Pudge’s Picks – Week 10 2014

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Weeden might follow in Andy Dalton’s footsteps

I was very close to picking the Browns to cover on Thursday night, but I think the memories of all the blowouts this year scared me off taking them. Of course, I was 100 percent correct about Andy Dalton having a terrible performance. He might have been even worse than I envisioned though, finishing the night with a passer rating of 2.0.

But now it’s time to turn my attention to this weekend’s slate of games. It’s a weekend of multiple home underdogs because all four of the league’s worst teams are at home this week. Although technically, the Jaguars aren’t at home, but playing in this year’s third and final London game.

Dalton’s poor start this week makes me wishful we might get the perfect storm of bad quarterback play in multiple games. Josh McCown, Brandon Weeden and Mark Sanchez are slated to start games this week, so it does feel like something is in the air.

Atlanta Falcons (2-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7)
Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Buccaneers (+0.5)

It’s no fun to say, but the Falcons have reached the point in the year where there isn’t much reason to pick them. They are playing on the road, a place where they rarely cover. I certainly believe the Falcons have the ability to win, and the fan in me still believes they are the better team.  But the wanna-be analyst in me doesn’t see much diffference between these two teams as of late, and with the Bucs at home, they should be favored.

Spread Pick: Buccaneers
Straight Pick: Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans (2-6) at Baltimore Ravens (5-4)
Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Ravens (-9.5)

The Ravens are usually a pretty smart pick when they’re home. They are facing a rookie quarterback in Zach Mettenberger in his second start behind a porous offensive line. If the Titans can give him some protection, they do have the weapons to attack a weakened Ravens secondary due to the loss of cornerback Jimmy Smith.

Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) at Buffalo Bills (5-3)
Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Bills (+1.5)

A person like me, who loves watching pass rushes, should really enjoy watching this game. It’s two of the league’s better pass rushes facing two of the league’s weaker offensive lines. I’d favor Alex Smith over Kyle Orton when it comes to dealing with pressure, giving the Chiefs the edge there. But more importantly, the Chiefs still have Jamaal Charles while the Bills might have to wait another week for Fred Jackson’s return. That’s more than enough to give the Chiefs the nod.

Spread Pick: Chiefs
Straight Pick: Chiefs

Miami Dolphins (5-3) at Detroit Lions (6-2)
Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Lions (-2.5)

Like the Bills-Chiefs game, this game will feature two of the league’s best pass rushes against a pair of suspect offensive lines. However, the Dolphins might have a slightly better matchup since their two best blockers: Branden Albert and Mike Pouncey, will be matched up against the Lions’ two best pass-rushers in Ziggy Ansah and Ndamukong Suh, respectively. The Dolphins are stronger across their front, but notably Cameron Wake is facing LaAdrian Waddle in his first game back since Week 7.

Obviously, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush’s returns should provide a spark to the Lions offense. So it really becomes a question of whether the 30.6 points the Dolphins have averaged the past five weeks is an accurate indicator of an offensive surge or merely them benefiting from playing weaker competition. For a person like me, who has doubted Miami all year long, this will be a great litmus test to finally prove me wrong.

Spread Pick: Dolphins
Straight Pick: Dolphins

Dallas Cowboys (6-3) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Jaguars (+7.5)

Based off this line, we can assume that the Cowboys are being knocked by at least a touchdown due to the presence of Brandon Weeden at quarterback. I have a low enough opinion of Weeden that a part of me wants to pick the Jags to cover. But in the end, I remember that Dallas still has DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant.

Spread Pick: Cowboys
Straight Pick: Cowboys

San Francisco 49ers (4-4) at New Orleans Saints (4-4)
Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Saints (-4.5)

There’s part of me that believes that the Saints aren’t quite as “for real” as they’ve appeared the past few weeks and are due for a letdown game. There’s also part of me that still wants to believe that the 49ers are lying in the weeds after two straight losses. But with Patrick Willis out of the lineup, I don’t know if the 49ers defense can get the pressure and stops they will need to against a resurgent Saints offense. But I’m less keen on that Saints defense, even with Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette stepping up in recent weeks. The 49ers have a few too many weapons for me to completely count them out against that Saints defense.

Spread Pick: 49ers
Straight Pick: Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) at New York Jets (1-8)
Sunday, November 9 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Jets (+4.5)

Even with a Steelers defense that will be missing Troy Polamalu, the Jets starting corners will be Antonio Allen and Marcus Williams this week. They are facing Antonio Brown, ’nuff said.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Denver Broncos (6-2) at Oakland Raiders (0-8)
Sunday, November 9 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

*Line: Raiders (+11.5)

If this game was in Denver, taking the Broncos to cover would be a no-brainer. But they have not been exactly an offensive juggernaut in three road games this year. It would not surprise me one bit if the Broncos manage to only win this game by 10 or 11 points, resulting in a Raiders cover. But I’m not going to bet on that happening.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

St. Louis Rams (3-5) at Arizona Cardinals (7-1)
Sunday, November 9 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Cardinals (-7.5)

The Cardinals have been a relatively safe bet at home this year, but they are facing a Rams team that seems to come alive against NFC West opponents. Arizona has a tendency to win a lot of close games, and their familiarity makes that a plausible scenario this weekend.

Spread Pick: Rams
Straight Pick: Cardinals

New York Giants (3-5) at Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
Sunday, November 9 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line: Seahawks (-9.5)

The Seahawks haven’t been a very good bet in recent weeks, but they are playing at home. That’s a place where they start fast and the Giants are a team that notoriously starts slow. My main concern is a backdoor cover by the Giants if the Seahawks don’t step on their throats early. Not to mention that the Seahawks are pretty beat up on defense with injuries limiting Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner and Byron Maxwell. It might be difficult for them to keep the Giants from making it interesting late.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

Chicago Bears (3-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-3)
Sunday, November 9 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

*Line: Packers (-7.5)

The Packers have averaged 37 points in three home games this year. The Bears have averaged 25.8 points in five road games this year. So I suspect we’ll get the best version of both teams in this primetime matchup. The injuries to Packers guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are somewhat concerning, but it’s not like the Bears interior pass rush is that scary nor are Packers are reliant on running back Eddie Lacy to move the ball offensively. But it could result in the Bears having the more balanced offense on the night, which does indicate a possible cover.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

Carolina Panthers (3-5-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-2)
Monday, November 9 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

*Line: Eagles (-6.5)

This will be a very interesting game due to the return of Mark Sanchez. I’m not convinced that he will be able to do great things against the Panthers defense. But he’ll be helped by the return of left guard Evan Mathis to the lineup, giving the Eagles a much-needed boost to their offensive line. They are facing what can sometimes be a physical Panthers front, but I’m not willing to put that much stock in Star Lotulelei dominating inside enough to swing this game for the Panthers. I do think the loss of DeMeco Ryans is a significant blow to the Eagles defense, and thus it could allow Cam Newton and the Panthers running game to work a little bit of magic.

Spread Pick: Panthers
Straight Pick: Eagles

 

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com