Well, Thursday night Madden MAYhem brought me back down to Earth. I knew the Colts had a chance to beat the Titans but I was surprised at just how bad Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee offense was.
The second game of the double-header was a complete shocker. Who would have thought the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars would beat DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans? Of course, the day I take both favorites, the dogs not only cover but they win outright. I hate the AFC South. On the other hand, I love the NFC East so let’s right the ship and pick some winners. Get your bets in exclusively at MyBookie !
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Eagles -7.5
Saturday 5pm PST
I am originally from the DC area and have fond memories of going to games as a kid at old RFK stadium. Born and raised a die hard Skins fan, it’s been a rough 20+ years since Dan Snyder has taken over as owner. A once proud franchise with a proud fan base is now league-wide laughing stock and has been for far too long. Unfortunately, until Snyder sells the team or dies, I don’t see that changing – we’ll continue to suck.
Ok, with that off my chest, let’s get to the game. I like the hire of Riverboat Ron as head coach and I’m glad we didn’t screw up and not draft Chase Young. Our defensive line has a chance to be one of the best in the league and a strong D-Line can help mask other deficiencies. (LB) Thomas Davis and (CB) Kendall Fuller were also brought in via free agency to help solidify the rest of the defense. Ranked 24th in DVOA last year, I think Washington can make a jump here and be in the top half of the league on the defensive side of the ball.
On offense, it’s all about how (QB) Dwayne Haskins progresses. I was pretty vocal that I thought it was a bad draft pick, and while he has shown some flashes, I still might be right. When was the last time Ohio State and Urban Meyer produced a good NFL QB (maybe Alex Smith back when Meyer was at Utah)? Unfortunately, the rest of the offense, and the weapons around Haskins, are average at best. It appears (RB) Derrius Guice will always been injured, Adrian Peterson has to be the only RB in the league 35 years of age, and newly brought in (RB) Peyton Barber is serviceable at best. (WR) Terry McLaurin was a bright spot on a bad offense last year but the rest of the receives and tight ends are unproven.
At one point in early December last year, the Eagles were 5-7 before reeling off 4 consecutive wins to squeak into the Playoffs. (QB) Carson Wentz should be healthier this year (for now, at least) and (RB) Miles Sanders will look to take a big leap in his second year (especially with Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles departing). Philly needs first round pick (WR) Jalen Reagor to make a difference immediately if the wide receives corps is going to be respectable. However, it helps immensely to have (TE’s) Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert contributing to the passing game. Plus, the offensive line has a chance to be one of the best in the league.
On the defensive side of the ball, losing (S) Malcolm Jenkins, one of the team leaders, could be a big blow. Other departures include (CB) Ronald Darby, (LB) Nigel Bradham, and (DL) Timmy Jernigan and Vinny Curry. Helping fill some of these holes will be the addition of (S) Rodney McLoed, (CB) Darius Slay, and (DL) Javon Hargrave.
This is a bad matchup for the Redskins. Their strength (the defensive line and pass rush) will be neutralized by the strong Philly O-line. The Eagles have a decided advantage at nearly every other position on the field and it will show Saturday night. I expect a double digit win. Give me the Eagles to cover and the Under as well.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Line: Cowboys -11.5
Saturday 7pm PST
The night cap of NFC East Saturday has the New York Giants squaring off against the universally hated Dallas Cowboys. On paper, the Cowboys should have one of the best offenses in football. They boast one of the best running backs in the league, one of the best offensive lines in the league, an improved wide receiver corps (with the addition of CeeDee Lamb to go alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup) and (QB) Dak Prescott entering his 5th season. The only question mark is if new Head Coach Mike McCarthy and OC Kellen Moore can put players in positions to succeed.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys brought in Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to help bolster a unit that was a team weakness a year ago. If the Cowboy defense can improve and be a top-half of the league unit, this will be a complete team and be tough to beat.
Facing this Dallas defense will be (QB) Daniel Jones and the New York Giant offense. Jones had an up and down rookie season and needs to become more consistent while limiting his turnovers, if he’s the QB of the future in NY. There’s some playmakers on the outside in Golden Tate, Sterling Shepherd, and Darius Slayton, and over-the-middle with (TE) Evan Engram, but the star of the offense needs to be (RB) Saquon Barkley. Get him the ball early and often and he may be able to put the whole offense on his back. In order to do so, he’ll need help from an offensive line that only ranked 17th in the league last year. First-round draft pick Andrew Thomas should step in right away and help.
While the offensive DVOA for the Giants was only 23rd in the league last year, the defense was actually worse (27th). Its no wonder the Giants went 4-12. Brought in via free agency to help the defense is (CB) James Bradberry and (LB) Blake Martinez. Overall, this unit is still a bottom half of the league defense. If the offensive can’t make large strides, it will be a long year for the G-men and an early exit from Madden MAYhem.
The Cowboys are the NFL version of Duke basketball or Notre Dame football as the line is usually inflated due to their nationwide appeal. That happens to be exactly the case here as well. The Cowboys will win but I believe the Giants offense will do just enough to cover the big spread. Give me the Giants and the Over.