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Week 10 Cheat Sheet: NFL picks and predictions
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Overall Record: 87-43
Thursday NightChicago at San Francisco: Could Lovie Smith be on the hot seat in Chicago? After giving up 40+ points in two of the last three games, Smith's Bears are one defensive implosion away from genuine job-security discussions in the Chicago media. Lovie's got nowhere to hide; he's the one calling the plays this season. Look for his beleaguered D to win a big one for him on the road Thursday night. Mike Singletary fails to beat his former team.
The Pick: Bears 23, 49ers 17
Sunday's 1 p.m. ET gamesAtlanta at Carolina: Say what you want about Derek Jeter and Tony Romo, but DeAngelo Williams could be the sporting world's true Mr. November. Williams has rushed for 740 yards (123.3 per game) and 10 touchdowns in his past six November games. Atlanta's playing well, but the Panthers are playing even better. Back in Charlotte after a brutal road loss in the Big Easy last weekend, the Cats get the best of Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
The Pick: Panthers 31, Falcons 21 Tampa Bay at Miami: The Dolphins and Bucs are tied at 4-4 in the all-time series, but the Buccaneers have won the past three meetings. Josh Freeman threw three touchdowns and got the win in his first career start, but getting a W against the Dolphins on the road will be tough. Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown were college teammates at Auburn; Sunday will mark just the second time they'll be facing off as pros. Brown gets the bragging rights in this one.
The Pick: Dolphins 26, Buccaneers 17 Detroit at Minnesota: The last time Detroit played in Minnesota, ex-Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky infamously ran out of the back of the end zone while rolling right in the pocket. The notorious clip was played over and over and went on to personify Detroit's 0-16 season. Orlovsky's gone. That doesn't mean the Lions will find different results in Minnesota on Sunday. This could be Adrian Peterson's 200-yard day.
The Pick: Vikings 41, Lions 10 Jacksonville at New York Jets: The Jets have had their troubles with the other AFC team in Florida this season, but should get the best of the Jaguars on Sunday. New York's bye week came at the perfect time. Rex Ryan should have his boys prepared and ready for the super-hyphenated duo of Mike Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew. Go with the J-E-T-S.
The Pick: Jets 30, Jaguars 24 Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: Dating back to Dec. 14, the Bengals have won 9 of their last 11 games. With a season sweep of Baltimore and one win over the Steelers already under their belts, Cincinnati is a victory away from sole possession of the AFC North lead. But I can't see them strolling into Heinz Field and coming out on top. Dating back to last year, the Steelers have won 9 straight at home and Mike Tomlin's never lost to an AFC North opponent in Pittsburgh. Gimme the champs, somehow, some way, under the media radar at 6-2.
The Pick: Steelers 27, Bengals 17
The Pick: Saints 44, Rams 10 Buffalo at Tennessee: The Bills and Titans have a strange and twisted history. The AFL ties, the Frank Reich comeback game of '92, the Music City Miracle of '99, "Octodad" Travis Henry these franchises have a shared past. The future, however, is all about Chris Johnson. The second-year running back, who's averaging 6.7 yards per carry in '09, has 491 rushing yards in his past three games and is aiming for his third consecutive game with two rushing touchdowns. Against the awful Buffalo rush defense he may get four. Give me the suddenly rejuvenated Titans in a blowout. No Music City Miracle needed in this one.
The Pick: Titans 34, Bills 12 Denver at Washington: You see those dust bowls? Hear that cavernous echo? Smell that loneliness? That's the Broncos bandwagon, now completely emptied just two games after a bye week spent making space for late-in-the-game media members to jump aboard. After Baltimore and Pittsburgh beat up on the Broncos in consecutive weeks, all is suddenly awfully quiet on the Rocky Mountain front. Fortunately for Denver, the perfect hangover cure is up ahead a trip to Washington.
The Pick: Broncos 24, Redskins 7
Sunday's 4 p.m. ET games:Kansas City at Oakland: Interesting stat of the week? JaMarcus Russell has a career 2-1 record vs. the Chiefs. Coming off their bye week, look for the Raiders to play smart, focused football. I just can't see them winning Sunday. The Chiefs got big production out of second and third receivers Chris Chambers and Lance Long last weekend. Matt Cassel seems to be hitting his stride. I'll take my chances with him over Russell in this game. Actually, I'll take my chances with him over Russell in any game.
The Pick: Chiefs 17, Raiders 13 Seattle at Arizona: Kurt Warner has won his past three starts vs. the Seahawks with a 105.5 passer rating. In starts (including the playoffs) with a 100+ rating (minimum 15 attempts), Warner's teams are now 41-4 (.911). This should be a shootout. Gimme the Cardinals, putting them in great shape to wrap up their second consecutive division title.
The Pick: Cardinals 26, Seahawks 23 Dallas at Green Bay: How about this Tony Romo guy? He has now won 13 November starts in a row, the longest streak for a quarterback since 1950. He has 3,641 yards, 35 touchdowns and a 116.5 passer rating in those 13 games and 3+ touchdown passes in eight of his past 13 in November. Want to pick against him? Go ahead. That'll make one of us.
The Pick: Cowboys 31, Packers 20 Philadelphia at San Diego: Both the Eagles and 'Bolts are fresh off cross-country trips from the East Coast. The Chargers have won four straight games at home versus the Eagles and Philip Rivers is 22-6 in games played in San Diego. An interesting matchup to watch for? Surefire AFC Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson vs. All-Pro Eagles corner Asante Samuel. Gimme the Chargers in this week's other premier NFL matchup.
The Pick: Chargers 24, Eagles 21
The Pick: Colts 31, Patriots 30
Monday NightBaltimore at Cleveland: C'mon. I don't even want to waste the virtual trees or the Internet ink on this one. Cleveland's a complete and utter mess. Baltimore needs an easy one after last week's loss in Cincy. Well, here it is. Don't worry about coming to work Tuesday morning all hazy-eyed and exhausted -- this one will be over by halftime
The Pick: Ravens 30, Browns 0
Reader Email of the WeekPeter,
Big fan of your stuff, but can't help but notice you have only picked against the Titans once all season. I get that they were good last year, but what gives? Were you an Oilers fan growing up or something?
Doug, Los Angeles
Nope, wasn't an Oilers fan. Though I did always like Warren Moon, the baby blue jerseys, and Ernest Givins' electric slide touchdown dance. My favorite Houston Oilers memory? Buddy Ryan blasting Kevin Gilbride in the face on the sidelines. Yes, the Cody Carlson era! Love 'ya, Blue. As for these Titans? Don't be shocked if they run off a bunch of wins in a row and end up in the wild-card hunt. Crazier things have happened. Like an ancient defensive coordinator socking an up-and-coming offensive coordinator in the face on national television.