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NFL Week 10 game picks: Cowboys edge Steelers; Patriots roll

You can't ask for a better game at this time of year. One team is the best in its conference. The other? The best desperate club, with another loss pushing hopes of the division crown and/or a playoff bye further away. The NFL's top-shelf wide receiver will face a secondary missing two of its starters. Antonio Brown's quarterback also has much making up to do after last week. Across the field is the growing saga of Dak Prescott, with the help of the premier rookie in pro football. But Zeke and his quarterback are really ancillary parts to the dominance of the premier offensive line in pro football. Finally, take a stage dive into the legacy of Cowboys-Steelers and, well, now you have the headliner on the Week 10 card.

I know you guys are feeling this game, too ...

Good analysis. Responses to my late-night tweet mostly favored the Cowboys -- even by admitted Steelers fans.

Actually, my Twitter mentions have been pretty charged up of late:

Ah, yes -- speaking of the Power Rankings ...

Tuesday caused much dissension in America. I didn't realize putting the Chiefs over the Raiders in the Power Rankings would have that big an effect, but I am no analytics maven who can predict these things. Predictions were all the rage this week. And you will find mine below. Notice all of the .500 teams active this Sunday that are trying to make a second-half run. Which clubs from that group are legit? Share your take on any of their games, or your favorite bye week: @HarrisonNFL is the place.

Now, let's get to it!

Elliot Harrison went 11-2 on his predictions for Week 9, giving him a record of 86-45-2 thus far this season. How will he fare in Week 10? His picks are below:

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

You know, people have talked and talked and talked and talked about the NFL TV ratings being down this year. But now that the election is over, I think fans across this great blue/red nation of ours are geeked out of their minds for some Texans-Jags!!

Actually, this really is a very important game with major AFC South implications. Houston can put a stranglehold on the South with a win, moving to 3-0 in the division. One small issue: The Texans are 0-3 on the road this season, with Brock Lobster posting some distasteful figures away from NRG Stadium (4.12 yards per attempt, 58.9 passer rating). Jacksonville, on the other hand, might be playing for the current regime's job security. The Jags inexplicably have been outscored by 85 points through the first three quarters of games this year, and are plus-23 in the fourth quarter. Actually, I'll explain it in fancy terms: GAR-bazzzhhhh time. #HOUvsJAX

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Denver's offense will come to play this weekend. I trust Gary Kubiak to make the proper adjustments against a defense that struggles early and often. This Saints group just allowedColin Kaepernick to throw for 398 yards and post a 102.3 passer rating. Trevor Siemian has shown flashes (though not last week) of being more than a mere bus driver for the defense-centric Broncos. Rookie RB Devontae Booker has yet to come close to being an RB1, averaging 2.6 yards per carry in his two starts for Denver. (Even Ronnie Hillman is offended by that figure.) I'd love to see Aqib Talib on Saints rookie receiver Michael Thomas, but a back injury might sideline the veteran corner for a third straight week. Drew Brees gets the ball out faster than Derek Carr, so this should be a helluva match between a great offense and a stout defense. Strength on strength. #DENvsNO

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Always will remember Rams-Jets as the matchup that saw Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson truly introduce himself to the NFL. He and his glorious Jheri curl took a handoff off the left side, and ripped off an 85-yard score. It was awesome. The dude ran even more upright than Todd Gurley, who has found as many holes this season as Ryan Fitzpatrick has supporters at Jets sports bars. Do dudes with Al Toon jerseys howl for Bryce Petty? Because one gets the feeling the Jetsreally don't want to play the second-year man outta Baylor. On the other side of this deal lies Case Keenum, with a New York secondary ripe for the picking. (It's a positive idiom, folks -- not talkin' Keenum interceptions here.) Kenny Britt vs. Buster Skrine whets the football appetite, doesn't it? Maybe not. #LAvsNYJ

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Birds of Prey Battle goes down in Philadelphia this weekend. Oh wait, the Bird of Prey is from "Star Trek." You see, originally it was a Romulan ship that ... Wait! Don't go to the next blurb! I lost you. Come back! You see, the Eagles are like the Romulans in that they are not the main concern of the Federation (the first-placed Cowboys). That was always the ugly Klingons, who, of course, are the Giants in this scenario. True in the NFC East, too. Unless ... Can Carson Wentz can match Matt Ryan in vertical plays sans the negative plays? Wentz finally hit a few deep balls in New York after throwing 30-something 5-yard ins and none-yard outs against the Cowboys the previous Sunday night. Key matchup: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman (if he's a go) vs. Jordan Hicks and the rest of the Eagles LB crew. #ATLvsPHI

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chiefs should get both Alex Smith and Spencer Ware back this week, which is wonderful for #ChiefsKingdom. (Yes, that's a thing.) After all, Kansas City beat the Jags last week with the nucleus of an 0-13 fantasy team. Meanwhile, Cam Newton went to the Commissioner with his complaints about a low hit from the Cardinals. His reward? Two headshots from the Rams. How will the refs call the game if the Chiefs' pass rush can get pressure on him? Hurries are important -- and underrated, in terms of analytics. My sense is that this is a Jonathan Stewart game. If he goes off, Panthers win. If not ... #KCvsCAR

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Last we saw Jay Cutler, he was making quality throws, moving around the pocket briskly and leading the Bears to their biggest win of the season. Can he be as effective against the Bucs? Tampa has allowed quarterbacks 513 (Derek Carr) and 344 (Matt Ryan) passing yards over the lasttwo weeks. Yuck. The passer ratings in those games? 117.4, followed by 144.7. (144.7!!!) Can Jameis Winston keep pace if Cutler and -- especially -- Alshon Jeffery get rollin'? Winston's cut down on his picks, but Chicago has allowed just 53 points over the last three games. #CHIvsTB

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Another of Week 10's challenging matchups to decode. The Vikings' offense showed signs of life in the second half versus the Lions, after sputtering its way through the first couple of quarters under Pat Shurmur. How will Sam Bradford fare without the benefit of the home crowd? The Stefon Diggs-Josh Norman matchup is intriguing, given that Diggs has caught 5 billion none-yard outs and 5-yard ins, and Norman certainly has the loving attention of the officials. Thinking Norman wins that battle, which means the likes of Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph are going to have to win this deal for Minnesota. (Or Matt Asiata?) The other key is how much time the Redskins' offensive line -- sans Trent Williams -- provides Kirk Cousins. Everson Griffen often plays like a man possessed (see: the Week 8 game footage). #MINvsWAS

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Packers' run defense has been stout all season -- well, minus getting road-graded by the Cowboys a few weeks back. How will the unit fare against DeMarco Murray -- and potentially a hope-he-stays-out-of-harms-way-in-pregame-warmups Derrick Henry? Tennessee struggled to unwind Murray on those north-south runs he thrives on out of the dot last week. It's strength on strength, as Green Bay still boasts the top run defense in the league, while the Titans' rushing offense has been top-shelf, as well (144.2 rush yards per game, third in NFL). Think Aaron Rodgers will take advantage of this Tennessee secondary, provided he has time to throw. He leads the league in touchdown throws on third down. The Titans' offense on third down? 47.9 conversion rate, third-best in the NFL. But that's with the strong ground game. Don't count on Marcus Mariota routinely winning third-and-8s. #GBvsTEN

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

It's damn near impossible to think about this matchup without harkening back to a top-five game in NFL history: the 1981 AFC divisional playoff bout. If you are not familiar, Chargers at Dolphins was an all-timer. It featured overtime, a Hall of Fame tight end catching 13 balls and also blocking a game-winning field-goal attempt, a hook-and-lateral to Tony Nathan to help Miami come back from a 24-0 first-quarter deficit and way more than I can cover in this brief blurb. How well the modern-day Chargers cover Sunday could be the deciding factor, as the run defense has been stout in recent weeks against the likes of DeMarco Murray, Devontae Booker, Devonta Freeman and C.J. Anderson. Ryan Tannehill can't provide San Diego with three turnovers à la Marcus Mariota. #MIAvsSD

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

On Wednesday's episode of "NFL Fantasy Live," I was asked to provide a fantasy projection for Colin Kaepernick. Eight-point-two. That's the best that I can do. The best that you can do, the best that you can do, is fall in love ... with the Cardinals' defense. Even sans Tyrann Mathieu, I think we will see a product closer to that Sunday night knuckleball against the Seahawks than the subpar performance in Carolina. Anticipate David Johnson getting a serious workload early and often Sunday in Arizona. The 49ers should be well-prepared, as the defense watched the Saints run for 248 yards last week. Avert your eyes, NaVorro Bowman. We want you to get well. #SFvsAZ

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

These two franchises have faced each other in three Super Bowls (X, XIII, and XXX), while their recent history has been stellar, too. In 2004, Ben Roethlisberger delivered in the fourth quarter, besting the Parcells-led Cowboys as a rookie. The Steelers prevailed again in 2008 when Deshea Townsend pick-sixed Tony Romo late. That close call came en route to the Steelers' sixth Super Bowl title. In 2012, Romo played lights-out in an OT win at JerryWorld. I am having a hard time going against Dak Prescott and a balanced attack versus Pittsburgh's 24th-ranked defense (13th in scoring, though). That said, Le'Veon Bell must be tired of hearing about how lovely Ezekiel Elliott is. The key matchup? Big Ben vs. a depleted Dallas secondary. #DALvsPIT

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

Supposedly the Patriots didn't have full-time plans for Jamie Collins. OK, cool. So who performs his various duties now that he's in Cleveland? Who is going to check Jimmy Graham, or occasionally rush the passer in his stead? The reason I ask is because Graham is heating up, while Russell Wilson still seems not as mobile as we're used to. I trust New England here, though. The Pats, after all, are 96-24 in Weeks 9-16 since 2001. Good grief. Before we get too far from the Collins trade ... Do you think Bill Belichick offered Malcolm Butler in a trade with the Seahawks? That's just mean.#SEAvsNE

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

To put it bluntly, this is the Bengals' season. So Adam Jones and the rest of the secondary must be on point. Dre Kirkpatrick will have to win his one-on-one battles, especially if the Giants move Odell Beckham Jr. around to get him loose. The attention the Eagles paid to OBJ last week allowed Sterling Shepard and crew to get going. Somewhat under the radar, New York's defense has acquitted itself well this year. Andy Dalton can't hold the ball for 18 seconds looking for 18 downfield. Despite the Bengals' (regular-season) success during Dalton's career, in prime-time games, the Red Rifle has fired as accurately as Dick Cheney. #CINvsNYG


Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

The Browns might win this game. Don't laugh that away. No cackling either, numbnuts. While realizing Cleveland got run over by Zeke and the fellas last Sunday, Baltimore couldn't buy a 2-yard run versus the Steelers. So don't look for Kenneth Dixon to put up two hundy on "Thursday Night Football." In theory, Jamie Collins has enjoyed additional time to pick up the defense, albeit in a short week. That said, the second-ranked Ravens defense will prevail easily if the Browns can't get Isaiah Crowell rolling (17 carries for 33 yards combined the last two weeks). Somebody besides Terrelle Pryor has to help out Cody Kessler. Barnyard Dog, where art thou? (Unscoring for my fantasy team.)

Side note: You have my pick for Thursday night, but be sure to make yours, as well. Go to to vote for "Which Can Will Win?" or use #BrownsCan or #RavensCan on Twitter.

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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