I’ve kept the volume very low in the NFL so far this season with only 13 plays to date, but I am in the black and making money. That’s good enough for me and hopefully some of you have been coming along for the ride. Took last week off but I’m ready to jump back in there for week 8, this is what I’ve got…
Giants (PK): God help me but I’m making a play on the 1-6 New York Football Giants. Are the Giants a bad football team? Absolutely. Are they are as bad as this 1-6 record would lead you to believe? I don’t think so. I rate both their offense and defense as slightly below average, but not as low as you’d expect from a team that’s 1-6. Typically a 1-6 team is going to be something like 27th in offense and 25th in defense or somewhere in that neighborhood. The Giants are bad, but not that bad. On offense there is talent all over the place with truly elite players like Barkley and Beckham leading the way. I also rate Shepard and Engram as above average players at WR and TE respectively. The issue of course is at QB with Eli Manning. All the “should he finally retire” talk is getting louder and louder in New York and you’ve gotta wonder if it’s getting to him. That said his numbers are actually pretty respectable this season. His QB rating of 94.1 is 16th in the league and puts him square in the middle of the pack. Across the board Eli checks in right around that same place (middle of the pack) in yards per attempt, completion %, INT rate, etc. The argument could be made he’s done some stat padding in garbage time of games they’ve been losing and facing prevent defenses, but the fact remains he hasn’t been as awful as many people are acting like. Sunday they’ll face the 4-2 Redskins who are the opposite of the Giants in my opinion. They are a team that isn’t as good as their record would lead you to believe. They check in 24th in the league in yards per game offensively, that said I will give them credit on the defensive side where they are 5th in yards allowed per contest. On the whole though the shakiness of the offense is enough to make think this is a 8-8 type team that’s just playing over their heads at the moment. Chris Thompson looks like he’ll return to the lineup but he’s banged up and my guess he’ll be on snap count and not playing at 100%. He’s probably their best offensive weapon and frankly with him at less that 100% there’s not much on that offense that scares you. I think the Giants take care of business and get a home, division win.
Vikings (PK): A rematch of last years playoff thriller takes center stage on Sunday night as the Vikings and Saints do battle. The Saints come in at a very impressive 5-1 and the Vikings are at a solid 4-2-1. Both teams figure to back in the playoffs and maybe we’ll see a January rematch of what they gave us last year. In a game like this there’s really no picking on either team or acting like they aren’t any good. Let’s just get that out of the way now. I expect both of these teams to win double digit games and have a shot at making a run in the NFC, simple as that. The fact however is I rate the Vikings a bit higher and I’d have them a 2 point favorite on a neutral field and with this game in Minnesota I actually make them a 5 point favorite. It’s not terribly often my line is 5 points off the actual number, but here we are and if I’m going to stay true to what my numbers tell this is a game I have to play. The Vikings had a rough 3 week patch where they went 0-2-1, but outside of that they’ve been very good. I don’t want to just sweep 3 games under the rug and act like they didn’t happen but I can’t help but take those results with a grain of salt. First off was a 29-29 tie at Green Bay against the Packers. Nothing wrong with that, a close game against a good team on the road, it happens. Afterwards in maybe the weirdest game in the entire league all season they were smoked at home by the Bills as massive favorites. That was just one of those Murphys Law kind of games where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Minnesota. Lastly after that they had to head to LA on a short week to play at the Rams. To their credit they were very competitive in the game losing only 38-31 in a shootout. Since then they’ve gone 3-0 including 2 wins on the road and I really think this is a top 3 or so team in the NFL. Cousins is playing at a very high level, Murray has filled in nicely for the dinged up Dalvin Cook, and with Diggs and Thielen they have arguably the best WR duo in the league. As far as the Saints they as already mentioned are a very good team but perhaps a little too dependent on Thomas and Kamara. Those two are far and away the leader pass catchers on the team and Kamara also leads the way rushing. In fact outside of Thomas no WR on the roster has over 12 catches this year. I certainly can’t and won’t predict an injury to either of those guys, but if one of them goes down that’s a massive blow to this team. I don’t want to say a 3 man offense but honestly outside of Brees, Thomas and Kamara nobody else is really doing much. That might be nit picking but to me it’s a concern. In general though I just think the Vikings are the better team and I can’t pass on them getting a chance to prove that at home in Pick Em game.