An inconsistent 9-4 pick record last week puts me at a 90-42 record on the year through 9 weeks. As we reach double figure weeks lets see if I can break the 100 barrier of correct predictions from the slate of games that is week 10 of the NFL season……
Panthers @ Steelers (TNF)
Arguably the game of the week as 2 red hot teams square off in prime time at Heinz Field. The Steelers took care of business against the Ravens last weekend and James Conner is easily the MVP of this team at the midway mark of the season. Joe Haden has rediscovered the form that sent him to the pro bowl as a member of the Browns and those early season reports of in fighting that seem to pop up every year in Pittsburgh have very quickly been forgotten. Chris wrote an article on the Panthers a week or so ago outlining their credentials and it is hard to argue that they are not a playoff team. They need to keep pace with the Saints in an incredibly good NFC South division to be in the hunt as a divisional winner as opposed to a wildcard team but unfortunately I have visions of those terrible towels being waved in jubilation this evening. Prediction – Steelers
Lions @ Bears
Are the Bears for real? They have developed a great habit by destroying lower level competition, as demonstrated beautifully by the thrashing the handed out the sorry Bills last week. Can they do that against a decent opponent though? It’s a question for another week though in my opinion, as I’m not sure the Lions are good enough to be given that decent tagline heading into this one. The trade away of Golden Tate, the annoying lack of a consistent run game (Which feels like an annual problem) and a defence struggling to make game changing plays means I’m chalking up another win for Matt Nagy’s squad. Prediction – Bears
Saints @ Bengals
Who-dat? What a massive win for the Saints last week and as things stand the road to the Superbowl heads through New Orleans. The most balanced attack in the NFL even gets a potential upgrade with the addition of Dez Bryant and Michael Thomas continues to perform like the leagues best receiver. The Bengals are coming off their bye week but could not have found a worse week to be without AJ Green. Look for Joe Mixon to carry a big load on the day but I feel that will be in vein. Prediction – Saints
Falcons @ Browns
The Browns are in real danger of drafting number 1 overall for 3 years running. An improved offensive outing against the Chiefs last week was encouraging but losing another 2 key defensive players to IR this week hurts a unit that has slowed down from its early season pace. The Falcons just simply have to keep winning to stand any chance of a wildcard berth in the NFC South and this should be another tick towards that objective. Julio Jones ended a quite unbelievable scoring drought last week and against a banged up Browns secondary will be liking his chances of consecutive weeks with end zone visits. Prediction – Falcons
Bills @ Jets
Sam Darnold has hit the rookie wall and now thanks to an injury will take a seat on the bench. A tough first start of the season for Josh McCowan against a Bills D that has made games competitive. The Bills offence is beyond a joke though and Nathan Peterman is easily the worst QB that will be starting a game this week. I would have picked the Bills had they been up against Darnold but I’ll take the Jets with the vet behind center. Prediction – Jets
Jags @ Colts
Surely the Jags have been the most disappointing team in the league this year? The return of Leonard Fournette represents last chance saloon for any hopes of a playoff return this year. Asking Blake Bortles to throw multiple times is never a good idea and despite encouraging signs for the passing game against the Eagles last time out the ground game is where the Jags must find success. The Colts are a fun team to watch and Andrew Luck is putting up a lot of yards and points now he has a line blocking for him (Only 10 sacks allowed all year). I think this game effectively ends the Jags season. Prediction – Colts
Cardinals @ Chiefs
The Chiefs get a perfect chance to add onto their league leading 29 touchdowns on the season against a poor Cardinals team. Travis Kelce must be talked about alongside Rob Gronkowski as the best at the tight end position after destroying Cleveland last week taking his season production over 700 yards with 6 scores. As for the Cardinals despite a win against the 49ers before their bye week I am really struggling to see another season with Steve Wilks at the helm. Progression from Josh Rosen is all that is left to take out of the season and he should get an opportunity to showcase his talents this week against a Chiefs D that is the obvious weakness in their side. It will not be anywhere near enough though, look for Pat Mahomes to continue his MVP march. Prediction – Chiefs
Redskins @ Bucs
Poor showing from the Redskins last week and all of a sudden the NFC East seems ready for the defending champs to pounce. I have been disappointed with Jordan Reed and when and when a 33 year old is your best weapon you are likely in trouble. Fitzmagic took a little while to warm up last week but he got it going to give the Panthers a scare towards the back end of last week. Ironically the Bucs could do with Adrian Peterson at the moment as the run game in Tampa is pretty much non-existent. A tough game to call and although their is likely more at stake for the Redskins I will take Tampa Bay at home in this one. Prediction – Bucs
Patriots @ Titans
Note to self….. never back against Tom Brady and co at home. The Pats are rolling as usual and with Josh Gordon becoming a bigger part of the offence the rest of the AFC will know that getting through to the showpiece event in February will be a big ask with these guys in the way. A good bounce back win for the Titans on MNF against the Cowboys but this is far from an ideal game to think about beginning to build a winning streak. A nice performance from Marcus Mariota last time out and now injuries seem to be behind him he always carries a threat on the ground. The Swiss army knife that is James White and TB12 will have to much here though. Prediction – Patriots
Chargers @ Raiders
Statement win at Seattle last time out for Rivers and co, an absolute lock for the playoffs and a team yet to field their best defensive player in Joey Bosa. Playing the Raiders is effectively like having a second bye week so chalk up another W here. Prediction – Chargers
Dolphins @ Packers
The Dolphins must surely be the must underwhelming team with a winning record? A big decision surely looms behind centre this summer as the Ryan Tannehill injury appears much more serious than originally thought. The Packers have a potentially bigger rebuild ahead in the summer if Mike McCarthy is indeed in his final season. Making the playoffs would avoid that scenario but they are running out of weeks to get wins on the board. I see a win this week however as surely Aaron Rodgers will not lose to Brock Osweiler? Prediction – Packers
Seahawks @ Rams
The first loss of the season and my undefeated prediction in tatters after a dog fight in the Superdome for the Rams last week. They should not be too down on themselves though after battling back from a big half time hole to draw level in the second half before Michael Thomas took over. The concern would be the high paid D not necessarily delivering the performance that it should, but that offence is still scary. Tough back to back weeks for the Seahawks who fought the Chargers hard and will no doubt do the same again here. I think the result will be similar though. Prediction – Rams
Cowboys @ Eagles
A must win for “America’s team” (Surely that needs revisiting?) to stay alive in the NFC East. The defending champs played fairly complete game last time out against the Jags and have the look of a team about to hit their stride. I love the addition of Golden Tate to the offence and it certainly signals the intent in Philly. It really does seem as simple as this: Stop Zeke Elliot and the Cowboys will not win, look for Fletcher Cox to have a big game and do just that. Prediction – Eagles
Giants @ 49ers (MNF)
I look forward to writing a predictions piece and talking about an intriguing Monday Night Football match-up. Unfortunately, it’s not this week, although it will carry some remote interest in terms of draft order and to see if Nick Mullens can prove to be more than a 1 game wonder. It might be in the Giants best long term interest to lose this game for draft position to get Eli’s replacement next summer. Prediction – 49ers
So there is week 10, not as many marquee games on paper as last week but the usual dose of intrigue awaits. Am I completely wrong on any of the above? Tell me below, get involved. Until next week………..
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