The playoff picture in the NFC is becoming more complicated – not less – as the month of November moves along. Things get more interesting as the Week 12 NFL betting lines approach.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Odds: New York Giants -2.5
The Giants just keep getting luck in terms of the teams they’re facing. This is not an act of whining from a fan that might hate the Giants; it’s a genuine reality based in the course of actual events. Think about it: The Giants played in Philadelphia against the Eagles on a day when Matt Barkley, not Nick Foles, had to play quarterback for Gang Green. That one detail unavoidably helped New York to win an ugly 15-7 game in which the Giants’ offense simply did not play well. The Giants also played Minnesota on a night when the Vikings chose Josh Freeman as their starter. Freeman had not played once with the Vikings in 2013 after coming over from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so it was always going to be very hard to expect Freeman to pick up the Vikings’ playbook in time for that game. Sure enough, he was horrible, and the Giants won despite – again – performing quite poorly on offense in what was one of the worst Monday Night Football games ever seen.
The Giants then received an early Christmas present this past Sunday when Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers remained inactive, enabling the Giants to waltz past the shorthanded Packers at home. That’s a lot of injury luck for a team that’s 4-6 on the season.
Yet, the Giants get still one more big break: This Sunday, Dallas linebacker Sean Lee – the most important defensive player on the Cowboys’ roster – will be out with an injury. Lee is the defensive player Dallas simply cannot afford to lose. Without him, the New Orleans Saints feasted on Dallas’ defense to the tune of 49 points two weeks ago. This game simply sets up well for the Giants due to Lee’s injury.
Pick: New York Giants -2.5
Carolina Panthers @ Miami Dolphins
Odds: Carolina -4.5
The Carolina Panthers played one of the best games of the NFL season this past Monday night, and it was just enough to hold off the New England Patriots in a classic. The Panthers have now beaten the San Francisco 49ers and the Patriots in consecutive weeks, becoming not just a contender in the NFC South, but a Super Bowl contender as well. There is now zero question that this is a top-tier team in the NFL. Its defense is imposing, physical, and well-schooled. Cam Newton played the best game of his NFL career against New England, and he’ll take the field with a lot of confidence in this game. Carolina should be able to control the line of scrimmage against the Miami Dolphins. It is clear that the Panthers are the superior team in this contest; if they don’t make big mistakes, they should be able to win comfortably.
Pick: Carolina -4.5
Chicago Bears @ St. Louis Rams
Odds: Rams -1
The Bears have announced that Josh McCown will once again start at quarterback, while the Rams are coming off a bye week which followed their best performance of the season, a rout of the Indianapolis Colts. Will we see the good Rams or the bad Rams in this game? That’s probably the most important question of the day. The odds are that the Rams’ game against Indianapolis was an outlier, not an indication of what’s to come. Take the Bears to win outright and cover the spread.
Pick: Chicago +1