NFL Week 10 game picks: Bills snap Saints' streak; 49ers win!

Week 10 game picks are in -- as are many questions.

It's about that time of the season when the top-shelf teams typically begin to cement their status. Some have already shown dominance, while others are about to go streaking through the quad. It's not always easy identifying the true contenders, though. And in this extraordinarily convoluted 2017 campaign, it's especially challenging to answer one simple question:

Who's for real?

Apparently, I'm not the only one struggling to find answers. Received so many inquiries regarding this week's Power Rankings, thought I would get to them here ...

Thanks for checking in, Diane. The Rams have been more consistent than almost any team in the league. Both losses were one-score games where the Rams came up short in the two-minute drill.

I had them at 18 in the preseason, Peter. The Vikes -- and especially Case Keenum -- have surprised this year. And Mike Zimmer and Co. have done a brilliant job mitigating the loss of Dalvin Cook. #SKOLBandit

My guess: When they played in a forgotten classic, the 2001 NFC Championship Game, for the right to face the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Got a lot of responses about the pantheon of Lions RBs, post-Barry. Missed Luke Staley. Most common thought? Jahvid Best was, well, the best of all of them.

I have these three teams at 30, 31, 32. Can't be any meaner. Maybe next week, I'll put DeVry and the University of North Texas ahead of them.

Two of those teams face off this week. Sneak peek below! Although, yes, there are much better games for the football pallet. Chargers at Jags is interesting. Really looking forward to Saints at Bills. Your take on any game is always welcome: @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 8-5 on his predictions for Week 9, giving him a record of 79-53 thus far this season. How will he fare in Week 10? His picks are below:

Chicago Bears 22, Green Bay Packers 16

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Bears win. Significant, because they have lost too many narrow games on too many narrow plays (or play calls) already. For the Packers to have a chance on the road, Mike McCarthy is going to have to let Brett Hundley play. This past Monday night, Hundley let it rip downfield just once in the first half. If he throws a pick, so be it. Challenge the defense. Sure, Chicago has done the same with rookie Mitchell Trubisky. The difference? Bears' defense >>> Packers' defense.

Fun fact: This will be the first time since 1991 that neither Aaron Rodgers nor Brett Favre starts for Green Bay versus Chicago. Mike Tomczak took snaps for the Packers back in that December '91 contest. The Bears' QB on that day? Pre-khakis Jim Harbaugh. That was almost 9,500 days and a Mitsubishi Mighty Max pickup ago.

Detroit Lions 26, Cleveland Browns 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Browns are still too unsettled at quarterback for me to award them the road upset over the Lions. Think Detroit will slowly (begrudgingly) run more, although Cleveland, which has the fourth-ranked rushing defense in the league, has not been the easiest group to carry the ball against this season. The cool part of this matchup is the legacy between these two teams. The Lions and Browns played for the NFL title an unbelievable four times in the 1950s. No other two teams have met in a championship game that much in one decade. Detroit went back-to-back in 1952 and '53, but couldn't pull off the first three-peat against Paul Brown's squad in 1954. The Browns and Lions played again in 1957, with Detroit prevailing, 59-14. That story in and of itself was incredible. It also marked the last time the Lions went home champions.

Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Indianapolis Colts 14

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

This was the Thanksgiving night matchup from a year ago. Andrew Luck wasn't available for that game, either. If you recall, Scott Tolzien did his best to keep Indy on pace with Pittsburgh, but Antonio Brown and the Steelers' offense were too much for the Colts' secondary. Not saying that Indy can't make this deal closer; rather, at some point, Pittsburgh will put everything together in a single game. Coordinator Keith Butler's defense has picked up the slack quite a bit this year. If the Steelers prevail, that will move their record in the second half of the season to 20-5 since 2014. That's why folks shouldn't freak out when this group gets off to a slow start.

Jacksonville Jaguars 20, Los Angeles Chargers 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Another solid Week 10 offering. The Chargers have been playing solid football for the better part of a month, although their latest entry was a loss in New England. In order to win in Jacksonville, the Bolts must run the rock, whether it's with Melvin Gordon or Austin Ekeler, whom many folks are high on. Ekeler has averaged 5.5 yards per carry while showing he has hands. The Jags' secondary has been legit, or lit, depending on your age. They're No. 1 in net passing yards allowed and passing touchdowns allowed. Jacksonville is also allowing 14.6 points per game. Since 1994, 26 teams have allowed less than 15 points per game over the course of a season. All made the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills 23, New Orleans Saints 21

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Tough game to call between two teams that have enjoyed more success than most league observers anticipated in the preseason. The Saints are 6-2, the Bills 5-3. Both of the defenses rank top-10 in points allowed. Those units will be key -- as will turnovers. Tyrod Taylor doesn't turn the ball over much. Drew Brees hasn't of late, after tossing a handful of picks in back-to-back games last month. Thus, I'm not looking for high-flying football at Ralph's House this weekend. Lots of Shady, and heavy doses of Alvin Kamara.

Cool fact: The Saints have won six straight after losing their first two games. In the Super Bowl era, only two other teams have pulled that off: the 2007 Giants and 1993 Cowboys. There is something special about those two teams, but I can't remember what it is ...

New York Jets 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

WEIRD-SCORE ALERT. Don't know what to make of either of these teams. How are the Jets this good? How are the Bucs 2-6? Well, the latter group has struggled on defense all season, with last week being no different, as the Saints piled up 407 yards against Tampa. New York has resurrected the careers of Josh McCown and Matt Forte whilst developing young players like Robby Anderson, Elijah McGuire and Jamal Adams. Heck, they've even gotten some good football out of Austin Seferian-Jenkins. And -- and -- this is the Ryan Fitzpatrickrevenge game. I remember Jets-Bucs from when I was a kid. They oddly played each other two years in a row. In 1984, Tampa beat New York in John McKay's last game as head coach, behind Steve DeBerg. The Bucs made up for it the next year by losing 62-28 to Al Toon and Co. That score is not a misprint.

Washington Redskins 20, Minnesota Vikings 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Oh, boy -- this is a good game. The Vikings have been solid all season, riding a championship-level defense and a quarterback who won't give the game away. The Redskins have stayed afloat with gutsy quarterback play and timely -- if not dominant -- defense. Both teams also have made no excuses for injuries. At some point, Case Keenum is going to have to make plays to win the game for Minnesota. Speaking of, another Minnesota backup played in one of the biggest games in franchise history, in Washington, some 30 years ago. It was a game that carried major historical implications, too. Take a gander. But before you go, here is your weird note courtesy of @RealJackAndrade, who may or may not be binge-watching "Stranger Things": Kirk Cousins' career passer rating in November is 112.2, the NFL's highest in that month since he entered the league in 2012. I have no idea what that means. You're welcome.

Tennessee Titans 27, Cincinnati Bengals 23

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

This feels like the kind of game the Bengals would win to get their fans' hopes up -- but I'm going with the Titans. In theory, Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green should be due for a big rebound after getting ejected for fighting with Jalen Ramsey last Sunday, as Tennessee's secondary has struggled much of the season. Also a concern for the Titans: the dwindling running game, which has put up 86, 69, 168, 80 and 71 rushing yards over the last five games. The big number there came thanks to a last-minute run from Derrick Henry. The bread and butter of Mike Mularkey's attack -- the running backs -- have carried a bit of crusty mold lately. With that thought, the Titans have not won four consecutive games since 2009, when they ripped off five straight. Chris Johnson rushed for 800 yards over that stretch. CJ2K, man.

Los Angeles Rams 34, Houston Texans 17

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

The Texans get a garbage touchdown when Tom Savage decides to play loose (down multiple scores in the fourth quarter). Houston is another Wade Phillips place of employment, three times over. Phillips was defensive coordinator under Gary Kubiak. Philips also coached linebackers for the Houston Oilers under his Dad, Bum. (You can see Phillips screaming "He's in!!!" at the beginning of this clip, in brilliant Oilers gear no less.) And Wade actually got his start in coaching as a grad assistant at the University of Houston, where he had been a three-year starter at linebacker. The Rams' defense morphed into a different unit in the second half at Dallas last month, and for the most part, it hasn't looked back since.

Historical note: The 2017 Rams have improved their scoring by 18.9 points per game -- which, if that stands, would eclipse the 1924 Cleveland Bulldogs and the 1950 New York Yanks for the biggest improvement in league history. That Bulldogs squad was hell on wheels in fantasy.

Dallas Cowboys 26, Atlanta Falcons 24

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

Going to stick with the Cowboys, even with the news that Ezekiel Elliottis not playing. The concern, though, is that Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams came out of last week's game limping. Bryant's knee has been bothering him this week. Add to that a desperate Falcons team, at least in the sense that Atlanta hasn't played well since that Week 2 Sunday nighter against Green Bay. Thus, this game will be quite close. Matt Ryan must be on-point, because Devonta Freeman will face a Cowboys front seven with Sean Lee healthy. That's made all the difference for Rod Marinelli's defense, and it will more so if Alfred Morris and the RB company can help the Cowboys sustain long drives. DeMarcus Lawrence has 10.5 sacks, most in the NFC, while David Irving has tacked on six in four games.

San Francisco 49ers 16, New York Giants 13

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

To think that there was a time when this was the premier matchup in the NFL. This one is an excit- ... No, I can't do it. Can't sell this baby unless Jimmy Garoppolo plays -- then we have something. Tell you what, though: One of the most anticipated prime-time games of my lifetime was Giants at 49ers, Monday Night Football, 1990. Both teams had just lost their first game of the season in the previous week, entering the marquee matchup with identical 10-1 records. The Niners would win a defensive struggle, 7-3, with Phil Simms and Ronnie Lott exchanging heated words afterward. Both teams were so good that they met a month later in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick. Big Blue -- with Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin -- moved on to Super Bowl XXV. That was a loaded 49ers team, too. These teams aren't loaded. But Eli Manning is about to tie his brother, Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber for the fourth-most consecutive starts in NFL history (208).

New England Patriots 24, Denver Broncos 16

Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Think you'll see another fine Tom Brady performance this weekend. You'll also see a rebound from the Broncos' defense. First Brady, who is enjoying an MVP season once again, even if his success bores fans. Wrote about him in this week's Power Rankings, because I'm not sure people realize how absurdly effective he has been at age 40. The Broncos defenders have a tall task, but I think they'll be up to the challenge the Patriots present. Will Brock Osweiler produce points? It'll help if game situation doesn't remove the RBs from playing much of a role (like last week).

Fun fact: Did you know Tom Brady is 7-9 lifetime against the Broncos? Yes, that's the only team he's below .500 against.

Carolina Panthers 29, Miami Dolphins 17

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Would give the confusing Panthers 30 points, but not sure they can score that much. You know the Dolphins won't sniff that against Carolina's defense. Typically, 350 yards is a productive game from an offense. Carolina hasn't eclipsed that total in over a month, and only twice all season. That's OK, because if the Panthers' production is subpar, Miami's output is putrid. The Dolphins are 31st in yards and 32nd in points scored. There are 32 teams in the league. Think Ron Rivera's defense will control the flow of the game, even if Jay Cutler and Co. looked vastly improved last Sunday night.

Fun fact:Christian McCaffrey has caught 54 passes this season, more than any other rookie RB through his first nine games since the merger. His 2.86 yards per carry is slightly less impressive.


Seattle Seahawks 20, Arizona Cardinals 14

Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, NBC/NFL Network/Amazon

Remember this matchup in the desert last year? Both defenses slugged it out in Arizona for five quarters, with the icing on the cake being really bad kicking. Maybe I got the icing the kicker reference wrong. A lot of people were wrong about that game. The constant stops kept the audience involved, wondering which defense would break first. Yet, afterward, Twitter derided the 6-6 tie. You know, if the final score isn't 35-34, it's not good football anymore. Thank you, Fantasy Football. Not anticipating a track meet this time around, either. Cardinals QB Drew Stanton must test the Seahawks deep, or Kam Chancellor will creep up. Who can't wait to see a full-tilt Adrian Peterson-Chancellor sandwich? Wait, that came out wrong. You know what I meant. By the way, Russell Wilson has more rushing yards (271) than any other Seahawk. He would be the fifth quarterback since the merger to lead his team in that category.

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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