Fade Material: NFL Week 10 Predictions

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison sits alone on the bench on the sidelines during the closing minutes of the Steelers NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Maryland September 11, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Giza (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Most writers would be upset with a .500 week but I’m overjoyed. The two wins I mustered in Week 9 were two more than I had in Week 8 so…small victories, people.

The Giants and Dolphins won outright, while the Colts and Chargers pooled their money together to give me a big, fat 2-2 Sunday. That runs my season record to 15-21, which would be good if we were talking about my hits-to-at bats or competitions-to-attempts radios. But we’re not. We’re talking about my hideous record against the spread this season. The same hideous record that would still be hideous even if I went 4-0 this Sunday.

Ah, well. Here are a couple of losers for you on this glorious Sunday:

Saints @ Falcons, 1:00PM ET
Even if my life were dependant on it, I still couldn’t choose a side in this game. I would die starring off into space as the words “Saints” and “Falcons” bounced around in my head. The Saints have enough firepower to blow the Falcons out of the Georgia Dome this weekend but Atlanta is playing good defense at the moment, while New Orleans is not. So again, I’m lost when it comes to the side. The total, however, seems like a no-brainer. The Saints are averaging over 30 points per game and the Falcons have seemingly fixed their issues on offense. Assuming Julio Jones (hamstring) is fine after being added to Atlanta’s injury report on Thursday, I envision a high-scoring game this Sunday. While these two teams played to a 17-14 chess match last year in Atlanta, the over has hit in five of the last seven meetings between these two teams. Light ‘em up again, boys.

Steelers @ Bengals, 1:00PM ET
Had oddsmakers given the Bengals four points or even 3.5, I would have taken a hard look at Cincinnati or laid off the game completely. And had the Steelers actually been able to defend 92 yards and beaten the Ravens last Sunday night at home, I again would have leaned towards the Bengals. But with the spread only sitting at 3 and with the Steelers ticked off from their loss last week, I love Pittsburgh this week. The Bengals’ defense has played extremely well this season and I fully expect that trend to continue. But the last time Andy Dalton faced one of the top defenses in the league, the Bengals mustered just 8 points in a 13-8 loss to the 49ers in Week 3. James Harrison is going to be a monster to deal with on Sunday and I just don’t see Dalton making enough plays to win this game in the end. And if you like the Steelers to win, you like them by a field goal or more so I’m happy to lay the 3.

Giants @ 49ers, 4:15PM ET
Even though the Niners are 7-1 this is a classic letdown game for Tom Coughlin’s team. They’re coming off a huge win in New England and now have to fly cross-country to play a San Francisco team that will certainly be fired up to beat one of the NFC’s top teams. That said, I don’t like laying 3.5 points on the Niners with the way the Giants have played as underdogs this season. If New York was favored or playing some hapless team that has no business being in the game, I’d be all over said hapless team. Instead, I see major value in the total. Both of these teams have the ability to score but Frank Gore is hobbled and the Niners have played well defensively all season. As long as there aren’t a ton of big plays, I like the under.

Patriots @ Jets, 8:20PM ET
I’m probably going to look like a sucker for thinking this way, but I just don’t see Bill Belichick and Tom Brady losing three-straight games. Especially when that third loss would come at the hands of Rex Ryan and the Jets, who are playing great defensively right now but aren’t trustworthy offensively. New England’s defense played well until the final drive against New York last week and you know Brady is going to be as focused as ever. It’s not often that the Pats are underdogs so you might as well take advantage.

Last Week: 2-2
Season: 15-21

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