Antigonish - November 11, 2012 - Week 10 of the NFL has Pigskin picks sitting on a 23-38 record, with yet another 3 for 5 showing in Week 9. In week 10, to mix it up a bit, I am going to pick the first 5 games of the schedule, Thursdays game notwithstanding.
Oakland vs Baltimore - The Raiders are without star RB Darren McFadden, and have struggled to move the ball even when he had been healthy. Whether it is the zone blocking scheme employed by the Raiders, or simply a lack of talent on the O-line, the Raiders have not been able to run the ball consistently. Even more troubling has been their inability to stop the run, which will certainly be an issue vs Ray Rice and the Ravens. Look for the Ravens to roll in this one versus a Raiders squad that will be forced to rely too much on the aging Carson Palmer to be a factor in this game. Ravens win!
Denver @ Carolina - To all the doubters of QB Peyton Manning - beware! All he has done is set himself up as a strong mid-season candidate for league MVP, and in the process totally turn around a Denver Bronco team that has not really had an impact player at the QB position since John Elway (himself, as Manning, a former #1 overall draft pick of the Colts). While QB Cam Newton has an unquestionably stronger arm, and vastly faster legs, it is Manning's head for the game that sets him apart, and allows him to continue to dominate the league even after a serious neck injury cost him all of last season. While there are no easy games in the NFL, look for Manning to show young Newton a few lessons on what great QB's do, and for the Broncos to emerge as winners. Broncos win!
New York Giants @ Cincinatti - The Giants are coming off a big loss to Pittsburgh, and QB Eli Manning is battling whispers that he is battling arm fatigue. Toss in a secondary that has not performed up to playoff standards, and this would appear to be a game that has the makings of an upset, especially considering that WR AJ Green is one of the leagues best talents, and should be able to exploit the G-Men secondary. Not so fast, however - coach Tom Coughlin should have the Giants fired up after last weeks disappointing loss, and the Giants have star power at the WR spot themselves with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both healthy and ready to go. Giants win!
Tennessee @ Miami - This game sees red hot RB Chris Johnson paired with the return of QB Jake Locker versus a defence that is one of the best in the league. The Dolphins have been one of the surprise teams in the league, with QB Ryan Tannehill playing at a level few predicted, at least this soon. Look for the Dolphins to win a tight battle as Locker struggles to get back to form, and the Dolphins bottle up CJ2K. Dolphins win!
Detroit @ Minnesota - Minnesota is likely without one of the leagues top players as WR Percy Harvin battles injury. While RB Adrian Peterson remains one of the games best, QB Christian Ponder has struggled mightily, and his game is not likely to be helped with Harvin on the bench. Detroit, meanwhile, has found its mojo, as QB Matt Stafford is slowly bouncing back from a poor start to the season, and WR Calvin Johnson, while slowed somewhat by a knee injury, remains the leagues premier talent at WR. Factor in the tough, nasty Detroit defensive line, and we have a rough day for Ponder and the Vikes. Lions win!