Updated: Nov 14, 2020
By Mike Crum
Dallas Cowboys Team Analyst and Co-Host of the Across The Cowboys Podcast
Another week, another 9-5 record. That's not bad, but the idea is to stay around 9-5 most weeks and then hit a few big weeks of 11-3 once in a while. I can’t seem to hit any big weeks so far this year. Hopefully week 10 is a turnaround week in that regard.
Indianapolis Colts (IND) at Tennessee Titans (TEN)
What a tough Thursday night game this is. A divisional game between two teams that both play a style which beats up the opponent. Both teams have good offensive lines, but also have QBs I still don’t fully trust. So how do I make the pick? If you have been reading the predictions every week, you know that I typically go with the home team on a short week. Give me the Titans in a close one.
Houston Texans (HOU) at Cleveland Browns (CLE)
The Browns are coming off of a bye week, just sitting at home and preparing for the Texans. Last week, the Texans had to travel to Jacksonville to battle it out with the Jaguars. The Texans barely beat the lowly Jags, so as long as Baker Mayfield is starting, which officially I believe he is, I’m taking the Browns. The Texans are the worst in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game, and they are facing a top five rushing team. Three of the other four in the top five rushing teams all have rushing QBs as well. Only the Vikings and Browns do not. I expect a big day on the ground from Cleveland and a home victory.
Washington Football Team (WAS) at Detroit Lions (DET)
I honestly don’t know what to expect from Alex Smith starting for Washington. Washington has a more than competitive defense that can hold up against the Lions, but not knowing how this offense is going to play worries me too much. I’m gonna take the home team with the QB I trust. The Lions survive their injuries to get a win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TB) at Carolina Panthers (CAR)
Last week I said on my predictions that Carolina would finally not play a close game. Instead, they walked into KC and said, "Watch this," barely losing 33-31. I’m worried they are about to do the same to me here, but I’m going with Tampa, big. The last time the Bucs had an embarrassing loss, the Bears had Tom Brady wondering what down it was. In the following week they crushed the Packers. After this last Sunday night loss to the Saints, I believe they will bounce back again and win by two scores in Carolina.
Philadelphia Eagles (PHI) at New York Giants (NYG)
Two weeks ago I had this feeling about the Vikings coming off of their bye week and heading into Green Bay. The teams know each other, and Mike Zimmer had a chance to coach them up. I stuck with the Packers and it made me sick. I’m feeling that again for this game. The Eagles are coming off of the bye and I keep telling myself, this is the week Carson Wentz starts picking up his play, yet he just keeps making me look stupid. The Giants continue to look better, and my gut is screaming to take the upset here, but I’m going with the Eagles and here is why. The Eagles schedule is brutal coming up. Plain and simple, they need to win this game. If they lose to the Giants then we are probably talking about a 5-10-1 team winning the NFC East.
Jacksonville Jaguars (JAX) at Green Bay Packers (GB)
This is one of those eliminator picks. GB is the only choice.
Buffalo Bills (BUF) at Arizona Cardinals (ARZ)
Toughest game of the week. This is partly due to recency bias. We just watched the Miami Dolphins beat the Arizona Cardinals, and the Bills beat up on the Seattle Seahawks. I’ve been worried about it this whole time. I’m letting that bias cloud my judgement. The Bills are coming off of a prove-it win, traveling across the country to play a pretty good Cardinals team. My first thought was to go with Arizona here, but I think seeing what happened last Sunday is clouding that. I’m gonna hang tight with Arizona bouncing back at home. I for some reason just am not sold on a good Bills team yet.
Los Angeles Chargers (LAC) at Miami Dolphins (MIA)
The Dolphins are 2-0 with Tua Tagovailoa under center, and Tua made a huge leap from game one to game two. They are welcoming fellow rookie, Justin Herbert, and the Chargers to Miami. The Chargers have lost two straight division games, even though Herbert has been killing it, and is in contention for rookie of the year. Right now I just don’t trust the Chargers to fly across the country and win a game against a Dolphins team that has won four straight games and is fighting for their division crown. Tua gets to 3-0, Herbert continues to play at a rookie of the year level. Brian Flores for Coach of the Year anyone?
Denver Broncos (DEN) at Las Vegas Raiders (LVR)
The Raiders continue to frustrate me. I pick them, they lose. I pick against them and they win in KC and in Los Angeles (LAC). I’m probably gonna upset my friend Eric Rivera by putting a jinx on his Raiders team this week, but I’m taking the Raiders at home over the Broncos. It should be a coin flip game, but I know the Raiders have beaten some damn good teams. Now they just need to show consistency.
Seattle Seahawks (SEA) at Los Angeles Rams (LAR)
Two of my principals are working against one another here. On the Seahawks side, I like picking good teams after big losses. They tend to bounce back in big ways. For the Rams, we have a great coach off of a bye week. Seattle has a historically poor defense, and Sean McVay just got an extra week to prepare a game plan to attack it. This game has 45-42 written all over it. I’m not betting against McVay off a bye week. The Rams win in a shootout.
Cincinnati Bengals (CIN) at Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT)
This game solely rests upon on the availability of Ben Roethlisberger. If he is off the COVID-19 list then I’m picking the Steelers. If he is out, I’m taking the Bengals. Easy.
SanFrancisco 49ers (SF) at New Orleans Saints (NO)
The Saints have hit a stride. They are getting healthy, they just beat down their biggest division threat - sweeping them for the season - and now they are ready to blow through the rest of their schedule. The 49ers are on the opposite end. They have a hell of a coach, but all their horses are injured. The Saints will break away in this one at some point.
Baltimore Ravens (BAL) at New England Patriots (NE)
The Ravens beat everybody not named the Chiefs or the Steelers, and I see no reason for that to change now. The Patriots, like the 49ers, just don’t have the horses. The offense didn’t have much last year, and this year the defense has dealt with massive losses to free agency and to COVID-19 opt outs. Bill Belichick will have his team ready, but the Ravens will win out in the end.
Minnesota Vikings (MIN) at Chicago Bears (CHI)
The Vikings are finally starting to play better this season. Dalvin Cook is leading the attack by putting up MVP-level numbers the last few weeks. The Bears, meanwhile, are dealing with their usual predicament of having a pretty good defense with no consistent offensive support. I have a hunch about this game though. It's on Monday night, it's at Soldier Field, and I believe the Bears defense will make it tough on the Vikings running game. This puts the game in the QBs hands, and in that situation I’m taking Nick Foles to outperform Kirk Cousins. The Bears win the turnover battle, and steal a tight home win in the fourth quarter.
The picks are in. Can I finally get a big week? Where do you guys disagree? Let me know. Enjoy Sunday football. My Cowboys already lost the bye week due to more injuries, but I hope your teams play well.
Week 10 Pick Summary:
TEN over IND
CLE over HOU
DET over WAS
TB over CAR
PHI over NYG
GB over JAX
ARZ over BUF
MIA over LAC
LVR over DEN
LAR over SEA
PIT over CIN
NO over SF
BAL over NE
CHI over MIN
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