NFL picks, Week 10: Can we really believe in the Jacksonville Jaguars?

After a 3-13 season in 2016, the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t seem like a team to watch in 2017. They lost 10 of their last 11 games. They fired Gus Bradley and promoted Doug Marrone with two games to go. And in the offseason they made the mystifying decision to pick up the fifth-year option on quarterback Blake Bortles’ rookie contract — for $19 million. In three seasons, Bortles looked like a classic tease at best and a failed No. 3 overall pick at worst.

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Bortles is better than he’s been, but hardly having a Jared Goff or Carson Wentz kind of breakout season. Yet the Jaguars are 5-3 — winning as many games in the first half of the season as they have in a full season since going 8-8 in 2010 — and tied with the Titans for first place in the AFC South. Despite losing leading receiver Allen Robinson, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 1, the Jaguars are ninth in the NFL in total offense and  and third in total defense. The Steelers (10th/fifth) are the only other team in the league in the top 10 on offense and defense. 

BEST BET
Chargers at Jaguars
Time: Noon.  Line: Jaguars by 3½. Total: 41.
Records (overall/ATS): Chargers 3-5/3-4-1; Jaguars 5-3/5-3.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, right, hands off to Leonard Fournette. | Bill Kostroun/AP

That the Jaguars are doing it with a solid running game behind rookie Leonard Fournette (130 carries, 596 yards, 4.6 avg., six TDs) and a defense that ranks No. 1 against the pass and has scored four touchdowns bodes well for sustaining their renaissance. They’re not doing it with mirrors.

It would be a long time coming. The Jaguars’ 22-74 (.229) record in the previous six seasons is the worst in the NFL. They’ve have 10 consecutive top-10 draft picks — the last six in the top-5. And they whiffed twice on quarterbacks, though Bortles might become a hit yet. And if he does, the Jaguars might take an even bigger step when Robinson returns next year.

Pick: Jaguars 30, Chargers 17.

Bears game pick

Packers at Bears

  • Time:  Noon., Fox-32
  • Line: Bears by 5½. Total: 38.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Packers 4-4/3-5; Bears 3-5/5-3.
  • Outlook: This movie looks very familiar.  The last time the Bears were feeling this good about themselves, they were coming off a bye, relatively healthy, and favored (-2½) at Tampa Bay in Week 10 last year — and laid a major egg in a 36-10 loss. They are 0-5 SU/0-5 ATS when favored under John  Fox. Are times a-changin’? Some of us will have to see it to believe it. 
  • Pick: Bears 23, Packers 20 (OT)

Top Plays of Week 10

Saints at Bills

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Saints by 3. Total: 46½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Saints 6-2/6-2; Bills 5-3/5-2-1.
  • Outlook: Bills crapped out vs. the Jets last time out, but at this point you can throw that game out as a non-predictive Thursday Night Football debacle. Bills are 4-0 SU/3-0-1 ATS at home. Saints have won six straight (6-0 ATS) and are 3-1 SU/ATS on the road.
  • Pick: Bills 30, Saints 23.

Texans at Rams

  • Time: 3:05 p.m., Ch. 2
  • Line: Rams by 11½Total: 46.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Texans 3-5/5-3; Rams 6-2/5-3.
  • Outlook: After a miserable start, Texans’ QB Tom Savage had a 103.5 rating in the fourth quarter vs. the Colts — is it possible he just needed some time to get going after starting on late notice last week? Probably not.
  • Pick: Rams 33, Texans 10.

Cowboys at Falcons

  • Time: 3:25 p.m., Fox-32
  • Line: Falcons by 3. Total: 50½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Cowboys 5-3/5-3; Falcons 4-4/2-6.
  • Outlook: With back-to-back impressive victories over the Redskins and Chiefs, the Cowboys seem to have found their rhythm after a slow start. Falcons seem to keep running into the wrong team at the wrong time.
  • Pick: Cowboys 34, Falcons 241.

The rest of Week 10 games

Packers at Bears

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Bears by 5½. Total: 38.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Packers 4-4/3-5; Bears 3-5/5-3.
  • Outlook: This movie looks very familiar. The last time the Bears were feeling this good about themselves, they were coming off a bye, relatively healthy, and favored (-2½) at Tampa Bay in Week 10 last year — and laid a major egg in a 36-10 loss. They are 0-5 SU/0-5 ATS when favored under John  Fox. Are times a-changin’? Some of us will have to see it to believe it. 
  • Pick: Bears 23, Packers 20 (OT).

Vikings at Redskins

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Vikings by 1. Total: 42½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Vikings 6-2/5-3; Redskins 4-4/3-5.
  • Outlook: Vikings have won four straight, their defense is kicking it into high gear — allowing 17 points or fewer in their last six games — and they’re coming off a bye week. Redskins are coming off a road win against the Seahawks, but that’s not as impressive as it used to be. 
  • Pick: Vikings 17, Redskins 13.

Browns at Lions

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Lions by 11½. Total: 43½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Browns 0-8/2-6; Lions 4-4/4-4.
  • Outlook: Big number for the Lions to cover, but this is a good matchup against a Browns team that is strong against the run and weak against the pass. Matt Stafford could have a field day against a Browns defense allowing opposing QBs a 103.0 rating. 
  • Pick: Lions 37, Browns 17.

Jets at Buccaneers

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Jets by 2½. Total: 43½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Jets 4-5/6-2-1; Buccaneers 2-6/1-6-1.
  • Outlook: Classic Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh McCown match-up creating all sorts of intrigue. Fitzpatrick, starting for injured Jameis Winston, was a four-year starter in Buffalo (20-33). McCown was a one-year starter in Tampa (1-10). Buc have lost 5 straight and are 0-6-1 in their last seven. 
  • Pick: Buccaneers 24, Jets 20.

Steelers at Colts

  • Time:  Noon.
  • Line: Steelers by 10. Total: 44.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Steelers 6-3/5-3; Colts 3-6/5-4.
  • Outlook: Colts have beaten only the 0-8 Browns, 0-9 49ers and the Texans without DeShaun Watson. Steelers are coming off a bye, but are 0-3 SU/ATS in their last 3 off the bye.
  • Pick: Steelers 31, Colts 17.

Bengals at Titans

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Titans by 4½. Total: 40½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Bengals 3-5/3-5; Titans 5-3/3-4-1.
  • Outlook: Marcus Mariota still searching for his 2016 form and could break out at any time. Bengals’ Andy Dalton ineffective vs. Jaguars, but seems like he’s due for one of his good games.
  • Pick: Bengals 23, Titans 21.

Giants at 49ers

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: Giants by 2½. Total: 42.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Giants 1-7/3-5; 49ers 0-9/4-5.
  • Outlook: Crummy Game of the Week. Niners are 0-4 ATS at home. As bad as they are, the Giants are 3-1 ATS on the road, including a 23-10 victory at Denver in Week 6.  C.J. Beathard starting, but Jimmy G. looms for 49ers.
  • Pick: Giants 24, 49ers 17.

Patriots at Broncos

  • Time: 7:30 p.m., Ch. 5.
  • Line: Patriots by 7½. Total: 46½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Patriots 6-2/4-4; Broncos 3-5/2-5-1.
  • Outlook: The Patriots aren’t what they used to be, but the rest of the NFL seems to be declining at a greater rate. No better example than the Broncos, who have lost four straight. 
  • Pick: Patriots 20, Broncos 16.

Dolphins at Panthers

  • Time: 7:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN.
  • Line: Panthers by 9. Total: 40.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Dolphins 4-4/3-3-2; Panthers 6-3/5-4.
  • Outlook: Panthers and Cam Newton have rebounded from a loss to the Bears with two straight wins. Dolphins have lost two straight — wasting one of Jay  Cutler’s best games last week. 
  • Pick: Panthers 26, Dolphins 23.