Pro Picks is a weekly column where AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi shares his picks for upcoming games. For all previous Pro Picks, head here.
The Chicago Bears can increase their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft by winning a game.
It’s not often that a win would help a team improve draft positioning, but the Bears (2-7) own Carolina’s first-round pick. They host the Panthers (1-7) on Thursday night.
The two struggling teams meet for the first time since a blockbuster trade sent wide receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago and gave Carolina the No. 1 overall pick it used on quarterback Bryce Young.
Things haven’t worked out for either team.
Young has been inconsistent and the Panthers have to be wondering if C.J. Stroud would’ve been the better pick.
The Bears still have questions about Justin Fields, who has missed three straight games with a thumb injury.
A prime-time audience gets to watch the least intriguing matchup of Week 10. The Bears are 3-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Pro Picks expects a close game.
DENVER at BUFFALO
Line: Bills minus 7 1/2
The inconsistent Bills (5-4) already surpassed last season’s loss total. The Broncos (3-5) are rested after a bye and are rejuvenated following two straight wins. Josh Allen and the Bills have too much talent to be floundering. They need a convincing win Monday night.
BEST BET: BILLS, 30-17
INDIANAPOLIS vs NEW ENGLAND, in Germany
Line: Colts minus 1 1/2
The Patriots (2-7) have been pitiful. The Colts (4-5) snapped a three-game losing streak and aim to get back to .500. Led by backup QB Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis is the only team to score at least 20 points in each game this season.
UPSET SPECIAL: PATRIOTS, 24-23
SAN FRANCISCO at JACKSONVILLE
Line: 49ers minus 3
Both teams are coming off byes. Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars (6-2) have won five in a row. The 49ers (5-3) have lost three straight but could get WR Deebo Samuel and All-Pro LT Trent Williams back. They’ll have Chase Young for the first time since he was acquired from Washington.
NEW ORLEANS at MINNESOTA
Line: Saints minus 2 1/2
Joshua Dobbs has more time to learn the playbook and his teammates’ names after rescuing the Vikings (5-4) last week and leading them to their fourth straight win in their first game without Kirk Cousins. The Saints (5-4) lead their division thanks to a playmaking defense. Derek Carr has played well in two straight wins.
TENNESSEE at TAMPA BAY
Line: Buccaneers minus 1 1/2
After C.J. Stroud had an historic game against them, the Buccaneers (3-5) face another rookie QB in Will Levis. The Titans (3-5) haven’t won a road game since last Nov. 17 in Green Bay. The Buccaneers (3-5) have lost four in a row and couldn’t even win a game when Baker Mayfield and the offense put up 37 points.
CLEVELAND at BALTIMORE
Line: Ravens minus 6
The two top defenses in the NFL square off in an AFC North matchup. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens (7-2) have won four in a row with two dominant wins against first-place teams. The Browns (5-3) were blown out by Baltimore in Week 4, but will have Deshaun Watson this time around.
HOUSTON at CINCINNATI
Line: Bengals minus 6 1/2
Joe Burrow and the Bengals (5-3) are back to form with four straight wins, including impressive back-to-back games against San Francisco and Buffalo. The Texans (4-4) are much improved this season thanks mainly to Stroud and new coach DeMeco Ryans.
GREEN BAY at PITTSBURGH
Line: Steelers minus 3
The Steelers (5-3) keep finding ways to win despite being outplayed and outgained in yards. The Packers (3-5) just snapped a four-game losing streak. They haven’t scored 20 points in six straight games as first-year starter Jordan Love has had ups and downs.
ATLANTA at ARIZONA
Line: Falcons minus 1 1/2
Taylor Heinicke gets another opportunity to start this week and the Falcons (4-5) have an opportunity to get back to .500 facing the lowly Cardinals (1-8). Arizona could have Kyler Murray back this week but he might hinder their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick.
DETROIT at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Line: Lions minus 2 1/2
The Lions (6-2) are coming off a bye while the Chargers (4-4) have a short week after a Monday night road win against the Jets. Detroit is 4-1 against the spread when favored by at least 2 1/2 points.
NEW YORK GIANTS at DALLAS
Line: Cowboys minus 16 1/2
Dallas (5-3) self-destructed with a chance to beat the Eagles. Now, the Cowboys have to avoid a letdown against the lowly Giants (2-7) who are down to third-string QB Tommy DeVito.
WASHINGTON at SEATTLE
Line: Seahawks minus 6
The Seahawks (5-3) try to rebound after getting dominated by the Ravens. Geno Smith’s production is down from last season and his turnovers are up. Sam Howell and a few rookies give the Commanders (4-5) reason for optimism.
NEW YORK JETS at LAS VEGAS
Line: Jets minus 1 1/2
The Jets (4-4) are favorites on a short week after a Monday night loss in which the offense was anemic yet again. The Raiders (4-5) celebrated Josh McDaniels’ firing with a lopsided win over the Giants and some victory cigars.
Last week: Straight up: 9-5. Against spread: 10-4
Overall: Straight up: 89-47. Against spread: 76-55-5.
Best Bet: Straight up: 7-2. Against spread: 4-4-1.
Upset Special: Straight up: 6-3. Against spread: 7-2.
Thursday: Straight up: 7-2. Against spread: 8-1.
Monday: Straight up: 7-4. Against spread: 8-2-1.
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