NFL Betting Odds: Week 10 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
(I'm aware that Ezekiel Elliott is suspended again, but I refuse to talk about that any longer.)
If I had to make a list of the Top 10 coaches in the NFL entering this season with the most job security and not counting first-year guys, you probably start said list with New England's Bill Belichick, Seattle's Pete Carroll, Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and Kansas City's Andy Reid. I'm not going to do a full Top 10 but I would have included Tampa Bay's Dirk Koetter somewhere near after those five guys.
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Now? He might be a goner. Among Bovada's specials this week is a prop on whether Koetter is Tampa Bay's coach for Week 1 of the 2018 regular season: "no" is -200 and "yes" is +150. Isn't it amazing how fast a rising coach can be dragged into the mud?
There's no question the Bucs are one of the NFL's biggest disappointments at 2-6 and on a five-game losing streak. I thought this team had a great shot at a wild card at a minimum and perhaps an NFC South title after going 9-7 in Koetter's first season. The Bucs also had a productive offseason, led by winning the bidding for top free-agent WR DeSean Jackson.
However, third-year quarterback Jameis Winston has regressed some and continues to make bad decisions. He looked nothing like a leader in last week's loss at New Orleans when he basically started a dustup with the Saints by pushing/tapping Saints stellar rookie defensive back Marshon Lattimore in the back of his helmet from the sideline. Stupid regardless, but Winston already had been pulled from the game due to a sore shoulder! Yet he was OK to do that? Star receiver Mike Evans came to his QB's defense when Lattimore took exception and now Evans is suspended for this Sunday's home game vs. the Jets. Winston will sit at least two weeks to heal a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder.
If you watched "Hard Knocks" this summer on HBO, Winston looked like a terrific leader. Perhaps that was all for the cameras. Someone like Tom Brady or Drew Brees never acted like Winston did vs. the Saints when they were young QBs. Maybe this time away will be good for Winston. If he were an older QB, the Bucs might think about sitting him the rest of the way, especially if they lose the next two. But Winston is young enough to where he still needs game experience. As for Koetter? I'd say he's still safe for now, but if the Bucs lose out and/or there are any more shenanigans that suggest the coach has lost his team, he will be replaced. The Tampa job would be in high demand because it's a talented roster (led by Winston) and in tax-free sunny Florida.
The Bucs have half as many wins as the Jets, and Tampa is a 2.5-point home underdog for Sunday's game against New York. I truly never thought that sentence would be written in 2017.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 10.
Packers at Bears (-5.5, 38): Here's another sentence I didn't think I'd be writing in 2017: Chicago is favored over Green Bay . That hasn't happened since 2008 when Aaron Rodgers was in his first year as a starter - and this line is growing as the Bears opened at -3. Obviously, this spread is because of how bad Rodgers' backup Brett Hundley has looked. Know this, however: Chicago is 0-5 SU & ATS under John Fox as a favorite. The Bears also might be without their best linebacker in Danny Trevathan as he's dealing with a calf strain. He leads the defense with 52 tackles. You may remember that Trevathan nearly decapitated Green Bay receiver Davante Adams in the Packers' 35-14 Week 4 win. Trevathan was suspended two games for that but had it reduced to one on appeal.The Packers shockingly released tight end and former Bear Martellus Bennett this week. They did so for failure to disclose a physical condition, which could allow Green Bay to recoup a nice chunk of Bennett's $6.3 million signing bonus. Bennett had just 24 catches for 233 yards with four drops, but he was still clearly the best tight end on the roster. The Patriots snapped him up on waivers.
Saints at Bills (+3, 46.5): Buffalo hasn't done much in the passing game this season, but QB Tyrod Taylor should add two weapons Sunday in receiver Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Charles Clay. Benjamin was acquired from Carolina at the Oct. 31 trade deadline but wasn't active for last Thursday's loss at the Jets. He'll debut here. The Saints know him well from his NFC South days as Benjamin has 17 catches for 192 yards in five games against the Saints in his career. Clay hasn't played since Oct. 8 in Cincinnati due to a knee injury and then minor surgery but has been practicing this week and should go. Despite missing all that time, he still leads the team with 258 receiving yards (on 20 catches). The Bills likely will be without rookie WR Zay Jones and left tackle Cordy Glenn, though. Buffalo is one of just two teams in the NFL still unbeaten at home this season. The other is Philadelphia. The Saints' Lattimore, perhaps the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, didn't get any punishment from Winston/Evans issue nor should he have. New Orleans has won six straight and its past three on the road by a combined 50 points.
Steelers at Colts (+10, 45): If you have Ben Roethlisberger on your fantasy team - you probably shouldn't these days unless as a bye week fill-in - you may want to play him this week. Pittsburgh has trashed Indy the past three years and Big Ben has 13 TDs and no picks in those games. In addition, the Colts in a surprise released their best cornerback this week, two-time Pro Bowler Vontae Davis. He has struggled this season with a groin injury and apparently had decided to undergo season-ending surgery. The Colts didn't even bring him on the trip to Houston last week and Davis took affront to that. Coach Chuck Pagano said several times after the game that leaving Davis behind was a coach's decision and not injury-related. Pierre Desir started in Davis' place against the Texans and should going forward. With 28 completions this week, Big Ben could join an exclusive club of QBs who have completed at least 4,000 passes career (the Chargers' Philip Rivers can as well). In addition, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown could each reach 1,000 scrimmage yards for the season Sunday. It would be only the seventh time it has happened in a team's first nine games. Bell and Brown also did it in 2014.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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