Shapiro's Week 10 NFL picks: Rams will top division rival Seahawks
Very little shocks me in a given week in the National Football League, but the Saints utter domination of Tampa on primetime was an exception to that rule. The Buccaneers' inability to gain a first down against a solid, but far from dominant defense was startling. Drew Brees carving up of what was considered to be one of the NFL’s best defensive units was even more surprising.
This led to a one-sided result like we rarely see between two teams that appeared all but certain to be heading to the postseason in a couple of months. New Orleans is healthy and ready to make another run in the NFC, while the Bucs need to find answers quickly.
The losing streak continued for yours truly in Week 9 moving my overall record against the number on BetAmerica to two games below .500. Hopefully the third quarter of the 2020 season will treat me a whole lot better than the second one did.
On to Week 10!
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams
Sun, November 15 2020, 9:25 PM
Los Angeles Rams
The Seahawks got off to a 5-0 start and were the favorites to win the NFC for the first two months of the season, but they are an extremely flawed football team. Sure, they have a nearly unstoppable passing attack led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson, but they are flat out poor on the other side of the ball. Especially against the pass where they have been torched all year long, including last Sunday in Buffalo when Josh Allen regularly beat the blitz and posted 44 points on the once elite Seahawks defense.
Pete Carroll’s group heads back west to Southern California for another tough matchup versus division rival Los Angeles. When last seen, the Rams fell behind early and were soundly defeated in their inter-conference showdown versus Miami, but they should be fresh, well prepared, and ready for a big effort coming off their bye week.
Look for Sean McVay to have Jared Goff and the Los Angeles offense ready to exploit a Seattle defense that has given up a league high 2,897 passing yards through its first eight games. Expect major output from wide receiver Cooper Kupp in a game that is unlikely to yield 78 points like last week’s contest in upstate New York, but still should see plenty of fireworks.
No one is able to completely shut down the Seattle offense, but Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey & Co. should make enough stops to vault the Rams into a tie for first place in the NFC West.
Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns
Sun, November 15 2020, 6:00 PM
Cleveland heads into their Week 10 contest versus the Texans as healthy as they have been in some time. Star defensive end Myles Garrett is back to 100% and once again ready to make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, while their top tier running game is back to full strength with right guard Wyatt Teller and lead back Nick Chubb both set to return to the lineup after missing several games.
The Browns should have no problem moving the ball against a Houston defense that yielded 42 points to the Titans in Week 6, 35 to Green Bay in Week 7, and was unable to stop Jaguars rookie quarterback Jake Luton in Week 8. The Texans rank 27th in Football Outsiders DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) and are unlikely to have answers in Ohio on Sunday afternoon.
Deshaun Watson has played at an elite level all season in Houston and is certain to make a few splash plays in this one, but not nearly enough to best a fresh Cleveland team hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Browns win by at least a touchdown.
Buffalo Bills vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sun, November 15 2020, 9:05 PM
It has been a great start to the season for Buffalo in quarterback Josh Allen’s third season. The Bills have a record of 7-2 and appear highly likely to dethrone the Patriots as AFC East champions for the first time since 2008. That being said, I am concerned about their chances this week in Arizona. They come off of two massive wins at home and now travel cross-country to take on a Cardinals team that lost as 5.5-point favorites in Week 9 to Miami.
The Bills have made massive improvements on offense, especially in their passing game in 2020, but their defense has not been nearly as good. This should lead to continued success for the first overall pick in last year’s NFL draft Kyler Murray. The former University of Oklahoma star has been nearly impossible to stop on the ground and continues to get better as a passer. He should find continued success on Sunday in a bounce back spot for Arizona.
Cardinals win, cover, and remain in the thick of the NFC West hunt.