Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Week 10 Picks & Power Rankings

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: November 9, 2013 - 9:02 AM

What would you rather do on a Saturday morning than wake up early and read weekly picks and power rankings involving 32 teams that basically are of equal strength and ability to beat, lose to or tie anyone on any given Sunday, Monday, Saturday, Thursday (and some day, when the revenue ceiling needs to be extended to a gazillion bazillion dollars, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday as well)?

CRAIG'S NFL POWER RANKINGS
BEST OF THE BUNCH
1. Colts (6-2)
Why:
Yeah, they struggled to beat the Texans. But they came back from a large deficit on the road against a division opponent. That’s impressive. And, besides, probably the three best teams in football are the Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers. And Indy beat all three of them.

THE REST
2. Broncos (7-1); 3. Seahawks (8-1); 4. Chiefs (9-0); 5. 49ers (6-2); 6. Patriots (7-2); 7. Jets (5-4); 8. Panthers (5-3); 9. Lions (5-3); 10. Saints (6-2); 11. Bears (5-3); 12. Packers (5-3); 13. Dolphins (4-4); 14. Bengals (6-3); 15. Cowboys (5-4); 16. Titans (4-4); 17. Cardinals (4-4); 18. Chargers (4-4); 19. Browns (4-5); 20. Giants (2-6); 21. Eagles (4-5); 22. Ravens (3-5); 23. Texans (2-6); 24. Raiders (3-5).

THE VIKINGS
25. Vikings 2-7 (Last week: 30):
Missing six starters, dressing only 42 players, depleted in the secondary and on the offensive line. Quarterback is 0-5 and has 1 7/8ths of his feet out the door.  Coach is on the hot seat. Coordinators are on a hotter seat. Yeah, all those deficiencies made the Vikings the logical pick to beat the Redskins on Thursday. At least logic as defined by the NFL.

THE REST OF THE REST
26. Redskins (3-5); 27. Steelers (2-6); 28. Bills (3-6); 29. Rams (3-6); 30. Falcons (2-6); 31. Buccaneers (0-8).

WORST OF THE BUNCH
32: Jaguars (0-8):
We don’t want to say things are bad in Jacksonville, but even Gophers football fans are wondering how people can keep supporting the Jaguars.

THE PICKS

VIKINGS
Last week: Vikings plus-10 at Cowboys. The pick: Cowboys 35, Vikings 14. The final: Cowboys 27, Vikings 23.

From Thursday (Prediction from Access Vikings, The Show (honest, you can ask Chip)): Redskins minus-2 ½ at Vikings: Vikings 24, Redskins 14. The final: Vikings 34, Redskins 27. Record: 5-4, 3-6 vs. the spread.

UPSET SPECIAL
Dolphins minus-2 ½ at Buccaneers: Bucs 28, Dolphins 27.

Why?: What we have here is two conflicting NFL-types of logic at work. Pick the Dolphins because everyone says they’re distracted after spending 240 consecutive hours on SportsCenter. (The name Richie Incognito is stuck in my head like “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” used to be stuck in my head when my kids were toddlers). The other NFL-type logic at work is the embattled blind squirrel on the hot seat (Greg Schiano) eventually finds a nut (victory). We’ll go with the latter.

Last week: Chiefs minus-4 at Bills. The pick: Bills 30, Chiefs 27. The final: Chiefs 23, Bills 13. Record: 2-7.

THE REST
Jaguars plus-12 ½ at Titans: Titans by 7.
Eagles plus-1 at Packers: Packers by 3.
Bills plus-3 at Steelers: Steelers by 7.
Raiders plus-7 at Giants: Giants by 10.
Rams plus-9 ½ at Colts: Colts by 14.
Seahawks minus-5 at Falcons: Seahawks by 3.
Bengals minus-1 ½ at Ravens: Ravens by 3.
Lions pick at Bears: Bears by 7.
Panthers plus-6 at 49ers: 49ers by 7.
Texans plus-2 ½ at Cardinals: Texans by 3.
Broncos minus-7 at Chargers: Broncos by 10.
Cowboys plus-6 ½ at Saints: Saints by 7.

Record: Last week: 7-6; 5-8 vs. the spread. Overall: 71-54; 51-71-2 vs. the spread.

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