Week 10 picks: gettin' a little groove on
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 05, 2008
That's a little more like it.
At just past the midway point of the NFL season, we have finally climbed back over .500 against the spread. Our 9-5 mark in Week 9 has us at 64-62-4 on the season. Sure, the juice would be killing you if you were actually betting all of these games, but we couldn't possibly advocate such activity.
And gambling is illegal at Bushwood.
We've certainly been no slouches at picking outright winners. With a third straight 10-4 week, our record for the year is now a sparkling 82-48 (.631).
Here's our look at Week 10:
Denver at Cleveland (-3)
The Dawg Pound should be frothing at the mouth with excitement because Brady Quinn finally makes his first start at quarterback. He gets to oppose a Broncos D that ranks next-to-last in Defensive Passer Rating and is without shutdown corner Champ Bailey and safety Marlon McCree. The passing conditions couldn't be more ideal for a dazzling debut.
The pick: Browns 30, Broncos 20
Jacksonville (-6½) at Detroit
The Lions put a scare into Chicago last week but ultimately fell short, earning the dubious distinction of being the league's last winless team. They will now turn to newly signed QB Daunte Culpepper, whose success throwing deep to Randy Moss in Minnesota could be duplicated with stud wideout Calvin Johnson. The enigmatic Jaguars can't be trusted to cover a touchdown on the road.
The pick: Jaguars 23, Lions 17
Tennessee (-3) at Chicago
At the other end of the won/loss spectrum, we find the Titans, the NFL's sole unbeaten. They continue to rule our Quality Stats, ranking first in Bendability, second in Defensive Passer Rating and fourth in Scoreability. But the Bears have been strong in all of those categories as well, even topping the list for Scoreability (thanks largely to several defensive scores) and also playing tough run defense, which could mitigate Tennessee's primary offensive weapon. So we give the home 'dog a decent shot here.
The pick: Bears 20, Titans 18
Buffalo at New England (-4)
The Bills still haven't beaten any Quality Opponents, falling to 0-2 against them with last week's loss to the Jets. On the other hand, the Patriots have a Quality Record of 1-0, with their lone win coming against those very same Jets. New England has dominated this series in recent years, especially at home, but Buffalo should be able to hang.
The pick: Patriots 23, Bills 20
New Orleans at Atlanta (-1)
The surprising Falcons are 5-3 but have dropped their two division games (granted, both have been on the road). The 4-4 Saints currently sit in last place in the NFC South, so they likewise can ill-afford a loss. With the benefit of an extra week of preparation, New Orleans should ride its top-ranked offense to a narrow victory.
The pick: Saints 24, Falcons 22
St. Louis at N.Y. Jets (-9)
Just when the Rams started to build some momentum with a couple victories, running back Steven Jackson got hurt. He has missed one game and played sparingly in another (both losses), and his outlook isn't rosy for Sunday. The Jets, who rank third in Scoreability, should put up enough points to cover this big number.
The pick: Jets 27, Rams 16
Seattle at Miami (-8½)
Last season, the Seahawks advanced to the second round of the playoffs, while the Dolphins finished 1-15. Who would have imagined that the former would be underdogs of more than a touchdown to the latter? Seattle resides near the bottom in almost all of our Quality Stats, and making the longest cross-country trip for an early game won't help matters.
The pick: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 10
Green Bay at Minnesota (-1)
This clash between longtime rivals finds both of them at 4-4 and tied for second place in the NFC North. Despite facing Tennessee's staunch defense last week, the Packers still check in at No. 6 in Scoreability. That should serve them well against the Vikings, who rank fifth-worst in Bendability.
The pick: Packers 23, Vikings 20
Carolina (-9½) at Oakland
As part of their "commitment to excellence," the Raiders signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall to a 7-year, $70 million contract in the offseason...and then cut him after eight games. That brilliant move leaves them down a defensive back as they try to stop a Panthers offense that ranks fifth in Passing Yards Per Attempt. This could get ugly.
The pick: Panthers 30, Raiders 13
Kansas City at San Diego (-15½)
The Chargers are the only double-digit favorites in Week 10, but laying more than two touchdowns seems excessive. The Chiefs have actually been competitive with Tyler Thigpen at quarterback the last two games, losing one with a minute left and the other in overtime. While great on offense, San Diego owns the league's worst pass defense.
The pick: Chargers 34, Chiefs 20
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh (no line)
The uncertain status of Ben Roethlisberger has this game off the board, but it's safe to assume that the Steelers will be small favorites, as they were on the opening line (-3). Backup Byron Leftwich played well in relief on Monday night, and the game plan will call for the usual heavy doses of running anyway. Pittsburgh should be able to pound away on the Colts, who rank third-worst in our Defensive Hog Index
The pick: Steelers 23, Colts 17
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-3)
With the exception of one out-of-conference loss, the defending champs have looked like they're still clearly the NFC's best. But in this game, they are field-goal underdogs to the Eagles, winners of three straight. Ranking second in our Big Play Index, Philly may have enough explosiveness to secure the home win.
The pick: Eagles 23, Giants 21
Baltimore (-1) at Houston
Matt Schaub has been sidelined by an MCL injury, so Sage Rosenfels takes over at quarterback for the Texans. His fourth-quarter implosion against Indy will undoubtedly be on the minds of the Ravens, who own the third-best Defensive Passer Rating. Baltimore's fast and stingy defense should be the difference.
The pick: Ravens 22, Texans 19
San Francisco at Arizona (-9½)
In his first halftime speech as 49ers head coach, Mike Singletary pulled out all the stops – including the ones holding up his pants. His motivational ploys don't figure to slow down the Cardinals, the league leaders in points per game. Arizona's potent offense should meet little resistance from San Francisco, which ranks dead last in Bendability.
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