NFL Betting Predictions: Week 12 Opening Line Report and Picks
With the New York Giants and embattled coach Pat Shurmur coming out of their bye in Week 12, and the fact that Shurmur wasn't fired during the off week, well I'm starting to think that the only coach we will see fired during the 2019 season is Washington's Jay Gruden, who got the pink slip following a 33-7 loss to the Patriots in Week 5.
If you are going to fire a head coach during the season, obviously it's best to do it during a bye week so the interim coach can get his planning in order and the players can adjust. The only advantage to doing it as early as the Redskins did was to get a head start on researching potential candidates.
Little surprised that the Giants didn't make a move following their embarrassing 34-27 loss at the equally inept Jets in Week 10 - Big Blue's sixth straight defeat. Giants co-owner John Mara reportedly was furious after that defeat, walked out of the building after ignoring reporters and not even looking up.
Shurmur has rebuffed any questions regarding his future or whether he has spoken to Mara or GM Dave Gettleman about his future. Shurmur actually had the audacity to say he wouldn't be making any coaching changes during the bye. It's like he wants to get fired … and make no mistake, Shurmur will not be back in 2020. (As an aside, Jets ownership said last week that Adam Gase would be.) With only six games left and the bye week in the rearview mirror, let's assume Shurmur makes it until Black Monday, which is the day after the regular season on Dec. 30.
Who might the Giants be looking at to replace Shurmur? Presumably another offensive-minded guy simply to help groom rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The No. 6 overall pick out of Duke turns the ball over a ton like all rookies (Peyton Manning did too) but has shown signs of being a franchise quarterback by throwing four TD passes in two games and having terrific mobility. He's second on the team to Saquon Barkley in rushing with 208 yards and is tied with Barkley and Wayne Gallman for the most rushing scores with two.
I'm sure Giants ownership is dreaming of landing Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, who has molded quarterbacks like Andrew Luck (at Stanford) and Colin Kaepernick (with 49ers), but Harbaugh has repeatedly said he's staying at his alma mater. The Giants don't usually swing that big regardless. They tend to target hot NFL coordinators. That said, don't be shocked if the team looks at LSU offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who has turned Joe Burrow from an NFL afterthought into a Heisman favorite and potential No. 1 overall pick. Brady had two years of experience as an offensive assistant under Sean Payton with the Saints before going to LSU. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is also likely to get a call.
The Giants are 6.5-point underdogs Sunday at Chicago, which essentially saw its playoff hopes end in Sunday's 17-7 loss at the Rams. Here are some other Week 12 early lines that caught my eye. We won't touch on Thursday's game (Colts at Texans) or Monday's (Ravens at Rams) because we will be previewing them individually here at Doc's. Picks are ATS.
Seahawks at Eagles (-2, 48.5): This was flexed out of the Sunday night window and moved to 1 p.m. ET, which would be blatantly unfair for the West Coast Seahawks but at least they come out of their bye week. Russell Wilson led an upset of the previously unbeaten 49ers on Monday night in Week 10, 27-24 in overtime - Seattle's second straight OT win. Do you realize that Wilson has never lost a game to a team at least eight games over .500? The MVP candidate is 6-0 against such teams. That's crazy. Coach Pete Carroll expects to have top receiver Tyler Lockett after he left the Niners game with a bad contusion that forced him to stay two nights in a hospital due to swelling. The Eagles jumped out to an early 10-0 lead over the visiting Patriots on Sunday but didn't score again and lost by a touchdown. Pick: Eagles.
Cowboys at Patriots (-6, 46): If this is the Super Bowl matchup February in Miami, Fox TV executives will be doing the Macarena in happiness. These are easily the two most popular NFL franchises in the United States/world and this game would break all sorts of ratings and betting handle records. I'd be willing to bet anything that this is the most-watched game of the 2019 regular season and also the most-wagered. The Cowboys are always involved in those as it is, and now you add Tom Brady to the mix. Earlier this season, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones favorably compared Dak Prescott to Brady. Huh?? To be fair, Jones realized immediately what he said and tried to clarify: "Now ...we know Tom Brady, and [Prescott] is no Tom Brady. "I didn't say that. But the point is he will evolve and is evolving into a guy that will beat you. He will beat you with different circumstances and different players and different type teams." Jones and the Pats' Robert Kraft probably are the NFL's most powerful owners. Pick: Patriots.
Packers at 49ers (-3, 46): This was flexed into the Sunday night window (Fox wouldn't let NBC take Cowboys-Patriots or it would have been) and it's hard to argue with both teams leading their divisions and playing for the NFC's top seed - if the Packers lose, they would be down obviously the tiebreaker to San Francisco and two in the loss column so they could kiss the top seed goodbye. Green Bay comes out of its bye week and this should have a bit more meaning to Aaron Rodgers as he grew up not far from the San Francisco area and was a Niners fan growing up. San Francisco bounced back from its first loss with a 36-26 win over Arizona on Sunday in a horrible bad beat for anyone who had the Cardinals at +9.5. Arizona tried a lateral on a kickoff in the final seconds, fumbled and it ended up being returned for a touchdown by the 49ers. Dating to 1996, Green Bay has won 11 of the past 13 in this series. Pick: Packers.
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