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Thursday, 9 November 2017

NFL Week 10 Picks 2017 (November 9-13)

There are only two more weeks when teams get a chance to go on their bye and that means the NFL is about to turn a corner towards the Play Offs. This is the time of the season when players really begin to focus on securing the spots in the post-season with Seeding beginning to factor into games and now is the time for teams to start producing some consistency.

Injuries are still going to be a big factor for teams going forward and picking up the momentum at the back end of November can carry through January and February and lead to really successful season.

This is also the time when teams begin to look at improving their Draft standing- while I don't think players deliberately 'tank' like you see in the NBA, I do think players can give up on Head Coaches who are going to be fired at the end of the season and that produces some terrible performances.

The New York Giants were an example of that last week.

The top five of my standings haven't changed much this week with those in those places winning last week or being on a bye. However there are a couple of teams right there with them that are on the brink of coming into the top five including the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.

1) Philadelphia Eagles (8-1): They go into the bye week as the best looking team in the NFL with Carson Wentz playing at a really high level at Quarter Back.

2) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2): The Steelers look to be the team to beat in the AFC North and come out of their bye with a 2.5 game lead in the Division.

3) Minnesota Vikings (6-2): Aaron Rodgers' injury has derailed the Green Bay Packers and a healthier Minnesota Vikings team looks to take advantage.

4) New England Patriots (6-2): The New England Patriots are a game clear in the Division and will be hoping the bye will have gotten the Offensive unit back on track.

5) New Orleans Saints (6-2): Six straight wins has kept the New Orleans Saints momentum going, but they have a tough Division to overcome for a place in the Play Offs.

The Week 10 NFL Picks begin on Thursday Night Football with a big NFC West Divisional game and there is a big Sunday to come too. Some of the top teams in the NFL will be playing one another on Sunday with some big Play Off implications on the line as tie-breakers could be huge at the end of the season.

Inconsistent results have blighted by selections in recent weeks but I am hoping the stretch towards the Play Off can get things back on track.

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals Pick: Three missed Field Goals won't cost Blair Walsh his job as the Kicker for the Seattle Seahawks despite that loss dropping his team to a game behind the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. The Seahawks head into the latest Thursday Night Football game looking to improve to 3-0 in the Division and there should be plenty of motivation for Seattle having dropped the Week 9 game against the Washington Redskins.

The Thursday Night games are not appealing to the many players around the NFL and motivation can be a problem for some teams, especially as they feel they can't be at full health when being asked to play just three days after a Week 9 game. That has seen some blow outs over the last couple of weeks, but I am pretty convinced the Seattle Seahawks will bring in their best to this one.

Injuries have hurt the Arizona Cardinals throughout the season with the likes of David Johnson and Carson Palmer going down, but they remain a couple of games out of the lead in the NFC West. The Cardinals are also 2-1 in the Division so a home win on Thursday Night Football will bring them firmly back into contention in the NFC West.

However it is hard to really trust Drew Stanton who has taken over for Palmer at Quarter Back and I am saying that despite Bruce Arians proclaiming how much comfort the other players have with their back up Quarter Back. Stanton helped the Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers on the road last week, but this is a completely different challenge for him against the Seattle Seahawks even if Earl Thomas is still out.

A lot of the pressure will be on Stanton to help the Cardinals move the chains in this one as the Seattle Defensive Line have picked up some momentum when it comes to stopping the run. As well as Adrian Peterson has played since arriving in Arizona, the former Minnesota Running Back is going to have a tough time finding holes against the Seahawks especially behind this Offensive Line.

Peterson can run hard and he might break a couple of decent runs, but for the most part the Cardinals are likely to be stuck in third and long with Stanton being asked to make plays down field. That will be a challenge for the Quarter Back who will see the pressure all around him thanks to how well Seattle have managed to get to the opposition Quarter Back in recent games and it would not be a big surprise if Stanton was to throw a couple of Interceptions in this one.

Overall it will be difficult for Stanton to complete passes to keep drives moving for the Cardinals especially as Seattle have shown improvement along the Defensive Line in recent games.

Seattle should have the same problems as the Cardinals when it comes to establishing the run as they have not looked the same since Chris Carson went down. The Arizona Defensive Line should still be able to get the better of the Seattle Offensive Line when it comes to straight up running the ball, although it will be the Running Back leaking out of the backfield that could be more troubling to the Cardinals.

Slowing down Russell Wilson will be a challenge as Duane Brown has another week to get used to being on this Offensive Line and can offer a little more protection to the Quarter Back. Wilson can scramble away from some of that pressure and he is throwing into a Secondary which has really not performed up to expectations.

There are holes to exploit down the field which Wilson is more than capable of getting to. As long as Wilson avoids some of the pressure that Arizona will bring and Seattle can clear up the penalties that cost them their chance of beating the Washington Redskins then I would think the Seahawks are able to win here and cover this number which is under a converted Touchdown.

The Seahawks are 4-0 against the spread in their last four trips to Arizona and they are also 7-0 against the spread in their last seven Thursday Night Football games. I also love the fact that Seattle are 8-2 against the spread in their last ten games following a loss, while the Arizona home record is pretty poor against the spread in recent games as it currently stands at 5-13.

It is rare to see Arizona as such a big underdog at home, but they are 1-3 against the spread when given at least 6 points as the home dog. Seattle are not a great road favourite to back when being asked to cover big numbers, but they have been favoured by 6 or more points on the road and playing in an evening game four times since 2013 and the Seahawks have covered three times in a row.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts Pick: There are always some fears backing a big road favourite to win and cover in a game because it is so tough to do that in the NFL regardless of the difference between teams. It is even more difficult when you think of how the Indianapolis Colts have played as a big home underdog even when it hasn't happened that often.

This is a rare time the Colts will be given double digits at home which says a lot about the direction this team is taking at the moment. Andrew Luck has been missing all season and now Vontae Davis has been released from the Secondary and having to face one of the best teams in the AFC who are coming off a bye is a difficult position to be in.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not exactly been playing at full tilt, but they look like a team who are looking to peak in January and February and certainly trending in that direction. A young Defensive unit is making strides on a weekly basis and it looks a really big ask for Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts to have a lot of Offensive success.

Brissett has played as well as can be expected when you think he is learning the Offense and getting a little more familiar. His issues have been that he has not been backed by a consistent running game and it is a very difficult task for Frank Gore to become established against this Improving Pittsburgh Defensive Line.

That is likely going to mean Brissett is forced to make plays from third and long and that is not good news behind this Offensive Line. With the pressure the Steelers have been able to get up front, it is likely their Defensive Ends are in the backfield frequently and forcing Brissett to scramble from pressure or force the Quarter Back into making some big mistakes.

With the Colts likely going to see some of their drives stalling Pittsburgh should have the edge in this one. Ben Roethlisberger has not played as well as in previous years, but he will be pleased to see an improving run game behind Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers should at least get something going on the ground.

Bell is also always a threat catching the ball out of the backfield and his improving performances has opened things up for Roethlisberger to make some big plays. There are more Receiving options outside of Antonio Brown and Pittsburgh could have made some huge plays if Roethlisberger had been at his best before the bye.

The bye week could have helped Roethlisberger refocus on his football having not always looked locked in, and I think Big Ben could have a big game on the road too.

I do worry about Pittsburgh as a double digit road favourite as they simply have not thrived in that spot. However the Steelers did cover 8 points in a road win over a better Colts team in 2016 and I think they can do that here even though there are some trends going against that including Pittsburgh going 1-5 against the spread in their last six out of a bye.

Even with that in mind, I think the Steelers look the superior team and they can win and cover on the road.

Cleveland Browns @ Detroit Lions Pick: The Detroit Lions snapped a run of losses with a win on Monday Night Football at the Green Bay Packers, but they will be looking to keep the momentum going as they trail the Minnesota Vikings by 2 games in the NFC North. With games against the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears to come, Detroit will be looking to have a three game winning run when they go into the Thanksgiving Day game hosting the Vikings.

It is all comes down to how much focus Detroit have as they cannot afford a let down in a tough Conference. While this is a non-Conference game, the Lions will know falling below 0.500 is difficult to overcome when it comes to Play Off places at Week 10 in the regular season.

Much will come down to whether Matthew Stafford can continue to play at the high level he has been producing for much of the season. Stafford has not really been supported by much of a run game and that is going to be the case again this week as Detroit will be faced with a Cleveland Defensive Line who have thrived up front.

Stopping the run hasn't been a problem for Cleveland but they will need to get some pressure on Stafford who has found his passing range very well. With Marvin Jones stepping up help out the banged up Golden Tate, Detroit have been able get untracked through the air which has removed some of the concerns about their lack of running (at least for now).

Stafford should have a decent game and that should give the Lions every chance to win this game and win with a comfortable margin.

The Lions will have to find a way to stop the run themselves having seen Cleveland improve in recent weeks. As long as this game is close the Browns can try and keep the run going and make sure DeShone Kizer is not forced to do too much having made plenty of rookie mistakes this season.

Kizer's confidence has to be knocked with news the Browns only missed out on a trade for AJ McCarron thanks to a clerical error prior to the trade deadline. If the Cleveland Browns are struggling and trying to keep up with Stafford and the Detroit Lions, Kizer is throwing into a Secondary which has created turnovers and stopped Brett Hundley comfortably last week.

Cleveland have not been very competitive against the numbers in recent seasons and I do think they struggle here with the way Matthew Stafford has been playing. It isn't as if the Lions have been dominant at the window themselves, but they look a comfortably superior team in this one and I think the Lions cover this number.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars Pick: Last week I took the Cincinnati Bengals to cover against the Jacksonville Jaguars and it was a close game before the Jaguars took complete control with a Punt Return Touchdown. The Jaguars should really have won that game much easier as the Bengals struggled to get any pressure on Blake Bortles, but I am not expecting the same from the rested Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10.

The Chargers have a dynamic Defensive End duo in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram who should be able to really get after Bortles and that pressure up front has protected the Secondary in recent games. It also leads to mistakes and it does feel like Bortles has played at a higher level than expected in recent games and is due a return to the mean with his performances.

Bortles has helped the Jaguars make some big plays down the field, but the pressure he will be faced with has to be an issue. It will mean the Quarter Back needs some help from the returning Leonard Fournette who missed out last week having been given a team suspension for missing a meeting.

The Running Back and the Jagaurs Offensive Line have paved the way for some big gains on the ground and that is going to be key for Bortles in this one. While the Chargers Defensive Line have shown improvement, the Jaguars will know being kept in third and manageable will help their Quarter Back when it comes to dealing with the pass rush pressure as well as avoiding the mistakes which have been a huge part of his career.

You can understand the spread for this game when you think the Chargers have to travel for an early East Coast start and considering how well the Jacksonville Defensive unit have played. Philip Rivers will be looking to get Melvin Gordon going on the ground to at least give himself a chance to make plays and Gordon does have a chance to have a solid outing.

It will still need Rivers to make some solid plays through the air against a Secondary which has not given up many passing yards in recent games. The Jaguars strength has been getting to the Quarter Back, but Rivers has plenty of experience and will feel his ability to get the ball out of his hands pretty quickly can give the Chargers a chance for success.

The Chargers are a solid team who have played well against some of the better teams in the NFL and simply have always been competitive enough to make this number of points appealing. They tend to always be involved in close games, and the Chargers have to be respected having gone 6-0 against the spread in the last six in this series.

Los Angeles are 12-5-1 against the spread in their last eighteen road games, while the Jaguars are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games against a team with a losing road record. This is enough points for the Chargers to stay within the number with some strong play from their Defensive Line and I will take those points on offer.

New Orleans Saints @ Buffalo Bills Pick: The New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills look like they could both make their way into the Play Offs this season, but this is a big non-Conference game for both in that regards. A win keeps the momentum going in a positive direction for the Saints who have won six in a row, while the Buffalo Bills have dropped to a game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East after losing at the New York Jets last week.

They have had a few days to get over that defeat and prepare for this one with Kelvin Benjamin likely worked into the Offense to give Buffalo the potential to have more balance with their play calling. This is also a team who have been very good at home and seeing the Bills as the underdog looks very appealing.

The public have slightly leaned towards the New Orleans Saints, but the money has pushed this spread down half a point for them to cover. However I like the Bills who look to match up effectively with the Saints when it comes to the Offense.

As much as there has been an improvement made by the New Orleans Saints Defense, the Bills will look to run the ball down their throat and should have success doing that. The Saints Defensive Line have given up 5.3 yards per carry over their last three games and Buffalo have felt their Offensive Line has gotten more comfortable when it comes to running the ball in recent weeks.

It should mean Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy can get back on track after their struggles against the Jets and they should at least make sure Buffalo are in third and manageable positions on the field. That is important for the Buffalo Bills as the Saints Secondary have really performed well in recent games, although there are a couple of factors that should give Taylor the chance to have a big game through the air too.

One is having Benjamin to call upon with his huge levers meaning Taylor can throw the ball up for him, while New Orleans are missing Kenny Vaccaro and are a little banged up in the Secondary. It should mean Buffalo are comfortable moving the chains in what could be a potential shoot out with the Saints.

Any time Drew Brees comes to town there is a chance the Saints are going to light up the scoreboard. The balance given to the Saints by Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram has been huge for the Saints as it means teams can't just focus on stopping New Orleans through the air, although the Buffalo Defensive Line will feel they can at least limit the damage done on the ground.

A bigger concern may be the chances of Kamara catching and running with the ball as he was so effective at doing last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That coupled with the Buffalo Secondary being one that can be attacked has to be music to the ears of Brees as he looks to help the Saints make it seven wins in a row.

Brees should make some decent plays in this one with the Bills not likely to get a lot of pressure on him up front and the Saints should score their points. However I can't ignore how much better Buffalo have played at home and how much New Orleans tend to struggle when they play on the road.

That is highlighted by New Orleans being 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games on turf and that is what they face on Sunday. With the Bills being much stronger at home than on the road, and with the extra preparation time, I like the home team with the points in this one.

Rest of Sunday NFL Picks are in the 'MY PICKS' section below.

MY PICKS: Seattle Seahawks - 6 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 10 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Detroit Lions - 10 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Los Angeles Chargers + 5.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Buffalo Bills + 2 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Los Angeles Rams - 12 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Atlanta Falcons - 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

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