NFL Betting Odds: Week 5 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
Some of the most dominant defenses in NFL history had great nicknames. Purple People Eaters. Steel Curtain. Monsters of the Midway. And Legion of Boom belongs in that conversation.
Alas, the Legion is no more - and really, the Seattle Seahawks' identity is gone.
Now that we officially know Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas is done for the year with a broken leg, that puts a cap on one of the best secondaries in league history. That group also proved you can find Hall of Fame-caliber talent outside the first round of the draft.
Safety Kam Chancellor, a 2010 fifth-round pick, is now out of the NFL due to injuries. Outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman, the Deion Sanders of his day and a 2011 fifth-round pick, is now in San Francisco and a shell of his former self. Then last Sunday, Thomas snapped his leg in a win over Arizona.
Fans often don't understand why guys hold out in the NFL, and they generally side with ownership because players are so well-paid (uh, owners are much richer). Thing is, NFL contracts aren't guaranteed - the only major sports league in the USA in which they aren't. Thomas, who was a 2010 first-round pick out of Texas, held out all of camp because he was in the final year of a four-year, $40 million contract. Since he had signed that deal, the market had exploded - Eric Berry, who is a great player but probably not the difference-maker Thomas is, not long ago got $78 million.
The only leverage NFL players have is to hold out. Thomas wanted long-term security in case of a major injury, but he sucked it up and reported right before the regular season and had been playing at his usual All-Pro level (he had been "holding in" during practices by just sitting around). The fact the Seahawks played hardball with one of their franchise icons is the reason why Thomas was shown flipping the bird to his own sideline while being carted off in Arizona. That was aimed at Coach Pete Carroll and the front office.
What really has to burn Thomas is that Seattle reportedly was close to trading him to Kansas City before the injury; wow, that's exactly what the Chiefs need, too, with Berry still out due to injury. He's not playing Sunday, either. Bovada has a couple of Thomas specials this week: "over/under" a fine of $12,150 for flipping the bird and whether he plays for Seattle (+1400) in Game 1 next season or doesn't (-10000). I assure he won't be playing with the Seahawks, but I wouldn't risk $10K to win $100, either. If you are wondering how the site got the fine number, Thomas was fined $10,026 for his bow against Dallas two weeks ago as he was flagged for taunting.
Seattle is a 7-point home underdog (never used to see that) Sunday vs. the Rams. Seahawks running back Chris Carson is likely to return after missing last week. Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 5.
Dolphins at Bengals (-5.5, 48.5): I touched on this Monday so won't delve too deep, but there have been some relevant injury updates. It appears as if top Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon will return Sunday from minor knee surgery. That's a bit of a surprise and necessary because the guy who played well in his place, Gio Bernard, isn't looking good with his own knee issue. Speedster WR John Ross is in question with a groin injury. Groin injuries are never good, but especially if your game is based on speed. Miami has lost starting center Daniel Kilgore for the season and top cornerback Bobby McCain for 2-3 weeks. However, WR DeVante Parker looks set to play only his second game and first since Sept. 23 vs. Oakland.
Packers at Lions (+1, 51): This line has dropped a point at some books and the total 3.5 points. I was leaning Detroit regardless, but now I'm going to a Doc's-affiliated online book after this story is done to go bet the Lions because the Packers' top three receivers are all in doubt. Davante Adams left practice Wednesday with a calf injury, Randall Cobb will miss another week with a hamstring injury and Geronimo Allison is still in the concussion protocol. Aaron Rodgers is amazing, but would you bet on Green Bay when his top receivers are Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J'Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown? I can tell you where just one of those guys played college ball. Detroit might get back top pass rusher Ziggy Ansah. He has been out since Week 1 due to a shoulder injury. Starting safety Quandre Diggs broke his hand last week but may give it a go with a cast.
Falcons at Steelers (-3, 57.5): Unfortunately, this hasn't moved off its opening of 3, but the total has risen two points and it's the highest on the board. Seriously, if this finishes something like 45-40, which it very well could, I could see either Falcons head coach Dan Quinn or his Pittsburgh counterpart Mike Tomlin (both defensive guys, by the way) firing his defensive coordinator because both units have stunk this year (especially Atlanta's) and the loser is probably dead in the water for the playoffs. The Falcons' D has been gutted by injuries and won't have stud defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (ankle) in this one. Atlanta's high-powered offense will get a boost with the return of top running back Devonta Freeman, who missed the past three with a knee injury. That slides Tevin Coleman into more of a change-of-pace back, which he should be. The Steelers' struggling secondary could see the returns of cornerback Mike Hilton and safety Morgan Burnett.
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