Week 10 of the very unique 2020 NFL season is here.
With COVID-19 concerns in several games, be sure to check injury reports as we get closer to kickoff. Our experts Drew Dinsick, Dave Tuley and Matt Youmans combine to give their opinions on every game.
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns (-3, 51)
Tuley: Baker Mayfield is yet another QB that was on the COVID-19 reserve list, but he was already taken off it Wednesday as the Browns are coming off their bye week. As bad as the Texans have played this year (2-6 SU and 1-7 ATS, failing to cover in 27-25 win over the lowly Jaguars in Week 9), the talent on these two teams is pretty even, so I have no problem playing the Texans (and fading the Browns) here at + 3, though it’s looking like we should get the + 3.5 (the South Point and Westgate were already there as of Thursday night).
Pick: Texans + 3 or better, but shop for + 3.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers (-13.5, 50)
Tuley: Let’s see, Jake Luton vs. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field: Of course, everyone’s loading up to bet the Packers. Just like this past Sunday with the Steelers over the Cowboys, right? That was yet another lesson that “the point spread is the great equalizer” and, in fact, early sharp action already came in on the Jaguars + 14 this week.
Double-digit underdogs are 6-4-1 ATS this season after the Giants, Panthers and Cowboys all covered since a week ago Monday vs. the heavily favored Buccaneers, Chiefs and Steelers. Parity still exists in today’s NFL, so I’m taking the huge head start with the Jaguars. Besides, Luton played well -- though against a weak Houston defense -- so it gives hope that he could lead another drive for a back-door cover if needed.
Pick: Jaguars + 13.5
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5, 44.5) at New York Giants
Dinsick: The Eagles’ season -- which began as a nightmare -- finds them emerging from their bye week at 3-4-1, and sitting firmly atop the NFC East with -300 odds to win their division and secure a home playoff game (breakeven probability of 75%). A second win this year over the Giants would further entrench their status as NFC East favorites and with a number of starters returning from injury, their chances to win this high-leverage game are strong.
The resurgence of the Eagles in 2020 can largely be attributed to their top-10 defense (currently No. 10 in EPA per play allowed, No. 7 in Success Rate allowed and No. 11 in Defensive DVOA) which matches up extremely well against a Giants offense that falls into the bottom five in the NFL in numerous statistical categories, notably 30th in EPA (earning a shocking -0.068 points per play). If the returning weapons and protection for Philadelphia can help elevate Carson Wentz’s performance, then this should not be a close contest and the Eagles will have a reasonable chance to cover the short spread. The mean fair price in this game is -5, with my most common outcome an Eagles 7-point win.
Pick: Eagles -3.5
Tuley: Philadelphia still leads the NFC Least at 3-4-1 and is favored here, but while the Eagles are the best the division has to offer, I don’t think they should be favored by more than a field goal. Besides, these teams just faced Oct. 22 and the Eagles had to rally from an 11-point deficit at home to pull out a 22-21 victory. And now they’re expected to win by more than that on the road? The 2-7 Giants obviously have their issues, but this should still come down to a field goal either way.
Pick: Giants + 3.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5, 50.5) at Carolina Panthers
Tuley: I feel I’ve had a good handle on the NFC South lately, backing the Panthers Sunday against the Chiefs and fading the Bucs against the Saints on Sunday night, and I don’t see a reason not to do the same with these two teams facing each other. The Bucs did win this year’s first meeting 31-17 in Tampa, but the Panthers’ offense is playing better now (even without Christian McCaffrey) and if Matt Ruhle can come up with a similar game plan to the one that almost beat the Chiefs, Carolina has a great chance to turn the tables in this rematch.
Pick: Panthers + 5.5
Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders (-5, 50.5)
Dinsick: A classic AFC West tilt between the Raiders and the Broncos will take place in Las Vegas for the first time and fireworks are on tap based on the recent performances of both offenses. The Raiders (No. 8 in pass offense DVOA) have consistently found themselves among the top passing attacks in the NFL this season, which can largely be attributed to their more aggressive approach. Frequent downfield targets have completely changed the perception of Derek Carr, as his air yards per attempt has increased from 6.3 in 2019 to 7.7 in 2020.
The Las Vegas defense is a different story, though, as it sits near the league bottom, which should allow Drew Lock and the Denver offense to continue their improvement of the last two weeks which has seen them put together consecutive positive EPA per play performances for the first time this season. I’m expecting former teammates and rookie wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs to shine in this matchup with this game unfolding as a back-and-forth scoring affair. Fair total is 55 by my numbers, so the over is in play.
Pick: Over 52
Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5, 56)
Tuley: This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the week. Regular VSiN.com and “Point Spread Weekly” readers know the Cardinals were my dark-horse pick to win the NFC, but the Bills are certainly playing at a high level. This has all the making of being a shootout like the Bills’ 44-34 win over the Seahawks this past Sunday. I would give the edge to the Cardinals, but they’ve already lost at home to the Lions and Dolphins, so that doesn’t bode well for their chances here. I think the best play is clearly teasing the Bills up to + 8.5.
Pick: Bills up to + 8.5 in teasers
Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins (-2.5, 48)
Tuley: This should be another fun game in the afternoon session, mostly due to the Chargers’ growing reputation of playing (and losing) close games with rookie QB Justin Herbert but also with Miami rookie QB Tua Tagavoila being 2-0 as a starter and having the Dolphins in the playoff race. The Chargers are better than their 2-6 record (and they are a more respectable 5-3 ATS), but the best play on the game is teasing the Chargers up to + 8.5 and just cheering for another close game.
Pick: Chargers up to + 8.5 in teasers
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1.5, 55.5)
Youmans: Rams coach Sean McVay said he took a “sick taste” into the bye week, and it’s not because he was eating broccoli, the nastiest food on the planet. McVay’s offense was awful in a Week 8 loss at Miami, as Jared Goff threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles. A bye can be a negative if it interrupts the rhythm of a hot offense, but the week off was a positive in this case because it gave McVay time to solve some problems and game plan for the NFL’s worst pass defense. Goff is stepping down in class by going from facing the Dolphins to the Seahawks, who own the worst pass defense (362 ypg) and third-worst scoring defense (30.4 ppg).
On the positive side, the Rams did outgain the Dolphins 471-145, and the L.A. defense ranks No. 5 against the run and No. 2 against the pass. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is tied for the league lead with nine sacks. The Rams are getting pressure on quarterbacks, which is obviously an emphasis against Russell Wilson. It’s not easy to bet on Goff and against Wilson, but Wilson is showing signs of wearing down by throwing five interceptions in the past three games. It’s a better scheduling spot for the Rams, who needed the bye, than the Seahawks, who played in Buffalo last week and have allowed 81 points in their past two road games.
Pick: Rams -1.5
Dinsick: The market perception of the Seahawks took a hit last week as Wilson and Co. put together a stinker in Buffalo, not unlike the brutal performance by the Rams the previous week in Miami. This divisional matchup sets up well for Seattle to bounce back considering that the Rams defense (which is currently No. 1 in EPA per play allowed) is ripe for regression; they have faced the weakest schedule of opposing offenses so far this season and are battling the injury bug to key players. Seattle’s offensive line, which has played very well this season, can neutralize the impact of Donald and allow Wilson to attack downfield with his outstanding weapons.
Meanwhile, the Rams and Goff have not been able to manifest a deep passing threat through eight games. Goff currently has the shallowest depth of target in the league, which is good news for a struggling Seahawks pass defense. Regardless of the fact that Los Angeles is coming off their bye, Seattle should be favored in this spot and is worth playing on the moneyline.
Pick: Seahawks ML + 110
Tuley: This is similar to the Bills-Cardinals game in a lot of ways, which you certainly know if you saw the Seahawks’ games against the Cardinals and Bills, and the Rams’ earlier game at the Bills. But while I also will be including the Seahawks in teasers (especially with the Bills, as they’re playing at the same time in the late Sunday afternoon window), I’ll also be playing the Seahawks straight. The Rams were playing well heading into their bye, but they’ve only beaten the four NFC East teams and the Bears, so the Seahawks are more battle-tested and I expect Wilson to bounce back from a subpar performance in Buffalo (two INTs).
Pick: Seahawks + 1.5
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-9.5, 49)
Youmans: This is not an ideal time to lay more than a touchdown with the Saints, who just turned in an A performance at Tampa Bay and could sleepwalk into this game against a crippled ‘dog. The 49ers had extra prep time since getting embarrassed by Green Bay on Nov. 5, when they trailed 34-3 and looked completely lost, but there’s not enough time in this season to heal their wounds. San Francisco’s running attack is shorthanded and losing steam (3.2 yards per carry, 55 total yards against the Packers), and No. 2 quarterback Nick Mullens is not going to dissect a defense that humbled and humiliated Tom Brady. New Orleans ranks No. 2 in run defense (80.3 ypg).
Drew Brees has completed 78.9% of his passes with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the past three games, and the Saints rank No. 4 in scoring offense (30.5 ppg). Almost everything points to a blowout, but the reality is New Orleans has only two double-digit wins and both came against the Buccaneers. The Saints won their previous four games by margins of three, three, three and six points, with two of those games going to overtime.
Pick: Saints -3 on a teaser with Ravens -1
Baltimore Ravens (-7, 43.5) at New England Patriots
Youmans: It appears opposing defenses are figuring out ways to slow Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who has taken nine sacks in the past three games, and Baltimore has slipped to 23rd in the league in total offense. A New England defense that allowed 27 points to the Joe Flacco-led Jets on Monday night might not be up to the task, however. This is an especially difficult matchup for Cam Newton and a Patriots offense that needs to run the ball to be effective. Baltimore ranks eighth in run defense (101.8 ypg) and first in scoring defense (17.8). I’m never crazy about laying seven points, so I’ll also put the Ravens on a teaser and bank on the favorite to just win the game. Baltimore is chasing a playoff spot and playing with urgency. The Patriots were borderline pathetic at times while struggling to beat the winless Jets last week.
Pick: Ravens -7 (half unit); Ravens -1 on a teaser with Saints -3