However, it is still a good moment to say that the NFL Picks moved back into the positive direction last week after four straight losing weeks had taken down the season totals. Week 9 proved to be a very strong week with the picks going 6-2 and one of the losing picks being only given a small interest which has meant a very good week all in all.
There are still eight weeks of the regular season to go so the season is far from secure in going in a certain direction, but hopefully another few winning weeks are coming up over the next few weeks.
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers Pick: After consecutive losses to two of the better teams in the NFL on the road, the Green Bay Packers are not panicking about their chances to win the Super Bowl this season. There will be some concern about how the Defense played and the struggles of the Offensive unit to get unplugged.
It has to be remembered that the Green Bay Packers were up against Denver and Carolina who have to be two of the better Defensive units in the NFL. The Detroit Lions don't really fit into that category so I am expecting a big bounce back game from Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the comforts of Lambeau Field.
The sharps don't really believe the same and despite all the public money being on the Green Bay Packers, this spread has steadily moved down below ten points from an opening line of thirteen points. I do think the sharp reaction is to take the double digit points where possible out of principle, especially as the Detroit Lions may have used the bye week to fix some serious issues they have had.
I am not sure they have been able to do that though with rumours that Jim Caldwell is next of the high profile firings the team have been conducting in the last two weeks. Matthew Stafford's future is very much in the air at Quarter Back and the Lions are virtually out of the Play Off picture already in what has been a really disappointing season.
Caldwell has led his teams to a 4-1 record against the spread off a bye week, but how much preparation can anyone have done with the Sword of Democles hanging over your head?
I am expecting Stafford to have success in this game throwing the ball, even if Calvin Johnson is a little banged up, because the Green Bay Secondary has a few injuries to deal with. However, the Green Bay pass rush will be able to get through the Offensive Line and take down Stafford, while the Quarter Back has been given little to no support from the run game which makes it even harder for him from third and long.
While Stafford will have a decent statistical day, the Green Bay Offense should be a lot more balanced which usually means more of a consistent chance of moving the chains. The Lions might be reliant on Stafford, but Green Bay have given Aaron Rodgers a decent running game to complement his passing and that has allowed the Packers to move the chains barring the last couple of games.
Even against Carolina they got unplugged as the day wore on, but this Detroit Defense is not up to that level. James Starks has taken over as the number one Running Back on the depth chart and he could have a huge game in this one against a Defense allowing 4.5 yards per carry. That is more likely with the Lions selling out to stop Aaron Rodgers from carving them up and will eventually allow the Quarter Back to use play-action or bootleg passes to hit the Secondary down the field.
Detroit are able to get some pressure up front, but not if Green Bay are running the ball effectively too and I like the Packers to win this game going away.
The Lions have failed to cover the spread in their last four visits to Lambeau Field while Green Bay are 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 Divisional home games. They might not have covered last week, but Green Bay are 6-3 against the spread coming off a loss as the favourite and I like them this week.
Carolina Panthers @ Tennessee Titans Pick: The Carolina Panthers look the team to beat in the NFC South, but wins over both the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers suggest all roads to the Super Bowl will have to travel through Charlotte. It would be easy to suggest this is a bad spot for the Panthers because they are coming off a big win over the Packers and now go on the road to face a non-Conference opponent, but I have to side with the public on this one.
The Tennessee Titans are due to play a Divisional game on Thursday Night Football this week, although they aren't good enough to be looking past any opponent. If that was against either Houston or Indianapolis I would put more stock on the scheduling, but I am not sure the Titans respect Jacksonville enough while the chance to beat an unbeaten opponent is hard to ignore.
It was an impressive road win over one NFC South team last week that will give Tennessee some momentum, but coming off a tough win in Overtime can be difficult for some teams. Marcus Mariota played well in that game, but I am not sure he has the same success going up against this Carolina Defense which is loads better than the unit the New Orleans Saints put on the field.
There might be a little bit of run support offered to Marcus Mariota at Quarter Back, but he will still have to do plenty of work himself which will be difficult. For the first time in a couple of weeks, Mariota should be put under immense pressure from the Carolina pass rush and this Offensive Line has struggled to protect their mobile Quarter Back so drives are likely to stall and turnovers could be created.
I am not suggesting it will be an easy day for the Panthers Offense though because Tennessee have actually played pretty well Defensively for much of the season. Jonathan Stewart will have some success moving the ball with his legs and Cam Newton is a real threat to do that even if he is now becoming more of a pocket passer that has shown his growth as a Quarter Back.
Interceptions have been something of an issue for Newton, but he has still played well with a mishmash set of Receivers outside of Greg Olsen and he has to be credited for that. Newton should be able to connect with his Receivers if Carolina are effective running the ball as Tennessee might load the box to stop that happening meaning more one on one match ups in the Secondary.
Carolina haven't been a great road favourite to back in past seasons but they are 2-0 against the spread this season and the number here has moved down to a respectable level. The Titans are just 3-7-1 against the spread as the home underdog in recent seasons and they may struggle to back up an Overtime success from last week especially knowing the short week is ahead.
One worry I mentioned was the Panthers coming off a huge win over Green Bay. However, they won that as the underdog and have now gone 5-2 against the spread following an upset win so may still feel disrespected which should maintain focus and help them win this one by a Touchdown.
Chicago Bears @ St Louis Rams Pick: A solid run of games which have seen the Chicago Bears go 3-2 has encouraged Kyle Long to speak up about the chances of making the Play Offs. There is still a lot of work to do to get the Bears into such a position, but injuries on the Offensive side of the ball could be tough to overcome against one of the best Defenses in the NFL.
Jay Cutler has avoided the seriously big mistakes that have hampered his game over the years and he looks very comfortable in Adam Gase's Offense. However, Cutler is likely going to have to go without Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery, the two biggest playmakers on the team, and that is a big problem.
Jeremy Langford played well in relief of Forte last week, but the Rams have become much stouter against the run and are certainly better than the San Diego Chargers on that front. It will be tough for the Bears to establish the run and that means Jay Cutler could be left in third and long which will only encourage a vicious pass rush to get after him.
While I have seen Cutler get the ball out much quicker in recent games, he will still have to deal with a strong pass rush all around him. That could lead to mistakes from the Quarter Back as well as seeing the St Louis Rams force the Bears to convert some big third downs under pressure and the home team can use that to their advantage.
The Rams have certainly felt a lot more comfortable since Todd Gurley returned and opened up his NFL career showing he could be a feature back here for years to come. Gurley should have plenty of chances to establish the run in this one against a Chicago Bears Defense giving up 121 yards per game at 4.6 yards per carry.
I am fully expecting Gurley to rip off some big gains which will only relieve the pressure on Nick Foles who has been unable to really get a feel for throwing the ball around for St Louis. Foles should have a pretty clean pocket to throw from, but his Receivers are not the most reliable bunch although I am looking for him to have success as Chicago look to find a way to shut down Gurley.
This is a big spread when you think the Bears have been very competitive in recent weeks even in their two losses. However, missing Jeffery and Forte is huge and St Louis have improved to blow out two overmatched teams in their last two games at home as the favourite.
A couple of big runs from Gurley and a strong Defensive effort should see the home team come through and win this one by at least a Touchdown.
Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles Pick: Playing a third consecutive road game is never an easy task in the NFL, but the Miami Dolphins have to do it having lost consecutive games in Divisional games. Now they are on the road at a non-Conference opponent and I do wonder if the Dolphins are perhaps out of ideas after a very positive beginning under Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell.
The one concern for the Philadelphia Eagles has to be the manner of their win last week against the Dallas Cowboys, a game they won in Overtime thanks to a long Touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Jordan Matthews. That was an emotional win and puts them back in contention in the NFC East and the worry has to be that they come out flat this week.
The Eagles will certainly be tested by this Miami Offense as long as the Dolphins are close and can feed the ball to Lamar Miller. The Running Back has played well the last few weeks and will likely find some holes against this Philadelphia Defensive Line which is going to be huge to keep Ryan Tannehill in manageable spots.
I am not a big fan of Tannehill because I simply don't think he has the confidence to look down the field to find Receivers. With Philadelphia banged up at Linebacker and in the Secondary, the Dolphins may think they can have some success throwing the ball, but they have to protect Tannehill better than they did last week against Buffalo.
Ja'Wuan James remains a big piece out of the Offensive Line so Philadelphia may get some real pressure on Tannehill when he does drop back and throw. Miami will also miss the presence of Cameron Wake on the Defensive Line and Philadelphia could easily pick up from where they left off last week against the banged up Cowboys Defense.
Both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews have shown they can run the ball in this Eagles Offense over the last month following a poor start. I expect both of those players to have their successes against a Miami team giving up 4.5 yards per carry and who were gashed by LeSean McCoy, Tyrod Taylor and Karlos Williams last week.
Establishing the run makes life easier for Sam Bradford to hit his Receivers down the field, even if the Quarter Back isn't ideal for this system with his lack of mobility following his knee issues. However, Bradford has looked decent with time and I think the Eagles will give him enough to take shots against a Secondary that hasn't looked good for most of the season.
The Bradford Interceptions have to be a real concern, but I do think the Eagles can back up a big win on the road last week by producing one here. However, the emotional let down spot and this being a non-Conference game means I will only stick with a single unit on this game.
Miami have also been a strong road team in non-Divisional games which adds to the concern in this pick, but Philadelphia are the better team. I think the third road game in a row spot is a difficult one for Miami and I do think key injuries on both Offensive and Defensive Lines are hard to ignore.
Minnesota Vikings @ Oakland Raiders Pick: These two teams have to be the surprising Play Off contenders in both Conferences this season, but the Oakland Raiders likely need this win much more than the Minnesota Vikings. To be fair to the latter, they are still very much in the mix of an NFC North Divisional battle with the Green Bay Packers and it is the fact that they are facing the Packers for the first time next week which makes me think they overlook this game.
That spot makes the Oakland Raiders more appealing and I certainly think the Raiders are one of the more under-rated teams in the NFL even if they have a 4-4 record which isn't eye-catching.
Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out of the win over the St Louis Rams last week, but he looks to have passed the concussion protocol and is expected to start in this one. He will have the benefit of handing the ball to Adrian Peterson to rip off yards on the ground, but Oakland have played the run fairly effectively for much of the season and may force the Quarter Back to beat them.
If Bridgewater was 100%, you would think he can have success against a team that is likely missing Charles Woodson. The Minnesota passing game has been a little up and down all season, but Oakland have a Secondary that can be hurt through the air and I think Bridgewater will have some solid moments throwing the ball in this one.
However, the injury last week is an issue here as well as the fact he has to compete with Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders in this tough spot with Green Bay on deck. Carr is able to get the ball out of his hands quickly and he has the luxury of throwing to Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper who have both been very good Receivers for him through the season.
Those three players can hook up for some big gains in this one and I think Oakland will have success throwing the ball. The Raiders are also likely boosted by the fact that Latavius Murray looks to be passing the concussion protocol and is likely to take his place as the starting Running Back. Murray has run the ball effectively all season and now takes on a Vikings team giving up 4.5 yards per carry on the year.
The balanced Offense should see the Raiders move the chains effectively for much of the game and I do really like Oakland to win in this spot. Minnesota have that big game up next and won last week in Overtime which can have an impact even a week later.
Minnesota have been a solid road underdog to back, but the spot is a big one and I will back Oakland to find the right plays to win this one at home by at least a Field Goal.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos Pick: The Kansas City Chiefs are far from out of the Play Off picture in the AFC, but they come out of their bye knowing how important the next four weeks could be. In that time they face all three Divisional rivals on the road and the Wild Card spots may easily be decided between them and the Oakland Raiders so those games are going to be huge for them down the stretch.
First they have to take on the Denver Broncos who are coming off their first loss of the season when a couple of bonehead plays late cost them a chance to beat the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning started off badly, but played better after the half although I am still far from convinced of his chances of leading the Broncos to another Super Bowl.
The future Hall of Fame Quarter Back still has moments of looking like his old self, but too many bad throws haven't helped his cause. I still think Manning can have a big game against the Kansas City Chiefs Defense which has struggled to get the pressure up front that they may have liked while also likely doing with Tamba Hali this week.
That lack of consistent pressure has allowed Quarter Backs to attack this Secondary and Manning should have some success. However, he has the habit of throwing some filthy balls at the moment and I wouldn't be surprised if the Chiefs are able to produce an Interception or two in this one which could be critical. It will be down to Manning's arm as the Chiefs have been good against the run while Denver have struggled to establish the run all season so it comes down to what Kansas City can do with their turnovers.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, I am not sure how they are going to consistently move the chains even with DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib out for this Denver Defense. The Chiefs are missing Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin has looked a little banged up while Alex Smith has been under siege up front through the season, something that even Ware's absence shouldn't affect as much as suspected.
Denver have been very strong against the run all season that it is hard to see a Charles-less Kansas City team establishing the run. That means Smith has to sit in third and long behind this porous Offensive Line and the Broncos can get the pressure up front to at least stall drives even if Smith is taking care of the ball effectively.
I like the Broncos to have a little too much on both sides of the ball for the Chiefs in this and you have to remember Kansas City are 0-3 against the spread as the road underdog this season. Denver have dominated the Chiefs by going 5-1 against the spread in the last six games between these teams and the Broncos are 6-3 against the spread in home games against Divisional opponents since Peyton Manning joined the team.
Manning might not be the same player these days, but I think the Defensive unit play their part in what will be a win by around a Touchdown.
New England Patriots @ New York Giants Pick: Over the years the New York Giants have been a thorn in the New England Patriots side which has seen them beat them in two Super Bowls as well as ending an unbeaten season at the big game. Overall the Giants have now won three in a row against the Patriots, and New England come into the game as the unbeaten powerhouse that is looking to win it all.
There aren't too many more roadblocks for the Patriots to go through the regular season unbeaten for the second time in the past decade, but this is one game that could give them plenty of problems. Despite the size of the spread, the public are absolutely hammering the New England Patriots, but I want to go against them here against a team that has taken pride in being able to do what so many others have failed to.
With Tom Brady playing as well as he is and Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski catching passes, it is easy to be seduced by the Patriots and wonder how they will be beaten. Brady is so smart and quick with his passes and this New York Giants Secondary has been pretty atrocious when it comes down to it. That is partly down to injury and not helped by a limited pass rush, but Jason Pierre-Paul is back having played last week and the Giants should get some pressure on Brady.
It might not matter much as Brady can quickly decipher what is being put in front of him so I expect him to have his success throwing the ball. LeGarrette Blount has become the main feature Running Back thanks to Dion Lewis' injury last week, but he should be able to establish the run against this Giants team that has worn down up front, while James White will take Lewis's catching role out of the backfield.
I fully expect the Patriots to move the ball well and score their points, but the New York Giants are capable of matching them in a shoot out as they showed in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago. The Giants have scored at least twenty-four points in all but two games this season and have a player in Odell Beckham that can make the big plays for them.
Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell have played their part in the passing game as has Dwayne Harris, while Eli Manning is arguably playing as well as any time in his career. Manning has also been given time to make his throws and that could be key against an under-rated New England Secondary that might lack stars but not playmakers.
Rashad Jennings has to find a way to get something consistent going on the ground but Eli Manning hasn't had that all season and has made the big plays. His Receivers, particularly Beckham, are capable of winning their battles and getting open as long as the Giants can continue to give Manning time to make his throws.
The Giants have been a poor underdog recently, but they can throw the kitchen sink at the Patriots knowing they are on a bye next week. New England have enough time to prepare for the disliked Rex Ryan and Buffalo rematch next week on Monday Night Football, but you can't ignore they are 3-8 against the spread as the road favourite and this looks a big number to cover.
It is every chance we see a shoot-out on Sunday, but one that offers the Giants every opportunity for a backdoor cover at worst. I'll take the points here.
Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick: Monday Night Football has been dominated by the underdogs this season with those teams going 8-2 against the spread heading into this Week 10. Last week I had backed the underdog Chicago Bears to cover the spread in San Diego and won straight up so perhaps backing the underdog is the right move this week?
Not for me though.
The Houston Texans have a couple of things going for them in that they are coming off a bye week and are facing a Cincinnati Bengals team that have played two Divisional rivals in a row. However, the Bengals played on Thursday Night Football in Week 9 and so they have had plenty of time to rest and get ready for this game so I like the home team to move to 9-0 for the season.
It has felt different for the Bengals this season as they look a team that might finally break their search for a Play Off win. Andy Dalton looks mature and is making less critical mistakes, while he no longer loses all confidence if he does make a mistake.
Dalton should have the time to make some big plays against this Secondary behind this Offensive Line, but that will only increase if Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard can use their one-two punch on the ground. The power and speed combination will see the Bengals keep the team in third and manageable spots which is where Dalton should thrive with the weapons at his disposal and it will be hard for the Texans to slow them down.
The Defensive Line hasn't been as productive as Houston would have liked and it will be tough to slow down the Cincinnati Offense with the way they have all been on the same page this season.
And I do wonder if the Texans are able to keep up in this one with Arian Foster out and the Offensive Line struggling to break open running lanes. They should have some success because that has been a weakness of the Cincinnati Defense but it is more likely that Brian Hoyer is throwing from third and long which is where this Bengals pass rush should come into their own.
There will be times Houston are able to move the chains too, but I expect the Bengals Defense to make a few big plays which will give their Offense the chance to win this one going away. Cincinnati have improved to 11-3-2 against the spread as the home favourite over the last two and a half seasons and the Texans are just 1-3 against the spread as the road underdog this season.
It is a big number to cover, but teams who are 8-0 have gone 9-3 against the spread in nationally televised games (thanking another source for that brilliant stat) and I think the Bengals prove too good. Houston being prepared for two weeks is a concern as is the chance of the books losing some decent money this week, but I like the Bengals here and feel they win by around fourteen points.
Green Bay Packers - 9.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Carolina Panthers - 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (2 Units)
St Louis Rams - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles - 5.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (1 Unit)
Oakland Raiders - 2.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (2 Units)
Denver Broncos - 4 Points @ 1.95 Coral (2 Units)
New York Giants + 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Stan James (2 Units)
Cincinnati Bengals - 10 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Week 8: 0-1, - 1 Unit
Week 7: 2-4, - 4.23 Units
Week 6: 3-5-1, - 3.33 Units
Week 5: 3-5-1, - 3.48 Units
Week 4: 4-3-1, + 2.24 Units
Week 3: 8-2, + 9.03 Units
Week 2: 4-5, - 1.71 Units
Week 1: 5-2-1, + 6.46 Units
Season 2015: 35-29-4, + 13.06 Units
Season 2014: 77-80-2, - 8.47 Units
Season 2013: 86-70-2, + 22.27 Units
Season 2012: - 4.78 Units