EDITORS NOTE: Ironically, the week 10 early games post will be late. Look for that post Saturday, November 11.
Sunday, November 12 - Afternoon Games
LA RAMS (6-2) -11.5 vs. Houston (3-5)
Houston, we have a problem. And his name is Tom Savage. Houston’s D kept the team in the game last week delivering an early score on a sack/fumble. But the offense couldn’t get anything going. Savage threw the ball 44 times completing 19 for only 219 yards. Not a strong performance, especially against the Colts.
This week they head to Los Angeles to play the Rams. The Rams only two loses this year have come at home – week 2 vs. Redskins and week 5 vs. Seattle. It’s been five weeks since the last Rams home gam - long enough that many Rams fans probably thought the team moved again.
The Rams are riding high off a very successful road trip that culminated in a total dismantling of the Giants. But after this week’s game vs. Houston, the Rams schedule gets super tough. Week 11 @ Minnesota, Week 12 vs. New Orleans, Week 13 @ Arizona, Week 14 vs. Philadelphia and Week 15 @ Seattle. Challenging indeed.
The Texans are catching the Rams at a great time as they will likely be looking ahead to the next 5 weeks. This should be a high scoring game with scores from both sides of the ball. I think “Macho Man” Tom Savage shows up for this and has his best game of the year.
Texans may not have enough to win, but they’ll keep this within 10. Take the Texans and the 11.5 points. Oh yeah!
PICK: Houston +11.5
ATLANTA (4-4) -2.5 vs. Dallas (5-3)
At the time of this writing, Zeke Elliott is currently suspended for the next 6 games starting with this game against the Falcons. This on-going soap opera between Elliott and the NFL has been the worst story of the 2017 season. By 8 pm Friday night, we fully expect Elliott to receive an emergency injunction staying the suspension and allowing him to play in week 10. Why wouldn’t we? This has happened so many times this season that ESPN has already started working on the “30 for 30” – “Elliott vs. Goodell – they should both go to hell” (it’s a working title – that probably won’t get approved).
But as of right now, he’s not playing and that hurts the Dallas offense. But to what extent? Sure, Zeke is a great RB but he plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football. Sub in Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden and they should be okay. And with Sean Lee back in the middle, the defense has looked much improved (that’s the highest compliment I can give them as a Giants fan).
Aside from Elliott (who are we kidding, he’ll be allowed to play), all key players should be on the field. Julio Jones and Dez Bryant both tweaked ankles in week 9, but both are practicing and are expected to play.
The real story line for this game is the recent lawsuit filed by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones against the NFL and the Compensation Committee which is ironically headed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank. This is a developing story and one that Jerry Jones has told everyone (wink, wink) is not in response to the Elliott suspension. This will be a heavy-weight battle that should have major ramifications throughout the league. And Jones is crazy enough and wealthy enough to drag this out but the first shots have been fired.
On the field, we’re taking Dallas and the 2.5. No doubt in our minds that Elliott will be in this game.
PICK: Dallas +2.5
NY Giants (1-7) -0.5 at SAN FRANCISCO (0-9)
Here at IWI Sports HQ we had to flip a coin to see who got to write about this game. Nope, not what you’re thinking, we both wanted to write about this game. I won.
Oh, what a sad state of affairs these two storied franchises find themselves in. San Francisco at 0-9 is so bad the team sent a survey to fans asking them if winning is important. Of course it is, that’s why you play the game.
But San Fran (ground zero of the current kneeling fiasco) has bigger problems than that. They built a nice new stadium so far outside of town that no one wants to go to games. John Lynch is the team’s GM. They are starting a rookie at QB who has initials for a first name – never a good sign. They rank 29th is point for and 31st in points against. And did I mention, John Lynch is the team’s GM. Yikes!
Then there’s the Giants, 1-7 at the half-way point of another lost season. After a surprising playoff appearance last year, we had high hopes for the Giants this year. But, due to major injuries, a lack of focus on upgrading the o-line and the early season playing calling of Ben McAdoo, here were sit. 1-7 amid reports that McAdoo has lost the locker room. Surprised! No, we aren’t.
McAdoo lost the Giants locker room last season when the infamous “WRs on a Boat” picture surfaced on New Year’s Eve.
The situation was poorly handled by McAdoo and he never recovered. I don’t think he should have suspended any of the players, it was an off day and they are grownups(?). But he should have condemned the actions, not condoned them. By ignoring the situation and not addressing it as he should, it created a rift in the locker room with the veterans that he could not recover from. Now he’s scrambling to save face. Suspending DRC and Jenkins in an attempt to show control did just the opposite. The players don’t care and it’s showing on the field. Last week the Rams returned a blocked punt for a TD and converted a 3rd and 33 for long touchdown. All McAdoo could do is watch with a blank stare. He did offer this post game gem in response to a question about what did you say to the team at the half to motivate them.
But all is not lost for the Giants. These guys are still Pros and this week Oliver Vernon and BJ Goodson are back from injury and Jenkins indefinite suspension lasted only one week. On offense, Eli Manning will start his 208th consecutive game tying brother Peyton for 2nd all-time. If Eli, doesn’t perform this week he may not get start 209. This is a moment for the Giants veterans to step up and we think they answer the call.
PICK: NY Giants -0.5
Sunday, November 12th - Night Game
New England (6-2) -7.5 @ DENVER (3-5)
Take the team names out of this and look at the situation. Sunday prime time island game. Home team, with a distinct home field advantage (mile high), getting 7.5 points. This is a no-brainer. Take the home team and the 7.5 points, don’t even think about.
Add in the QBs and it’s a different story. On one side, we have Tom Brady; 40 years young, husband to Giselle, a man so well hydrated he doesn’t get a sunburn. On the other, we have Brock Osweiler; standing tall at 6’7”, a man who lost starting QB jobs to both DeShaun Kizer and Trevor Siemian. It’s no contest, right? You should take Brady.
But there is more to this game than QB play. Although New England’s defense has looked better in recent weeks, they are still last in the league in yards allowed per game. Denver is 2nd. We think that Denver’s defense steps up in this big prime time game and that Osweiler plays well enough to earn the 900K Cleveland is paying him this week.
Denver getting 7.5 is the perfect scenario for our MeUndies Backdoor Cover of the Week. GO Broncos!
PICK: DENVER +7.5
Monday, November 13 - Night Game
CAROLINA (5-3) -9.5 vs. Miami (4-4)
This comes down to one question and one question only.
Carolina admitted last week that trading Kelvin Benjamin opened the field for Cam and the young, fleet receiving crew. Seemed like a strange comment at the time but proved to be true last week vs. the Falcons. The offense was more than just gimmick plays to McCaffery. And Cam even let someone else score a rushing touchdown (Cam of course had the other rushing TD). But even though the offense looked better than it has, it was still pedestrian.
Miami is playing in its 3rd straight prime time game. Why does the league hate us so much? After playing one of the worst games of the year at Baltimore, Miami rebounded with a close loss to the Raiders at home. The 24 points was the second highest total for Miami this year, only bested by the 31 scored vs. the NY Jets in Week 7. Important to note, Miami is last in the league in points per game at 14.5 – even below Cleveland.
This one will come down to Cam. Do you trust him? We don’t.
PICK: Miami +9.5