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Dan had seen the Dolphins win one game in eight weeks and then got treated to two back-to-back as they did the unexpected and beat the Ravens 22-10 Thursday night. The big question for me is where has that defence been since last season? I’m still not used to seeing a number eight flying around in the secondary, but Dolphins’ rookie safety Jevon Holland certainly caught the eye and whilst I’d need to watch the all-twenty-two to really know how he played, what I did see certainly impressed. That said, it’s not like the Ravens couldn’t move the ball at all, but they struggled to sustain drives and having taken an early lead through a field-goal, they did not score again until the fourth with Justin Tucker even suffering a rare field-goal miss. The Dolphins won the turnover battle and needed their defence to be so good as their offence struggled and even in throwing the winning touchdown, Tua Tagovailoa didn’t exactly inspire when he came in for injured start Jacoby Brissett, but Tagovailoa did complete the longest pass of the day for the Dolphins with a sixty-four yard pass to Albert Wilson. To be fair Brissett did have his own fifty-yard completion to Isaiah Ford but instead of another field goal that was the result of the Brisset led drive, Tagovailoa and the offence got the game sealing touchdown to make sure of the game after the Ravens threatened to make another comeback with their only touchdown of the game.

There is still half a season for the Dolphins to build something they can push on from next year, although the problem with that thinking is that for an NFL team every new season creates a team this is its own entity, but 3-7 is already looking a lot better than 1-7. The Ravens will be hoping that this result can be explained as a blip on a short week coming off an overtime game that saw them play a full extra ten minutes, which really might be enough to explain their display in this game.

Early Games:

Week ten looks to be a week of intrigue rather than games that immediately leap off the page, but as ever I’m sure there will be plenty to delve into once things get going.

The best game of the early slate initially looked to be the Saints visiting the Titans, although in addition to the injuries at quarterback the Saints have now also lost Alvin Kamara. The Titans obviously have their own running back questions now they are starting Adrian Peterson in place of Derek Henry, but also have Julio Jones battling a hamstring problem he aggravated in practice on Thursday. The Titans have the best record in the AFC despite being decidedly middle of the pack with an overall ranking of fourteenth by DVOA, while the Saints are ranked eighth overall despite uneven quarterback play thanks to their strong defence. I’m not sure about the Saints winning on the road but given the circumstances I’m not sure the Titans are going to win by more than a field goal.

The Browns are coming off something of a statement win against the Bengals last week, but while Baker Mayfield looked better last week, the Brown are without Nick Chubb thanks to Covid-19 and head into the weekend with only D’Ernest Johnson available from the running back room until they activated Brian Hill from the practice squad. They are heading to face a New England team using a familiar formula to win games, which they have done in four of their last five. This should be a good if run focussed game and I have a feeling that the Patriots are likely to win out.

Points from the rest:

  • I want to watch the Falcons this week as they’ve dragged themselves back to 4-4 despite an overall ranking of thirty-first by DVOA and have managed to build receiver Cordarrelle Patterson into a dual threat running back at age thirty. You have to think that the Broncos heavy defeat of the Cowboys last week was a blip, but the Cowboys will want to look a lot better this week.
  • The Jaguars got a good performance from their defence, perhaps benefitting from the troubles the Bills’ offence has been having recently, but are still not a good football team and with the Colts running the ball well and winning four of their last six games (the two losses were in overtime) should have more than enough to win this one even if the line is too large to pick them to cover.
  • The Bills offence seems to have been struggling in recent weeks and this culminated in a surprising loss to the Jaguars last week. They will need to get back to winning ways quickly with the Patriots catching them in the division. The Bills number one defence by DVOA will be facing Mike White getting his third straight start for the Jets, and whilst I’m not sure we can predict another loss for the Bills, I certainly like the Jets to get the sneaky cover given the size of the line.
  • I already kind of like the Lions against a Steelers team who despite their great record under Mike Tomlin have been known to play down to their opposition at times, but with the news that Ben Roethlisberger is set to miss the game with Covid-19 I’m definitely going to risk the Lions getting the cover.
  • The Washington Football Team are just having a horrible season, and I see little to dissuade me that the Buccaneers will get the win coming of a bye, even if receiver Chris Godwin is dealing with a foot injury.

Falcons @ Cowboys (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Falcons
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Saints @ Titans (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Jaguars @ Colts (-10.5)

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

Browns @ Patriots (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Bills @ Jets (+13.5)

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

Lions @ Steelers (-9.5)

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

Buccaneers @ Washington (+9.5)

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

Late Games:

The obvious match up of the late games is the returning quarterback bowl that sees the Packers with Aaron Rodgers activated after his Covid-19 infection hosting a Seahawks team who will be welcoming Russell Wilson back from a fracture/torn ligament in his finger. The Seahawks were competitive starting Geno Smith (1-2 as the starter) while the Packers will be looking to bounce back after a rough game against the Chiefs that they could have won with better field-goal kicking. Still, the Packers’ defence has looked good and the offence is likely to bounce back with Rodgers back at quarterback and I like them to win this games, but that extra half-point and what I’m seeing in my numbers makes just about pick the Seahawks to get the cover.

Points on the Rest:

  • The Cardinals look like they might be trying to get another win without their starting quarterback Kyler Murray, but the Panther’s sixth ranked defence by DVOA should be a stiffer test than the 49ers defence. However, the Panthers are starting PJ Walker at quarterback with Sam Darnold still injured, and given the Panthers have just signed Cam Newton they can’t be happy with their quarterback situation as the team have slipped from a 3-0 to 4-5. The line gives me pause but the Cardinal have to fancy their chances of getting another win.
  • The Vikings visit to the Chargers feels like a game destined to be decided by a last-minute field goal, with either team as likely to suffer a horrible miss as as a scoring kick. The Chargers sit atop the AFC West with the Raiders despite a shaky few weeks while the Vikings cannot seem to put together a run of wins despite a top ten defence by DVOA and Kirk Cousins putting up impressive passing numbers.
  • The Broncos got a huge win last week, seeming to re-enforce the front office’s faith they could continue to compete this season whilst making a solid trade of Von Miller who was unlikely to re-sign next season so the trade allowed them to gain multiple draft picks. I’m not sure I totally trust them against an Eagles team who followed up their big win against the Lions in week eight with a close loss against the Chargers, but I think the Broncos should win.

Panthers @ Cardinals (-10.5)

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

Vikings @ Chargers (-2.5)

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

Eagles @ Broncos (-2.5)

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

Seahawks @ Packers (-3.5)

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

Sunday Night Football:

Chiefs @ Raiders (+2.5)

It feels a little like the Raiders have hit a critical mass of off-field turmoil, even if Derek Carr has repeatedly sounded like the exact kind of leader you would want in such a situation. This week the Raiders welcome a Chiefs team who are still struggling on offence, but whose defence made life miserable for the Packers’ Jordan Love in the young quarterback’s first start last week. However, Derek Carr has been playing like a franchise quarterback this season and now has Desean Jackson to play the Ruggs role of stretching the field. This is the kind of divisional game where any result is possible, but for some reason I feel like the Chiefs are more likely to win but I wouldn’t be surprised if this pick went horribly wrong.

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Monday Night Football

Rams @ 49ers (+3.5)

Week ten finishes with what should be a tasty divisional matchup, except that the 49ers are a confounding team with only three wins despite being ranked top ten overall by DVOA. The Rams lost their second game of the season last week but have in recent weeks both traded for Von Miller and just signed Odell Beckham Jr, which they might be extra relieved about with Robert Woods tearing his ACL in practice on Friday. Remarkably, Woods hurt his knee but managed to finish the session before discovering the true extent of his injury, but this does increase the need for Beckam to get acclimatised to his new team quickly. Given how well the Rams have played for the majority of the season I expect they will win this one, but the 49ers knack of being competitive does make me a little worried about the line.

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

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.