Week 10 of the NFL season is upon us, and that means it's time for another round of bold predictions. As always, this week's edition of fearless prognostications includes a macho helping of audaciousness and abandon as we head into Sunday and Monday's contests. Warning: these predictions aren't for the faint of heart.
Niners upset Cardinals on hinges of vintage Kaepernick game
The San Francisco 49ers are currently viewed as either the worst team in football, or the team that would be considered the worst had the Browns not bungled their way to a winless record thus far. But Chip Kelly is good for one upset a year, such as last year's Eagles victory over the Patriots in Foxborough, and we will get it this weekend against Bruce Arians and the Cardinals. How, you ask? Kelly was probably scheming for this game over the bye two weeks ago and at least tucked away some sort of wrinkle. The 49ers badly need a win to hang their hats on as they slog through this seemingly endless season, and a vintage performance from Colin Kaepernick would go a long way toward healing some wounds. Look to see something offensively that we haven't seen before from Kelly.
-- Conor Orr
Seahawks OC again calls pass play from 1-yard-line
The last time the Seattle Seahawks got to the goal line versus the New England Patriots, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell decided to throw the ball from the 1-yard-line, leading to a Super Bowl-losing interception. Since that game, the Seahawks ran the ball 10 of 11 times from the 1 (6 TDs), per NFL Research.
Sunday night, Russell Wilson will toss a fourth-quarter pass to Doug Baldwin. The receiver will weave his way through defenders heading for a score. From the eight-yard-line, on the far side of the field, Baldwin lunges for the pylon. Safety Patrick Chung smashes into the side of his frame, knocking the receiver out of bounds as he crosses the ball over the goal line. The call on the field is a TOUCHDOWN!!! After an unnecessarily lengthy review, however, it is correctly ruled that Baldwin's knee touched out of bounds before the ball crossed into the end zone. The Seahawks get the ball inside the 1-yard-line. They will certainly run the ball here, right? Bevell won't make the same mistake twice, will he? You can't throw. Think of the history!
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Bevell isn't going to be pushed around by the #Narrative. No running back's mother will dictate HIS play calling. Fortune favors the bold. Hang some onion. Plus, he's got Jimmy Graham this time. With the world believing he'll definitely run the ball, Bevell calls for a play action roll out and Wilson finds Graham in the back of the end zone for a score. Fist pumps ensue. The Seahawks lose by only nine points.
-- Kevin Patra
Jets, Rams combine for more INTs than offensive points scored
When the Rams and Jets meet in the Meadowlands on Sunday, it will be a matchup of marquee markets, young studs on the defensive line and terrible, just terrible, quarterback play. Case Keenum, playing out the lamest of lame duck seasons while Jared Goff sits on the sidelines, is second in the league in interceptions thrown this season (11). He is only behind Ryan Fitzpatrick (13), whose on-again-off-again relationship with the New York coaches and fan base continues this week as calls for Bryce Petty echo across Gang Greenland.
It doesn't serve either of these journeymen any good that two strong defensive fronts await them on Sunday, ready to shut down the run early and often. Points will have to come from somewhere, and it won't be on the ground. Case and Fitz -- starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but not yet the title of a flailing TNT buddy-cop drama -- will have to test the secondaries through the air. If recent history/last week is any indication, the Jets' and Rams' cornerbacks will have the last word.
Fitzpatrick throws two red-zone ducks after taking a first-quarter safety and Keenum tosses three interceptions, two of which are fourth-quarter pick-sixes. The end result is a thrilling, ratings-friendly Jets 14-5 victory. The world is better for it.
-- Jeremy Bergman
Ezekiel Elliott rushes for 150 yards and two touchdowns against Steelers
Pittsburgh struggles against the pass, allowing the ninth-most passing yards per game. So this would be an easy selection for Dak Prescott to hit 300 yards and at least two touchdowns, right? But bold predictions aren't easy. We're turning to Dallas' bellcow running back, rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott. A week after the Cowboys ran roughshod over the Browns' defense, Elliott picks up where he left off. Against the Steelers, Elliott gets going on the ground early, rushing for big chunks and breaking tackles as he so often has against various NFL defenses. Elliott runs through Pittsburgh's 13th-ranked rush defense for 150 yards and two touchdowns and spells out O-H-I-O in enemy territory with each touchdown as Dallas records its eighth straight win and tightens its grip on the NFC East.
-- Nick Shook