NFL Predictions Week 10: Upset Picks and Projections

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2016

Week 10 offers plenty of upset angles for bettors to consider.
Week 10 offers plenty of upset angles for bettors to consider.Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

Those who love rolling with upsets should have a great time in Week 10.

Well, at least by comparison to the week before it, where the most notable upset was the Oakland Raiders taking down the Denver Broncos (and even that has a hard time qualifying at this point).

Week 10 offers a more diverse slate with enough wiggle room for underdogs to come out on top. While marquee games between favorites such as Dallas-Pittsburgh and Seattle-New England look fun, the best underdog bets come elsewhere on the slate.

Here is a look at the week's entire offering with underdog situations to consider.

       

NFL Week 10 Odds

MatchupSpreadO/UPredicted Winner
Cleveland at Baltimore (TNF)BAL -845BAL 30-13
Houston at JacksonvilleHOU -242.5HOU 28-14
Kansas City at CarolinaCAR -2.544KC 27-20
L.A. Rams at N.Y. JetsNYJ -2.542LA 20-17
Atlanta at PhiladelphiaATL -150.5ATL 30-27
Green Bay at TennesseeGB -149GB 24-20
Minnesota at WashingtonWAS -342MIN 23-20
Chicago at Tampa BayTB -245CHI 27-17
Denver at New OrleansE49DEN 26-24
Miami at San DiegoSD -449MIA 27-24
San Francisco at ArizonaARI -12.548.5ARI 27-14
Dallas at PittsburghPIT -350DAL 28-20
Seattle at New EnglandNE -9.548.5NE 28-20
Cincinnati at N.Y. Giants (MNF)NYG -247NYG 27-20
Odds Shark; author's projections. Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland on bye.

Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.

        

Kansas City at Carolina (-2.5)

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This is interesting—the Carolina Panthers have now won two games in a row against iffy competition, while the Kansas City Chiefs have rattled off four in a row. Carolina rests as the favorite.

While true, Kansas City has to deal with traveling to take on the Panthers, and the advantages for the hosts seem to end there.

The Chiefs have rattled off those four wins while the defense has only allowed 20 or more points once. An offense that has scored 24 or more points five times gets starting quarterback Alex Smith back under center, too, according to ESPN.com's Adam Teicher:

An upset here centers on the Panthers, though. Carolina's once-proud defense allows an average of 25.8 points per game and ranks 29th against the pass by allowing 286 yards through the air.

On offense, the line has allowed Cam Newton to take 21 sacks while he's completed just 57.7 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns to six interceptions. Against a defense boasting 16 sacks and only allowing 18.9 points per game, Newton might have a hard time keeping his offense moving at a consistent clip.

More than anything, a balanced rushing attack should keep Carolina honest and allow Smith to go over the top with success. Look for the Chiefs to grind out a road win after looking like the more consistent team so far this year.

Prediction: Chiefs 27-20

        

L.A. Rams at N.Y. Jets (-2.5)

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Picking between the Los Angeles Rams and New York Jets probably isn't the most appealing thing on the Week 10 slate.

It does, though, leave room for an upset.

The 3-6 Jets have won two of their last three, but reading between the lines shows quite a bit—the Jets coughed up 28 points to the winless Cleveland Browns and only won by three points during that streak.

This remains a Jets team starting Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, a quarterback who has thrown eight touchdowns to 13 interceptions, topped off by six picks in a single outing. It is a team boasting a once-proud defense that now coughs up an average of 272.2 passing yards and 26.1 points per game.

Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Granted, one could argue things don't look great around the Rams, losers of four straight. The Rams have been confusing at best, something exemplified through the fact the coaching staff has given star running back Todd Gurley more than 20 carries in a game just twice.

Head coach Jeff Fisher said that's about to change.

"His touches and his numbers need to increase significantly," Fisher said, according to ESPN.com's Alden Gonzalez. "That's what we discussed, and what we're working on right now offensively."

In theory, this will open up the Los Angeles offense to more balance, helping the passing attack exploit a bad defense.

Even if it doesn't, the odds Fitzpatrick makes a mistake or two against a defense only allowing 232.3 passing yards, 98.6 rushing yards and 20.9 points seem strong. This line would probably look more even if the Rams weren't on the road, but keep in mind Gurley and the team have secured two of their three victories away from home.

Prediction: Rams 20-17

        

Minnesota at Washington (-3)

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A war of the recently inept helps bettors on the hunt for an upset.

The Minnesota Vikings haven't fielded much of an offense as of late and have lost three in a row as a result. The Washington Redskins have trended in the other direction with a struggling defense and have lost and tied a game in recent weeks.

Bettors at least know what to expect from both sides. Minnesota will bring a defensive-heavy approach with a unit only allowing 15.8 points per game on average. The offense will continue to rest as more of an unknown, with quarterback Sam Bradford sitting on nine touchdowns to one interception but undergoing a change along the coaching staff after former offensive coordinator Norv Turner stepped down.

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Washington trots out a defense strong against the pass and an offense favoring the pass, with 322 pass attempts to 198 rush attempts already. The approach has somewhat hampered quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

This encounter looked like an easy Vikings pick a few weeks ago before the rough patch. It speaks to the disparity of the two teams when the Minnesota defense plays at its usual elite level.

Though it's hard to look past the current skid, the Vikings have only committed five giveaways and have a turnover differential of 12. This is a team that rarely makes mistakes, so expect the defense to play better this week as the offense normalizes after a change along the coaching staff.

Look for Minnesota to control the pace of this one and get back on track.

Prediction: Vikings 23-20

      

Stats courtesy of NFL.com. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus

Follow Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) on Twitter.

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