The back-to-back losses ended whatever small chance the most optimistic of Giants fans thought the team had of reaching the postseason. Now at 2-4, the Giants are back to where they were before the Daniel Jones era began, and it would most likely take an 8-2 finish to earn a postseason berth.
This season was never supposed to be about the postseason, no matter how much smoke ownership, Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur tried to blow up the fan base’s ass during the offseason. This season was always going to be about transitioning from Eli Manning to Jones, seeing if the No. 6 pick would be the franchise quarterback and getting experience for both he and the young defense. The transition happened, Jones looks like he’s the future at quarterback and he’s gaining valuable experience. Now it’s up to the defense to display some signs of progress over the last 10 weeks, and then maybe, next season can be about trying to get back to the postseason.
Even if the Giants were to beat the Cardinals this week (and they should), their schedule still consists of road games at Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia and games at MetLife against Dallas, the Jets, Green Bay and Philadelphia. The Giants aren’t reeling me back in if they are 3-4 after this week or even 4-4 after next week. Their defense isn’t good enough to reel anyone back in.
The next 10 games are about next season. Forget the postseason, experience and progress are all that matter now. And if the Giants get and show both, no matter what their final record is, it will be a successful season.
(Home team in caps)
Kansas City -3 over DENVER
Two weeks ago, this line might have been double digits. But after back-to-back losses, the Chiefs are only giving 3 to the Broncos? I get that it’s on the road and the Denver defense is still solid, but in order to go against the Chiefs here, you would have to think they are more like the team that has lost back-to-back games to the Colts and Texans and less like the team that came within overtime of going to the Super Bowl last season. I’m not ready yet to think they are anything other than the second-best team in the AFC.
Los Angeles Rams -3 over ATLANTA
Like the Chiefs, the Rams have a losing streak of their own, except theirs is a three-game. What’s the best cure for a three-game losing streak? A game against the Falcons.
BUFFALO -17 over Miami
The Dolphins front office had to be sick to their stomach when their team nearly won in Week 6 against the Redskins. Thankfully, for Dolphins fans, the team lost by one point and remains winless and in line to receive the No. 1 pick in the draft. This season is all about acquiring that pick and many others (which they have already done), and then drafting Tua Tagovailoa and contending within the next four years.
Jacksonville -3.5 over CINCINNATI
Don’t think for a second the Bengals aren’t starting to think about Tagovailoa the way the Dolphins have been since the offseason. The Bengals are horrible, but even at 0-6, they have been in most of their games, losing four of them by six points or less. Eventually, the Bengals will win a game and take themselves out of the Tagovailoa sweepstakes, but it won’t be this week.
Minnesota -2 over DETROIT
It’s nearly impossible to trust the Vikings and know which version of their offense you’re going to get from week to week. Is it going to be the offense which did whatever it wanted against the Falcons, Raiders, Giants and Eagles or the one which no-showed against the division rival Packers and Bears? The NFC is wide open this season without a truly dominant team. Maybe that team will be the Saints again, but for now, it’s no one. The Vikings have as good of a chance as any team in the conference to reach the Super Bowl if they can put it all together and survive their own division. They will need to start winning games in their division though. (I’m well aware Kirk Cousins is going to ruin this pick.)
GREEN BAY -4.5 over Oakland
I have no idea how the Raiders are 3-2 and how they have managed to win games against the Colts and Bears. Everything about this team from their coaching staff to their actual roster says they should be one of the league’s worst, but here they are with a winning record through five games. Despite their record, I don’t think the Raiders are for real or even good, and that will start to show this week.
Houston +1 over INDIANAPOLIS
Both teams have had bad losses and impressive wins, seem to be evenly matched and are division opponents. Everything about this game says it should be a three-point line in favor of the home team, and it seems odd it’s only 1. Because of the oddness, I’m going to be safe and take the one point.
NEW YORK GIANTS -3 over Arizona
For as bad as the Giants have been, they are only game back in the NFC East. No, I don’t think the Giants have a chance to win the division with their defense, I’m just pointing out how bad the Eagles and Cowboys are. All I care about with the Giants is Daniel Jones gaining valuable experience, the defense showing signs of progress and a nice sendoff for Eli Manning in the season finale at home against the Eagles. Is that too much to ask? As for the pick, always go against the Cardinals outside on the East Coast.
San Francisco -10 over WASHINGTON
The Redskins won their first game last week and that will be the only win they get this season. The easiest opponent the Redskins have left is the Giants, who already beat them by 21 in Week 4. There’s a good chance the Redskins don’t finish another game this season within double-digit points of their opponent.
TENNESSEE -2 over Los Angeles Chargers
It’s the battle for the biggest disappointment of 2019. The Chargers went to the playoffs last year, won their first game and then were thoroughly embarrassed in their second only to return this season with a 2-4 start and back-to-back home losses to the Broncos and the third-string quarterback Steelers. The Titans finished 8-8 last year and looked poised to take a big step this season, only to also begin 2-4, while scoring seven points or less in half of their games. It’s hard to not considering the Titans a bigger disappointment when their franchise quarterback was benched in Week 6 for Ryan Tannehill, but it’s the Chargers who are the biggest disappointment as their championship aspirations are on the verge of crumbling, and might be gone after this week.
New Orleans +3.5 over CHICAGO
The Saints are undefeated with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback as he keeps adding money to the contract he will inevitably sign based off this run. Good for him after the Vikings screwed him over post-injury and he had to momentarily be a Jet and then back up Drew Brees. It’s scary to go against the Bears defense at home, coming off a bye, but this isn’t about going against the Bears defense, it’s about going against their offense.
Baltimore +3.5 over SEATTLE
The Seahawks have won five games. Four of their wins have been by 1, 2, 1 and 4 points. Their only loss of this season was at home to the Teddy Bridgewater Saints. The Seahawks can’t be trusted to cover as favorites at home like they once could, and they can’t be trusted against good opponents either.
Philadelphia +3 over DALLAS
There was a time when the NFC East was easily the best division in football. But it’s been nearly a decade now since that was true, and somehow, for as bad as the Giants have been this season, they’re only one game back of both of these teams for the best record in the division. The Cowboys are clearly frauds with wins over the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins to open the season and now three straight losses to the Saints, Packers and Jets. The Eagles have been the model for inconsistency with one only one good win on the season and two sloppy losses. I’m taking the points because it’s the safe thing to do.
NEW YORK JETS +10 over New England
I can see it now: the Jets are going to make their season interesting. Even if they don’t win this week, though they very well could if the Patriots play the way they did against the Giants, the Jets have Jacksonville then Miami, the Giants, Washington, Oakland, Cincinnati and Miami again. Let’s say they lose to the Patriots because they always do, they will be 1-5. But then they have seven more-than-winnable games in a row. There’s a chance the Jets could reel their fans back in and be around 7-6 with three games remaining and in contention for a postseason berth. But then, they will most likely need to win in Week 17 in Buffalo, and they won’t.
Last week: 7-7-0