There is so much disrespect for the NFC East, and rightfully so, that in many of the division matchups you’re looking for the most reasons to pick against one of the teams. That’s not exactly the case for Sunday’s game between the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field.
Am I writing that with a straight face? Actually, yes. There are two sets of standings. One is the league standings which everyone is snickering at, where these teams are a combined 3-12. Then there are the spread standings, you know, the ones that determine whether you’ve won or lost your bets. There, the Giants are 5-3 and Washington is 4-3.
The Giants are a team that seems to be on the verge of winning a few games. Roster vs. roster for 60 minutes, they have been very competitive for Joe Judge. Daniel Jones’ turnovers have been the difference.
Washington ranks fourth in the NFL in total yards allowed, and is first against the pass. Kyle Allen can get the ball to Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas. This is not as awful a team as I first thought.
The line has dropped from 3.5 through the key number of 3 down to 2.5, signaling sharp action on the Giants. Big Blue also fits a trend of short road underdogs of +6 or less that according to VSiN are 32-13 (71 percent) ATS this season. And the teams played a one-point game (20-19 Giants) a few weeks ago.
It’s a close call. Don’t blow it, Danny Dimes!
The play: Giants, +2.5.
(Home team in CAPS)
ATLANTA FALCONS (-4) over Denver Broncos
Denver travels far after an almost-miracle win over the Chargers, while the Falcons have extra rest off a Thursday night win at Carolina. Don’t love giving more than a field goal, and the Broncos are one of those short-’dog teams I just mentioned. But the Broncos have allowed 36.5 ppg the past two compared to 21.5 over the last four for Atlanta.
Seattle Seahawks (-3) over BUFFALO BILLS
The Orchard Park forecast is sunny, low 70s and light winds. Perfect weather for Russell Wilson’s deep passing game. Seattle’s defense has been terrible, but Jamal Adams is slated to return, and the Bills don’t really have the downfield firepower to take full advantage.
Chicago Bears (+6.5) over TENNESSEE TITANS
Chicago lost two weeks ago by two touchdowns at the Rams, but other than that, every Bears game has been decided by eight or fewer points. Titans are giving up 31.3 ppg over the past three games so there’s some room there for the final score to settle.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (+1) over Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson has trouble with elite opponents but typically has his way with middling foes such as the Colts. But we’ve seen some sharp reverse line movement from Ravens -3 to Ravens -1 despite the preponderance of bets on Baltimore. Willing to ante up to see what that’s all about.
Carolina Panthers (+10.5) over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Jets should have scored more than nine points last week at Arrowhead, as they moved the ball well against the Chiefs defense in the first half. Carolina has a few days extra rest off a Thursday loss to Atlanta and is adding Christian McCaffrey to a nice cache of weapons.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-4) over Detroit Lions
Matt Patricia wouldn’t rule Matthew Stafford (COVID) out for Sunday, but even if he plays, it would be with no practice and possibly without Kenny Golladay. Dalvin Cook’s 226 scrimmage yards vs. the Packers could get the Vikings started on a roll.
Houston Texans (-7) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Though Jake Luton may not be much worse (or any worse) than Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars come in having lost six in a row, the last five by an average of 13.6 ppg. Houston has just one win, but it was 30-14 over Jacksonville.
Las Vegas Raiders (+1) over LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Justin Herbert looks like a star in the making, but his record is 1-5, including last week’s almost unfathomable loss at Denver. The Raiders are 3-1 on the road, including wins at Kansas City and Cleveland, where they gave up just six points after allowing 30-plus four games in a row.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS
Now we’re looking at Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush to start at quarterback for the Cowboys. Heck no, y’all! Dallas gives up 33.2 ppg and the offense has shut down. Hate to give this many points on the road but don’t see an alternative.
Miami Dolphins (+4.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS
Wary of the Dolphins because they got out-gained 471-145 in yards and 31-8 in first downs but still beat the Rams, 28-17, last week. Those numbers are usually a recipe for a blowout loss. But Tua Tagovailoa should have a better time of it here, and this should be a fun battle with Kyler Murray.
New Orleans Saints (+5) over TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The Bucs have the revenge motive for their 34-23 loss at the Superdome in Tom Brady’s debut, but are also on a short week off a Monday night win at the Giants. The line has moved a bit in the Saints’ direction but there’s still something appealing about getting more than a field goal with Sean Payton.
Monday Night Football
New England Patriots (-7.5) over NEW YORK JETS
New England had scored 28 total points over three games before putting up 21 in bad weather at the Bills, against a good defense. Even if the Jets — who probably won’t have Sam Darnold — start off OK with a few field-goal drives, the opposing coaches figure them out quickly. Bill Belichick should be no different.
Best bets: Vikings, Giants, Bears.
Lock of the week: Vikings (Locks 2-5-1 in 2020).
Last week: 6-8 overall, 2-1 Best Bets.
Thursday: 49ers (L).
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