NFL Betting Odds: Week 12 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Some in the NFL were surprised that the Denver Broncos hired Vance Joseph as their head coach this past season. After all, the guy had been a coordinator for just one season, leading the Miami Dolphins defense in 2016. And it's not like that defense was all that great. Miami ranked 29 th in yards allowed and 18th in points. The Broncos already had two young quarterbacks on their roster in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, so the thinking was that boss and Hall of Famer John Elway, a fair QB in his day, would hire an offensive mind.
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When Joseph got the job, many Broncos fans were angry as they preferred Kyle Shanahan, one of the league's best offensive minds and the son of former Super Bowl-winning Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. To solve the offensive issue, Joseph (or maybe Elway) hired former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, who used to call plays for the Broncos, as offensive coordinator to tutor Siemian and Lynch.
You don't want to call something a total failure after 10 games, but Elway's decision is starting to look like one. And there's some talk that Joseph could be a one-and-done guy. Those are rare in the NFL, but they do happen. Chip Kelly lasted just the 2016 season with San Francisco. The season before that, Jim Tomsula was one-and-done with the Niners (no wonder Kyle Shanahan demanded a six-year contract). Rob Chudzinski lasted one year with the Browns, and current Browns coach Hue Jackson just one in Oakland. There are others.
There's no question the Broncos (3-7) are a mess as they are on a six-game losing streak and 5-point underdogs for Sunday's game at Oakland (4-6). On Monday, McCoy was fired and replaced by QBs coach Bill Musgrave. Later in the week, Joseph announced that Lynch would get his first start of the season (I projected this on Monday) and third career. This was a no-brainer move because Siemian got his shot early this season and struggled. Then Bust … err Brock Osweiler took the reins and was even worse. Elway traded up to the 26th pick of last year's draft to take Lynch out of Memphis.
It's time to see what Lynch brings to the table or else Denver might be looking at a free agent such as Kirk Cousins or Tyrod Taylor (assuming Bills don't bring him back) this offseason. Bovada does offer some Lynch specials this week: "over/under: 20.5 completions, 225.5 yards, 1.5 TDs and 0.5 INTs. He goes against an Oakland defense that ranks 26th in yards allowed per game and 21st in points (24.7). That unit will have a new coordinator this week as well with Ken Norton Jr. fired and replaced by John Pagano. Did you know the Raiders are the only team in the NFL without an interception this season? Naturally, Bovada is all over that as well. That they get one Sunday is -150 and no +110.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 12.
Saints at Rams (-2.5, 53.5): The clear game of the day and it was flexed from a 1 p.m. ET kickoff to 4:25. New Orleans is the first team in NFL history to win eight straight following a 0-2 start and leads the NFC South by a game over Carolina. The Rams had their four-game winning streak snapped in Minnesota last Sunday but lead the NFC West by a game over Seattle. L.A. will be without leading receiver Robert Woods, however. He will miss at least the next two games with a sprained left shoulder. Woods leads the Rams in targets (70), receptions (47) and receiving yards (703) and is tied with Sammy Watkins for the TD lead among receivers with four. You don't see many Bovada specials on kickers, but there are two on the Rams' Greg Zuerlein. Will he break the single-season points record of 166 by a kicker: "no" -150, "yes" +110; and will he break the single-season points record of 186 by any player: no -500, yes +300. The kicker mark was set by David Akers in 2011 and the overall mark by Chargers legendary running back and new Hall of Fame inductee LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006. Zuerlein has 115 points, which is 11.5 per game. That averages out to 184.
Seahawks at 49ers (+6.5, 45): This line hasn't changed, but the total has risen three points. You have to give high marks thus far to Shanahan and GM John Lynch even though the 49ers have just one victory. They have made what appear to be smart trades in moving down just one spot in this year's draft so Chicago could take Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall and then a few weeks ago sending a second-round pick to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo. Everyone assumed that Jimmy G would make his San Francisco debut here coming out of the bye week with three weeks to learn the offense. Yet the Niners are sticking with rookie C.J. Beathard, which I don't understand. Granted, he comes off his best game as a pro in a Week 10 win over the Giants, but don't you need to see Garoppolo for more than a few games to decide whether to franchise tag him or sign him to a long-term deal this offseason? Maybe two years ago, you don't throw a rusty QB in against the Seahawks, but their defense is nothing like it used to be sans Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. This could be a mega-trap game for Seattle off that Monday night loss to Atlanta and ahead of hosting Philadelphia next Sunday night.
Bucs at Falcons (-10, 48.5): This opened at -8.5, but now the Falcons are one of a shocking five double-digit favorites on Week 12. Only two other seasons has seen as many in Week 12 since 1990. Tampa Bay goes again with backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick as Jameis Winston continues to recover from a shoulder injury. The Bucs are 2-0 under Fitz but have beaten sorry teams in the Jets and Dolphins. At 4-6, Tampa can kiss any wild-card shot goodbye with a loss here. The Falcons (6-4) are two games behind the Saints, who could easily lose Sunday in L.A. This could be a bit of a trap for Atlanta, though, off the big win in Seattle on Monday and with another tough one in Week 13 vs. the Minnesota Vikings. It's still not clear if the Falcons will have No. 1 running back Devonta Freeman. He missed the Seahawks game in the concussion protocol. He was at practice Thursday but still in the protocol and thus no contact. If I'm the Falcons, I sit him one more week as you can beat the Bucs with Tevin Coleman at tailback.
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