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From the Press Box: Week 10

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From the Press Box: Week 10

I'm going to try and avoid any more Miami mess in this column.

Think of it as my early Christmas gift to you.

It's not that I don't think it's important—I do for a lot of reasons. It's not because I don't think that—regardless of the final facts—bullying and the concept of "being a man" isn't an important conversation for our country. Both are.

No, it's because every day this story gets weirder and weirder and every day more "facts" come out.

So we'll talk about it maybe in a week or so because then—possibly—we may have a full picture.

Or we may not.

However there are a lot of heads talking—I've done multiple radio spots and everyone spent a ton of time on it so that includes me—and the target keeps moving as do the facts. So we keep talking about the same thing over and over and it applies less and less.

And now I've spent 155 words or so on something I didn't want to throw 25 on.

Moving on!

Thursday Night Lights

You can get my take on last night's game at my personal website, but I have a few more things I didn't get to in that article.

The Vikings defense is still a mystery to me. It can play very well when it wants to, but like my eight year old, can shut down at any time with no warning in the middle of important tasks.

They played well in the last twenty yards of the final drive last night. However, most of the game saw them allow Washington to march up and down the field almost at will. That's been the case all season as the Vikings allow teams to score on almost every drive and if you want a real indication of why the Vikings are failing this season, it's that.

Sure, the offense is a mess—but the defense has been inconsistent in a way it wasn't last year and that may be the larger difference.

Also, Adrian Peterson is a beast.

image via Arif Hasan of SB Nation's Daily Norseman and Bleacher Report

Given that Peterson is trucking Brandon Meriweather, I thought that might bring a smile to your face.

Insanely, while the Vikings are out of the division race, Washington is not. As I mention in my wider game review, if Dallas and Philly lose (both possible, maybe even likely) they remain two games out of the division lead.

 

The Grind of Coaching is a Grind

No, this isn't a treatise on my adventures as a Pop Warner coach.

It is a request that we stop and appreciate what a tough workload NFL coaches have.

We got a sharp reminder last weekend when Denver Broncos head coach John Fox entered a hospital and then had heart surgery, while Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed at halftime, suffering what some reports have called a 'mini-stroke.'

Of course, we all wish them both a speedy recovery, but it does really bring into focus the wear and tear—the tremendous stress—that job entails.

Long hours, little sleep, heavy stress, probably some terrible eating habits—that's going to hurt you long term.

It's no wonder guys like Herm Edwards, Bill Cowher and John Gruden either have no interest, or are very choosy, about coaching again.

So next time you want to scream at Mike McCarthy, throw things at Rex Ryan or shake Bill Belichick (who would grunt and probably ignore you) consider that these are still human beings, in a very stressful environment.

I'm not saying don't scream at them, mind you. Half the time they deserve it.

Just before you get too out of control, remember these are people just like you.

 

Pickalicious

Last week did not go well—although in the case of the Jets beating the Saints, I'll take it—with the overall week ending up 6-7 for my picks, which brings me to a 76-57 record.

That's not bad.

I'm already down 0-1 because Minnesota beat Washington last night but hopefully that doesn't keep going this week.

Here's my picks from my most confident (which I actually did OK with last week) to my least (which bore out last week that I should have no confidence in anything).

Denver over San Diego

If this were a pick with a point spread, I might lean towards the Chargers (Denver is favored by 7 and I think it'll be closer) but straight up, this is going to be Denver. Rivers and the Chargers offense has been playing well, but the Broncos just have too many weapons.

Seattle over Atlanta

Here's another one which could be closer with the spread but straight up, Atlanta just isn't good enough offensively or defensively to hang with Seattle, even with the Seahawks' issues in the red zone.

Indianapolis over St. Louis

After picking two road dogs, I have the home team here. Zac Stacy could have a field day and the Rams play tough defense, but the Colts' offense looked fine last week and I expect a better defensive effort out of them as well.

Tennessee over Jacksonville

I'm most interested to see if Denard Robinson gets a lot of run this weekend for Jacksonville. Maurice Jones-Drew is coming up for a contract and the Jaguars have to decide what needs to stay and go next year. Insofar as this game, Tennessee has much more on both sides of the ball than the Jags.

Detroit over Chicago

I actually have gone back and forth on this since Jay Cutler was announced as playing this weekend, but we don't know which Cutler we'll get. Both teams have great offensive weapons and defenses with question marks. I had Detroit before Cutler's return and I'm going to stick with it, even with the Bears at home.

Baltimore over Cincinnati

Two weeks ago we thought Cincy was the real deal but an Andy Dalton meltdown and a Geno Atkins season-ending injury later, we're not so sure. The Ravens are still not all that good, but at home they're going to play tough and I think the Bengals are going to have a hard time on both sides of the ball though I love A.J. Green and Marvin Jones against some smallish corners.

Arizona over Houston

The Cardinals aren't good—are the Texans worse? The answer seems to be yes. Arizona will be able to throw some different looks at rookie Case Keenum and seem to have learned they can win by feeding rookie Andre Ellington the ball. Watch them throw the ball 75 times and prove me wrong now.

Carolina at San Francisco

Here's your upset of the week! It's going to be close and it's going to be a fistfight but I think the Carolina defense is going to give the Niners offense fits. Carolina will create the one big turnover at the right time and stun the crown at the Stick.

And now a run of home dog picks....

Pittsburgh over Buffalo

Almost changed this one as well with EJ Manuel coming back and the Steelers being brutally bad. Ultimately though I think it's going to be a rough first game back while Manuel gets his feet back under him.

Green Bay over Philadelphia

Yes, even without Aaron Rodgers. That's not to say Seneca Wallace will be good. I just believe Eddie Lacy will run the ball a lot and Jordy Nelson will bail Wallace out. Big question: Can Dom Capers adjust the defense at halftime or do we see another stagnant game plan?

New York Giants over Oakland

This is Oakland so, as good as the Giants defense is playing, it should be a walk in the park. What's truly frightening here is just how much of a chance the Giants have of making the playoffs if they play half-competent football. They play Okaland at home, welcome an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay and then an inconsistent Dallas (current front runner in the NFC East), head to Washington and San Diego (both inconsistent teams), will probably lose to Seattle at home, go to Detroit (probably a loss) and play Washington at home.

Very, very winnable games across the board, save for Seattle. Even against Detroit, they have a punchers chance. That's how the Giants roll—look like crap in season, sneak into the playoffs and then win the whole damned thing.

New Orleans over Dallas

I should feel better about this game given they have Darren Sproles back and Jimmy Graham is a monster. Dallas has played relatively badly lately and New Orleans is going to be angry—at home—after a tough loss to the Jets.

Tampa Bay over Miami

I would not be shocked here if I was wrong because Miami has circled the wagons, or at least the players have. So they could come out with a chip on their shoulders and split some heads. Tampa has their own issues, after all. Still, I'll take Tampa at home coming off a tough loss to Seattle.

It's a toss-up though, make no mistake.

Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at FootballGuys.com, the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com and an NFL Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.

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