This marks the first NFL weekend since September in which no teams have a bye. Although there are several high TV ratings sort of games, some featured below, Vinnie finds most of the Week 10 lines a tad disagreeable. Regardless, there’s enough going on here to make it worth your while. Starting with …
Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3): The Texans are off to the best start in franchise history, led by a dominant running game and dramatically improved defense. Don’t be surprised when Arian Foster and Ben Tate gash Tampa Bay’s crippled, clearly under-performing front seven for close to (if not more than) 200 rushing yards. Not that his services will be needed, Matt Schaub may not have had Andre Johnson around lately, but the fifth-year starter has been playing some really efficient football in road games. There’s some real blowout potential in this game; Houston has now won three consecutive games in convincing fashion, and is sure to score a ton of points offensively, and matches up quite well against Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers’ offense.
Gimme the Texans minus the points.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets (-1): The Jets have yet to lose at home in 2011, which is precisely where they’ve managed to rough up the division rival Patriots twice in a row. Shonn Greene‘s trend toward taking more carries and packing a wallop began against New England earlier this season, and continued into New York’s current winning streak. As unreliable as Mark Sanchez‘s accuracy has been, he seems to have figured out how to feed his better receiving options the ball more often, and faces an atrocious Patriots’ pass defense. Whether it’s Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski or Deion Branch, someone will reap the benefits of a passing touchdown from Tom Brady. For the most part, though, the Jets are in position to handle this aspect of New England’s game plan just fine.
Gimme the Jets minus the points.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (+3): This rivalry game figures to come down to whether Rashard Mendenhall can find any success against an excellent Bengals’ run defense, how consistently Ben Roethlisberger can make the throws he’ll need to against Cincy’s solid but overachieving secondary, how well Pittsburgh’s below-average offensive line can hold up against one of the better defensive line rotations in the NFL, who outplays whom between cornerback Ike Taylor and rookie receiver A.J. Green, and how poised Andy Dalton will be against the adverse blitz schemes Pittsburgh will probably throw into his face. Seems like a recipe for one of those too close to call sort of games, to Vinnie, who opts for the home team here.
Gimme the Bengals plus the points.
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys (-5.5): Expect big things from DeMarco Murray and Tony Romo, who despite not having Miles Austin around much has played very effectively as of late. Buffalo is an opportunistic defense, yet also one that’s too often given up the big play this season. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and possibly Laurent Robinson make for promising fantasy options here, the Bills’ defense has been very inept at times. Fred Jackson is having an All-Pro caliber season, but other than he and Stevie Johnson you’ll have to be a bit laid back in what you expect from Buffalo this week, offensively. Anxious to trim this lead the New York Giants have in the NFC East standings, the Cowboys rise to the occasion, here, while the Bills make for a nice story but continue to slide.
Gimme the Cowboys minus the points.
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers (-3.5): A lot of household name sort of players featured in this ’90’s throwback battle will either be playing hurt, be ruled out sometime closer to kickoff, or have already been declared out. Ahmad Bradshaw won’t be playing, for instance. If Hakeem Nicks plays, you can bet he won’t be anywhere near 100%. Apparently Frank Gore is banged up. Listen, as good as Eli Manning is playing right now, and as fine a history as Brandon Jacobs has against San Francisco, this 49ers defense (Vinnie is convinced) will make all the difference. New York has won three straight versus San Francisco, a streak which comes to an end on Sunday.
Gimme the 49ers minus the points.