|NFL Odds Week 15: Redskins at Giants Spread, Picks & Public Bets|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Sunday, 16 December 2007 11:00|
What About us?
The New York Giants have been perfect this season when facing teams with losing records. Continuing that trend Sunday night against the division rival Washington Redskins will put them in the playoffs for the third straight season.
Almost overshadowed by the seasons fellow NFC teams Dallas and Green Bay are having, the Giants (9-4) have quietly put together a very impressive stretch, winning nine of 11 since opening the season with consecutive losses to the Cowboys and Packers.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made New York –4.5 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game, the over/under has been set at 36.5total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on New York –4.5 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
New York needs only a win in its final three games to secure what likely will be the top wild card spot in the conference. The Giants would like to get that victory this week against the Redskins (6-7), who will start 36-year-old backup quarterback Todd Collins.
The Giants are 9-0 this season against teams that currently have losing records while 0-4 versus teams with winning marks. After hosting the Redskins, the Giants visit playoff-hopeful Buffalo before closing the regular season Dec. 29 at home against unbeaten New England.
"We don't have anything secured," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We are playing as hard as we can to get as good as we can to be in position to know we are playing our best football. That is not the case yet."
Clinching a playoff spot on Sunday would also give Coughlin the option of resting some injured players, including top receiver Plaxico Burress, who has played all season with a sprained ankle that has prevented him from practicing.
The injury, though, hasn't hindered Burress' production. He caught seven passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 16-13 win at Philadelphia, and leads the team with 62 receptions - one less than he had all last season - for 900 yards and 10 TDs, matching the career high he set in 2006.
"We're a 9-4 football team," Burress told the Giants' official Web site. "We're trying to go out this week and clinch a playoff berth. Nobody probably expected me to go out there and do half the things I've done. I'm thankful for being in the position I'm in right now."
Pro Bowl linebacker Antonio Pierce has been nursing a sprained ankle, and starting safeties Gibril Wilson (knee) and James Butler (hamstring) both missed Sunday's win. Center Shaun O'Hara had swelling in a knee after the game and running back Brandon Jacobs is just getting over a hamstring injury.
Although the Giants have won nine of 11, there is plenty of room for improvement, particularly on offense. They have scored two touchdowns or fewer in five of the last six games, and quarterback Eli Manning has thrown five touchdown passes and eight interceptions during that span.
Manning is 4-2 in six career games against the Redskins, passing for five touchdowns and four interceptions.
Sunday's victory was the Giants' sixth straight on the road, the team's longest road run since 1962. New York, meanwhile, is only 3-3 at home this season, losing its last two games at the Meadowlands to Dallas and Minnesota.
"We're playing pretty well on the road,'' Coughlin said. "We hang together. We battle. We believe in each other. We believe that we can find a way to win and we never stop playing. We have good heart. It's not always pretty, but some how, some way we scratch and find a way.''
The Redskins preserved their playoff hopes and ended a four-game losing streak on Dec. 6 with a 24-16 victory over visiting Chicago in their first game since the slaying of Sean Taylor.
The news, however, wasn't all good for Washington, which likely lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell for the rest of the season because of a dislocated kneecap. That's forced the Redskins to turn to Collins, who will make his first start since Dec. 14, 1997 with Buffalo.
In his first game since Nov. 20, 2005, Collins led four scoring drives in the win over the Bears. He threw two touchdown passes and finished 15-of-20 for 224 yards with no interceptions.
"He had a certain swagger about him," left tackle Chris Samuels said. "He let you know right off the bat: 'I'm the guy now and I'm taking charge of this huddle."'
Collins, though, will be facing a tougher test this week against the Giants, who rank seventh in the NFL in total defense, allowing 302.8 yards per game. New York also leads the NFL with 47 sacks.
Washington has lost three of four games this season against the NFC East, including a 24-17 home defeat to the Giants on Sept. 23. The Redskins have lost three straight overall in the series, and are 1-5 in their six visits to the Meadowlands.
Clinton Portis is 44 rushing yards shy of reaching 1,000 for the fifth time in six seasons, but was limited to 36 yards on 17 carries against Chicago. He has averaged only 51 yards in three career road games versus the Giants.
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