Week 10 picks should be interesting as there are a lot of intriguing games to me with a decent number of divisional match-ups and a bunch of match-ups of teams that rarely face each other. There might not be any great games where two juggernauts are facing off, but there are some intriguing games. And the hope for me now is to keep chugging along. Going 7-5 in any one week is not overly impressive, but if I can keep a 7-5 pace over the next 8 weeks I'll end the season on good clip
Buffalo Bills (+2.5) at New York Jets
Full Disclaimer: I have been brutal on Thursday night games, I'm pretty sure the last one I got right was the New York Giants against the Redskins months ago! This is another game where I think I've put too much thought into so we'll see. My gut is saying that the Jets are the better team, but there are some issues. The first is that I don't know if Rex Ryans familiarity with the team will help him game plan in this game which could be an advantage. The second thing here is that Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing injured, which gives me pause. The Bills also look like a much different team with Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy, and Sammy Watkins then they do without them (obviously, they are the Bills most dynamic players). And I want to pick the Bills and I feel like I'm going to be shaking my head Friday morning saying I should have trusted my gut, but I'm going to default back to one of my basic principles when the spread is less than 3, take the better team. The Jets are the better team, they have more good players on offense and defense
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Well, can't win 'em all. The Bills didn't get Jesse's week off to a great start with a 22-17 victory over the Jets.]
Detroit Lions (+11.5) at Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is one of the guys I generally trust with a big point spread because the Packers offense when they are firing on all cylinders are point machines. The Lions on the other hand have been terrible all year and are coached by one of the worst coaches in the league. Still, they are coming off a bye, 11.5 points is a lot and one of the only things the Lions can do is rush the passer. It won't surprise me if they lose by three touchdowns because they have been that bad, but there are too many good players on the Lions for them to be a 1-7 team can the Lions show some pride and play a good game?
Dallas Cowboys (+1.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Cowboys have not won one single game since Tony Romo went down, which should do nothing but help the story of Tony Romo's career (hopefully) he'll never win a Super Bowl, but he's a terrific NFL player. Matt Cassell is not, and the Buccaneers are a team that is constantly improving in large part because Jameis Winston is going to be a very good NFL quarterback in time. Still in the the NFL the game is won in the trenches and Dallas is better than the Buccaneers there and the best player on the Buccaneers (Gerald McCoy) should be neutralized by the terrific interior of Dallas.
Pick: Dallas wins outright
Carolina Panthers (-5.5) at Tennessee Titans
I wasn't a big believer in the Panthers, but I should have been. The Panthers are just mean and they beat people up. They run the ball very effectively with Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton while not a traditional Thunder and Lightining combo it's equally effective. They really beat up the passer and they are very hard to run on because of a terrific interior defensive line with Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei and the best linebacker group in the league. I think Mariota is in for a rough day
Chicago Bears (+7.5) at St. Louis Rams
I think the Bears are underrated. They are not good but they are very competitive. They have kept every game close since Week 4. The Rams are a tough, ball control offense, but they don't put up a lot of points (19.1 points per game 30th in the league) I think they will win, but I can't trust them to win by more than seven points especially against a team I think they are only slightly better then they are.
New Orleans Saints (-1) at Washington Redskins
I like the Redskins as big underdogs because they are an undermanned team, but they are tough. The problem is they are no very good. I don't think they matchup particularly well with the Saints because the Saints can be very good on offense and the Redskins just turn the ball over too much which the Saints could capitalize on. Last week was a bad matchup for the Saints because the Titans defend the pass well and have a quarterback talented enough to take advantage of their defensive decencies, the Redskins don't really do either.
Miami Dolphins (+6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have been getting better, but I don't have full confidence that they are touchdown favorites over anyone. I think the Dolphins have enough talent to beat anyone when they are playing the best. The issue is they haven't reached that level too often this year.
Cleveland Browns (+4.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have performed better than expected without Big Ben, but I think they are playing with fire here. There is enough tape now on Landry Jones that if he starts I don't think it'll go as smoothly as it has in his limited snaps.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+5.5) at Baltimore Ravens
I keep saying the Ravens are a bad football team but I keep expecting them to cover for some reason. But I'm bailing this week. The Jaguars are a pretty good passing team and the Ravens are not a great pass defense (29th in yards per game). I also, as a fan of the Giants now intimately that at some point losing your most talented players and team leaders (Suggs and Smith) will take it's toll
Minnesota Vikings (+3) at Oakland Raiders
I've been on the Vikings all season long. They are a talented team. The Raiders are an improving team and Derek Carr looks like the franchise quarterback they have been waiting for, but I think they are still a year away. Vikings win this one.
Kansas City Chiefs (+6.5) at Denver Broncos
The way the Chiefs rush the passer could really cause the Broncos some problems and Andy Reid has been very good over the years coming off a bye.
New England Patriots (-7) at New York Giants
This is simple to me. The Giants defense can't really slow down any quarterback. Tom Brady is much, much better than any quarterback and unlike the Saints the Patriots can actually play some defense. I'll watch and root and hope, but I don't feel good about this one.
Arizona Cardinals (+3) at Seattle Seahawks
I think the Cardinals are the better team and they are getting points
Houston Texans (+10.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Maybe the Texans can figure some stuff out after their bye week? With the news of Andrew Luck's injury the Texans know they have an actual shot at winning the division.