The Daily Sweat: Both Tuesday night NFL games have NFC playoff implications

·6 min read

It took 15 weeks of the NFL season for there to be disruptions to the schedule because of COVID-19 cases, but here we are.

Saturday’s Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders game was played Monday night because of cases on the Browns. Additionally, two of Sunday’s games — the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team and Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams — were rescheduled to Tuesday night.

Both have NFC playoff implications.

The Eagles and Washington are both 6-7 and firmly in the mix for the final wild-card spot. Washington currently holds that No. 7 seed.

With Washington having so many of its top players on the COVID-19 list, the Eagles are 6.5-point home favorites at BetMGM with the total currently listed at 42.5.

While the Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is off the injury report and expected back in the lineup, it’s unclear who will be under center for Washington. Washington’s top two quarterbacks — Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen — are among the WFT players on the team’s COVID-19 list. But because the game was moved to Tuesday night, it’s possible they could test off the list and be active for the game.

If Heinicke and Allen are unavailable, the other quarterbacks on Washington’s roster are Garrett Gilbert, Kyle Shurmur and Jordan Ta’amu. Gilbert was signed off New England’s practice squad last week, Shurmur has been with the team for most of the season and Ta’amu was a recent practice squad addition.

If you’re going to bet this game, you're better off waiting around to see who is available for Washington. We should know which quarterbacks are active by Tuesday afternoon.

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

In the other game, the Rams are 7-point home favorites over the Seahawks with the total sitting at 46.5. Like Washington, the Rams are also experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in this game getting postponed. There was a point where 29 Rams players were on the COVID-19 list, but that number shrunk to 18 by late Monday afternoon.

Seattle is also dealing with some COVID-19 issues, but nowhere near to the extent of the Rams.

The Rams enter this game at 9-4 and coming off a big road win over the Arizona Cardinals last week. With the Cardinals (10-4) losing to Detroit on Sunday, the NFC West title is still in play for the Rams. The Cardinals are 4-1 in divisional play, so a win over the Seahawks would make the Rams 3-2, just one game back of the division lead with three weeks remaining.

Here’s what else is on the betting slate for Tuesday:

2 more bowl games, including UTSA vs. SDSU

There are two bowl games on the schedule for Tuesday.

First is the Idaho Potato Bowl between Kent State (7-6) and Wyoming (6-6). Wyoming is a 3.5-point favorite with the total listed at 59.5. Both of these teams lean on the run game, but this is a contrast in offensive styles.

Kent State, the MAC runner-up, runs the ball 57.7% of the time but likes to run an up-tempo attack. Wyoming is much more deliberate and runs even more than the Golden Flashes — 61.6% of the time.

While QB Dustin Crum leads the way for KSU, the player to keep an eye on for Wyoming is linebacker Chad Muma. Muma is fourth in the country with 129 total tackles and is someone you could hear about in the lead-up to the NFL draft.

Later on, the Frisco Bowl pits UTSA vs. San Diego State. UTSA is 12-1 and won Conference USA. San Diego State is 11-2 and the Mountain West runner-up after losing 46-13 to Utah State in the conference title game.

UTSA was the favorite in this game for weeks but now is a 3-point underdog at BetMGM. The total is sitting at 49.

One big reason for the line movement is Sincere McCormick’s decision not to play in order to avoid injury ahead of the NFL draft. McCormick is UTSA’s workhorse running back. He is sixth in the nation with 1,479 yards and second in attempts (299). He has been a huge part in the Roadrunners’ ascendance over the last two seasons.

Even with McCormick in the lineup, going against SDSU’s No. 2-ranked rush defense would have been a challenge. Now UTSA will be depending on unproven players for production against the Aztecs.

San Diego State had a large number of players sidelined with COVID-19 in the MWC title game. The Aztecs, now reportedly healthy, should put forth a much better performance this time around.

San Diego State running back Greg Bell (22) carries as UNLV defensive back Nohl Williams (2) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)
San Diego State running back Greg Bell (22) carries as UNLV defensive back Nohl Williams (2) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

What about the NBA, college basketball?

Like in the NFL, COVID-19 is having a big impact on these NBA rosters.

There are currently five games on the schedule, headlined by the Phoenix Suns taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series. The Suns are on a three-game win streak and currently have the best record in the NBA at 24-5. The Lakers are 16-15 and have lost their last two outings.

Lakers star Anthony Davis is out with a knee injury while several others are out due to health and safety protocols.

The Suns, who have covered the spread in four of their last five, are 7.5-point favorites on the road. It marks just the third game this season that the Lakers are home underdogs.

In college basketball, the biggest game of the night is a Big East matchup between No. 18 Xavier and No. 23 Villanova. Villanova is a 6.5-point favorite at home.

Xavier is 11-1 and enters Tuesday night’s game on a seven-game winning streak. The Musketeers opened conference play with a 80-71 win over Marquette on Saturday. Villanova has lost its last two, including its Big East opener at Creighton 79-59 on Friday.

What’s the best bet?

I published my best bets for this week’s college football bowl games on Monday. Included was Kent State +3.5 in the Potato Bowl against Wyoming.

I watched more Wyoming football than I care to admit this season, and the Cowboys were just so inconsistent. If Kent State gets out to a lead, Wyoming doesn’t have the passing game to keep up. I’ll take the Golden Flashes at +3.5. I wouldn’t hesitate to bet Kent State on the moneyline either.

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