This is what’s it’s come down to for those who want to take the big points Sunday at MetLife Stadium: The hope that the Giants will show some pride and play with greater effort after finally being called out by Ben McAdoo at the team-wide screening of the 49ers game horror film.
Well, it would be hard to exhibit less effort than they did on the third-and-33 touchdown by Robert Woods in the 51-17 home loss to the Rams, and Janoris Jenkins’ impersonation of a traffic cone on Garrett Celek’s 47-yard touchdown last week in the 31-21 loss at the 49ers.
Even if the Giants do show up prepared to battle, these will be tough conditions. There will be a lot of empty seats, and others will be inhabited by Chiefs fans or angry Giants fans ready to boo their heads off.
The Giants can’ t stop opposing tight ends, and K.C. has one of the best in Travis Kelce. And Alex Smith completes just a tick under 70 percent of his passes, second only to Drew Brees among starting QBs this season. Then there’s all the speed with Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, and on the other side Justin Houston taking aim at Eli Manning.
Hard to believe it’s come to this, the Giants a double-digit home underdog, but here we are.
The pick: Chiefs, -10¹/₂.
BEARS (+3) over Lions: Bears spit the bit in a favorite role last week against the Packers, but are back in the friendly confines as a home ’dog. They are 8-1-1 against the spread in their past 10 such games. Mitchell Trubisky nearly doubled his career high in passing yards versus the Pack, as he threw for 297 yards.
Buccaneers (pick) over DOLPHINS: There were some plays in the Dolphins’ 45-21 loss to the Panthers that looked Giants-like, with defenders just standing around. If the defense isn’t going to help out Jay Cutler, Miami won’t have a chance most weeks.
Ravens (-2) over PACKERS: Brett Hundley recorded his first win as a starter last week in Chicago, but now the Pack goes up against a rested Ravens D without top RB Aaron Jones and possibly No. 2 man Ty Montgomery.
VIKINGS (-2) over Rams: L.A. is bound to hit a speed bump somewhere after winning four in a row, the past three by a combined 116-24. The Vikings defense, indoors, is the toughest the Rams will have faced in a while, and Case Keenum can play keep-away with his safe, short-passing game.
TEXANS (-1) over Cardinals: How do you handicap Tom Savage versus Blaine Gabbert? At least Savage has some experience with his receivers, while Gabbert makes his Cardinals debut. There’s a reason Arizona is on its third quarterback, and Jadeveon Clowney will find it.
BROWNS (+8) over Jaguars: The Browns are the lone remaining winless team, and have lost 24 of their past 25. But last week’s game, in which they outgained the Lions 413-345, at least showed some spark and continued interest. Worried about the sacks and turnovers, though. Jags get ’em and Browns give ’em up in big numbers. Be careful here.
SAINTS (-8) over Redskins: Credit to Sean Payton. Not only has he completely changed the way the Saints play — from high-wire act to smashmouth defense and ground game — he now goes outside the box to bring in ex-Jets assistant Mike Westhoff to help with the special teams. Very tough spot for the severely banged-up Redskins.
CHARGERS (-4¹/₂) over Bills: Buffalo made a quarterback switch from Tyrod Taylor to Nathan Peterman. Though the Chargers don’t boast much of a home-field edge at their tiny soccer arena, they are coached by Anthony Lynn, who was the Bills’ assistant head coach the past two years.
BRONCOS (-2¹/₂) over Bengals: Stat of the week from ncsports.com: Broncos have won and covered their past five games the week after they played the Patriots, winning by an average of 15. Undisciplined Bengals playing third in a row on road.
Raiders (+7) over Patriots (in Mexico City): After destroying the Broncos, the Patriots stayed in Colorado to prepare for the high altitude of Mexico City. Raiders are 4-5 but just two games behind K.C. in the AFC West and one game out in the wild card. After a bye, they should be ready and willing to slug it out.
Eagles (-4¹/₂) over COWBOYS: Eagles have covered their past six games after a bye week. Just have to hope the time off didn’t slow their roll. Cowboys are a soap opera, and the first reviews of life without Ezekiel Elliott were bad.
Falcons (+3) over SEAHAWKS: Seattle likely will get Earl Thomas back, but it lost its most irreplaceable player in Richard Sherman. Now they have to play defense a whole different way. Pete Carroll also has to find a way to block Atlanta’s Adrian (six sacks versus Dallas) Clayborn.
Best bets: Broncos, Bears, Eagles.Lock of the week: (Locks 3-7 in 2017).Last week: 5-8-1 overall, 2-1 Best Bets.Thursday: Titans (L).