As I noted in my 'By the Numbers' preview of the Steelers and Bengals Week 10 matchup, there are 11 AFC teams that are either in first place or within a single game of the lead in their respective divisions. That's an NFL record in either conference since realignment in 2002. Needless to say then, this is a big week in the National Football League as the second half of the season begins for the remaining teams who have already had their bye week. Then again, so is every week.
Here's the first part of my weekly picks column for SB Nation Pittsburgh, with a link to the rest found below. I also added a few games I feel most confident in, and a handful of potential upsets.
New Orleans Saints (-1) at Atlanta Falcons (-115)
- Great game in the NFC South, with the winner rewarded with a spot atop the divisional rankings through ten weeks. I certainly wouldn't take a position on this one with real money, but perhaps I'd tease it seven points in either team's favor. No way this one's not going to be decided by less than a touchdown. Pick: New Orleans
Tennessee Titans (+3.5) at Carolina Panthers (-115)
- That half point makes me lean towards Tennessee. I can't see how anyone thinks that the Panthers are a more complete, talented football team than the Titans. They're not. Pick: Tennessee
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) at Cincinnati Bengals (-105)
- I've spent the entire week talking and writing about this matchup on Behind the Steel Curtain and the site's podcast. So I won't rehash here, but provided the Steelers don't turn the ball over more than once, I like them to win by ten or more. Dalton has been outstanding, particularly in the red zone and when trailing, but outside of the 49ers, he really hasn't faced anything like what Dick LeBeau's unit will throw at him. Pick: Pittsburgh
- Just when I thought St. Louis was going to go on a mini-run in the second half of the year, they go out and lay an egg against a mediocre Arizona Cardinals team. So there goes that. Still, Cleveland's offense has been so impotent this past month that it's hard to feel comfortable picking them even at home. Pick: St. Louis
'Locks' of the Week:
- (-5.5) over
- (-4) over
Upset Specials (not only to cover spread, but to win outright):
- (+3.5) over
- (+3) over
- Tennessee Titans (+3.5) over Carolina Panthers