New York Giants (+5)* at St. Louis Rams
Despite neither team making the playoffs this year, the Rams and Giants both have tremendous incentives for winning on Sunday. St. Louis is trying to prevent ending the year with a losing record for the first time since 2006, while the Giants look to avoid their first double-digit loss season since 2004.
The Rams, coming off a divisional loss in which they extended their streak of not allowing a touchdown to an opponent to a full three games, host a Giants team fresh off back-to-back wins. Hold the applause, however, as New York’s last two games were against the Titans and Redskins, who have combined for a whopping five wins all season.
This is, therefore, the Rams’ game to lose. They are arguably one of the best teams in the league with a losing record, and have been difficult to beat at home as of late — 3-1 in their last four home games, including wins against the Seahawks and Broncos.
Gauging this disappointing season, as a whole, for the Giants, it holds some strikingly eerie similarities to last year. Both seasons began with losses, had prolonged losing streaks, and entered Week 16 at 5-9. New York won its final two games.
Most teams — especially those enduring consecutive losing seasons — do not receive the benefit of drawing conclusions from past performances. This is because most teams have too much turnover over a few years and thus are organizationally troubled. This is not true for the New York Giants, featuring the eleventh season with both head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning – the two most important positions to maintain stability in an organization.
The Giants may not sweep their final two games and improve to 7-9, but the combination of Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin have yet to lose ten games in a year during which Manning started every game. They have the edge until proven otherwise.
New York wins by six and beats the spread.
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