Good action picks: NFL Week 10

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Good action picks: NFL Week 10

With four teams on byes this week, including three currently in playoff position (Patriots, Chiefs and Jets), you would expect a weaker slate of games. Not the case, as there are no fewer than six potentially pivotal contests (Lions-Bears, Eagles-Packers, Bengals-Ravens, Panthers-Niners, Broncos-Chargers and Cowboys-Saints) in what’s lining up to be the most robust NFL Sunday to date. Let’s get right to some picks.

Packers (PK) vs. Eagles

Before Monday night’s game, Green Bay was laying a full 10 points in the lookahead line for this matchup. Then Aaron Rodgers went down, Seneca Wallace stepped in and looked positively awful and the Packers fell to the Bears at home. And there you have the ingredients of an otherwise unheard of nine-point swing. There’s no denying Rodgers is among the most indispensable players – if not the most – in the league. But for a team that features the NFL’s No. 3 rushing attack led by a burgeoning star in Eddie Lacy, an above-average defense that’s excellent against the run (94.5 yards per game, fifth in the league) and playing at home against a schizophrenic Eagles outfit, there was clearly an overreaction in respect to the nine-point adjustment to this line. Two other things to consider: For obvious reasons, the Packers give fewer reps to their backup quarterback than any team in the league. Wallace isn’t great, but getting a full week of practice under his belt should give way to a serviceable performance. And that formidable Green Bay defense is set to get a boost with the return of its leader and primary playmaker in Clay Matthews after a four-week absence. To get this game at a pickem is a steal.

Ravens +105 vs. Bengals 

Baltimore has looked ugly during its three-game losing streak, and to fall at Cleveland coming off the bye as the capper was not pretty. But Joe Flacco has never lost four games in a row and the Ravens are a different team at home. Conversely, the Bengals – who haven’t won at Baltimore since 2009 – are a different team on the road, having dropped three of five this season. There’s also no questioning the magnitude of this game for the Ravens, who at 3-5 can kiss their season goodbye with a loss to 6-3 Cincinnati. Then there’s the respective health of both teams. The Ravens are in as good of shape as they’ve been, while the Bengals have seen their defense dealt blows at every level in recent weeks, with defensive tackle Geno Atkins joining cornerback Leon Hall on season-ending injured reserve. Linebacker Rey Maualuga will miss his second straight game with a knee injury. And on the offensive side, running back Giovani Bernard suffered a rib injury in a Week 9 loss to Miami and was limited in practice all week. With its season on the line, look for Baltimore – a team that has historically risen to to the occasion in big moments – to get it done.

Bills at Steelers – over 43  

After an anemic start to the campaign for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense, the unit has started to get back to its identity of throwing the football. Roethlisberger has passed for 675 yards and five touchdowns over the last two weeks, and against a Buffalo defense that’s allowing nearly 250 yards through the air, the Steelers should be able to get into the high 20s. On the other side, the Bills – who expect to have EJ Manuel back under center – have been able to put points on the board with consistency this season on the road, averaging 21 per game and scoring at least 17 in each of their four away games.

49ers -260 vs. Panthers

Not a ton of value in this moneyline, but it’s a safe leg for a San Francisco team that has been rolling over teams during a five-game winning streak. The Panthers come into this contest riding a four-game win streak of their own, but the teams they’ve beaten are only a combined 7-27. A rugged Carolina squad won’t go down easy, but it won’t be able to hang with the Niners for sixty minutes.

Saints (-6) vs. Cowboys

Dallas has been a notoriously good play when getting points, but there’s something about the Drew Brees/Sean Payton combo at home that supersedes all contrarian trends. With Payton on the sidelines, the Saints have covered their last 12 games at the Superdome. The pair has been just as lethal off a loss, winning their last eight games by an average of nearly 18 points (and last week’s setback to the Jets should have them especially steamed). Throw in the way the Saints D has been playing at home under new defensive coordinator (and ex-Dallas defensive coordinator) Rob Ryan – holding the opposition to 14.5 points per game, with none scoring more than 17 – and combine that with Brees and the offense hanging an average of 32 points in the Superdome this season, and you have the makings of another healthy New Orleans victory.

Overall picks: 11-7

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