NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 10
Written by Brandon Lewis on November 9, 2017
By: Brandon Lewis
Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins (+1.5)
Coming off of a bye, the Vikings are headed to Washington to take on a team that went up to Seattle and pulled off a huge upset last week. Case Keenum will once again be under center for the Vikings, and I do not see him matching score-for-score with the Redskins signal caller Kirk Cousins. Cousins led a game winning drive last week against one of the best defenses in the NFL in one of the hardest environments to play in all of sports. Sure, his numbers were not fantastic – 247 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions – but a win is a win. The Redskins defense also held Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who had over 450 yards through the air against the Houston Texans, to just under 300 yards passing. The Vikings are coming off a bye, and I do not think they will be engaged enough to win this game with how well the Redskins have been playing as of late, even without an offensive line that is missing three starters. Washington is a solid home underdog this week.
Cincinnati Bengals (+5) @ Tennessee Titans
The Bengals got thumped last week up in Jacksonville thanks in large part to A.J. Green getting tossed out of the game in the second quarter after a fight with Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Green did not get suspended for the altercation, so he will play in this game and will be a big factor against a Titans defense that is ranked eighteenth against the pass. Dick Lebeau, the Titans defensive coordinator, was the defensive coordinator for many years in Pittsburgh, so the Bengals coaching staff is familiar with what he likes to do. The Titans barely squeaked by the Ravens last week at home, and I do not think they can repeat their performance if they want to win and stay alive in the AFC South title picture. Against the Ravens thirtieth ranked run defense last week, the Titans only averaged 3.4 yards on the ground. The Bengals rank eighteenth in stopping the run, so quarterback Marcus Mariota will probably have to win this game through the air. With a beat-up receiving corp, and Mariota himself still recovering from his ankle injury, this is the perfect game for the Bengals to steal on the road and for them to get back in the AFC Wild Card hunt. Cincy is a nice pick as a road underdog.
Dallas Cowboys (+3) @ Atlanta Falcons
The Cowboys impressed me a lot last week by handling the Kansas City Chiefs easily in a big matchup. The Falcons, on the other hand, lost in Carolina against the Panthers. For this matchup, it will not matter if the Cowboys have running back Ezekiel Elliott or not. Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden will be able to carry the load for the Cowboys and control the clock against a Falcons team that is below average against the run. Keeping the Falcons offense off the field is the way you beat them, and the Cowboys are a team that values time of possession like no other. Four out of the last five years, they have been in the top 10 in terms of time of possession per game. That is winning football. When the offense is on the field for a long period of time, it allows the Cowboys defense to rest up for the juggernaut that is the Falcons offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones. However, since they started out 3-0, over their last five games, the Falcons are 1-4 and have failed to score 20 points in every game. Dallas averages over 20 points a game, so the Falcons are going to have to find a way to turn their offensive around, and I do not think it happens on Sunday. To me, the Falcons look like they are still in moaning over their collapse in last year’s Super Bowl, and until they win a big game, I cannot pick them again. I have the Cowboys winning 34-17.
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos (+7)
Sunday Night Football in Week 10 takes place in Denver as the defending champion Patriots take on the Broncos. While New England was on a bye last week, the Broncos finished up a three-game road trip by getting exposed by the Philadelphia Eagles 51-23. Quarterback Brock Osweiler will be making his second start of the season, and the last time he started against the Patriots, it was his first career NFL action – he beat them on Sunday Night Football in a snowstorm in Denver. I believe history repeats itself. Yes, the Broncos are not the same team they were two years ago, but a lot of their offensive pieces are still around, and the Patriots have statistically struggled in Denver. Tom Brady is a career 3-6 in Denver, including the playoffs. Last year, the Patriots did beat the Broncos in Denver, but only by a score of 16-3 against Trevor Siemian. The Patriots had a top 10 defense last year. This year, they have a historically bad defense, while the Broncos defense is still tops in the league, even if they have been struggling over the last few weeks. Bottom line is the Broncos are at home, and the Patriots are going to the one place they struggle. Analytics tells me the Broncos have a real chance to win this game, so I am going with a 23-20 Broncos upset this week on the NFL’s biggest stage.