New York Giants
(4-2, 3-3 ATS)
(1-4, 1-4 ATS)
The Giants have to feel like they’re playing with house money at this point in the year. They have a 4-2 mark and are firmly entrenched in the postseason picture at this point. The team is rolling, having won three straight games. They just narrowly missed out on covering the Detroit Lions last week, which would have made three straight ‘W’s against the NFL odds as well. Injury concerns are mounting, though. DE Justin Tuck and WR Hakeem Nicks have both sat out of practice during the week, while DE Mathias Kiwanuka is already out for the foreseeable future with a herniated disc. LB Keith Bulluck has missed three straight games, but his toe has apparently healed, as he’ll be expected to give it a go on Monday Night Football. Still, this defense ranks No. 2 in the NFL in pass defense at 172.0 yards per game, and is second overall at 264.8 yards per game allowed. DE Osi Umenyiora has been a man on a mission this year. He has eight sacks, seven of which have come in the L/3 weeks, and he also has six forced fumbles in that stretch to boot.
It is definitely do or die time for the Cowboys. HC Wade Phillips has been assured that his job is safe for the remainder of the season, but that doesn’t mean that Jerry Jones won’t change his mind by the middle of the week if his team struggles again and drops to 1-5. The loss last week to the Minnesota Vikings featured 11 more penalties, which only extend Dallas’ lead in the flags department this year in spite of the fact that it has already had its bye week. Ironically, this team just can’t win a game at home, as its only win this year has come at Reliant Stadium against the Houston Texans. The offense is averaging 305.0 yards per game this year through the air and 400.0 yards per game in total. Both numbers rank Dallas in the Top 5 in the NFL coming into this weekend. Defensively, it’s much of the same. Holding teams to just 180.6 yards per game passing and 281.4 yards per game in total is good enough to be No. 4 in both categories in the league. The flags and some other careless mistakes have really put these guys behind the eight ball all season long.
Dallas is just too good to drop to 1-5, right? The Giants are banged up and are probably looking forward to their bye week. With the schedule that they have faced, there is no shame in a 4-3 start to the season. Just getting to 2-4 is the first step towards the revival in Big D.
NFL Free Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3