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2017 SQ Insiders: Week 10

Austin Taliaferro

Having reached Week 10, our insiders make picks on games with key playoff implications.

We have officially reached the NFL midway point, and almost every team remains in the hunt. In fact, all but six teams are within two games of a playoff spot.

New Orleans travels to Buffalo to take on the Bills. Our panel is split, but has the Saints coming out on top by two points. The committee was also split on the game between the Vikings and Redskins. We have the Vikings pulling out the win on the road by a score of 22-20.

Check the rest of the picks below and see how we did last week!

Matchup

Mitch B

Nick C

Adrian N

New Orleans at Buffalo
Green Bay at Chicago
Cleveland at Detroit
Cincinnati at Tennessee
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis
NY Jets at Tampa Bay
Minnesota at Washington
LA Chargers at Jacksonville
Houston at LA Rams
Dallas at Atlanta
NY Giants at San Francisco
New England at Denver
Total Record

60-4259-4357-45


Matchup

Avg Score

Winner

Why They’ll Win

Why They May Not

New Orleans at Buffalo28-26The Saints enter Week 10 on a six-game win streak while Buffalo is coming off of a loss to the Jets. New Orleans is allowing just 265 yards per game since Week 2 and finally looks balanced on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have both been outstanding since Adrian Peterson‘s departure. The Saints don’t have the best history on the road, but their new-look run game and defense give them the advantage here. The Bills are 4-0 at home this year. While it seems like they’re trending down, they still boast the league’s top turnover differential at +11. If Buffalo can win that battle like they have all season, they can take down the streaking Saints.
Green Bay at Chicago15-20Since Mitchell Trubisky took over, the Bears have emphasized the run to great results. The team is averaging 143 rushing yards per game in that span, and now gets to face a Green Bay defense that has been pounded by the run as of late. The Packers have yet to win a game without Aaron Rodgers and it doesn’t seem like their slide will stop here. The Bears may have a strong run game, but the whole idea is to take the load off of their rookie QB. In fact, Trubisky has averaged only 20 pass attempts per game since becoming the starter, with attempt totals of 16 and 7 in that span. Green Bay needs to stack the box and make the inexperienced Trubisky beat the defense himself. If he is forced to throw more and fails, the Packers have a chance to come out on top.
Cleveland at Detroit15-28The Lions have been inconsistent as of late, but currently have the NFL’s seventh-best offense in yards per game. In addition, the team has the third-most takeaways in the league with 16. Combine that with a matchup against the Browns, who have the most turnovers in the league and are still winless, and Detroit should have a walk in the park this Sunday. Detroit’s wins this year have come against teams that were either terrible or missing their starting QB. The Browns are still the league’s worst team, but they did have their first halftime lead in their last game. They’ll need to be on their game for a full 60 minutes, but a win against an unimpressive Detroit team is conceivable.
Cincinnati at Tennessee20-21Tennessee’s offense has looked average at best recently, but the team is still top-10 in rushing. The team’s run-first approach will bode well in Week 10, as the Bengals have let up an average of 139 yards on the ground over the past three weeks. The Titans tend to play to the level of their opponent, but should have more than enough firepower to take down Cincinnati. The Bengals haven’t lived up to expectations this year but still bring an elite pass defense to the table. To pull off the win they’ll have to reverse their takeaway misfortunes (league-worst six on the year) and find ways to turn strong pass defense into turnovers.
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis30-16While Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown get all of the headlines for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the real reason for their success this season has been their defense. They are fifth best in the league in yards against per game and second in points against. On the other side of the field is a defense that is one of the worst in the league.Big Ben has historically struggled on the road. Although the Steelers are 4-1 this season, historically Roethlisberger’s passer rating has been over 20 points lower away from Pittsburgh. If he plays poorly, the Colts could steal a game.
NY Jets at Tampa Bay25-23The Jets have hovered around .500 all season and proved that they can win on the road after last week going into Buffalo and coming out with the win. The Tampa Bay Bucs are not of the caliber of Buffalo especially with starting quarterback Jameis Winston expected to miss the game due to injury.Although Jameis Winston is out, Tampa Bay has a veteran back-up in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick and McCown are the same player. They are journeymen quarterbacks that have tricked several franchises into thinking that they are better than they are. Fitzpatrick has a career passer rating of 79.7 and McCown of 80.2. It is completely possible that Fitzpatrick wins this quarterback water pistol duel.
Minnesota at Washington22-20The Vikings are finally getting their guy back, as Teddy Bridgewater is expected to make his first start at quarterback since the 2015 season. If he returns as good as he was before, he can ignite this offense and fuel receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.The Redskins had an impressive showing in Seattle, defeating Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. If their defense can keep playing as it has been, the Redskins will be looking dangerous.
LA Chargers at Jacksonville18-25Jacksonville has enjoyed a great season, thanks to its unbelievable pass defense. After missing last game due to violating team rules, the Jaguars will get star rookie running back Leonard Fournette back for the first time in four weeks.Though the Jaguars have a stout pass defense, their run defense is well below par. The key to the Chargers’ success lies in their star running back Melvin Gordon, who could carry this team to a road win in Jacksonville
Houston at LA Rams14-28The Rams get a second straight game against a team with a struggling quarterback. Tom Savage was bad in Week 1 and similarly terrible in his relief appearance this past week. The Rams defense should have no trouble, and their offense, which leads the league in scoring, should have success over a team that gave up 41 points to the Seahawks just two weeks ago.When Goff turns the ball over, the Rams lose. He averages 2 INTs per game in losses and 0.7 INTs in wins. If Houston can confuse a still young quarterback and come away with a couple picks, then they can overcome a tough Rams opponent on the road.
Dallas at Atlanta26-30This Falcons team lives and dies with its offense. When they’ve scored at least 20 points, the Falcons are 4-0. However, when they’ve scored less than 20, they’re 0-4. Look for Matt Ryan and the offense to have a big game against this Dallas defense.The Cowboys don’t have Ezekiel Elliott playing, but Alfred Morris is a solid backup option. The Cowboys are also riding  a three-game winning streak into Atlanta, where the Falcons have been just 1-2.
NY Giants at San Francisco18-16There are only two teams in the league with a record worse than the Giants’, but they get to face one on Sunday. The Niners lost to a bad Cardinals team last week while at home and have lost all benefit of the doubt. Although Hoyer hadn’t earned anything, the move to Beathard is looking extremely questionable as he has a 22.7 QBR this season.The only thing going in the direction of the Niners is that they have the best offensive player on either team in Carlos Hyde. He has just under 500 yard rushing and about 270 yards receiving. His four rushing TDs are better than the entire two ruhsing TDs that the Giants backs have combined for.
New England at Denver31-21Since starting the season 2-2, the Patriots are riding a four-game winning streak. Much of this can be attributed to their defense, which allowed at least 20 points in each of their first four games and has not allowed that many since.The Broncos have been hit hard by injuries this year, especially on offense, where receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are questionable. If they can both suit up, and the Broncos’ star-powered defense plays to its potential, they could give New England a run for their money.
Miami at Carolina17-21After back-to-back poor performances against the Eagles and Bears in Weeks 6 and 7, Carolina squelched fears that were surrendering the season by beating the divisional rival Falcons. They now sit in second place in the NFC South and in line to challenge the Saints down the stretch. Miami has been very lucky this season as they are 4-3 despite having a -63 point differential.Carolina has occasionally crapped the bed offensively, failing to score a touchdown in two games this season. Miami is 10th in yards per game defensively. Perhaps Suh and crew can stifle Cam Newton.


Edited by Jeremy Losak.

SQuiz
How many MVPs does Drew Brees have?
Created 11/10/17
  1. Zero
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three

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