2016 NFL Predictions Week Ten
If the NFL was doing a 4-team playoff like college football, who would be in? Listening to Russillo and Kannell on Friday morning discussing this gave me this idea for this introduction. Should make for interesting conversation, but my six teams would be 1) New England Patriots 2) Dallas Cowboys 3) Oakland Raiders 4) Atlanta Falcons with 5) Seattle Seahawks and 6) Pittsburgh Steelers being left out. The Patriots are your obvious top seed like the Alabama Crimson Tide. They went 3-1 without Tom Brady, which I thought they wouldn't be able to do. Your second third and fourth seeds could go either way, but the Cowboys come out at 2nd due to their fairly easy schedule (like Clemson). The Raiders are at 3, despite losing to Atlanta, due to their defensive performance as of late. We'll see how this week's game play out and possibly shake the playoff.
Bye: Bills, Colts, Lions, Raiders
Browns @ Ravens: It was a close game in their first meeting with the Ravens surviving over the Browns 25-20 but it feels it was many moons ago. Still, it is a divisional game so it will come down to the end. Cleveland couldn't do much defending the run last week against the Cowboys, but won't have a problem with the Ravens lack of success running the ball (bottom 5 in yards per attempt).
Chiefs @ Panthers: Carolina's defense has been coming on its own after the bye week but now the offense needs to keep up. Kansas City has allowed 124.5 rushing yards per game which is sixth most in the league. Look for Jonathan Stewart to pound his way through for a win. We'll have to keep tabs on how much protection Cam Newton will be getting after the talks with Commissioner Goodell a couple of weeks ago didn't seem to have worked.
Texans @ Jaguars: Both teams struggle scoring points but I trust that Houston can do something with Lamar Miller carrying the rock coming off of a bye. Jacksonville's offense hasn't been pretty until when the game is out of reach. The Texans look to take control of the AFC South with a win.
Broncos @ Saints: Expect some success for running backs Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower against the Broncos defense after allowing a little over two hunnid yards last Sunday night. Running the ball hasn't been what the Saints are known for, but the opportunity presents itself for the second consecutive week. With Aqib Talib out for another week in the Denver secondary, Drew Brees shouldn't have any problems passing the ball.
Rams @ Jets: Which team will blink first and start their backup quarterback? I would bet on the Rams to do so in the next couple of weeks. Either way, these teams are not seeing the playoffs. Should be a close game due to the play between signal callers Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum. Fitzpatrick has better options to throw to while Keenum can only rely on Todd Gurley finding holes, which he hasn't been able to do all season.
Falcons @ Eagles: The Eagles are the slumping team losing 4 of their last 5 games and get a visit from Hotlanta and their passing attack. It is unknown if Tevin Coleman will suit up next to Devonta Freeman in the backfield which should be a bit easier for Philadelphia to defend. The Eagles defense needs to show up and I think they will do that in a close game but MVP candidate Matt Ryan will have another clutch drive.
Bears @ Buccaneers: Jay Cutler and Jordan Howard were a nightmare for Minnesota on Halloween night. While he sticks with Chicago or not after this season, Cutler has continued to make a case for himself that he still belongs in the league. It will be a fun duel in the air with Alshon Jefferey and Mike Evans lighting in up on the score board.
Packers @ Titans: Special teams will have to be better for the Packers after the kick return touchdown allowed last week gave the Colts the early lead and energy. Another area of improvement is to not let Marcus Mariota get free out of the pocket and extend drives. I trust that Aaron Rodgers and the receivers should have an even better game against the Titans 25th-ranked passing defense. It should be a fun match-up between DeMarco Murray (807 rushing yards-2nd in league) and the Packers run defense (606 yards allowed-fewest in NFL).
Vikings @ Redskins: The Vikings offense played pretty well last week but couldn't come away with points when they needed to. With Josh Norman looking to shadow Stefon Diggs in this game, Kyle Rudolph and Cordarrelle Patterson will need to have a good game. Their defense haven't been playing like a top defense either and look to keep Kirk Cousins in check.
Dolphins @ Chargers: The Chargers and Dolphins will both be riding on their work horses in the backfield with Melvin Gordon and Jay Ajayi, respectively. San Diego has done pretty well the last couple of games defending the run which will lead to Miami leaning on Ryan Tannehill.
49ers @ Cardinals: The Cardinals are refreshed after a much needed bye and look to lay the hammer on San Francisco again. David Johnson will impose his will on the Niners defense while Colin Kaepernick won't find any room to make plays for the offense.
Cowboys @ Steelers: Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for an average of 111.4 yards per game. If he continues that pace (right now he is at 891 rushing yards), he will get to 1782 rushing yards. How about that for a debut? Pittsburgh, having lost three games in a row, have their backs against the wall. The first year duo of Dak Prescott and Elliott will continue to flourish but the defense will have a tough answer for Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell.
Seahawks @ Patriots: If Kam Chancellor suits up for the Seattle defense, it will be a similar-down-to-the-wire contest as we saw in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Unfortunately, the Seahawks will have to rely more on Russell Wilson making plays with his arm without a reliable run game. Your tight ends for this game, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, have accumulated 125 total touchdowns between them.
Bengals @ Giants: Another entertaining game will ensue on Monday Night between 'Dandy' Andy Dalton and Eli Manning. What sort of controversy will unfold this time? Cincinnati will stick to Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill early on to counter a pretty good defense for Big Blue and help out with the protection Dalton has been getting. He's been sacked the second most times this season (25). Dre Kirkpatrick and the rest of Cincy's secondary will need to play well against OBJ and Sterling Shepard at receiver.
2016 Season: 73-58-2
Last Week: 6-7