NFL Week 9: Monday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Giants +6.5, O/U: 48.5)

The Cowboys are coming off a huge win against divisional foes, the Eagles and are rejuvenated a bit with their bye week last week. Coming in fresh against a Giants team that is on a 4 game slide after some tough games against the Vikings, Patriots, Cardinals and Lions, the Giants look for momentum as they inch closer to their week 11 bye. Daniel Jones has looked rough in most of his starts with exception to week 3 and last week, in which last week he was 28/41 for 322 yards, 4 TD’s and zero picks. Barkley started the year hot, averaging over 10 yards until his high ankle sprain, has been average in the last 2 starts averaging less than 70 yards in both games. The Giants need to find him the ball more as he only has 3 scores (2 rushing, 1 receiving). Dak seems to be on a similar streak as he started off hot but as he’s played tougher teams (Saints, Packers and Eagles), he’s looked mediocre. In those 3 games, he has completed 67% of his passes for 925 yards but for only 3 TD’s and 5 picks. Those teams are a combined 19-7 while In his other 4 starts against teams with losing records (5-28), he’s completed 83% of his passes for 1,198 yards, 9 TD’s and 2 picks. Better teams means he’s just your run of the mill, middle of the pack starter but against weaker teams, he looks like an all-star. Take the Cowboys to win and cover handedly in the over, Cowboys 31-19.

NFL Week 8: Monday Night Football Pick & Prediction

Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Steelers -14, O/U: 43.5)

The Dolphins traded away another key piece of their team this morning as they traded away Kenyon Drake for a 6th round pick that can turn into a 5th round pick if conditions are met. Ballage and Walton will be the backs behind the lines tonight. Fitzpatrick has been fiery for the Fins and has kept them in games with the equally ugly Redskins and within 10 of the Bills. Some guys play hard for primetime games especially if they are unsure of their roster status for the next season.

The Steelers get impressive young QB, Mason Rudolph back from his concussion suffered a few weeks ago. He’ll be licking his chops as he doesn’t have to face Minkah Fitzpatrick as they had pulled him away from the Dolphins in a trade. The Dolphins give up an average of 35.2 points per game which could give a moral boost for a team who only scores 20.5 points on average per game. James Conner still has yet to pick up steam and JuJu Smith-Schuster has had a very slow start to his first year as the guy on the outside. The Steelers defense is starting to pick up the pace as they have come up with 15 takeaways, 8 of them picks. Look for them to turn up the pressure on a weak Dolphins offense.

Take the Steelers to cover in the over, Steelers 31-13.

NFL Week 7: Monday Night Football Pick & Prediction

New England Patriots @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Jets +10, O/U: 43.5)

The Patriots are flying high with an unblemished record, the leagues top scoring offense and the leagues best defense (although not far ahead of the 49ers). The Patriots defense has only been backed up against their own endzone 4 times and have allowed just 1 TD. That conversion percentage equals that of the 49ers for the best in the league (25%). Brady is 6th in yards and is completing 65% of his passes. Edelman leads the receiving corps with nearly 450 yards and Michel is leading the ground works with nearly 350 yards to balance out the offense. Their defense will be key as they lead the league as the only team in double digits in picks with 14, which will be a tough test against Darnold who looked as if he hadn’t been out for a month.

The Jets had a pleasant surprise when Darnold came back and single handedly beat the Cowboys by throwing and throwing often. Darnold snapped back by completing 72% of his throws for 338 yards, 2 TD’s and a pick in a shocking win against the Cowboys last week. Robby Anderson was happy to see Sam back as he hauled in 5 of his 8 targets for 125 yards, one being a long 92 yard TD. The defense, which all season has been suspect, held Prescott to less than 300 yards, didn’t allow him to throw a TD which helped them try to focus on Elliott. The Jets have their hands full tonight however as they have to take a below average receiving corps up against the best performing secondary in the league. Adam Gase will have to try and out coach the best coach the game has ever seen. Yeah, good luck.

Take the Jets to cover but the Patriots to win in the over, Patriots 28-20.

NFL Week 6: Monday Night Football Pick & Prediction

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Packers -3.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Lions are coming off an early bye week in time to head to Green Bay with 2 weeks to prepare for the new look Packers offense. The Lions have been slow out of the gate as they’ve had some tough matchups early on and faired pretty well, especially in the Chiefs game. Even so, they’re middle of the road in most team statistical categories. The Lions defense however has stepped up to the plate this year ranking 10th in points allowed and in the top half of the league in turnovers caused and stingy in the redzone only allowing 8 TD’s in 16 trips (50%). Stafford has protected the ball well early and has looked fairly sharp (62.4% completions, 1,122 yards, 9TD’s and only 2 picks. Stafford’s line has done well protecting him as well, better than in years past as he’s only been sacked 7 times and has been able to conduct 2 4th quarter comebacks with 1 game winning drive in his 4 games. They need to get Kerryon Johnson going however as he’s only rushed for 264 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry and only 1 rushing TD.

The Packers are coming off another emotional win in Dallas as they move back home for a divisional rival game against an always tough Lions team who have had the better of the Pack in recent years. The Packers have quietly kept in the top half of the league on offense and only recently picked up the rushing game with the explosive performance given by Aaron Jones last week that culminated in 4 TD’s. The one aspect that the Packers have been killing teams is their redzone conversions. They rank 6th with 13 TD’s on 19 trips (68.4%). Rodgers is shockingly outside of the top 10 in passing due to a slow start and having an actual rushing game to utilize more. He’s protective as always with the ball with a 6TD to 1 pick ratio. Aaron Jones may only be averaging 60 yards a game but he’s making the most of his carries averaging 4 yards per carry and more than a 4th of them gaining key first downs but the shocking stat is his league leading 8 TD’s. Davante Adams is supposedly out a few weeks with a turf toe injury so that means more opportunities coming to the rest of the receiver depth like Valdes-Scantling, Allison, Graham, Lewis. The defense bounced back after a disappointing loss to the Eagles who took Green Bay’s rush defense to the woodshed in front of their own fans. It hasn’t negated the fact that they are still a top 10 defense. They are tied for 3rd in the league with 11 turnovers (7 off picks), and top 10 in sacks with 15.

Packers home field advantage is unlike 99% of the league where Vegas gives them a 4 point advantage instead of the traditional 3. Take the Packers to cover in the over, Packers 27-23.

NFL Week 4: Monday Night Football Pick & Prediction

Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Steelers -4, O/U: 45.5)

The Bengals are reeling after another tough road loss against the Bills last week. Only being blown out at home against the 49ers, the Bengals have lost their 2 road games by a combined 5 points. Andy Dalton is 4th in the league in passing with 979 yards, 5 TD’s and 3 picks while completing 63% of his passes. He’s been without AJ Green (who is expected to be out until at least week 7) but have had John Ross (13 catches for 292 yards, 3 TD’s) and Tyler Boyd (24 catches for 250 yards) step up to fill his shoes together. Their issues have been lack of Mixon’s rushing game (87 yards on 32 carries) and their rush defense which has given up 168.7 yards per game)

The Steelers are living a very similar story where they’ve had 2 close loses of 6 points combined yet were blown out by the Pats in week one. Shockingly, with Big Ben getting hurt in week 2, the Steelers have managed to stay in both games with their backup, Mason Rudolph. Mason has only completed 57% of his passes but has limited turnovers with 4 pass TD’s and 2 picks. Still, the offense has struggled mightily, averaging 204 yards through the air and 64 yards rushing with Conner only averaging 2.9 yards on 34 carries and 97 yards. The offense isn’t the only one struggling as the defense has given up 303 yards through the air and 139 yards on the ground per game. It has been an ugly start with seeing Big Ben go out with injury, Bell and Brown leaving the offense all in the same season. The Steelers are struggling in a way that could hamper them until the end.

This game will be absolutely nasty as both teams are looking up at the Pound Puppies leading the division…yes, you read that right, 4 weeks in, the Browns are leading the division. Take the Bengals to finally get a road win against a virtually hapless Steelers, Bengals cover in the under, Bengals 20-14.

Week 3: Monday Night Football

Chicago Bears @ Washington Redskins, FedEx Field, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Redskins +5.5, O/U: 41.5)

The Bears should scare you.  Their defense surely should scare you because they’re pretty good but this offense should scare you as in anemic, hard to watch, lacking.  Trubisky has yet to throw a touchdown but has a pick.  He’s only accumulated 348 passing yards and averaging only 4.8 yards per attempt while only completing just 58% of his passes.  That means he’s relegated to dink and dunk passes and still can’t get the offense going.  The rushing game hasn’t been there either with only amassing 118 yards on 36 carries for 3.2 yards per rush between 3 backs.  The Redskins have an 0-2 record but given the 2 divisional juggernauts (Eagles week 1, Cowboys week 2), and how they weren’t necessarily blown out of either game, things aren’t looking too bad after losing Alex Smith late last year.  Keenum’s numbers look like his 1 really good year with the Vikings, completing 69% of his passes for 601 yards, 5 TD’s and no picks.  Terry McLaurin has been the early favorite target as he has 10 catches fro 187 yards and 2 TD’s.  The rushing game has yet to come through as Guice is back to being injured after week 1 and AP couldn’t get going last week either after being marked as a healthy scratch week 1.  Given the Redskins defense ranking 30th in points and yards allowed, this one might get ugly but the Bears might be on the losing side of this one when the clock hits 0 because of their inept offense.  Take the Redskins to cover in the under, Redskins 24-17.

NFL Week 2: Monday Night Football Prediction & Pick

Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Jets +6.5, O/U: 45.5)

Cleveland came out flat last week and were all hype on paper and got punched in the mouth in front of their own fans by a Titans team who really has many doubts up and down that roster.  Even their more sturdy/reliable defense was shown up.  On paper, the Browns look stacked and should have a winning season but you don’t win games on swagger.  Mayfield might’ve been selected #1 overall and turned around the Browns from being 1-31 over the previous 2 seasons before his arrival, but he still has a ton to prove.  Throwing 3 picks to open the season, is not ideal but it is a learning curve.  OBJ had watchgate all week and threatens to wear it again tonight.  Are the Browns self imploding over self wants?

The Jets are without their young QB Darnold as he was dealt a mono diagnosis early in the week.  Trevor Siemian will be filling in and he’s been looking for his next break since he’s left Denver.  At least the Jets will have someone whose started and played a full NFL season instead of some young hanger-on whose been a career backup with a handful of NFL game action throws in his short career.  They traded the Patriots for Demaryius Thomas with Quincy Enunwa being lost for the year.  Bell will have to be relied upon to carry a big workload since Thomas won’t be up to speed on the playbook.  Robby Anderson needs to turn it on to swoop in under the radar if the Jets are looking to steal one in a moment of weakness.

OBJ may have fired up Greg Williams and his defense by calling him out during the week for purposely trying to injure players and he will certainly have a target on his back and even his watch.  Given that, Take the Browns to win but the Jets to cover in the over, Browns 27-24.