The Giants have gone in a heartbeat from the precipice of first place in the NFC East to a doomsday scenario as they head down to Big D (home of the legendary Doomsday Defense of the 1970s) to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
It’s not just that the Giants lost to the Lions, or even the noncompetitive final score of 31-18. And it’s not only that Big Blue suffered another series of injuries to Wan’Dale Robinson, Adoree’ Jackson, and Fabian Moreau. Detroit is a viable opponent that now has won three in a row, and Brian Daboll and his staff have next-man-upped the Giants through a minefield of injuries to their 7-3 mark.
The problem is the combination of the timing of the loss and the accumulation of injuries. The Giants are traveling on a short week for this one, and as colleague Paul Schwartz pointed out in Tuesday’s Post, they now have to face the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Terry McLaurin, and A.J. Brown over the next month as the schedule gets loaded with division games at precisely the wrong time.
The Cowboys come in off a 40-3 trouncing of the-then 8-1 Vikings in Minnesota. The Giants will need a secondary to stop them, or at least a receiving corps to keep up with them. The Giants have neither right now. This could get ugly.
Giants vs. Cowboys pick
Cowboys -9 (BetMGM)Dak Prescott of the CowboysGetty Images
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Little surprised the Bills chose to go back to Snowpocalypse Buffalo rather than practice in Detroit for the short time between games at Ford Field. Doubt it will be too much of a distraction or energy sap, though. Giants couldn’t take advantage of the Lions’ 32nd-ranked defense, but Buffalo’s second-ranked offense can. CB Jeff Okudah (concussion) would be a big loss for Detroit.
Patriots won’t match the 40 points the Cowboys scored on the Vikings, but there’s a chance Bill Belichick’s defense could hold them to three or some other low number. Both teams have key injuries on the offensive line. Here are two angles that might matter: Belichick makes mince meat of first-year coaches, and this is Kevin O’Connell’s first experience coaching on a short week.
Robert Saleh made the right decision in benching Zach Wilson. Now all of the players can return their focus to what they need to do to try to produce victories rather than worry about what Wilson does and says. Also, keep your eye on the Justin Fields injury report. If he has to sit with his non-throwing-shoulder injury, the Jets’ defense should rule the day. And if the Jets get enough healthy offensive linemen back to at least send Dan Feeney back to the bench, that will revive the running game and make life easier for White.
Baltimore Ravens (-4) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
C Jackson Cowart of Action Network pointed out in Tuesday’s Post that the Ravens are the sixth team in NFL history to have led by 10 or more points in each of their first 10 games. They’ve lost three of those games, but I like their chances to cover this modest number if they get double-digit separation against the Jaguars.
Betting on the NFL?
CAROLINA PANTHERS (+2.5) over Denver Broncos
Figuring I’ll take a shot with the home undercat Panthers here. Both teams are pretty awful, but at least Carolina has covered in four of its last five games, while Denver is 3-7 ATS and makes the long trip for an early-body-clock game.
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (-4.5) over Atlanta Falcons
Looks like another good matchup for the Commanders, whose rugged attack could break the will of a Falcons D that ranks 30th in yardage and 27th in points allowed. Atlanta TE Kyle Pitts (knee) is done for the season.
The Browns wilted after a strong start vs. the Bills in Detroit. They still have one more week before DeShaun Watson can play, which doesn’t provide much incentive. The Bucs have started to make their run with two consecutive wins and are the healthiest they have been.
Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5) over TENNESSEE TITANS
Spread is negligible, although it might insult the Titans a little to be home underdogs. The NFL is running out of red ink to mark up Tennessee’s injury report, while I expect Joe Burrow to perk up with the return of Ja’Marr Chase.Joe Burrow of the BengalsGetty Images
MIAMI DOLPHINS (-12.5) over Houston Texans
Lovie Smith isn’t offering much hope as he contemplates replacing Davis Mills with Kyle Allen. It’s a big spread, but if the Dolphins start pulling away, will the 1-8-1 Texans keep battling on in the 80-degree south Florida heat?
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-3.5) over Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders got the better of Russell Wilson last week in a lackluster exercise in Denver, but it will be a much tougher task against Geno Smith & Co. in the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks are healthy and are coming off a bye while the Raiders play their fourth road game in the last five weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS
It’s too early in the week to know for sure if Kyler Murray is coming back for Arizona. Even so, the 49ers destroyed the Cardinals’ defense on Monday night and I think the Chargers can do a lot of the same things, if not in quite the same way.Justin Herbert of the ChargersGetty Images
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-14.5) over Los Angeles Rams
I don’t usually give more than two touchdowns to the defending Super Bowl champs, but when I do, it’s now. If Matthew Stafford is out with a concussion, the Rams virtually have no offense left at all. Do you want to sit there for three hours hoping Travis Kelce gets tired of scoring?
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-9.5) over New Orleans Saints
While I respect the Saints, particularly at this high number, they are still missing four defensive starters including Marcus Davenport and Marshon Lattimore, and the 49ers’ diverse offense is starting to percolate. Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel are a three-headed nightmare.
Philly is on an 0-3 ATS skid and has failed to cover in four of its wins this season. TE Dallas Goedert is missed. Aaron Rodgers is developing Christian Watson into a weapon, which could help the Packers see some better days before this season’s over.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Steelers are one of the healthiest teams in the league at this point and will benefit from a second game with T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick playing together on defense. I like the thought of Mike Tomlin as an underdog in prime time against a guy coaching his third game.
Best bets: Buccaneers, Ravens, Steelers.
Lock of the week: Buccaneers (Locks 7-4 in 2022).
Last week: 7-6-1 overall, 2-0-1 Best Bets.