Welcome to my Week 10 NFL picks & previews. Last week, I went 8-6, putting my overall record at 78-55-1 (78-56-1 with Week 10 TNF). This week, the Patriots are on bye, and without the league’s top defense in action, there will be many high scoring games. But I expect a few more elite defenses to emerge this week, launching a couple teams on a late playoff run and giving a couple more teams in the playoff picture already a boost. Which teams will emerge? Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.
Lock of the Week
Without QB Matthew Stafford, the Lions offense has nothing on Chicago’s elite defense. Chicago will assert themselves as one of the best defensive teams in the league. Meanwhile, QB Mitch Trubisky will step it up against a Lions secondary that has significant depth problems. This will allow the Bears to win in a blowout. I don’t expect the Lions to score much at all, but if they are going to score a TD on this Bears defense, TE T.J. Hockenson might be the person to rely on, as Chicago has struggled a bit against tight ends.
Upset of the Week
The Vikings will be without WR Adam Thielen. But regardless, I see them as the stronger team here, even though Dallas is favored by 3. Minnesota’s defense may not be the league-dominating defense we expected, but they should be able to limit flawed QB Dak Prescott and his receivers. RB Ezekiel Elliott will still have a strong game, but that won’t be enough. With Thielen out, QB Kirk Cousins and WR Stefon Diggs will connect frequently for a big game against an inexperienced Cowboys defense.
The Other Games
|Posted to Twitter earlier on:
||QB Philip Rivers has struggled a lot this season. But he should be able to rely on his backfield and WR Keenan Allen to take down the Raiders with ease. Allen significantly out-matches Raiders #1 CB Daryl Worley. Meanwhile, the Raiders backfield will be shut down against a very strong front seven. That should be enough to stop Oakland’s offense at home.|
|With no real road team here, this will be very close. But the Jets will edge out a victory, as QB Sam Darnold finds a good amount of receiving options against a young Giants secondary. RB Saquon Barkley will put up a huge game against a banged-up Jets defense, and QB Daniel Jones will continue to rely on WR Darius Slayton in the red zone. But with WR Sterling Shepard and TE Evan Engram out, the Giants offense just won’t have enough in the tank for victory.|
|QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. may be overrated, and that has caused Cleveland to underperform. But they’ve also lacked depth with RB Kareem Hunt and TE David Njoku out. Now, Hunt’s return from an 8-game suspension should give the Browns a boost. Hunt won’t be the starter, and he won’t be quite himself right away. But it doesn’t mean he can’t make a difference. This week will mark the beginning of a turnaround for Cleveland, as they take down an overrated Bills team. Improved defense for Cleveland will play a big part in that upset victory.|
|This will be closer than some expect, but the Ravens should still win comfortably. Though QB Ryan Finley will struggle in Game 1 for Cincy against an elite Ravens secondary, he will rely on RB Joe Mixon to keep up with the Ravens. QB Lamar Jackson will continue to run the ball frequently, but he’ll also have his fair share of big passes here against a flawed Bengals DB corps.|
|QB Patrick Mahomes is back, and he’ll lead the Chiefs to an easy victory here. Without TE Delanie Walker and WR Corey Davis, QB Ryan Tannehill won’t have enough passing options. Expect a strong game from RB Derrick Henry, but it won’t be nearly enough to outdo a healthy Chiefs offense.|
|QB Matt Ryan and his receivers will put up a fight here. But Atlanta’s defense will fail to stop a Saints offense that’s back to full health with RB Alvin Kamara and TE Jared Cook returning. Kamara and WR Michael Thomas will help QB Drew Brees lead the Saints to a fairly easy win.|
|QB Jameis Winston and his strong group of receivers and tight ends will just be too much for a young Arizona secondary to contain. This will lead to an easy Tampa victory. QB Kyler Murray has shown promise, but an improving Bucs defense will limit his abilities and stop RB David Johnson in his return.|
|Despite a win last week, the Dolphins will be back to their former ways this week, as they fail to keep up with a strong Colts offense. Even without QB Jacoby Brissett, the Colts will dominate against a banged-up Miami defense. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will toss a couple TDs against an inexperienced Colts secondary, but it won’t nearly be enough.|
|WR Brandin Cooks is out. But it’s hard for any secondary to even stop 2 elite WRs, but this fact will cost Pittsburgh the game, as they struggle against a well-rounded Rams defense without RB James Conner. TE Gerald Everett will also help QB Jared Goff in an easy victory, but the run game will struggle against a strong Pittsburgh front seven.|
|Expect a close game here. QB Aaron Rodgers will rely on his receivers against an inexperienced Carolina secondary. Meanwhile, RB Christian McCaffrey will lead the way for Carolina’s offense, but QB Kyle Allen will still toss a couple TDs. Despite a strong game all around for the Panthers offense, Rodgers’ receivers will outdo the Panthers secondary and allow the Packers to win in a close one.|
|QB Russell Wilson may have one of the best groups of WRs in the league now, and he will utilize that in this game. But CB Richard Sherman will limit these receivers, and the run game will struggle against a strong 49ers front seven. Meanwhile, QB Jimmy Garoppolo will have a huge game against a young Seattle secondary, leading the Niners to a comfortable home victory.|
That’s all for my NFL picks this week. Stay tuned for more NFL coverage soon.