Eli Manning has been benched. Geno Smith is the punchline to the jokes right now. But Eli Manning has not been very good recently. He turns 37 years old and is averaging 6.1 yards per attempt. Yes, the Giants offense has been decimated. The list of quarterbacks over the age of 35 that put up numbers like Eli and then bounced back is small. Most were retired or backups within a year.
Meanwhile, I know there’s this assumption that we know who Geno Smith is (in a year where we’ve seen two second-year players make huge leaps, and Case Keenum is leading a 9-2 team). His numbers aren’t actually disqualifying, if you are trying to look at similar quarterbacks. He hasn’t really played in 2+ years. The most similar players to Geno at age 24 since 1990 are as follows:
- Jake Locker, 2012
- Troy Aikman, 1990
- Drew Brees, 2003
- Craig Erickson, 1993
- Vince Young, 2007
- Trent Dilfer, 1996
- Timm Rosenbach, 1990
- Ryan Tannehill, 2012
- Chad Henne, 2009
- Steve McNair, 1997
- Blake Bortles, 2016
- Marcus Mariota, 2017
- Tim Couch, 2001
- Dak Prescott, 2017
- Browning Nagle, 1994
- Jake Plummer, 1998
Yeah, it’s a mixed bag, but there are enough guys who put up similar production who panned out to say he’s not a lost cause. His biggest problem was turnovers. If I had to pick a fault in a young quarterback, predictively, I’d rather have a turnover-prone guy than one who simply couldn’t move the ball or took way too many sacks. Over his last four games back in 2014 and the one game in 2015 where he came off the bench and threw more than 10 passes, Smith is averaging 8.4 yards per attempt and 8 TDs versus 3 INT.
The Giants don’t have much working on offense. They could barely pick up a first down in the second half last week. I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s also not a lost cause. I also think putting a late round rookie is pointless if you want to find out anything for the future. Not sure you’ll find out anything from a rookie in four games that will let you make a longterm judgment. If Davis Webb plays like Jared Goff as a rookie that still may not mean much.
Last Week: 4-11-1
Washington (-1.5) at Dallas
Dallas has scored single digits in each of the last three games. They are an embarrassment, and Washington looks like the much better team in recent weeks. I’ll continue to go against Dallas while they are playing this poorly. Washington -1.5.
SUNDAY 1 PM
Detroit (+3) at Baltimore
Baltimore’s wins have come against the following quarterbacks: Andy Dalton, DeShone Kizer, E.J. Manuel, Matt Moore, Brett Hundley, and Tom Savage. Matthew Stafford looks like the second coming of Johnny Unitas compared to that platter of poo. Lions +3.
San Francisco (+3) at Chicago
Jimmy Garoppolo had more touchdown passes than C.J. Beathard last week, and he had two passes. The Bears offense remains bad. 49ers +3.
Minnesota (+3) at Atlanta
What if I told you that you could get the team with seven straight wins as the underdog? Sounds good. Vikings +3.
New England (-9) at Buffalo
The Bills climbed back in the playoff race just in time to play the Patriots twice over the next month. They are about to get Rex’d. Patriots -9.
Denver (-1.5) at Miami
I hope you aren’t stuck watching this one in your market. Yuck. Broncos -1.5.
Houston (+7) at Tennessee
Man, I’ve had a “go against Savage” rule but this line is tempting. I’m going to violate that rule and immediately regret it. Texans +7.
Indianapolis (+9.5) at Jacksonville
The Jags let me down a week ago, but this should be a mismatch. Jacoby Brissett is taking a sack on nearly one out of every eight drop backs. Jags -9.5.
Tampa Bay (+2) at Green Bay
Jameis Winston is expected to be back, but I’m not sure that’s a reason to get Uber excited about this one. Packers -2.
Kansas City (-3.5) at NY Jets
Alex Smith in the first 5 games (5-0): 77% completions, 8.8 YPA, 11 TD, 0 INT
Alex Smith in the last 6 games (1-5): 63% completions, 7.0 YPA, 8 TD, 4 INT
SUNDAY 4:05 PM/4:25 PM
Cleveland (+13.5) at LA Chargers
I think it would be amazing if there were more Browns fans than Chargers fans at this game. Also, everyone is back on the Chargers can be a surprise in the AFC bandwagon. Browns +13.5.
Carolina (+4.5) at New Orleans
The Saints were without their starting cornerbacks last week. We still await whether Marshon Lattimore will play this week, and that likely impacts the play here. I’ll say Saints -4.5 for now.
LA Rams (-7) at Arizona
Blaine Gabbert, he’s not so bad. Trust in him. Well, I’ll trust in the much better team. Rams -7.
NY Giants (+9) at Oakland
This line seems like a huge value, unless you really think Geno Smith is a massive downgrade from the 36-year old QB averaging 6.1 yards per attempt. Giants +9.
Philadelphia (-6) at Seattle
The Eagles have won five straight games by double digits, but Seattle is desperate and playing at home. I’ll take the home dog. Seahawks +6.
Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cincinnati
Which of the Steelers’ many personalities will show up for this game? I think they’ll come out and play well after last week’s lackluster effort against the Packers in primetime. Steelers -5.5.