handle Tampa Bay with ease. Look for Lamar Miller to have a big game against a Buccaneers run defense that's yielded over 120 yards in three of their past four games.
Hangst: Buccaneers, 20-17
The Buccaneers blew a 21-point lead to lose to the Seattle Seahawks last week, but what must be remembered is that they had a 21-0 lead over the Seahawks in Seattle. They can carry that momentum over to defeat the distracted Dolphins in the friendlier confines of Tampa Bay.
Hansen: Dolphins, 23-17
Distraction can be good for a football team because the players are forced to stand united. As long as there isn't a major schism in that locker room, the Dolphins should be able to beat the Buccanneers at home. The storylines in the game are certainly plentiful.
Bardeen: Dolphins, 27-17
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon had a great game last week against Seattle, and that might hurt him this week against Miami. The Dolphins are coming off a mini-bye week (they played last on Oct. 31) and saw Tampa Bay's powerful first half against the Seahawks. Miami won't be caught off guard.
Gagnon: Buccaneers, 20-17
Back at home after a surprisingly decent performance in Seattle, I think the Bucs take advantage of one of the only NFL teams in more turmoil than they've been in. Miami's had extra time to prepare, but that short-handed line could be in big trouble against an underrated defense. Tampa Bay is due.
Langland: Buccaneers, 28-24
The Buccaneers can't lose every game, can they? No. Miami is in a state of turmoil right now, and Tampa Bay will take advantage.
Kruse: Dolphins, 24-20
The battle of toxic Florida locker rooms should tilt Miami's way. The Dolphins defense (five sacks, three interceptions of Andy Dalton) could really cause problems for Mike Glennon and the Bucs up front.