NFL Week 10 Preview: Playoff race beginning to heat up5 min read
The 2017 NFL season has been the most unpredictable in recent memory. Though after the half-way mark, the cream is rising to the top and we are getting a better picture of who the real contenders for Super Bowl 52 are and which teams are falling by the wayside.
Week 10 features some crucial battles between some surprise teams that should give us more answers.
New Orleans Saints @ Buffalo Bills
On a six-game win streak, the resurgent Saints head into Buffalo as favourites against a Bills side that has been inconsistent to start the season. The Saints’ offense and defence both rank in the top ten, though for my liking, they face their biggest challenge since losing their opening two games this week.
New Orleans has a habit of historically not travelling well to cold cities, and Buffalo has the advantage of a ten-day preparation period having played in last week’s Thursday night game. The Bills are undefeated at home this year, and will test the Saints run defence – an area of potential weakness.
Buffalo will need to find a way to start fast – something they have struggled to do – to have the best chance, though I do fancy a small upset here, with the Bills winning a close one.
Total points under 46.5
Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons
After making last season’s Super Bowl and starting this campaign in impressive form, the Atlanta Falcons are beginning to show signs of taking a step backwards. Though with home-field advantage and Ezekiel Elliott no longer starting they remain the marginal favourites to beat the Dallas Cowboys.
Even so, the Falcons allow 114.5 rushing yards per game and face the No.3 ranked rushing offense in the league against Dallas. Elliott’s upheld suspension is a significant factor, though the Cowboys should be able to move the ball on the ground still, and I expect them to have the advantage in both offensive and defensive line play.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense are a threat to put up big numbers, though I expect Dallas’ pass rush to continue it’s impressive form and the Cowboys to steal a road win.
Total points over 50.5
Cowboys to win
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
The Patriots aren’t the unbeatable juggernauts everyone expected them to be at the start of the season, but they are getting better week by week and there is a reason they are seven-point favourites on the road against Denver.
The Broncos defence has had more success against Tom Brady than most; though with a disastrous quarterback situation on the offence, stand little chance in this one.
I expect this game to be closer than most people would assume, and for Denver to bounce back slightly from last week, though it would be the upset of the year for them to pull off a win.
Denver Broncos 9.0 handicap
Miami Dolphins @ Carolina Panthers
In week 10’s Monday Night Football match-up, the Miami Dolphins travel to Carolina for their third prime-time game in as many weeks. Injuries have them sputtering through the season, and one more loss would likely be the beginning of the end for their 2017 hopes.
They face a Panthers team who have been distinctly unimpressive at times, though have found ways to win more often than not.
As nine-point favourites, I do like Carolina to win, but I expect the Dolphins to be able to cover the +9 spread in what, in all likelihood, will be a low scoring game.
Miami Dolphins 9.0 handicap
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Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots all to win