London is calling, Odell, and DeMarco Murray is primed for a big afternoon
Not a great showing last week but not a miserable one as we scored on 2 and whiffed on 3, bringing the season record to 18-15. Let’s skip the small talk this week and hop the pond to London and get right to business. All lines appearing below are courtesy Bovada.
Brad PennerUSA TODAY Sports
Eli Manning passing yards OVER 280.5
Do not attempt to figure out the running back distribution in the Giants backfield because it will leave you scared and confused. Just like last year, the Giants cannot run the ball. The offensive line is average at best and they’ve posted just 76 rushing yards per game (ranked 30th), and in four games their leading rusher has not exceeded 48 yards. A way of saying that the offense moves right now via Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. or not at all.
The good news this week for Big Blue is that the Rams are much more beatable through the air than on the ground. They’re still missing top cornerback Trumaine Johnson and per Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, Los Angeles has surrendered an NFL-high 94 receptions to opposing wide receivers and the fifth-most yards (1,138). The Giants got the air attack back on track against the Ravens in Week 6 and should get rookie Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz more involved this week, maybe even Roger Lewis too. Beckham is nursing a hip injury but he’ll be good to go. Right now Eli is averaging 298 passing yards per game — third in the league — and he should hit or top that mark in this matchup.
Ryan Mathews rushing yards UNDER 45.5
This might be Mathews' third appearance in this space; at least it’s his second in a row as he barely eclipsed 57.5 for us last week (60 yards) in an Eagles game that proved Philly’s backfield is a full-fledged committee with no apparent rhyme or reason. Plus they suffered a really big hit with the loss of Lane Johnson at right tackle (suspension). His replacement in Week 6, rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai, got absolutely worked in pass protection and wasn’t better on rushing downs.
The Redskins dominated in time of possession and in a week that shaped up as a 15-to-20-carry day against a soft Redskins rushing defense, Mathews carried only nine times and was on the field for just 21% of the Eagles' snaps while committee-mates Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner combined for 10. Now the big, bad Minnesota Vikings are coming to town with the fourth-best rushing defense. This will not be a Mathews week, if the Eagles ever have such a thing again. Sproles probably will get more usage in the passing game so let’s go under on Mathews.
DeMarco Murray rushing yards over 90.5
It’s not a small total but Murray has developed into one of the few league’s few workhorse running backs and the Titans appear set on riding him as rookie Derrick Henry has been phased out of the running game for now. Murray has averaged more than 22 carries per game over the Titans' past four contests and has turned it into 395 yards or an average of 98.75.
Murray is now looking at possibly the best matchup he’ll get all season against the league’s worst rushing defense (ranked 32 in rush DVOA) in the Indianapolis Colts, which was recently made worse by the loss of 6-foot-6, 300 pound defensive end Henry Anderson (knee). Last week the Texans’ Lamar Miller wrecked the Colts for 149 yards on 24 carries. Murray should be the kind of excited for this matchup where he has trouble sleeping.
USA TODAY SportsRaj Mehta
T.Y. Hilton receiving yards over 79.5
Let’s stay in Tennessee for the speedy Hilton and an offense opposite of the Titans'. Last week, finally, the Colts had a 100-yard rusher in Frank Gore, who became the first to top the mark for Indy since Vick Ballard in December 2012. That’s just a mind-boggling streak. Anyhow, like the Giants, this offense goes as Andrew Luck goes. Hilton will match up mainly against beatable Titans slot corner Brice McCain. Hilton is averaging 92.7 yards per game and regularly gets 10 or more targets from Luck and may see a dash more this week with teammate Phillip Dorsett sidelined.
Brian SpurlockUSA TODAY Sports
Mike Evans receiving yards over 80.5
Speaking of targets, Mike Evans is near the league lead in that category with 62 total and 12.4 per game, and he ought to get force-fed by Jameis Winston even more now with Vincent Jackson (knee) on the IR and Cecil Shorts taking Jackson's place. With the loss of middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman, the 49ers defense has plummeted into doom, surrendering 78 points in the two games since he went down with an Achilles tear. Also, Chip Kelly’s anti-time-of-possession offense appears to be taking its toll; the San Fran defense has spent more time on the field than every unit but the Giants'. This is a prime spot for an Evans blowup against the Niners' secondary, which ranks last in the league against No. 1 receivers. Giddyup!