NFL bloggers debate who will cover the spread on Monday Night Football

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Among the truly great American traditions is the Monday
Night Football doubleheader in the Week 1 schedule. This year,
schedule makers have presented us with the Detroit Lions hosting
the New York Giants in the early game, followed by the San Diego
Chargers visiting the Arizona Cardinals for a Week 1
finale.

In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve
enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best.

Expert NFL bloggers Marco of New York
blog “Bleed
Big Blue
” and Zac Snyder (@ZacSnyder) of
Detroit blog “SideLion Report” strap on the
pads and butt heads over which team not only wins but covers on
Monday Night Football: Giants or Lions?


New York Giants at Detroit Lions
(-6.5,
47)


WHY NEW YORK WILL COVER

Money in the secondary

One good rule is to follow the money. The Giants broke out the
checkbook to amp up its secondary this off season. Additions of
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Zack Bowman and Walter Thurmond
will give the G-Men tons of options to slow down Calvin
Johnson. Megatron was held in check by young cornerback Prince
Amukamara in 2013 only gaining 43 yards. Amukamara also bested
Golden Tate when he played for Seattle holding the receiver to
two receptions for 25 yards

Classic Giants Football

Plan for the Giants to pound the rock. Running backs Rashad
Jennings and Andre Williams both looked sharp during the
preseason rushing for 407 yards and three touchdowns. While the
offensive line looked very sloppy in the passing game, the
running game was a different story. The ever evolving line
busted open holes allowing big rushing gains. A consistent
rushing attack will control the clock and keep the Lions’
offense off the field.

Run the numbers

The all-time regular season series is a draw at 20-20-1. The
recent numbers lean toward Big Blue. The Giants have taken the
last three games against the Lions. Playing on Monday Night
favors the G-Men who are 8-4 against the spread over the past
12 games. The last time the Lions beat the Giants in Detroit
was 1983. History likes to repeat itself, so if the Giants can
slow this game down and the secondary holds up, then it’s case
closed.

WHY DETROIT WILL COVER


Ford Field revved up

This will be the biggest Monday night in Detroit since the
Lions hosted the Bears in Week 5 of the 2011 season. That may
have been the best Ford Field crowd in the stadium’s history,
but one that will be rivaled with MNF in town to kick off the
2014 season. The Lions rode the wave of enthusiasm to an easy
cover of the seven point spread that night and ought to do the
same this Monday.

Eli can’t hang

With a questionable offensive line and a turnover prone Eli
Manning, the Giants’ offense just won’t be able to keep up with
the loaded Lions offense.

Golden hands

Matthew Stafford committed his fair share of errors a year ago,
but he also suffered from throwing to a receiving corps that
dropped more passes than average. The addition of sure-handed
Golden Tate means more Stafford passes will go for completions
and keep the Lions offense moving.


San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
(-3,
46)

Expert NFL bloggers Kevin Grauel
(@KevinGrauel) of San Diego blog “Bolts From the Blue” and
Jess Root
(@senorjessroot) of Arizona blog “Revenge of the Birds
strap on the pads and butt heads over which team not only wins
but covers on Monday Night Football: Chargers or Cardinals?

WHY SAN DIEGO WILL COVER

Efficient offense

Arizona has a strong pair of cornerbacks, but Philip Rivers’
69.5 completion percentage in 2013 was no fluke. The Cardinals
have struggled to defend tight ends and the Chargers have two
good ones in Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green. Rivers will be
able to pick his matchup and keep the offense moving.

Cardinals’ offensive line woes

Arizona added Jared Veldheer, but the interior of their
offensive line still needs work. Corey Liuget looked like an
all-pro in the preseason, and he will give Carson Palmer and
the running game fits all night.

Injuries

The Cardinals are very beat up for Week 1. Daryl Washington is
suspended, Darnell Dockett tore his ACL and it looks likely
that Tyrann Mathieu and Andre Ellington will be sitting out as
well. All of those players are a major part of what Arizona
likes to do. I don’t think they will have enough firepower left
to keep up with San Diego.

WHY ARIZONA WILL COVER


No place like home

The Cardinals play extremely well at home. They were 6-2 there
in 2013 (5-3 ATS). With a standard three-point spread, Arizona
is a safe bet to cover. Three points isn’t much and the
Cardinals and fans will energize University of Phoenix Stadium
in the season opener. Emotions will run high as they will honor
Kurt Warner at halftime.

Desert swarm

The defense is still expected to be good. How did San Diego
upset the Broncos late in the season in 2013? By running the
football. They will not be able to do that against Arizona, who
sported the league’s No. 1 rush defense. There are some losses
to think about on the defensive side of the ball for Arizona,
but the guys setting the edge are still very good at it. Don’t
expect San Diego to have success with their committee of
running backs.

The Palmer factor

Carson Palmer plays very well traditionally against San Diego.
In six career games against them, he has thrown 14 TDs and only
three INTs for a QB rating of over 116 — the second highest
rating he has against any team in his long career. He has more
weapons and a better offensive line than he did in 2013.

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