The Yankees’ season is over and the Giants certainly aren’t going to carry me through the holidays. That means the Rangers, who have lost five straight since back-to-back wins to open the season, are going to have to pick up the slack of the Giants yet again to make the winter less miserable. It’s not exactly a great position to be in as a sports fan.
Things could be worse. There are plenty of fans who don’t have the luxury of being a fan of the most successful franchise in the history of professional sports, and who have losers across the board in all of the major sports. Thankfully, I have the Yankees because with the Rangers in the middle of a rebuild, though one with a lot of promise, it’s still a rebuild, and with the Giants looking like they are several years away from competing, let alone contending, the Yankees at least provide winning regular seasons and lengthy postseasons even when they fall short of a championship.
The Giants are headed for another losing season and what will be their sixth in the last seven years. They’re most likely a five-win team for the second straight year and headed for a Top 6 pick in the draft for a third straight year. Forget trying to reach the postseason this year, changing the losing culture that has grown on this franchise over the last seven years should be the goal. And the only way that goal can be achieved is by Daniel Jones getting game experience, the young defense showing progress and Pat Shurmur not being the head coach after this season. That’s all that’s left in this Giants season. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a long, uneventful, meaningless final two-plus months of the season once again.
(Home team in caps)
MINNESOTA -16.5 over Washington
You’re never supposed to take the side of needing to cover a three-score game in the NFL. But I think that old rule goes out the window when you’re dealing with some of the teams we’re dealing with in 2019 like these Redskins and the Dolphins. Maybe the Vikings don’t go cover and I start the week with a loss. I’d rather accept that than taking the Redskins only to see them have trouble moving the ball over the 50 once again.
LOS ANGELES RAMS -13 over Cincinnati
Last week I wrote: What’s the best cure for a three-game losing streak? A game against the Falcons. It was indeed the best cure for the Rams’ rough patch. The Rams won by 27 points on the road to get back in the win column for the first time since Week 3 and now they welcome a winless Bengals team before their bye week. This one is going to get out of hand.
ATLANTA +6.5 over Seattle
I don’t believe in these Seahawks and I certainly don’t trust them. Sure, I trust the Falcons even less than the Seahawks and less than any team not from Miami, Washington D.C. or Cincinnati, but with the Falcons on the brink of tearing their entire franchise apart and starting over, I feel like they will finally deliver an adequate performance. If they can’t … start the demolition, and start it with Dan Quinn, even if it’s nearly three years late.
BUFFALO -1.5 over Philadelphia
The Eagles suck. Congratulations, they overcame an early 17-point deficit to beat the Redskins in Week 1, beat the Jets with their third-string quarterback and somehow pulled off a win on the road against the Packers. Their losses, a loss in Atlanta, which is the Falcons’ only win, a loss at home to the Lions, an 18-point rout at the hands of the Vikings and an embarrassing 37-10 blowout in Dallas far outweigh their one good win, and while they might make the playoffs because they play in the worst division in the league, it doesn’t change the fact that they suck, and teams that suck generally lose to good teams.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS -3.5 over Chicago
Like the Eagles, the Bears suck. Two franchises who went into the season with Super Bowl aspirations couldn’t be farther from looking like contenders as we near the halfway point. I don’t know what it will take for the Bears to realize Mitch Trubisky isn’t a starting quarterback, but unfortunately, it’s most likely going to take a mediocre season and a free-agent signing or trade. The Bears’ defense might be the best in football, but when it’s on the field for the majority of games, only getting a break on the Bears’ three-and-outs, it won’t be able to sustain its performance all season.
DETROIT -6.5 over New York Giants
I’m done picking the Giants to cover for the rest of the season aside from their games against the Dolphins and Redskins. What I watched last week was the worst Giants performance of the Pat Shurmur era and one of the worst I have seen in my life, and when you lose as much as the Giants have in recent years, that’s saying something. This team will continue to lose as long as Shurmur is head coach and against the league’s better teams, like the Lions, they will lose big.
New York Jets +6.5 over JACKSONVILLE
The Jets are a joke. J-O-K-E, JOKE, JOKE, JOKE! I thought they could cover against the Patriots last week, keep the score close and possibly even pull off an upset win. What a fool I was. Sam Darnold played what better be the worst game of his career as he completed just 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards with four interceptions and one lost fumble in the 33-0 loss and the Jets never had a chance. For as bad as the Jets were last week, I still think they will rebound, go on a run and reel their fans back in. If they can upset the Jaguars, they have the Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, Raiders, Bengals and Dolphins again to follow. The Jets will be part of the postseason picture at the beginning of December. Then they will inevitably let their fans down again.
NEW ORLEANS -10.5 over Arizona
The Saints are 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater as their starting quarterback. 5-0! And that’s not an empty 5-0, that’s five wins against the Seahawks, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Jaguars and Bears. There’s been no cupcake games against the Giants, Redskins, Bengals or Dolphins. Bridgewater continues to add to his future earnings when he gets a chance to be full-time starter in the league and the Saints continue to let Drew Brees sit out and get completely healthy for the second half of the season. A Saints-Patriots Super Bowl is going to happen.
Tampa Bay +2.5 over TENNESSEE
A Ryan Tannehill-led Titans team pulled off a nice home win against the Chargers last week after the Chargers couldn’t get into the end zone in the final minute from the 1. Even with the Titans’ defense being as good as it is, the Titans are still starting Tannehill. One miracle win isn’t going to rewrite his career.
INDIANAPOLIS -5.5 over Denver
I have been a Colts believer all season. I still have no idea what happened at home against the Raiders in Week 4, but I’m going to count that as an anomaly and just a weird game in a league built on weird games. Since that unacceptable loss, the Colts have gone on to win at Arrowhead, where no team wins, and beat the Texans at home by a touchdown. The Colts are for real. Not “for real” as in they can win the AFC since the Patriots are going to win the AFC, but “for real” as in they can reach the playoffs for a second straight year even though their franchise quarterback retired and then lose in the first or second round.
Carolina +5.5 over SAN FRANCISCO
I’m a Kyle Allen fan because I love quarterback controversies and I especially love a quarterback controversy that leads to Cam Newton not being a starting quarterback. Newton can sit out as long as he wants and the Panthers can keep his injury status unclear for as long as they want, but everyone knows it’s only a stalling tactic, so that their once-franchise quarterback isn’t benched even though he deserves to be.
NEW ENGLAND -12.5 over Cleveland
I’m sure the Browns think they were able to tread water at 2-4 prior to their bye week and now that they’re well rested they can go on a run and live up to the hype that was wrongfully created for them prior to the season. The only problem with that is you never want to come out of your bye needing to desperately win a game and have to go to New England to do so. The Browns will be 2-5 after Sunday and then have to go to Denver and then play the Bills. Their season is over.
Oakland +7 over HOUSTON
I can’t believe I’m picking the Raiders to cover. But in a battle of teams, and mostly coaches, who can’t be trusted, taking a touchdown with a team coming out of their bye is the smart thing to do.
Green Bay -3.5 over KANSAS CITY
If Patrick Mahomes were playing, this game would be a lot more interesting and give people a reason to stay up for Sunday Night Football and be tired for work on Monday morning. Unfortunately, he’s not.
PITTSBURGH -13.5 over Miami
I won’t be picking the Dolphins to cover for the rest of this season. Well, maybe against the Giants in Week 15, but that’s it.
Last week: 8-6-0