If you dodged the survivor pool tsunami that washed away 52% of entries last week, congrats. Two of the top three picks lost in Dallas and Buffalo, both of which were double-digit favorites. There's quite a crowd on the two most popular teams this week, with 70% of entries on the Steelers and Ravens.
Before we delve into this week's picks, let's take a look at last week's:
Week 9 picks
Best Bets: 0-1 (YTD: 14-4)
Leans: 0-1 (YTD: 8-2)
Traps to avoid: 1 elimination avoided (YTD: 8)
On to the Week 10 picks!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5) at Washington Football Team
Tom Brady sports a 51-14 record following a loss and there's no better bounce-back spot for a pass-heavy team than Washington's secondary. The Bucs QB is the league leader in passing yards per game, touchdowns, and taking away gifted footballs from fans, while the Football Team ranks last in passing yards allowed per game and 31st in passing touchdowns surrendered. Tampa's offensive line has given up the second-fewest sacks this year, while Washington's pass rush suffered a huge blow when defensive end Montez Sweat fractured his jaw in a loss to the Broncos. Neither of the two teams Washington has beaten has a winning record, and their Week 1 loss to the Chargers is the only game that they've lost by less than a touchdown. Bruce Arians boasts a top-five rushing defense and will be facing a bottom-five passing offense. This is a plus matchup across the board for the Bucs.
Only 4.8% of entries are on Tampa this week. As the sixth-most popular pick, they're a great choice to lock in and hope that the 90% of entries on the top five teams go busto. The Bucs' future value lies in a Monday night home game next week versus the Giants and tilts against the Jets and Panthers (twice) to close out the season.
Buffalo Bills (-13) at New York Jets
Let's try this again, shall we? Bills quarterback Josh Allen has to go by "Josh Allen Jr." now after Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen administered a paternity test in Jacksonville last week to prove that he is the father. Buffalo committed a season-high 12 penalties for 118 yards and their offensive line allowed four sacks in Week 9 after only giving up eight through their first seven outings. It's possible that lineman Spencer Brown will return from injury to shore up the unit after missing a couple of games. The Bills may also be getting back breakout tight end Dawson Knox, as well. Both players returned to practice on Wednesday. If Brown is cleared to play, I'll have a lot more confidence in his unit's ability to protect Junior and grant him time to work against one of the league's worst pass defenses. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that Buffalo's defense played well last week (outside of the penalties), permitting just 218 total yards and nine points. If Jets QB Mike White wants to break my heart again, he's going to have to earn it.
Just a shade over 4% of picks are on the Bills in Week 10. They have a Week 15 home game vs. the Panthers and play the Jets at home in Week 18.
TRAPS TO AVOID
Pittsburgh Steelers (-8.5) vs. Detroit Lions
Detroit is one of the worst teams in the NFL, but the Steelers have a lot of problems of their own. They haven't beaten anyone by more than one score, the offensive line is terrible, they just lost deep threat Chase Claypool, the secondary is a mess, and Ben Roethlisberger is good for at least a couple "what are you doing??" plays per game. The fact that they're the most-owned team this week at nearly 39% makes them a clear fade for me.
Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
One of these defenses has allowed four quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards and the other has yet to allow that this year. The reality is that the Cowboys' defense is average. The Falcons aren't world-beaters but they're not exactly the perennial chumps we've seen in past seasons. A.J. Terrell is PFF's third-highest graded cornerback in 2021 and hasn't allowed a touchdown in man coverage during his two years in the the league. Matt Ryan is averaging 290 passing yards and 2.2 touchdowns over his last five games. Dallas has a great offense, but the Falcons aren't dead yet and I could see them upsetting the Cowboys on Sunday. If they do, 6% of entries will get knocked out.
Stats provided by PFF, Pro Football Reference, CBS Sports, and nfl.com.