Thursday, November 12, 2020

NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 10

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Indianapolis @ Tennessee (-2)

The Colts lost 24-10 to the visiting Ravens, who kept the Colts scoreless in the second half.

"We dropped the old second half goose egg," Frank Reich said. "And when you lay eggs, you end up sucking them. And our suckability was evident. Substitute that egg for a golf ball, and we could have sucked it through a garden hose. Don't even ask me about trailer hitch chrome.

"Let's give the Ravens credit. They are a good team. That's probably why we lost to them. Have you seen our strength of schedule rating? Like the teams we've beaten, it's not good."

The Titans beat the visiting Bears, 24-17, snapping a two-game losing streak. With the Colts loss to Baltimore, Tennessee now leads the AFC South by a game over Indy.

"This is a huge game," Mike Vrabel said. "A national television audience. First place in the division on the line. And featuring the only football team in the state of Tennessee worth seeing. I think people actually 'volunteer' to watch us play, whereas with that college team from Knoxville, fans feel some kind of obligation to watch, at least until halftime, when the game's already out of reach.

"We'll have to get some pressure on Rivers. If we can make Rivers move his feet, we could force some turnovers, or better yet, force him to backpedal and fall down while trying to tackle someone. That happened against the Ravens, and as physical comedy goes, the Three Stooges have nothing on Rivers."

Indy's defense forces an early turnover which leads to a 7-0 lead, and the Colts bounce back, as Rivers tosses 2 short TD passes.

Colts win, 29-24.

Houston @ Cleveland (-3)

The Browns return from a Week 9 bye looking to keep pace in the AFC North. Cleveland is 5-3, good for third place in the division.

"Baker Mayfield had a COVID scare last week," Kevin Stefanski said. "He didn't test positive, but was in contact with a staff member who did test positive. I had a Zoom meeting with Baker midweek. He was just chilling on his sofa, which he calls the 'Tim Couch,' and Baker told me 'all is well at home with Baker Mayfield.' He calls home the 'Heisman House.' Baker also informed me that Hulu has live sports."

The Texans won for just the second time, holding on to beat the Jaguars 27-25 in Jacksonville to move to 2-6. DeShaun Watson passed for 2 touchdowns, one to Will Fuller.

"Will was the subject of several trade rumors last week," Watson said. "Luckily, our front office held on to Will. Bill O'Brien would have unloaded Will for peanuts. And Bill loves peanuts. Bill makes a Ricky Williams-loving Mike Ditka look like an astute negotiator.

"Nobody is as shocked as I am that we're 2-6. I look back at our games and ask, 'How did we lose that game?' I'm sure the two teams we've beaten are asking the same question."

Browns win, 30-24.

Washington @ Detroit (-4)

Washington lost 23-20 to the visiting Giants as a late Alex Smith interception secured the win for New York.

"We lost Kyle Allen to injury," Ron Rivera said. "Then Alex Smith came in and did his best Jameis Winston impression. Pretty spot on if you ask me.

"Despite the loss, we're still in second place in the NFC East. Trust me, I'm just as shocked as you are. We've surprised a lot of people. Most pundits and experts didn't give us a chance in hell of competing for the division title. In keeping with our theme, those people will remain nameless."

The Lions lost 34-20 to the Vikings in Minnesota. Detroit committed 3 turnovers, and gave up 206 yards and 2 TDs to Dalvin Cook.

"I missed a whole week of practice due to a COVID scare," Stafford said. "And it turned out to be a false positive. What's also a false positive? Someone lying and saying we're a good team."

Lions win, 24-17.

Jacksonville @ Green Bay (-14)

Aaron Rodgers passed for 302 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Packers waltzed to a 34-17 win over the injury-depleted 49ers.

"No disrespect to the 49ers," Rodgers said, "but that was like playing our scout team defense, or the Vikings defense.

"I'm still pissed that the 49ers passed over me in the 2005 NFL draft. Some people can hold a fart forever. I can hold a grudge even longer."

The Jaguars lost 27-25 to the Texans in Jake Luton's first start at quarterback for Jacksonville. Luton passed for 304 yards and a touchdown.

"Jake's second pass went for a 73-yard touchdown to his new favorite target D.J. Chark," Doug Marrone said. "Jake was D.J.'s favorite quarterback even before that TD pass.

"We're 1-7. I don't think we're gonna catch the Titans or the Colts, so we're setting our sights on the Jets. In other words, we're already thinking of 2021."

Packers win, 33-17.

Philadelphia @ NY Giants (+3½)

The Giants beat Washington 23-20 at FedEx Field, led by a defense that forced 5 turnovers.

"I'm encouraged by the win," Joe Judge said. "I'm discouraged by forcing 5 turnovers and still only beating a 2-5 Washington team by 3 points. We should have won by at least 6.

"Kudos to Daniel Jones. He didn't have a single turnover. However, he did have 2 fumbles that were recovered by the offense. I think by now, Daniel knows that turnovers wreck a game plan. Nickname aside, Daniel's shown that when he turns the ball over, the game can turn on a 'Dime.'"

The Eagles had a Week 9 bye and are in first place in the NFC East with a 3-4-1.

"This Eagles team doesn't soar," Doug Pederson said. "It just hovers, usually below .500.

"Hopefully, Carson Wentz can find that 2017 form. It may take a time machine. Or an inception team. Or Nick Foles to come in and finish the season for him."

Giants win, 27-25.

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-7½)

The Bengals had a Week 9 bye and face their toughest test of the season, the undefeated Steelers at Heinz Field.

"Joe Burrow's had 2 weeks to prepare for this," Zac Taylor said. "He's matured so much already this season. And that should continue, because the Steelers D will age you.

"Last week, the Cowboys discovered the blueprint to beat the Steelers. At least for 3 quarters. Then the 'Boys went to the 'blew print,' which gave the schematics on how to blow a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead."

The Steelers squeaked out a 24-19 win over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Pittsburgh methodically battled back from a 13-0 second quarter deficit, and remained the league's only undefeated team.

"The Cowboys came to play," Mike Tomlin said. "And so did we, but not until the fourth quarter. That just won't cut it, unless you're playing this version of the Cowboys, or the Falcons.

"The Dallas defense played surprisingly well. I believe that's the first time the Cowboys defense has shown up this year. So, I guess there's a 'little D' in Dallas. And it's all Jerry's."

Steelers win, 23-17.

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (+6)

The Saints smashed the Buccaneers on Sunday night in Tampa, stunning the home team 38-3. Tom Brady passed for only 209 yards and threw 3 interceptions.

"This loss is on me," Brady said. "I take full responsibility. At least until our next win, I'm the 'scape GOAT.'

"I have to be better for my team, and my new receiver Antonio Brown. AB is living with me right now. He's got his very own wing in my mansion. We call it the 'Bachelor Pad,' mostly because the walls are actually padded. It also came furnished, but became unfurnished once AB threw out all the furniture."

The Panthers narrowly lost 33-31 at Kansas City as Christian McCaffrey returned to the lineup after an ankle injury sidelined him for 6 games.

"Christian made an immediate impact," Matt Rhule said. "He forced the Chiefs out of their original game plan, and into one that forced Patrick Mahomes to pass for 372 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"We'll be dealing with an angry Buccaneers team that just got creamed by the Saints. They got their asses whupped, stomped, and beaten, as well as handed to them."

Brady finds Brown for 2 scores, and the Bucs defense turns up the heat on Teddy Bridgewater.

Tampa wins, 30-19.

Denver @ Las Vegas (-5)

The Broncos lost 34-27 to the Falcons in Atlanta and fell to 3-5.

"We found ourselves down 27-6 in the fourth quarter," Vic Fangio said. "Even against the Falcons, that's too much to overcome.

"Drew Lock struggled early, but came back with three fourth-quarter touchdowns. So, his entire game took place in garbage time."

The Raiders held on to beat the Chargers 31-26 at SoFi Stadium. Derek Carr passed for 2 touchdowns and Las Vegas improved to 5-3.

"We were fined $500,000 and a 6th-round draft pick for COVID protocol violations," Jon Gruden said. "Mark Davis called the punishment 'draconian.' And if a man with that haircut says something is draconian, then it is indeed draconian."

Raiders win, 29-20.

L.A. Chargers @ Miami (-2½)

The Chargers lost 31-26 to the Raiders, as Justin Herbert's short pass to Donald Parham in the end zone for the win was ruled incomplete.

"Another close loss," Anthony Lynn said. "And it's devastating. We obviously lead the league in heartbreak. Unfortunately, actually fortunately, that's something our team doctor can't treat."

The Dolphins upset the Cardinals 34-31 at Glendale as Tua Tagovailoa picked up his second consecutive win as a starter.

"I knew what I was doing when I named Tua starter a few weeks ago," Brian Flores said. "I've got a long-term plan here as Dolphins head coach, unlike Tua's college coach Nick Saban. There have been hurricanes in Miami longer than Saban."

Dolphins win, 30-24.

Buffalo @ Arizona (-3)

The Cardinals lost 34-31 to the visiting Dolphins. Zane Gonzalez' 49-yard field goal to tie late in the fourth fell short.

"What kind of kicker leaves a 49-yard field goal short?" Kliff Kingsbury said. "One who will forever be mercilessly teased for coming up short in big moments. When you're a kicker who can't clear the crossbar on a 49-yard kick, then you'll never get enough leg."

The Bills jumped on the visiting Seahawks early and held on for a 44-34 win. Josh Allen passed for 415 yards and 3 touchdowns and added a rushing score.

"The Seahawks offense forces the opposition to score points," Allen said. "The Seahawks defense allows it to happen.

"We're 2-0 against the NFC West. 3-0 if you count our future win over the 49ers on December 7th. And 2-1 if you ask the Rams and any credible pass interference analyst.

"But please, let's not jump to conclusions and start comparing us to the mid-1990s Bills. Those guys went to four straight Super Bowls. It's ludicrous to compare us. The only thing we have in common is neither of us have won a Super Bowl."

Cardinals win, 30-25.

Seattle @ L.A. Rams (-1½)

Russell Wilson had 4 turnovers as the Seahawks fell 44-34 at Buffalo. Seattle fell to 6-2, but still leads the NFC West by a game over the Cardinals and the Rams.

"Russell can't do it all every game," Pete Carroll said. "At some point, we're gonna need our defense to step up. Like yesterday, if not sooner.

"But let's face it, Russell is worlds better than Jared Goff. If Russell 'cooks,' Jared microwaves."

The Rams had a Week 9 bye and trail the Seahawks by a game in the NFC West.

"This is a must-win game for us," Sean McVay said. "If we lose, we'll be 2 games behind the Seahawks, we'll have an 0-2 division record, and Jalen Ramsey may become disgruntled.

"The secret to slowing Wilson is to pressure him with your front four. That starts with Aaron Donald. Of course, he'll have to deal with the usual double-teams. But that's not unusual. Aaron's been double-teamed more than a San Fernando Valley actress."

Seattle wins, 27-24.

San Francisco @ New Orleans (-9½)

The 49ers lost 34-17 to the Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday night.

"This has been the most trying season of my coaching life," Kyle Shanahan said. "Injuries continue to pile up. So it's no surprise that I hear fans around Frisco talking about a 'time for healing.' Many are suggesting it's needed nationwide; I'd settle for it just here.

"On the bright side, the chances of blowing a 28-3 or 20-10 lead are drastically reduced."

The Saints demolished the Bucs 38-3 in Tampa, roughing up Tom Brady and holding him to only 209 yards passing. Drew Brees passed for 4 touchdowns and now leads Brady 564 to 561 in most TD passes all-time.

"There's a cannon on the pirate ship in the end zone of Raymond James Stadium," Brees said. "It shoots blanks also.

"We backed up our Week 1 win over the Bucs in dominating fashion. They really took it on the chin. That's a kind way of saying they got teabagged."

Saints win, 27-21.

Baltimore @ New England (+7½)

The Patriots snapped a four-game losing streak with a narrow 30-27 win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

"Let me just state on the record," Bill Belichick said. "We had nothing to do with the installation of cameras in the Jets locker room. There are limits to our voyeurism."

The Ravens overcame a slow start at Indianapolis and dominated the second half to take a 24-10 win over the Colts.

"Lamar Jackson finally won a game as a QB in which he trailed at halftime," John Harbaugh said. "Now we can call him the 'Comeback Kid.' Maybe one day we can call him the 'Comebacks Kid.'"

Ravens win, 28-17.

Minnesota @ Chicago (+2½)

The Vikings knocked off the visiting Lions, 34-20, powered by big days from Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook. Cousins passed for 3 scores, and Cook rushed for 206 yards and 2 scores.

"A power running game," Mike Zimmer said, "and play-action passes for touchdowns. That's the kind of football that gets me excited. It makes my Whizzinator throb."

The Bears lost 24-17 to the Titans in Nashville and have now lost three in a row. Chicago's offense once again struggled, logging only 56 yards on the ground, and scoring their only TDs in garbage time.

"We have a defense that would make Buddy Ryan proud," Khalil Mack said. "We have an offense that would make Buddy Ryan punch the play-caller."

Bears win, 26-20.

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