It didn’t take long for those Christmas-inspired commercials and made-for-TV movies (seriously Hallmark, tone it down) to start popping up on our screens. And while I wait until after November 11 to start planning my decorating, there are houses in the neighborhood rocking the Xmas lights a week removed from Halloween.
I’ll pump the breaks on most holiday prep, but I do like to start my Christmas shopping early and I’m a sucker for a good deal. Even with Black Friday still weeks away, stores are readily discounting items like they just lost to the Miami Dolphins.
And, what do you know?! Books are also discounting the New York Jets like they just lost to the Miami Dolphins, because sadly… they did. The Jets are field-goal underdogs in a “home” game against the rival Giants in Week 10 – a Big Apple Battle that comes around every four years, like a craptacular comet.
Gang Green has just suffered through a week of repulse and ridicule after giving Miami its lone victory on the season. Head coach Adam Gase not only had to swallow a big-ass “L” from his old team but had to hear the chants of “Fire Gase!” from the J-E-T-S faithful.
NEW YORK GIANTS AT NEW YORK JETS (+3, 44)
New York (the one in green) returns home after back-to-back road trips looking to snap a three-game losing streak versus a Giants squad that hasn’t picked up a victory since a Week 4 winner over Washington. Beating a 2-7 team might not move the needle with most NFL clubs but this Sunday is very much the Jets’ Super Bowl and that desperation is not lost on the guys in the locker room.
The Jets have the better defense – despite some rough outings during this three-game slide – ranking near the middle of the pack in defensive DVOA at FootballOutsiders. The Giants are in the bottom grouping in that advanced metric and have allowed almost 32 points per game during their five-game skid.
Slowing down Giants RB Saquon Barkley will be the focus of the Jets stop unit, which actually ranks tops in the NFL in yards allowed per carry at just 3.1. There’s a lot baked into that number (some opponents have held big leads over the Jets and have run a lot of clock-eating short gains) but it does play to the defense’s strength and the G-Men could be missing two starters on the offensive line: center John Halapio and right tackle Mike Remmers.
And it would seem the Jets are already inside Saquon’s head. His dad (a life-long Jets fan) will be sporting a Joe Namath jersey to Sunday’s game – a jersey his son bought for him before being drafted by the Giants. Probably a well-planned Christmas gift.
PICK: N.Y. Jets +3
ATLANTA FALCONS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-14, 51)
The Atlanta media had Quinn pegged for the pink slip entering the team’s bye week with a 1-7 record, but he juked the hot seat and survives to see this NFC South showdown in New Orleans. Instead of canning Quinn, the Falcons front office played musical chairs with its coaching staff, a move that reads more desperate than deliberate.
Honestly, there’s not much more to this pick than buying low on this Atlanta team, which moved from +12.5 to +14 with one-sided bet counts on the Saints. I do believe there’s better football in the Falcons – or at least a good enough effort to avoid losing by two touchdowns.
PICK: Atlanta +14
At first glance, I liked the 49ers in this Monday matchup.
I’m wary of the Seahawks’ stature, especially looking at their recent games. Seattle has won four of its last five games (bad loss at home to Baltimore) with each of those victories coming by a touchdown or less, resulting in a 2-3 ATS record in that span.
San Francisco, however, limps into this primetime game with some key ailments on defense, offense, and special teams – injuries that will play into the final outcome of this heated divisional rivalry.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander is done for the year with a torn pectoral, taking away one of the Niners’ best tacklers and pass defenders in the front seven.
And, kicker Robbie Gould is likely sidelined with a quad injury, putting those duties on an undrafted rookie free-agent kicker in a crucial divisional game.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is playing outstanding football (his throws are absolute works of art) and will offer a different challenge than San Francisco has faced all season, with his ability to slip pressure and break off gains with this legs).
Seattle has balance between the pass and run, digging at a 49ers defense that’s allowed 5.7 yards per carry over the last three games, including 6.7 yards per carry in a near-loss to Arizona on Thursday night in Week 9.
Staying undefeated this far into the season is very difficult and while the 49ers may escape 9-0, covering the six will take a big effort by the bay.
PICK: Seattle +6
Week 9: 2-1 ATS
Season to date: 15-12 ATS
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