A look, now, at the biggest games on the slate for Week 14 of the NFL season. All NFL football betting lines come courtesy Sports Interaction’s online sportsbook:
Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) at New York Giants (7-5) Giants -1.0, Over/Under 44.5
This game is huge in terms of NFC East implications. With the 8-4 Dallas Cowboys hosting the San Diego Chargers and the divisional tiebreaking scenario a convoluted mess (for the record, it works like this: Giants hold the tiebreaker on the Cowboys, the Cowboys hold it on the Eagles and the Eagles hold it on the Giants), the standings could look any which way once Sunday’s play is finished.
If the Giants have any hope of taking the division crown, though, this game is basically a must-win. And that’s going to be a tough challenge given that Philly whipped New York 40-17 when the teams last met in early November. That game only accentuated the problem that’s plagued the Giants throughout this season: an inability to stop the pass. Donovan McNabb threw for 240 yards and three TDs, connecting on 17 of his 23 passing attempts and finishing with an outrageous 146.7 passer rating. Simply put, the Giants have to do something — anything, really — to slow down the Eagles air attack. They did an okay job of keeping TE Brent Celek in check the first time (he only caught four balls, although one went for a TD), but couldn’t contain the explosive DeSean Jackson. Philly’s stud WR ripped the Giants for 164 all-purpose yards and two scores in November, something Tom Coughlin will no doubt be reminding his troops of as they prepare for Sunday night.
San Diego Chargers (9-3) at Dallas Cowboys (8-4) Dallas -3.0, Over/Under 48.5
This is a classic “something’s gotta give” matchup. The Chargers have been lousy when it comes to running the ball (88.7 yards per game, 30th in the NFL), but recently, the Cowboys haven’t been much better (just 45 rush yards against the Giants). You would assume that at least one of these two units should break through on Sunday just by talent alone — the committees of both San Diego (LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles) and Dallas (Marion Barber and Felix Jones) are amongst the NFL’s elite.
The other story to follow is the quietest winning streak the NFL has seen in years. San Diego has ripped off six straight victories, but has done so virtually under the radar. As for the streak itself — the six wins are impressive, sure, but it’s the last four that have been unreal. The Chargers have outscored the opposition 136-63 in their last four victories, which included wins over quality opponents like the 8-4 Eagles and 8-4 Broncos. And now they’re getting three points against an inconsistent Dallas team? This could be the tastiest line of the week.
Denver Broncos (8-4) at Indianapolis Colts (12-0) Colts -7.0, Over/Under 44.0
If you’ve been following the Broncos for any length of time (yes, even dating back to the Jake Plummer era), then you know the Colts are a huge bugaboo team for Denver. Peyton Manning has picked them apart badly in the last three meetings; you have to go all the way back to 2005 to find Denver’s last regular-season win over the Colts.
While seven points is a lot to be laying against a pretty good Broncos defense, it’s going to be tough to bet against Manning and the Colts in this one. Last week against Tennessee, the Colts dominated from kickoff to the final whistle, easily covering the -6.5 in a 27-17 victory. The Colts want to lock up the No. 1 AFC seed as quickly as possible so they can rest their starters in Weeks 16 and 17, so expect a very business-like approach on Sunday. They’ll likely pick the Broncos apart early and then hang on for a win. As for the cover? Remains to be seen.