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2023 NFL Game Picks: Week 10

Last week: 8-6

Season: 84-52


CAR (1-7) @ CHI (2-7)

Thursday, November 9 | 8:15 PM ET | Prime Video


Panthers-Bears is not a matchup with legitimate playoff implications barring some sort of miracle down the stretch, but it does have consequences for the 2024 NFL Draft—with Carolina needing a win to avoid giving Chicago an even higher chance of sending them the eventual No. 1 overall pick. While Bryce Young becoming a superstar would at least soften the blow of the Godfather package it took to draft him, I continue to echo that his supporting cast (most notably management/coaching) is not what is best for his long-term outlook. Last week, Young struggled with a couple of pick-sixes in a loss to Indianapolis, and the collapse of what was projected to be a good offensive line coinciding with Frank Reich’s arrival probably isn’t a coincidence. For all the questionable decisions made by Chicago, they at least can hang their hat on stopping the run with a league-low 3.3 yards per carry allowed, and Matt Eberflus had his guys ready to go in the previous Thursday Night Football appearance with a 40-20 victory over Washington. If a similar result is in store for the Panthers, the aftermath will be very interesting considering team owner David Tepper’s desire to build a winner.


Winner: Chicago Bears


IND (4-5) @ NE (2-7)

Sunday, November 12 | 9:30 PM ET (Germany) | NFL Network


New England being at 2-7 almost doesn’t feel real, and the next two weeks are crucial to at least get the train back on the tracks for Bill Belichick as rumors swirl regarding his future. Overall, personnel—meaning the talent on the roster—is a much bigger issue for New England than coaching, and it’s foolish to suggest Belichick isn’t a defensive mastermind when you consider some of the game plans he has put together since Tom Brady left (including this year with close losses to the Eagles and Dolphins before injuries struck the unit). In Germany, the Pats will be facing a heavy dose of Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss, so discipline for cornerback J.C. Jackson (who didn’t travel with the team) might keep the defense focused. The opposite impact is also possible if the players are simply no longer fully committed and listening to outside noise, but Gardner Minshew has never faced New England, and I think they can force a couple of turnovers to get a needed victory.


Winner: New England Patriots


CLE (5-3) @ BAL (7-2)

Sunday, November 12 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The first matchup between the Browns and Ravens this year was a 28-3 victory for Baltimore, and John Harbaugh’s squad is firing on all cylinders with a four-game winning streak—which includes beating the 6-2 Lions and 5-3 Seahawks by a combined score of 75-9. Lamar Jackson hasn’t even needed to put up huge numbers because of how dominant Roquan Smith and the defense has been, but the former NFL MVP is completing 71.5% of his passes, and he has long gone overlooked as a top-flight quarterback with a career 52-18 record. Cleveland will hope that Deshaun Watson being available for this weekend’s rematch can increase their chances of pulling within a game of first place in the loaded AFC North, but the wideouts behind Amari Cooper need to step up for them to pull off the road upset. Based on how well the Ravens have played at home, I like them to start the crucial five-day stretch (with a game against the Bengals next Thursday night) by completing the season sweep over the Browns.


Winner: Baltimore Ravens


HOU (4-4) @ CIN (5-3)

Sunday, November 12 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The coaching staff for Houston deserves a ton of credit for a quick turnaround after being the AFC’s worst team in 2022, and it’s only a matter of time before DeMeco Ryans’ defense becomes an elite-level unit to match the emerging offense. Consistency is the next step for Houston, as they’ve destroyed teams like the Jaguars and Steelers, but fallen to the Falcons and Panthers—with C.J. Stroud throwing for 140 yards and zero scores one week and then breaking rookie passing records the next. Cincinnati is a tremendous measuring stick for Stroud in particular, so it will be fun to see him try to stay hot versus Cam Taylor-Britt and a stingy cornerback group. Of course, the other side of the ball will be just as much of a challenge if Joe Burrow has Ja’Marr Chase (back) and Tee Higgins (hamstring) in the lineup, and Cincinnati’s superstar passer could dice up a defense allowing the second-highest completion percentage (70.5%) in the league. Stroud continuing to take care of the ball (one interception on the season) and the running game somehow being sparked are keys for Houston this week.


Winner: Cincinnati Bengals


SF (5-3) @ JAX (6-2)

Sunday, November 12 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


49ers-Jaguars is a great cross-conference matchup, and we can expect a physical game with both teams being rested following the bye week. Predictably, a recent slump has led to many jumping on Brock Purdy, but it’s all about people—whether traditional media or random X users—refusing to admit they were wrong about him as a prospect. San Francisco having Deebo Samuel back in the lineup should get the group rolling again, and I’d expect Purdy to have the cobwebs shaken off if the concussion impacted him against the Vikings and Bengals. On defense, there is some intrigue with Steve Wilks moving from the booth to the sideline, and I think Chase Young will be viewed as a complete steal by the end of the year after he was acquired for a compensatory third-round pick; if nothing else, the pressure Young creates on speed rushes could force quarterbacks to step up into a waiting Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, or whoever else wins up front. Jacksonville’s best chance is probably Josh Allen wrecking things himself while avoiding Trent Williams by rushing from the left edge.


Winner: San Francisco 49ers


NO (5-4) @ MIN (5-4)

Sunday, November 12 | 1:00 PM ET | FOX


The Saints have seemed to hit their stride offensively dating back to the end of the Thursday Night Football loss to the Jaguars in Week 7, and Taysom Hill being featured needs to continue for them to stay atop the division—and potentially run away with it. For the defense, cornerback Paulson Adebo has become a star this season, and he’s created five turnovers over the past three games (with three of them coming last week in the win over Chicago); if the pass rush comes together to pair with Adebo and Marshon Lattimore on the outside, New Orleans can certainly make some noise in January. The challenge this week will be all the blitzes sent by Brian Flores to make Derek Carr uncomfortable, but that might set up for Chris Olave or Rashid Shaheed to strike with a downfield shot in one-on-one coverage, and the screen game can also be used as an effective counter. Without Justin Jefferson (hamstring) for at least another week, Joshua Dobbs and the Vikings might not have the firepower to get to 6-4.


Winner: New Orleans Saints


GB (3-5) @ PIT (5-3)

Sunday, November 12 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The Steelers somehow getting Joey Porter Jr. in the second round is still a mystery to me (we had him as our No. 6 overall prospect), but the rookie completely clamped DeAndre Hopkins last Thursday night—and he did it after requesting to shadow the former All-Pro. I’m not sure why Porter isn’t getting more buzz in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year race (+3400 odds), as he’s been locking opponents down all season, and Porter previously had a game-winning interception against Baltimore. Nonetheless, Pittsburgh knows how to win close, low-scoring games, and this weekend could be another one with Green Bay not surpassing 20 points in a game since Week 2. Jordan Love at least should have regained some confidence after an efficient day in the win over the Rams, but Aaron Jones again being fed is the best shot at keeping the Steelers honest and preventing T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith from wrecking the game. When the Packers do air it out, playing through Romeo Doubs—mostly lined up on the left side of the formation—is the best game plan if Porter doesn’t follow him.


Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers


TEN (3-5) @ TB (3-5)

Sunday, November 12 | 1:00 PM ET | CBS


The numbers were unspectacular, but Will Levis again had an encouraging performance in Week 9, and Tennessee has seen enough to name him the starter for the rest of the season—likely the right move to properly evaluate him ahead of 2024. One area that remains a major flaw and showed up in the second half of the loss to Pittsburgh was sensing pressure, though, so we’ll see if Levis can get better with experience, and the Bucs have not played up to their potential defensively (as shown last week when torched by C.J. Stroud). Still, the Titans need to have balance with Derrick Henry being fed, and I think Levis could end up using his legs at an increased rate this week, too, which is something that Tennessee has leaned on in the past with Ryan Tannehill. In general, the weapons for Tampa Bay could give them the edge, especially with Rachaad White being unleashed; the next step is making Chris Godwin more of a focus, but Baker Mayfield has a history of keeping No. 3 and No. 4 wideouts involved.


Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


ATL (4-5) @ ARI (1-8)

Sunday, November 12 | 4:05 PM ET | CBS


The long-awaited return of Kyler Murray (knee) will happen this weekend, and I would not at all be surprised if the Cardinals rack up a few wins over the final two months. Even if Murray doesn’t run at the level he did in the past, Arizona’s new offense can allow him to have success through the air, and the real tests will come in December/January—after ideally having the rust knocked off—with games against the Steelers, 49ers, Eagles, and Seahawks (with the “easy” matchup being a trip to Chicago on Christmas Eve). Unlike most of the quarterbacks facing possible relegation ahead of a stacked 2024 draft class, Murray will have no issues finding a starting job next year (if Arizona were to move on) because his talent level will be appealing to coaches/executives, and Atlanta might be a potential suitor to keep an eye on if Arthur Smith remains and doesn’t want to risk taking a step back by developing a rookie. At this point, I trust the Cardinals more to feature their best players on offense, and they’ll have the edge at quarterback for the first time under Jonathan Gannon.


Winner: Arizona Cardinals


DET (6-2) @ LAC (4-4)

Sunday, November 12 | 4:05 PM ET | CBS


Detroit having zero players listed on the injury report coming out of the bye week is remarkable, and the offense will finally have everyone on the field together for an extended period—not to mention the addition of Donovan Peoples-Jones at wide receiver to add some stability. At the center of it all is Jared Goff, and pass protection holding up this week could allow him to torch a Los Angeles defense that has the second-most sacks (31) in the league, but ranks dead last in passing yards per game allowed (286.0). The Chargers are not as healthy on offense with Mike Williams (knee) obviously done for the year and Joshua Palmer (knee) out for at least three more games, so they’ll need others to step up alongside Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen for a potential shootout this week. Detroit has the edge with the offense expected to be cleaner coming out of the bye and Los Angeles still needing to prove the pass rush will show up versus top opponents.


Winner: Detroit Lions


NYG (2-7) @ DAL (5-3)

Sunday, November 12 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


A joke was made of the Cowboys for losing against the Eagles last week, but I truly don’t understand how people came to that conclusion when they were a few yards away from winning in Philadelphia. Basically, if Dak Prescott plays like he has in the two games since the bye—with 339.0 passing yards per game and a 7:1 touchdown-interception ratio—then Dallas is capable of going toe-to-toe with anyone, so they need to build more confidence with three winnable games through Thanksgiving (v NYG, @ CAR, v WAS) before a brutal stretch kicks in (v SEA, v PHI, @ BUF, @ MIA, v DET). An upset can happen on any given Sunday, but it’s difficult to see a path to Saquon Barkley getting a win against the Cowboys for the first time in his career (0-9 record).


Winner: Dallas Cowboys


WAS (4-5) @ SEA (5-3)

Sunday, November 12 | 4:25 PM ET | FOX


Washington had lost five of six games entering Week 9, but a victory over New England puts them squarely in the mix for the No. 7 seed in the NFC, and finding a combination that works on the offensive line has resulted in just four sacks allowed over the past two weeks. I said last week that a new general manger might not be sold on Sam Howell, so the second half of the year—particularly matchups against the Seahawks, Cowboys (twice), Dolphins, Jets, and 49ers—might determine the direction of the franchise. Seattle could also have a new signal-caller next year (I believe they would have taken Anthony Richardson if available in the 2023 NFL Draft), but Sunday sets up for Geno Smith to have a big game by connecting with a way-too-quiet DK Metcalf. I’d just hope Washington doesn’t throw rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes back into the fire to lose the confidence he gained last week.


Winner: Seattle Seahawks


NYJ (4-4) @ LV (4-5)

Sunday, November 12 | 8:20 PM ET | NBC


Maybe this is too much of a conspiracy theory, but I get the feeling that Jets-Raiders might not have been flexed out of Sunday Night Football because NBC broadcasts often seem to be a PR arm for the league—so I’ll be listening closely for Cris Collinsworth perhaps crafting a narrative about the entire Zach Wilson situation in New York. But as Troy Aikman said last Monday night, the Jets might not have been much better with Aaron Rodgers under center because of how bad the offensive line has been, and Wilson doesn’t have much of a chance to succeed when facing constant pressure (not unlike Jimmy Garoppolo with the Raiders). New York can at least rely on stout defense, but Davante Adams finding the end zone might be automatic with a touchdown in 13 consecutive SNF appearances, and Josh Jacobs could be tough to stop versus the NFL’s third-worst run defense in terms of yards per game allowed (137.3). However, the Jets still have superior talent on the roster, and Wilson has successfully battled through adversity in the past.


Winner: New York Jets


DEN (3-5) @ BUF (5-4)

Monday, November 13 | 8:15 PM ET | ESPN/ABC/ESPN2


I’m not jumping off the Buffalo bandwagon after a disappointing start to the season, but their playoffs odds are in serious peril—largely due to a brutal rest-of-season schedule that includes trips to Philadelphia and Kansas City. That said, not coming close to their goals of a Lombardi Trophy could lead to sweeping changes in the offseason, as Josh Allen needs help in the form of a running game, but it might be difficult to hire a top offensive mind to work under Sean McDermott. Personally, I would love to see what Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson could do working with Allen considering the things he has done with Detroit’s running game and offense, and Denver knocking off Kansas City prior to the bye showed the importance of balance with Javonte Williams handling 30 touches. On Monday night, Buffalo’s balance can come in the form of Dalton Kincaid going off versus a Vance Joseph defense and Gabe Davis being re-involved while mostly avoiding Patrick Surtain II.


Winner: Buffalo Bills