The National Football League has seen division races tighten and change hands over the past few weeks in ways that may not have been expected. The Buffalo Bills are now behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East Division standings with the Miami Dolphins back in the conversation with some of a potential Wild Card berth.
The Kansas City Chiefs have put their woes behind them, winners of four consecutive games Patrick Mahomes and company have surged from the cellar to the top of the AFC West Division standings. The once seemingly invincible lead in the AFC North Division by the Baltimore Ravens is now threatened by the Cincinnati Bengals, just one game back.
The Tennessee Titans ran off six consecutive wins since their loss in early October to the New York Jets, then lost yesterday to the Houston Texans and allowed the surging Indianapolis Colts to move one game closer in the AFC South Division standings.
Tonight, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New York Giants and they haven’t won a game in four weeks, their last victory gained over the Chicago Bears on October 24. Since that one-sided triumph, 38-3, at Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers have not played a home game. Their last three weeks were spent losing to the New Orleans Saints and Washington Football Team on the road with their bye week sandwiched between.
Still, while the Buccaneers two losses could have created a jam at the top of their division standings, their nearest competitors didn’t take advantage. Second place New Orleans has lost three straight games since beating Tampa Bay at the Superdome. Even with back-to-back losses, the Bucs sit atop the NFC South with a chance to pull two games ahead with a victory tonight.
The New York Giants show up in Florida at perhaps a bad time for their own good. One might think the Buccaneers would be rather fired up to end this losing run and get back into the form that had them favored to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.
The books know it, that is why the Giants are getting double-digits on the point spread.
Is New York good enough to hand Tom Brady and company a third straight loss? I don’t know, but I also didn’t think the Giants were good enough to beat Tom Brady in a couple Super Bowls, and they did. Once ending the Patriots bid for a perfect season in 2007, and handing Brady one of his three Super Bowl losses four years later.
In other words, the Giants have not been intimidated by the GOAT.
Most bettors like the points in this one, and some handicappers I respect are also backing the Giants with the generous point spread.
I think New York has pulled on Superman’s cape once too often, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brady in top form tonight and score a convincing win that clips the 11 point line.
That is what I think, but I have no supporting evidence that would justify a wager on this contest.