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NFL Week 10 picks, predictions against the point spread

Who will cover this week?

Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Note: Use this post as your Sunday non-Giants game thread

Three straight 8-win weeks. With so many teams on a bye last week, that means only five losses. That brings the overall season record to just a game shy of .500. We’re getting close.

Remember these picks are strictly for fun and entertainment purposes and please for your sake do not take these picks as gambling advice. Lines used here come from the Westgate Las Vegas via OddsShark. Home team in CAPS.

Carolina (+3.5) over PITTSBURGH

Out of nowhere, the Carolina Panthers are playing like one of the best teams in the league. They’re third in overall DVOA, fifth in offensive DVOA, and a defense that was struggling to start the season is now 14th. Even Carolina’s special teams in sixth in DVOA. Pittsburgh’s defense is just 21st in DVOA, so the Steelers will have to score quite a bit to potentially keep up with the Panthers. That’s certainly possible, but right now Carolina has the advantage in all three stages.

[Update: ha, 0-1]

CHICAGO (-6.5) over Detroit

The Bears are still first in defensive DVOA and their success has really hinged on what the offense has been able to do on a week-to-week basis. That unit is still 10th in DVOA and will be up against a Detroit defense that ranks 29th, so even an uneven week from the Chicago offense could get the job done.

KANSAS CITY (-16.5) over Arizona

Early returns on the Byron Leftwich era were positive for the Cardinals, but facing the Chiefs and facing the 49ers are two vastly different experiences. The Chiefs have improved to 14th in pass defensive DVOA, though still sport a league-worst defense against the run. The problem there is running on the Chiefs isn’t nearly enough to keep pace against the Kansas City offense.

New England (-6.5) over TENNESSEE

There’s only a handful of teams to take less than a touchdown against the Patriots. For whatever the Titans did against the Cowboys on Monday night, they’re not one of them.

New Orleans (-5.5) over CINCINNATI

These are two teams that have been going in opposite directions lately. The Bengals started off promising, but have fallen back to the pack in recent weeks. After a slew of WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE SAINTS stories over the first few weeks of the season, New Orleans sits at 7-1 through Week 9. It’s hard to take anyone over the Saints right now, especially a team that hasn’t been at its best.

Atlanta (-4) over CLEVELAND

The Atlanta offense has been rolling of late — a unit ranked sixth by DVOA. Even the defense has been slightly improving, though playing the Giants and Washington certainly helps. But that defense is getting back Deion Jones probably next week and just signed Bruce Irvin. Meanwhile, the Browns are losing players from their defense and while the offense has figured out how to use Duke Johnson now, any optimism for a Browns leap forward will probably have to be saved for 2019.

Jacksonville (+3) over INDIANAPOLIS

As much as the Jaguars aren’t up to the standard of what they were last season, they’re not suddenly terrible. Jacksonville is still sixth in defensive DVOA and fifth on special teams. The 28th-ranked offense is definitely a problem, but with high variance, that unit can look fine at any point. Indianapolis is much better than many expected for 2018, but not significantly better than the current version of the Jaguars.

Washington (+3) over TAMPA BAY

Can an injured offense that’s not able to move the ball efficiently take advantage of a defense that lets opponents run wild down the field? Is there any game I care about less this week? Taking the points here and hoping Red Zone shows no more than 30 seconds of this game on Sunday.

Buffalo (+6.5) over JETS

I’m not sure if Josh McCown makes a Bills win more or less likely. But Buffalo does rank second in defensive DVOA, the only thing that has kept them in the games the Bills have been in. Maybe that’s enough to keep them close in this game. But anything is possible with the worst offense in modern history.

Chargers (-9.5) over OAKLAND

Take one of the league’s best offenses, put them against a defense that just allowed 34 points to a Nick Mullens-led 49ers offense and the line isn’t even double digits? Sure. This could have been the Chiefs/Cardinals line and I still would have taken the Chargers.

GREEN BAY (-9.5) over Miami

Miami started the season as one of the league’s top defenses. That is not the case anymore — 19th in DVOA. The Packers haven’t been the Packers at any point this season, but a November home game against a Dolphins team still starting Brock Osweiler at quarterback could be a good chance to change that.

Seattle (+9.5) over RAMS

In years when one of these teams wasn’t good, these games were still close. Five weeks ago these teams played to a two-point game. Seattle is now a top-10 team by DVOA (ninth) with a top-five defense. The Rams are still better — they’re better than just about everyone — but we shouldn’t expect this game to be a blowout.

Dallas (+7) over PHILADELPHIA

No team in the NFC East is good. Philadelphia is fine — or will eventually be fine — and the other three are varying levels of bad. Still, fine might not be enough to be a seven-point favorite against a division rival, even at home.

SAN FRANCISCO (-3) over Giants

The 49ers just took a backup quarterback making his NFL debut and put up 34 points last Thursday. The Giants have scored 34 points zero times this season and not at all since Week 15 of 2015.

Last week: 8-5
Season: 64-65-5