What a difference a week makes in the NFL. Just a few days ago, the Giants took on the Jets with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. In the second quarter, Taylor got injured and was replaced by Tommy DeVito.
The unholy trinity of horrible weather, an excellent Jets defense and the Giants’ inability to prepare DeVito to throw even the simplest passes set the Giants’ offense back to the Jack Mara era.
This Sunday, the Giants will have starting QB Daniel Jones back for their game in Las Vegas. By the way, have you heard any news about the Raiders lately?
The fake news was funnier — that head coach Josh McDaniels was fired via a message in a PF Chang’s fortune cookie after dressing up like owner Mark Davis for Halloween. The real news was that McDaniel indeed was canned, along with Jimmy Garoppolo being benched for Aidan O’Connell, and ex-Giant Antonio Pierce getting elevated to interim coach.
So, what to make of this bottom-feeding-yet-intriguing matchup? On the Raiders’ side, teams do often get an immediate boost from an in-season coaching firing, and I can see this bounce being a big one because McDaniels was so bad. O’Connell might actually be the best of the quarterbacks the Raiders have on hand. And Las Vegas is 2-1 at home compared to the Giants’ 1-3 on the road.
For the Giants, it should be a whole new offense with Jones possibly bolstered by the return of offensive linemen Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal. The defense is totally on point of late, with Dexter Lawrence creating maximum havoc on the inside up front. (I doubt any Giants players will view the Leonard Williams trade as a raising of the white flag — he was only one guy in a contract year; this was not a mass exodus). After watching the Lions sack Garoppolo six times, this seems to be a good setup on both sides for the Giants.
The pick: Giants +1.5.
Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) over Miami Dolphins (in Frankfurt, Germany)
We’ll have to wake up early to see what shapes up as one of the best games of the season. It’s not often you get Patrick Mahomes at this cheap spread, and the Chiefs coming in off a loss in Denver is probably a good dynamic as well. Kansas City also ranks fourth in yards gained and fourth in yards allowed. The Dolphins are No. 1 in offense by a wide margin, but some of that might not translate on the long trip. And all six of their wins have come against teams currently under .500.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-2.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m a little concerned that the Texans are 0-2 SU and ATS as favorites. Still, this is a team that’s had some strong wins. C.J. Stroud is only going to get better, and so far he’s been pretty good with nine touchdowns and only one interception.
Minnesota Vikings (+4) over ATLANTA FALCONS
Two teams making quarterback changes, with Taylor Heinicke taking over from Desmond Ridder for the Falcons and Jaren Hall, and at some point Josh Dobbs, replacing the injured Kirk Cousins. The spread might be a bit of an overreaction to Cousins. The Vikings have won three in a row and four of five, and should still be viable here.
Seattle Seahawks (+6) over BALTIMORE RAVENS
This one’s a little dicey because the Ravens are capable of pulling away. But the Seahawks are 5-2 and, after a blowout loss in Week 1, have only a four-point loss at Cincinnati to blemish their last six games.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (-8.5) over Arizona Cardinals
One deadline deal that could have an impact on this week’s games is the Cardinals sending away Dobbs, who did a very good job for them. At this writing, there’s a chance Kyler Murray will be back for the Cardinals, but even if he is, Myles Garrett will be waiting.
Los Angeles Rams (+3) over GREEN BAY PACKERS
We’re going to have to sweat out Matthew Stafford’s availability until game time, but it seems as if that element is already baked into the line. The Packers have lost four in a row, all as underdogs of 1-2.5 points, so I’m not ready to lay points with them here.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-3) over Washington Commanders
Though the Patriots have been on the wrong side of a few blowouts and I don’t like the Mac Jones vs. Sam Howell matchup, I have to think the Commanders’ deadline trades of Montez Sweat and Chase Young has to have an effect on the team’s collective psyche.
Chicago Bears (+8.5) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Bit of a tough travel ask for the Bears after a Sunday night loss in Los Angeles. That was Tyson Bagent’s first start, and he caught the Chargers on one of their best all-around nights. This game should be more competitive, but the spread is nearly as large.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (+2.5) over Indianapolis Colts
Frank Reich goes up against his old team, and this time there’s real revenge in play after the Colts fired him in favor of Jeff Saturday off the couch last season. First win last week gives Panthers some juice.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-3) over Dallas Cowboys
Though the Cowboys had some huge highs and lows, the Eagles consistently have been a bit underwhelming and have yet to play their best game. With the O-line healthy, thinking this could be the day.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (-1.5) over Buffalo Bills
Much respect to the Bills, but the thought here is when Joe Burrow is at full speed and in this type of groove, you really don’t want to be in his way. Weather should be perfect and no hindrance to the downfield passing game.
NEW YORK JETS (+3.5) over Los Angeles Chargers
I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard more negativity about a team after a win than what went down after the Jets’ miracle-ish victory over the Giants.
I’m not going to try to defend every decision Zach Wilson made — the sack he took on fourth down that should have sealed the result for the Giants was Week 1 rookie-level cluelessness.
But let’s just say that some of those who were sitting in the dry press box or on their couch didn’t quite have a feel for the miserable, rainy conditions nor the savagery Dexter Lawrence was unleashing on the Jets’ first-, third- and fourth-string centers on every play. The history books will show Wilson came through on the tying and winning drives, and got the W.
Betting on the NFL?
The Chargers come in with a scary and largely healthy team. Justin Herbert is an elite quarterback who has 13 touchdowns, four interceptions and has been sacked just 15 times. This will be a tough test for the Jets’ defense, but corners Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed are healthy, and linebacker Quincy Williams has been everywhere all at once.
The hope for the Jets is that Wilson can get it going and keep it going against a Chargers defense that ranks 31st in total yards per game allowed and last in passing yards allowed. The Jets have risen to the occasion against the top quarterbacks at home this season, beating Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts, having a near-miss against Patrick Mahomes and submitting all of them to worse stats than they are accustomed to.
Best bets: Giants, Seahawks, Bengals.
Lock of the week: Giants (Locks 2-6 in 2023).
Last week: 3-10-3 overall, 0-2-1 Best Bets.
This story originally appeared on NYPost