NFL Predictions Week 10: Upset Picks and Projections

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2018

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) makes a pass attempt from the pocket in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)
Peter B Joneleit/Associated Press

Poking upset holes in the NFL's Week 10 schedule is no easy task. 

Oddsmakers are emboldened by this point in any season after so many data points and revelations have occurred. As would-be bettors can see below, a combination of this confidence and some lopsided-looking matchups have created multiple massive lines. 

Some make plenty of sense. The surging Los Angeles Chargers should beat the absolute tar out of the Oakland Raiders in the Bay Area. The Kansas City Chiefs should run away with one against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. 

Here is the full slate followed by the top upset picks.  


Week 10 NFL Odds

Carolina at Pittsburgh (-4) | O/U 50.5

Arizona at Kansas City (-17) | O/U 50

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets (-7.5) | O/U 37

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-3) | O/U 46.5

New England (-6.5) at Tennessee | O/U n/a

New Orleans (-5) at Cincinnati | O/U 54

Washington at Tampa Bay (-2.5) | O/U 51.5

Atlanta (-4.5) at Cleveland | O/U 51

Detroit at Chicago (-7) | O/U 45

L.A. Chargers (-10) at Oakland | O/U 50.5

Miami at Green Bay (-10) | O/U 47.5

Seattle at L.A. Rams (-10) | O/U 51.5

Dallas at Philadelphia (-4.5) | O/U n/a

N.Y. Giants at San Francisco (-3) | O/U 43.5


Carolina at Pittsburgh (-4)

Mike McCarn/Associated Press

Who to trust on a short week before a Thursday game? A six-win team with an MVP contender behind center or a 5-2-1 squad with a tie against Cleveland and a loss to a bad Baltimore team? 

Easy enough, right? 

The Carolina Panthers are the away team with an MVP in this scenario, winners of three in a row behind the arm of Cam Newton and his 67.3 completion percentage with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. Their running game averages north of five yards per carry, and their defense only allows 22.5 points per game. 

With one MVP already under his belt, Newton continues to make strides: 

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Cam Newton has been the most improved quarterback on passes targeting the middle of the field from last season: 2018: +10.0% Comp Pct Above Expectation 2017: -1.9% Comp Pct Below Expectation To see more Next Gen Stats QB passing grids, visit: https://t.co/zdo0LtSfr6 https://t.co/1aFRYhgUs6

This isn't to say the Pittsburgh Steelers don't stand a chance, but a poor secondary that has the unit ranked outside the top 20 against the pass has allowed 26 or more points three times this year. That backfield played a part in the 21-21 tie against Cleveland. 

While the Steelers look good riding a four-game tear, the defensive numbers are inflated thanks to games against poor Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Baltimore teams. Ben Roethlisberger has 16 touchdowns and seven picks and James Conner's 706 yards and nine scores have made Le'Veon Bell an afterthought, but the pick here more comes down to Newton against a bad defense. 

With the Steelers coming out of a physical AFC North matchup, look for Newton and the Panthers on a short week to cruise. 

PredictionPanthers 28, Steelers 20


Atlanta (-4.5) at Cleveland

Ron Schwane/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns are a tough sell as usual, but oddsmakers only have this one at a 4.5-point spread for a reason, right? 

One could argue the Browns have new life with Hue Jackson fired and Gregg Williams now running the show, though it wasn't going to show in Week 9 against an elite Kansas City Chiefs team. The Browns went down hard in 37-21 fashion. 

But Atlanta isn't exactly a convincing team lately at 4-4. Matt Ryan quietly has a 70.8 completion percentage with 19 touchdowns against three interceptions, but losing a trio of defensive starters to injured reserve has helped create losses to any and all legitimate competition, ranging from Philadelphia to New Orleans and Pittsburgh. 

Granted, the Falcons have won three in a row against a cupcake schedule lately, the last game a triumph over a five-win Washington team that was without its best offensive lineman and lost two more starters during the game. 

Going into this one, bettors have to remember the Falcons defense is still the Falcons defense, which makes Baker Mayfield interesting—especially with new offensive play-callers at the controls:

Keith Britton @KeithBritton86

#Browns Baker Mayfield says OC Freddie Kitchens was vocal all week about doing what players were comfortable with, eliminating stuff they weren’t comfortable with. “I think that’s why we played better offensively”

Mayfield has thrown six touchdowns against just two interceptions over his last two games, and the new offensive minds running the show finally decided to use running back Duke Johnson Jr. That predictably led to an outburst in which he put up nine catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets, all team highs. 

Few defenses struggle against pass-catching backs the way these Falcons do, so actual usage for one of Cleveland's better weapons and an improving rookie under center should help the Browns outlast a .500 club tasked with traveling and playing in the cold. 

Prediction: Browns 23, Falcons 20


Seattle at L.A. Rams (-10)

Peter B Joneleit/Associated Press

Oddsmakers should know better. 

The Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams have a rivalry that always feels like it's close. This was the case earlier this year when the two met in Seattle and played to a 33-31 Rams win. Jared Goff had problems against the Seahawks defense while throwing one touchdown and two picks, but Todd Gurley picked up the slack with a trio of rushing scorers. 

Quietly, Russell Wilson tossed a trio of his own touchdowns, while his ground game drummed up 190 yards and a score on a 5.9 yards per carry. 

A similar game flow in Week 10 makes sense, with Wilson serving as the X-factor, as usual: 


Can we talk about this @dangerusswilson pass to @tdlockett12?! Goodness. 🔥 📺: FOX #Seahawks https://t.co/s6WYc86XQi

The Rams' extensive success this year before the Week 9 loss to New Orleans has overshadowed the fact the Seahawks have done well in explosive patches despite their 4-4 record. These Seahawks not only played the Rams close already, but they have also dispelled usual road-struggle stereotypes with a pair of wins away from home. 

And while the defense doesn't have a nationally known nickname anymore, it's tied for fifth with just 19.5 points allowed per game. The Seahawks check all the boxes, given the strength of the defense, their running game and MVP-splash plays from Wilson despite a struggling offensive line. 

While the Seahawks might not emerge with an outright win on the road in Week 10, a double-digit spread isn't a safe situation for bettors who want to risk something on this NFC West rivalry. Wilson alone should have the game remaining close throughout, as superstar players are bound to do often. 

Prediction: Rams 30, Seahawks 27


Odds via OddsShark.