Week 10 matchups

NFL predictions for the weekend

San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

San Diego won an easy one against the Chiefs last Thursday night as Philip Rivers impressed for the first time in a while. Their defense shut down Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles all game and forced four turnovers. They will need a similar defensive effort if they hope to upset Tampa Bay and their impressive rookie Doug Martin. The Bucs scored 42 last week against the Raiders in a stellar record-breaking game by Martin. He had 251 yards and four touchdowns against the Oakland D, so he comes into this game brimming with confidence. Rivers will need to move the ball through the air effectively against the weak Buccaneer secondary. It remains to be seen if he is capable of shouldering the entire offensive load as he did earlier in his career.

Prediction: 30-20 Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

Miami lost a great battle last week against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. The good news is that Ryan Tannehill continues to look very sharp this season, and he looks as though he could be the Dolphins’ quarterback of the future. The bad news is that the Dolphins allowed 433 passing yards to Luck, a single-game rookie record, which led to their loss. Tennessee will be looking to take advantage of Miami’s deficiencies in pass defense, as running back Chris Johnson may have a rough day. The Dolphins have one of the best rushing defenses in the league and Johnson has been anything but consistent this season. This spells disaster for the Titans’ offense. If Tannehill can continue to hold onto the ball, the Dolphins should win comfortably.

Prediction: 24-13 Dolphins

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

The Patriots were in Super Bowl form against the Rams before their bye week, which is bad news for the Bills. The Pats come off a week of rest and preparation to play one of the weakest teams in the AFC. The Bills allow just under 170 rushing yards per game, so expect Stevan Ridley to have a big game for the New England offense. The Patriots, on the other hand, allow only 89 rushing yards per game, so they should be able to neutralize Buffalo’s biggest offensive weapons: C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. This will force Ryan Fitzpatrick into bad decisions and turnovers, which should lead to a Patriots blowout win in this AFC East clash.

Prediction: 42-17 Patriots

Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

Looking at records, Baltimore seems to be a much better team than Oakland, but statistically, the Raiders actually have a better defense than Baltimore in terms of opposing yardage allowed per game. Both teams allow an almost identical number of passing yards per game and Oakland allows 15 less rushing yards per game than Baltimore. The difference is that although the Ravens allow teams to rack up yards against them, they do not allow points at the end of drives. They allow only 22 points a game, while the Raiders give up almost 30. The Baltimore running game will be extremely important in this game, and this is where they will need to have an advantage if they want to win. Darren McFadden is still questionable for the Raiders, but even if he plays, he most likely will not be effective enough to lead to an Oakland win.

Prediction: 20-16 Ravens

Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

The Broncos are beginning to hit their stride. Peyton Manning is playing outstanding and their defense is stepping up against good offenses. Cam Newton, on the other hand, has been a totally average QB after his outstanding rookie season. He needs to do more damage running than he has been in order to keep defenses guessing. His statistics as a passer are not impressive (6 TD, 8 INT, 77.7 QB rating) so he needs to help his receivers get open by keeping the opposing defenses guessing. If the Panthers want any chance at winning, they will have to be dominant in their running game, and that includes Newton. That may be easier said than done against the Broncos defense, however, and Denver should win easily.

Prediction: 31-20 Broncos

New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

Over the past few seasons, the Giants have been one of the worst second half teams in history. After their home loss to the Steelers, they may be on track to another disappointing finish this year. They play against the explosive Cincinnati offense this week, and New York must have a good offensive game to bring home a win. Eli Manning must not make unnecessary turnovers or put the ball back into Andy Dalton’s hands. This is a potential trap game for the Giants as they prepare for their bye week and then their game against the Packers, while the Bengals are entering must-win territory. This has Cincinnati upset written all over it.

Prediction: 26-24 Bengals

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

After a good start to the season, Viking quarterback Christian Ponder has not been able to throw for more than 63 yards in two of the Vikes’ last three games. If he continues to play the way he has recently, it will almost certainly result in a Minnesota loss. Adrian Peterson cannot carry the offense alone, as teams are tougher against the run since they don’t need to respect Ponder’s passing game. The Vikings will need to put up a lot of points to beat Detroit and their incredibly talented offense, and without Ponder, it will be impossible. This game should be an easy win for the Lions as they look to become relevant again in the NFC North division race.

Prediction: 31-16 Lions

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints

Sunday, Nov. 11 1 p.m.

The Falcons earned their eighth win last week, and are still undefeated on the season. They needed to grind out this last win, eating up over five minutes of clock at the end of the game to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Although they haven’t particularly dominated teams all season, the Falcons have done just enough to win every game, which is one of the most important qualities of a Super Bowl contender. Even when they aren’t playing their best, they still have enough to win because they are incredibly balanced. The Saints will struggle dealing with them this week, even after their win last week against Philadelphia. They have one of the worst defenses in years and the Falcons will exploit it all game long.

Prediction: 37-24 Falcons

New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, Nov. 11 4:05 p.m.

This game comes down to how many yards Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch can gain against the awful Jets rush defense. If Lynch can have a good game, which he should, the Seahawks should be able to pull this one out easily. Mark Sanchez and the New York offense will not be able to put enough points on the board if Lynch can dominate the game. Russell Wilson must refrain from making mistakes in the chances he gets to throw the ball, while the Seahawks dominate in time of possession. The Seahawks should win this one.

Prediction: 17-10 Seahawks

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, Nov. 11 4:25 p.m.

Both NFC East teams come off ugly losses, and they will try to get on track in this game. Philadelphia has looked absolutely terrible these past few weeks, especially with their lack of effort last week against the Saints. They had a lot of difficulty scoring when they moved the ball into the red zone, which has been their biggest problem all season. On their first trip of the ball game, Michael Vick threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, which was really a microcosm of the Eagles entire season. They simply haven’t been able to finish and they make back-breaking mistakes at the worst possible times. Dallas will come to Philadelphia ready to play as they always do when these two teams meet. Tony Romo should be able to take advantage of the Philadelphia defense with all of his offensive weapons and the Eagles’ offense will continue to make mistakes that cost them the game.

Prediction: 27-17 Cowboys

St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 11 4:25 p.m.

This battle of NFC West teams shouldn’t be that close. The 49ers are considered by some to be the best team in the NFL, especially because they have the most dominant defense in the league. They will hound the Rams offense all day long. Sam Bradford will struggle to get anything going and Steven Jackson will be swallowed up by the 49ers outstanding front seven, led by Patrick Willis. All Alex Smith has to do is play efficiently, which is his strong suit, and San Francisco should win easily.

Prediction: 30-7 49ers

Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears

Sunday, Nov. 11 8:20 p.m.

In a marquee matchup of two of the NFL’s top teams, this game should be a defensive struggle all the way through. Both teams have great defenses that force turnovers, and they will try to run the ball back and forth. The Texans have a more dynamic offense overall, as the combination of Arian Foster and Ben Tate should move the ball more effectively than Matt Forte of the Bears. Depending on which Jay Cutler shows up for Chicago, this game could turn out very differently. Expect the good Cutler to show on national television and for him to lead a late drive leading to a win.

Prediction: 20-17 Bears

Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Monday, Nov. 12 8:35 p.m.

This game won’t be close as Kansas City travels to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers. Pittsburgh comes off a tough win over the Giants and they look to ride that momentum through this Chiefs game. They should be able to render Jamaal Charles ineffective with their rushing defense and Matt Cassel has not been able to win a game by himself through his entire Chiefs career. Ben Roethlisberger will eviscerate the Chiefs’ defense and it won’t be close after halftime.

Prediction: 34-7 Steelers