NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Ten; 2015)

(I am really pushing it off this week.)

[Jacksonville @ Baltimore]

Part of me, the part that likes Jacksonville as lovable losers, wants to pick Jacksonville to upset Baltimore on the road. When considering it, Jacksonville actually has the offensive pieces to get it done, too. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are both on pace for 1,000 yard seasons and double digit touchdown receptions. Blake Bortles has also thrown more touchdowns this season than most others. However, a lot of those were in garbage time, unfortunately.

Baltimore, on the other hand, is bad. They aren’t as bad as Jacksonville, but they’re bad enough to let them hang around. Seeing as this is being played at home, Baltimore has more of an advantage, as they typically play better at home. Not much indecision here.

Winner: Baltimore

[Cleveland @ Pittsburgh]

Interesting match-up. Both teams are starting their back-up quarterbacks, as their regular starters have fallen to injury (Pittsburgh is technically playing its 3rd stringer). Both teams have been sporadic this season, but the one factor to consider is that one team is 5-4 and the other is 2-7. Guess which record belongs to Cleveland.

Cleveland’s defense has been, well, fairly non-existent for a while. Joe Haden and Donte Whitner have been gone for what seems like the whole season and receivers are taking advantage of a thin Cleveland secondary. Speaking of receivers, Pittsburgh has a lot of them; good ones. Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton. Cleveland has… Gary Barnidge. Pittsburgh has the advantage on both sides of the ball. Quarterback edge? It’s up in the air.

Winner: Pittsburgh

[Carolina @ Tennessee]

Carolina just beat Green Bay last week. I don’t think facing Tennessee, despite their impressive win over New Orleans last week, will be anything of a struggle.

Winner: Carolina

[Chicago @ St. Louis]

Chicago may be underrated, but St. Louis isn’t exactly San Diego. This will certainly be a test of Chicago’s will.

With all the pass rushers on St. Louis’s defensive line (excluding the injured Chris Long), I don’t think Chicago’s going to have a lot of success protecting Jay Cutler. I expect sacks galore for St. Louis, unless Chicago tries to beat the defense with quick passes and gain a lead early on. Eddie Royal’s still out, leaving only Jeffery and Forte (who are both questionable) as Chicago’s only viable receiving threats. I feel confident that their defense can stop a futile St. Louis passing offense. I can’t say the same for Todd Gurley.

St. Louis, I feel, is better on both sides of the ball. Todd Gurley is a bulldozer and will likely ease through Chicago’s inexperienced defense. If that doesn’t work, St. Louis’s defense will simply have Cutler sit on the ball, leaving their pass rush to do its job. I don’t like Chicago’s chances, but it’s not completely one-sided.

Winner: St. Louis

[Dallas @ Tampa Bay]

Very intriguing match-up here.

Dallas hasn’t won since Tony Romo got hurt. They came close against Philadelphia last week. Tampa Bay’s defense isn’t Philadelphia’s. Dallas’s defense isn’t bad, either. Tampa Bay has had issues on the offense lately, though Jameis Winston has been good about not turning the ball over. They look like a better team than they were at the beginning of the year. Who do you root for? A team with question marks everywhere or a team with Matt Cassel under center?

To be fair, Cassel played near great against Philadelphia, whose defense is fairly stout (normally). Dez Bryant seems to be getting healthier every game. It’s starting to become enough of a factor to rely on with Dallas’s once snail-pace offense. Not to mention, their offensive line is still among the best in the league.

Initially, I wanted to pick Tampa Bay, because I think they may be close to getting over the hump, combined with the fact that Dallas is completely lost without Romo. However, I think this is the week that Dallas finally wins. It’s against Tampa Bay; Tampa Bay on the road, but nevertheless.

Winner: Dallas

[Detroit @ Green Bay]

Detroit is primed for an upset because they fired their general manager and Green Bay lost to two of the best teams in the NFL!

Winner: Green Bay

[Miami @ Philadelphia]

This would’ve been interesting immediately following Miami’s dismantling of Houston, but ever since then, they’ve looked lost against Buffalo and New England. This is their third straight road game against a better (Buffalo?) defense. Two straight weeks of putting up less than 20 points and giving up 30? Yeah. Things aren’t looking as good for Miami since Dan Campbell’s Duke Nukem type of entrance. Philadelphia shouldn’t have much trouble here.

Winner: Philadelphia

[New Orleans @ Washington]

Mrmm. Mrmmmmm. Washington’s kinda bad, but they aren’t that bad. New Orleans lost to Tennessee last week. On their own turf. And they’re on the road this week. New Orleans isn’t the same on the road. I… I almost smell an upset here. Do I take it?

Well, let’s think about it. Kirk Cousins came up with a 100 point comeback against Tampa Bay at home. New Orleans’ defense is awful. Washington’s defense is meh, but certainly something that Brees can handle. Mrmm. New Orleans’ offensive line is shoddy. Washington’s is good against pass rushers, but blows against the run. Mrmmm. Is… Is Washington really the better team here? The better choice?

Fuck it, I’m going with it. Washington will win. I hope.

Winner: Washington

[Minnesota @ Oakland]

I really, really wish I could watch this game. I’m too poor for Sunday Ticket. Ho-hum.

This is by far my favorite match-up this week. Oakland is a rising offensive powerhouse and Minnesota is an established defensive fort. I relish the thought of these two teams going at it. It should provide for great entertainment.

Despite the Minnesota defense, I expect this to be a high-scoring game. Oakland (especially at home) is near dominant on offense. They have so many weapons and Derek Carr is playing like he sucked up all of Peyton Manning’s talent. Latavius Murray (when not hurt) is also a good both running and catching the ball. Like a poor man’s Matt Forte, except more explosive.

The only thing that worries me is Oakland’s defense. Minnesota doesn’t have too much on offense to throw it to, but they do have debatably the best running back in the league, who is currently leading the league in rushing yards. I expect Peterson to have a great game, so long as Bridgewater looks stout throwing the ball.

Am I expecting too much from Oakland’s offense? Maybe. Am I expecting too little from Minnesota’s defense? Maybe. All I know is that Oakland’s defense won’t likely save their offense from any blunders, so they need to play perfect.

Winner: Oakland

[Kansas City @ Denver]

Yeah.

Winner: Denver

[New England @ New York]

Another match-up I’d like to see. New York has won the last 3 games against New England, including two Super Bowl match-ups (how many times have you heard that this week?) Eli Manning has been playing well as of late, but Tom Brady’s been playing better. New York’s defense has been good, but New England’s has been better. Odell Beckham Jr’s still the best receiver in the history of ever (according to media hype), but Julian Edelman’s debatably had a more consistent season.

Yeah. In all fairness, I’m sure New York will make the game close, seeing as this rivalry seems to have some weird mojo for New York having the advantage, but New England’s 8-0. They’re playing like they expect another championship. I don’t expect that to show any less against New York.

Plus, you never bet against New England. They showed me that in Week One.

Winner: New England

[Arizona @ Seattle]

Another interesting match-up. An NFC West battle that has gone either way in years past. When Carson Palmer’s starting, Arizona has a chance. They were the only team to beat Seattle at home in 2013. They could do it again here.

The only thing that worries me is Arizona’s losing record. They’ve lost twice thus far. To who? St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Two teams with moderate defenses. Seattle’s defense at home? Well, it’s fairly good. It’s the only thing that stands in the way of a comfortable pick of Arizona winning here. I feel if Arizona wins here, they can show that they’re legitimate. If Seattle wins here, they can show that they’re still in the playoff race. The only thing for Seattle is, can they win consistently with that atrocious offensive line?

Not to mention, Jimmy Graham, as inconsistent as he’s been this season, is Seattle’s only big threat. They have other contributors like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, but that’s pretty much it. Marshawn Lynch’s been hurt and struggling (offensive line) and Russell Wilson is having a lukewarm year statistically (offensive line). They need a lot of help if they want to block Calais Campbell and co.

It’s hard to pick either team, but I feel more comfortable with Arizona here. Seattle has been inconsistent and I just can’t get past their offensive line inefficiencies. It’s hard to swallow how bad of a condition they’ve let it get to.

Winner: Arizona

[Houston @ Cincinnati]

I would post a gif showing how overconfident I am in Cincinnati, but PRIMETIME. Regardless….

Winner: Cincinnati

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