The halfway point of the NFL season has passed and time has flown by. The San Francisco 49ers are the last remaining unbeaten team and appear to be on a collision course for the No. 1 seed in the NFC (starting 8-0 certainly helps the 49ers get in position to clinch at least a first-round bye). The 49ers will be challenged in the second half of the season, playing six teams with a winning record, including three first-place teams in the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints. Not to mention they play the Seattle Seahawks twice and the Los Angeles Rams again, three games that will determine the fate of the NFC West.
San Francisco still has plenty to prove this year, starting with its "Monday Night Football" showdown against Seattle. Other notable games on the Week 10 slate include the Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Raiders at Oakland Raiders.
Let's get to those Week 10 picks!
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Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (4-4)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox, NFL Network)
Line: Chargers -1
The Chargers continue to be one of the hardest teams to figure out in the NFL. After a 2-5 start which Los Angeles looked dead in the water, the Chargers rolled off back-to-back victories against the Bears and Packers. Los Angeles has a revitalized offense that put up 442 yards in the first game since offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was fired, including a season-high 159 rush yards. Can they do the same against a Raiders defense that allows just 3.7 yards per carry and 92.5 rush yards a game (seventh in NFL)? Better bet the Raiders (136.4 yards a game, 4.8 yards per carry) run offense will do that against the Chargers run defense (4.2 yards per carry, 114.1 yards allowed). The Chargers don't allow that many pass yards (208.7, fifth in NFL), but allow 7.4 yards per pass (24th). The Raiders and their 7.8 yards per pass (sixth in NFL) can expose that as well.
Pick: Raiders 26, Chargers 24
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Ravens -10
There's no way the Bengals can beat the Ravens right? Not with the mismatches Baltimore provides across the board. Baltimore leads the NFL with 5.5 yards per carry and 204.9 rush yards per game while Cincinnati is dead last in yards per carry (5.1) and rush yards allowed (177.6). The Ravens can force the ball on the ground and gash Cincinnati all day long with Lamar Jackson, mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. Cincinnati also has rookie Ryan Finley making his first career start off a bye, looking to give life to an offense that is averaging 15.5 points and 4.9 yards per play, both 29th in the NFL. Baltimore also allows just 83 yards on the ground (second in the NFL) while Cincinnati is last in the league in rushing (59.5 yards per game). This is going to be a long day for the Bengals.
Pick: Ravens 35, Bengals 14
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Buffalo Bills (6-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Browns -3
The Browns give you no reason to pick them. What seemed to be a win against the Broncos last week resulted in Brandon Allen throwing two long touchdowns against them and facing a 14-3 deficit they couldn't overcome en route to their fourth straight loss. Now the Browns get to face a Bills defense that is still third in the league in points (16.4), yards (296.2) and yards per play (4.9) allowed. The Bills average 129.4 yards on the ground (11th) while the Browns allow 141.2 rushing yards (29th), so Buffalo doesn't need Josh Allen to make plays with his arm. Baker Mayfield and his league-leading 12 interceptions is also a problem against a Bills defense that has 47 pass breakups and six interceptions on the year. This could be a trap game for Buffalo, but Cleveland has been collapsing by the week.
Pick: Bills 20, Browns 19
Detroit Lions (3-4-1) at Chicago Bears (3-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Bears -2.5
One of the trickiest games to pick of the weekend when looking at the numbers, but the Bears are another team that is on the verge of collapsing based on how anemic their offense is. Chicago is 30th in yards per play (4.5) and hasn't put up over 25 points in any game this year except against the Redskins (which are 1-7). The Bears are 31st in the NFL at 5.4 yards per pass and their run game isn't any better averaging 3.6 yards per carry (28th in NFL). The Lions are getting a career year from quarterback Matthew Stafford (2,499 yards, 19 TD, 5 INT), but are averaging just 3.7 yards per carry and have Kerryon Johnson out until at least December. As good as the Bears defense is, they allow 6.2 yards per pass (eighth in the NFL) and the Lions average 8.1 yards per pass (fourth in NFL). The Lions should challenge the Bears secondary throughout the afternoon, especially since Mitchell Trubisky doesn't seem able to get yards against a pass defense that allows 288.4 yards per game (30th in NFL).
Pick: Lions 24, Bears 21
New York Giants (2-7) at New York Jets (1-7)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Giants -2.5
One of the New York teams' losing streaks will end this weekend (unless the Giants and Jets somehow tie). The Giants are mired in a five-game losing streak which quarterback Daniel Jones has thrown eight interceptions and fumbled seven times, all the fumbles have come in the last three games. The Jets are on a three-game losing streak with the last going to the previously winless Dolphins. Both teams don't really have an advantage in this one as the Jets lead the NFL in yards per carry allowed (3.1) which counters the Giants 4.7 yards per carry average (10th in NFL). The Jets are dead last in yards per pass (5.0) while the Giants are 30th in yards per pass allowed (8.4). Saquon Barkley has just 51 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown in the three games since he's returned from a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for four games earlier in the season, so there's the player the Jets run defense has to stop. The Giants should still find a way to get Barkley going in the passing game and get Jones going, since they don't have any major advantages in this one. Just hard to see the Jets (12.0 points) get 20 points to beat the Giants, which the NFC team can do.
Pick: Giants 21, Jets 14
Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Chiefs -3.5
Whether the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes or Matt Moore starting, they proved they can win with either one. Moore's performance against the Vikings (71.4%, 275 yards, TD) showed the Chiefs offense can still move the ball without Mahomes and potentially give the reigning MVP extra time to rest his knee. The Titans will need to feed Derrick Henry and the 18th ranked rush offense (100.8 yards per game) against a Chiefs rush defense that allows 139.6 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry (29th and 28th in NFL respectively). Kansas City has flaws on the defensive side of the ball, but the Chiefs are third in yards per pass (8.2) and second in yards per play (6.6), averaging 28 points per game. The Titans have scored 28 points just once this season (the season opener). Advantage Kansas City.
Pick: Chiefs 31, Titans 24
Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Buccaneers -4.5
The Cardinals gave the 49ers everything they could handle last week and had 10 days to get healthy at running back against a Buccaneers defense that is one of the worst in the NFL. David Johnson could return this week after resting for two games (knee, ankle), which would be a huge boost for an Cardinals offense that averages 5.0 yards per carry (fifth in NFL) against the No. 1 run defense in the Buccaneers (78.1 yards). The Cardinals can move the ball if Johnson is out and Kenyan Drake starts, but they'll need to outscore the Buccaneers through the air. Tampa allows 293.5 pass yards per game and teams average 40.8 passes against the Buccaneers, the highest in the NFL. The Buccaneers offense averages 28.8 points per game (fourth in NFL) and gets a Cardinals defense that allows 280.7 pass yards a game (Tampa is seventh in the NFL at 277.4 pass yards). The Cardinals can throw off the Buccaneers while the the Buccaneers can throw off the Cardinals. This game will be a shootout, but Kyler Murray has no interceptions and one fumble over the last five games. Jameis Winston has eight interceptions and seven fumbles in the same stretch. Bank on Murray not harming his team.
Pick: Cardinals 31, Buccaneers 30
Atlanta Falcons (1-7) at New Orleans Saints (7-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Saints -13
One of the biggest mismatches of the weekend as the Saints and Falcons square off for the first time this year (they meet again on Thanksgiving). The Saints should be getting Alvin Kamara back with Drew Brees as the Saints offense put up 510 yards in Brees' first game back two weeks ago ... and they're coming off a bye week. The Saints averaged 7.1 yards per play without Kamara and are facing a Falcons defense that is one of the worst in the NFL. Atlanta allows 31.2 points (30th in the NFL) and allows 53% of third down conversions, dead last in the league. The Saints convert 45.19% on third down (eighth in NFL) and were 7 of 12 in Brees' first game back. This game is going to be a rout.
Pick: Saints 38, Falcons 17
Miami Dolphins (1-7) at Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Colts -10.5
The Dolphins are coming of their first win of the season and the Colts are expected to start Brian Hoyer at quarterback for the second consecutive week, but this may be another one of the huge mismatches of the weekend. Even with Hoyer under center, the Colts average 129.8 rush yards per game (ninth in NFL) and the Dolphins allow 4.7 yards per carry and 150.8 yards per game (both in the bottom five of the league). Indianapolis was still able to run for 139 yards with Brissett out, so expect a balanced attack in this one. Hoyer threw for three touchdowns in his first reps with the first team, so what can he do against a Dolphins pass defense that allows 8.3 yards per pass and is tied for third in the NFL with 19 pass touchdowns allowed? The Dolphins are back to tanking mode in this one.
Pick: Colts 28, Dolphins 16
Los Angeles Rams (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Rams -3.5
The Steelers are a tough team to figure out after they won three consecutive games and were an overtime loss away from winning five straight. Pittsburgh doesn't wow anyone statistically on offense, but the Steelers are a top-10 defense by combining the points (21.1), yards 335.5) and yards per play allowed (5.1). Their 2.8 takeaways a game are also second in the NFL, a good sign against a Rams offense that gives away the ball 1.5 times a game. The matchup in this one will be the Rams pass offense (287.2 yards per game, fifth in NFL) against the Steelers pass defense (228 yards allowed, 10th in NFL). The Steelers may have James Conner (shoulder) this weekend, which they will need against a Rams defense that allows just 3.9 yards a carry. Pittsburgh has also allowed just eight sacks this year, fewest in the NFL. The Rams are in the top-15 in the league with 23 sacks. The Steelers being at home gives them a shot, but with a depleted running game, the Rams have the advantage. Look for Los Angeles to test that secondary early and often.
Pick: Rams 27, Steelers 23
Carolina Panthers (5-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Packers -4.5
How will the Packers respond from playing arguably their worst game of the season, one which they gave up 159 rushing yards to the Chargers and (again) exposing the weakness in their defense. The challenge doesn't get easier this week as Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers run offense comes to town, a unit that is third in the NFL averaging 5.1 yards per carry and seventh in the league averaging 132.9 yards per game. McCaffrey is having an MVP-type season with 1,244 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in eight games, so the Packers run defense that allows 127.7 yards and 4.7 yards per carry (25th in NFL) have to step it up and slow down the one player that makes Carolina's offense go. The Packers can run off the Panthers too (5.1 yards per carry allowed, 31st in NFL), but they have to commit to the run with Aaron Jones. Carolina allows just 6.1 yards per pass (4th in NFL), so running the ball will be the key to scoring off the Panthers. Hard to bank on Green Bay stopping McCaffrey, who feats on poor run defenses. When McCaffrey gets 100 rushing yards, the Panthers are 4-0 in Kyle Allen starts. They'll go to 5-0 in the upset.
Pick: Panthers 26, Packers 21
Minnesota Vikings (6-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Line: Cowboys -3
The Cowboys will get the opportunity to prove they belong with the best teams in the NFC and not beat up on the bad teams, and they have the talent to compete for the Super Bowl. The Vikings get another opportunity to prove they can beat an over .500 team (looking at you Kirk Cousins) and prove they actually are one of the best teams in the NFC. The Vikings average 6.2 yards per play and average 153 rushing yards per game (third in NFL). Dallas's defense will test Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison as the Cowboys allow just 97.2 rushing yards per game (11th in NFL), but 4.2 yards per carry. The Cowboys offense will test the Vikings defense as Dallas leads the NFL in yards per game (436.8) and yards per play (6.7). Minnesota allows 95.8 rush yards per game (ninth in NFL) in facing a Cowboys offense that averages 5.0 yards per carry and 149.2 rushing yards a game (fourth in NFL). Both of these teams are evenly matched, but the Vikings secondary will have to stop a Cowboys offense that is first in the league with 8.4 yards per pass. For as good as the Cowboys are, the combined record of the teams they beat are 11-32 with the team having the lone winning record being the Eagles. The Vikings literally have the same issue (only winning team they beat was the Eagles). This game is a toss up, but the Vikings are more battle tested than Dallas. They'll finally win a big game.
Pick: Vikings 28, Cowboys 24
Seattle Seahawks (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (8-0)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: 49ers -6
The 49ers are going to get their toughest challenge of the season against the Seahawks, the start of a back half of their schedule that's more daunting than the first. The 49ers arguably have the best defense in the NFL, allowing a league-low 241 yards per game while allowing just 138.1 pass yards per game (also first in NFL) and a league-low 31.25% of opponents to score touchdowns in the red zone. That will be tested against a Seahawks offense that converts 67.57% of their trips into the red zone, fifth in the NFL. Seattle can run the ball (131.7 yards per game) off San Francisco (102.9 yards allowed, 4.7 yards per carry), but can the Seahawks 22nd-ranked defense stop the 49ers third-ranked offense? The 49ers average 29.4 points and run for 171.1 yards per game (second in NFL). The 49ers can throw the ball for 7.7 yards a pass (seventh in NFL), a huge advantage against a pass defense that allows 278.1 pass yards a game (28th in NFL). The Seahawks will have trouble stopping the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan's creative play calling, even if they have the offense to score off them. This isn't the "Legion of Boom."
Pick: 49ers 30, Seahawks 21
KERR'S RECORD (Week 9): 7-7
KERR'S RECORD (Overall): 84-50-1 (.622 win percentage)