At the season’s midway point I have a prediction record of 77-54-2. It is not great, hurt by a couple of particularly poor outings in weeks 5 and 6, but after a couple of 9-win weeks I seem to be back on track.
It has been an interesting first half with some surprise contenders and some perennial power houses struggling. Most of the divisions are still tightly contested and as of right now, the wildcard is a complete crap shoot. So as we progress, let us analyze how the teams in week 10 will make out.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens may only be 4-4, but that is good enough to be in 1st place in the AFC North; add to the fact that the Browns are a putrid 0-9. The Browns may realistically become the second team in history to go 0-16; which would likely please the office personnel, because it is the top pick they are after this season.
Ravens win, because they are actually trying to.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are only 3-5, but they have won 2 in a row and are starting to look like the team that made it to the Super Bowl. Conversely, the Chiefs have won 4 in a row and are getting little-to-no fan fare about it.
The Chiefs defense has been consistently stingy all season long and the offense has been efficient and effective. For the Panthers it has been a struggle, with an iffy offensive line and a shoddy pass defense they have been unable to attain constant momentum.
The Panthers had one good year, perhaps they only caught lightning in a bottle; whereas the Chiefs have been a consistently competitive franchise for years.
I like the Chiefs on the road.
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars suck. Blake Bortles is playing his way out of the league. And Allen Robinson is one of the biggest disappointments of the season. The Texans have not been great, but even without J.J. Watt, the defense has been stout and Jadeveon Clowney has really found his niche as a 3-4 defensive end.
Brock Osweiller would have to throw at least three interceptions for the Jaguars to have a chance. He won’t. Texans win.
Denver Broncos @ New Orleans Saints
The Broncos’ defense has not missed a step since the Super Bowl, despite losing several key starters. But the offense is struggling. Trevor Siemian has not been the same since his injury and teams seem to have caught up with him. Add to the fact that the Denver run game has been struggling mightily due to injuries.
The Saints do not have a good defense, but they may not need one against the Broncos right now. I like the Saints at home to score enough points against the Broncos to edge out a victory.
Los Angeles Rams @ New York Jets
The Rams have only scored 130 points all season. That is good enough for dead last in the NFL. Also, for whatever reason, Football Fish thinks it is a good idea to have Case Keenum throw 50 times and have Todd Gurley only run 12. The Rams simply cannot win like that.
Jets win, because the Rams have an overrated coach and no quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Falcons are 4-1 on the road and the Eagles are 3-0 at home. Something has got to give. The Falcons have been prone to give up points and the occasional big play, but the Eagles have not been overly efficient at converting the redzone. And while the Eagles’ defense has been very stingy, the Falcons boast the highest scoring offense in the NFL.
Personally I think the Falcons are a major contender this year and I do not think the Eagles will be able to keep pace with that offense. Falcons win.
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both of these teams have been incredible disappointments this year. The Bucs had a bunch of potential that has not come to fruition and the Bears have scored the second least points in the NFL. And while the Bears’ defense has shown glimpses of toughness, they truly lack the talent to be elite at this point.
I am no fan of the Bucs, but they have more talent, a better quarterback, and the home field advantage. I think they will win this week.
Green Bay Packers @ Tennessee Titans
Both of these teams are very hard to predict. The Titans show equal parts greatness and mediocrity, while the Packers are completely dependent on Aaron Rodgers, who is having one of the worst years of his career.
Both teams have been maddeningly inconsistent. So on a coin flip, I am going with the Packers for the victory.
Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins
The Vikings have now lost 3 in a row and have lost the tie breaker to a surging Detroit Lions team. The Redskins are 3-1-1 in their last 5 games and Kirk Cousins is showing more consistency than he was in the beginning of the year. My issue with the Redskins is that they have no running game and therefore can be one-dimensional on offense. And while the Vikings’ offense is dealing with some major issues, I have faith in the Minnesota defense to keep the Redskins in check.
Vikings win and keep a very slim lead on the Lions.
Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers
The emergence of Jay Ajayi has given new life to the Miami Dolphins. He has taken pressure off of their defense and taken the ball out of the hands of Ryan Tannehill. But the Dolphins have yet to get a victory on the road, whereas their opponent is 4-1 at home.
The other thing going in favor of the Chargers is the fact that they are one of the highest scoring teams in the league and are coming off of a big game from Melvin Gordon.
Statistically, everything points towards the Chargers. But I have a hunch that the Dolphins will get the upset. I like the Dolphins to win. I think the Chargers are due for a letdown, I think one good game by Gordon does not absolve him of the horrible career he has had thus far, and I just have trouble living in a world where the Chargers are a good team.
So Dolphins win on a hunch.
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
At first I thought Kaepernick was taking a knee to make a political statement about race relations; I didn’t realize he was protesting competitive football. Let’s face it, the only team the 49ers will ever be favored against would be the Browns, and even then I would have a hard time picking a winner.
I like the Cardinals because they are the better team. And while the Cardinals have struggled this season, I do not believe that the 49ers have the ability to take advantage of Arizona’s weaknesses.
Dallas Cowboys @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Cowboys are undefeated on the road and the Steelers have been having a really hard time as of late. With the injury to Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers have seemed out of sync and with the offense struggling, Pittsburgh’s defense is being exposed for how mediocre it truly is.
Right now the Cowboys and Falcons are the two best teams in the NFC and with the tremendous play of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, I like the Cowboys to keep up their winning ways.
Seattle Seahawks @ New England Patriots
Richard Sherman should have been penalized, ejected, and fined for his hit on the Buffalo Bills kicker last week. It was a cheap shot made worse by Sherman’s constant excuses and justification via social media. But none of that happened and he will suit up against the Patriots. But let’s be honest, it won’t matter.
The Patriots are coming off of a bye week and are at home and the Seahawks just are not as formidable as they have been in prior years. I like the Patriots to hold serve at home.
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Giants
Despite being 5-3, the Giants are -3 overall in scoring. They have no run game and their ability to score points has been completely dependent on Odell Beckem Jr. The Bengals have has a terrible first half, going 3-4-1. Cincinnati has typically been a regular season power house, but this year they seem to be in disarray in all facets of the game. But going by the eye test I truly believe the Bengals are a better team.
I think the Bengals will wins this game because they have more options and more firepower on offense than does the Giants.