2018 NFL Picks Week 10: Brace for Impact
Last Week: 8-4
Two great weeks in a row have us looking good after the midway point, but basic gambling experience makes me anxious. Vegas doesn’t lose for long, so three weeks in a row would be a major accomplishment. We’re running right at the challenge, though, picking all 14 games this week. Let’s see what we’ve got!
Carolina Panthers +5 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Five points seemed excessive for two evenly-matched teams, but maybe the Steelers are hitting their stride. I still think Carolina is a dangerous team, but after the whooping they received Thursday night they might have to sort through some secondary issues before we put them on the same level as the Saints or Rams.
Washington Redskins +2 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I made this pick before learning the full extent of Washington’s offensive line injuries, but if there’s a team incapable of taking advantage of such bad luck, it’s the Buccaneers. This Tampa Bay team’s defense is ranked dead last, and they just turned back to Ryan Fitzpatrick as their most reliable option at quarterback. I’m sure they’ll pull off a few explosive plays, but it isn’t enough to make them favored against a generally competent team like Washington.
Kansas City Chiefs -17 vs. Arizona Cardinals
As disappointing as the Cardinals have been this year, their defense has looked good and I’ve seen more out of Josh Rosen than I have some young quarterbacks on more successful teams, including Mitch Trubisky. Unfortunately, the 8th-ranked defense won’t be enough to slow down the Chiefs in Kansas City, and Arizona still can’t score any points. The Chiefs are averaging 36.3 points per game, and the Cardinals have scored over 20 points once all season. Don’t overthink it.
New York Jets -7.5 vs. Buffalo Bills
Siding with Sam Darnold doesn’t feel great right now, but it feels a lot better than picking Nathan Peterman. The Bills might throw more interceptions than they score points; so far this year, they’ve thrown as many touchdown passes to opposing defenses as they’ve thrown to their own team. They’d need double-digit points to make this one competitive.
Indianapolis Colts -3 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Until Blake Bortles is dead and buried, the lines will continue to reflect the possibility that a competent game from him and the still-imposing Jacksonville defense can bring them level with anyone. I’ll keep picking against Bortles until I see it happen again. Andrew Luck won’t make enough mistakes for the Jaguars to stay in the game.
Detroit Lions +6.5 at Chicago Bears
I’m not ready to crown Chicago’s asses just yet, and this game provides a perfect opportunity for the Lions to do the opposite of what everyone expects. Beat up on the Patriots and Packers? Sure. Get blown out by the Jets? Yep, that’s the 2018 Lions too. Go on the road and beat the Bears? Count on it this weekend.
New Orleans Saints -5 at Cincinnati Bengals
The best hope Cincinnati has in this game is a let-down after the Saints knocked off previously-undefeated Los Angeles last week. The Saints’ offensive line will be able to neutralize Cincinnati’s pass rush, and Sean Payton’s offense won’t slow down against the Bengals. With A.J. Green limited, the Bengals can’t score enough points to keep up.
New England Patriots -6.5 at Tennessee Titans
I suppose Tennessee’s victory in Dallas last week was encouraging, but you have to give it the Jason Garrett discount. The Cowboys have a spectacular power to make anyone look good, and the Patriots tend to do the opposite. Tennessee can’t score enough points to keep this game competitive, and we’ve reached the time of year when New England stops letting inferior teams hang around. I’d be surprised if this one ends within 14 points.
Atlanta Falcons -4.5 at Cleveland Browns
Very similar story to last week, when the Browns got thumped in Kansas City. A great offense like Atlanta’s will manage to score points on the Browns’ competent defense, and Baker Mayfield just hasn’t shown enough to suggest the Browns can score more than 21 on a regular basis. Also, their coach is Gregg Williams. Just take the better team.
Los Angeles Chargers -10 at Oakland Raiders
Why would the Raiders be medium underdogs against any team that isn’t the Bills? They just got blown out by the 49ers, and now one of the NFL’s five best teams is coming to town. The Chargers will score 30; do you think the Raiders will score 20 in any game this year?
Seattle Seahawks +10.5 at Los Angeles Rams
Just a few weeks ago we saw the Seahawks give the Rams a run for their money in Seattle, and the Rams’ defense isn’t rounding into shape just yet. Until they do, I don’t think we should be counting on them to blow out Russell Wilson. Even if they’re up 14 in the fourth quarter, do you think they can prevent the Seahawks from making it a one-score game?
Miami Dolphins +10.5 at Green Bay Packers
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, but beyond that I think their team might just suck. Aaron Jones looked great, so of course he fumbled at a critical moment in last week’s game against the Patriots. Davante Adams seems like a decent number one receiver, but it clearly takes just one good cornerback to shut him down. I don’t know how Miami has stayed close in so many games this year, but they can do it again in Lambeau this week.
Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas is really, really bad this year. Jason Garrett is incompetent, their offensive game plan is unimaginative, and in the least shocking turn of the 2018 NFL season, Sean Lee is battling injuries. Carson Wentz, meanwhile, has been playing even better than he was before his injury last year, and the defense is still competent. I think this is the week the Eagles re-introduce themselves as legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
New York Giants +3.5 at San Francisco 49ers
I still don’t know who San Francisco’s quarterback is, but his performance last week seems hard to replicate. The Giants are terrible, but a couple big plays from Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. will help them win this one on the road. You should by no means go out of your way to watch this game, though. Seriously, there has to be something better to do with your Monday night.
That's all for this week! Kick back, grab a drink, and feel free to blame me if you put money on these picks and come out behind. I won't compensate you, but maybe your significant others will send their wrath in my direction instead of yours.