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AFC North Week Ten Predictions

Throwback Thursday: Receivers still made plays when defenders were allowed to defend
AFC North Week Ten Predictions
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Welcome to the AFC North weekly predictions!

 

Each week, our AFC North feature writers will list their picks for that week and be forced to explain why they voted as they did. Keep in mind that these picks are for entertainment purposes only, and in no way should be used to influence gambling or illegal activity, unless you’re smart enough to recognize that we know more than you because we publish things.

 

In week nine, The AFC North writers had mediocre 5-3 week, with yours truly being the only one who foresaw the massive upset from a team in complete disarray, no ground attack, and questionable offensive and defensive tactics. Fortunately for them, the opponent made highly questionable decisions throughout. But enough about the presidential race. I was also the only one to pick the Ravens, who haven’t closed out a 6o minute campaign in four weeks and barely did so Sunday (off the record, I didn’t really think either Trump or the Ravens would win).
 
In the other AFC North game, Dallas traveled to Cleveland and dismantled the Browns like no other team has this year, scoring five TDs in their first six drives. Michael Thompson’s weekly anti-Browns exaggerated score was nearly accurate this time around.
 

Week Ten Games:

 

Thursday:

Cleveland Browns (0-9) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-4), 8:25 pm, NFL Network, CBS local

Sunday:

Dallas Cowboys (7-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4), 4:25 pm, FOX

Monday:

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1)) @ New York Giants (5-3), 8:30 pm, ESPN

 
The AFC North begins its week of national spotlight games showcasing the .500 first place Ravens and their dysfunctional offense vs the reeling Browns coming off their worst performance of the season just four days earlier. The Ravens are 4-4 but could easily be 1-7 (or 7-1 to be fair). Whether close win or close loss, the Ravens have to be one of the five teams least exciting to watch. At least the Browns have potential play-makers on their team. Congratulations on the Thursday night selection, NFL Network!
 
Next, the Cowboys travel to Pittsburgh in the FOX national game of the week. Pittsburgh might have the most offensive talent in the NFL, but have yet to show it consistently this season. Which team will show up? The offense that looked Ravens-like in Philly or Miami, or the team that looked Falcons-like against the Skins, Chiefs, and Jets?
 

Finally, on Monday night the puzzling Bengals who may rank 6th in offense, but are just 21st in their ability to score (extremely non Kardashian-like) travel to New Jersey and play the perplexing 1-dimentional NY Giants with similar scoring issues.

 

The AFC North game of the week? It has to be Cowboys/Steelers as this rivalry heated up in to 1970s when big mean guys on steroids collided in 2 Super Bowls decided ironically by graceful catches and a good bounce here and there. They met in the SB again after the 1995 season, a game famous for Neil O’Donnell becoming Pittsburgh’s Bill Buckner. All-in-all, the two teams have met 31 times with the Steelers going 2-1 in Super Bowls, and the Cowboys 15-13 in the regular season.
 

On to the predictions!

 

Jack Crawford’s picks (16-12-1, 1-1 last week, Steelers w/Ben):
 
Browns @ Ravens
Those pesky Browns and their winless ways travel to Baltimore to take on the (shockingly) first-place Ravens, and while this may appear to be a mismatch from the season’s standings, things are much closer than they appear.
 
The Browns will have a full complement of receivers for rookie QB Cody Kessler, who seems to be grasping the speed of the NFL more each week. Expect them to attack the Ravens’ suspect secondary at every level.
 
The Ravens will most likely counter with a renewed emphasis on the pass rush in an attempt to rattle Kessler. We’ll most likely see a large dose of rushing from the Ravens, who will be anxious to control the clock from the start.
 
Browns 24, Ravens 27

 
Cowboys @ Steelers
For the Steelers, it’s all about repairing their offense quickly, which will hinge on QB Ben Roethlisberger improving from his subpar outing in Baltimore last week and for the running game to establish itself. Dallas’ defense, while solid, is weakest along the defensive line, and rushing yards are definitely attainable.
 
The Cowboys will run the ball often with standout rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott, which sets up one of the better play-action passing attacks in the league.
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Cowboys 31, Steelers 20
 
Bengals @ Giants
The Bengals are coming off a London-based bye week, and while they’ve probably recovered from jetlag, it’s anyone’s guess how they’ll fare in New Jersey. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has warned of impending personnel changes, so we may see a few roster alterations.
 
The Bengals’ offensive game plan will mostly resemble their typical one; rush often with resurgent RB Jeremy Hill, and work play-action to TE Tyler Eifert and WR A.J. Green. Sometimes, it actually works.
 
Bengals 30, Giants 24
 
 

Michael Thompson’s picks (20-8-1, 1-1 last week):
 
Browns@Ravens
As we head into the home stretch in search of the perfect season, the Ravens stand in our way, riding the momentum of their big win over the Steelers that vaulted them into a commanding division lead. This is a game of such importance that the NFL scheduled it for prime time viewing. However, if you must have an alternative this week, allow me to recommend 1990’s Troll 2, a movie so confident in its capacity for chills that the filmmakers knew they could call it Troll 2 without it featuring any trolls. Instead, it brought the fear with ‘nilbogs,’ vegetarian goblins that, despite living on a planet filled with plants of all varieties, opt to transform their human prey into plants so they can devour them. Other features of the film include a script written in English by a man who barely spoke the language, so the exposition provided can best be described as ‘muddled.’ Still, all things considered, a worthy alternative to watching this year’s roster of Cleveland Browns attempt to play football.
 
Browns 8, Ravens 38
 
Bengals @ Giants
A couple of weeks ago, the Bengals traveled all the way to England to tie a somewhat average NFC East team. The journey to East Rutherford is far less arduous, but the result might be less to their fans’ liking as the Giants continue to have another average season in the bland career of Eli Manning. Luckily for the Giants, the Bengals seem determined to demonstrate that no matter how average their opponents may be, they are even more average.
 
Bengals 21, Giants 24
 
Cowboys @ Steelers
Losers of 3 straight, the Steelers limp into Dallas a pitiful shell of the team that salsa’d and smoked its way into the 2016 campaign. Last week’s debacle was particularly grim, as rotund quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, apparently in protest to the pre-holiday season diet imposed upon him by his wife, managed less than 70 yards passing through the first three and half quarters of the game. Antonio Brown managed a late garbage-time touchdown against the Ravens before Boswell’s memorably inept attempt to hackey-sack an onside kick ended in somewhat predictable failure, so the receiver managed to avoid going three straight games without a reason to hump the air. Still, our heroes square off against a grim and joyless, and very large, Cowboys team that seems determined to prove its relevance after nearly twenty years of absence from the Superior Bowl. The Steelers capacity to ‘bring it’ in big games will be put to the test.
 
Steelers 21, Cowboys 27
 

 

Paul Johansson’s picks (16-12-1, 2-0 last week):
 
Browns @ Ravens
The Ravens are coming off their first game in four where they were able to hold on to a 10+ point lead and barely did so. Joe Flacco’s horrible game was masked by Mike Wallace’s yards after catch. Other than that, the offense again sputtered (putting it nicely), and the defense tired then nearly let a 21 point lead slip away at home.
 
This is the Browns best shot at an elusive win in 2016. They have had at least three near-wins slip away late, highlighted by the last time these teams played when a blocked extra point changed a 21-0 game to 20-2, starting the landslide. However, that was WITH Ravens killer Josh McCown. This one is without so I don’t see the Browns scoring much in this one. Both teams struggle to close games, but the Browns may not be able to open this one.
 
Browns 10, Ravens 23
 
Bengals @ Giants
If this game were in Cincinnati, Bengals win. It’s not. Both teams are beatable and self-destruct in the red-zone. The Bengals have much better balance on offense, but are surprisingly weak on defense this year.
 
Bengals 20, Giants 21
 
Cowboys @ Steelers
Steelers ended last week’s game strong, and probably gained some much needed confidence back on offense. On defense they could have sleepwalked and still stopped Joe Flacco and company. The Cowboys have had confidence all year. The Steelers best shot is if somehow the Cowboys start the mended Tony Romo. Otherwise Dak and company will give the Steelers defense something they didn’t see last week: an offense that can execute.
 
Steelers 20, Cowboys 30

 
 

Wernicke Korsakoff’s picks (16-12-1, 1-1 last week):
 
Browns @ Ravens
The Browns season is over? Over? Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain’t over now! Cause when the going gets tough.. The tough get goin’. Who’s with me?
*nobody follows*
 

Browns 20, Ravens 20
 
Bengals @ Giants
Eli be like what are you doing? No, Dalton, no… get off. Get off. See… you gotta make my bunk. See, we’re in New Jersey. The guy on the top bunk, he’s gotta make the guy on the bottom’s bunk… he’s gotta make his bed, all the time. See, it’s in the regulations. See, if we were in Cincinnati, I’d have to make yours. But we’re in New Jersey, so you gotta make mine. *shrugs his shoulders* Regulations.
 
Bengals 20, Giants 21
 
Cowboys @ Steelers
Cowboys!!Baby!
With the top let down and the sunshine shinin’
West Coast Chillin’ while the boone’s whinen
I want to be a Cowboy!Baby!
Ride At night cause I sleep all day!
Cowboy!Baby/I can smell a pig from a mile away
 
The chorus was the only part that doesn’t need to be bleeped, therefore, I change my pick to the Steelers.
 
Steelers 37, Cowboys 10

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