Full of rival match-ups, stakes are high for pundits and athletes alike
This is a week of hardcore rivalries, which is why you hardcore football fans tune in every Sunday. This is real, pride-filled, friendship-breaking, enemy-making gridiron action. Week 10 has promise so great that we can hear the triumphant horns and booming bases of the NFL theme song right now. Fans will be extra excited, and team anthems will be sung with gusto in both sport bars and households across the country.
The obvious game of the week is the Colts v. Patriots, a match-up that promises to showcase the most spectacular aspects of each team. The Colts' rock-solid defense will go up against Tom Brady's bull's-eye passes, while ever-consistent Peyton Manning will have to find a way to pick apart the Pats piece by piece. This game will be so thrilling that we can almost forget about the other rivalries! But not quite. Seattle v. Arizona, Cincinnati v. Pittsburgh and Baltimore v. Cleveland also promise to boil fan blood.
This week of rivalries has us Silver Chips Online pundits heated as well. The stakes are not only our records, but also bragging rights for Week 10. We just can't wait to witness the fireworks come Sunday.
Thursday, Nov. 12
Chicago Bears (4-4-0) at San Francisco 49ers (3-5-0)
Rose - San Francisco
Dennis - San Francisco
Ava - San Francisco
The Bears's defense has experienced some major embarrassment. Not only did defensive tackle Tommie Harris throw a punch at Arizona's offensive lineman Deuce Lutui last week, but Chicago's defense gave up more than 40 points in two of their recent games. The 49ers won't give them much of a chance to bounce back from this slump, even with three straight losses after a bye week.
Both of these teams are looking to rebound from hard losses last week. Chicago saw defeat through the air by QB Kurt Warner while San Fransisco found difficulty stopping RB Chris Johnson's ground game. Still, QB Jay Cutler of the Bears has a very potent arm and will do harm to a 49ers team with two injured runningbacks. But if the 49ers defense can hold their own, victory should be theirs.
The Bears are 4-4 and the 49ers are 3-5; both teams are coming off losses. Maybe Frank Gore will have a good game against the Bears's defense, but that's tough to depend on. I'm banking on Coach Singletary to light a fire under the 49ers's after last week, and hoping that the players will respond well.
Sunday, Nov. 15
Detroit Lions (1-7-0) at Minnesota Vikings (7-1-0)
Rose - Minnesota
Dennis - Minnesota
Ava - Minnesota
As expected, the Lions are still pretty much at the bottom of the NFL. Last game against the Seahawks, Matt Hasselbeck managed 25 consecutive points over Detroit and a NFL record of 39 completions. Minnesota currently ranks in second place for game points, and the stunningly 7-1 playoff-worthy Vikings are in for another win.
Minnesota is looking hot under QB Brett Favre; their 7-1 record shows it. With Adrian Peterson (arguably the league's best runningback) and an up-and-coming receiver tandem that includes rookie Percy Harvin, the Vikings will destroy a Detroit team with just around zero road wins this season.
I'd like to say that nothing is routine this late in the season, but there is about a one percent chance that the Lions will win. La Favre won't make the mistake that his rival rookie Aaron Rogers did last week; Favre knows better than to underestimate his opponent. Nonetheless, the Vikings could shut out Detroit with their eyes closed.
Denver Broncos (6-2-0) at Washington Redskins (2-6-0)
Rose - Denver
Dennis - Denver
Ava - Denver
Hope in a Redskins victory died a long time ago. Especially up against the Broncos, the home team is looking to experience yet another disappointing loss. Despite the fact that Denver lagged behind the Steelers during the majority of their game last week, Broncos defense has a better chance of quelling the not-so-formidable Redskins. While Washington's loss of Clinton Portis won't shake up the team too much, their inability to execute clean attacks will put them under the Broncos on the scoreboard.
Washington is without its star runningback in Clinton Portis, and has given up the most sacks in the league. Denver still has its offensive weapons WR Brendan Marshall and RB Knowshon Moreno, and defensive weapon DE Elvis Dumervil. Put two and two together and you get a Bronco victory.
Denver will easily get this win, even though they were reeling a little last week. Unfortunately for the 'Skins, the "easy" part of their season is over; they're going to be facing teams like the Broncos for the rest of 2009. This game will just contribute to their losing (and consistently worsening) record. But here's something to consider: Washington has the number one pass defense in the league. It's shocking that the Redskins are number one in anything at this point, but they could give Denver some trouble...if they tried really, really hard.
Atlanta Falcons (5-3-0) at Carolina Panthers (3-5-0)
Rose - Atlanta
Dennis - Atlanta
Ava - Atlanta
The Falcons used their game against the Reskins last week to redeem their brief losing streak, and they will continue to claim a victory this weekend. The Panthers have little chance of a rebuttal, especially with their increasing list of injuries (to which RB DeAngelo Williams is the newest addition). Atlanta soars over Carolina.
Atlanta's RB Michael Turner has recently emerged as an elite rusher; he's complimented QB Matt Ryan's pass attack very nicely. Meanwhile, we're still waiting for Carolina's WR Steve Smith to have a productive game; it may take all season from the looks of it. Falcons run right through the Panthers.
Matt Ryan threw a touchdown and an interception last week – he had worse numbers than Jason Campbell. That's just unnatural. If Atlanta wants to make a deep run into the playoffs, Ryan is going to have to improve his playing. With this considered, it might not be so easy for Ryan on Sunday, but Michael Turner and the rest of the Falcons will fly right past the Panthers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7-0) at Miami Dolphins (3-5-0)
Rose - Miami
Dennis - Miami
Ava - Miami
Last week, the Bucs proved that they may have more in them than we here at SCO Predictions ever thought. By starting QB Josh Freeman, the team overcame Green Bay's solid lead with less than five minutes left in the game. Freeman traveled 72 yards to help the team make that touchdown, and passed for 205 yard throughout the game as a whole. The first-timer was not without fault, but what else can we expect from a player who was experiencing the field for the first time? Freeman offered the winless Bucs a present surprise, but the Dolphins won't be taken off guard. They've performed well consistently and Freeman will still be trying out his walking legs come Sunday. Though with Freeman, we can expect a much more interesting game.
Tampa Bay is coming off its first win of the season and making a bid for a winning streak against Miami. Though Buccaneers's QB Josh Freeman made headlines by winning one for his team, Miami's own QB Chad Henne has looked capable in his first two starts. But the Dolphins's runningbacks Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have 13 touchdowns in total, while the Buc's runningbacks Cadilllac Williams and Derrick Ward have a measly three. Dolphins swim past the Bucs.
So the Bucs beat Green Bay last week. Everybody has good days, and unfortunately the Packers didn't play well (or they underestimated their opponent). Nonetheless, the win last week was a fluke. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bucs made this game very competitive, but I just don't see them winning again. Miami will find some way to light up Tampa Bay at home, if only for the pride of being the best team in Florida. Looks like Dolphins's owners Marc Anthony, J. Lo, Gloria Estefan and the Williams sisters will be getting their money's worth.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4-0) at New York Jets (4-4-0)
Rose - New York
Dennis - New York
Ava - New York
Neither of these teams have shown great consistency. Jacksonville has perfected the art of bouncing back from losses, only to lose once again, while the Jets have experienced an equivalent similar win-loss ratio. The Jaguars may have succeeded in boring the Chiefs's offense in their last game, they won't be able to manage such a powerful offensive line against the Jets. New York takes it.
Coming off a bye week, New York leads the league in rushing. The team has had time to prepare for Jacksonville's pass and rush attacks, and DE Shaun Ellis has worked wonders on the defensive line. The Jets fly all over the Jags.
The Jets are better than Jacksonville on paper, but Sanchez hasn't been doing well recently. Also, if Maurice Jones-Drew has a big game, the Jags will win. But this season, Jones-Drew hasn't performed very well against good teams. I'll take the Jets because they had two weeks to prepare for this game; hopefully that was enough time for Sanchez to turn his playing around.
New Orleans Saints (8-0-0) at St. Louis Rams (1-7-0)
Rose - New Orleans
Dennis - New Orleans
Ava - New Orleans
With Week 10 rolling in, the Saints are one of only two undefeated teams in the NFL. Their defense is on point, their rushing is impressive and they continue to create turnovers. But coming off a first season victory and refreshing bye week, the Rams may be ready to bring it. In their past two encounters, St. Louis has come out on top, and the Saints are not as perfect as they could be. But this season, New Orleans is generally stronger and better able to battle out a victory against the Rams.
Easy match-up? Definitely. The Saints are 8-0 and the Rams are 1-7. A kindergartner could do the math and figure out that QB Drew Brees and the Saints are a better team. Football fanatics talk week after week about the possibility of the first Saints loss, but this week will not be it.
The Saints have got this one locked up tightly. Even though they're on the road, Drew Brees and Co. won't be fazed, even if they did let the Panthers pounce on them in the first half last week. New Orleans pulled it off then and they can do it again. St. Louis is just as bad as the team New Orleans played last week, and the Saints will add another game to their winning streak.
Buffalo Bills (3-5-0) at Tennessee Titans (2-6-0)
Rose - Tennessee
Dennis - Tennessee
Ava - Tennessee
With offense that ranks among the worst in the NFL, the Bills don't look like they have much of a chance against the Titans and Vince Young. The new quarterback has led Tennessee to two recent victories, and looks to continue his magic against the Bills. Young has no turnovers (which is certainly an improvement from the team's total of 18 after the first six games) and a 73 percent pass completion rate. Although he's still testing out his new boots, Young's play has allowed Chris Johnson to step forward and rush for 363 yards in the past two games. The Titans don't look as if they'll give this one up.
So what is with Tennessee's sudden tendency to win? It all starts with speedy RB Chris Johnson. Add a rejuvenated QB Vince Young and the Titans team of old (a.k.a. last season) is starting to reappear. Meanwhile, the Bills's WR Terrell Owen's production this year has been nothing short of pathetic. Titans win their third straight.
This one will be a real delight to watch! Buffalo is not great, and the Titans are on a two-game winning streak with Vince Young as quarterback. A new quarterback means a new team mentality, and masses of fans will show up to support their very late-blooming team. Tennessee goes all the way.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-0)
Rose - Pittsburgh
Dennis - Pittsburgh
Ava - Pittsburgh
Coming off an impressive slam victory against the formidable Broncos last week, Pittsburgh is feeling pretty good about itself. The Bengals also have reason to be pleased; their performance last week allowed them to keep their AFC North top spot and undefeated title against division opponents. Cedric Benson got more than 100 yards, and the team scored on their first three possessions. But at this point in the season, few things can top a Denver victory. I'm ready to be impressed yet again this Sunday by another Steelers win as the team moves up in the ranks.
Pittsburgh is looking like the championship-caliber team it was last season. And trust me, that's scary. With the "Cardiac-Cats's" reputation dying down, Cincinnati is looking to reestablish its offense as one of the more explosive in the league. But not if FS Troy Polamalu can do anything about it. Steelers win the AFC North rivalry.
The Bengals are now leading the AFC North. They're coming off a big win against one of the NFL's top defenses, adding insult to injury to both Ravens fans and Silver Chips pundits. Picking against Cincinnati has hurt my record too many times, but this time I just can't bring myself to pick them. Fingers crossed! Fifth time's the charm, right?
Kansas City Chiefs (1-7-0) at Oakland Raiders (2-6-0)
Rose - Oakland
Dennis - Kansas
Ava - Oakland
Without their starting right guard Mike Goff and noteworthy RB Larry Johnson, Kansas City's offense looks pitiably weak. Then again, the Raiders haven't looked too great either. But coming off a bye week, they should be rejuvenated and ready to take on a team with some holes. Oakland for the win.
Kansas City dropped their main rusher, RB Larry Johnson, for RB Jamaal Charles, but the Chiefs will perform better because of it. Charles averages 5.2 yards a carry, and will compliment QB Matt Cassel's arm. Oakland saw some rest in its bye week and QB JaMarcus Russell has a lot riding on his shoulders in this AFC West match-up. Chiefs show they don't need Johnson.
In a week packed with rivalries and potential tough upsets, every game can't be a good one. That's what Kansas City and Oakland are here for! Oakland is fourth in their division, but they have a better record than the Chiefs and have defeated Kansas City once before. In addition, the Chiefs just released Larry Johnson because he used a gay slur when talking about his coach on Twitter. So Kansas City can't be feeling too good right now. Oakland will capitalize and get the "W."
Dallas Cowboys (6-2-0) at Green Bay Packers (4-4-0)
Rose - Dallas
Dennis - Dallas
Ava - Dallas
The Cowboys's Miles Auston is probably the team's largest receiving threat, with 531 yards and six touchdowns during their last four consecutive wins. Tony Romo also continues to deliver. At the top of the NFC East, Dallas has the odds on their side against Green Bay. Cowboys whip the Packers.
Dallas has been on fire over the past few weeks, starting with the emergence of WR Miles Austin and the reemergence of QB Tony Romo. Green Bay, on the other hand, gave Tampa Bay their first win and were manhandled on defense. Cowboys for the win!
I suppose I have to learn to trust Mr. Romo; his four wins in a row have proven him consistent. I won't even mention turnovers or picks this time! The Cowboys as a whole have been playing well lately, but they don't like cold weather. Playing up in Lambeau will probably cause them to make one less touchdown than they normally would against the Packers. The Packers also lost last week, but even more pressing: Green Bay has a problem. They don't finish teams off like they should; they're second-half playing leaves a lot to be desired, and they don't get enough points on the board before halftime. All in all, it's looking pretty good for Dallas this week.
Seattle Seahawks (3-5-0) at Arizona Cardinals (5-3-0)
Rose - Arizona
Dennis - Arizona
Ava - Arizona
Against Detroit last Sunday, QB Matt Hasselbeck made 25 consecutive points and had a record 39 completions. But starting with an injury this week, Hasselbeck may be at a slight disadvantage. The Cardinals have showed some solid playing, and will be able to conquer the faltering Seahawks, if only by a slim margin.
Arizona's QB Kurt Warner had five touchdown passes last week against Chicago. If he can muster up anything similar against Seattle, you can call it a Cardinals's win. Seattle had an extremely solid defense, backed by rookie LB Aaron Curry, LB Lofa Tatupu and DE Patrick Kerney. These athletes need to step up their play to lock down Warner's connection with WR Larry Fitzgerald. Cards with the 'W'.
Well, Kurt Warner's got some life left in him after all! He turned his season around last week with five touchdowns, and hopefully he'll win two in a row. The Seahawks are 0 – 3 on the road, so Arizona will come out on top of the rivalry this time.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-3-0) at San Diego Chargers (5-3-0)
Rose - Philadelphia
Dennis - San Diego
Ava - Philadelphia
With the same win-loss record and second-place division ranking, both the Eagles and the Chargers are practically neck and neck. Both teams could use a victory this week in order to maintain a clear road to the playoffs. My instinct says to go with the Eagles - they have potential to bounce back from last week with a victory.
Philadelphia does best when it rushes and San Diego likes to pass the rock, but the two teams are about neck-and-neck when it comes to total yards per game. The defenses have to come up big. But LB Shawne Merriman and the rest of the Chargers defense has responded to a slow season start very well. Chargers win four straight.
There are some tough games to choose this week, and this is one of them. The Chargers are coming off a win, and the Eagles are coming off a tough loss in primetime. My intuition tells me to pick the Eagles. Hopefully they'll be fired up and ready for redemption after last week's bloody (and somewhat embarrassing) battle.
New England Patriots (6-2-0-) at Indianapolis Colts (8-0-0)
Rose - Indianapolis
Dennis - New England
Ava - Indianapolis
Both the Patriots and the Colts have a strong hold on their division top spot. Peyton Manning will battle Tom Brady in this intense match-up, although the Patriots have the upper hand. Manning played incredibly against the Texans last week, and the Colts have what it takes to remain undefeated against New England this Sunday.
This is definitely the game of the week, if not the season. Quarterback against quarterback, the accurate Tom Brady will face the always-consistent Peyton Manning in a match-up of the AFC greats. Backed by a vicious secondary, I think Tom Brady and the Pats get the nod for this heated rivalry.
The Colts haven't been phenomenal over the past couple of weeks; their wins over the Texans and the 49ers weren't exactly dominating. They should be a bit perturbed by their underachievement and pull out all the stops to beat the Brady Bunch. Peyton will be motivated to come out and throw some better balls, but pass protection and Indianapolis's running game also has to improve. It's hard to pick against New England, but it's harder to pick against Peyton and his dynamite defense. I make my choice with reservations.
Monday, Nov. 16
Baltimore Ravens (4-4-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-7-0)
Rose - Baltimore
Dennis - Baltimore
Ava - Baltimore
Despite their loss to Cincinnati last week, Baltimore looks like they're in the position for a win. Cleveland's decision to choose QB Brady Quinn as a starter, especially after he was sent to the bench just 10 quarters into the season, shows desperation. The Ravens will take the cake.
Baltimore seems to be in a win-loss pattern from week-to-week. Where, oh where, has the Ravens's once-dominant defense gone? Wherever it is, it needs to come back for the Ravens to have a chance at playing football in January. Still, the team should consider Cleveland a minor bump in the road. The Ravens are a better team and will get the victory in this AFC North match-up.
Cleveland is 1 – 7; the Ravens should flatten them. Thank goodness, because Baltimore is better than their .500 record. The Ravens are a solid team with a great defense, and they should win solidly when matched up against the Browns's poor offense. I know this is a rivalry, but is this game really worthy of Monday Night Football?
Dennis Chae. Whhaazzaaa, I'm Dennis Chae. I love my Baltimore Ravens and shoes. In fact, I collect sneakers and am always looking for a new pair of Nikes. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is probably going to be the greatest thing ever in a year or so. I ... More »
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Rose Wynn. I love piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and the ladies of the Blair Pom Squad. More »