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LOOKING AT WEEK 10 IN THE NFL
by Trace Armstrong on November 10, 2011 a 4:48 PM

What an interesting week in the NFL. There were a few upsets, some non-surprises, and some flameouts.

Last week I went 9-5 yet again making me 87-43 on the year.

Now letís look at what we learned in Week 9.

Dallas isnít back. Seattle just isnít very good.

Indianapolis is reaching new lows in the ďSuck for LuckĒ campaign. Curtis Painter is a disaster. This week really is their last chance to win a game because from here out, they are done.

The Jets are finally looking like the Jets team I was ready to ride into the Super Bowl. They ran the ball, Sanchez looked fairly competent, and they dominated the Bills. Told you people were going to fall off that Buffalo bandwagon left and right.

Houston dominated Cleveland which isnít saying much. The Browns are the worst 3 win team in NFL history. They do nothing well at all.

San Franciscoís wins are all starting to look the same. They grind it out, donít make mistakes, and win by 7-10 points in low scoring affairs. Sadly, this one was against the Redskins but what can you do? The Redskins were winning early in the season because they were healthy and when injuries started piling up they fell in the NFLís dumpster.

New Orleans thoroughly trounced Tampa Bay. Good for them. Tampa overachieved last year and are back to where they should be now.

Kansas City was whipped by the Dolphins. Told you they werenít back yet. The smoke and mirrors were shattered a week earlier than I expected.

Cincinnati has officially surprised me. I really did not think they could come back after being down 10 points against the Titans. Tennessee is about out of it. Without Britt, Hasselbeck doesnít have enough weapons and Chris Johnson is turning into the biggest contract bust since Ryan Leaf.

Well, hereís an interesting thing that happened in the AFC West. Every team in the division lost except for Denver which still has the slimmest of chances of catching up to everyone. There is also a 3-way tie for first place in the division. How ridiculous is that? Tebow played alright and it looks like Denver is smartening up and designing an offense around him. They used a spread option type offense like he had at Florida and it worked. If they can pull it off in the NFL look out. Defenses are not used to having to cover the quarterback as a runner. For Oakland, if Palmer would cut back on the interceptions, Oakland would be in good shape. He went 19-35 for 3 TDs. The problem, 3 INTs. You canít win doing that.

I will point everyone back to my column last week at this time in reference to the Giants-Pats game:

ďEli has quietly been having his best year in the NFL with a bunch of no-name receivers. New Englandís defense is godawful and I never thought Iíd say this but the Steelers laid the blueprint to beat the Pats every game for the rest of the season. Harass Tom Brady, throw passes of 8 yards or more, and watch the points go on the board. Also, New England does not need this win. Right now, they are tied with Buffalo at 5 Ė 2. Their upcoming schedule looks like this: at Jets, KC, at Philly, Colts, at Redskins, at Broncos, Miami, and Beefalo. Realistically, they will at least go 5-3 or 6-2 on this stretch. That should be enough to win the AFC East. Now, looking at the Giants, they have the most brutal stretch in the NFL: at San Fran, Philly, at New Orleans, Green Bay, at Dallas, Washington, at Jets, Dallas. The Giants need this win to start the stretch because if the skid starts, itíll skid hard.Ē


Game, set, match sir.

Arizona vs. St. Louis. Yeah, I donít want to talk about it either.

San Diego did a good job hanging with the Packers on Sunday. All other teams should take note that to beat the Packers, you must get in the horse race with them. Their defense is resting on the laurels of the leagueís best offense. At some point this season a defense has to shut them down to keep them out of it, donít they?

Every Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore game is an instant classic. This one was no different. It was smash-mouth, hard-hitting, and even all the way to the end. Iíve given Flacco a lot of flack (you see what I did there) this season and for good reason. The Ravens lost games because he played horribly. Against the Steelers, he was nearly perfect. He made no bad mistakes and he marched his offense down the field for the winning touchdown. Hope to see this matchup again in the playoffs.

Once again, I told you so concerning Chicago vs. Philadelphia. Chicago controlled the pace with their running game, the offensive line held strong, and their defense contained Michael Vick excellently. I never thought Iíd say this but Chicago looks like a playoff team and Philly looks like a hopeless cause for the season. The Eagles' run defense is atrocious and they canít win unless they can at least slow down offenses.

Now letís predict whatís going to happen in Week 10. People are actually reading this column because I had several emails asking for an easier format on the weekís matchups. The masses have spoken so from here out, I will use Visitors @ Home in my predictions.

Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers

Carson Palmer has been a bit shaky and Phillip Rivers has been hit or miss all year long. Of all the games this week, this is the most unpredictable. Currently, McFadden is still out for the Raiders so the game is on Palmerís shoulders. My gut says to take the Chargers at home. The Raiders run defense has been terrible all season and the Chargers would be smart to hand off to Mathews and Tolbert all game and only make Rivers throw to keep them honest.

Winner: San Diego by 7.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons

Matty Ice has this tendency to win at home every time I pick against him. I want to pick the Saints, I really do but Atlanta has discovered they can run the ball and the Saints canít stop the run at all. The Falcons defense is pitiful as well so Brees should be able to score at will. I hate doing this but here goesÖ

Winner: Atlanta by 5.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

I canít in good faith pick the Bengals here. Sure theyíve had a great season thus far but they have to play four games combined against the Ravens and Steelers. They might win one of them but more than likely, they lose all four.

Winner: Pittsburgh by 7.

St. Louis Rams @ Cleveland Browns

Kiss your sister because here we go. The Browns do nothing well. The Rams can run the ball.

Winner: St. Louis by 1 in a 7-6 win.

Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys

The shine is off the Bills. They are an 8-8 team at best. Dallas can win against average-mediocre teams but cannot yet hang with the elite teams again.

Winner: Dallas Cowboys by 3.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts

If Indy is going to win a game this season, this is it. Blaine Gabbert is terrible, Jacksonvilleís defense is not very good, and the only thing going for the Jaguars is Maurice Jones-Drew. If itís going to happen, this is it.

Winner: Indianapolis by 1.

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs showed against Miami how fluky theyíve been all year. Denver is hitting some sort of stride and I expect another win here for them.

Winner: Denver by 7.

Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins

All of you know by now, Iím a Redskins fan. I never like picking against my team but what do you do here? Miami just thumped KC 31-3 but hasnít yet won a game at home. The Redskins have a roster filled with injuries and neither Rex Grossman nor John Beck is very good.

Winner: Miami Dolphins by 3.

Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles

Arizona is coming East on the road? Pick them to win? Never!

Winner: Philadelphia by 14.

Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Houston has been proving me wrong. They probably are going to win the AFC South now.

Winner: Houston by 7.

Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers

Tennessee should be able to score against a weak Carolina defense but the Panthers are coming off the bye week. Unless Chris Johnson gets his legs back Carolina should pull this out.

Winner: Carolina by 3.

Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks

This is a classic trap/letdown game for Baltimore. However, Iím not confident Seattle is good enough offensively to score on the Ravens.

Winner: Baltimore by 7.

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears

Yikes. What to do here? The Bears are really good. The offensive line was outstanding against the Eagles, Cutler played well, and the defense handled Michael Vick. Detroit has had ample time to prepare for the Bears but their lack of running game will cause them to lose.

Winner: Chicago by 7.

New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers

Hereís where the 49ers can show if they are ready to hang with the big boys or not. San Francisco has not yet beaten a truly elite team in the NFL. The Giants, after beating New England, are an elite team. Look at who San Fran has beaten thus far: Seattle, Dallas, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, and Washington. Other than Detroit and Cincinnati, none of those teams are in real contention for the playoffs. The Giants on the other hand have beaten St. Louis, Philadelphia, Arizona, Buffalo, Miami, and New England. The Giants are in the same boat regarding beating up on weaker opponents. This is going to be a tricky matchup either way because the 49ers offense will have to score more than 20 points to win. The Giants really have flown under the radar thus far but I think they can get the job done here.

Winner: New York Giants by 3.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

The Sunday night game will feature these two teams in what should be a competitive matchup. However, the Jets are more consistent right now. The Pats have not had a 3 game losing streak in a very long time. Guess what, thereís a first time for everything.
Winner: New York Jets by 7.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Minnesotaís defense is pretty terrible. If their secondary could stop anything they would have a chance. That being said, their secondary is awful and Aaron Rodgers is a machine.

Winner: Green Bay by 10.

Games of the Week: Giants @ 49ers, Pats @ Jets, and Detroit @ Chicago.



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