They’re alive~! The New York Giants can still win the NFC East, and they have a recent history of second-half surges. Then again, so do the San Diego Chargers. The Week 14 NFL lines have the Bolts laying three points at home.
Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 1 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
Check out our NFL Picks: Week 14 Betting Odds Report
We’ve seen this picture before: Left for dead, the New York Giants (5-7 SU and ATS) get themselves on a roll in December, squeak into the playoffs, and win the Super Bowl. That was the game plan in 2010-11, when the Giants won three of their last four games to finish at 9-7 and grab a Wild Card berth in the NFC. This year, the G-Men are only two games back in the NFC East with four games remaining. It could happen.
The San Diego Chargers (5-7 SU, 6-5-1 ATS) have been here before, too – except for the Super Bowl victory part. They only have the slightest chance of rallying to make the playoffs this year, but that was also the case in 2008, when the Chargers won all four of their December games to win the AFC West at 8-8. They’ll try to recapture some of that magic on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX) when they give the visiting Giants three points on the NFL odds.
Those playoff bursts make for a nice narrative, but how are these teams doing against the football lines in December? The Giants are 14-16 SU and 17-13 ATS stretching back to 2006, while the Chargers are an amazing 24-6 SU and 18-12 ATS during the same span. Sweet jambalaya.
Things shake out a little differently when you look at the home/away splits, though. One of the problems the Chargers have with playing at home in December: The weather is just too damn nice. Without the advantage of playing tired teams in inclement conditions, San Diego is 18-12 SU and 14-15-1 ATS in its last 30 December home games. New York is 15-15 SU and 16-14 ATS on the road. Pretty much a wash there.
Speaking of wash, the weather might not be so nice this week. The long-range weather report calls for a 25-percent chance of rain with light winds. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 50s, so it’s not going to be Siberia out there at Qualcomm Stadium. But if the rain does come down, the UNDER will have that much more value against the NFL totals. We’re looking at an over/under of 47.5 points for Sunday’s contest.
This is worth investigating. The UNDER is 7-5 for the Chargers this season and 6-2 in their last eight games, which is bizarre, given that San Diego had the No. 2-ranked offense and the No. 32-ranked defense in the league through Week 12, according to the efficiency numbers at Football Outsiders. New York (No. 26 offense, No. 9 defense) has split the NFL totals down the middle, with the UNDER at 4-2 since Week 6.
The Hillises Have Eyes
Both teams have some injury concerns on offense heading into Week 14. The Giants offensive line has a big hole in the middle, where centers David Bass and Jim Cordle have been knocked out for the season with knee injuries. RB David Wilson (neck) is also out for the remainder of the year, and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) is listed as week-to-week. Expect lots of Peyton Hillis (3.5 yards per carry) on Sunday.
The Chargers offensive line is banged up, too, and three of their top threats will be playing hurt against the Giants: TE Antonio Gates (hamstring), WR Eddie Royal (chest), and RB Ryan Mathews (hamstring). Better get that health care website up and running. I’ll be online clicking the UNDER in the meantime.NFL Pick: Take UNDER 47.5 (–106) at Ladbrokes