NFL betting card: Let's back run-heavy offenses to cover ATS in Week 10

I’m in a NFL contest where you need to submit five ATS picks each week. Through nine weeks, those picks are 24-21. Picking a single winner can be tough, much less picking five, but it’s a good challenge. It’s worth noting that the lines are set spreads released each Wednesday and selections are submitted Friday night.

Here are the five ATS picks I like for Week 10 in the NFL.

Steelers +1.5 vs. Saints

In the last five seasons, Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are 8-1-1 ATS as a home underdog, 1-0-1 ATS this year. Pittsburgh LB T.J. Watt is trending towards returning this week. I love the Steelers defense to do some damage against Saints quarterback Andy Dalton. It’s clear that the defensive unit is better with Watt on the field, ranked top two in sack percentage in the last two seasons. This year, we have just a one-game sample size of Watt’s presence, back in Week 1 against the Bengals. Watt produced one sack and one interception. That spells trouble for Dalton, who has thrown four interceptions in his last three games.

Jaguars +9.5 vs. Chiefs

The way to stay competitive against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is to keep Mahomes off the field. The way you do that is by draining the clock with a rushing attack. Jacksonville RB Travis Etienne Jr. has found his groove, rushing for at least 109 yards in three straight games.

The Titans had success with a ground game as Derrick Henry ran for 115 yards and two scores in a 20-17 win over the Jags. Raiders back Josh Jacobs ran for 154 yards in a 30-29 loss. Even against the Colts, RB Jonathan Taylor only rushed for 71 yards on 21 attempts but the Colts controlled the time of possession. Mahomes doesn’t need much time to score touchdowns, but if you can control the clock, you have a shot, at worst with a backdoor cover.

Bears -2.5 vs. Lions

Chicago quarterback Justin Fields will exploit the Lions, which is ranked last in total defense. Against Miami, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniels yelled at Fields to “Stop it!” Stop what? Scrambling. Fields rushed 178 yards against the Dolphins, making it his fourth game in the last five he’s rushed for at least 80 yards. A mobile quarterback is difficult to defend. The impact that Fields has made to the Bears offense is undeniable.

His running ability has made the Bears offense diverse and explosive. Fields has even improved his passing. In three straight games, he’s thrown at least 60% completion and six touchdowns. The Lions defense is still the worst by every defensive metric and the Bears' new offensive surge will exploit that.

Texans +5 vs. Giants

Houston now has a running game that can attack the Giants' rushing defense by utilizing RB Dameon Pierce. Pierce was limited on Wednesday and Thursday but there’s no indication that he won’t be suiting up for Sunday’s contest. He rushed for 139 yards on 27 carries at home against the Eagles. He's also rushed for at least 90 yards in back-to-back road games against the Jaguars and Raiders.

The Texans need to continue with that old-school ground-and-pound to find success against the Giants, which has a rushing defense that’s second worst in opponent yards per carry. Asking any rush-only offense (like the Giants) to cover as a favorite by margin is a tall task, especially when facing an opposing offense that can exploit the weakest part of your defense.

Commanders +11 vs. Eagles

There’s a chance we see Washington's star pass rusher, Chase Young, back in the lineup. If we do, I can’t wait to see how he wreaks havoc on Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts throws the fifth-most pressured throws in the league, is 27th in pressured completion percentage and 29th in accuracy when under pressure.

The Commanders have two running backs in Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson Jr. that can exploit the Philadelphia rushing defense. After allowing Houston RB Dameon Pierce over 130 rushing yards last week, the Washington rushing offense has an opportunity to do the same.

The Commies also have a much–improved defense as of late, ranked top 10 against the run and top three in opponent third-down conversions allowed. The 11-point spread has gone too far on the Eagles love.