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Giants vs. Eagles odds, analysis and predictions for Sunday’s NFL Week 16 games




Giants vs. Eagles odds, analysis and predictions for Sunday’s NFL Week 16 games

The Philadelphia Eagles have a tight turnaround after their Tuesday night victory over Washington. But what they might lack in rest, the Eagles should make up for in intensity as at 7-7, they are basically in the must-win stage in their playoff push.

The Giants come in with a third-string quarterback in Jake Fromm, and may even get a spark from him for the mere fact he’s not Mike Glennon, whose presence on the field is almost Eeyore-like. Lincoln Financial Field should be an inhospitable place, though, fueling Fletcher Cox and the other nasties on the Eagles’ front seven.

Yes, the Giants won the first meeting 13-7 less than a month ago, but not much of what happened that day seems to apply to this game.

The pick: Eagles, -10.

NEW YORK JETS (+1) over Jacksonville Jaguars

Since Halloween, the Jaguars have scored 17 points or fewer in each of their eight games (10 ppg), while the Jets have put up 34, 30, 24 and 21 in that span (21.3 ppg). Jacksonville didn’t get the positive emotional lift I expected after firing Urban Meyer as the Jags were shut out, 20-0, by the Titans. So though the Jets have coaching issues (Robert Saleh tested positive for COVID midweek) and injuries in lots of key areas, they’re the choice mainly for this reason: The Jags are firmly in draft mode, currently owning the No. 1 pick by a half-game over the Lions. The Jets are still clawing for every win they can get.

Giants Eagles prediction
Giants QB Jake Fromm (#17) gets a chance to show what he can do against the Eagles.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

CAROLINA PANTHERS (+10) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This one’s sort of a mathematical equation. Is Tom Brady’s anger over last week’s shutout, minus 10 points, greater than or equal to having to play without Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Mike Evans? Not thrilled about Sam Darnold getting a few plays for the Panthers, but at this number I’m willing to let Brady figure out his own problems with a No. 2 pencil.

HOUSTON TEXANS (+10) over Los Angeles Chargers

L.A.’s COVID issues include Austin Ekeler and Joey Bosa, so you have to think twice about laying double digits on the road with them. Don’t look now, but Davis Mills actually has been pretty good for the Texans. He has games of 310, 312 and 331 yards passing and is competent enough at least generate a backdoor cover if the Chargers pull ahead.

Detroit Lions (+5.5) over ATLANTA FALCONS

Two-pronged uncertainty for the Lions, as Jared Goff possibly will miss the game with COVID while running back D’Andre Swift could return from a shoulder injury. This number’s probably a little light if we were to end up with Tim Boyle at quarterback, but the Lions are coming off a thrashing of the Cardinals and are a sleek 9-5 ATS despite their 2-11-1 record.

Baltimore Ravens (+3) over CINCINNATI BENGALS

Former Jet Josh Johnson is in line to start for Baltimore, with Tyler Huntley on the COVID list and Lamar Jackson not traveling with the team. On Oct. 24, the Bengals destroyed the Ravens, 41-17, at the Inner Harbor with Jackson healthy. Joe Burrow threw for 416 yards, 201 of them to Ja’Marr Chase. That happened, but this is what’s happening now: The Ravens’ past five games have been decided by three, six, one, two and one, so that makes even this small spread a big deal.

Los Angeles Rams (-3) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS

It’s a Tuesday-to-Sunday turnaround for the Rams, but the Vikings played Monday, so that advantage is a bit muted. Before holding the Bears to nine points, Minnesota gave up 29.3 ppg over its previous six games. Rams have covered in their past three games after an 0-5 ATS streak.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-2) over Buffalo Bills

Bill Belichick really has to be in Sean McDermott’s head after the Patriots threw just three passes in their 14-10 win on that blustery Monday night in Orchard Park. The Bills’ offense has perked up in the following two weeks while the Patriots had a bye and scored just 17 at the Colts. Damien Harris’ expected return would help.

Chicago Bears (+6.5) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Rain, wind and a little snow are expected, which could limit downfield passing. Seems to play into the Bears’ hands a bit because of David Montgomery. Plus the Bears’ D ranks ninth in yards allowed and the Seahawks are 31st, 1 yard per game better than the Jets.

Bears David Montgomery
Bears running back David Montgomery
Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers (+7.5) over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

K.C. has gone from almost never covering the spread to a current 5-0 ATS run. The COVID news seemed to be a little better for the Chiefs on Thursday, but at this point there’s still the possibility they will be without Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Wouldn’t want to give up more than a touchdown to the Steelers and not have them. Mike Tomlin is 44-22-2 ATS as an underdog in my running, unofficial count.

Denver Broncos (+1.5) over LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Raiders won 34-24 in Denver as +5 underdogs in October, but Henry Ruggs had a 48-yard touchdown and Darren Waller caught five for 59 yards. Without them, Vegas’ offense is extremely limited. Denver’s Drew Lock is 9-12 lifetime as a starter, which isn’t horrible.

Washington Football Team (+10.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS

Cowboys have a big rest advantage, and there’s a chance this turns out to be one of their occasional blowout wins. But WFT gets Taylor Heinicke back after miraculously functioning pretty well in Philadelphia with Garrett Gilbert, who barely had time to learn any plays. Though the Cowboys are cruising to the NFC East title, this game means everything to Washington’s playoff hopes.


Miami Dolphins (-1.5) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Great win for the Saints as they fed Tom Brady a bagel. That’s four straight wins over Tampa Bay in the regular season, but after the previous three, the Saints are 1-2 SU and ATS. Dolphins have beaten up on a sinfully easy schedule of late but are 5-1 ATS in their past six at market prices. Line flipped 4.5 points as Ian Book is likely to start at quarterback for New Orleans with Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemien entering COVID protocol.

Best bets: Colts, Eagles, Broncos.

Lock of the week: Colts (Locks 8-6 in 2021).

Last week: 10-6 overall, 1-2 Best Bets.

Thursday: Titans.


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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