The Oratory's NFL Picks for Week 10
by John Canton(NFL)
Posted on November 12, 2009, 10:15 AM
John: Welcome to week ten of the Oratory's NFL Picks. I am John Canton joined as always by my fellow prognosticators James Deaux and Matt Henry. The second half of the season is here and we've got a couple of big games on the schedule with the Bengals traveling to play the Steelers while the Pats go to Indy to face off with the Colts. I'm coming off a strong 10-3 week that hopefully means I have some idea of who is good to pick going into the future. We'll see.
Matt: Two key games in the AFC this week, a couple blowouts and the weekly game between two bad teams that pads the record of the winner. Seeing the game lined up for MNF makes me feel OK with the fact that Iím going to be too busy to watch this week. See how I ignore last week?
Last week's results:
The standings for the season:
James 94-35 (.729)
John 85-44 (.659)
Matt 81-48 (.628)
The following teams have byes this week: Texans, Giants
All game times are Eastern.
Chicago at San Francisco 8:20 PM (Thu) James: Both of these teams desperately need a victory if they have any hope of staying alive in the playoff hunt. Chicago has looked beyond inept for a month now, and I canít see them beating San Francisco and their loudmouthed tight end at Candlestick. San Francisco 30 Ė Chicago 21
Matt: The Bears are really underperforming expectations this year. The loss of Urlacher in week one is part of the problem, but the other issue is that Jay Cutler is expected to do too much. Cutler needs a reliable running game and some support from his defense if the Bears are to have any chance in the post season. With the Vikings facing the Lions this week, the only way for the Bears to keep from falling four games back with five to go in the division is to win here. Not quite as much pressure on the 49ers here seeing as they play in the weakest division in the NFL. 49ers 20-17
John: They both played like crap last week, losing at home. The Bears were carved up by Kurt Warner while the Niners couldn't stop Vince Young or Chris Johnson when they needed to. I'm going Bears here simply because I don't trust Alex Smith enough as a quarterback. I think Cutler will make more plays. Should be a sloppy game as most Thursday ones are because neither team is really rested enough from the week before. Bears 23-17
Buffalo at Tennessee 1:00 PM James: Tennessee is actually playing like an NFL team lately, and Buffalo...um, not so much. Thereís no way I can pick against a hot home team against a bottom-feeder. Tennessee 31 Ė Buffalo 17
Matt: Despite their lousy record, the Titans are second in the league in rushing. Chris Johnson thinks that they can put together another 10 win streak to make a run at the playoffs, and make no mistake about it, it will be a run. Iím not buying Vince Young as a serious threat yet seeing as the two games heís started (and won) havenít seen the Titans fighting from behind and putting the pressure on his passing game. Heís not going to need to be a factor here much yet either as the Bills defense wouldnít be able to stop a group of third graders trying to run out of class on the last day of school. Titans 30-17
John: The Titans have figured it out. They're undefeated since Jeff Fisher put on the Peyton Manning jersey. Maybe that was what they needed. I love me some Chris Johnson. Not only is he carrying a very important fantasy team of mine, but he's Barry Sanders like in that I have no problem watching that offense just for the chance to see him bust out a big run. Against the Bills I see him doing plenty of that. They're a mess. Titans 27-10
New Orleans at St. Louis 1:00 PM James: New Orleans is not as good as their record suggests. Sorry, but itís true. They are admittedly really good, but letís not ignore the fact that they have had just about the easiest schedule this side of the Redskins. That continues Sunday when they invade St. Louis and destroy the hapless Rams. New Orleans 42 Ė St. Louis 7
Matt: Thanks to the miracle of NFL scheduling, the Rams havenít lost a game in two weeks. (Well they didnít play last week but, at least they didnít lose). The line John posted on the forums was Saints by 13.5. You could give the Rams 20, and I still wouldnít bet them. The Rams have no home field advantage here, facing the Saints in any dome is not going to be a good thing this year. Saints 42-10
John: The Saints are 8-0 while the Rams haven't lost in two weeks. What a streak for my boys! I think the Rams will keep it close in the first half if they can have long, sustained drives with a heavy dose of Steven Jackson. Once the second half kicks in the Saints will pull away, but don't be surprised if the Rams do keep it close because the running game is doing pretty well these days. Ah, who am I kidding? This will be a slaughter. Saints 45-14
Tampa Bay at Miami 1:00 PM James: Tampa Bay finally got their requisite win for the year out of the way against the mediocre Packers, so kudos for them on that. They wonít get another one this week, though. The Bucsí defense is abysmal. Miami 34 Ė Tampa Bay 12
Matt: Big time surprising win by the Bucs last week, but can they do it again. There are some similarities to last week going into this game. The Dolphins, much like the Packers are inconsistent at best, average at worst. They are expected to win without really being challenged. Iím not going to jump on the Tampa Bay bandwagon quite yet, but it appears that this team is ready to turn the corner. The Dolphins win, but Iím thinking it will be close. Dolphins 24-21
John: Nice for the Bucs getting their first win. Maybe Josh Freeman has a future in the NFL. I like his poise in the pocket. Miami's not that great, but they're better than the Bucs. Dolphins 23-14
Detroit at Minnesota 1:00 PM James: Yeah, so Minnesota is coming off their bye and theyíre at home against one of the three worst teams in football. I just donít know who to pick here... Okay, Iíll go out on a limb and say the Vikings squeak out a victory here. Minnesota 45 Ė Detroit 7
Matt: Number two on the laugh of the week meter. The Vikings get a much needed second bye week to rest up their aging QB for what could be a deep playoff run. Vikings 28-3
John: Detroit on the road with Calvin Johnson still banged up going into Minnesota as the Vikes come off the bye? Ouch. Vikings 35-3
Jacksonville at NY Jets 1:00 PM James: They should just call this game ďMediocre2Ē. I have no idea who to pick here, so Iíll go with the home team. Jacksonville is the definition of ďaverageĒ. New York 28 Ė Jacksonville 20
Matt: The Jets arenít a team Iíll find myself picking much for the remainder of the year. This is one game that I can feel pretty safe with them though. The Jaguars are falling apart at the seams right now so that means that the Jets will bully them and look like they belong in discussion of good teams again. Jets 28-6
John: These are two teams that aren't playoff worthy, but aren't among the five or six worst teams either. They're in that 6-8 win range with too many problems to get in the playoffs. I think the Jets will be prepared well for this one after their bye and they'll take it to the Jags, who really aren't a good road team. Jets 23-16
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh 1:00 PM James: Finally, a really fun game. This one is going to go down to the wire, I think, but Pittsburgh knows how to shut down running backs like few other teams. And when Cincinnati becomes one-dimensional, they are as easy to take down as any team in football. (See: 2008) Pittsburgh 27 Ė Cincinnati 20
Matt: Canít the powers that be swap one AFC North match up with another? This game has the greatest playoff implications for both teams involved. The winner here moves into a possible tie for second in the AFC, the loser will find themselves on the very crowded bubble for a wildcard spot. Earlier this season, the Steelers lost a close game on the road to the Bengals. That game was played without Troy Polamalu on the field. This week the Steelers should have the edge. The defense is going to put all of the Bengals hopes on the arm of Carson Palmer. Steelers 28-18
John: This is a different Steelers team than the one that the Bengals beat earlier in the year. When Troy Polamalu is on the field that defense is the best in football. When he's not on the field they're a slightly above average group. He's the most valuable defensive player in the NFL, in my opinion. The Bengals will have a tough time in this game because you can't run on the Steelers and if Cincy fails to establish the run then it will be tough to pass. On the other side of the ball I see the Steelers offense being able to move the ball just fine with an improved offensive line and a Cincy pass rush that isn't elite. If you give Roethlisberger time he will pick you apart. I like Pittsburgh to win rather comfortably. Steelers 31-14
Denver at Washington 1:00 PM James: Denver has been terrible the last two weeks, but facing Washington is just what they need to get back on track. The Broncos still strike me as a one-and-out playoff team if ever there was one (assuming they make it there). Washington will score their customary 17 points, too. Hey, itís what they do best. Denver 20 Ė Washington 17
Matt: The Broncos have a chance to get back to winning as they face a hapless Redskins team. The last two weeks have left this teams weakness exposed. Too bad that the Redskins arenít anywhere near good enough to make the most of this. Broncos 21-10
John: Denver's falling back to the pack after their 6-0 start of the year. I see them winning 9 or 10 games. They're not consistent enough offensively to win more than that although their defense could carry them. This will be an ugly, low scoring type of game with two above average defenses dominating the play. Since I don't pick the Redskins I guess I have to go Broncos. Broncos 17-10
Atlanta at Carolina 1:00 PM James: As a Falcons fan, this game scares the hell out of me. Carolina has been playing a lot better lately because theyíre finally leaning on DeAngelo Williams like they should have all along. And on the flip side, Matt Ryan has been average at best for the better part of a month. However, as long as Michael Turner continues his resurgence, the Falcons will be in this the whole way. Matt Ryan also saves some of his best play for Carolina games, for some reason. Iíll predict an extremely close victory for Atlanta here. Atlanta 28 Ė Carolina 27
Matt: The Panthers are yet another team that has defied expectations this year. Luckily they have been smart enough to see what wasnít working and make some adjustment. The best they could do for now, stop passing the ball. The Falcons are a solid, well rounded football team. Good enough to win at least two of the other divisions in the NFL, they are going to suffer because of the strength of the Saints. Falcons 24-17
John: I'm going Panthers. Atlanta's a great home team, but they're just average on the road. The Panthers have smartened up after realizing Jake Delhomme sucks. They run the ball all three downs a lot of time. Defensively, Julius Peppers is in a contract year and playing like it. He's been terrorizing teams the last couple of weeks. I see it happening again. The Panthers win thanks to their running game and defense. Panthers 23-20
Kansas City at Oakland 4:05 PM James: Iíll take ďWho cares?Ē for $1000, Alex. Oakland 17 Ė Kansas City 14
Matt: I just donít have the time to do a breakdown on the problems that both of these teams face. Raiders won on the road last time, and there is no reason to think they canít do the same at home. Iíll pick the Raiders, but I wouldnít be surprised at all if the Chiefs upset. Raiders 17-14
John: They both suck. However, I think the Chiefs try harder while the Raiders seem to constantly be bickering, which is enough for me to go Chiefs. Matt Cassel, I hope the money the Chiefs are overpaying you is treating you well. Chiefs 13-10
Dallas at Green Bay 4:15 PM James: Green Bayís loss last week was inexcusable. Their offensive line is one of the worst Iíve seen in recent seasons. They can pretty much forget about the playoffs if they donít win against the surging Cowboys this weekend. So, yeah, they can basically start planning golf outings around 5:00pm Sunday. Aaron Rodgers deserves better than this lackadaisical team heís surrounded by. Dallas 32 Ė Green Bay 23
Matt: The good news for the Packers this week is that after this loss the news wonít be all about how they got upset by a weaker team, just about how they lost. Rodgers isnít as big as Roethlisberger, he needs blocking or heís going to get hurt bad before the season is over. Cowboys 27-20
John: This is all about momentum. Dallas has it. Green Bay doesn't. The Cowboys are rounding into form with the defense playing at that elite level while the passing game is definitely clicking. With the Packers it's clear that they have issues with their offensive line even though Rodgers is having a great year statistically. There are a lot of garbage stats. Defensively they're not pressuring the quarterback at all, so that leaves them with a vulnerable pass defense. I like Dallas in this game with their defense carrying them. It was a slow start for DeMarcus Ware and crew, but they're back. Cowboys 31-24
Seattle at Arizona 4:15 PM James: Seattle is terrible, but Arizona canít win at home. Hmm...you know what, this isnít really that hard. Arizona 34 Ė Seattle 13
Matt: The Cards on their worst week have got to be better than the Seahawks on their best. I canít see them losing here, which means that they get crushed this week for sure. Cardinals 20-10
John: Seattle's the kind of team that I tend to pick at home, but never pick on the road. The Cards are a schizophrenic bunch that got smoked two weeks ago at home to the Panthers and then last week destroyed the Bears on the road. Who knows what Cards team will show up? I think against an average defense like the Seahawks they'll be just fine. Cardinals 31-20
Philadelphia at San Diego 4:15 PM James: This one isnít nearly as hyped as Pitt/Cincy or New England/Indy, but it could be really good, too. Both of these teams need wins here, but San Diego is riding high after that stunning victory at the Meadowlands last week. They donít have much of a home-field advantage, but Iíll take Rivers and Co. in a close one. San Diego 24 Ė Philadelphia 23
Matt: What has happened to the Eagles? They lose to the Raiders, crush the Giants, and this week take a loss against the Chargers. Norv Turner may be the only in game coach who makes dumber decisions than Andy Reid. I feel like this should be considered an upset, but the Chargers have looked pretty good as late and they have the extra motivation of looking at the Broncos recent losses as a chance at a division title. The AFC west can be won with only 9-10 wins, and the Chargers are already halfway there. Still canít believe that this team isnít at or near the top of the rushing stats. Once again, it all comes down to blocking. Chargers 28-24
John: Hey Andy Reid, when you're in the opponents end of the field on 4th down when you're down 7 with 5 minutes left (with no timeouts of course) and your defense sucks against the Cowboys you should go for it. Instead, you kicked a field goal to cut it to four. What's the point of cutting it to four when you still need a touchdown? Ugh, Andy Reid still doesn't know how to manage a game after 11 years of being a head coach. That should be enough for me to pick against the Eagles, right? Wrong. This is like the Summer of George (Seinfeld reference, people) for me. I'm going the opposite. Plus, it's not like Norv Turner is the new Vince Lombardi or anything. Eagles win just because this league is that fucked up sometimes. Eagles 27-23
New England at Indianapolis 8:20 PM James: I guess itís that time againóeveryoneís favorite hyped-to-hell matchup of the year. I donít think this is very hard to predict, truthfully. Indianapolis has a young, inexperienced secondary and they have to contend with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and their captainóTom Brady. This wonít be pretty for Indy fans. New England 38 Ė Indianapolis 24
Matt: At least this potential game of the week makes the cut to be on primetime. The Colts should be favored by more here being unbeaten and at home, but the Patriots have overwhelmingly owned them throughout most of the recent matchups. That history makes it really tempting to pick the Pats, and the fact that the Colts have been looking a little sloppy recently doesnít hurt that decision either. Still, it is really difficult to pick against this unbeaten powerhouse offense. Colts 24-21
John: Game of the year~! At his press conference this week Tom Brady told reporters about when he first met Manning, it was his first start of the 2001 season. Manning, who was in his fourth year at that point as an established Pro Bowler, shakes his hand and is like, "Hey, I'm Peyton Manning." Tom replies, "no shit." Hopefully his modeling companies didn't hear him curse, wouldn't want to lose the coveted endorsement deals. I don't mind calling this the game of the year. I love watching these teams play eachother. I'm not about to complain when it comes to seeing two of the best QBs ever (I say regularly that Manning is the best ever) going head to head. I like the Pats in this game. I think Indy's been squeaking by the last couple of weeks while the Pats seem to be peaking with Welker healthy and the defense looking sharp. With Indy missing their top CB and S it's tough for me to ride them against an elite passing team like the Pats. Both are playoff teams obviously, so I expect to see this matchup again come January and it'll be great then too. Pats 27-20
Baltimore at Cleveland 8:30 PM (Mon) James: I think the scariest thing about this is that not one, but several people came together and agreed that the Cleveland Browns deserved to be on Monday Night Football. I think Mr. Magoo must be one of the schedule-makers. Baltimore 30 Ė Cleveland 3
Matt: Cool, a game where itís safe to pick the Ravens. The Browns change QBs on a weekly basis and still canít manage to confuse opponents enough to get wins. It doesnít matter who starts and who closes out the game this week, they are going to take a hard loss against a motivated and angry Ravens team. Ravens 34-6
John: As soon as the Browns announced Brady Quinn was starting I announced that I was picking against the Browns again. Unlike the Browns, I'm consistent in my strategy. Ravens aren't looking like the elite team we thought they were, but they're too good to lose a game like this. Ravens 28-13
JC's Money Picks John: Every week I'll pick four games against the spread or using the over/under. Last week I went 3-1 with my only loss being the Patriots game where they failed to cover by half a point. So close to that coveted perfect week. These odds come from pinnaclesports.com as always.
Season: 21-14-1 (.600)
Saints -13Ĺ over the RAMS. It'll be over two touchdowns for sure.
Lions/Vikings UNDER 47. I don't see the Lions scoring much, so the under is attractive to me.
TITANS -6Ĺ over the Bills. I like betting against the Bills while the Titans are starting to figure it out.
STEELERS -7 over the Bengals. Once Pit shuts down the run game the Bengals offense will have problems.
Thanks for reading. We'll see you next week for week eleven.