At this point, the Washington Redskins have no so-called quarterback of the future. After a five-game losing streak and amid all sorts of turmoil, coach Jay Gruden’s future is in question, too.
Gruden could be done after one season with the Redskins, who are 3-10 and 6½-point road underdogs to the New York Giants today.
“Many in D.C. might be wishing for President Obama to veto the remainder of the Redskins’ season after last week’s shutout loss to St. Louis,” The Gold Sheet handicapper Bruce Marshall said. “And since owner Dan Snyder has in the past hit the eject button on coaches after just one season, rumors that Gruden could be on a short leash cannot be dismissed.”
Marshall (Goldsheet.com) is siding with the Giants and calling the bet “mostly anti-Redskins.”
Gruden has used three quarterbacks this season without much success. Colt McCoy, who has been cleared after a neck injury, is expected to start against New York with Robert Griffin III serving as the backup.
“Practice sessions descended into chaos this (past) week, suggesting the Redskins’ internal frustrations are bubbling to the surface,” Marshall said.
New York (4-9) stopped a seven-game losing streak last week with a 36-7 win at Tennessee. Rookie standouts Odell Beckham Jr. (11 receptions for 130 yards) and Andre Williams (131 yards rushing) led the way.
The Giants pounded the Redskins 45-14 on Sept. 25, when Eli Manning passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns.
“Beckham and Williams are legit bright spots for New York,” Marshall said. “All four Giants wins have been by double-digit margins, and the team is continuing to play hard for coach Tom Coughlin.”
Marshall (@BruceAMarshall on Twitter) breaks down the rest of today’s Week 15 rotation:
■ Oakland at Kansas City (-10): Acknowledge the revenge angle after the Chiefs lost at Oakland on Nov. 20. But Kansas City peaked too early, and its offense does not score enough points — more than 24 only once since September — to comfortably lay a double-digit price, especially since Alex Smith has yet to throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver this season. Except for the blowout loss at St. Louis, the Raiders have been competitive since Tony Sparano took over as interim coach. Oakland is 7-1 ATS in its past eight at Arrowhead Stadium in what mostly has been a road-oriented series the past decade. I would rather give rookie quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders a look than vice versa.
■ Jacksonville at Baltimore (-13½): Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is making slow progress on the NFL learning curve, but the Jaguars are playing hard for coach Gus Bradley and have not been bombed in any game since September. Still, it’s hard to put Jacksonville down for many points with Bortles, who was sacked 11 times the past two weeks, under siege. The fermenting Ravens offense, designed by coordinator Gary Kubiak, averaged 32 points the past three weeks and has stretched margins versus lesser foes. As long as the price tag doesn’t exceed two touchdowns, this is a slight preference for Baltimore.
■ Pittsburgh (-2½) at Atlanta: Ben Roethlisberger has posted some eye-opening stats at times, but this Pittsburgh stop unit is not going to be confused with the old “Steel Curtain” defense of the 1970s. Facing a suspect Steelers pass rush, Matt Ryan should have plenty of time to locate his dangerous squadron of downfield targets. With a guaranteed fast track at the Georgia Dome, this also might be the shootout of the week, and with the Steelers 6-1 over the total in their past seven, over 55 might be the preferred recommendation.
■ Houston at Indianapolis (-6½): A steady diet of running back Arian Foster was enough to get Houston past the Jaguars last week, but the Texans are going to need Ryan Fitzpatrick to avoid his characteristic mistakes to have a shot in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck avoided J.J. Watt long enough to pass for 370 yards in the first meeting. Shade toward the Colts, who are 5-1 ATS in their past six at home and can sew up the AFC South.
■ Cincinnati at Cleveland (-1): Quarterback switches in mid-December are usually not recommended, and the change to Johnny Manziel looks like a desperate roll of the dice by coach Mike Pettine and the Browns, who have almost dropped from the AFC playoff discussion. There is revenge motivation for Cincinnati after playing its worst game of the season against the Browns last month, and Andy Dalton should be particularly focused after his awful three-interception performance in the first meeting. I prefer the payback angle for the Bengals.
■ Miami at New England (-7½): A lot has changed since Week 1, when the Dolphins’ pass rush turned around the game in the second half. Like a year ago, and like the Chiefs this season, Miami might have peaked too early, as the offense has suddenly lost its bearings after Ryan Tannehill looked Pro Bowl-bound in the Denver game. New England’s recent form, the revenge angle, a chance to again sew up the AFC East and staying ahead in the race for the home-field playoff edge in the AFC suggest this price is not too prohibitive on the Patriots.
■ Tampa Bay at Carolina (-3): Cam Newton’s midweek auto accident casts a different light upon this matchup, but remember that Derek Anderson was the Panthers’ starting quarterback in a win at Tampa Bay in Week 1. Still, I’m not convinced the win at New Orleans was a buy signal on Carolina, which had not won in the previous two months. The Buccaneers are not much, but their best efforts have come on the road, and coach Lovie Smith’s possible switch back to Mike Glennon at quarterback might provide a spark. I can’t lay points with Carolina.
■ Green Bay (-4½) at Buffalo: The Packers are unlikely to relinquish sole possession of the lead in the NFC North, but they do not bring their same knockout power with them away from Lambeau Field, scoring 18 points per game fewer on the road than at home. With 46 sacks on the season, Buffalo’s energized pass rush could somewhat neutralize Aaron Rodgers. I’m not sure the Kyle Orton-led offense can do enough to keep the Bills in the AFC playoff mix, so look under the total of 50½, especially considering Buffalo’s 11-2 under mark.
■ Minnesota at Detroit (-7½): There are plenty of positive developments with the Vikings, who are 5-4 straight up with rookie Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. But this matchup might not work for Minnesota. Remember that in his first start on Oct. 12, Bridgewater was picked off three times in a 17-3 Detroit win. The Lions were without Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush that day, but now they are back, and coach Jim Caldwell’s rugged defense ranks second in the NFL. Detroit has covered six of seven at Ford Field and should do so again while keeping alive its NFC North title hopes.
■ New York Jets (-2½) at Tennessee: There’s more at stake here than meets the eye, as the top pick in the draft — Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota? — could be at stake. A few weeks ago, we might have thought a switch back to Jake Locker at quarterback would give the Titans a better chance, but after watching him struggle the past two weeks, I’m not so sure. It’s still hard to make a strong case for either of these stragglers, but at least most of the Jets’ recent efforts versus teams other than the Bills have been decent over the past two months. There are no visible signs of improvement from Tennessee. The Jets appear the lesser of two evils.
■ Denver (-4) at San Diego: Note the interesting change in pace of Broncos games, which have slowed since the mid-November loss at St. Louis. Denver is content to emphasize C.J. Anderson and its running attack, as Peyton Manning seems to legitimately miss the target that injured tight end Julius Thomas provided. Meanwhile, the upgraded Denver defense knows all of Philip Rivers’ tricks. Totals dynamics thus have been altered in Denver games to the point we are now comfortable recommending the under (51) this week.
■ San Francisco at Seattle (-9½): The abandonment of the read-option package that unleashed Colin Kaepernick a couple of years ago looks to be a move that could cost offensive coordinator Greg Roman and coach Jim Harbaugh their jobs in San Francisco. Russell Wilson is impacting games a lot more positively these days than Kaepernick, while Richard Sherman and the Seahawks defense are regaining their swagger. This could look a lot like the Thanksgiving yawner in Santa Clara, Calif., won by Seattle 19-3, so under the total (38) and the favorite should be worth a look.
■ Dallas at Philadelphia (-3½): Something appeared physically wrong with Tony Romo in the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Eagles, but his sore ribs healed enough for Romo to look closer to himself last week at Chicago. Curiously, the Cowboys have played better on the road (6-0) than at home, so expect no repeat of the shellacking Dallas received in the first meeting. Mark Sanchez is still blowing hot and cold at quarterback for Philadelphia. The Dallas revenge angle and over 55 — the Cowboys are 9-2 over in their past 11 away — are worth consideration.
COMPILED BY MATT YOUMANS