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Thursday, 8 November 2018

NFL Week 10 Picks 2018 (November 8-12)

Last week was considered an absolute bloodbath for the Vegas oddsmakers as many of the top public plays all came back as winners.

Unfortunately I was opposing some of those public plays and that means it was one of the poorer weeks of the season for the NFL Picks.

If you check back in on Sunday I will have the season totals updated, but I am looking to have a bounce back week as we reach Week 10 of the NFL season.

There are some huge games that are going to be coming up with the NFL decided to backload Divisional games on the schedule. That might not be ideal for teams who face these tough games in the weeks leading up to the Play Offs, but for the fans it can bring the intensity of the post-season forward as teams begin to face 'must win' games.

We open Week 10 with a non-Conference Thursday Night Football battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers. This looks to be one of the better Thursday Night games that has been scheduled this season and both the Steelers and Panthers are in a position to challenge for Play Off spots through the remainder of the 2018 calendar year.

Picks from Sunday/Monday games will be added to this thread in the coming days as well as the update to the season totals.

Carolina Panthers @ Pittsburgh Steelers Pick: Two teams with strong records in the 2018 season meet in Week 10 on Thursday Night Football and this could be a pivotal game for both teams.

The Pittsburgh Steelers looked to have taken control of the AFC North but they are only half a game ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals so they can't really afford to slip up. On the other side of the field in this one are the Carolina Panthers who have a 6-2 record in 2018 which is still not enough to see them level up with the streaking New Orleans Saints who are a game ahead of the Panthers but with those two teams meeting twice before the regular season comes to a close.

Neither team will want to give away anything at this stage of the season and both have been in good form with the Pittsburg riding into Week 10 on a four game winning run and Carolina on a three game winning run.

Thursday Night games have tended to see a fair few points being scored as Defensive players are perhaps not able to recover as well as they would like from a Sunday performance and having the short week into Thursday Night Football.

It won't be a big surprise if the Steelers and Panthers put a few points on the scoreboard in this one too with the way the two Offenses have been playing.

Cam Newton looks to be showing the kind of form he did when he helped the Panthers make the Super Bowl in the 2015 season. Norv Turner is a great Offensive mind so it is no surprise he has come in for Carolina and really produced an effective game plan for Newton and the entire Offensive unit to follow.

There are some screens and run-pass option plays that makes Carolina dangerous but you just know the main focus for this team is to establish the run. They have been very effective at doing that with Newton capable of making plays with his legs and Christian McCaffrey has been a huge factor for Carolina all season.

The challenge for the Panthers is to try and break the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the step up in performance the Defensive Line have put together. Pittsburgh's Defensive Line are showing improvement in each passing week when it comes to stopping the run, but they will have to spy on Newton who is arguably the best dual-threat Quarter Back in the NFL.

Norv Turner's arrival has also seen Cam Newton pick up his play throwing the ball too. The return of Greg Olsen has been important for Newton and McCaffrey is a player who will also be a threat coming out of the backfield. Despite the uptick in performance from the Pittsburgh Secondary I do think Newton will be able to have success throwing against them, while Newton's mobility should make it more difficult for the Pittsburgh pass rush to get to him.

I can see the Panthers moving the ball successfully, but the Pittsburgh Steelers should also have some real success when their own Offensive unit have the ball. Ben Roethlisberger has a slight issue with his thumb, but that hasn't prevented him from throwing the ball effectively and the Steelers have not missed a beat without Le'Veon Bell.

The Panthers did have one of the better Defensive units in the NFL in recent years, but they look to have taken a step back this time around. James Connor may not have the same level of talent as Bell, but he has come in and performed very well behind the Pittsburgh Offensive Line and I do think he will get his yards as he has in the last few games.

Carolina's Defensive Line have been performing better against the run in recent games, but this Pittsburgh Offensive Line are as good as any in the NFL. With Connor expected to at least keep Pittsburgh in third and manageable spots, Big Ben can take over and make some significant plays throwing against this Secondary.

Roethlisberger has been well protected behind his Offensive Line and he should be able to exploit some major holes in the Carolina Secondary which have been evident all season. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown are a wonderful tandem at Receiver and they should be able to win their battles on the outside and give Roethlisberger real options to find down the field.

This is a short week that makes things tougher to predict, but the money has been coming in on the Carolina Panthers and that means the spread has been shrinking. In fact the public look to be behind the Carolina Panthers in this one too, yet I have felt the Steelers are the better team and the Panthers are in for a difficult test on the road.

I know they came back and beat the Philadelphia Eagles after trailing by a huge amount in a recent road game, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have an Offensive unit who have found rhythm and I don't think they fall off a cliff like Philadelphia did.

Carolina are also 0-6 against the spread in the last six against Pittsburgh and it is the Steelers who have had better success in the recent Thursday Night Football games the two teams have played. I am not a big fan of backing the Steelers as a public favourite, but that is not the case here and I think they can win in a shoot out and cover the spread with a victory with a late stop from the Defense to help them win by around a Touchdown.

Washington Redskins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick: One of these teams are 5-3 in 2018 and the other is 3-5, but the home team will be the favourite despite having the losing record. They deserve it too because the Washington Redskins have been hurt badly by the injuries on both sides of the ball.

It looks like Washington will be using an Offensive Line that has been put together in a short time and it is going to be very difficult for Alex Smith to keep the drives moving consistently. The problems up front will also mean Washington find it difficult to establish the run so it could be a difficult afternoon for Adrian Peterson even though Tampa Bay's Defensive Line have been far from productive at stopping the run.

The key for the Buccaneers is going to be getting pressure up front and disrupting a unit that has been decimated by injury. They are capable of doing that and getting Smith on the move at Quarter Back and I think it will be a difficult day for Smith to keep the chains moving consistently if he is not given a lot of time to find his Receivers down the field, even against a Secondary that has given up some big numbers.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will be hoping to have more time and more success for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers although you can't always tell what you're going to get out of the veteran Quarter Back. There have been games when Fitzpatrick has looked like a very effective Quarter Back, but he never feels far away from having a really bad game although Tampa Bay are more convinced about him than Jameis Winston these days.

He will need some help from Peyton Barber and the Running Back unit to try and keep the Buccaneers in manageable down and distance through this one. The Washington Redskins have a very effective pass rush which will give the Buccaneers Offensive Line all they can handle, so running the ball is important just to slow that rush down and also give Fitzpatrick to use play-action to hit Receivers down the field.

There are some holes in the Washington Secondary which can be exploited by Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson and I do think Fitzpatrick can have a decent day even if he is facing some serious pressure. Restricting mistakes is so important for Tampa Bay if they are going to win this one and if they do that I think they will have enough to cover the number.

Tampa Bay are 4-1-2 against the spread in the last seven of this series and I think they can score enough points to beat out Washington.

New Orleans Saints @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick: Backing the New Orleans Saints on the road, outdoors, has not been a great position over the years but they have improved and this is a team playing with some real momentum.

It hasn't been all good news for the Saints who had signed Dez Bryant this week only to see the former Dallas Receiver go down with a season ending injury just two days into his time with the New Orleans Saints. That means the Saints are likely going to be bringing in another Receiver to help out that unit in the days ahead, but it was a sad situation for Bryant who had been out of the League since being released by Dallas earlier this year.

The Saints can still keep the points rolling in this one as they head to the Cincinnati Bengals and I expect to see a bigger game from Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara when it comes to running the ball. There have been signs that the Cincinnati Defensive Line are just having some problems defending the run thanks to injuries at Linebacker and those should be exposed both on the ground and when Kamara comes out of the backfield to collect short passes from Drew Brees out in space.

There isn't much more you can say about Brees which hasn't been said already as he continues to set new records at Quarter Back. He continues to play at a high level and can decipher Defenses in front of him very quickly which means the mistakes are also limited.

An ability to run the ball coupled with Brees quick release means the Cincinnati pass rush may not be a big factor in this one. It could mean a really difficult day for the Secondary which has given up almost 400 passing yards per game in their last three games and I expect Drew Brees to be able to carve up the Defensive unit he faces this week.

Andy Dalton will be feeling some pressure to try and keep up with the powerful New Orleans Offensive juggernaut, but he isn't going to be helped by the absence of AJ Green. Green is by far and away the most consistent Receiver Dalton can rely on and it could be a difficult afternoon for the Quarter Back even if the New Orleans Secondary have not really played at a very high level.

Making matters that much more difficult for Dalton will be the fact that it can be tough to run with any consistency against the New Orleans Defensive Line. The best performers for the Saints Defense have been on that Line and they can get a pressure on Dalton while clamping down on Joe Mixon and keeping the Bengals in third and long situations.

I like the Saints here and it has to be noted that they are 4-0 against the spread on the road this season and 19-7 against the spread in their last twenty-six road games. They haven't covered in the last five games against the Bengals, but this is as good a chance as they would have to do that and I think the Saints are going to have too much scoring power for their hosts.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets Pick: These two teams are not expected to be challenging at the top of the AFC East nor are they expected to be Wild Card teams this season. Both the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills will be without starting Quarter Backs this week, but the Bills are in a much tougher place as they are down to either Nathan Peterman or Matt Barkley.

At least the New York Jets can give the ball to veteran Josh McCown who will take over from the injured Sam Darnold. McCown has shown he can come in and be very effective in recent years, and he is a significant improvement on either Quarter Back the Buffalo Bills are going to be starting with both Josh Allen and Derek Anderson expected to sit out again.

It has been a real mess for Buffalo Offensively who have not scored more than 13 points in their last six games since bursting out for 27 against the Minnesota Vikings. They were aided massively that day with the Vikings turning the ball over deep in their own territory, but Buffalo themselves have not looked productive with the ball in their hands.

Things won't be any easier when they play the New York Jets whose Defensive unit have been playing well. It has been very difficult to run the ball against the Jets Defensive Line anyway, but teams know the biggest Offensive weapon the Bills have is LeSean McCoy in the backfield so I would expect New York to double down and stop him having having an impact in this game.

Clamping down on the run means the Bills will have to rely on inconsistent Quarter Back play- Nathan Peterman has been an abomination and is clearly not fit to be an NFL back up let alone a starter. No one will be surprised that Peterman has been relegated and Matt Barkley will take over at Quarter Back, but the former USC Trojan isn't really good enough for the League too.

Barkley is less likely to thrown a high percentage of Interceptions like Peterman, but he is going to be put under pressure by the pass rush the Jets have been able to generate. The Bills Offensive Line is not really built to protect as long as the Quarter Back will need if they cannot run the ball as they would like and the Jets also have a Secondary that have played the pass pretty well so it could be another difficult Offensive day for Buffalo.

It is the Buffalo Defensive unit that have kept the team in games and they can't really be blamed for the points teams have been scoring as they are either left in short field situations or the opponent's Defenses have scored. They have to be respected, but the New York Jets may just have something different with a veteran at Quarter Back who is unlikely to make the same kind of mistakes as Sam Darnold was making in recent games.

They will need some help from a short field at times, but I think the Jets can make some big plays on the Defensive side against this Bills Offense which turns the game in their favour. Make no mistake this is a big spread, but you have to like the Jets chances if they can restrict Buffalo as much as others have done in recent games.

The underdog has performed well in this Divisional rivalry, but the home team is also 4-1 against the spread in the last five in the series. Buffalo are now 3-13 against the spread in their last sixteen off a double digit loss at home and they are 0-6 against the spread when visiting a team with a losing record at home.

New York have not been in great form themselves, but they are 10-3 against the spread in their last thirteen at home and I will back them and oppose the public who look to be behind Buffalo with the points.

Miami Dolphins @ Green Bay Packers Pick: It has been a tough couple of weeks for the Green Bay Packers who have lost back to back road games against the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. The standard of opposition drops significantly this week as they host the Miami Dolphins, but there is pressure on the Packers who need to get back to winning ways.

It is strange to think the Packers go into this Week 10 game with a losing record and the Miami Dolphins have a winning record, but it perhaps should have been better for the Packers. A couple of costly fumbles in the games at the Rams and Patriots cost Green Bay massively and they have to clean up those kind of errors if they are going to have a Super Bowl run which is the expectancy of this team.

Aaron Jones had the big fumble last week, but I am not sure he is going to be punished for that by Mike McCarthy and the Packers in the same way Ty Montgomery was. Montgomery was shipped off to the Baltimore Ravens ahead of the trade deadline which has made Jones the featured Running Back and he can have a massive bounce back game against a Dolphins Defensive Line who have given up huge numbers on the ground.

With Aaron Rodgers at Quarter Back, Miami will not give the Line any additional help to shut down the run so I would expect Jones and the Packers to make some big gains on the ground.

Teams haven't needed to throw to be effective against Miami in recent games, but there are issues in the Miami Secondary which can be exposed by Aaron Rodgers. You know the Quarter Back loves slinging the ball around Lambeau Field so this looks a tough game for the Dolphins all around.

Miami have to try and establish the run if they are going to hang around in this one by sustaining drives and keeping Rodgers and the Green Bay Offensive unit on the sidelines. They could have some success doing that, although I imagine the Green Bay game plan involves containing Kenyan Drake and forcing Brock Osweiler to throw to have success.

Osweiler hasn't played badly in relief of Ryan Tannehill, but he is tough to trust if the game develops into a shoot out. There are some injuries on the Offensive Line which have to be a concern for the Dolphins too especially as the Green Bay Packers can produce a fierce pass rush who will look to put Osweiler under pressure throughout this one.

It will make it difficult for Miami to move the chains with the kind of consistency they would like to keep the Green Bay Offense cooling off on the sidelines. Even staying within a big number could be beyond them in that case especially if Green Bay are able to score points on their drives as you would imagine with the balance they have to attack the Dolphins.

Miami are just 1-8 against the spread in their last nine road games and I think the Green Bay Packers will help them extend that sequence with a big home win.

MY PICKS: Pittsburgh Steelers - 3.5 Points @ 2.05 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3.5 Points @ 2.05 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
New Orleans Saints - 6 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
New York Jets - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
New England Patriots - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 10.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Seattle Seahawks + 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles - 7.5 Points @ 2.05 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)

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