Congratulations on making it through another Monday, but let’s be honest, if you could get through Sunday night’s game between the Cowboys and Eagles, you can survive anything. However, I have to warn you that your time dealing with the NFC East isn’t over yet. Tonight you’re going to have to watch the New York Giants, but thankfully after that, there are no other possible stress-inducing events left on the calendar this week!
Seriously, though, can we please stop putting NFC East teams in primetime games? I understand that the division is home to the most popular team and the country’s largest television market, but isn’t 2020 a time when we could use as much joy and happiness in our lives as possible? Plus, aren’t television ratings for all sports down as it is?
So, why not steer into the skid? Let’s change up the schedules and get these teams off our televisions when there are no other games to watch! Any game featuring an NFC East team should be confined to a 1 p.m. ET start for the rest of the season. I swear, even if the Cowboys aren’t playing on Sunday or Monday night, people will still watch. And, while we’re at it, next Monday we’re supposed to get the Patriots and Jets on Monday night. The Jets shouldn’t be allowed in primetime, either. Let’s move any other game there while there’s still time.
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Buccaneers at Giants, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Giants Under 16.5 (-115): There is not much I like about tonight’s game on either the spread or the total. If I were to take a side of the spread, I’d lean toward Tampa -12.5, but I’m not comfortable laying that many points on the road. When it comes to the total, I have a slight lean toward the over, but there are concerns with the weather (it’ll be cold and windy tonight) as well as a concern over the Giants offense. I don’t want to rely on the Giants to score points
And that’s where I have found the best value tonight: betting on the Giants not to score a whole lot of points! According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, the Bucs have the best defense in the NFL, and the gap between them and No. 2 Pittsburgh is a significant one. Then there’s a Giants offense that has struggled all year. Entering tonight’s game, the Giants offense is scoring 1.54 points per drive. That ranks 31st in the NFL, ahead of only the Jets. Tampa’s defense is allowing 1.58 points per drive, ranking 2nd in the NFL. Furthermore, in four games outside the NFC East, where the worst teams in the history of the world call home, the Giants have averaged 11.75 points per game, never scoring more than 16 in any of them.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: R.J. White is SportsLine’s hottest NFL expert (27-14, plus $1,145 run) and he’s also 20-10 in his last 30 ATS picks involving the Buccaneers. Here is how he is betting Monday Night Football.
The Pick: Tom Brady Over 267.5 passing yards (-115) — I expect Tampa to win this game tonight, and it’ll likely do so with relative comfort. Considering that and the weather conditions, you might expect that Tom Brady won’t have to throw much, and instead, the Bucs can rely on Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. Now, against the run the Giants defense ranks 11th in DVOA and sixth in defensive success rate. Not bad. But it’s the team’s pass defense that’s been a mess.
So Brady and the Bucs will likely have to move the ball through the air to build their lead and win this game. I like attacking the over on Brady’s yards. He’s averaging 272.9 yards per game on the season and in Tampa’s five wins, he’s averaging 283.6 yards per game. And even that number is dragged down by the 166 yards he threw for against Green Bay, when he only had to throw 27 passes thanks to Tampa’s defense putting the offense in terrific position all day.
The Pick: Rob Gronkowski to score a TD (+163) — So the Giants pass defense stinks, but that’s not the fault of corner James Bradberry. Of defensive backs who have been targeted at least 30 times, the 6.1 yards per attempt Bradberry has allowed ranks 14th in the league. Quarterbacks have a passer rating of only 48.3 when targeting receivers Bradberry has primary coverage on, and that ranks 7th among DBs to be targeted at least 30 times. He’s good, and he’ll be on Mike Evans.
It’s everybody else in the Giants secondary that stinks, so if I’m looking for a red zone target on the Bucs tonight, I’m looking to Gronk. The Giants have allowed opposing QBs to have a rating of 122.0 when targeting tight ends in the red zone, and that ranks 23rd in the NFL.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has simulated tonight’s matchup 10,000 times, which seems excessive, but it doesn’t have any friends so it has nothing else to do.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Your MVP or Captain
Tom Brady — I feel like I’ve gone over a lot of the reasons why you should expect Tom Brady to be the highest-scoring player tonight. Just in case you scrolled past all of that, though, it’s because the Giants rush defense is pretty good. Their pass defense is not, and Brady is likely to have a big game through the air. He’s struggled a bit this season against good pass defenses, but this isn’t one of them.
Ryan Succop — While I don’t have high hopes for Daniel Jones, there’s a decent chance he’s going to rack up some stats late in this game out of necessity, and Tampa playing a relaxed coverage on defense. So you want to get Jones in your lineups too. To make room, go with a kicker. Succop is going to get some extra points, and maybe a field goal or two as well. There’s a limited ceiling here, obviously, but you’ll get points out of it and — more importantly — it’ll allow you to save money to get both Jones and Gronk (I’d fade Mike Evans tonight) in too.
Full lineup advice
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