Underdogs finally made up some ground
December 05, 2017 3:00 AM
by Andy Iskoe
VIP Pigskin Picks | One thing the NFL has done in recent years has been to backload the schedule with Divisional contests. Of the 96 games between Division foes to be played this season, only 63 were played through last weekend.
One thing the NFL has done in recent years has been to backload the schedule with Divisional contests. Of the 96 games between Division foes to be played this season, only 63 were played through last weekend.
Over one third of the Divisional schedule – 33 games – will be played over the final four weeks with five games played this week, eight next week and four in Week 16.
Week 17 will feature nothing but Divisional games with all 32 teams playing on the final day of the season, Dec. 31.
After a six-week stretch in which favorites went 54-25-6 ATS (68.4 percent) using the closing line from the Westgate, underdogs finally made up some ground and stood 8-7 ATS prior to Monday night’s game.
Of the eight underdogs that covered, six won outright beginning on Thursday when Dallas upset Washington as slight 1.5-point home dogs. On Sunday, Minnesota, Miami, the New York Jets, San Francisco and Seattle all pulled upsets. The only two underdogs that covered without winning were Cleveland in a 19-10 loss at the Chargers and the New York Giants in a 24-17 setback at Oakland.
The Giants’ loss turned out to be the last game coached by the beleaguered Ben McAdoo who, along with GM Jerry Reese, was fired Monday morning.
Considered to be solid favorites to make the Playoffs after going 11-5 last season the Giants started 0-5 and stood 2-10 after the loss to the Raiders. The patience of fans had already worn thin but after McAdoo’s decision to bench QB Eli Manning and the way it was handled finally got to ownership and the decision was made to make the changes prior to the end of the season. In McAdoo’s final six games his team averaged just 14 points per game, only once topping 17 (21).
The usual names will be rumored as to who will coach the Giants next season with Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher at the top of their wish list. Given how the McAdoo regime unfolded it would be surprising if the Giants do not turn to someone with prior head coaching experience.
McAdoo won’t be the only NFL head coaching casualty of the 2017 season as more changes will be made following the end of the season. What transpires over the final four games of this season will determine the fates of several head coaches.
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New Orleans +1 at Atlanta (54.5): This is the first of two meetings between the teams. Both teams have Playoff talent and with levels of performance and intensity for good teams being situational this spot clearly favors the hosts who, for all intents and purposes, have their season on the line here. ATLANTA