The Detroit Lions have not been overly impressive through the first half of the season, but a look at the offensive talent on the team indicates that they should have an excellent chance of winning the NFC North title.
The biggest reason for that is the advantage they have at quarterback. The Green Bay Packers are playing with a backup in Brett Hundley as a result of Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone. The Minnesota Vikings are playing well with backup Case Keenum, but he is not a legitimate NFL starter. Chicago's Mitchell Trubisky is a rookie with limited experience.
On the other hand, Detroit's Matthew Stafford is an elite quarterback who is capable of dominating any game. The Lions had lost three games in a row before they came up with a key 30-17 victory Monday night at Green Bay. He was on top of his game vs. the Packers, as he completed 26 of 33 passes for 361 yards with two touchdowns.
Stafford is completing 62.4 percent of his passes for an average of 256.0 yards per game with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. Golden Tate is one of the most efficient and toughest receivers in the NFL with 50 receptions while being targeted 65 times, and Marvin Jones is able to stretch the field and has caught five TD passes.
The Browns have been fighting hard on defense and rank ninth in yards allowed, and they have a major force on the defensive line in Myles Garrett to build around. Garrett has been slowed by injuries in his rookie year, but when he has been in the lineup, he has been a dynamic force with 4.0 sacks in three games.
The Browns are a mess on the offensive side of the ball. If the selection of QB DeShone Kizer was not a flat-out mistake, he clearly needs quite a bit of seasoning before he will be ready to help his team win games.
Kizer is completing 52.1 percent of his passes and averaging a paltry 5.37 yards per pass and 151.9 yards per game. His 3-11 TD-interception ratio explains why the Browns are winless to this point.
Look for the Detroit defense to have a field day against Kizer. FS Glover Quin and CB Darius Slay both have three interceptions and have combined for 15 passes defensed.
The Lions are 12.5-point underdogs, according to OddsShark, and they will have that margin covered by halftime and win by three TDs or more.
NFL Week 10 Schedule, Odds (All point spreads and totals courtesy of OddsShark)
Seattle (-4.5) at Arizona | O/U 41.5
Green Bay at Chicago (-5.5) | O/U 38
Cincinnati at Tennessee (-4.5) | O/U 40.5
New Orleans (-3) at Buffalo | O/U 46.5
Cleveland at Detroit (-12.5) | O/U 43.5
Pittsburgh (-10) at Indianapolis | O/U 43.5
L.A. Chargers at Jacksonville (-3.5) | O/U 41
N.Y. Jets at Tampa Bay (-2.5) | O/U 43.5
Minnesota (-1) at Washington | O/U 42
Houston at L.A. Rams (-11.5) | O/U 46.5
N.Y. Giants (-1) at San Francisco | O/U 41.5
Dallas at Atlanta (-2.5) | O/U 50.5
New England (-7.5) at | O/U 46.5
Miami at Carolina (-10) | O/U 39.5
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
The Patriots may be the standard-bearers when it comes to consistent excellence, but that has not applied to Bill Belichick's team when it has had to play the Broncos in Denver.
The Patriots were successful in a Week 15 matchup in the Mile High City last year, as they came away with a 16-3 victory. However, the Pats have lost six of their last eight games in Denver, including two AFC title games and one divisional playoff game.
It's not often that the Patriots go to Denver and are favored to win by more than a touchdown. The Pats are 7.5-point favorites, and the primary reason is that New England is functioning at a high level on offense, while the Broncos have been struggling badly in recent weeks.
The Pats have the top-ranked offense in the league as Tom Brady is completing 66.7 percent of his passes while throwing for 302.1 yards per game with 16 touchdowns and two interceptions.
He has three game-changing receivers in Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan (shoulder), in addition to Danny Amendola, who are capable of torching any defense.
Denver has installed Brock Osweiler at quarterback after Trevor Siemian started to struggle badly, and the new quarterback is not likely to turn things around. He is averaging just 5.38 yards per throw and struggles to read defenses and get the ball out of his hand on time.
While the Patriots have the 32nd-ranked defense in the league, they have started to improve in that area after an awful start. New England is still vulnerable on defense, but it seems unlikely that Osweiler is the quarterback who can take advantage of that unit.
New England is a 7.5-point favorite in the game, and it doesn't seem likely that the Broncos will generate enough offense to cover the spread.
The Patriots win by 10 points or more.
Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers
The Dolphins dropped a 27-24 decision to the Oakland Raiders at home in Week 9, but it wasn't all bad news for head coach Adam Gase.
That's because Jay Cutler returned to the starting lineup, and he had one of the best games of his career as he completed 34 of 42 passes for 311 yards with three TDs, and he did not throw an interception. That's clearly something to build off of, but consistency has never been a huge part of Cutler's game.
Cutler has decent numbers this season, completing 66.2 percent of his passes along with a 10-5 TD-interception ratio.
Even though the Dolphins lost that game, they are 4-4 and in a position to make the playoffs with a strong second half.
Playing at Carolina would seem to be a tough assignment, because the Panthers have the No. 1 defense in the league—but that doesn't tell the full story.
Cam Newton is one of the most up-and-down performers in the NFL, and head coach Ron Rivera knows that his quarterback is as capable of missing wide open receivers as he is at making big plays.
The Panthers have won back-to-back games after losing two in a row to Philadelphia and Chicago.
Look for the inconsistency to continue. The Dolphins will not allow the Panthers to run away from them, and they may win the game on the road. Take Miami plus the points.