The Redskins have been one of the more resilient teams in the NFL this season. They’ve lost running backs Derrius Guice and Rob Kelly, receiver Paul Richardson Jr., half of their offensive line, and now quarterback Alex Smith.
They still sit atop the NFC East at 6-4, but some experts (OK … well, Serby) believe they’re in such bad shape that even the 3-7 Giants can pass them. The linesmakers seem to be buying into this narrative, as the line in this Thanksgiving Day game against the Cowboys sits north of a touchdown.
Colt McCoy steps in for Smith. He did OK in relief last week and gave the Redskins a chance to knock off the Texans. He has started one game in Arlington, Texas, and beat the Cowboys, 20-17, completing 25-of-30 passes for 299 yards and rushing for a touchdown. Looking for this pro to step up and keep the Redskins close in this divisional matchup.
The pick: Redskins, +7¹/₂.
Bears (-3¹/₂) over LIONS: The Bears have a tough turnaround, having to play early Thursday after a tough Sunday night divisional win over the Vikings. And now they may have to go without Mitchell Trubisky. Those things beg a Lions pick as home underdogs, but we’re going to stick with the Bears with the expectation that Chase Daniel, who has been with coach Matt Nagy for four years in KC and Chicago, would be able to step in and utilize all of the Bears’ weapons. And they still have Khalil Mack.
Falcons (+13) over SAINTS: Clearly the sportsbooks have declared war on bettors who have cashed on the Saints eight games in a row. The largest spread they’ve had to cover in that run was last week’s -7 against the Eagles (which they did easily, 48-7). This spread against the archrival Falcons is almost double that. New Orleans has some injuries on the offensive line, and this could be a competitive game like the first meeting in Atlanta (43-37 Saints in OT).
Giants (+6) over EAGLES: This would have to be one hell of a bounce back for the Eagles after a 41-point loss in New Orleans. Carson Wentz picked apart the Giants earlier this season at MetLife, but since then the Birds have flown south and the Giants have figured some things out offensively. The D will have to do better than the 510 yards, 31 first downs and 35 points it allowed to the Bucs, though.
Patriots (-9¹/₂) over JETS: The Jets looked as if they gave up in the desultory loss to the Bills. Players who have been swarming to the ball all season relentlessly were just standing around in that one. The Patriots have had two weeks to digest their 34-10 loss at Tennessee. Wouldn’t want to get in their way here.
Jaguars (-3) over BILLS: The Jaguars looked like the 2017 version before blowing a 16-0 lead to the Steelers. It’s forecast to be 47 and dry, not terrible conditions for Doug Marrone’s return to Buffalo.
RAVENS (-11) over Raiders: Don’t really want to give double-digits with Lamar Jackson likely at quarterback, but the Ravens (5-5) need the game and have been known to hammer terrible teams at home. Raiders got a win last week but have to travel cross country-on a holiday week at 2-8.
BUCCANEERS (-3¹/₂) over 49ers: The Bucs have put up back-to-back games with more than 500 yards offense — and lost both. If they can cut down on the turnovers, even by half, they can run away from the 49ers, who, like the Raiders, have to make the long trip after Thanksgiving at 2-8.
BENGALS (-3) over Browns: The line of home-team minus-3 suggests this is a dead-even game, and that seems a bit too flattering for the Browns. The Bengals covered in Baltimore without A.J. Green and are hopeful of getting him back.
Seahawks (+3¹/₂) over PANTHERS: Coming off the blowout loss in Pittsburgh, really expected the Panthers to win in Detroit. Russell Wilson gives you a great effort every week, and the ’Hawks are 4-1-1 in their last six against the spread.
Dolphins (+10) over COLTS: This line strikes as too high, even though the Dolphins have lost their past four road games by 31, 10, 19 and 19 points. Just expecting a better performance from a team that’s 5-5 and tied for the second AFC wild card.
CHARGERS (-12) over Cardinals: Before last week, the Chargers had given up 19 points or fewer in five straight games. Now they come in off a home loss to the Broncos. Very tough spot for Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen.
BRONCOS (+3) over Steelers: The Steelers pulled one out of their you-know-whats in Jacksonville. They got a push on the final line there after five straight covers. But the Broncos have covered four of their past five, as well, and at 4-6 largely will be playing for their wild-card lives.
VIKINGS (-3¹/₂) Packers: The long knives are out for Mike McCarthy, the fourth-and-2 punt in Seattle sealing his fate with Packers fans. Vikings need this one because they go to New England and Seattle the next two weeks.
Titans (+6) over TEXANS: The Texans have won seven in a row, but in the past six of those have scored more than 23 points only once. So we’ll grab the nice head start with the Titans and hope Marcus Mariota can go.
Best bets: Buccaneers, Giants, Seahawks.
Lock of the week: Buccaneers (Locks 8-3 in 2018).
Last week: 6-7 overall, 1-2 Best Bets.