LOS ANGELES, November 30, 2017 — After 210 straight regular-season games as the New York Giants starting quarterback, Eli Manning was just sacked by his coach. Ben McAdoo has decided to see what backup Geno Smith can do.
All Manning ever did with the Giants was win two Super Bowls, take a beating in recent years behind a patchwork offensive line, and be a good company man who never complained. The Giants are 2-9 and playing bad in every phase of the game. Manning is not the problem, but this was a desperation move by McAdoo.
In 2018 Manning may still be with the Giants. McAdoo most likely will not.
Eli Manning among others not playing this weekend
Manning is one of several players who will not play this week despite being completely healthy. The Dallas Cowboys will again be without running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is in the middle of a six-game suspension. The Oakland Raiders will be without wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who was suspended for fighting with Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. Crabtree and Talib were both suspended two games, but the suspension on appeal was reduced to one game apiece. With the Cowboys and Raiders at 5-6 and fighting for their playoff lives, these suspensions could not have come at a worse time.
For players who have not been benched or suspended, this week will be when the swimmers are separated from those who continue sinking.
With that, here is the NFL 2017 Week 13 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com. Are all times Eastern.
Thursday, November 30, 2017, 8:30 p.m
Washington Redskins (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys — Both teams are 5-6 and on the verge of elimination. The Redskins are a schizophrenic team. Kirk Cousins plays well at home but not on the road. Das Prescott has a capable backup running back in former Redskins halfback Alfred Morris. Upset special, Cowboys win outright.
Sunday, December 3, 1:00 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
— Minnesota’s defense shut down a good Rams team a couple weeks ago, but Atlanta’s offense is even better. Julio Jones exploded last week. The Falcons are at home in the dome. That is enough. Falcons cover.
Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
— Both teams are 6-5 and fighting for a playoff spot. The Lions have the talent, but right now Baltimore has momentum after beating up on weaker teams. This is the last chance to really trust the Lions. Upset special, Lions win outright.
New England Patriots (-8.5) at Buffalo Bills
— Buffalo did get an emotional road win over Kansas City, but the Patriots are on a mission. New England is 9-2 and Buffalo is a desperate 6-5. The spread is high, but until Buffalo wins a game like this, they do not get the benefit of the doubt. Patriots win but fail to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears (-3)
— League rules require this game not be canceled. Jimmy Garoppolo starts his first game for the 49ers. The 49ers have competed hard all season, but at home, this might be one game even the Bears do not foul up. Bears cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1) at Green Bay Packers
— These teams have both collapsed. Despite Brett Hundley playing well last week, the Packers still lost. The Buccaneers actually improved when Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced the injured Jameis Winston. Even without Aaron Rodgers, the Cheeseheads should be ok at home in a game Chris Berman used to call “The Bay of Pigs.” Upset special, Packers win outright.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (-9.5)
— The Colts are a mess while the Jaguars have a defense. Blake Bortles is still shaky, but the defense can more than handle the Colts. A garbage touchdown could beat this high spread. Jaguars win but fail to cover.
Denver Broncos (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins
— John Elway and Dan Marino will not be coming out of retirement to make this game watchable. Denver is without the suspended Talib, but Trevor Siemian returning at quarterback is actually an upgrade. Both teams are in free fall and the Dolphins have more to play for, but after seven straight losses the Broncos rally around Siemian. Broncos cover.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at New York Jets
— The once 5-0 Chiefs are now 6-5. The Jets are 4-7 but they have fought hard all year. Their losses, for the most part, have not been embarrassing. The Chiefs are the more talented team but Josh McCown is playing confident and Alex Smith is not. The Jets find ways to lose. Chiefs win but fail to cover.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-7)
— The Titans are the worst 7-4 team in some time, but the Texans are lost without DeShaun Watson. Houston’s defense matches up favorably against the high spread. They were competitive last week at Baltimore and will be again. Titans win but fail to cover.
Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers (-14)
— Last year the Browns were 0-14 and then beat the Chargers. This year the Browns are 0-11. However, last year the game was in Cleveland. Philip Rivers is slinging the ball well and the 5-6 Chargers have everything to play for. The Browns usually play tough before fading late. The spread is begging for a garbage touchdown. Chargers win but fail to cover.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-4.5)
— Both teams are 8-3. Carolina has the defense and New Orleans has a top tier rushing attack. The Saints had their eight-game winning streak snapped last week. They will be at home and they will be angry. This could go down to the final play and who has the ball last. saints win but fail to cover.
Los Angeles Rams (-7) at Arizona Cardinals
— The Rams got a big emotional home win over New Orleans and have to guard against coming out flat and having a letdown. Arizona won a shootout over Jacksonville last week. Rams win but fail to cover.
New York Giants at Oakland Raiders (-8.5)
— Last week the Raiders faced Paxton Lynch and this week Geno Smith. On the downside, the Raiders are still without Michael Crabtree while Amari Cooper may be wobbly after getting blasted last week. The 5-6 Raiders desperately need this game, but their secondary is far too porous to support this spread. Plus, the only two games the Giants won were against AFC West teams. Eli Manning is lucky he can skip this awful game. Raiders win but fail to cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6) at Seattle Seahawks
— The Eagles are 10-1 while the Seahawks are 7-4. Seattle’s defense is depleted and Russell Wilson accounts for almost all of their offense. Philadelphia is a machine who went into Dallas in prime time and obliterated them. This is the last chance to give the Seahawks the benefit of the 12th man in a game they must have. Upset special, Seahawks win outright.
Monday, December 4, 8:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
— The Steelers are 9-2 while the Bengals are 5-6. Cincinnati always plays the Steelers tough, but in the end, the Steelers always win and the Bengals always lose. The Bengals are head cases who will take a mindlessly dumb penalty at the worst time. They will give the game away. Steelers win but fail to cover.
Lead Image: By Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons