NFL Picks Week 10: Chris Simms' Game-by-Game Predictions

Chris Simms@@CSimmsQBNFL Lead AnalystNovember 10, 2016

NFL Picks Week 10: Chris Simms' Game-by-Game Predictions

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    Bill Belichick’s coaching tree has leaguewide roots.  

    Pete Carroll’s saplings are growing in Atlanta, Cleveland, Oakland and Jacksonville.

    Hell, even Jeff Fisher’s tree has a few notable branches.

    Here’s my question: Where’s Sean Payton’s tree? He’s a top-three head coach. Exploring his Saints staff seems like a no-brainer for teams looking to add a little offense.

    We know assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell is a fiery leader from his tenure in Miami. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael has worked with Drew Brees for over a decade. Running backs coach Joel Thomas and offensive line coach Dan Roushar preside over two of the NFL’s most improved units.

    In the future, we should see all four assistants rise up the coaching ranks. In the present, they’ll piece together a game plan capable of topping the reigning NFL champions. You heard it here first.

    Check out my Denver-New Orleans pick (and my 13 other picks) for more insider information. And if you’re an NFL general manager, put your gardening gloves on. It’s time to let Sean Payton’s coaching tree grow a little.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, Nov. 10, at 8:25 p.m. ET (NFLN)

    Hue Jackson hasn’t won, but he hasn’t abandoned the offensive script either. His Browns scrape and claw to establish the run.

    Good luck doing that against Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Williams. Against Michael Pierce and Lawrence Guy, too. Baltimore deploys its run-stuffers in waves, then backs them up with C.J. Mosley. The sole path to a Browns upset win will literally be blocked.

    Baltimore will establish its run game, not Cleveland. Ronnie Stanley is back in his starting role and should open up bigger and bigger holes as he readjusts.

    Prediction: Ravens 24, Browns 13

Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    Carolina’s racked up wins by playing its old brand of front-seven-centric defense.

    The Panthers can beat up the Cardinals and Rams all day. But Kansas City’s offensive line doesn’t back down from a brawl. The Panthers can hope for a stalemate in the trenches at best.

    Alex Smith will have time to throw behind that line. Ball-hawking Thomas Davis can limit his favorite target, Travis Kelce. The rest of Carolina’s back seven won’t have as fun an afternoon with Tyreek Hill’s blazing speed.

    Prediction: Chiefs 30, Panthers 24

Denver Broncos at New Orleans Saints

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    Denver’s defense will get no reprieve from great offensive line play.

    The Broncos are up against New Orleans’ front five—a group I've called the NFL's biggest surprise. Coordinator Wade Phillips will work all week to find its weak link. There isn’t one; the Saints are as solid and athletic from tackle to tackle as any team not owned by Jerry Jones.

    Aqib Talib holds the other key to the game. Even if he’s healthy, can he stick on a speedster such as Brandin Cooks? If not, that could force Chris Harris Jr. back outside. All-22 rookie Michael Thomas has his fingers crossed for that shift.

    Prediction: Saints 23, Broncos 20

Los Angeles Rams at New York Jets

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    Ryan Fitzpatrick should think twice before he rushes to take his job back from Bryce Petty.

    After all, Aaron Donald will be inches away. Center Nick Mangold’s sprained ankle won’t help him track down an elite athlete such as Donald. And Trumaine Johnson is back to match Brandon Marshall’s size with some size of his own.

    Can Donald and Johnson find the end zone? That might be L.A.’s only hope of flying across the country and winning ugly. I don’t see it happening.

    Prediction: Jets 19, Rams 16

Green Bay Packers at Tennessee Titans

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    You have the most creative defensive mind on one sideline. Then you have Mike McCarthy—the White Bread Offense evangelist.

    Give me Dick LeBeau and the overachievers he coordinates. Aaron Rodgers won’t be able to dance around and pick apart Tennessee’s zone defense. It’ll come after him with 100 different pressure looks. Expect a heavy dose of Packers tight ends and backs.

    Expect DeMarco Murray to get back on track, too. I know Green Bay’s rush defense is formidable. I’ve just seen Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin steamroll too many good teams to not give their unit the edge.

    Prediction: Titans 23, Packers 21

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    Earlier this week, I exposed the Eagles defense for the top-heavy group that it is.

    Here’s what I mean: Fletcher Cox is nasty. Brandon Graham is a freak. But behind that pass rush, there’s no stick-to-your-ground corner support. Coordinator Jim Schwartz can’t play man defense with any sort of confidence. That’s not what you want to hear heading into a matchup with the league’s most explosive offense.

    Atlanta is too creative and dynamic for Philadelphia to handle. Carson Wentz can try to play catch up—he was impressive when I went back to Week 9’s tape—but better offenses have tried that and failed.

    Prediction: Falcons 27, Eagles 23

Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins

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    Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    Throw-first offense? Dynamic receivers? So-so running game but a tough offensive line?

    Minnesota saw it all last week. Kirk Cousins and Co. attack defenses in a Detroit Lions-like way. The Vikings will benefit from that familiarity.

    They’ll also benefit from an average Redskins defense. It’s good enough to put some heat on Sam Bradford, but not dominant enough to slow his over-the-middle throws. Josh Norman and the back seven might have a little bye-week rust to shake off as well.

    The Vikings' losing streak has to end sometime. I’m picking Week 10.

    Prediction: Vikings 17, Redskins 16

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    Jacksonville derives its defensive success from individual athletes, not scheme.

    Gus Bradley deploys two zone defenses. I’d bet money his head coaching counterpart drew up plays to beat them both—especially with a bye week at his disposal.

    That doesn’t mean I’m picking Bill O’Brien’s offense to dominate. It’ll be ugly for both offenses. Whichever one establishes its running back, be it Lamar Miller or Chris Ivory, will own a huge advantage.

    So will the team that doesn’t start Blake Bortles. The Jaguars QB has been my punching bag in recent weeks, but any passer will struggle to top Houston’s solid secondary.

    Prediction: Texans 26, Jaguars 23

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

    I threw four assistants into the promotion mix earlier in this article.

    How about a fifth? Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is young (36), talented and ballsy. He’s transformed this Bears offense from one on the brink of a collapsing season.

    Jay Cutler isn’t his focal point nowadays. Everything Loggains does centers around Jordan Howard, and Tampa Bay doesn’t have the defensive horses to stop him.

    The Buccaneers also don’t have the run game to keep Howard sidelined. Doug Martin looks poised to return for the first time since Week 2, but don’t expect much from him. It could be up to practice squad call-up Russell Hansbrough to balance the Buccaneers offense.

    Prediction: Bears 31, Buccaneers 27

Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)

    Playoff football will be seen in San Diego seven weeks ahead of schedule.

    I’m talking about the Dolphins' get-outta-my-way running game against the Chargers' immovable run defense. This is big-boy football, folks. It’s not for the faint of heart.

    San Diego distinguishes itself in two ways in this one. First, it has the big but quick bodies required to gum up Miami’s zone running attack. Secondly, it deploys an effective running attack of its own. Just ask the Tennessee Titans how fun it was defending Melvin Gordon last week.

    Gordon might find a crease on every handoff. This Dolphins front four is good but is left to its own devices. Linebackers won’t be able to clean up if two tackles shoot the same gap, for instance. Gordon can bust right through.

    Prediction: Chargers 34, Dolphins 24

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

    San Francisco’s defense allows an average of 193 rushing yards per game (worst in the league by a mile).

    Arizona’s offense employs a running back by the name of David Johnson. He’s patient, efficient (4.5 yards per carry) and elusive (five runs of 20-plus yards).

    Any questions? Like any other back, Johnson can run roughshod over the Niners defense. A 200-yard day isn’t just realistic; I expect it. Get extra highlight reels right now and save some time.

    Prediction: Cardinals 38, 49ers 22

Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

    Sorry to spoil a perfectly exciting clash between two flagship NFL franchises.

    I’ve just seen this game already. It happened when Miami—and its big, physical offensive line—hosted the big-play Steelers in the middle of October. We all saw the ensuing Dolphins blowout.

    This game is at Heinz Field, but the result should be the same. Only Ryan Shazier has the talent and strength to disrupt Dallas’ line. Double-team him, and Ezekiel Elliott should still find plenty of holes to gallop through.

    Pittsburgh must commit more than seven defenders to try to stop him. When it does, Dallas will be ready for a big downfield throw or two...exactly how that Dolphins game turned out.

    Prediction: Cowboys 21, Steelers 17

Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots

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    When: Sunday, Nov. 13, at 8:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

    Super Bowl rematches rarely live up to the original.

    This Seahawks-Patriots game is the exception, because I see it playing out like Super Bowl 49—minus the Malcolm Butler heroics and all.

    Tom Brady is going to attack the short crosses and open flats like he did back in Arizona. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are poised for big games again. He’ll also mix in a healthy dose of LeGarrette Blount, whose legs should be fresh coming off New England’s bye week. That side of the ball should roll.

    Speaking of bye weeks…Bill Belichick is 11-4 coming off the bye since he rejoined the Patriots in 2000. Seattle’s offense might be on the arrow-up, but Belichick knows how to stymie it. We’ll see tons of man coverage with extra help to prevent Jimmy Graham from going Gronk.

    Prediction: Patriots 27, Seahawks 14

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants

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    When: Monday, Nov. 14, at 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

    Geno Atkins will be licking his chops for this Monday night bout.

    Why? For starters, the Giants make themselves one-dimensional by refusing to block up the running game. Eli Manning’s protection will have one major hole up front without star guard Justin Pugh (knee). And, in case you needed a reminder, he’s Geno Atkins. Expect lots of Eli face.

    I have more faith in Marvin Lewis to scheme Odell Beckham Jr. out of a game than I do with Ben McAdoo to scheme him into one. Regardless, OBJ might disappear amid all of Cincinnati’s cornerback depth.

    Prediction: Bengals 23, Giants 20