Week 10 Upset Alert; Trouble Brewing For Saints, Falcons, Vikings

Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees Photo Credit: Brook Ward-Under Creative Commons License

As a life-long green and yellow bleeding ’til the day I die Packers fan, it was easy to let my heart get in the way of my Monday night prediction while writing the week 9 upset alert. Heading into the week I was optimistic that the Packers would correct some things and come out clicking following their bye.

Boy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Backup quarterback, Brett Hundley, once again failed to move the chains and put the offense in any sort of rhythm. Also, it was clearly evident that Hundley isn’t the only problem this struggling team must overcome. That Packer defense is terrible, absolutely vomit-worthy. Atrocious. And because of that, I will no longer be featuring the team I root for with all of my heart in these predictions going forward. I let my heart get ahead of my brain last week and I will not let that happen again.

All-in-all, I still nailed 2 out of 3 games on my upset alert in week 9, which puts me at 5-1 over the last 2 weeks combined. I look forward to getting back on track in week 10 and pulling out the broomstick. I’m going for the sweep baby!

Week 10, Upset Alert

Minnesota (-2) at Washington

I have no clue how Washington is a home underdog in this game as they’re coming off a very impressive last-second victory in Seattle last Sunday. The Vikings do sport the better record, but personally, I’m taking Kirk Cousins over Case Keenum every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Now that you know my prediction, let me dive into the analysis.

The eight opponents the Washington Redskins have faced this year combined for a 42-27 overall record. That includes a win against the 0-9 San Francisco 49ers. Think about that. Their four losses are impressive: Twice to the Eagles, one to Dallas, and Kansas City on the Road. All of those teams I would consider a powerhouse. And by powerhouse I mean a team I believe has a legit shot of beating any team in the league on any day. Currently, I am not convinced that the Vikings belong in that conversation.

Yeah, Minnesota does sit at 6-2 atop the NFC North, but who have they played? Their opponents combined record to this point is 29-36.  They have yet to beat a team with a winning record outside of a week 1 match-up with the Saints. But let’s be real, that was week one. Outside of the London game against the Browns, the Vikings have only played 2 other road games. They got smoked in Pittsburgh back in week 2 and BARELY edged out the Bears in week 5. By the way, that was rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky‘s 1st career start.

The Vikings do own a top-10 defense in just about every category but guess what, so does Seattle. And Washington just went into that place, a place where nobody wins (42-8 since Russell Wilson became starting QB), and pulled off a victory.

Kirk Cousins is playing as well as any other quarterback in the league right now and if Washington can get healthy across the board, I would peg them as dangerous as anybody.

My Prediction: Washington is full of confidence after last week and the Vikings aren’t as good as their record indicates. I like the ‘Skins at home in this one.

Washington 27 Minnesota 20

Cowboys at Falcons (-3)

Once again, this one confuses me. Atlanta is the home team here, I get it. Also, news broke about Ezekiel Elliot‘s suspension on Thursday and he will not play Sunday. However, the Falcons have lost 4 of their last 5 games and failed to eclipse 17 points in all 4 of those losses. Zeke or no Zeke, Atlanta will need to score a hell of a whole lot more than 17 points if they plan on even competing the slightest bit with Dallas.

Dallas is clicking on all cylinders right now having scored at least 28 points in 6 straight games. During that span, the Cowboys are averaging 169 rushing yards per game! Yeah, that was with Elliot in the lineup, but Elliot isn’t doing that all by himself. This offensive line is full of all-pros and first round draft picks that make Zeke’s job a little easier. Will they have the same run game without him? No, but will they still be able to run the ball effectively? Absolutely. Also, they still have and rely on an exceptional 2nd-year signal caller back there by the name of Dak Prescott. He hasn’t done too much lately other than throw 13 TDs to 2 INTs with a passer rating of 110.6 over the last 6 games. Balling, to say the least.

In the Cowboys 5 wins they’re giving up 13.2 pts/game, and no team has scored more than 19 on them. However, in all three of their losses they have given up at least 35! The good news for Dallas is the Falcons have yet to score 35 once all year.

This Dallas defense is no joke and these dudes are out there getting after it as of late. They rank 1st in the NFC in sacks at 3.4 sacks/game. The pass rush is led by Demarcus Lawrence and David Irving, who have combined for 16.5 sacks thus far. Not to mention, Irving has only played in 4 games! Over the last 3, Dallas also leads the NFL in turnover margin at +2.0/game.

My Prediction: The Falcons are still struggling and have yet to beat a team with a record over .500 this year. Dallas is rolling, Zeke or no Zeke, Cowboys win.

Dallas 28 Atlanta 23

New Orleans (-2 ½) at Buffalo

This game just feels like a trap game for the Saints. They are playing lights out and have won 6 in a row as they roll into Buffalo. At first glance, one would think the Saints will stomp all over the Bills. However, the Bills are essentially coming off a mini-bye week, they’re playing at home in the cold Buffalo air, and the Saints are just 1-2 against teams with a winning record this year.

First-year head coach Sean McDermott has done a fine job with the Bills so far, especially when you consider all the personnel changes this team has gone through. Even after last weeks hiccup in New York, he still has the Bills in prime position to make a run for the postseason. This is a huge game to start the 2nd half of the season for Buffalo and one advantage coach McDermott might have going for him here is familiarity. As defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers the last few years he has had an opportunity to scout and play this Saints team twice a year, which could come in handy.

When you think of the Buffalo Bills, usually you think of LeSean McCoy running the rock and this team playing hard-nosed physical football. However, Tyrod Taylor is quietly putting together his most productive and efficient season as a passer in his career. This week, he will have a few extra weapons to play with as well. On top of getting Charles Clay back this week, newcomer Kelvin Benjamin looks to make his Buffalo debut. Add in Jordan Matthews and Deonte Thompson and this group is as dynamic as any group of playmakers in the league.

The Saints, meanwhile, have unleashed the ultimate x-factor in their offense with electrifying rookie RB Alvin Kamara. He is an excellent complement to power back Mark Ingram and they form one of the leagues top 1-2 duo’s. You’ll see Kamara line up all over the place – In the backfield, out wide, in the slot, sometimes even in tight. He’s averaging 11 touches and 81.5 scrimmage yards/game with 5 TDs on the season. When he is on the field the defense must account for him at all times. That often leads to them tipping their coverage and assignments allowing Drew Brees to do what he does best, exploit the weakness. At age 38, Brees may be getting old but don’t get it twisted. He will absolutely shred you, especially if he knows pre-snap what coverage you’re going to play.

My Prediction: The Saints will receive a scare, but they will rally in the 4th and find a way to win.

New Orleans 20 Buffalo 19