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NFL Week 10 Predictions

Sports Staff |
November 9, 2012 | 2:22 p.m. PST

Matt Stafford hopes to rally the Lions back into the playoff race. (Wikimedia Commons)
Matt Stafford hopes to rally the Lions back into the playoff race. (Wikimedia Commons)

The playoff races in both conferences are starting to heat up with contenders proving their worth and pretenders falling by the wayside. Who will come out of this week unscathed? Our experts drop some knowledge on the subject. 

Detroit Lions (4-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (5-4)

Jeremy Bergman: Lions 27, Vikings 20

Ever since its first loss to Minnesota and the bye week, Detroit has been on fire, despite the Stafford-Johnson connection failing to boast more than one touchdown all season. The key to Detroit's success is offensive balance, with Mikel Leshoure running mad to complement the air game. The Vikings' defense had no success against a balanced Seattle attack last week, and I expect the now-mediocre unit to struggle again despite the home-field advantage. 

Evan Budrovich: Lions 24, Vikings 13

Matt Stafford has been on fire over his last three games, and he will continue to fire on all cylinders. The Lions are one of the hottest teams in football, while the Vikings have been struggling on offense over the last few weeks. Outside of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' offense has no continuity thus placing extra pressure on their defense. Mikel Leshoure has finally given the Lions some balance on offense. 

Aaron Fischman: Lions 31, Vikings 20

The Lions will steal the road win and even up the season series at one game apiece. Since Detroit’s loss to Minnesota, it has won three of four and even ran for 117 yards per game over the stretch. True, the Vikings are 4-1 at home, but Adrian Peterson can’t do everything. He’s set for another big game against the Lions. If only Christian Ponder could provide some meaningful assistance.

Jacob Freedman: Lions 24, Vikings 14

Christian Ponder has struggled after a fast start, throwing eight interceptions in the last five games. Matthew Stafford is the opposite, and the Lions have won three of their last four. The Vikings' defense has allowed 30 or more points to two unspectacular offenses (Seattle and Tampa Bay) the last two weeks, and has been vulnerable to big plays. Look for Calvin Johnson and the Lions to move back above .500.

Max Meyer: Lions 28, Vikings 17

With Percy Harvin doubtful, I don't think that the Vikings' offense will be able to keep up with the Lions' firepower. Let the questions about the Christian Ponder-Samantha Steele relationship continue as Ponder will struggle again versus an improving Detroit pass rush.

Law Murray: Vikings 17, Lions 14

Vikings QB Christian Ponder has been abysmal over the last month of the season, and with WR Percy Harvin banged up, this will be another Adrian Peterson kind of day. The Lions won't give up two special teams TDs like they did last month, but look for the Vikings to dominate the line of scrimmage again like the last meeting. Minnesota held the Lions to 55 yards rushing and sacked Matthew Stafford five times in September.

Matthew Tufts: Lions 28, Vikings 17

Detroit is on a hot streak and looking for a third straight victory, while Minnesota and Christian Ponder have struggled in recent weeks. Both teams have fundamentally different offenses: the Lions rely on Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson to lead a heavy aerial assault, while the Vikings have been pounding teams with their run game led by Adrian Peterson. Detroit will throw early and often to try to force Minnesota to play catch-up - something Christian Ponder will not be able to do.

Matt Ryan will air it out against the weak Saints defense. (Football Schedule/Creative Commons)
Matt Ryan will air it out against the weak Saints defense. (Football Schedule/Creative Commons)
Atlanta Falcons (8-0) @ New Orleans Saints (3-5)

Bergman: Falcons 37, Saints 21

I'll say it again: Matty Ice doesn't lose in the Dome, Georgia or Super. Although New Orleans will ride the momentum of last week's victory into this Bayou division matchup, the Falcons are undefeated and still playing championship football, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Look for MVP front-runner Matt Ryan to tear apart the aging and disconnected Saints secondary that has given up an average of 332 passing yards per game since the bye week. 

Budrovich: Falcons 35, Saints 31

Matty Ice and the Falcons will once again play alongside the football Gods, and pull out an improbable victory. The Falcons have only defeated one team with a winning record this season so it's fitting that they square off with the 3-5 Saints. Drew Brees has been firing on all cylinders lately but on this night, Matt Ryan will seize the moment and defeat the Saints. Watch for a huge game from Michael Turner against the Saints' porous run defense.  

Fischman: Falcons 34, Saints 27

Don’t be misled by the 13 points the Saints allowed the Eagles to score on Monday night. The Saints’ defense gave up 447 total yards and has still not proven it can defend a quality opponent. Expect the Falcons to remain undefeated for another week.

Freedman: Falcons 34, Saints 32

The Saints are last in the NFL in rushing defense, and Michael Turner is coming off a gritty 100-yard performance against the Cowboys. Not good for the Saints. The Saints' 29th rated passing defense is facing Matt Ryan, who is third in the NFL in passer rating and throws for nearly 300 yards a game. Even worse for New Orleans. The Superdome will be excited for a premier NFL South match-up, but the Falcons will escape once again and keep their undefeated season alive.

Meyer: Falcons 31, Saints 28

Roddy White proclaimed that the Falcons can go 16-0, and their undefeated streak won't end here. New Orleans simply doesn't have the defense to stop Atlanta. The Matt Ryan-Drew Brees quarterback duel will be a blast to watch.

Murray: Falcons 30, Saints 28

The Falcons need a big game from QB Matt Ryan, and that means TDs.  The last time these two teams met in the Superdome, the Saints scored six TDs to the Falcons' one and the final score was a lopsided 45-16 even though the Falcons had more yards and one fewer turnover. The Saints' defense has been smashed for over 400 yards every game this season, but the only blowout loss they had was when QB Drew Brees struggled to move the offense. The Falcons need to prepare for a shootout.

Tufts: Falcons 35, Saints 24

While the Saints are coming off of a big win over the Eagles on Monday Night football, they still need to string together a couple of wins to right the ship. This task doesn't get any easier his week as they host the 8-0 Falcons. New Orleans' passing game may keep them in this game, but their terrible defense will be shredded by Matt Ryan and his deadly receiving corps.

Vincent Jackson faces his old team for the first time on Sunday. (Wikimedia Commons)
Vincent Jackson faces his old team for the first time on Sunday. (Wikimedia Commons)
San Diego Chargers (4-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4)

Bergman: Buccaneers 30, Chargers 27

For all the struggles San Diego has had this year, its run defense hasn't been one of them. The fourth-ranked run stopping unit in the league may not stop newcomer Doug Martin, but it will certainly slow him. The real battle will be the slumping and hot-tempered Philip Rivers versus the heinous Tampa Bay pass defense that surrendered 414 yards and four TDs last week…to Carson Palmer! Sadly, I have no faith in Rivers, Norv Turner, or the Chargers to take advantage of the Bucs' Achilles' Heel on D. The foundation is crumbling in San Diego and the LA Coliseum is calling…

Budrovich: Buccaneers 31, Chargers 17

San Diego defense meet Muscle Hamster. Doug Martin has been the sensation of NFL running backs over the past two weeks notching over 400 yards rushing. Not only is Martin outstanding but Josh Freeman has been playing like the Freeman from 2010. This Bucs team is clicking well and will dominate the underperforming Chargers. 

Fischman: Buccaneers 31, Chargers 23

San Diego hasn’t beaten anyone besides the now 1-7 Chiefs since Sep. 16. In fact, the Chargers’ four wins have come against teams with a combined record of 7-18. Thanks to the emergence of Doug Martin (and “emergence” is a monumental understatement), quarterback Josh Freeman looks closer to the quarterback he was two years ago. Over the past four weeks, Freeman has thrown for 11 touchdowns and one interception.

Freedman: Buccaneers 27, Chargers 20

Vincent Jackson welcomes his old team to Tampa Bay, as both squads come in 4-4 looking to start the second half of the season off on a good note. Saying Doug Martin had a good game last week might be the understatement of the century, but his real challenge comes this week against the Chargers' fourth-ranked run defense. Josh Freeman is still streaky, but Martin will put up a solid performance to help the Bucs exceed last year's win total with their fifth victory.

Meyer: Buccaneers 24, Chargers 20

Doug Martin is everything that the Chargers hoped Ryan Matthews would be. Did you know that Matthews has never broken a run of at least 40 yards in his NFL career? Martin had three of those last week. In a battle of teams heading in opposite directions, the Bucs will continue to stay hot.

Murray: Chargers 24, Buccaneers 20

I'm impressed with Buccaneers rookie RB Doug Martin, but the Chargers' run defense is among the best in the league. This game comes down to whether or not the Buccaneers can force Chargers QB Philip Rivers into some costly mistakes. With the Buccaneers defending the run so well, Rivers is going to drop back a lot. And if he gets the ball to Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, and new deep-threat Danario Alexander, it will be down the field, where the Buccaneers still have problems.

Tufts: Buccaneers 27, Chargers 17

All the hype in this game will be about running back Doug Martin who rushed for 251 yards and four touchdowns last week against Oakland. The Buccaneers have surprised everyone and Josh Freeman seems to be settling in as quarterback giving Tampa Bay a balanced, yet explosive offense. The Chargers have a strong run defense that may be able to slow down Martin, but the Bucs will still come out with their third-straight victory.

Jerry Jones was locked out of his own team's locker room this week. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Jerry Jones was locked out of his own team's locker room this week. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Dallas Cowboys (3-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)

Bergman: Cowboys 16, Eagles 14

Who is it worse to be right now? Tony Romo or Mike Vick? Jerry Jones or Andy Reid? The precincts haven't come in yet and it's too close to call, but we will surely know by Sunday night. In one of the sloppiest and most depressing matches in recent memory, both quarterbacks will throw at least three picks and fumble once, while fans in the stands will tussle over who can boo their club the loudest. A late Eagles defensive collapse will result in a last-second Dan Bailey FG and will turn the city of Philadelphia into a war zone. 

Budrovich: Cowboys 17, Eagles 13

The Dallas Cowboys will play like the team we always expected by defeating their NFC East rival. Tony Romo has been very interception-prone this season (13), making him the second most prone QB to turnovers. Luckily for the Cowboys, here comes Michael Vick, the man who leads the NFL in turnovers with 16. In a sloppy, slow-paced game, expect Romo to lead the Cowboys on a late drive to further deflate the Eagles' season. 

Fischman: Eagles 28, Cowboys 23

Last week, I picked the Eagles and got burned. They ran up 447 total yards, but faltered in the red zone. If DeMarco Murray was scheduled to play, I would pick the Cowboys, but Felix Jones’ struggles make the Cowboys very one-dimensional. If the Eagles take advantage of their red-zone opportunities, I think they’ll win a fairly close game. Like last week’s Saints-Eagles game, this is a “desperation bowl.” Both teams had such high expectations coming into the season. 

Freedman: Cowboys 23, Eagles 19

It's not going to be a fun afternoon for Michael Vick. DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys' defensive line will be all over the Eagles' weakened offensive line, which will mean an untimely fumble or interception is likely in the cards for Vick. Both squads are not where they want to be at 3-5, but Tony Romo looked good last week despite losing to the Falcons, and will keep chaos from breaking out in Dallas with a season-saving win.

Meyer: Cowboys 27, Eagles 21

This game could decide which NFL coach gets fired first. I simply like Dallas more because I trust Tony Romo more than Michael Vick. And I don't trust Tony Romo at all, so that's saying something. 

Murray: Eagles 17, Cowboys 13

The Eagles have made me look pretty bad the last several weeks, so I'm going to keep this one short: Give the ball to LeSean McCoy. It's clear that Michael Vick can't operate behind an offensive line that has lost every starter except LG Evan Mathis. The Eagles always come to play against the Cowboys, especially in times of crisis (see: last year SNF, DeSean Jackson vs. Rob Ryan). One thing's for sure: boos will be present all game long in Philadelphia no matter who is winning.

Tufts: Cowboys 27, Eagles 20

Both NFC East teams desperately need to win this game to turn around their seasons if they want any chance at catching the Giants. Dallas has relied heavily on the passing game and will look to continue that trend to force Philadelphia to throw the ball. If the Cowboys can be successful at this and keep the ball out of LeSean McCoy's hands, then they will come out of Philadelphia with the win.

"Peanut" may miss Sunday's big game for the birth of his child. (Wikimedia Commons)
"Peanut" may miss Sunday's big game for the birth of his child. (Wikimedia Commons)
Houston Texans (7-1) @ Chicago Bears (7-1)

Bergman: Texans 17, Bears 16

This Sunday night matchup features arguably the two best teams in the league, who are surprisingly identical. Strong-armed QBs with one big wideout target. Pro Bowl running backs with formidable backups. Top-ranked defenses with an opportunistic mentality. So, in search for a deciding factor between the Texans and Bears, there is only one: Smokin' Jay Cutler. The cold rainy conditions will not bode well for Cutler's arm and comfortability, and his wild mistakes in the air will cost Chicago an edge in the NFC North.

Budrovich: Texans 24, Bears 17

In the matchup of the league's most successful defenses, special teams will decide this matchup. Both teams will struggle to score, but the Texans will capitalize on field position with their outstanding special teams to put points on the board early in the game. The Bears are not used to playing from behind, having only played from behind in one game this season. Expect Jay Cutler to make the key mistake to halt the Bears' comeback effort, cementing the Texans as the best team in the NFL.  

Fischman: Bears 27, Texans 21

Through eight games (one-third of the league has played nine games), the Bears lead the NFL in takeaways with 28. That’s 3.5 per game. Pretty amazing. Da Bears have only lost 12 turnovers, so they boast a +16 turnover margin or +2 per game. To Houston’s credit, it has lost the fewest number of turnovers in the league, six. This game could definitely go either way. I think whoever wins the turnover battle will win.

Freedman: Texans 20, Bears 17

The Bears have quietly won six straight. Comparisons to the 1985 unit are premature, but the Bears' defense already has seven defensive touchdowns: more TDs than Carolina, Kansas City, and Miami have from their passing games. But the Texans are no slouches, as both teams' only losses have come to Green Bay. JJ Watt and the Houston front seven will make Jay Cutler (once again) feel some serious heat, and the balance of Houston's offense will challenge the Bears throughout. The Texans are for real, and will prove it primetime Sunday night. 

Meyer: Bears 17, Texans 14

In my mind, this is the game of the year. These are the two most balanced teams in the NFL, and it really comes down to which quarterback can make more plays. The Bears get a huge break with their star cornerback Charles Tillman able to play in this game. This will be a defensive struggle, and Chicago will affirm its status as a Super Bowl contender. 

Murray: Bears 21, Texans 17

Most intriguing matchup all week. The Bears have CB Charles Tillman active, and he will play a major role in battling WR Andre Johnson. The Texans have already declared their intentions to double-team Bears WR Brandon Marshall. The Bears have forced multiple turnovers in every game this season, and that will be the key to them winning close at home. A return TD might swing the game.

Tufts: Texans 20, Bears 17

Two dominant defenses have led both powerhouse teams to 7-1 records halfway through the season. The Bears have an unreal seven defensive touchdowns this season AFTER EIGHT GAMES. The Texans' offense has what it takes to put up more than Chicago can match, but they need to take care of the ball to move to 8-1.

Season Standings

Jacob Freedman 30-16

Max Meyer 30-16

Matthew Tufts 30-16

Aaron Fischman 28-18

Evan Budrovich 28-18

Law Murray 21-14

Jeremy Bergman 26-20



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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