For the first time in more than 13 years, Eli Manning will not be the starting quarterback for the New York Giants.
The Giants announced earlier this week that Geno Smith will start in place of the 36-year-old when the Giants (2-9) face the Raiders (5-6) in Oakland. Manning has started every Giants’ game since Nov. 21, 2004, a streak of 210 consecutive regular-season games that ranks second on the quarterback career list to Brett Favre’s 297.
Manning, who fought back tears when talking to reporters in response to the benching, has also started 12 postseason games, and he’s just one of 12 quarterbacks in the history of the game to win two or more Super Bowls.
No. 10 has two years left on his contract, which may just land him in Denver next year. Sound familiar?
**VGB’s Week 12 record against the spread: 9-4-1
Here are the Week 13 picks against the spread for all 16 games (odds provided by bovada.lv).
Washington at Dallas — The Cowboys (5-6) are lost without Zeke. They have scored a grand total of 22 points in three games without their star running back. They haven’t covered the spread in any of those games either. But the Redskins (5-6) are banged up as well. They’ve won two of their last six games and have only been favored twice this year. Both teams need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
VGB’s pick — Washington (-2), Under (45.5)
San Francisco at Chicago — The Jimmy Garoppolo era begins in San Francisco. Garoppolo, who was acquired from the New England Patriots earlier this year, and the 49ers (1-10) meet another struggling team in the Bears (3-8). The 49ers got their first win of the season two weeks ago, the Bears haven’t won since October. Chicago’s defense and running game will be the difference in this one.
VGB’s pick — Chicago (-3), Over (40.5)
Tampa Bay at Green Bay — The Packers (5-6) will likely have to run the table to make the playoffs and Aaron Rodgers is throwing deep balls in practise. If the Packers can beat the Bucs (4-7), Rodgers may just be a week or two away from playing. The Packers have lost five of their last six without Rodgers, while the Bucs have lost six of their last eight. Tampa is also just 1-5 on the road.
VGB’s pick — Tampa Bay (-2), Under (43.5)
Denver at Miami — They’re probably giving tickets away for this game. Who would want to watch teams with two of the longest losing streaks of the year. It’s pretty bad when only the Cleveland Browns are worse. The Broncos (3-8) have lost seven straight, while the Dolphins (4-7) have lost five in a row. Denver is 2-8-1 against the spread. Miami is 3-6-2 ATS. It’s time to flip a coin.
VGB’s pick — Denver (-1.5), Under (40)
Detroit at Baltimore — Both the Lions (6-5) and the Ravens (6-5) are fighting for a wild card spot in their conferences. Both teams are also 5-5-1 against the spread. The Ravens are 1-2 against the other three teams from the NFC North, while the Lions are 1-1 against teams from the AFC North. Baltimore ranks near the bottom of the league in total defense and dead last in passing yards on offense.
VGB’s pick — Detroit (+2.5), Over (43)
Minnesota at Atlanta — Two top NFC teams hook up in this one. The Falcons (7-4) need a win here more than the Vikings (9-2). Atlanta is 5-6 ATS, while Minnesota is 8-3 — one of the best records in the league. The Vikings have been an underdog just three times this season. They have won two of them straight up. Both defenses rank in the top 10 this season, but the Vikings are a lot better against the run.
VGB’s pick — Minnesota (+3), Under (47)
Indianapolis at Jacksonville — To be a playoff team, the Jaguars (7-4) have to get more production out of their quarterback. Here’s another game Jacksonville must win. Blake Bortles is completing just 58 per cent of his passes, with 12 TDs against eight picks and seven fumbles. It’s a good thing the Jags have the best defense in the league. The last time these two teams met in October, the Jaguars won 27-0.
VGB’s pick — Jacksonville (-9.5), Over (41)
Kansas City at New York Jets — Kansas City fans must be frustrated beyond believe these days. The Chiefs (6-5) started the season off 5-0 and looked like serious Super Bowl contenders. They’ve lost five of their last six and have scored 108 points in those games — an average of 18 points. The Jets have lost five of their last six as well. New York is 6-4-1 against the spread, while Kansas City is 6-5.
VGB’s pick — New York Jets (+3.5), Under (44)
Houston at Tennessee — The Titans (7-4) are tied for the AFC South lead after winning five of their last six games. They host the Jaguars on New Year’s Eve, which could decide the division title. This week, though, they line up against the Texans (4-7), who have lost three of their last four games — all without rookie sensation Deshaun Watson. The Titans are 4-6-1 ATS, while the Texans are 7-4.
VGB’s pick — Tennessee (-7), Under (43)
New England at Buffalo — These two division rivals meet for the first of two games this month. The Bills (6-5) are a tough opponent at home. They are 4-1 straight up and 3-1-1 against the spread. The reigning Super Bowl champs (9-2) are undefeated in five tries on the road and 7-4 ATS. They’ve outscored their last three opponents 109-41 and rank at the top of the league in offensive numbers.
VGB’s pick — Buffalo (+9), Over (48.5)
Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers — The surging Chargers (5-6), who started the season 0-4, now have real shot at winning the AFC West. This game (victory) should help matters. It’s difficult to find something positive about the Browns (0-11). They have scored the fewest points of any team in the league, and only one team — Indianapolis — has allowed more points. The Chargers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
VGB’s pick — Los Angeles Chargers (-14), Under (42.5)
New York Giants at Oakland — Eli Manning is being benched for Geno Smith. Have the Giants (2-9) looked at Smith’s career stats? He throws more interceptions than touchdown passes. He doesn’t even complete 60 per cent of his passes. And now he’s going to lead the Giants on the road over the Raiders? Not likely. The Raiders (5-6) haven’t been playing very well lately either. But they need this one to have any shot at the playoffs.
VGB’s pick — Oakland (-7.5), Under (42.5)
Carolina at New Orleans — These two NFC rivals met in Week 3. The result? The Saints (8-3) destroyed the Panthers (8-3) 34-13, and that game was played in Charlotte. New Orleans had its eight-game winning streak snapped last weekend in L.A. It’s not like they were going to run the table and finish 14-2. They’re not that good. But they’re a lot better than the 7-9 team from last season. The Saints are 6-5 ATS, while the Panthers are 7-4.
VGB’s pick — New Orleans (-4.5), Over (48)
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona — This is the proverbial definition of a trap game for the Rams (8-3). They are a touchdown favorite on the road against the Cardinals (5-6) this week before playing the Eagles and then the Seahawks. It’s easy to start looking two or three weeks ahead, but L.A. needs to stay focused on this one and get the job done in Glendale. The Rams have won five of their last six, while the Cardinals have won two of their last five.
VGB’s pick — Los Angeles Rams (-7), Under (45)
Philadelphia at Seattle — The Seahawks (7-4) are undefeated within their division, but they’re 3-4 in other games. Now they’re almost a touchdown underdog at home against the best team in the conference. The Eagles (10-1) have done everything right this season, including four wins in five road games. The Seahawks are 4-6-1 against the spread, while the Eagles are 9-2. Russell Wilson will likely be running for his life again this weekend.
VGB’s pick — Philadelphia (-6), Over (47.5)
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati — These Steelers (9-2) sure like to keep bettors on their edge of their seats. They are 6-5 against the spread and have thrown in a few clunkers on the road this season — they lost to Chicago and narrowly beat Cleveland and Indianapolis. Now, they meet a longtime rival in the Bengals (5-6), who have won two straight. The last time these two AFC North teams squared off, Pittsburgh won 29-14.
VGB’s pick — Pittsburgh (-6), Over (43.5)