NFL Week 10: Giants Can Take The ‘Snoopy Bowl’15 min read
Lindy’s Sports’ UK editor Simon Milham looks for the value ahead of this week’s slate of NFL Week 10 games, which sees a battle of New York between the Giants and the Jets and Miami looking to shock the Colts.
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
One of the better Thursday Night Football match-ups of this increasingly odd season takes place at the Oakland Coliseum.
This week there has been a lot of tittle-tattle written about the Los Angeles Chargers moving the franchise to London. Owner Dean Spanos took the cheap way out instead of funding a new stadium or renovating Qualcomm Stadium and moved the franchise to LA from San Diego three years ago.
That move has been an unmitigated disaster, so you can see why some would think a move across the pond would make sense. But it isn’t about to happen, folks.
Jacksonville Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers both have short stadium leases and are both in the running to become the London Jaguars, well ahead of the Chargers – and you don’t need a subscription service to read about it. Trust me, a move closer than some imagine, but much depends on the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement.
As for this clash between two AFC West teams, whose seasons have caught fire after a slow-burning start, the Chargers (4-4) have won the last four meetings and seven of the last 11.
Oakland (4-5) has been running the ball well behind a decent offensive line and the Chargers have been average against the run, conceding 114.1 yards per game, ranking 20th in the NFL. The Packers averaged 4.1 yards per carry on the ground in defeat last week.
The Raiders’ pass rush has been very ordinary, yet they might see some success against a line that has issues with its pass protection.
However, Shane Steichen, who replaced offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, committed to the run against the Packers and the Chargers gained season-high 159 yards on the ground, with QB Philip Rivers throwing a season-low 28 times and picking his spots to great effect.
Rivers has won 18 of his 26 career starts against the Raiders and he leads the league with 2,609 yards this season.
Chargers are 1.5-point favourites at BetVictor NFL Handicap odds of 10/11 and while the seek a hat-trick of wins following their road win at Chicago in Week 8 and their 26-11 win over the Packers last week, if the Raiders can follow up their 31-24 home win over Detroit, they will fancy their chances of a hat-trick themselves, as winless Cincinnati are up next.
Oakland’s secondary and defensive line has been problematic all year long and Rivers may continue to be a Raiders killer now that the offense has found some balance with Josh Gordon running the ball with authority.
TIP: Los Angeles Chargers to win at
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns
Following their defeat in Denver, the Cleveland Browns have one more win than the Miami Dolphins.
At 2-6, and on a four-game losing streak, the Browns have shown they are not quite ready to conquer the AFC North, much least the rest of the conference.
Baker Mayfield has a slightly lower quarterback rating than troublesome Johnny Manziel did in his second NFL season and has thrown seven more interceptions. While Mayfield isn’t an off-the-field liability, Manziel did not have Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr to throw to.
The offensive line needs more beef, especially at the tackle positions, but Mayfield is still turning the ball over when he isn’t under pressure.
Despite a brutal early schedule, four of the Browns’ remaining eight games are against the Bengals (twice), the Dolphins and Cardinals, who are a combined 4-20-1. Things figure to get better for whoever takes over from first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens who, quite frankly, has looked out of his depth.
There have been some bizarre coaching decisions, such as reducing running back Nick Chubb, who is second in the league in rushing yards per game, to a bit-part player in the loss at Denver. While they do add 2017 rushing champion Kareem Hunt to the roster this week after his eight-game suspension, how he fits into the game-plan is anyone’s guess.
Looking for answers, they face the surprising 6-2 Bills who have two weaknesses. The first is QB Josh Allen, and the second is run defense. They can’t stop the run consistently. In the last three games, they have given up an average of 151.3 yards per game.
We shall spell out the game-plan for Kitchens: Run. The. Ball.
As he bids to lead Cleveland to a first home win of the season, surely even he can’t get this game-plan wrong.
TIP: Cleveland -3 points at
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
The fact is undeniable. The fat elephant in the room is Mitchell Trubisky. Unless he is replaced at the quarterback position, head coach Matt Nagy faces losing the Chicago Bears locker room – and potentially his job.
In seven games Trubisky has thrown five touchdowns and has a woeful 5.6 yards per pass attempt. He managed a total of 378 yards in two games against the Chargers and Eagles, who have statistically two of the worst secondaries in the NFL.
He led his team to a grand total of nine net yards of offense in the first half of last week’s 22-14 loss to the Eagles. Some wonder if a real bear would have more success than Trubisky.
It is not all on him. His line can’t block for more than two seconds and the play-calling is suffering as a result. Against the Eagles, the best they could come up with was a dump-off pass underneath for five yards or a failed run attempt.
The defense has been wearing down as a result of the offense not being able to sustain drives and the run defense has been poor in the losses to the Raiders, Saints and Eagles.
The 3-5 Bears host the 3-4-1 Lions, whom they have lost to nine times in the last 12 meetings, although they won both meetings last year.
In contrast, the Lions have a quarterback who is on pace to have the best season of his career. Matt Stafford tops the NFL with 312.4 yards per game through the air.
However, his 406 yards against the Raiders last week was in a losing effort. The reason he is throwing so much is the weak Lions’ defense combined with a poor running game. Stafford is having to play catch-up. There is no doubt he is one of the most under-appreciated passers in the league.
Both these offenses are one-dimensional and the hosts’ defense should be able to earn a little respite and respect after taking some lumps. Whether the Bears’ offense can generate enough to keep pace with Stafford is open to argument.
TIP: Detroit Lions +2.5 points at
New York Giants at New York Jets
This is just the 14th meeting of the ‘Snoopy Bowl’ since 1970 and the Giants hold an 8-5 edge. They have won five of the six ‘road’ meetings and while the Jets shocked the Dallas Cowboys at home, they also handed the Miami Dolphins their first win last week.
The Jets (1-7) looked terrible in Miami and Adam Gase appears to be on borrowed time after just half a season in charge.
The offensive line is putrid and ranks near the bottom in almost every category: 31st in sacks allowed), 30th in QB hits and with a premium rusher in Le’Veon Bell, is managing just 3.3 yards per carry. Bell is also carrying a knee injury, which needed an MRI after their loss in Miami.
The Giants are mired in a five-game losing streak after losing 37-18 to the Dallas Cowboys in a game that was closer than the score suggested. They had their chances, but did a poor job in the red zone and had too many penalties, as they let the game get away from them in the fourth quarter.
Giants (2-7) have allowed at least 27 points in eight games this season, so it stands to reason that the total points line looks a shade on the low side at 43.5 points.
However, if the Giants can’t beat the dysfunctional Jets, who can they beat? We take the bad Big Blue to beat the worse Gang Green.
TIP: New York Giants -2.5 points at
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts
Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has a sprained left knee and while he has not been ruled out of Sunday’s game against Miami, it should not matter.
Now that 0-16 is in the rear-view mirror, things should revert to type for the Dolphins, who lost their top receiver, Preston Williams, with a torn ACL last Sunday and running back Mark Walton, who is facing a four-game drugs ban.
Miami has been improving in recent weeks but while it’s a bad team that is well-coached, it is still a team that lacks talent and they are 10-point underdogs against the 5-3 Colts, who lost by two points to the Steelers last week.
Historically, the Dolphins have fared well against the Colts – they have lost by double digits on just one occasion in their last 17 visits (10 of which they won).
Colts may rest Brissett – as they prefer to rest players rather than rushing them back. Plus, they believe in backup Brian Hoyer. They need to keep him upright, though, as they have not done a great job in pass protection in the last couple of weeks, allowing nine sacks in two games. They also need to clean up costly penalties.
However, their defense is playing well. Since their Week 6 bye, the Colts have allowed four touchdowns in three games and have held all three opponents to 24 points or fewer.
Miami has managed 17 points or more in their last nine trips to Indy, but fast starts have been few and far between this season.
The Colts are priced at 8/13 to lead at half-time and full-time, but this could be another of those gamed where the Dolphins are competitive before succumbing late. For that reason, a Miami half-time lead and a Colts win at 5/1 might appeal.
Either way, this will be a Colts blowout win or the Dolphins will do what they invariably do at Indy and show some fight.
TIP: Miami Dolphins +10 points at
TIP: HT/FT – Miami Dolphins/Indianapolis Colts at
Los Angeles Rams at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers (4-4) bid to move above 0.500 for the first time this season when they host the Los Angeles Rams (5-3), who come into this fresh off a bye.
Should Pittsburgh win, it is unlikely to be because QB Mason Rudolph will win it for them, not with Rams’ corner Jalen Ramsey set to cover top target JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The Rams may also struggle offensively with a battered offensive line going against a superior Pittsburgh front which, after a slow start, has generated a decent pass rush in recent weeks.
The Rams have had trouble running the ball and may not need to get their running game in sync. QB Jared Goff will see plenty of opportunities, as the Rams’ defense will pressure Rudolph more than he has been accustomed to. It could be tough sledding for the Steelers’ offense and while historically the visitors have lost five of the last six in Pittsburgh, the Rams have never lost four consecutive trips.
TIP: Los Angeles Rams to win at