From left: Sports Editor Karl Winter, Assistant Sports Editor Paxton Ritchey, Staff Writer Kyle McCabe, Photo Editor Ali Levens, Sports Assistant Justin Touhey and Staff Writer Austin Hall. This group of six made its picks for the 10th week of the NFL season after a somewhat predictable ninth week. Art by Madeline Duvall
Week 9 of the NFL season made slightly more sense than previous weeks, but not without a number of teams surviving late-game scares.
The Jaguars, Jets, Cowboys and Chargers all nearly gained rare wins, yet fell short. Instead, Jacksonville continued their seven-game losing streak, the Jets choked away a ten-point, second-half lead to fall to 0–9, and Pittsburgh survived Dallas to stay undefeated.
The Buccaneers almost unseated the Saints for the first time since September 2018. Oh wait, no, they didn’t — the Saints are back on track.
For Week 10, Ritchey attempts to take the outright lead by picking against the grain, while the rest of the staff agrees on the majority of games.
Without further ado, allow Staff Writers Kyle McCabe and Austin Hall, Sports Assistant Justin Touhey, Ritchey, Photo Editor Ali Levens and Sports Editor Karl Winter to make their selections, starting with a critical Thursday night AFC South matchup.
Indianapolis Colts (5–3) at Tennessee Titans (6–2) (Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5:20 p.m., PST)
“I don’t like either of these teams. I haven’t for a while now. They’re frustrating. Their losses make me mad, but I think it all boils down to — I cannot bet on Philip Rivers. I can’t do it. I know the defense is really good. It’s not a great matchup for the Titans, because the Colts’ front seven has been awesome and Derrick Henry is the strength of the offense. I can’t bet on Phil, especially after he made a snowman on the field.” — Austin
“I’m going with Indy because I do not believe in Philip Rivers either, but I have seen a lot of examples where if you control the running game on both sides of the ball, you’re going to be in the driver’s seat. The Colts can neutralize Tennessee in the running game. They also do well at establishing the run themselves, so I don’t think Philip Rivers needs to be the person to lead the Colts to victory in this game. Their strengths cancel out the Titans’ strengths better.” — Paxton
Philadelphia Eagles (3–4–1) at New York Giants (2–7) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m., PST)
“The Eagles are getting healthier each week. So it looks like hopefully they’ll be carrying the momentum. However, as a Giants fan, I am actually convinced that the direction they’re going in is a positive one. Their coach seems to be pretty competent in certain ways. […] I think the Giants next year will be a better team. […] Danny Dimes did not commit a turnover this past week — unbelievable stuff, guys. They’re headed in a positive direction, but the Eagles will win this weekend.” — Justin
Jacksonville Jaguars (1–7) at Green Bay Packers (6–2) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m., PST)
“It’s hilarious that the Jaguars are so irrelevant that they decided to make a quarterback controversy, which is kind of what they’re doing. [Jake] Luton and [Gardner] Minshew are both sixth-round draft picks. Now — because they are tanking for either Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields or whatever pick they get — how well Luton plays will determine whether he’s the backup to whoever that is. That’s at least my early prediction right now. Luton came in and played an awesome game and is stealing Minshew’s thunder — and he’s taller. But anyway, Packers by a good amount. Not 14, but a good amount.” — Austin
Washington Football Team (2–6) at Detroit Lions (3–5) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m., PST)
“With the quarterback woes that Washington is experiencing, I don’t think they’re due for another upset win yet. Every win they have is an upset win. It’s like a game between two bad teams, but I feel pretty confident in taking the Lions.” — Kyle
Houston Texans (2–6) at Cleveland Browns (5–3) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m., PST)
“Deshaun Watson cannot carry a poor Texans team past the Browns. As inconsistent as the Browns are, I still think the Browns will be able to play well against the Texans because the Texans are bad and Baker Mayfield always plays well against bad teams.” — Justin
“I think we’re at a different spot in the Baker Mayfield cycle because they don’t have a losing record quite yet. He’s going to drop one more game before we can lower the expectations and he can prove us wrong for two weeks, and he’s going to do that this week. The Texans have all the momentum between these two teams. The bye might have come at a good time for the Browns, but the Texans played their best game of the year. Deshaun Watson is happy for the first time all year because Will Fuller didn’t get traded. The Texans — they’re certainly not going to come back and be a Super Bowl contender, but they’re still a top-heavy team. When their stars play well, they’re good enough to beat most of the teams in the NFL. The Browns certainly qualify. I think they can get it done.” — Paxton
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6–3) at Carolina Panthers (3–6) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m., PST)
“This is where the Buccaneers’ easiest schedule in the NFL this year comes into play. Other than the chiefs and then playing against the Rams next week, they’ve got some snoozer football teams on their schedule. This is one of them. I could see it being close after like three quarters, sort of like how the Panthers were able to play it against the Chiefs. Every week, win or loss, I’m not bought into the Buccaneers yet, but they’re going to win this.” — Austin
Los Angeles Chargers (2–6) at Miami Dolphins (5–3) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:05 p.m., PST)
“I’m going to go with the better defense here — the team who’s won four in a row. It seems wrong that the Dolphins should win five in a row, and this should be a letdown game, but it’s the Chargers. I also think [Justin] Herbert has looked better in his eight-game sample than Tua [Tagovailoa] looked in his two games, but these teams have different goals. The Chargers — it’s a miracle if they pull out a win The dolphins are looking at the playoffs. They’re 5–3, trying to improve to 6–3. They’ve got another game left against the Jets — that’s another win — so it’s not out of the question that the Dolphins are a playoff team.” — Karl
Denver Broncos (3–5) at Las Vegas Raiders (5–3) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:05 p.m., PST)
“Raiders week is a tradition, almost like an extended holiday in our household. Preparing to play the Raiders, it’s something you have to get ready for emotionally, especially when we aren’t very good and the odds are that we are going to lose to the Raiders. Those are the years it’s the hardest, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to pick the Broncos. The last game — it was so bad. It was just so bad. We have no corner[back]s; they keep getting hurt. We have another tight end that just tore his ACL. It’s awful. Every piece of Broncos news I see on Instagram or from the Denver Post, it’s just all terrible, and I want some happy news out of the Broncos camp. So I’m going to pick the pick them to win their first game in Allegiant Stadium.” — Kyle
“For me, just copy and paste everything Kyle just said, and then delete the part about the Broncos winning and put the Raiders winning.” — Paxton
Buffalo Bills (7–2) at Arizona Cardinals (5–3) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:05 p.m., PST)
“What my mind goes to in this game is the performance from the Buffalo defense this week. They got Russell [Wilson] to turn the ball over four times, which is pretty impressive. Russell Wilson’s an experienced quarterback who doesn’t usually have turnover problems. Kyler Murray is inexperienced quarterback who Austin hates. I think that — in a game that might be a close matchup — the Buffalo defense could very well be the decision maker.” — Kyle
San Francisco 49ers (4–5) at New Orleans Saints (6–2) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:25 p.m., PST)
“Where did Drew Brees come from last week? What was that? [He] absolutely just embarrassed the Bucs. Anyway: Saints, because I’m not stupid.” — Ali
Seattle Seahawks (6–2) at Los Angeles Rams (5–3) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:25 p.m., PST)
“The Rams are pretty well-rested, but it’s hard to bet against [Russell] Wilson coming off a loss, especially when he committed four turnovers. With that being said, the Seahawks have trouble with the Rams — they’ve lost four of their last five against them. I think the Seahawks will have trouble with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. They’re giving up, like, 370 passing yards a game. The Rams might have trouble with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as well, but at least they have Jalen Ramsey. Kind of a toss up game for me — it’s really tough — but I’m going to go with the Rams. I like them at home. I think they have had the Seahawks’ number in past years, and there are certain games when things just fire on all cylinders and I see the 2018 Rams. I’m going to hope that’s the team that shows up on Sunday afternoon for them.” — Karl
“Aaron Donald is going to literally need to be in the backfield every single play for the Rams to have a chance at keeping up in this game. He might do it, but I still think the Seahawks are a far better team. It seems crazy to be saying this, with where we were at two years ago, but the Seahawks are way more innovative on offense than Sean McVay is. Our defense has been terrible, no doubt about it. I knew we were going to have a rough week last week, but we’re getting healthier. We’ll have Jamal Adams back; we’ll have our number-one corner Shaquill Griffin back, and we just added Carlos Dunlap to the defensive line. He had one-and-a-half sacks in his first game as a Seahawk — so reinforcements are on the way, and I think Seahawks beat the Rams here and break in the new stadium.” — Paxton
Cincinnati Bengals (2–5–1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8–0) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:25 p.m., PST)
“Big Ben is still healthy, even though his knee got kind of screwed up. They played like crap against the Cowboys, but they still won. Joe Burrow is not going be able to pull off another shocker. Their offensive line is way too bad, and Pittsburgh’s pass rush is way too good. I think the Steelers are leading the league in sacks. Weird stuff happens in the NFL, but not enough that I can pick the Steelers over the Bengals.” — Karl
Baltimore Ravens (6–2) at New England Patriots (3–5) (Sunday, Nov. 15 at 5:20 p.m., PST)
“The Pats came back from being down against the Jets and act like they’re tough. Play an actual team next time, then we’ll talk. Oh, we’re talking now? Good luck, Cam [Newton]. Ravens.” — Ali
Minnesota Vikings (3–5) at Chicago Bears (5–4) (Monday, Nov. 16 at 5:15 p.m., PST)
“I’m going to go with the Bears for the reason that they’ve had three straight losses and they have a bye week next week and the Bears are an interesting team. I think the whole point of their season is to try to keep Karl’s hopes up and then crush them at different intervals throughout the season. A win going into the bye week and then getting absolutely smashed by Green Bay once they come out of the bye week will be the perfect combination for Karl to get his hopes up and then have them crushed.” — Kyle
“It’s come to the point where I miss Jay Cutler. Our franchise has a long history of terrible quarterback play and it continues now. I also miss Lovie Smith, because [Matt] Nagy never takes responsibility, even though the problems are the same every week. The only unit he doesn’t have control of — the defense — is great. […] As highly as I think of the defense, I cannot confidently pick an offense that struggles to put up 20 a game. We’re the 29th-ranked offense in the NFL. Dalvin Cook will be slightly tamed, but the Vikes are on a roll, and even though the Bears have beaten them four times in a row, the Vikes have enough to get the win.” — Karl
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