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The split of this Sunday’s games is a little more even this week because of the Masters golf tournament so we actually have more late games than early ones. I felt happy with my Thursday night pick up until half time, but the Titans demonstrated why all three phases of the game are important and I should remember that lines which cross key numbers or in that game’s case, go from giving to getting points mean it is a bad plan to stick with the giving number. Luckily Dan thought as I did so I only dropped a game back from being evens, but it is another thing to remember as we run through the week ten games.

Early Games:

I think there are two games that stand out in the early slate, and Dan has already commented on the podcast about my interest in one of these games so if you can’t hear his disappointment from reading my words, have have a listen here.

I think the obvious big game is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will be desperate to get right after their horrible loss to the Saints last week. The Bucs travel to Carolina to take on their second divisional opponent in a row and a Panthers team who may only have a 3-6 record but are not an easy team to face even if they have lost their last four games. The Panthers pushed the Chiefs hard last week and only lost by a field goal to the Saints in week seven so I can see them putting up a credible effort against the Buccaneers. However, two of the Bucs’ three losses this season are against the Saints whose coaching staff seem to have the number of both the Bucs offence and defense so whilst I like what Matt Rhule and his staff are building in Carolina, the Bucs are still ranked second overall by DVOA so I like them to win this game, but I’m not so sure about them covering a five and half point line.

The other game of interest to me is the Philadelphia Eagles travelling to face the New York Giants, that is a divisional matchup from the NFC East – the division so bad that all four teams have losing records. I actually like some of what Joe Judge has been building with the Giants and picked them to beat the Washington Football Team last week, but the Eagles are coming off a bye and will be hoping that some rest and returning players enables them to push on in the second half of the season and win the division. I think the Eagles are still the team to beat, but they have to persuade Carson Wentz that throwing away the ball if the pass is not there is an okay thing to do, and get some kind of consistency from the offences. The Eagles still have a good pass rush, but they have not been a good football team this season, which makes the divisional matchups even more important. The Giants own defensive line has been doing some interesting things, but I think they are likely to fall short in this game, If the Giants could get the win they would suddenly be in a wide open race for the division, but I really don’t know what we should expect. It might not be the prettiest game to watch, but I think there is a certain fascination in this one and it might well make it on my watch list for week ten.

Points from the rest:

  • If the Browns are to continue their push for the play-offs then they need to beat a 2-6 Houston Texans team who interestingly are ranked eighteenth by DVOA. With Baker Mayfield back from the Covid-19 list as the Browns come back from the bye they should do so and with the Browns looking like a competently ran franchise I like them to do just that, even if the line does make me nervous.
  • The Washington Football Team visiting the Detroit Lions feels like a game for the die hards only. It was always going to be a big job to turn the Football Team round, whilst the Lions look like a team who are going to fire their head coach after three years.
  • The Green Bay Packers are laying a huge number of points in this game because the Jaguars are bad. That said, rookie quarterback Jake Luton did a couple of nice things in his debut last week so the line might be in danger but I very much doubt the result is.

Texans @ Browns (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Browns
Dan’s Pick:      Browns

Washington @ Lions (-4.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Washington
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Jaguars @ Packers (-13.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Jaguars

Eagles @ Giants (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Giants
Dan’s Pick:      Eagles

Buccaneers @ Panthers (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Late Games:

I can make an argument for watching all six of the late game but I’ll stick to writing up a couple of them so this post doesn’t get out of hand.

The Buffalo Bills beat the Seahawks last week and take their 7-2 record on the road to face another NFC West team in the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are a very respectable 5-3 but if you look at their wins, the only win against a team with a current winning record was against the Seahawks. The Cardinals are actually ranked two places better overall than the Bills and are in a tougher division, but with the Cardinals having feasted against NFC East teams and the Jets I think the Bills are a more battle tested group and I like the Bills getting points.

One of the matchups of the week is the NFC West divisional game between the LA Rams and the visiting Seattle Seahawks. I have a feeling this will be an entertaining game as the Seahawks pass defense is struggling and with a sluggish pass-rush you would think that Jared Goff will be able to make the Rams’ offence look like its best self. That might not be enough to get a win against the Seahawks, but I think it should be a highly entertaining game and certainly not one to be missed.

Points from the rest:

  • The Las Vegas Raiders host a Denver Broncos team who seem to be kings of the comeback but can’t put a complete game together and so I fancy the Raiders to get the win, although I’m really not sure about covering the line.
  • The Miami Dolphins host the LA Chargers in a showcase of two rookie quarterbacks exciting their fan bases. The Dolphins’ players who were put on the Covid-19 list is a concern for this game, but at this point I will believe the Chargers will win consistently only when they prove it, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get a third win this week.
  • I don’t know if the Cincinnati Bengals visit to Pittsburgh will live up to it’s hard hitting reputation, but I would like Joe Burrow to at least look good against the Steelers, a team that has beaten the Bengal in eleven of their last twelve contests
  • The 49ers visit to the New Orleans Saints should be a marquee matchup, and it’s possible that head coach Kyle Shanahan will muster some tricks from somewhere against the Saints’ defence, but with the 49ers enormous injury list and the Saints looking ominously good last week I wouldn’t like to predict it.

Bills @ Cardinals (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Bills

Broncos @ Raiders (-4.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Raiders

Chargers @ Dolphins (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Chargers
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

Bengals @ Steelers (-7.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

Seahawks @ Rams (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

49ers @ Saints (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:       49ers
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Sunday Night Football:

Ravens @ Patriots (+6.5)

In recent years this would be a great Sunday night game, and it still might spring something of a surprise, but between the players who opted out of the season or just aged out the Patriots are not a good team this year. The Ravens’ offence may not be firing on all cylinders and you would expect Bill Belichick and his staff to have some wrinkles for that offence, but with twenty-one places between their overall ranking by DVOA and this line dropping below the key number I am seeing online I’m going to pick the Ravens. I am nervous about this pick, but lets not forget that the Pats did nearly lose to the Jets last week.

Gee’s Pick:       Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Monday Night Football

Vikings @ Bears (+2.5)

The Minnesota Vikings won their second game in a row last week when they soundly beat the Lions, and they have a couple of winnable games coming up so if they can beat the Chicago Bears there is an outside chance of them dragging themselves back into the play-off hunt after a poor 1-5 start. It is a long shot, but the return of Dalvin Cook has given the Vikings’ offence balance and enabled Kirk Cousins to succeed in play-action while the defense is now ranked fifteenth in the league by DVOA despite the overhaul of the secondary. The Bears defense is of course the strength of the team once again, but even though it is ranked in the top five, the Bears offence is ranked twenty-eighth and their special teams are only a little better. Things have got desperate enough in Chicage that Mat Nagy has handed over play calling duties to Bill Lazor, which is a move I do like as it means Nagy can concentrate on managing the game. However, the Bears’ quarterback situation does not cover up the problems they are having on the offensive line and I kind of fancy the Vikings to win this one so with this liner once again dropping off a key number I am seeing online, that is the way I am going to pick.

Gee’s Pick:       Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.