In football, every team has a window. These windows come and go, but usually once it comes and goes, it’s gone forever. Some of these teams have “trap” games, or “let down” games. This week, there are certain teams that need to separate themselves from the pack. It’s a time to slay their opponent in such fashion that it was an insult to have to play them in the first place. . .
New York Giants +11.5 at Denver Broncos
There are still three win-less teams in the NFL this season. The first two were predictable: the Browns and the 49ers. The third is the football team from New York. . . no not that one, the other one – the New York Giants. Before the season started, the Giants were looked upon by many to be a division winner, or a Super Bowl contender. “Not I,” said the Rabbit. I couldn’t see how a one-dimensional offense with a bottom tier offensive line would survive in today’s NFL. After last week’s loss to the Chargers, those lofty dreams died, and so did the season for the Giants. They lost their number one and two receivers for the rest of the season (Beckham and Marshall) and are now clearly the worst in the NFC East. Eli Manning has been on a downward spiral his last three or four seasons and it’s safe to say the coach, Ben McAdoo has lost his team. On the flip side, the Denver Broncos are 3-1 and have one of the league’s best defenses. The Broncos are allowing 260 yards a game, (approximately, 50 rushing yards a game and 210 passing yards a game). Offensively, this team was supposed to be horrible, but they’ve actually shown a nice balance between the pass and run game. Surprisingly, the rushing pair of CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles (4.5 and 5.3 yards per rush respectively) have helped give quarterback Trevor Simien something to fall back on. Truth is, 11.5 is a big number and might just get bigger, but the Giants might not put up more than 2 field goals in this game. Denver wins because of field positions and Eli Manning turnovers.
The Pick: Denver -11.5
Cleveland Browns +9.5 at Houston Texans
Much like the Giants lost their best player in Odell Beckham Jr, the Texans lost their best player in J.J. Watt. Unlike the Giants though, the Texans still have a chance to win their division, have a lot of upside and aren’t a plague within their community. Bill O’Brien’s Texans are 2-3 but have found some new life with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. He’s been improving on his completion percentage (now 62%), has thrown 12 touchdowns to his four interceptions and is leading the team in rushing with 331 yards. The Texans defense has been stout, but losing JJ Watt and now Whitney Mercilus for the whole season will be huge. You can’t just say “next man up” when those are the two pairs of shoes to fill. The Cleveland Browns continue to be the a joke who’s punchline has lost its luster in the league, and it seems that Deshone Kizer project is (mercifully) over in Cleveland. One would assume that Kevin Hogan will get the nod. And deservedly so, he has looked better than Kizer whenever given the opportunity. The Browns rush defense is holding opponents to less than 3 yards a rush, but they also haven’t played against any prolific offenses or seen a quarterback as athletically versatile as Watson. Houston has the third most rushing yards in football, but expect them to take advantage of this horrible pass defense. Its unfortunate for the Texans, but they know how to play defense without Watt. Also, if we’re looking at really simple arithmetic-esque patterns, the Texans lost, then won, then lost, then won, then lost. . .guess what’s next?
The Pick: Houston Texas -9.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5 at Arizona Cardinals
The Bucs are 2-2 this year and their best performance was a 5 point LOSS to New England. This is a football team that came into the season with a lot of hype and are now in the reality of “we need to fight every week.” This week they are playing an Arizona Cardinals team that isn’t very good at all. We here at Beating Vegas drank the Kool Aid offered to us by Arizona, not once, but twice and it tasted like trash. This time, we learned our lesson at Beating Vegas – hopefully. Carson Palmer is pretty much, literally on his last leg. And although the Cards are second in the league when it comes to passing yards, the average yard per completion is less than 7 and they are completing passes at a rate of 59%. The rushing game doesn’t help much either considering it is the worst in the league at 2.9 yards a rush. We all knew losing David Johnson would hurt but not THIS much. The Cardinals are so desperate they traded for washed-up Adrian Peterson. This is a complete desperation move as Peterson does not fit the Cardinals mold of a back who can catch passes and line up as a wide out so maybe they are looking to go more smash-mouth. Maybe? If that’s so, Peterson’s average the last year and a half is somewhere around 3 yards a carry, so don’t expect much. The Tampa Bay Bucs have the talent on both sides of the football. There really should be no excuse. I don’t even care that they have to fly from Florida to Arizona. I’m sure me and my friends from New York could fly out to Arizona on Saturday night and hang about 30 on this Cardinals team.
The Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5
Good Luck and Wager Wisely!