We have finally reached my least favorite week of the year and it has nothing to do with the NFL. The first week after turning the clock back is always a nightmare and that’s mostly because I have a toddler who is now waking up at 5:30 a.m. If I get all my picks wrong this week, that’s why. The government needs to ban time changes and/or clocks. I’m going to have to talk to my toddler about clock management, and to be honest, someone probably also needs to have that conversation with the Cowboys because their clock management was pretty ugly near the end of the game against the Eagles.
Alright, I’m done talking about clocks, let’s get to the picks. Actually, before we get to the Week 10 picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. Also, I’m in charge of the NFL newsletter here at CBSSports.com and if you want me invading your inbox five days per week, then you should definitely sign up. If you want to subscribe, all you have to do is click here and enter your email address. If you do that, it will instantly make us best friends, and just so you know, I’ve already let all my current best friends know that they might be replaced this week. OK, I’m going to stop stalling, let’s get to the picks.
NFL Week 10 picks
Carolina (1-7) at Chicago (2-7)
8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime)
On paper, this is easily the worst game of Week 10 and possibly the worst game ever. I’m not even sure who the audience is supposed to be here: Panthers fans don’t want to watch the Panthers play anymore, Bears fans don’t want to watch the Bears play, and certainly, no one wants to watch them play each other.
Actually, there is one reason to watch and that’s mostly because the Bears are in first win-win situation in NFL history: They win if they win and they even win if they lose and that’s all because of the NFL Draft.
The Bears will be getting Carolina’s first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which means if the Panthers lose on Thursday, then Chicago will take one step closer toward possibly getting the first overall pick. On the other hand, if the Panthers win, that’s not the worst thing, either, because the Bears also have their own first-round pick in 2024 and their draft positioning will improve if they lose this game. The Bears can help their draft position by winning and they can help their draft position by losing. So which one is going to happen?
After watching Bryce Young play this year, I’m not sure I can pick the Panthers to win another game this season. Not only has he struggled, but he’s been particularly bad on the road. In three road games, the Panthers have gone 0-3 and Young has thrown four interceptions while averaging just 203.3 passing yards per game. Also, I feel like D.J. Moore is going to be out for revenge. The former Panthers receiver was traded to the Bears in the deal that gave Carolina the No. 1 overall pick, which allowed them to draft Young. Moore has already had three games this year where he went over 100 yards and I won’t be surprised if he adds another one to the tally on Thursday.
I’m not sure who the Bears’ quarterback is going to be just yet — Tyson Bagent has been starting, but Justin Fields recently returned to practice after missing three games due to a thumb injury — but I’m starting to think it might not matter. The Panthers defense can’t stop the run — they’ve surrendered the fifth most rushing yards per game this year — and the Bears are running over everyone. They’re averaging 135.3 yards per game on the ground, which is the fourth-best number in the NFL heading into Week 10. That seems like a recipe for disaster for the Panthers. The pick: Bears 20-13 over Panthers If you want a more analytical approach to your NFL picks, then I highly suggest that you check out the SportsLine Projection Model, which has been on fire this year. Check it out if you want to know which side to bet for every game in Week 9.
Indianapolis (4-5) vs. New England (2-7) in Germany
9:30 a.m. ET (NFL Network)
I never thought I’d type these words, but I think Bill Belichick might actually be on the hot seat. His coaching tree is on fire, his team can’t win games and “The Patriot Way” is fading into oblivion. His decision to move on from Tom Brady has proven to be one of the worst personnel decisions in NFL history, the team can’t draft and the one thing that has always been good under Belichick — his defense — is even failing him. In Week 9, they lost to a team that wasn’t even trying to win. The Commanders waved the white flag on the season at the trade deadline when they decided to trade away two of their defensive stars, but they still managed to beat the Patriots.
Things are so bad in New England that Patriots fans are convinced that Robert Kraft and his son might be ready to make a move and I’m not sure I disagree, because they definitely looked disgusted during the second half of the team’s loss to the Commanders. I’m not sure what they said there, but here’s what they need to tell Belichick, “You either retire a hero or you coach long enough to see yourself get fired.” If you’re wondering whether I took a quote from Harvey Dent and modified so that it fit Belichick’s situation, the answer is yes. The good news for Belichick is that I don’t think he’s going to have to worry about getting fired this week. He has two big things working in his favor heading into this game. For one, it’s being played in Germany and I think that actually gives the Patriots an advantage. Belichick has never lost in Europe (He’s 3-0) and I’m guessing that’s because his rigid scheduling actually comes in handy when the Patriots play overseas. The other advantage for Belichick is that the Colts will have Gardner Minshew at quarterback. Although Minshew has started 41 games in his career, he’s never faced Belichick. No one is better than Belichick at confusing opposing quarterbacks and it’s never easy to face him for the first time. This would be like asking someone who’s played three games of chess in their life to beat Garry Kasparov (I promised the chess community I would make one chess reference this year, so there you go guys). The Colts are the team that started the Deflategate controversy, so it would be almost fitting if they were the team to end Belichick’s reign in New England, but I don’t think his reign is going to end. At least not this week.
The pick: Patriots 20-17 over Colts
San Francisco (5-3) at Jacksonville (6-2)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
I’m not saying the NFL should be put me in charge of flexing games, but I’m starting to think the NFL should put me in charge of flexing games. For some reason, the league decided to keep Jets-Raiders on Sunday night this week when they could have had this game instead. I would list all the reasons why this game is better, but that would take me nine hours to write and it would take you seven hours to read and we don’t have time for that. Let’s just all agree that this game would have been the best option for “Sunday Night Football.” On one hand, we have the hottest team in the NFL and that’s the Jaguars, who are currently on a five-game winning streak, which is the longest streak in the league right now. On the other hand, we have the 49ers, who haven’t won a game since Week 5 (Reminder: It’s Week 10). The 49ers’ biggest issue during their three-game losing streak has been injuries. Every time it looks like things can’t possibly get any worse, they somehow get worse. Left tackle Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel both missed multiple games during the losing streak. Also, Brock Purdy suffered a concussion in Week 7 and he hasn’t been the same quarterback since then.
The Jaguars and 49ers are both coming off a…