Pete Prisco's NFL Week 10 Picks: Falcons upend Cowboys; Broncos can't pull upset

Desperation can sometimes make picking games a tough thing to do.

Take last week. The Washington Redskins, with four of their five starting offensive linemen out, went to Seattle and beat a Seahawks team that seemed to be rolling.

Why? Washington's season was on the line.

This week, two teams we expected to be good before the season, the Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos, are facing off against good teams with desperation certainly in play.

The 4-4 Falcons play host to the surging Dallas Cowboys, while the 3-5 Broncos will face the New England Patriots. Both Atlanta and Denver are in must-win situations.

That's why I am picking Atlanta, but I don't think the Broncos are good enough on offense to pull off an upset -- even with desperation as a motivator.

Now for the rest of the picks:

Seattle (5-3) at Arizona (4-4) 

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

The Cardinals won with Drew Stanton last Sunday at San Francisco, but it's going to be a lot tougher here. The Seattle defense is much better and playing well – except for a late-game touchdown last week to the Redskins. Russell Wilson and the offense need to get back on track here. I think they do. It will be ugly, but Seattle takes it. 

Pick: Seahawks 19, Cardinals 16

New Orleans (6-2) at Buffalo (5-3)  

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

The Saints have won six straight because of their defense, which is a good sign when a team is on the road. Buffalo was bad the last time out in losing to the Jets and I think the Saints defense will get the best of the Buffalo offense here. The Saints win a seventh straight.

Pick: Saints 23, Bills 20

Green Bay (4-4) at Chicago (3-5) 

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

The Packers have offensive issues in a big way without Aaron Rodgers. But the defense didn't pick up the slack against the Lions. They will do so this week against the Bears. Neither team is great on offense, which will keep the score down. Bears take it. 

Pick: Bears 16, Packers 13

Cleveland (0-8) at Detroit (4-4) 

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Lions were impressive Monday night beating the Packers, and that could be the start of a roll. The Browns don't have enough to ruin it, either. Matt Stafford keeps it going with another big day, even on a short week. 

Pick: Lions 28, Browns 10

Pittsburgh (6-2) at Indianapolis (3-6) 

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Colts are coming off a victory at Houston, while the Steelers are coming off a bye. At the top of their game, the Steelers might be the most complete team in the league. I think they show it here against a Colts team that isn't nearly as good. 

Pick: Steelers 30, Colts 17

Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville (5-3) 

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Chargers are coming off a bye, while the Jaguars dominated the Bengals last week. The Chargers have won six straight against the Jaguars, including three on the road. That will change here because this Jacksonville defense is dominant and will win a low-scoring game for Jacksonville.

Pick: Jaguars 19, Chargers 13

New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay (2-6) 

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Bucs will be without Jameis Winston and receiver Mike Evans here, and it's not like they've been lighting it up anyway. That means Ryan Fitzpatrick is in at quarterback to face his former team. The Jets are one of the surprises of the league.  Coach Todd Bowles has done a really nice job with this group. It stays that way. Jets take it. 

Pick: Jets 20, Bucs 17

Cincinnati (3-5) at Tennessee (5-3)

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

The Bengals are playing back-to-back non-division road games, which is tough. They are also not playing very well. The Titans looked improved on defense against the Ravens, and I think that will carry over here. The Bengals aren't good enough on offense. 

Pick: Titans 23, Bengals 10

Minnesota (6-2) at Washington (4-4) 

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

The Redskins saved their season by winning at Seattle behind a great defensive performance. But their banged-up offensive line faces a still challenge in the Minnesota front. I think the Vikings will find a way again to win a game late with both defenses having good games.

Pick: Vikings 21, Redskins 20 

Houston (3-5) at Los Angeles Rams (6-2) 

4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Rams are 10-point favorites in this game. Think about that. Who saw that coming? But with all the Texans injuries and the Rams playing great offense, it makes sense. The Rams will light up the scoreboard again. Blowout. 

Pick: Rams 33, Texans 16

Dallas (5-3) at Atlanta (4-4)

4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

The Falcons might be playing for their playoff lives here. They are 4-4 and home for the first time in a month after three on the road. The Cowboys have righted things with three consecutive victories, but they might be without Ezekiel Elliott, pending his appeal of his suspension. I think the desperate Falcons find a way to win it. 

Pick: Falcons 27, Cowboys 23

New York Giants (1-7) at San Francisco (0-9) 

4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

This is the dog game of the day with one victory between the two teams. The Giants looked to have quit last week in the blowout loss to the Rams, so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back after a long trip to the West Coast. The 49ers lost to Drew Stanton last week. That's never good. Eli Manning will beat them too to keep them winless. 

Pick: Giants 27, 49ers 21

New England (6-2) at Denver (3-5) 

8:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

This would normally be a big-time game, but the Broncos haven't held up their end of it. They are struggling in a big way on offense and the defense has even regressed. The Patriots are coming off a bye, so they are rested. Tom Brady has struggled at times in Denver, and he might here. The Pats get the win, but the Broncos manage to keep it close.

Pick: Patriots 24, Broncos 20

Miami (4-4) at Carolina (6-3) 

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) 

The Dolphins lost a tough one against the Raiders and now face a tough road game at Carolina. They seemed to get the offense going against the Raiders, but this Carolina defense is much better. The Panthers also seemed improved on offense against Atlanta. The Panthers will win a close one.

Pick: Panthers 23, Dolphins 21

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

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