Four NFL teams tempted to tank down the home stretch
The 2014 NFL Draft is an interesting one. It will likely feature several top-tier quarterback prospects and have multiple teams aiming to improve their QB position.
With the final four weeks of the NFL season ahead, some players are playing for their coaches and their jobs while a few teams are looking ahead to which draft stud is going to save their team next season. Bettors should be weary of these four NFL teams tempted to tank in the home stretch of the NFL schedule:
Cleveland Browns (4-8 SU, 5-7 ATS)
After trading Trent Richardson for a first-round draft pick, the Browns have made it clear they’re building a team for the future. While Brian Hoyer showed he can manage the offense if healthy, Brandon Weeden is a bust and this team needs a legitimate quarterback to go with emerging WR Josh Gordon.
The Browns have a perfect excuse for tanking, with three of their final four games on the road, including a trip to New England Sunday. Cleveland is 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS on the road this season.
Houston Texans (2-10 SU, 3-9 ATS)
The Texans find a central problem in their sub-par quarterback play. Despite how well Case Keenum performs, if the Texans draft first overall, taking either Teddy Bridgewater or Jadeveon Clowney is a win-win scenario.
The Texans visit Jacksonville as 3-point road favorites Thursday, facing a team that has won two of its last three. That’s one of three road stops in the final four weeks for Houston, which plays at Indianapolis, back home versus Denver, and at Tennessee to close out the schedule. Stick a fork in them.
Minnesota Vikings (3-8 SU, 6-6 ATS)
A lot of questions remain on the status of head coach Leslie Frazier. While Frazier isn’t at fault for selecting Christian Ponder 12th overall in 2011, he is to blame for Josh Freeman. Ponder is out and it's obvious the Vikings’ quarterback dilemma won't end soon.
Minnesota meets the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens as a 7-point road underdog Sunday. The Vikings do have two home games remaining on the schedule and can throw a wrinkle in a few playoff races, with Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Detroit on deck. Word out of the Twin Cities is that players aren’t quitting on their coach, evidenced by a tie in Green Bay and an OT win over Chicago. It seems Minnesota can't even get tanking right.
Atlanta Falcons (3-9 SU, 4-8 ATS)
The Falcons have been a team plagued with ailments throughout 2013. Injuries to their star receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones have taken away the offensive threat and the need to use the short field is a huge reason why Atlanta has been so bad in the red zone.
For Atlanta, a healthy roster is a good one and it should at least get something out of this disaster of a season, in terms of draft position. The Falcons are waiting on Aaron Rodgers’ status for Sunday’s game in Green Bay, then have a home date with Washington next week and two tough games at San Francisco and at home to Carolina to wrap up a forgettable 2013.