Downnnn the stretch they come. Every NFL team has played at least half its games, and the playoff picture grows more intriguing every week. From a fan’s and a bettor’s perspective, the most fascinating question is: “Who is coming out of the NFC?”
In the AFC, the Chiefs are still a cut above the rest, despite the Steelers’ unblemished start. But in the NFC, whom do we really trust? The Packers were undefeated early, then got handled by the Buccaneers and Vikings. Those same Buccaneers slid into the favorite’s role, then struggled to sneak by the Giants and got obliterated at home vs. the Saints. The Seahawks, well, they belong in the Big 12 with the way they defend the pass.
If you have a team you like or feel an intuition, a long-shot future on the NFC champion might be a worthy investment. Swing for the fences.
On to the picks for Week 10 ...
Vikings (-2) over Bears
The award is called Most Valuable Player, so it really has become a quarterback-only honor based on the importance of that position. But if it were changed to Most Outstanding Player, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook would be among the front-runners. He has 13 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in seven games, and the one game Cook missed was the Vikings’ worst of the season. Cook will be on center stage Monday night vs. the Bears. Chicago was gashed on the ground by the Rams and Falcons, who use zone running schemes similar to the one the Vikings run. The Bears, once 5-1, have crashed to reality and are now on the brink of being .500. With two teams going in different directions, take the Vikings, who have played well lately and have a soft schedule coming up. Not impossible they get back in the mix for a wild card.
Seahawks-Rams Over 56
Have you seen the Seahawks play defense? Have you seen them play offense? To me, they have become almost an auto-play on the Over until they show some ability to defend the pass. Sean McVay has had an extra week to prepare for this sieve of a defense, and Jared Goff should have time to sit in the pocket and expose this poor secondary. The Seahawks will flirt with, if not score, well into the 30s week in and week out. Look for a shootout and take the Over quickly before this number goes north.
Chargers (+ 3) over Dolphins
Can we just fast-forward to the last 15 seconds of this game? We all know, by law of the Chargers, that this game will be nerve-wracking and come down to the final play, so getting three points is a good spot. The Dolphins have been a covering machine in recent weeks, but some of that recency bias is inflating this line. Although they’ve been impressive, the Dolphins have been living off not only turnovers but turnovers for touchdowns. The Chargers are maybe the most talented 2-6 team we’ve ever seen, and with a few bounces of the ball (and some better coaching) could easily be 6-2. Maybe they get the lucky bounce this week for a change. Either way it’s going to be close, so take the points.