New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos Preview and Pick – Point Spread

New York Giants (6-4 SU, 4-5-1 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (6-4 SU, 6-4
ATS), 8:20 p.m. EST, Thursday, November 26, 2009, NFL Week 12, Invesco Field at
Mile High, Denver, Colo., TV: NFL Network

by Badger of

Point Spread: Giants -6/Broncos +6
Over/Under: 42

The New York Giants will be playing to try and stay with the pack in
the NFC playoff hunt on Thanksgiving night at Invesco Field in
Denver, but the stakes are even greater for the Broncos to get off
the schnid in the altitude and atmosphere of Mile High before their
shooting star flames out in the AFC.

The Broncos are falling as fast as they shot out of the gate, losing
four in a row to drop their 6-0 start to 6-4. With a hobbled
quarterback in Kyle Orton the Broncos were unable to mount much
offense last weekend in their 32-3 loss to AFC West rival San Diego,
opening the door for another late-season collapse to start haunting
the Broncos and head coach Josh McDaniels.

On the surface New York will be happy they beat a pesky Atlanta
Falcons team in overtime, 34-31, to finally snap their four-game
slide last Sunday. But deep down they know they still have a lot of
issues to deal with, beginning with the fact they gave up a 14-point
lead in the 4th quarter to force overtime.

Even though many in the audience will already be sleeping with
bellies full of Turkey and fixings, the boys themselves at the NFL
Network are hoping that at least the degenerates who know that the
New York Giants opened as 5-point favorites will be tuning in to
watch their money make money. In fact, the bettors at the window
early have moved the point spread to Giants minus -6 at most offshore

The over/under total opened at 42 and has held firm at 42 during the early steam.

One thing is for certain, both teams in Thursdays late game learned from last week how important their quarterback is to their success.

The Giants Eli Manning was near the top of his game throwing for 384
yards and three touchdowns in the victory over the Falcons, and at
times seemed to thrive in the passing game (26-for-39) while the
Falcons focused on stopping the Giants run (held to 88 yards, 3.3
ypc). Manning will have to play at that level again this week because
the Broncos feature the NFLs 3rd-best pass defense in allowing just
182.5 yards per game.

That is unless the Giants take advantage of the Broncos weaker run defense (115.3 ypg 19th), which could be hard to do with starting
running back Brandon Jacobs listed as probable with a dinged-up knee.

The Broncos learned just how valuable Orton is to their offense when
journeyman veteran Chris Simms started in Ortons place and the
Broncos offense was ugly to start the Chargers game. With Orton the
Broncos are 19th in the league in passing (210.6 ypg), which is
saying very little, but with Simms behind center it was even less
threatening down field.

Orton came in to play and did well enough (15-of-29, 171 yards, INT) to eliminate any doubt about who should be the starter on the short
week, him or Simms. An injured Orton needs help from the Broncos
running game, which is struggling this year only averaging 112.4
yards per game (16th) and was again rendered a mute point with the
offense playing catch up for most of the game.

The Giants have fought to regain their unpredictable nature on defense again, the way they began the season with a blitz-heavy diet of pressure and scheme, but they are still 2nd overall in the league
allowing 280.3 yards a game. Even playing shorthanded without safety
Kenny Phillips and linebacker Antonio Pierce, the Giants defense is
still good enough to force Denver into third-and-long situations and
make the already mobile-challenged Orton, with a bad ankle, a sitting
duck to the blitz.

The last time these teams met was in Denver back in 2005 when Eli Manning hit Amani Toomer with a touchdown pass with 5 seconds to play
in the Giants thrilling, 24-23, victory. Take it for what its worth
though, since every player in the boxscore on both teams with the
lone exception of Manning is either playing elsewhere or not at all.

The Giants snapped their losing streak against the Falcons, but they
still didnt cover the point spread for the fifth week in a row making them 4-5-1 this season.

The Broncos tale of two seasons follows them at the betting window too, as their 6-0 ATS start has since been evened out with an 0-4 ATS slide coinciding with the four-game losing streak.

The Giants seem to have most of the betting trends pointing in their
favor as well, including a 24-11 ATS record when playing on short
weeks (6 or less days rest) and a stellar 12-5 ATS record in the
second half of the season against teams with winning records the last
few years.

The one thing going for the Broncos right now may be the fact that
they are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in the last three seasons following a
huge loss to a key AFC West rival, so they do seem to forget quickly
and bounce back.

Badgers Pick: Due to the questionable status of Ortons ankle, its hard to really know what Im getting. Normally Im all over the 6-
point dog at home, but without Orton the Broncos are a non-bet. I may
make a game-time decision to pull the trigger on a Denver side bet at
plus +6-points, but otherwise Im staying away and dosing in and out
of sleep by this point Thursday.