VIP Pigskin Picks | The 2017 NFL season is unfolding quite differently from what was expected by most back in August. The New England Patriots, favored by as much as minus 2500 to win the AFC East and possibly go unbeaten, are tied with Buffalo and the New York Jets at 3-2 after 5 weeks of play.
The 2017 NFL season is unfolding quite differently from what was expected by most back in August.
The New England Patriots, favored by as much as minus 2500 to win the AFC East and possibly go unbeaten, are tied with Buffalo and the New York Jets at 3-2 after 5 weeks of play.
The Jets entered the season with the lowest projected Season Wins Totals since those wagering offerings started to appear two decades ago. At a range of between 3.5 and 4.5 wins in the weeks leading up to the season, the Jets have a chance to cash the OVER tickets for some this weekend as they host the Patriots.
Only one team remains perfect while three teams remain winless. That Kansas City is 5-0 or that both Cleveland and San Francisco are 0-5 are not shocking developments. But the 0-5 start fashioned by the New York Giants is a major head scratcher. The G-Men were 11-5 and made the Playoffs as a Wild Card team last season and returned much of the defense from that team.
The questions revolved around the offense and a porous offensive line and sure enough that unit was inept starting the season, tallying 3 and 10 points in losses at Dallas and to Detroit to open the season. In the second half of their week 3 game at Philadelphia the offense started to gel and after scoring fewer than 20 points in 8 straight games dating back to last season the Giants have scored 24, 23 and 22 points in their last 3 games. In those games the defense was unable to protect fourth quarter leads.
At 0-5 the Giants will not make the Playoffs this season and are in danger of challenging for the top draft choice next spring, a dubious honor many thought would fall to their Meadowlands co-tenants. Coach Ben McAdoo may be losing control of his lockerroom but a more tangible issue for the Giants over the next few weeks is dealing with the injuries to 4 of their receivers in last week’s loss to the Chargers, including a broken ankle that will sideline start Odell Beckham Jr for the balance of the season.
The NFL is a week to week drama. Teams that look great one week can look as though they’ve never played the game the next week. Injuries have the greatest impact on a team’s fortunes in football because of the short 16 game schedule. Quarterback injuries have the greatest impact because of the importance and nature of the position.
That is why Sports Books routinely resist putting up lines on games in which the status of the starting QB is mostly uncertain. There are several such games this week and likely there will be a game or two each week of the season, especially with the rules concerning concussions that have been tightened in recent seasons.
Four more teams have Byes this week as Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas and Seattle will not be in action this week.
Last week was very unusual from a pointspread standpoint with only 2 teams favored by more than 4 points. Philadelphia was a 6.5 point favorite over visiting Arizona, winning 31-7. The other was Pittsburgh. Favored by 7 the Steelers were upset at home by Jacksonville.
In contrast, on Monday morning 5 of the 12 games on which there were lines posted featured favorites of between 9.5 and 11 points.
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Philadelphia +3 at Carolina (46): Philly is 2-0 on the road and the Panthers are just 1-1 home with their last loss being a 34-13 loss to Division rival New Orleans. Since that loss the Panthers have won as underdogs in back to back weeks at New England and Detroit. Both of these teams are worth backing going forward but the home field and the edge on defense, especially against the pass, make the stronger case for the hosts. CAROLINA