The Ultimate Guide to Monday Night Football

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Published: September 8, 2013

Welcome to the Gridiron Experts Ultimate Guide to Monday Night. Whether you are a fan of the teams doing battle, have fantasy football or gaming implications, or you’re simply looking for creative ways to increase your alcohol intake during the Monday Night Football telecast, we’ve got you covered. Week 1 of the NFL season once again gives us an epic 6+ hours of Monday night action, so let’s dive right in.

Eagles at Redskins

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins -3.5

The biggest storylines heading into the first game of Week 1’s Monday Night Football doubleheader are the return of Robert Griffin III from last season’s knee injury, and Chip Kelly’s NFL coaching debut. But this is also a matchup of NFC East rivals, with Washington looking to repeat as division champs while Philadelphia tries to rebound from last year’s 4-12 campaign.

The Eagles take the field with a new head coach for the first time since 1999, after Andy Reid’s 14-year tenure with the team came to an end after last season. Kelly is looking to bring to Philadelphia the high-octane approach that he used successfully at Oregon, so expect a high volume of offensive plays for the Eagles on Monday night. If Michael Vick can build on a strong preseason in which he went 20-for-28 for 333 yards and four touchdowns, it would likely translate to a lot of points for the Eagles and an enjoyable night for Vick’s fantasy owners. The primary fantasy consideration on this team, however, remains LeSean McCoy, whom our experts ranked as the #4 running back for Week 1. The biggest key for Philadelphia in real-life football terms will be their ability to improve on a defense that gave up more points in 2012 than all but two other NFL teams.

With RGIII back under center, hopes for another division title in Washington are high, but it remains to be seen how Griffin will play on his surgically-repaired knee since he didn’t get any game action during the preseason. While I expect the Redskins to use fewer designed runs for RGIII in 2013, especially early in the season, they will likely give him a chance to attack with his arm an Eagles secondary that replaced former Pro Bowlers Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. Aflred Morris should also get plenty of action in Week 1, coming off a 335-carry rookie campaign and facing a team that was in the league’s bottom ten against the run in 2012. I expect a currently-healthy Pierre Garcon to also have a nice game.

My Prediction:

The over/under on this game is set at 51½ and is among the highest projected totals of the week. In a game that I believe will live up to the high-scoring potential, both teams should be able to move up and down the field. While the Eagles will be a lot more fun to watch on offense this year, their defense will continue to be an issue. I’m predicting a triumphant return for RGIII and I’ll give the 3½ points.

Washington 34, Philadelphia 24

 

MNF Drinking Game

The matchup on the football field doesn’t have to be the only game in town on Monday night. Get a group together, grab your favorite beer and a bottle of liquor, and enjoy the Gridiron Experts MNF Drinking Game.

  • Take one drink for every incomplete pass
  • Take one drink for every yard penalized (for example, a 5-yard penalty equals five drinks)
  • Take one shot for every lost fumble
  • Take six drinks for every touchdown scored in the game
  • Take one shot for every ESPN split-frame view of Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III
  • Take one drink for every on-air mention of Dr. James Andrews (BONUS shot if Andrews is in attendance and is shown on TV)
  • Take one drink for every on-air mention of Andy Reid
  • Take one shot every time an old picture of Jon Gruden as an assistant coach is shown on TV
  • Take one drink every time Jon Gruden uses “heck of a” during the telecast (heck of a player, heck of a coach, heck of a quarterback, etc.)

Beer of the Week

MNF BeerThe Beer of the Week represents a tasty offering from the city/region hosting the week’s Monday Night Football contest. Feel free to incorporate the Beer of the Week into the MNF Drinking Game.

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter – brewed in honor of Hunter S. Thompson, this imperial stout is dark and complex. Weighing in at 9.2% ABV, this beer features chocolate, coffee, and vanilla malt flavors. Brewed in Frederick, Maryland, less than an hour from the Redskins’ stadium in Landover, the Gonzo Imperial Porter is a prime choice for Washington’s home opener.

 

 

Texans at Chargers

Houston Texans -3.5 at San Diego Chargers

For this week’s second Monday Night Football game, the storylines center around the health of Arian Foster and an injury-riddled receiving corp in San Diego. The Chargers are 3-1 when playing in the second game of the Week 1 MNF doubleheader, but this will be their first time hosting the game.

The Texans won 12 games last season and their second consecutive AFC South Championship, but they stumbled down the stretch, losing four of their last six regular season games. The return of linebacker Brian Cushing should further bolster a defense that finished seventh in total yards allowed in 2012 and includes the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in J.J. Watt. But the biggest question mark for Houston lies on the offensive side of the ball, where Arian Foster missed all of training camp with calf and back injuries. Those injuries pushed Foster down a lot of fantasy draft boards this season and contributed to our experts ranking him 13th among running backs for Week 1. Meanwhile, rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins impressed in the preseason before suffering an injury of his own, a concussion. He is expected to play against San Diego though, which should help everyone in the Texans passing game, including Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson.

New San Diego Head Coach Mike McCoy, who served as Denver’s offensive coordinator last season, will have his hands full with the Texans defense, particularly as he struggles to find healthy bodies at the wide receiver position. Denario Alexander was lost for the year after suffering a knee injury in preseason practice, while Malcom Floyd (knee sprain) and Eddie Royal (bruised lung) are questionable for Week 1. The Chargers are hoping that McCoy’s new offensive scheme will rejuvenate Philip Rivers and get San Diego back to the playoffs for the first time in four years. Ryan Mathews has looked good this preseason, and if he can stay healthy it would certainly help the Chargers chances for success. However, he could have a tough time finding running room against a Houston team that allowed just 97.5 rushing yards per game in 2012.

My Prediction:

San Diego is 4-0 all-time against the Texans, but I find it hard to believe that they will continue that success in the 2013 season opener.  Rivers is likely to be under constant pressure, and Houston should be able to generate points off of turnovers. While the spread suggests this could be a close game, I don’t think that will be the case, as the Texans have too much fire power on both sides of the ball. I’ll take Houston on the road in this one, laying the 4 points.

Houston 31, San Diego 17 

 

MNF Drinking Game

Whether you’re holding off the party until Game 2 or haven’t quite gotten enough after Game 1, the Gridiron Experts MNF Drinking Game is back for part two of the doubleheader.

  • Take one shot for every interception thrown
  • Take three drinks for every field goal made in the game
  • Take one drink for every handoff to Arian Foster or Ryan Mathews
  • Take one drink every time Philip Rivers is sacked
  • Take one shot for every time ESPN shows footage of a young Chris Berman reporting from the sideline, at a practice, etc.
  • Take one drink every time Chris Berman uses one of his cliché nicknames (for example, Philip Cry Me a Rivers)
  • Take one shot every time Chris Berman says, “Rumblin, Stumblin, Bumblin”
  • Take one shot  every time Chris Berman says, “He could… go… all… the… way”
  • Take one drink every time Chris Berman mentions Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Lance Alworth, or any other former Chargers that haven’t played for the team in over 25 years

Beer of the Week

Stone IPATwo Monday Night Football games means two installments of the Beer of the Week. Enjoy them both responsibly.

Stone IPA – with Game 2 of the MNF doubleheader shifting to the West Coast, it’s only appropriate to go with a beer that truly embodies the West Coast IPA, full of citrusy flavor. A hoppy India Pale Ale with a golden amber color, the Stone IPA checks in at 6.9% ABV. Brewed in Escondido, California, just north of San Diego, this beer is perfect for a Chargers game on a Monday night.

 

 

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