NFL Betting Odds: Week 6 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
The 49ers-Redskins game on Sunday perhaps doesn't look all that interesting on the surface because San Francisco is winless while Washington (2-2) is coming off its bye week, should win and is one four double-digit favorites in Week 6 at -10.
The clear story line surrounding that game isn't so much the result, but Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. It's well known around the NFL that he doesn't have a great relationship with the Washington front office after the team decided to slap the franchise tag on Cousins each of the past two offseasons. That's an unprecedented move. Why don't players like being paid the average of the Top-5 guys at their position? Because it's just that one season, and obviously NFL careers can end with a single hit. Players want long-term security and a huge signing bonus. Don't go feeling sorry for Cousins as he will have made around $44 million the past two years combined.
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It's almost unthinkable for Washington to franchise tag Cousins again next winter. That would be worth around $35 million for 2018. Or the team could slap the transition tag on him at roughly $29 million. The transition tag carries no compensation, but it allows Washington the right to match any offer Cousins would get on the open market (and there will be several). Each team can only use either a franchise or transition tag once in a given year. And a player can only be tagged three times by one team. Teams can also rescind the franchise or transition tag if an offer sheet hasn't been signed. You may remember the Redskins benefitted from this two years ago when Carolina withdrew its franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman (who is out injured this week) and he signed with Washington. The Skins could still try to work out a long-term deal with Cousins, but that ship may have sailed. If he simply walks away, the Redskins only get a 2019 compensatory draft pick, likely at the end of the third round.
San Francisco's head coach is Kyle Shanahan, and he basically developed Cousins as a former offensive coordinator in Washington. The two still have a good relationship and the thinking is that Shanahan will sign Cousins this offseason and use the 49ers' high draft pick on another offensive position of need (receiver or O-Line).
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 6.
Giants at Broncos (-11.5, 39.5): I won't go into much detail here as I led my Opening Line Report with the mess that is the New York Football Giants. Except it got worse since Monday. Starting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been suspended indefinitely by embattled coach Ben McAdoo, who probably just lost a bit more of the locker room. DRC, a respected veteran, was apparently upset about some playing time in Sunday's loss to the Chargers and was initially going to be inactive only for the Denver game. Apparently, his meeting with McAdoo on Thursday morning didn't go well, though. The collective bargaining agreement stipulates that the longest DRC can be suspended is four weeks. Not a lot of great Bovada specials this week, but there are two on the Giants: "over/under" 230.5 passing yards for Eli Manning; and will the Giants select a quarterback in the first round of the 2018 draft ("no" -300, "yes" +200)? Manning will be without his top three receivers in Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall (both out for season) and Sterling Shepard. The Manning prop is a bit of a Catch-22 because the Giants aren't going to be able to run against the NFL's No. 1 defense. So Eli will be throwing a ton. But Denver is No. 3 vs. the pass and Eli's receivers are garbage. I'd go under at -140 but do think the Giants go quarterback next April.
Bucs at Cardinals (+1.5, 45.5): This opened as a pick'em and Arizona is one of just three home dogs as of this writing along with the Jets (vs. Patriots) and Vikings (vs. Packers). With star running back David Johnson out until at least Week 12 and with the worst running game in the NFL, the Cards took a flier on trading a conditional late-round draft pick to New Orleans for Adrian Peterson this week. The likely future Hall of Famer looked done with the Saints at age 32, running for 81 yards on 27 carries, which put him on pace for a career low of 324 yards in a full 16-game season. But he'll be the main guy in Arizona, which released Chris Johnson after the trade. Bovada gives Peterson an O/U of 62.5 yards rushing this week, with the under a -150 favorite. The problem is that Arizona's offensive line is terrible. Tampa Bay ranks No. 8 against the rush, allowing 87.3 yards per game. The Bucs also are expecting back three key starters on defense from injury in linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, and safety T.J. Ward. Go under.
Packers at Vikings (+3, 46.5): Could be one of two trips to Minneapolis (host of Super Bowl LII) this year for Green Bay as the Packers are +300 NFC favorites at Bovada. Aaron Rodgers is a +150 favorite to win his third MVP award. Vikings fans consider Green Bay their top rival, and they are horrified at the thought of the Packers winning a Super Bowl in their stadium. It's a short week for Minnesota after edging the Bears 20-17 on Monday. Sam Bradford (knee) played for the first time since Week 1 but was clearly not physically ready to do so and was pulled late in the first half. So expect Case Keenum to start. The Vikes could be without leading receiver Stefon Diggs (23 catches, 395 yards, four TDs) as he's dealing with a groin injury. Diggs was held to a season-low 70 percent of Minnesota's offensive snaps against the Bears and caught just one pass. The Packers might get back running back Ty Montgomery this week from a rib injury, but it sounds as if rookie Aaron Jones will be the starter regardless off his big Week 5 game in Dallas. Green Bay and Minnesota have split the season series each of the past two years.
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