Just a few years ago the NFC East was the laughingstock of the NFL with every team finishing at least two games below .500. Now the division may well be the toughest in the league with all four teams having a realistic shot at making the playoffs. The outcome of the Week 15 edition of Sunday Night Football between the New York Giants and Washington Commanders will play a major role in which teams make it to the tournament. The clubs played to a 20-20 tie just a few weeks ago in the Meadowlands and have identical 7-5-1 records leaving them as the last two qualifiers in the NFC. New York is winless in its last four games and is listed as a 4.5-point road underdog on the NFL latest line at BetRivers sportsbook.
New York Giants at Washington Commanders
Date and Time: Sunday, December 18, 2022, 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Field, Landover, MD
NFL Odds: Washington -4.5 / O/U 40
Giants at Commanders TV Coverage: NBC
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When the clubs met in Week 14, the team formerly known as the Redskins was positioned as a 2.5-point NFL betting pick favorite. The spread for this game climbed to Washington -4 on the opener before being wagered to -4.5. That likely had to do with the G-Men getting embarrassed at home 48-22 by division leading Philadelphia. Washington is coming off its bye looking to reverse a disappointing trend. The Commanders are 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS in their last nine games immediately following their off week. Just a month ago the Giants looked to be in good position for a playoff run. They improved to 7-2 SU with a 24-16 Week 10 payout win over Houston and were an NFL best bet going 7-2 ATS. They haven’t won since going 0-3-1 with the OVER 3-0-1 in that span. For a team that has trouble scoring giving up a lot of points is worrisome.
New York Giants
Defense played a big role in New York’s fast start. The group allowed 20 points or less in five of the first seven games leading to a 6-1 SU and ATS record. Things turned in a 27-13 Week 8 loss to Seattle and New York has yet to recover. Including that game the Giants are 1-4-1 SU and 3-3 ATS in their last six outings. Relying on the ground game would have worked in the NFL 30 years ago. The game has changed and the Giants haven’t caught up. The passing attack is lacking averaging just 180.5 yards per game to rank 28th. Some of that falls on the shoulders of Daniel Jones, but a look at his numbers suggests otherwise.
Jones is completing 66 percent of his passes for 2,534 yards and 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He’s had little help from his receivers leaving Saquon Barkley with a team-best 42 receptions. Even with teams stacking the box to stop the run the Giants have been successful in that area. Barkley has over 1,000 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, but he’s been slowed just like the rest of the team over the last four games. He totaled just 152 rushing yards in those games and had a season-low eight carries in last week’s loss. If the Giants are going to be a NFL pick against the spread Barkley needs to be more involved.
With the teams clinging to the last two postseason spots in the NFC this game has a little NFL playoff gambling feel to it. Washington’s already been wagered up a half-point on the line and they’ve been a strong NFL betting pick over the last two months. Since a four-game losing streak early in the campaign had them at 1-4, the Commanders are 6-1-1 SU and ATS over their last eight games. Hopefully last week’s bye doesn’t ruin any of their momentum, though it’s possible since they are 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS in their last nine games immediately after their bye.
Taylor Heinicke has solidified his role as the starting quarterback going 5-1-1 in that role. He’s thrown for 1,444 yards with nine touchdowns and had a strong game last time out against the Giants completing 27 of 41 for 275 yards and two TDs. He was sacked five times, though, helping keep the Giants in the game that Washington dominated. Guys like Brian Robinson, Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin give Washington an edge in playmakers, and as long as Heinicke doesn’t screw it up winning and covering the NFL football line is a go.
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Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and my gut is telling me the Giants are going to break out of their slump. Barkley said he’s “good” after dealing with an injury that limited him last week, and Jones showed his mobility running for 71 yards in the last meeting. I expect New York’s defense to be angry after getting shredded last week and they’ll take out their frustrations on Heinicke as upset winners on the NFL betting line at BetRivers sportsbook.
NFL Prediction: New York Giants +4.5