Week 10 NFL Game picks: Will Aaron Rodgers, Packers Outduel Russell Wilson, Seahawks?
Welcome to Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season. We're starting to get a feel for the playoff picture as the back-half of the season is underway. With half the league in divisional showdowns and the other half in unique matchups, this will be a week to remember.
Injuries have hit hard across the league, leaving numerous favorites down important playmakers. The storylines go well beyond the obvious though, and we're going to break down the key question within each matchup in Week 10.
This storyline will determine the matchup's outcome. I'll also provide a pick for each game, with odds courtesy of BetMGM.
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins
Storyline: Will This Mirror The 2019 Matchup?
The last time we saw these two teams battle, the Ravens ravaged the Dolphins 59-10. Lamar Jackson was unstoppable, posting a perfect passer rating and orchestrating a masterful performance. The Ravens are still a powerhouse, and the Dolphins are still a mess.
Much has changed about how these teams find success, though. Baltimore is now a pass-first team and has endured significant defensive injuries. Miami, without Tua Tagovailoa, will lose this game, and I think by a couple of scores.
Pick: Ravens -7.5 (-105)
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Storyline: Does Mike White Win The Job?
The likelihood that Mike White is better than Zach Wilson is relatively low, but not impossible. White was stellar in his first career start, and the stark difference between how the Jets' offense ran with him instead of Wilson must be scary for Jets fans. If White impresses once more, and this time against a solid Bills defense, will he actually compete for the starting job?
Much would need to go right for that to happen. Buffalo and New York look primed for a higher-scoring game than what the line suggests. The Bills have an elite offense, and the Jets are now competent.
Pick: Over 47.5 (-105)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team
Storyline: Can WFT Buck Their ATS Trend?
The Washington Football Team is only 2-6, but somehow even worse against the spread at 1-7. It seems like so long ago they had playoff expectations after what seemed like a home-run free agency. Now, with four-straight losses, it's hard to imagine the bleeding slowing any time soon.
Tampa Bay is banged up but remains a heavy favorite in most of their games for good reason. They're a bit like Kansas City was last year, though. Their lines are too high because the public trusts them.
Nonetheless, I can easily see them covering as Washington struggles to score.
Pick: Buccaneers -9 (-110)
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
Storyline: Do The Close Games Continue For Both Sides?
Both Dallas and Atlanta have been stuck in a streak of close games too comfortable to continue enduring. Atlanta hasn't had a game with a difference of more than six since their first two games. Dallas at least has seen more variance, but it's not a comforting thought giving them 8.5 points against a feisty Atlanta team.
Instead, I'm betting on the defenses stepping up against this high spread. Dallas hasn't lit the world on fire over the last two weeks, and Atlanta has a good but not great offense.
Pick: Under 54.5 (-105)
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
Storyline: Can The Saints Score Enough?
The New Orleans Saints finally broke a three-game winning streak this past week as Atlanta shocked them with a last-minute comeback. This roster is so good for New Orleans, and they're able to compete with the likes of Trevor Siemian at quarterback. But the bell is about to toll for the Saints as the red hot Titans come to town.
Tennessee has legitimately been a top-two team in the NFL over the last six weeks. They're winning and covering the spread like clockwork. I expect a close game, but New Orleans will fade away as this one progresses since they simply lack the talent at quarterback and receiver needed.
Pick: Titans -3 (-110)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Storyline: Which Run Defense Caves?
Both the Jaguars and Colts have posted some extremely impressive performances stopping the run lately. Jacksonville has held four of their last five opponents under 78 yards rushing, and another two this season under 100. The Colts have had games allowing 35, 86, 88, 93, 101, and 111 yards.
This speaks to a bigger theme of trench dominance. The Colts have gained more trust overall as their offense has a decent identity with Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor. This is a lot of points, but I'd rather take my chances at the Jags losing big than sticking too close.
Pick: Colts -10 (-110)
Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers
Storyline: Does The Matt Canada Offense Continue?
It's not accidental the Pittsburgh Steelers went from dead in the water to competing for a playoff spot. Ben Roethlisberger finally let some control of the offense go and allowed offensive coordinator Matt Canada to run his motion-based attack. There's been easier production flowing over the last month, and the team is thriving.
Detroit is so bad that I consider any team getting 10 or fewer points against them to be an automatic play. Even if they're 4-4 ATS, this roster is breaking down more, and their foes will expose their lack of depth.
Pick: Steelers -8 (-110)
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots
Storyline: Which Team Proves Their Legitimacy?
I've been critical of Baker Mayfield this season for his struggles throwing to Odell Beckham Jr., but the fourth-year passer continues to be at his best without OBJ. The Browns' punishing offensive line is mostly healthy, and Mayfield is well-suited to take advantage of a strong run game, despite Nick Chubb being doubtful to play. New England has a great scoring defense and is balanced, but they're playing better than the sum of their parts.
I struggle to see New England being able to sustain scoring drives when Cleveland's defense is healthy. The Browns have an elite roster and great coaching, whereas New England can beat other mediocre teams due to their coaching and strong foundational talent. I love the road value here.
Pick: Browns ML (+100)
Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers
Storyline: Does The Chargers' Offensive Play Continue?
We continue to rake it in on the 5-3 Chargers this year. This team continues to get favorable lines and has timed our plays on them perfectly. Minnesota is a good team but stuck in mediocrity, and their matchup with the Chargers on the road is not a favorable one.
We're getting a great line for the Chargers at home after the Vikings suffered a heartbreaking loss to Baltimore. Justin Herbert will pick apart the Vikings' secondary after heating back up last week and push the Chargers to a comfortable win.
Pick: Chargers -2.5 (-115)
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals
Storyline: Is P.J. Walker An Upgrade?
Arizona should easily win this game with a much cleaner bill of health this week, and the Panthers are completely beaten up. But the best line isn't the double-digit spread, it's the total. The Panthers would need to get an excellent performance out of backup P.J. Walker to have any shot of pushing the over.
Sam Darnold is certifiably bad, and Walker is more dynamic and maybe more accurate. Arizona will likely drop seven into coverage and flood his passing lanes. I expect a 31-7 type game as Carolina struggles again to score.
Pick: Under 44.5 (-110)
Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos
Storyline: Can The Eagles Keep Running Well?
It's funny looking back at early-season trends and seeing an Eagles team incapable of rushing the ball. Things have changed over the last two weeks as they've relied on the ground game to produce. They've accumulated 412 rushing yards compared to only 269 passing yards over the last two weeks.
That won't get it done against a well-rounded and hot Denver team. The Broncos' passing game is efficient, and their defense is phenomenal even without Von Miller. Three points is a good value against a mediocre Eagles roster.
Pick: Broncos -3 (-110)
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Storyline: How Does Russell Wilson Perform?
We should have both Hall of Fame quarterbacks playing this week in a massive Sunday afternoon showdown. Seattle is floundering at 3-5 and desperately needs a win, whereas Green Bay simply wants to get back on track with Aaron Rodgers on the field. Seattle has struggled massively even with Wilson thanks to a bad defense, though.
The Packers will get back on schedule this week. They're not flashy, but they reliably cover and win against lesser teams under Matt LaFleur. That continues this week as Seattle slips out of the playoff picture.
Pick: Packers -3.5 (-105)
Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Storyline: Which Version Of Each Team Shows Up?
Both of these teams have great peaks but discouraging valleys. Kansas City has been struggling even in wins but also should bounce back at some point thanks to their offensive talent. Las Vegas has pulled out impressive wins throughout the year but had an awful loss last week.
I don't trust either team right now. But I can see the pathway for this total to push over as both of these defenses are vulnerable to each other's strengths.
Pick: Over 51.5 (-110)
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Storyline: How Do the Niners Respond To The Heat?
I'm not sure there's a more frustrating team than San Francisco right now. Kyle Shanahan is a good coach, but his team is again underachieving, and he's not utilizing the most dynamic talent possible. This is a situation approaching a critical junction as the 49ers continue to slide to a losing record for the third time in four years.
Los Angeles, even after a disappointing week, is a powerhouse. Tennessee brought the pain but it also felt like the Rams simply lacked the focus they had in previous weeks. I expect them to get locked in and take full advantage of their talent at receiver compared to the old heads in the San Francisco secondary.
Pick: Rams -5 (-110)
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