Last weekend brought some exciting NFL football. There were some close finishes and some surprising no-shows. Without further adieu, here are the predictions for Week 10 in the NFL.
Baltimore vs. Atlanta
Baltimore travels to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in what will be a physical ballgame. RB Michael Turner must be effective for the Falcons to put up points. If the run isn't effective for the Falcons, QB Matt Ryan will have to pass to beat teams and he hasn't proven that he can do that yet. Also, another concern for the Falcon offense is the health of star WR Roddy White. He has been slowed by a knee injury. If he plays, it will be interesting to see just how effective he will be against a Raven secondary that just got even scarier with the return of S Ed Reed. QB Joe Flacco must continue to attack defenses with his plethora of weapons at the receiver position. He must also continue to get production out of RBs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. The Ravens face a physical Falcon front seven, so they must establish their physical nature from the beginning of the game.
Prediction: Baltimore 27, Atlanta 24
Detroit vs. Buffalo
Detroit heads to Buffalo after losing a heartbreaker to the Jets last week. Detroit also got news this week that Matthew Stafford may be done for the year with another shoulder separation. QB Shaun Hill will step back in as the starter this week. He should be able to command this offense against a terrible Bills defense. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to play pretty well at QB. This week he must continue to carry the offense because the running game is non-existent. He will have to make sure he is aware of CB Alphonso Smith because he is a playmaker. In the end, the Lions offense will take over the game.
Prediction: Detroit 30, Buffalo 20
Minnesota vs. Chicago
Minnesota takes their traveling circus to Chicago. QB Brett Farve looked like he recaptured some of his magic last week as he led the Vikings in their furious 4th quarter comeback. Farve and the Vikings must continue the momentum against the Bears. RB Adrian Peterson must be a factor in the running game. If Peterson is effective, Brett Farve will have more time to pass because the Bears will have to respect the run. The Vikings must also account for DE Julius Peppers. If he isn't taken care of, then there could be big problems. QB Jay Cutler had a pretty good game last week against the woeful Bills. This week he must continue to make winning plays and Mike Martz must use the running game. If Martz doesn't use the run, then the combination of DE Ray Edwards and DE Jarred Allen could be dangerous. I expect Martz to ignore the running game again this week.
Prediction: Minnesota 27, Chicago 17
New York Jets vs. Cleveland
The Jets hit the road again to take on the suddenly hot Cleveland Browns. Jets QB Mark Sanchez took another step in his growing process last week as he led the Jets back from a sure defeat in Detroit. He must continue to make smart decisions this week against a Browns defense that is getting better every week. I expect WR Braylon Edwards to have a good game as he is showered by boos in Cleveland. Browns QB Colt McCoy has earned the starting QB position by playing smart and making plays when they present themselves. This week, he must continue to value the football and continue to hand the ball off to RB Peyton Hillis. Hillis has been blasting through defenses the last few weeks and he will be a huge test for the Jets. I look for the Jets to slow Hillis down just enough to take home the win.
Prediction: NY Jets 23, Cleveland 20
Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis
The Bengals head to Indy to take on a Colts team trying to rebound. WR Chad Ochocinco looks to try to get on track this week. He has been silent all year and should have some open spaces against a depleted Colts secondary. QB Carson Palmer must value the football and must also use RB Cedric Benson. The more effective Benson is, the less time the Colts have the ball in their possession. QB Peyton Manning will be without one of his favorite targets this week, WR Austin Collie. WR Pierre Garcon must step up and produce in Collie's absence. I think the Colts have just enough to beat a disappointing Bengals team.
Prediction: Indianapolis 27, Cincinnati 23
Tennessee vs. Miami
Tennessee heads to South Beach to take on a Miami team looking to finish the 2nd half of the season strong. QB Chad Pennington steps in this week for QB Chad Henne. Henne has been careless with the football and has been hurting the Dolphin offense. I expect Pennington to manage the offense and to be careful with the football. If Pennington is going to manage the game, RBs Ronnie Brown and Rickey Williams must be effective running the football against a stingy Titans defense. Titans QB Vince Young has a new toy on offense, WR Randy Moss. With Moss on the field, the Dolphins must roll their coverage his way, leaving more creases in the passing game for guys like Nate Washington and Bo Scaife. Also, with Moss being out there, that means less people can be in the box against the run. I expect Moss to loosen up the Miami defense and for RB Chris Johnson to have a big day on the ground.
Prediction: Tennessee 31, Miami 17
Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
Carolina travels to Tampa Bay to take on a young Buccaneers team. QB Jimmy Claussen will be starting by default this week because of the seasoin-ending shoulder injury to QB Matt Moore. Claussen must take care of the football and must get help in the running game from RB Mike Goodson who will be filling in for the injured DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart. If Goodson doesn't run the ball successfully against the Bucs then it could be a long day for Claussen. QB Josh Freeman must continue to make strides this week. He and WR Mike Williams should connect a lot against the struggling Panthers defense. RB LaGarrette Blount should bounce back from his performance last week.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 23, Carolina 13
Houston vs. Jacksonville
Houston comes off a bad home loss to the Chargers and now faces a Jaguars team that has started to awaken on offense. QB David Garrard lit up the Cowboys secondary and I expect him to do the same against a young and inexperienced Texans secondary. RB Maurice Jones-Drew will once again make his presence felt this Sunday. QB Matt Schaub was largely ineffective last weekend. He must come out and regain his early season form against a terrible Jaguars secondary. He must also continue to get production out of RB Arian Foster. If Foster keeps producing, there could be trouble for the Jaguars defense. But, I think Foster will be a one-man show again this week.
Prediction: Jacksonville 27, Houston 21
Kansas City vs. Denver
Kansas City heads to the Mile High City to take on a struggling Broncos squad. The Broncos are a one-dimensional team. They must produce in the passing game or they have no shot at winning. QB Kyle Orton may have a rough time of it against an angry Chiefs defense. The Broncos must account for LB Tamba Hali and LB Derrick Johnson. These two guys are can disrupt the whole game. QB Matt Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe must continue their chemistry in the passing game. If they are successful, then RBs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles should run all over the Broncos defense.
Prediction: Kansas City 31, Denver 14
Dallas vs. New York Giants
Dallas continues their disappointing season against a New York team that is clicking on all cylinders. Dallas Head Coach Wade Phillips was fired this week and replaced on an interim basis by Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett. Garrett's offense was one of the main issues of the team, so I expect this offense to continue to stumble unless they commit to the running game. If they have to pass to beat the Giants, DEs Justin Tuck and Osi Ueminyura will have field days attacking the quarterback. QB Eli Manning must continue to attack teams downfield in the passing game. The Cowboys secondary is weak and they should struggle to cover WRs Steve Smith, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks. This game could get ugly.
Prediction: NY Giants 38, Dallas 17
Seattle vs. Arizona
Seattle travels to the desert to take on an Arizona team coming off a hard loss. QB Matt Hasselbeck should return to action to command a dysfunctional offense. The Seahawks couldn't run or pass at all last week. I expect them to look a lot better with Hasselbeck back. Arizona QB Derek Anderson looked a little better last week and he will should continue his momentum against a struggling Seattle secondary.
Prediction: Arizona 27, Seattle 17
St. Louis vs. San Francisco
St. Louis travels to the Bay Area to take a rested 49er team. QB Troy Smith pumped some life into a dead 49er offense and he should be able to use his improvising skills to create big plays against the Rams defense. RB Frank Gore must also produce to keep the Rams defense from just running to the QB. QB Sam Bradford has been playing steady this year. He must continue to get production out of RB Stephen Jackson in order to be successful this game. If not, the 49ers will be able to pin their ears back and attack him.
Prediction: San Francisco 26, St. Louis 23
New England vs. Pittsburgh
New England travels to the Steel City to take on a physical Steelers team. QB Tom Brady couldn't get it going last week. I expect him to redeem himself against the Steelers secondary this week. Look for WR Brandon Tate to be involved early and often. The Pittsburgh offense must get back to running the football this week. RB Rashard Mendenhall will be the key to this game. If he plays well, the Steelers win. If not, then Bellicheck will scheme the Patriots defense to the victory.
Prediction: New England 24, Pittsburgh 21
Philadelphia vs. Washington
Philly travels to our nation's capital to take on the Redskins. QB Michael Vick looked spectacular against the Colts secondary and I expect him to torch the Redskins secondary this week. The Redskins are giving up the most yards in the league on defense. QB Donovan McNabb has revenge on his mind as he faces his old team. I look for him to play his best game. Too bad his best won't be good enough.
Prediction: Philadelphia 30, Washington 17
These are my predictions for the week. If you think you got what it takes to challenge me then put up your picks for the week against mine.