The NFL has understood probably better than any other sports organization that the key to economic success as a professional sports league is to maintain parity; the entire NFL business model is built on this. Any given Sunday almost any team can emerge victorious. It's what keeps the product interesting, it's what keeps people buying tickets and merchandise, and it's what makes the NFL a ratings juggernaut, even if the ratings have dipped a bit this year.
Part of the promise of the NFL is that no team will be terrible forever. The fans in Cleveland believe this, the fans in Jacksonville believe this. Even fans in Philadelphia believe their team will one day win the Super Bowl.
Of course, with the parity built into the NFL comes unpredictability: Through the first nine weeks, 99 games have been within one score in the fourth quarter, the most such games in a season’s first nine weeks in NFL history.
Parity is good for generating excitement. Parity is good for giving fans hope. Parity is good for generating ratings and clicks.
But parity doesn't make picking winners any easier, and this week we have a season-low of only two unanimous picks out of fourteen games. Also, we have another defector from our we-pick-the-Cowboys-all-the-time mantra, even if most of our writers like the chances of a Cowboys win in Pittsburgh.
Here's how we think the rest of the Week 10 games will turn out.