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Monday Night Football Preview: Giants at Falcons

Monday Night Football Preview

Falcons-3.5 | Over/Under 54

Monday Night Football in week 7 gives us the New York Giants up against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The two franchises have met 24 times in the past and the series has been evenly split at 12 games apiece. As the 25th installment of this battle approaches, I think it’s fair to say that no one expected the teams to have a combined winning record of just three games.

New York has lost three games in a row against quality opponents in the Saints, Panthers, and Eagles. Atlanta meanwhile, just broke its own three-game losing streak with last weekend’s 34-29 win vs the visiting Bucs.

 

Giants at Falcons

Falcons -3.5 | Over/Under 54

New York Giants (1-5)

After a year in which “Big Blue” drastically underperformed, the club took the number two pick in the 2018 NFL draft and selected Saquon Barkley. Barkley was widely regarded as the best player in the draft class, creating a sense of optimism amongst fans that the New York Football Giants would once again challenge for the NFC East crown. And now after six weeks of the season, they are last in the division and heading for another top-five draft pick.

Why They Will Win

The Giants have quietly assembled some of the best young skill position players over the past few years. During his rookie season, Evan Engram showed that he has the potential to become a top tight end in the league for many years to come. Odell Beckham Jr is already a ridiculous talent. We all know what he’s capable of. Sterling Shepherd has proven that he’s a very capable WR2. And then there’s Barkley. There’s no question at the moment that he is the offensive rookie of that year. In week 6 against the Eagles, Barkley faced a stacked defensive box and turned it into a nine-yard run. But it was possibly the most impressive nine-yard run you’ve ever seen. He hurdled both Kamu Grugier-Hill and Malcolm Jenkins in the space of a phone booth. The kid is something special.

And Why They Won’t

Unfortunately, Barkley and co. are continuously fighting an uphill battle against their own offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants o-line come into week 7 as the 25th ranked unit in the NFL. They’ve allowed Eli Manning to be sacked 20 times already this year. He’s been hit so many times, that he’s already fumbled the ball four times on the season and the Eli face meme was created. It’s hard to move the ball with any success when you have a turnstile protecting the quarterback and in a game where the Giants will likely need to keep up with the high-powered Falcons, the offensive line will need to keep Manning on his feet.

Atlanta Falcons (2-4)

Surprisingly, the Atlanta Falcons, who should have won the Superbowl just two years ago, are now 2-4 and last place in the NFC South. The two wins have come against division rivals Carolina and Tampa Bay, key victories in the division title race. But they will need to turn their season around quickly in order to make playoffs from here. Since 1990, less than 10% of 2-4 teams have seen post-season action.

 

 

Why They Will Win

Matt RyanMatt Ryan is having another MVP type season. Through six games, Matty Ice has 1,956 passing yards, 69.6% completions, 14 touchdowns, two interceptions, 66 rush yards, and two rushing scores. Over a 16 game slate, he’s on pace for 5,216 yards, 37 touchdowns, five interceptions, 176 rush yards, and five ground scores. Compare that to his 2016 MVP season of 4,944 yards on 69.9% completions, 38 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 117 rush yards, and no scores, and you can see that he’s having another stellar year statistically. The only difference between then and now is that Atlanta finished the 2016 season with an 11-5 record. He just needs to get Julio Jones a lot more end zone targets though.

And Why They Won’t

Defensive struggles and injuries have been the key issues plaguing the Falcons all season. Atlanta can proudly boast one of the NFL’s worst defenses. On a per game basis, they rank 30th in total yards allowed, 29th in pass yards allowed, 24th in rushing yards allowed, and 31st for points allowed. The Falcons are allowing 32 points per contest, with three of their six opponents hanging at least 37 points on them.

A lot of that can be attributed to injuries to key pieces with all of Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Deion Jones having been placed on the season-ending Injured Reserve list. To make matters worse, Devonta Freeman just joined them throughout the week with his groin injury, and kicker Matt Bryant has been listed as out for the game with a hamstring problem. Atlanta also had their wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu land on the weekly injury report but both men have since been cleared to play.

Key Match-Up:

Odell Beckham Jr vs himself. There’s no doubting his talent, nor his passion. But he sometimes lets his frustrations get the best of him. If things don’t go according to plan, OBJ has a tendency to lose his head and create a distraction on the sideline. He’s had multiple scuffles with Josh Norman, Xavier Rhodes, Alec Ogletree, kicking nets, benches, and cooling fans. If the Falcons can get under his skin, then it’s all but over for the talented wide receiver.

Prediction

This is shaping up to be another shootout with neither defense standing up much this year. It’s going to be a tough fight for New York to travel south and gets this win, but they have the offensive talent to do so, while their pass defense is a lot better than most give them credit for. It’s going to be close but I think it’s going to be too much to ask against the Falcons who have a bit more to play for.

Final: Atlanta 34New York 30

 

Monday Night Football Betting Tips

All of the odds and prop bets I write about in this piece will be sourced from there. They have a bunch of great contests, bonus and NFL specials to sink your teeth into. If you haven’t before, check them out now.

Both the Giants and Falcons have a 2-4 record against the spread through the first 6 weeks of the season. Without defenses making plays, it’s hard to stop a team running up a score on you. As I just mentioned, I think this will be close but I have Atlanta covering the spread, just.

Total Points Over/Under

Despite the poor records, these teams have gone over the total O/U more often than not. The Giants have a 3-3 split, whereas the Falcons have gone 5-1 to the over and are surpassing the mark by around eight points a week, proving that they aren’t losing in defensive battles. The Giants are allowing 27 points per game against them and the Falcons have been worse with 32 points per game. This should be a high scoring affair based off what we know of these two teams. Take the over once again.

BEST BET:

  • Falcons -3.5 (-110), Total Points Over 54 (-110)

 

 

 

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